10 Best Trail Running Shoes for Men & Women: Tested & Rated

Having the right kind of shoes when it comes to running is always important, and trail running is no exception. Your road running shoes just won’t cut it when it comes to running over trails and mountains, so it’s important to invest in some decent trainers.

We’ll be going through the different types of trail running shoes and what features to look out for. We’ve counted down the twelve best trail running shoes so that you don’t have to look too far…

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Product Name
Minimal
Colour Options
Price Guide & Amazon Rating
View Product
ASICS Men's GEL Venture 5 Running Shoe

ASICS Men's GEL Venture 5 Running Shoe

No

14 Options

$$$

adidas Men's Rockadia Trail m Running Shoe

adidas Men's Rockadia Trail m Running Shoe

No

5 Options

$$$

New Balance Men's 510v3 Trail Running Shoe

New Balance Men's 510v3 Trail Running Shoe

No

13 Options

$$

Salomon Women's Speedcross 4 W Trail Runner

Salomon Men's Speedcross 4 Trail Runner

No

6 Options

$$$$

New Balance Men's MT10V1 Minimus Trail Running Shoe

New Balance Men's MT10V1 Minimus Trail Running Shoe

Yes

Grey/Yellow, Black/Silver, Grey/Orange

$

Salomon Women's XR Mission Running Shoe

Salomon Women's XR Mission Running Shoe

No

Score Blue/Very Purple/Pop Green, Celedon/Papaya/Pop Green, Magnet/Black/Purple, Papaya/Black/Igloo Blue

$$$$$

NIKE Women's Revolution 3 Running Shoe

NIKE Women's Revolution 3 Running Shoe

No

33 Options

$$$

adidas Women's Rockadia W Trail Runner

adidas Women's Rockadia W Trail Runner

No

Carbon/Raw Steel/Trace Scarlet, Grey/Black/Pink, Black/White/Easy Orange, Trace Purple/White/Core Black

$$$

Altra Women's Lone Peak 3 Trail Runner

Altra Women's Lone Peak 3 Trail Runner

No

Purple, Red, Red/Deep Sea, Pink/Orange

$$$$

New Balance Women's WT10v1 Minimus Trail Running Shoe

New Balance Women's WT10v1 Minimus Trail Running Shoe

Yes

Black, Black/Blue, Grey/Blue

$$$$$$


Types of Trail Running Shoe


All-Surface

 

As you can probably imagine by the name, these running shoes are suitable for all terrains. All-surface shoes are perfect for trail running as they can easily tackle mud, slippery surfaces and both soft and hard ground.

They’re designed to keep your feet comfortable and safe, no matter what surface you’re running on. They tend to have different lugs to road shoes that help add traction and filter out any dirt or water you encounter.

We’ll go through the best women’s trail running shoes for hiking, as well as the men’s, so that your all-surface shoes can be multi-purpose, too.

Hard Ground

 

There are certain running shoes that are designed to be worn on hard ground. These help to cushion your feet from the impact of running on tough surfaces, and tend to be padded out with protective features.

Much like road shoes, this type of trainer helps prevent injury and discomfort when you’re running on hard, tightly-packed trails. The lugs on these shoes aren’t really designed to deal with water or debris, so aren’t much use in wet weather. 

Soft Ground

 

Unsurprisingly, there are also shoes that are made to be worn on soft ground. The lugs here are really made to displace any dirt, water or mud that gets in your way while you move.

Trail shoes designed for use on soft ground often have less padding or cushioning than standard trainers. This is because there isn’t as much impact on your joints when your feet hit the ground. 

Road-to-Trail

 

Later on, we’ll cover the best trail and road running shoes. These shoes are designed to carry you from road to trail, so are perfect for runs that involve a bit of off-piste adventuring. They’re made to cushion your feet on hard surfaces, but have great traction on trails.


They normally feature sturdy lugs to filter out dirt and water, so are perfect for slippery surfaces or hilly areas. Look out for multi-directional grip, which will really benefit you on the trails…

Barefoot and Minimalist

 

Barefoot running shoes are made to be as close to wearing no shoes as possible. They’re crafted to mould to your foot so are super lightweight and sleek. They’re meant to give you the feeling of running barefoot without being weighed down at all.

