A 2001 study showed that you’ll burn far more calories running on sand than on grass, and a separate study showed that you’ll build more leg muscle running on sand in the long term. Barefoot is a great choice for sand running, and the Vibram Spyridon LS gives you a barefoot feel while still protecting your feet. The new lacing system makes wearing Vibrams easier than ever. They’re also great for the gym. $120, vibramfive fingers.com.
Tearing down a dirt or gravel road requires more traction than the typical running shoe offers. Like grass, gravel can be soft and unpredictable, with the added adventure of an ever-shifting surface. Enter the Under Armour Charge RC Storm. Rubber spikes called Trail Tread line the outsole, giving you cleat-like traction throughout your run. The spikes are also soft enough to make for a smooth transition to other surfaces. $120, underarmour.com.