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10 Best Trail Running Shoes of 2024

Twelve years and well over 300 pairs of shoes later, we have some thoughts on how to find your perfect trail companion
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Best Trail Running Shoes Review
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Our Top Picks

By Ally Arcuri, Matthew Richardson, Matt Bento, and Amber King  ⋅  Apr 30, 2024

The Best Trail Running Shoes for 2024

Need new trail running shoes? Since 2012, we've tested over 300 pairs to help you find the perfect ride. After logging at least 60 miles in each set, we've included the top women's trail running shoes and best men's trail running shoes in this dual-gender roundup. Our passionate women's and men's testing teams are packed with dedicated trail runners. We've terrorized these shoes, ticking off Icelandic fastpacks, mountainous ultra-marathons, and alpine runs across Peru and around Lake Tahoe. We run in sweltering desert summers, on icy winter trails, and through the muddy mess of shoulder seasons to compare traction, comfort, stability, sensitivity, and protection. Then, we head to the lab to cut these shoes up and more closely analyze each feature and its execution. We hope our hard work helps you enjoy your time on the trail.

This review covers women's and men's trail running shoes. If you tend to stick to the pavement on your runs, head over to our best running shoe review, and if you need advice on other gear to get you trail-ready, check out our list of the best running gear. For other types of exercise gear to round out your fitness routine, see our best exercise equipment review.

Editor's Note: Our trail running shoes roundup was updated on April 30, 2024, to include new award winners from our most recent round of testing.

Related: Best Trail Running Shoes for Men
Related: Best Trail Running Shoes for Women

Best Overall for Men

Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3

Measured Drop: 9 mm | Weight per Shoe: 10.64 oz (M10.5)
Impeccable and comfortable fit
Excellent traction
Requires taller socks
Lace pocket design can be annoying

Our testers unanimously adore the Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3, a shoe that has consistently garnered awards year after year. On the men's side, the S/Lab continues to amaze us with its outstanding performance. This trail shoe's performance is facilitated by its impeccably tailored fit and a sturdy, responsive midsole that offers protection without sacrificing trail feedback. This fusion results in an exceptionally comfortable shoe that facilitates precise footwork over long distances, an essential attribute for agile trail adventures. This version of the S/Lab is very similar to previous versions, making it a reliable favorite.

The protection and traction of the S/Lab Ultra 3 are what make it such a versatile trail running shoe choice. The precise, multidirectional lug pattern and grippy outsole rubber are equipped with various terrain types, and the socklike upper is protective and breathable enough for long days on the trail. The traction and protection combine to create a shoe that is ready to tackle long trail days with you. The rearfoot stands at 27mm and the forefoot at 19mm, as measured by our in-house testing team. This stack adds to the S/Lab's overall protection while ensuring a fit comfortable enough for ultra-distance excursions.

The S/Lab Ultra 3 strikes the ideal balance between light and agile while offering protection for the entirety of the day, particularly on technical routes.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

In terms of overall value, the S/Lab Ultra 3 holds up to the hype. It is durable without feeling clunky and overbuilt; it is protective and ready for anything you throw at it without being overly heavy. The versatility of the S/Lab makes it a great choice for runners with all different types of goals, from ultra-distances to flowy single tracks to near-vertical alpine faces. The price of the S/Lab is a bit prohibitive, though its durability and features make it worth every penny. With this in mind, newer trail runners who want to get outside without overspending could find a better bang for their buck.

Our male testers observed that the fit leans towards the narrower side, and they found it slightly inconvenient to need taller socks for optimal comfort around the heel collar. The snug heel collar is designed to provide ample protection from debris, enhancing the protective qualities of this shoe. However, avoiding direct contact between any shoe's textiles and your skin is advisable, even with exceptionally comfortable shoes like the S/Lab. Opting for slightly taller socks can offer additional protection and comfort, making the S/Lab an all-around killer choice for your many trail running ambitions.

Read more: Men's Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 review

Our female testers also fell in love with Salomon S/Lab Utra 3 due to its fit, feel, and overall trail capabilities.

trail running shoes - the matryx upper and mountain-ready traction make this shoe one of...
The Matryx upper and mountain-ready traction make this shoe one of the best we have ever tested.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Best Overall for Women

Hoka Torrent 3 - Women's

Measured Drop: 5 mm | Weight per Shoe: 7.52 oz (W6.5)
Admirable traction
Very comfortable
Great price
Incredibly stable
Can handle any distance
Lace bed and toe box are slightly narrow when brand new

Both our male and female tester teams are enamored with the Hoka Torrent 3, especially when tackling longer distances. Our female testers have a particularly profound fondness for the updated Torrent, lauding its unmatched comfort, responsive midsole, and exceptional traction. The durable lugs provide reliable grip across various terrains, and the lower stack height compared to other Hoka models enhances stability while maintaining efficient energy transfer. It strikes a perfect balance between being rugged and ready and comfortable and creamy. The Torrent offers lightweight cushioning and traditional design, making it a favorite choice for all terrain types, distances, and running preferences.