Minimalist trainers have a very small heel in comparison to standard running trainers – this alters the way that your feet strike the ground and is believed to be beneficial to your running. Keep reading to find out our pick of the best minimalist trail running shoes. 


Selecting the Right Shoes for You


There are a few more things to consider before buying your next pair of running shoes. These are some questions you need to ask yourself before investing…

What kind of terrain will you normally be running on?

Linking back to the criteria we touched on earlier, it’s important to think about what kind of surface you’ll be running on. It’s tricky to commit to just one type, we know, but if you’re investing in new running shoes, you want to make sure they’re always fit for purpose.

As we mentioned earlier, there are different features to look out for depending on where you’ll be running, be it soft or hard ground. 

What’s your foot type (flat, narrow wide etc)?

Knowing your foot type is also really important here. Think about how standard shoes fit your feet – do you find that they pinch your feet or are they loose and not secure?

The best way to buy shoes is to try them on! We’d suggest trying on different pairs of shoes in a store before turning to the internet to buy them. You’ll often get much better deals through sites such as Amazon!

Do you need more than one pair of trail running shoes?

This is totally up to you, and really depends on how much you’ll actually be running. We’d suggest buying one pair and monitoring how often you run for a month or two.

After that trial period, you can think about buying a different pair of running shoes if you feel that you need more variance. For some, one pair will be plenty and they’ll do the job every time…


12 Best Trail Running Shoes Reviewed



Men’s


1. ASICS Men's GEL Venture 5 Running Shoe

The GEL Venture runners from Asics are a great option for anyone after new trail shoes, making them one of the best men’s trail running shoes. They feature GEL cushioning around the back of the foot, which helps you stay comfortable while powering through a variety of terrains.

They’ve added in brushstroke-patterned underlays and mesh inserts, meaning you can tackle the outdoors in any weather. The removable sock-liner is a comfy alternative to socks and allows your feet to breathe without rubbing against any stitching or seams.

The heel area itself falls relatively deep, giving you fantastic support and offering another layer of protection to those with existing foot issues.

ASICS Men's GEL Venture 5 Running Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

87%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Deep heel area offers support
  • Mesh inserts for breathability and comfort
  • GEL cushioning pads around the foot to offer protection
  • thumbs-o-up
    Sock-liner prevents rubbing and overheating
  • thumbs-o-up
    Simple design padded out with great tech

Cons

  • Not much in the way of rock-guards, so think about adding an insole
adidas Men's Rockadia Trail m Running Shoe

Our Rating

2. adidas Men's Rockadia Trail m Running Shoe

Kicking off our list of the best trail running shoes is Adidas with their trail running beauties. These trainers are made for the trails, so are packed with handy features to help you get the most from your runs. The shoes are ventilated, for a start, which is always good!

The outer-sole has a great lug pattern, offering traction across a number of surfaces. They’re lovely and lightweight – a perfect mix of classic running trainers and more minimalist trail shoes.

If you do still want to run on the road every so often, the soles of these babies will keep you bouncing away happily…

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

60%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Fantastic traction on a range of surfaces
  • Ventilation and breathability
  • Lightweight and comfy
  • thumbs-o-up
    Bouncy soles for hard ground or roads

Cons

  • Go up a size if you can’t try them on first!

3. New Balance Men's 510v3 Trail Running Shoe

New Balance have to be one of our favorite brands when it comes to sportswear – they just know what they’re doing in terms of fit, tech and style. These trail running shoes are made from a mix of durable, soft leather and breathable mesh.

The mid-sole offers protection from uneven surfaces, as well as cushioning your foot. They come with a sock-liner, which is perfect for preventing any rubbing or blistering – these are definitely some of the best men’s trail running shoes.

