The Best Trail Running Shoes to Help You Tackle Trickier Terrains

The Best Trail Running Shoes

The Best Trail Running Shoes

Fed of pounding the pavements or fancy testing your technical abilities? The best trail running shoes, suitable pair of trails running can provide the necessary underfoot support for exploring woodlands, hills, mountains, coastlines, and beyond. Say farewell to urban running and embrace the invigorating outdoor air.

The mental and physical benefits of trail running are remarkable as well. Research indicates that venturing off the conventional paths can lower anxiety, decrease the risk of injury, and engage a broader range of muscle groups.

Even elite distance runners, including those from Ethiopia and Kenya, predominantly log their miles off-road. Many of them opt for concrete running only once a week. Whether you’re preparing for a road marathon or not, regularly hitting the trails offers numerous advantages.

What are the best trail running shoes on the market in 2024?

We have thoroughly tested a diverse selection of the most recent trail running shoe models and we’ve rigorously examined a broad spectrum of models. Our meticulous testing process has led us to handpick the ultimate choices, tailored for all types of runners – from those who casually tread the paths to the seasoned conquerors of mountainous terrains. Peruse our standout selections for a quick overview, or indulge in a deeper dive through our in-depth reviews.

What are trail running shoes?

The Best Trail Running Shoes
The Best Trail Running Shoes

Trail running shoes are specialized footwear designed for off-road running on varied terrains such as dirt paths, rocky trails, and uneven surfaces. They offer features like durable outsoles with aggressive treads for enhanced traction, protective toe caps, and reinforced uppers to shield against debris. These shoes prioritize stability, support, and grip, ensuring runners can navigate challenging landscapes comfortably. With lightweight and breathable designs, trail running shoes provide a balance between protection and agility, catering to the unique demands of trail running.

How to choose a trail running shoe

Defining, the best trail running shoes, for your needs begins with assessing the type of trails dominating your running terrain. For well-maintained, flat paths, your regular road running shoes may suffice, especially in warmer seasons, or opt for a trail shoe with a less pronounced tread. Conversely, tackling muddy, rocky, or technically demanding terrains necessitates footwear with substantial lug patterns for enhanced grip. Consider the following factors when making your selection:

  • Streamlined Profile – Opt for a low-profile design as excessive foam thickness is unnecessary for trail running. A lower shoe profile enhances stability on uneven terrain, although for marathon or ultra-marathon distances, adequate cushioning becomes essential.
  • Traction – Confidence in trail running hinges on effective grip. The definition of good grip varies with trail types; less aggressive tread suffices for hard, rolling trails, while longer lugs are vital for navigating muddy or rocky paths.
  • Protective Features – Shield your shoes from the rigors of off-road running by seeking rubber or nylon reinforcements around the toe box, heel counter, and lower upper sections. These additions guard against rocks and debris.
  • Waterproofing – Britain’s trails often pose water-related challenges. Trail running trainers offer two approaches: waterproof shells, effective for puddle splashes but limiting water escape, and a sieve design emphasizing drainage over complete water tightness. The latter is more prevalent.
  •  Budget and Durability – Trail shoes, like their road counterparts, span a wide price range. Consider your specific needs, frequency of use, and whether a top-tier model or a reliable workhorse suits you. Prioritize longevity; a more durable pair that withstands extensive off-road running proves better value over time, even if slightly pricier.

The best trail running shoes to help you tackle trickier terrains

Can you use trail running shoes on the road?

Just as some road shoes can handle trail conditions, certain trail shoes can manage on the roads. These shoes typically feature additional cushioning and shorter lugs, ideal for navigating hard, rolling trails. Conversely, bulkier and sturdier trail shoes may prove uncomfortable on road surfaces. In such cases, adopting a shoe rotation strategy and investing in separate pairs for each terrain is a more practical approach.

Running World (RW) found the shoe to be enjoyable across various distances and speeds, deeming it an excellent choice for newcomers venturing onto less challenging trails. While compromises exist, those seeking cutting-edge options with a generous budget might explore more exciting alternatives. However, for individuals in search of an overachieving shoe from a reputable brand, the Salomon Sense Ride 5 delivers on all fronts.


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