I caved in to the pressure and bought myself a pair of trail running shoes two weeks ago. It is my present to celebrate the new job. After comparing models and soliticing advice from several running stores, I decided on a pair of Brooks Cascadia. When I brought them home, I was excited as hell, but I was also anxious that they will turn out to be wrong for me. I experienced buyers remorse. I kept looking at other people's trail shoes, including Noah's, which aren't available in women's in Philadelphia.
They're actually much cuter than the pictures above. My hipper-than-me sister even thought that I can wear them with non-running clothes when I go out, like people's pumas. This might be true two weeks ago, but after running 50 some miles on them, in mud and snow, the shoes have become dirty and already lost the crossover status.
It's okay, because I like running in them. The shoes are very solid on muddy, rooty, and rocky trails. I can't feel the rocks under me as much as I do in road shoes. A few times that I misstepped, the whole foot didn't slip or turn. I'm not sure if this is what the "pivot posting" is supposed to do, but if it is, it's working. They don't absorb water and squish for the next hour and they stay light and dry quickly even when wet. Surprisingly, they aren't that stiff on the road either. I can run through the two miles of city streets comfortably to get to the trail head.
Just two yellow flags: (1) slippery on wet rocks; (2) slidy on slanted snow-covered surfaces.
The trail shoes aren't supposed to cure all, of course, and I know I can still slip or turn an ankle in them. I know better than to let the shoes give me a false sense of security. Overall, I recommend the Brooks Cascadia.