While rather unspecific, our testers cannot get over the long-lasting comfort that the Torrent 3 offers. With a mellow 5mm drop, 26mm total stack height, and a plush 0.38-inch tongue, the Torrent offers protective cushioning all the way around. Its midsole feels springy and fresh out of the box, making the Torrent a shoe equipped for short and long distances alike. As we have said, there is no such thing as a truly universally comfortable shoe. If ever there was a trail shoe that would appeal to the masses, this is the one.

trail running shoes - the hoka torrent 3 is a comfortable shoe that can accompany you on...
The Hoka Torrent 3 is a comfortable shoe that can accompany you on long distance days, multiday adventures, and tempo runs. If comfort, durability, and versatility are what you are looking for, check out one of our female testers' favorite trail running shoes.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Runners of all experience levels should definitely consider giving the Torrent 3 a try. This versatile shoe is not only designed to provide exceptional underfoot comfort, making it ideal for longer distances, but it also offers the necessary support and responsiveness to excel on shorter, more technical runs. Its balanced design ensures that whether you're tackling a marathon or sprinting through challenging terrain, you're covered in comfort. With its combination of comfort, support, and versatility, this shoe is a must-have for any runner looking to elevate their performance across various distances and terrains.

The Torrent 3 is absolutely comfortable, though the lace bed and toe box are a little narrow before everything is fully broken in. While that narrowness packs out as the shoe learns your foot, if you require a lot of toe splay to be truly happy, there are more spacious options to consider. While the Torrent 3 is our go-to race shoe and recommendation, it lacks the svelte fit that some runners find necessary for bombing down technical terrain. For comfort over many miles, even when fatigue starts to set in, the Torrent 3 is one of our faves.

Read more: Women's Hoka Torrent 3 review

We've also tested this shoe in our men's lineup, where it won an award for being a long-distance champ.

The Torrent 3 adapts well to a range of moderately technical terrain.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Best Men's Bang for the Buck

Brooks Divide 4

Measured Drop: 9 mm | Weight per Shoe: 10.82 oz (M10.5)
Great price
Stable and protective
Improved breathability over previous version
Less sensitive
Less nimble

Simple and reliable, the Brooks Divide 4 skips the bells and whistles to provide a comfortable and reasonably priced running shoe that's great for straightforward terrain and novice trail runners. For this reason, this 9mm drop back-to-basics shoe is a budget-friendly favorite in our men's lineup. This durable shoe has proven itself as a major contender for runners looking to dip their toes into the trail life without overspending.

Brooks recently updated its materials, notably improving the Divide's capabilities. The Divide performs well across the board, from foot protection to stability to comfort. While not a standout shoe on its own, its durability and price point make it an excellent value. We love that a budget-friendly option is this high-scoring and think your feet and wallet will agree.

The performance-to-cost ratio of the Divide is what makes it an excellent, budget-friendly choice.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

The comfortable upper and wide, stable platform make these an easy pair of shoes to reach for when you want to put in some quick mileage without overthinking things. We recommend this shoe to newer runners who may not yet know what they want. Instead of purchasing a shoe with a more complicated lace bed, a fit that takes getting used to, or shelling out a ton of cash, the Divide offers a familiar fit and keeps things simple.

While our testers praise the simplicity, accessibility, and price of the Divide 4, it isn't exactly a shoe you will scamper up granite faces in. Occasionally, sure. But if your regular running is super technical and demanding, the Divide might not be enough for you. When it comes to neighborhood hikes and flowy, simple-style terrain, this back-to-basics runner will keep your feet and wallet happy.

Read more: Men's Brooks Divide 4 review

trail running shoes - the upper of the divide is incredibly comfortable, adding to its...
The upper of the Divide is incredibly comfortable, adding to its budget-friendly, trail-ready prowess.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Best Women's Bang for the Buck

Brooks Divide 4 - Women's

Measured Drop: 8 mm | Weight per shoe: 7.82 oz (W6.5)
Comfortable, familiar fit
Dampened sensitivity
Less agility-focused

Our female testers largely agreed with the men. The Brooks Divide 4 is a fantastic, budget-friendly choice for runners who don't consistently run rocky, technical trails. The wide platform that makes the Divide so user-friendly also inhibits trail feedback, making it better suited for trails with fewer features. The midsole provides long-lasting comfort but doesn't provide as strong an energy return as shoes with propulsive plates and agility-focused features. The value of the Divide is fantastic, as its price-to-function ratio exceeds our standard expectations.