The outer-sole has carefully-positioned lugs dotted across it in order to provide the ultimate traction both on- and off-road. These are fantastic for trail running but can double up as part-time road shoes if needed…

New Balance Men's 510v3 Trail Running Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

64%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Stylish and simple
  • Comfortable, with added mid-sole
  • Sock-liner to prevent rubbing
  • thumbs-o-up
    Great traction on all surfaces
  • thumbs-o-up
    Can be used as road-to-trail shoes

Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • Mesh toe-box takes getting used to
Salomon Women's Speedcross 4 W Trail Runner

Our Rating

4. Salomon Men's Speedcross 4 Trail Runner

Salomon are one of the best brands out there when it comes to running, and these are no exception. The outer material is a debris-resistant mesh, making these perfect for outdoor and off-road. The lugs on these babies mean serious business, boosting you through soft ground.

These are great for off-roading as they really keep your foot in place – the heel positioning is spot on with these shoes! They fit snugly around your heel to keep you comfortable and safe, all while improving your performance.

They’re super easy to get on and off, and have a ‘one-pull’ tightening system so that you don’t need to slow down.

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

78%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Great power through soft ground
  • Snug heel-fit
  • Easy to tighten after lacing
  • thumbs-o-up
    Debris-resistant material
  • thumbs-o-up
    Comfy and lightweight

Cons

  • Add your own insoles for an added rock-guard

5. New Balance Men's MT10V1 Minimus Trail Running Shoe

Another New Balance pair for you, and some of the best men’s trail running shoes. These shoes might look slightly strange if you’re used to the traditional road running style. They’re made to mould to your feet and be as lightweight as possible – ‘minimus’, indeed.

Most of the outer is made from mesh, offering a great level of breathability to keep you comfy in all climates. They’ve also been treated with anti-odor chemicals so that any mud or dirty water won’t leave a horrible, lingering smell. On that note, they’re super easy to clean!

The heel-to-toe drop is just 4mm, meaning your running style may change slightly but will be really beneficial to you once you’re used to it. Keep these in mind as some of the best barefoot trail running shoes.

New Balance Men's MT10V1 Minimus Trail Running Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

60%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Minimalist design so super lightweight
  • Small heel-to-toe drop
  • Anti-odor treatment
  • thumbs-o-up
    Good traction
  • thumbs-o-up
    Breathable mesh inserts

Cons

  • •Minimalist design feels very odd at first!
New Balance Men's Mt410v5 Cushioning Trail Runner

Our Rating

6. New Balance Men's Mt410v5 Cushioning Trail Runner

Another New Balance wonder for you! These running shoes are built with comfort in mind, keeping your feet cushioned while you hit the trail. With 25% mesh, the material on these shoes offers breathability to help you stay fresh.

The EVA mid-sole keeps your foot active while you run, improving your performance and keeping you safe. The outer-sole is packed with lugs, keeping your feet steady while you conquer a variety of terrains.

Overall, these shoes offer great support and protection, as well as making comfort a priority.

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

79%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • •EVA mid-sole for optimal comfort
  • •Lugged outer-sole offers great traction
  • •Mesh inserts for breathability and ventilation
  • thumbs-o-up
    •Roomy toe-box allows you to move safely and freely

Cons

  • •No rock-guard, so consider buying an insole

Women’s


1. Salomon Women's XR Mission Running Shoe

These jazzy little things are perfect for newcomers to the trail running world! They’re similar enough to a regular running shoe that you won’t feel uncomfortable or unsure of what you’re doing. That said, they’re also a lovely option for trails thanks to a number of details.

These trainers are actually perfect for road-to-trail, as they can comfortably be worn on a number of terrains. They may seem bulky compared to our other options, but that’s thanks to all the padding and support they offer. These trainers are nicely cushioned in order to give you ankle and arch support, as well as comfort. The sole is really durable, meaning you’ll have consistently strong grip on all surfaces while you run.

They’ve even added in a foam foot-bed, which keeps you comfy and acts as a mild stone-guard, making these some of the best trail running shoes for women.

