Buying trail shoes is hard to get right. Even the expensive ones can be a poor bargain if they don't fit you. And with most shoe companies committed to changing models every year, there's a good chance they have not tested their 'improvements' sufficiently to know whether their newest design is not actually worse than it was before.

The approach that has worked for me is, first, I always buy at a steep discount, which usually means buying last year's model of shoe that they are closing out. I always read reviews by users. The older models have (finally) been tested in the real world and their defects have been revealed. Next, I buy a brand that has worked for me in the past, since reputable makers usually don't change their lasts every year or constantly migrate from one Chinese factory to another trying to cut costs. Also, I ignore the looks, so I've have worn some mighty UGLY! trail shoes.

Lastly, as soon as I'm satisfied a particular model really does fit me and is durable, I try to snap up the last few pairs in my size, anywhere I can find them on the internet. Because my size is not among the most popular (size 8), I can usually scare up one or two more pairs at closeout prices late in the game. I'm generally paying from $60 to $80 a pair even so.

Then, when I've run through my precious stash of that model of shoe, I have to go through the whole process over again. frown