Although the Divide may not boast the same ruggedness as some of its counterparts in the trail shoe category, it stands out for its notably lower price point. When evaluating durability, performance, and affordability, this shoe emerges as an excellent choice for entry-level trail enthusiasts or individuals prioritizing race fees over footwear investments. The comfortable fit of the Divide further solidifies its position as an ideal entry-level option, delivering quality performance without breaking the bank.

trail running shoes - the divide is one of the most budget-friendly trail running buys on...
The Divide is one of the most budget-friendly trail running buys on the market today. This durable shoe is a great option for runners looking to get into more technical trail running.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

That said, we wholeheartedly recommend the Brooks Divide 4 for new trail runners. It is a comfortable shoe with enough trail-specific features for successful runs. While the Divide is not the most sensitive or protective, it provides more than a typical best road running shoes. The Divide offers versatility so its users can experiment with different terrain types. It is durable, making it a shoe that will be with you for the long haul, and it is comfortable enough for daily wear. Anyone looking to save a bit of cash but still get a high-performing shoe will find something to love about the Divide 4.

The Divide 4 stands out for its versatility compared to the techier shoes we've reviewed. Positioned in the “Jack of all trades, master of none” realm, this shoe encompasses all the features trail runners need, though not as profoundly as some of their counterparts. For example, the Divide has 3mm lugs across its outsole, which provide functionality and grip and contribute to trail stability and traction. However, it's worth noting that other trail shoes boast lugs with twice the depth, making them more equipped to handle muddy, slick, and advanced terrain.

Read more: Women's Brooks Divide 4 review

The Divide 4 is simple, reliable, and excellently priced. It's heavier and less sensitive than more advanced shoes, but for those just breaking into trail running, the comfort and stability are ideal.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best Lightweight Shoe for Men

Nnormal Kjerag

Measured Drop: 8 mm | Weight per Shoe: 8.05 oz (M10.5)
Super light
Excellent construction
Excellent technical cushioning
Highly sensitive
Not as protective as burlier models
Not for beginners or for everyday

The Nnormal Kjerag, crafted by trail running icon, Kilian Jornet, seamlessly integrates all its high-tech elements to deliver an exceptionally lightweight trail shoe that weighs a mere 8.05 ounces (men's size 10.5). Our testing revealed it to be unparalleled in its weight and technically-specific cushioning. Despite its featherweight design, it doesn't compromise on traction or durability, thanks to its Kevlar-coated upper and grippy outsole. This combination of lightweight construction, reliable grip, and technical materials culminates in a trail shoe that shines in a league of its own.

Trail running enthusiasts will appreciate the Kjerag's back-to-basics approach, emphasizing its lightweight nature and fundamental functionality. The absence of unnecessary bulk highlights this shoe's commitment to delivering an intimate and speedy trail running experience. This stripped-down design will resonate with runners who value simplicity and efficiency in their gear and want a lightweight trail shoe to ascend peaks in.

The Kjerag is almost absurdly light, with great traction and a performance we love for upbeat trail runs.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Veteran trail runners seeking a shoe perfect for tempo runs will love the Nnormal Kjerag. Its lightweight construction, responsive cushioning, and precise fit make it an ideal companion for pushing the pace on challenging terrain. Whether tackling steep ascents or navigating technical descents, this shoe provides the necessary support and agility to maintain speed and control, enhancing the overall running experience.

Because of its scant yet precise cushioning and minimalistic fit, we don't recommend this trail shoe for beginning runners. It lacks the protective features that most shoes offer, and while it remains comfortable as part of a shoe rotation, it isn't exactly an everyday runner. The heightened sensitivity that contributes to its overall magic also increases the risk of discomfort over extended trail time, especially for those accustomed to more cushioned shoes. While the Kjerag shines in its intended niche, it may not be the optimal choice for every trail runner's needs.

Read more: Men's Nnormal Kjerag review

trail running shoes - the kjerag doesn't have a removable insole, adding to its bare-bones...
The Kjerag doesn't have a removable insole, adding to its bare-bones style and magic.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best Lightweight Shoe for Women

Nnormal Kjerag - Women's

Measured Drop: 8 mm | Weight per Shoe: 6.61 oz (W6.5)
Super light
Specific and precise cushioning
Great trail feel
Less protective
Lacks versatility

Among our female testers, the Normal Kjerag definitely turned some head as a great ultra-lightweight trail runner, boasting an epic blend of agility-minded features. Its light build doesn't compromise its grip or trail prowess. The strong shoe molds to fit your foot shape, providing a shoe that feels personalized. This fusion of minimal weight, steadfast traction, and enduring Kevlar-coated yarns results in a trail shoe that is prime for speedy trail runners to race in.

