Each runner who enjoys running on trails needs a good pair of trail running shoes. Trail running shoes, as opposed to road running shoes, are made to offer the traction, support, and protection required to traverse rocky, uneven terrain. Choosing the best trail running shoes for your needs might be overwhelming, though, because there are so many alternatives available.
We’ll examine some of the important aspects to think about while selecting trail running shoes in this post, including weight, cushioning, grip, protection, and fit. Also, we’ll give an overview of the best trail running shoe manufacturers and models currently on the market and make particular suggestions based on the various trail types and running techniques. By the time you’re finished reading this article, you’ll know what to look for in a trail running shoe and be able to choose the pair that’s best for you.
Best Lightweight Max- Cushioned Trail Running Shoes
Hoka Speedgoat 5
One of the most well-liked trail running shoes available right now is the Hoka Speedgoat 5. The Speedgoat 5 is a top pick for dedicated trail runners thanks to its winning blend of comfort, protection, and performance.
The Speedgoat 5 is distinguished by its outstanding cushioning system, which offers exceptional shock absorption and reactivity on even the most challenging trails. The shoe also features a Vibram Megagrip outsole that offers outstanding traction on both dry and wet ground, as well as a tough, breathable mesh top that provides adequate protection from rocks and other hazards. The Speedgoat 5 delivers a comfortable fit that may keep your feet feeling good for miles on end thanks to its large toe box and supportive midsole. The Hoka Speedgoat 5 is a high-performing shoe that can assist you in breaking new ground on the trails, regardless of whether you’re tackling challenging descents, rocky terrain, or steep climbs.
Roomy toe box
Break in needed
Not for wide feet
Best Waterproof Nike Trail Running Shoes
Nike Pegasus Trail 4 Gore-Tex
For runners who enjoy taking on any terrain, rain or shine, the Nike Pegasus Trail 4 Gore-Tex is a high-performing trail running shoe that provides both comfort and protection. This shoe offers exceptional waterproofing and breathability thanks to its Gore-Tex material, making it a top pick for runners who must endure muddy and damp trails. The shoe also has a sturdy outsole with outstanding traction on a variety of terrain, as well as a responsive midsole that provides a comfortable ride.
The Pegasus Trail 4 Gore-Tex is a great option for trail runners who prioritize speed and agility because of its lightweight and breathable construction. Long runs benefit greatly from the shoe’s comfortable fit and exceptional cushioning system, and both training and racing can be done in it thanks to its fashionable and modern design. Overall, the Nike Pegasus Trail 4 Gore-Tex is a superb trail running shoe that combines style, comfort, and protection into one high-performance package.
Lightweight and breathable
Sleek and stylish design
Not for technical terrain
Read our complete review on Nike Pegasus 39
Best Trail Running Shoes for Hiking
Salomon Speedcross 6
On even the toughest terrain, the Salomon Speedcross 6 trail running shoe provides exceptional traction and support. This shoe offers exceptional grip and stability thanks to its deep lugs and Contagrip outsole, making it a great pick for runners who must navigate steep hills and loose gravel. The shoe is also lightweight and tough, and its breathable top provides great ventilation to keep your feet dry and cool.
The Speedcross 6 also features a cushioned midsole that provides exceptional shock absorption and defense against uneven terrain, as well as a snug and supportive fit. The shoe’s Sensifit technology and Quicklace system ensure a snug and secure fit, while its protective toe cap adds durability and trail obstacle protection. Overall, the Salomon Speedcross 6 is a superb trail running shoe that successfully balances performance, toughness, and comfort.
Lightweight and breathable
Excellent traction on wet
Plenty of protection
Protective toe cap
Narrow for some
Best Comfortable Trail Running Shoes
Saucony Peregrine 12
A tough and dependable trail running shoe that can withstand a variety of surfaces and circumstances is the Saucony Peregrine 12. The PWRTRAC outsole and strong, breathable upper of this shoe provides outstanding traction and defense against rocks, roots, and other trail hazards. Long-distance trail runners will appreciate the shoe’s soft and responsive midsole, which also offers superior support and shock absorption.
Flexibility and adaptability are two of the Peregrine 12’s standout qualities. The PWRRUN cushioning system and FORMFIT technology in the shoe give you a personalized, cozy fit that adapts to the contour of your foot and provides a responsive, energizing ride. Without compromising flexibility or weight, the shoe’s rock plate and toe bumper provide additional protection and durability. Overall, trail runners looking for a shoe that can easily handle a variety of terrain and circumstances may consider the Saucony Peregrine 12.
