Even though it's technically still Autumn, it feels like Winter has arrived in the Wenatchee Valley.

I recently made two trail shoe purchases. I’ll share with you what choices I made and list the other shoes I almost bought.

But first:
A rule to help keep my legs, shins, knees, I-T bands, ligaments (etc) healthy and good.

The most I'll run/hike in a pair of running shoes is 500 miles.

(You mean I keep track of mileage? How?)

I have a Garmin Forerunner 235 GPS Watch.

This watch keeps track of my walks, hikes, bike rides and trail runs. These activities get loaded into my Strava account. I note which pair of shoes I use in any given activity. I usually try to alternate my shoes, which gives my legs a healthy variety of protection from the pounding and thrashing. Each style of shoe is engineered slightly different. Alternating shoes gives you legs a slightly different exposure to running stress. 

I got the idea of alternating my running shoes from World Class marathoners from Kenya. Those talented, hard working men and women run 120 miles and more per week. Mainly on grass and dirt. Surfaces that I strive to run on. Alternating 2, 3 or more pairs of shoes per week helps keep their legs as fresh as possible.

-I usually run with 2 pairs of shoes in my hallway closet.

Here are my two recent shoe purchases:

1) Brooks “Caldera 6” 


Brooks shoes are designed in Seattle. The Caldera 6  looks like they have been influenced by the HOKA Speedgoat. The Caldera 6 is STACKED with cushioning…It has tread that thankfully does a great job on the Castlerock trail system, that includes the steep "Chopper":  A trail that goes past the Castle and up the “Pyramid”, to the Wisdom Tree. Any shoe I buy - NEEDS to be rugged enough to get me up and down the Chopper.

You can get more info on the Caldera 6 HERE.

2) NNormal “Kjerag”

Credit: Connor
Credit: Connor

This is the shoe I have highly anticipated for the past half year. It is designed by one of my favorite endurance athletes: Kilian Jornet.

Kilian’s parents raised him up to enjoy the mountains of Spain. He loves trail running, ski mountaineering, mountain climbing and any other activity in the mountains. He has won many major ultra races around the World. Kilian's recent wins this year include: The Colorado Hard Rock 100 and Europe’s most prestigious race: The UTMB race around Mont Blanc. Kilian Jornet has also set the record for fasted known time up Mt. Everest. He was a longtime sponsored athlete with Salomon. A shoe company that has a bunch of great products for having fun outside.

His departure from Salomon was due to his desire to design his own pair of trail shoe: Here is the first of two shoes from NNormal (not a typo) The Kjerag.

Credit: Connor
Credit: Connor


So far, I've ran 23 miles in a pair.  I can gush about how great it is to go up the Chopper in a light/nimble trail racing shoe. The Kjerag’s tread was even more amazing coming down in “dry kitty litter conditions”

You can get more info on the NNormal Kjerag HERE 

Shoes that I almost purchased include:

  • Salomon “Sense Ride 4” (I loved running in the Sense Ride 3)
  • Brooks “Catamount” (These shoes have had great feedback from my Strava friends who have ran in them)
  • Hoka “Speedgoat 5” (The 5 is a great improvement for anyone who runs down steep terrain (like the Chopper): They removed the hard outer material above the toes that gave me friction “sores” on my toes. Most reviewers for the Speedgoat 4  didn’t have access to a steep downhill course like the Chopper…I really wanted to run in the SpeedGoat 5. (they didn't have my size at a local store)
  • On-Running “Cloud-Ultra” (A shoe that I really enjoyed running with. The only con of the Cloud-Ultra is the bottom outsole was not great on wet/rainy rocks. It doesn't have the VIBRAM rubber material that provides amazing traction in wet conditions)

A reminder that I am not paid by any shoe company to give you my thoughts on the above products. I just do lots of research, make a purchase, and run/hike in them around our beloved Wenatchee Valley! 


An added bit of advice for getting out and running/hiking in the Winter months: Invest in Microspikes, these are vital when the trails and canal paths are covered in snow and ice. Microspikes have kept me running in the cold icy months!

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