For aficionados seeking a shoe that epitomizes simplicity and functionality, the Nnormal Kjerag is a revelation. Its streamlined design prioritizes lightweight performance and essential features, fostering a profound connection with the trail and its challenges. By shedding excess bulk and distractions, it allows runners to focus solely on the joy of running amidst nature's beauty.

The Kjerag doesn't feel heavy or water-logged even after being fully submerged. Since it doesn't have much cushioning, it doesn't hold onto water, making it a lightweight shoe for a variety of trail conditions.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Experienced trail runners in pursuit of a shoe tailored for tempo runs will find the Nnormal Kjerag irresistible. Its agile construction, responsive cushioning, and snug fit empower runners to push their limits on rugged terrain. Whether conquering steep inclines or navigating technical descents, this shoe provides the agility and support needed to maintain momentum and control, elevating the thrill of the trail-running experience.

Despite its many merits, the heightened sensitivity and specialized design of the Nnormal Kjerag may pose challenges for novice trail runners or those embarking on ultra-long distances. While its responsiveness enhances performance, it may also amplify the risk of discomfort or fatigue, particularly during prolonged outings. Furthermore, its niche focus and performance-oriented features may limit its versatility for runners seeking a single shoe for diverse trail-running endeavors. While it excels in its intended role, it may not cater to the varied needs and preferences of every trail runner.

Read more: Women's Nnormal Kjerag review

trail running shoes - highly sensitive and impeccably designed, the incredibly lightweight...
Highly sensitive and impeccably designed, the incredibly lightweight Kjerag blew us away in almost every testing metric.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Men's Favorite for Hill Running

HOKA Speedgoat 5

Measured Drop: 6 mm | Weight per Shoe: 10.76 oz (M10.5)
Outstanding cushion
Stellar for long descents
Stable with excellent traction
Durable and protective
Tall stack may feel excessive
Trail feedback can feel sluggish

The Hoka Speedgoat 5 is a trail shoe that is beloved by our male testers. Its generous stack makes it perfect for serious elevation days. Its cushioning effectively absorbs impact, reducing strain on joints and keeping legs feeling fresh, which is perfect for super long trail days. With just a 4mm heel-to-toe drop, it offers a sense of stability while providing just enough bounce to maintain a steady pace. All of the features of the Speedgoat come together to create a shoe that is perfect for that ultramarathon that you've had your eyes on.

The underfoot stack and understated heel-to-toe differential make the Speedgoat 5 stand out to us. A shoe rarely maintains its comfort after 20+ miles on a trail, but this one does. Not only is the underfoot stack comfortable, but it rides stably, unlike some of the other tall shoes we tested. The 35mm stack doesn't just add comfort to the undercarriage of the Speedgoat, though. This feature doubles as a protective element, protecting the soles of your feet from sharp sticks and rocks you may encounter on the trail.

If your routes often have you ascending rocky, expansive terrain, the Speedgoats are a comfortable, durable, and relatively lightweight option.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Trail runners who love high mileage goals will love the Hoka Speedgoat 5. If long days of climbing are in your future, the Speedgoat is the shoe to get you there comfortably. Runners who are happy to run without a lot of trail information will feel right at home in the Speedgoat. If you are seeking a shoe that balances underfoot comfort and sensitivity, we have other high-scoring options to recommend. But if comfort is king and high mileage days are your jam, this trail shoe might be the perfect match for you.

The Speedgoat 5 has many lovable features, but its comfort elements inhibit the precision needed for highly technical terrain. Its thick stack and generous cushioning can slow response time and feel cumbersome during fast-paced runs or when navigating intricate footwork. On extremely rough trails or ridgelines where immediate feedback is crucial, this shoe may not provide the level of responsiveness experienced trail runners desire. While it excels on smoother to moderately technical trails, it may not be the ideal choice for those seeking precision and agility in the most challenging terrain. If the elements line up in your favor, we bet you'll fall in love with the Speedgoat the way we have.