Salomon Women's XR Mission Running Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

79%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Foam foot-bed for comfort and protection
  • Ankle and arch support
  • Great for road-to-trail runners
  • thumbs-o-up
    Mesh inserts for breathability and moisture-wicking
  • thumbs-o-up
    Speedy lacing options

Cons

  • Bulky compared to ‘minimalist’ running shoes
  • Take some wearing in due to seams and stitching
NIKE Women's Revolution 3 Running Shoe

Our Rating

2. NIKE Women's Revolution 3 Running Shoe

What running list would be complete without a pair of Nikes? These shoes are designed to keep you as comfortable as possible, whatever surface you’re running on. They’re perfect for trail running thanks to the uber-comfy midsole – it’s padded out to be both soft and supportive.

The outer sole offers fantastic traction, again making it ideal for running on trails. The shoe itself is lovely and lightweight, so you won’t feel weighed down or clumsy. There are special ‘no-sew overlays’, meaning there are no annoying seams to irritate or rub while you move.

This also comes in handy if your feet get damp or wet while running, making them some of the best waterproof trail running shoes.

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

83%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • No seams = no rubbing
  • Great traction on all surfaces
  • Lightweight yet sturdy
  • thumbs-o-up
    Mesh inserts for breathability
  • thumbs-o-up
    Soft mid-sole

Cons

  • Sturdy sole takes some getting used to for those used to ‘minimal’ or barefoot sneakers

3. adidas Women's Rockadia W Trail Runner

These Adidas trainers are perfect for trail running, and are packed full of great little features to make things easier (and safer!) for you. For one, the outer-sole is super grippy, giving you extra traction while running off-road. Trail running is all about being comfortable on lots of different surfaces, and these shoes allow you to do just that.

The mesh inserts will keep air flowing around your feet, which is so important when running off-road and getting hot and sweaty! These shoes offer some arch support but are probably better suited to harder ground. They’re not waterproof, which is something to take into account depending on when and where you’ll be running.
On the plus side, they’re really lightweight despite being nice and sturdy – definitely some of the best trail running shoes for women.

adidas Women's Rockadia W Trail Runner

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

82%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Grippy outer-sole is perfect for mixed terrains
  • Mesh inserts offer ventilation and breathability
  • thumbs-o-up
    High heel area offers support

Cons

  • Not much arch support – buy insoles!
  • Not waterproof
Altra Women's Lone Peak 3 Trail Runner

Our Rating

4. Altra Women's Lone Peak 3 Trail Runner

Altra might not be the best-known brand when it comes to sportswear, but they still know what they’re doing. These trainers have been designed for trail running, so you know you’re getting the real deal. They’re also some of the best trail running shoes for hiking, so you’ll get plenty of use out of them.

One of the best things about these shoes is the EVA mid-sole, which really moulds to your feet and cushions you. This is really important when trail running as you’ll need protection from a variety of terrains.

The toe box is designed to support your toes as they splay, helping distribute pressure evenly and safely. This will help your overall performance, as well as offering another layer of comfort.

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

79%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Allows your toes to splay and stay safe
  • EVA mid-sole adds a layer of protection
  • Stone-guard tech prevents damage from rocks and debris
  • thumbs-o-up
    Carbon outer-sole offers amazing traction

Cons

  • The zero-drop takes some getting used to
  • Very lightweight which feels different to many classic runners

5. New Balance Women's WT10v1 Minimus Trail Running Shoe

These New Balance shoes might not be the most glam pair out there, but they are absolutely some of the best! They’ve been tailored with trail running in mind, so are full of great little features to improve your performance and keep you safe.

The mid-sole cushions your foot while you run, helping prevent injury when moving across uneven surfaces. There’s a handy heel-tab for ease of getting them on and off. One of the best features has to be the odor-reducing material used! Anyone who’s ran sweaty miles across muddy, wet grass will understand why this is so important…

The outer-sole is fitted with lugs and ‘flex grooves’ which add a high level of traction and filter out any debris so that you can focus on running. The toe box is roomy enough to support your toe-splay without allowing room to slip around!