Best Trail Runner for Wide Feet
Altra Lone Peak 7
For trail runners who prioritize comfort, adaptability, and durability, the Altra Lone Peak 7 is a well-liked option. This shoe has a large toe box and zero-drop base that promote natural foot posture and provide the best stability on unsteady ground. The shoe also features a MaxTrac outsole that offers consistent traction on a range of terrain, a sturdy and breathable upper that offers outstanding protection and breathability, and both.
The Lone Peak 7’s flexible and responsive midsole is one of its best qualities. While yet enabling a natural and responsive feel, the shoe’s A-Bound cushioning system and EVA foam offer exceptional shock absorption and support. The Lone Peak 7 also has a detachable stone guard that provides supplementary defense against rocks and other trail hazards. The Altra Lone Peak 7 is a wonderful option for trail runners who require a shoe that can withstand a variety of terrain and circumstances because of its comfy and versatile design.
Wide toe box
Outsole durability issues
Best Mountain Running Shoe
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II
Popular trail running shoes like the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II are made to offer great traction, stability, and comfort on a variety of surfaces. For runners who want exceptional performance from their trail shoes, the Ultra Raptor II is a great option thanks to its aggressive lugs, sturdy construction, and comfortable fit.
The FriXion XF outsole of the Ultra Raptor II, which is made to offer outstanding traction on muddy, slick, and uneven terrain, is one of the shoe’s standout qualities. Because of its abrasion-resistant design, the outsole is also strong and long-lasting. The upper of the shoe is constructed of synthetic and mesh fabrics that breathe well and offer a secure fit without compromising strength or safety. The shoe’s stability control platform and Impact Brake System cooperate to provide stability and control on descents and rough terrain.
All things considered, the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II is a top-performing trail shoe that’s perfect for runners that require a tough, sturdy, and dependable shoe for their off-road adventures. The Ultra Raptor II is a fantastic option that will undoubtedly keep you at ease and confident during the entire journey, whether you’re tackling high mountain routes, challenging terrain, or wet and muddy circumstances.
Best Road-To-Trail Shoe
Topo Athletic MT-4
A versatile trail running shoe with a pleasant and organic feel is the Topo Athletic MT-4. The MT-4 offers a distinctive experience for runners looking for a shoe that enables them to feel more connected to the ground, thanks to its minimalist design and emphasis on natural foot movement.
The MT-4’s broad toe box, which enables natural toe splay and a more stable base, is one of its primary characteristics. In rocky terrain, this can aid in improving balance and control. The shoe also boasts a low profile and a lightweight design that makes it responsive and agile on the terrain. Without losing flexibility or ground feel, the sturdy outsole provides good traction and protection.
Runners searching for a minimalist and all-natural trail running shoe might consider the Topo Athletic MT-4. Because of its distinctive design and emphasis on natural foot movement, it can help users perform better and experience fewer injuries on the trails. The minimalist design, however, might not be ideal for runners who prefer shoes with more support or padding.
Wide toe box
Balanced on uneven terrain
Not enough cushioning
Fast and Lightweight Trail Running Shoes
HOKA Tecton X
The HOKA Tecton X, a much-anticipated addition to the HOKA collection, stands out from other trail running shoes on the market with its distinctive design and cutting-edge features. The Tecton X is built to deliver a smooth and stable ride on even the trickiest terrain with an emphasis on both performance and comfort.
The dual-layer midsole of the Tecton X, which blends HOKA’s renowned plush cushioning with a harder, more solid foundation layer, is one of the shoe’s most distinctive features. This helps prevent the foot from rolling or twisting during lateral motions and also offers great shock absorption on rocky or uneven terrain. Moreover, the seamless upper and gusseted tongue provide a comfortable and secure fit, while the Vibram Megagrip outsole offers exceptional traction on wet or slippery surfaces.
The Tecton X is unquestionably a top-notch trail running shoe, but it might not be the greatest option for all runners. Some runners could find the shoe to be too heavy or thick for their tastes due to its distinctive design and higher price point, while others may prefer simplicity and affordability. But, the HOKA Tecton X is unquestionably a shoe worth taking into consideration if you’re seeking a high-end trail running shoe that stresses both performance and comfort.
High price point
Not for technical terrains
Best Trail Running Shoe for Fast, Technical Trail
On Cloudventure Peak
A well-liked trail running shoe called On Cloudventure Peak is made to perform well on a variety of surfaces. The shoe has a distinctive design, and On’s patented “Cloud” technology, which offers outstanding cushioning and support while also being lightweight, is included in the sole.
