hi everybody,

i'm posting this cause i'm feeling a little lost.

i used to run with low profile shoes for years, such as inov 8 or salomon. i'm not a heavy runner (65k for 1M77)

but, recently, i started to train for an ultra marathon in may (120 km), very rocky, my first one.

i was scared to use low profile shoes for this purpose, so i bought a pair of la sportiva akasha, which have a pretty fair amount of cushioning. 

They are very comfortable and protective, a drop of 6 mm, but heavier that my usual shoes, and less flexible, with more cushioning.

unfortunatly, after a few weeks of training, i started to feel lower back pain (and sometimes knee pain), after long runs, which i had'nt suffered for so many years!

do you think this issue can be due to my changing of shoe type? do you think i have to get back to lower profile shoes (i am a little afraid of using them for a rocky ultra trail but don't want to suffer this back pain anymore...).

if so, does someone have any advice on which shoe to try for this type of trail?

thank you very much


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Hi Alph,

Many times when things like this occur, a change in shoe can be the culprit.  The Akasha's are very rigid, with a lot of stability built into the shoe relative to what you had been used to.

I would fist go back to using your other shoes for all of your shorter runs. 

I have a feeling the Akasha's are causing you to do a little more heel striking, especially on downhills, causing you to use your quads more. This can cause the knee to track poor causing the pain. So roll and stretch the quads to help your knee.

Secondly, if this is happening, you are also putting a lot of stress on your hip flexors, causing them to over work and become tight. When hip flexors (Psoas) becomes tight, it can pull on the low back, causing back issues. So you most likely do not have a back problem, but poor stability in the glutes and over worked hip flexors.

So if you have been doing The Cool Impossible strength program and took some time off, hit that again to start activating glutes. And try stretching hip flexor to relieve the back.

But my sense is this is all shoe related and because you are probably putting in more volume due to your race length - which new shoes.

Hope this helps.


thanks eric for your explanations

i did what you said and get back to my old inov 8 and things have already improved!

maybe can you answer another question:

i have to change my old inov 8's

i read in previous posts that you like inov 8's traitalon line; i only have the budget to buy a single pair of shoes, so i wouldn't want to make a mistake.

do you recomand the traitalon 235 for ultra trails, or do i have to prefer a more cushioned shoe?

what do you think about the roclite line , especially the roclite 290?

thanks so much

OK, good questions here and I understand the need to not make a mistake in purchase. This is hard with Inov8 as they are such purposeful and niche shoes.

I love the feel and fit of the Trail Talon 235, however there is no rock plate and the downside is you do feel the rocks. AND, not very good for Mud - therefore, probably not the best choice for 120k.  Inov8 does have other Trail Talon models with more protection/high drop, I have just not used them.

I tried the Roclite, which had everything that the Trail Talon does NOT, great protection for longer runs. However, for some reason they just did not fit like other Inov8. They were bulky, very rigid , which gave me tremendous hot spots, forcing me to walk. I am not very patient with breaking in shoes, so I really didn't give them much use and gave them away.  Jasmin Paris just won the Spine Race in them - 84 hours of racing, so this could just be me.

Inov8 also have many new shoes that I have not tried.  So if you can, maybe get to a dealer where you could try various models on??

I am also a huge fan of Salomon (which you mentioned) and the S-lab Sense have become my go to shoe for all runs.  So even though they are expensive, they are amazing. They are light weight, great rock protection for low drop, and the fit is amazing.

You might be able to get last years model S-lab Sense 6 on discount now?

Not sure I am helping much, but since Salomon are my go to shoes, I have not tested Inov8's new line up.

Gonna go do a shoe video now showing my 2018 go to shoes, ha!


thank you for your answer.

according to what you wrote about inov 8 shoes i don't think the roclite would be what i'm looking for. 

i will check for a pair of slab sense 

a last question if you're okay, do you recommand the slab sense or slab sense sg?

hi !

i followed your advice and bought a pair of salomon slab...they are so great!

no more back pain for now on.

the only downfall is, on trails with very sharp rocks, i sometimes feel some pain in my feet. i don't know if i will be able to tolerate this all along an ultra .

do you have some tips to minimse this?


This is great to hear. One thing you might try is using a more traditional (thicker)insert/food bed, in replace of the very minimal Salomon insert that is glued in.  This might help cut the edge a little more from the rocks.


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