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Trail running shoes are designed with diverse terrains in mind. The tricky thing is, there are, like, a billion to choose from. But don’t worry fam, we have your tootsies covered. We tracked down the top-notch trail running shoes out there.
- Best for comfort: Hoka One One EVO Mafate 2
- Best hybrid: Brooks Caldera 4
- Best grip: Salomon Sense Ride 4
- Best for rocky terrain: Altra Superior 4.5
- Best for long distance: ASICS GT-2000 9 TRAIL
- Best budget: New Balance Fresh Foam Arishi Trail
- Best all-weather: Topo Athletic Ultraventure Pro
- Best lightweight: Nike Juniper Trail
Here’s how we determined which eight trail running sneakers passed the vibe check.
- Comfort. Comfort really is king 👑 (at least when it comes to running shoes). We only picked pairs that have ergonomic designs or added layers of cushioning.
- Price. Trail running shoes can get super spendy. We selected shoes for every type of budget.
- Stability. These shoes have the extra support and stabilizing you need for uneven, rocky, wet, or muddy terrains.
- Reviews. All of our shoe picks have rad user reviews. But don’t worry, we didn’t ignore any cons that came up in our research.
- Style. OK, so style isn’t the most important criteria for running shoes. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with looking good 😎.
Here’s a closer look at our top eight trail running shoes for all of your style, budget, and comfort needs.
Here’s a price guide to help you figure out which shoes are best for your budget.
- $ = under $100
- $$ = $100–$150
- $$$ = over $150
1. Best trail running shoes for comfort: Hoka One One EVO Mafate 2
- Price: $$$
- Colors: a blend of orange, red, and black; or teal, yellow, and gray
- Size range: men’s 7.5 to 14, women’s 5, 5.5, 9
Ever wonder what it would be like to run on a cloud? Well, these sweet sneaks might be as close as you can get. The rubber foam outsoles and midsoles are compression-resistant, and the sculpted arch pods offer optimal support. Folks also dig the 5mm lugs, which are terrific for traction.
2. Best hybrid trail running shoes: Brooks Caldera 4
- Price: $$
- Colors: a blend of deep cobalt, blue, and red; blue fog, Poseidon, and gray; black, gray, and burnt ocher; or black, blue, and nightlife
- Size range: men’s 7 to 15
With these snazzy sneakers, you get the 🎶 best of both worlds 🎶. They’re fab for road runners and off-trail fans alike. The rubber outsoles provide great uphill and downhill traction on many types of terrain. Folks also love the fun color options!
Cons: A few reviewers mention the shoes run a bit small. So, you may want to try them on in person before ordering online.
3. Best grip trail running shoes: Salomon Sense Ride 4
- Price: $$
- Colors: a blend of black, goji berry, and phantom; copen blue, black, and evening primrose; black, quiet shade, and ebony; pearl blue, ebony, and red orange; or trooper, lunar rock, and ebony, brick, purple, turquoise
- Size range: men’s 7 to 14, women’s 9.5 to 12
These sneaks are sleek AF. The SensiFit lacing system gives them a custom feel. But the top feature is def the all-terrain grip. The full rubber outsole and profeel rim will protect your feet from sharp or slick surfaces. Folks also love that they’re hella shock absorbent and lightweight.
4. Best men’s trail running shoes for rocky terrain: Altra Superior 4.5
- Price: $
- Colors: a blend of blue and lime, blue and yellow, green and lime, yellow and port, or black
- Size range: men’s 7 to 15
Reviewers rave about the comfort and stability of these shoes. They have a rockin’ 6 millimeter foot bed that contours to the foot and a removable stone guard. They also have a responsive Quantic midsole and sturdy construction. Folks also comment on the way these shoes let their feet breathe.
But wait, there’s more! These shoes also provide a dope amount of drainage for rainy runs.
5. Best women’s trail running shoes for long distance: ASICS GT-2000 9 TRAIL
- Price: $$
- Colors: a blend of black and Baltic jewel
- Size range: women’s 5 to 13
Ready to go the distance? This pair is a standout addition to ASICS’s long-running GT-2000 series. Built to last, the shoe is reinforced in targeted areas for steady support on lengthier trails. You also get top-notch shock absorption, strong grips, and a lightweight feel.
P.S. We love that these shoes are made with recycled materials.
6. Best budget trail running shoes: New Balance Fresh Foam Arishi Trail
- Price: $
- Colors: dark blaze and black or steel with tide pool
- Size range: men’s 6 to 20
You don’t have to shell out a rent check for a reliable pair of trail running shoes. This pair from New Balance is a great bang for your buck. The foam inserts are hella comfy and the midsole cushions make for a supportive fit. They also have toe protection to guard you from rocks, roots, and other “ouch” factors.
Bonus: You can select your own width! The choices are wide, standard, and extra-wide.
7. Best all-weather trail running shoes: Topo Athletic Ultraventure Pro
- Price: $$
- Colors: a blend of forest green and black
- Size range: women’s 6 to 12
These sneakers have a three-piece midsole and an external heel TPU heel for consistent support. They boast a megagrip outsole that offers killer grip and traction on many terrains. Rock stans are also in luck. The shoes have a rock plate for added protection on more technical terrains.
Bonus: Reviewers say these shoes are a great choice for folks who have wider feet.
8. Best lightweight trail running shoes: Nike Juniper Trail
- Price: $
- Colors: thunder blue, off noir, and black
- Size range: men’s 6 to 15
These lightweight babies were designed with off-roading in mind. They provide the traction you need for rocky trails and uneven terrains. The combo of durable rubber lug outsoles and comfy cushioned insoles are the perfect pair. They also boast an internal bootie and flywire cables to keep your little piggies safe and secure.
Cons: Reviewers say this pair isn’t the best fit for people with flat feet.
You should def invest in a nice pair of trail running shoes if you like to run consistently in the great outdoors — particularly off of paved roads, tracks, or sidewalks.
Could you technically wear gym sneakers out on the trails? Sure. But trail running shoes are important for a reason. They’re designed to keep your feet feeling comfortable and secure on a variety of terrains and in a variety of conditions. They tend to have added features like rock plate protection, extra-strong grips, and special laces.
So, similar to getting tires on your car that are appropriate for additional traction or driving long distances, trail running shoes serve a very specific purpose.
Here are some things to look out for when shopping for a pair of trail running shoes.
- Terrain. Since you can’t always control the terrains you might encounter, consider shoes that come with excellent grips and added protection from rocks, slick spots, and other potential hazards. Also, opt for a shoe that has great drainage if you run in wet or muddy areas on the reg.
- Sizing. Don’t allow the “men” or “women” title on a shoe’s name to limit your selection. Wear whatever shoes that fit you the best. Running shoes typically should be about a half size to a full size bigger than your usual shoes to accommodate swelling that happens when you run. When in doubt, consult a shoe fit pro for advice.
- Longevity and durability. Pick a pair of shoes that can hold up for the long haul. A solid set of trail running shoes should last at LEAST 6 months. Of course, it also depends on how often you give them a run for their money.
Trail running is a magical mix of exercise, nature, and adventure. But it’s def more intense than running on a treadmill or road running. That’s why you need to come prepared with the right type of footwear. Trail shoes are designed to provide better traction as well as stability on uneven terrain.
These 8 trail running shoe options could check most of your boxes. Just be sure to do some extra research before choosing the pair that’s perfect for you and your unique needs.