The aggressive outsole of the Cloudventure Peak is one of its standout features; it is made to offer exceptional traction on both dry and wet surfaces. The shoe has a tough top constructed of a mix of breathable mesh and water-resistant materials, making it appropriate for use in a variety of weather conditions.
Overall, trail runners searching for a shoe that can offer both comfort and performance on the trails may consider the On Cloudventure Peak. It stands out from the competition in the crowded trail running shoe market because of its distinctive design and innovative technologies.
No break-in needed
Grips on wet surfaces
Limited color options
Best Lightweight and Responsive Trail Runner
Brooks Catamount 2
The Brooks Catamount 2 may be the ideal trail running shoe for you if you’re seeking something that can manage both speed and comfort. With its lightweight construction and responsive ride, this shoe won’t slow you down. It also has plenty of cushioning to keep you comfortable even on rough terrain.
The Catamount 2’s adaptable outsole, which is made to offer both traction and speed, is one of its distinguishing qualities. The shoe’s multidirectional lugs enable rapid, effective movement on the trail, and its sticky rubber outsole offers outstanding traction on a variety of surfaces. The shoe’s DNA FLASH midsole technology also offers a responsive, springy ride that will keep you feeling energized and fresh even during prolonged runs.
Supportive on tough terrain
Fits true to size
How to Care for Your Trail Running Shoes
To ensure that your trail running shoes last as long as possible and continue to function well, take proper care of them after purchasing a pair. Here are some pointers for maintaining the condition of your shoes:
Clean them regularly: After a run, dirt, mud, and other debris can gather on your shoes, so it’s critical to routinely clean them. Clean the outsole and upper of the shoes gently with a soft-bristled brush, then wash them with a light soap or specialized shoe cleaner.
Dry them properly: It’s critical to properly dry your shoes because wet shoes can cause blisters and other foot issues. Following cleaning, pack the shoes with newspaper to help them absorb moisture before letting them air dry away from direct heat.
Store them correctly: A damp or humid environment should not be used to store your shoes as this can hasten their deterioration. Instead, keep them out of direct sunlight in a cool, dry location.
Know when to replace them: Depending on the surface and your running style, trail running shoes can last 300 to 500 km. To prevent injuries and preserve peak performance, be aware of wear and tear indicators like worn-out soles or holes in the top and replace your shoes as needed.
You may maintain your trail running shoes in excellent condition and take pleasure in many kilometers of secure and pleasant trail running by remembering these easy suggestions.
In conclusion, it’s critical to take into account aspects like weight and cushioning, traction, protection, and fit while selecting trail running shoes. Popular options with diverse features to suit various trail running needs are the Hoka Speedgoat 5, Nike Pegasus Trail 4 Gore-Tex, Salomon Speedcross 6, Saucony Peregrine 12, Altra Lone Peak 7, Topo Athletic MT-4, and On Cloudventure Peak.
Your trail running shoes need to be properly cared for in order to increase their lifespan and retain their performance. This involves cleaning, drying, storing, and changing them as needed. Choosing the best shoes and caring for them properly will significantly improve your trail running experience.
The ideal trail running shoes for you will ultimately depend on your particular requirements and preferences. We invite readers to experiment with other choices and share their results in the comments area. Happy trail running!
FAQs for Best Trail Running Shoes
What makes trail running shoes different from regular running shoes?
With features like aggressive tread patterns, greater traction, and protective components like rock plates and toe caps, trail running shoes are specifically made for running on uneven and difficult terrain.
Can I use regular running shoes for trail running?
Although it is technically conceivable, it is not advised to run in conventional running shoes on trails. Running in unexpected terrain calls for more support, traction, and safety, which is why trail running shoes are preferred. Running in standard running shoes when on a trail increases the risk of injury.
How do I choose trail shoes?
Consider features including weight, comfort, traction, and protection while selecting trail shoes. While you run, consider the terrain you will be on and the particular features that will best meet your needs. For comfort and performance, it’s crucial to achieve a perfect fit. Before deciding on something, try on a few possibilities and give them a try.
Do you wear socks with trail running shoes?
Absolutely, wearing socks with trail running shoes is advised to give cushioning and lower the chance of blisters. To keep your feet dry and comfy during long trail runs, look for moisture-wicking and breathable socks.
Can I wear trail running shoes on a treadmill?
Yes, you can use a treadmill while wearing trail running shoes. On a flat surface like a treadmill, however, a robust outsole may not be necessary because trail running shoes are made for superior traction on uneven terrain. To ensure optimum comfort and performance, it’s critical to select the appropriate shoe for the activity you’ll be performing.