New Balance Women's WT10v1 Minimus Trail Running Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

58%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Great traction
  • Cushioned mid-sole for added comfort and stability
  • Anti-odor lining
  • thumbs-o-up
    Flex grooves for security and safety

Cons

  • Very minimalist design – wear them in or you’ll feel naked!
Salomon Women's Speedcross 4 W Trail Runner

6. Salomon Women's Speedcross 4 W Trail Runner

Another pair of Salomons, these runners are specifically crafted to suit the trails. These trainers are super sturdy and are very hardy when it comes to adverse conditions.

The stiff mesh outer helps prevent stains and debris from sticking to the shoes. The lug pattern is designed to help you power through soft ground, which makes them a perfect choice for many trails.

These shoes also come with a sock-liner – some find this strange, but it can be a great way to prevent rubbing and blisters, while offering ventilation. The material might not be fully waterproof, but it is water-resistant and is easy to clean.

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

81%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Patterned lugs to power through soft ground
  • Sock-liner for comfort and breathability
  • Debris-resistant mesh outer
  • thumbs-o-up
    Sturdy and supportive
  • thumbs-o-up
    Easy to clean and lightweight

Cons

  • Not fully waterproof

Things to Look for in Trail Running Shoes

Weight


Lightweight shoes are the way to go here – you don’t need all the excess bulk that comes with road shoes! There’ll be less impact on your joints as you run on trails than on the road, so there’s not as much need for all the extra padding and cushioning.

Your shoes should fit comfortably without weighing you down. Barefoot and minimalist trainers barely weight anything at all, as per their design, so look for something that feels ‘barely there’.

Traction


You’ll need good traction if you’re running on trails, as the surfaces tend to vary with each step. Lugged soles are definitely the way forward!

They allow your shoes to grip on different terrains, as well as filtering out any dirt and debris you encounter along the way. Lugs keep you running on a steady surface, even if the ground is anything but sturdy…

Cushioning


This is another key feature to look out for, depending on what type of running you’ll be doing. Soft surfaces naturally require less cushioning than hard surfaces do. Hard surfaces affect the way your body moves in different ways, so look for trainers with arch support, ankle support and plenty of cushioning.

EVA mid-soles are a great feature, too, as they really mould to your feet to protect you from the surface you’re running on. Even the best minimalist trail running shoes will offer some level of protection! 

Heel-to-toe drop


This refers to the difference in height between the heel and the toe of your shoe. Most running shoes have a drop of up to 12mm, which doesn’t sound much but can really affect the way you move. Having your heels a fair bit higher than your toes makes you strike the ground differently.


Find something that feels right for you, as there’s no conclusive evidence that points to an ideal drop. Some prefer no drop at all, so opt for minimalist running shoes. We’ll let you in on the best trail running shoes for flat feet, so bear the importance of the heel-to-toe drop in mind later on…

Stability


This is really important when it comes to all running shoes. When you’re running on trails, you’ll be moving over lots of different terrains, potentially with unseen dips and rocks. Keeping your feet stable while you move is crucial to staying safe and having a good run.

Look for ankle support and make sure your shoes fit really well – this will keep your feet in the right place while you move, protecting you and keeping you safe from any twists and turns along the way. 

Waterproofing vs. non waterproofing


This is a matter of personal choice, really, and is determined by where and when you’ll be running.

On the face of it, waterproofing might seem like a great idea if you’re often out in wet conditions.

However, if you’re running through puddles and in the rain then there’s very actually little point in having waterproof shoes as the water will only get in the tops and then it won’t be able to escape, meaning your feet will stay wet. 

Breathability


Many trainers feature mesh inserts that allow air to flow around the feet. This steady stream of new air keeps your feet fresh and dry as you move, which you’ll really appreciate!

Some shoes have moisture-wicking lining, too, to get rid of any sweat and help you stay comfortable. This prevents any rubbing, too, and will help you avoid blisters. 

Rock plates


This addition is totally up to you as a runner. Rock plates are an extra layer that’s built into some running shoes. We’d suggest opting for shoes with rock plates if you’re trail running.

The plates essentially add another layer between the ground and the soles of your feet, which stops sharp rocks stabbing or bruising you. They can make the shoe feel bulkier and heavier, but, overall, are a fantastic way to protect your feet from the dangers of trail running. 

