I can’t say I have experience with the trail shoes but I do have my share of experience on trails like you mention an interest in. I’ve never found the need for trail shoes while running on such trails. I’ve never stubbed my toes hard enough to hurt them while trail running and ankle rolls, while I have had my share in the past, have occurred just as frequently during on-road running as off-road running. Besides, there are some people out there who believe big shoe soles like you get in trail shoes actually promote ankle rolls. Considering the fact that my ankle rolls usually occur in more bulky trainers and almost never in minimalistic racers, even in cross-country racing, I have to believe there may be something to that. The other claim is traction. Well, I have slipped and fallen in mud a few times but a few times over 15+ years of mostly high volume running is something that could happen with super glue on the soles of your shoes.
While they seem to be more than a fad, your trustworthy running store in Madison may be making another statement: they may be a gimick. Of course, as I pointed out, I haven’t worn trail shoes so I can’t say for sure that you and I both aren’t missing out on something great. I just can’t figure out what that great thing would be.