Toe protection


As well as cushioned soles, toe protection is another key feature to look out for in trail shoes. Some trainers have added buffers, designed to protect your toes from damage or discomfort.

They’re essentially steel toe caps without the steel! They pad out the toe box of your shoes in order to provide a buffer between your feet and any rocks, hard ground or hard surfaces you may strike while you run. 

Durability


As with every shoe, durability is something to take into consideration. Cheap shoes are not normally made to last, so it can be worth splashing out a little bit and investing.

Look out for materials that won’t stain or tear easily, especially as you’ll be wearing them out on the trails. Secure eyelets around the lacing area are crucial, as well as sturdy soles and tongues. 

The Rise of Trail Running

Running has always been very popular, as it’s a great way to work on your fitness while enjoying the outdoors. It’s free and easy, with no bells and whistles. Trail running has taken over slightly in recent years, with more running experts praising non-road surfaces.

Many believe that running on the road can actually be damaging to your body – it might burn calories but the impact of running on hard surfaces can negatively affect your joints.


As such, trail running provides the perfect solution. You’re still out in the fresh (fresher!) air but there’s less impact on your body when running on softer surfaces. The healthy benefits, coupled with the varied and more enjoyable scenery, has made trail running so popular recently. 

question

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use trail running shoes for hiking and backpacking?


Sure, if you really want to! We’d suggest going for actual hiking boots, though. Trail running shoes offer great support for the job they do, but you may want more job-specific shoes if you’re a hardy hiker.

Can you use trail running shoes for road running, or vice versa?


Again, you can if you like. The reason for buying trail shoes is because they offer tailored support while running on trails. Road shoes might feel too bulky for the light, soft ground of trails; trail shoes may be too flimsy for pounding out a run on hard surfaces.

How often should you replace your shoes?


Some wear and tear is natural, of course, but look out for any loosening around the ankles. If padding starts wearing out here, you won’t be properly supported while you run. This goes for the heel area as well as the sole.

How should you care for your trail runners?


Remember that it’s okay for your runners to get dirty! Unlike running on the road, running over trails puts you in situations where you’re likely to get dirty and scruffy. And that’s totally fine. Your shoes have been designed for exactly this, so don’t be too precious about them.

The best way to clean them is by using cold water to get off the worst of the mud. Use a shoe-brush if the dirt is really stubborn. Once clean, stuff with newspaper to help them hold their shape and leave them somewhere warm to dry. Easy as that!

What is lug?


A lug is essentially a ‘blob’ of material (often rubber) on the outer-sole of shoes that provides traction while you move. It helps you stay grounded as well as filtering out any dirt or water that you may come across while running.

Some lugs are angled in order to direct a flow to the back of the shoe, meaning that anything underfoot won’t have a chance to affect your running. 

What is fell running?


‘Fell running refers to running up hills or peaks (not mountains!) whilst off-road. This particular type of running tends to be very challenging, due to the constantly-changing terrain and the inclines.

What are the best trail running shoes for flat feet?


The Asics GEL Venture shoes are a the best trail running shoes for flat feet. This is because the GEL cushioning moulds to the foot and offers another layer of support. Stability is one of the most important aspects of footwear for those with flat feet, so look out for shoes with added cushioning and EVA mid-soles!

What are the best trail running shoes for wide feet?


The New Balance Cushioning Trail Runner are the best trail running shoes for wide feet. They offer a fairly neutral fit, allowing you room to feel free and comfortable. There’s plenty of support, however, so you’ll still be safe while you move. The toe-box on these trainers is fairly roomy, too, meaning you won’t feel crammed in!


Conclusion


Trail running is a fantastic way to get into exercise if you’re not already a pro, and is a lovely way to explore your running practice if you’re already a fanatic. The different scenery, settings and challenges you’ll face are what make trail running so fun!

Make sure you’re kitted out properly – this will help protect your feet as well as enhance your performance.

What more could you ask for? We’ve run through the 12 best trail running shoes, as well as some key features to look out for in your next pair, from the best barefoot trail running shoes to the best affordable trail running shoes for those with flat or wide feet.

There really is something for everyone…

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