Read more: Men's Hoka Speedgoat 5 review

Our female trail runners also tested the Hoka Speedgoat 5, and while it did not take home an award, our testers were delighted by its traction and underfoot comfort.

trail running shoes - the underfoot cushion of the speedgoat makes it one of our favorite...
The underfoot cushion of the Speedgoat makes it one of our favorite recommendations for runners who are amping up their training distances.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Best Women's Traditional Fit

Saucony Peregrine 13 - Women's

Measured Drop: 4 mm | Weight per Shoe: 7.59 oz (W6.5)
Great traction
Runs narrow
Less cushioning
Lugs will wear faster on some surfaces

The Saucony Peregrine 13 is an exceptional choice for trail runners who appreciate a traditionally shaped shoe reminiscent of their tried-and-true road companion. Its sleek, breathable design and reliable protective features, including a rock plate, offer a comfortable fit and agility on rugged trails. The strategically placed lugs provide bitey traction, instilling inherent confidence with every stride. The moderate width of the toe box and the responsive 28mm stack height cater to various trail conditions, tackling each with ease.

Our testers developed a love for the Saucony Peregrine 13 with its exceptional traction, subtle sensitivity, and snug midfoot, all contributing to its agility on technical terrain. The 5mm lugs provide bitey grip across challenging surfaces, including sandy stretches, muddy patches, and rocky outcrops. The rock plate enhances underfoot protection and makes the underfoot feel familiar, instilling confidence and stability.

trail running shoes - if you are a runner who wants a trail shoe that fits like your...
If you are a runner who wants a trail shoe that fits like your trusty road shoes, the Peregrine is perfect. With rugged trail capabilities and a familiar fit, the adjustment and break-in period of these shoes doesn't take long.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

For trail runners seeking a shoe that mimics the fit of a road shoe, the Saucony Peregrine comes highly recommended by us. With its moderate toe box, tapered midfoot, and secure heel cup, this shoe provides security and a fit that feels known and beloved. Don't be fooled by its road shoe-like fit; the Peregrine 13 boasts features that make it a worthy companion on mountain trails. If you want a shoe that fits like your standard road shoe but can hold its own on a trail, the Peregrine is the shoe we recommend for you.

The Saucony Peregrine 13 meets the needs of trail runners who seek a traditionally shaped shoe with dependable performance on rugged terrain. Its sleek design, robust protective elements, and responsive stack height ensure stability and assurance on various trail surfaces. However, the Peregrine may not cater to all foot shapes and lacks the cushioning found in some competitors. While this shoe's robust lugs and traction are highly effective on technical trails, they tend to wear down when worn on more abrasive surfaces. Because of this, the Peregrine is not a recommended shoe for trail runners seeking a pair of crossover kicks.

Read more: Women's Saucony Peregrine 13 review

Our male testers also tested the Peregrine 13, and while it didn't win an award, it still fared very well in that lineup.

trail running shoes - the rock plate and traction of the peregrine are rugged enough for...
The rock plate and traction of the Peregrine are rugged enough for super techy trails, but the minimalistic cushioning allows you to receive pertinent trail intel as you run.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Men's Best for On-Trail Traction

Salomon Speedcross 6

Measured Drop: 12 mm | Weight per Shoe: 11.08 oz (M10.5)
Aggressive lugs offer top-notch traction
Great protection
Durable textiles
Large heel-to-toe drop feels less stable
Narrower fit

The Salomon Speedcross 6 is a shoe unlike others because it seems inspired by crampons in its style and functionality. Its tacky 5.5mm lugs span the entirety of the outsole and even up toward the toe box, creating a well-rounded base of well-tractioned support. Because of these qualities, our male testers deem the Speedcross the trail shoe with the best traction, recommending it for wet, slick, and sloppy mountain terrain.

The larger-than-life lugs on the outsole of the Speedcross give this shoe its alpine prowess. Not only do the multidirectional points ensure 360-degree grip, the sheer depth of them allows your feet to bite down on the trail. In case those two technical elements aren't enough, the outsole rubber is incredibly tacky, making it perfect for staying put on slick granite faces. When we are headed out on runs that we know are bound to get messy, these are the shoes we reach for.

trail running shoes - the protective and rugged features of the speedcross balance well...
The protective and rugged features of the Speedcross balance well with its plush comfort, especially around its snug agility-focused heel cup.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The Speedcross 6 is not your average trail running shoe, and runners who want to tackle moderate terrain might be overwhelmed by the severity of the Speedcross. If your running style centers around speed and agility, the high stack of the Speedcross, 12mm, might be a bit too tall. The capabilities of the Speedcross make it a shoe built for steep ridges, muddy faces, and intermittently snowy ascents, not fast, flowy single tracks and fire roads. If more moderate terrain is more your style, there are other shoes that will suit your needs without feeling overbuilt.

The sheer structure of the Speedcross won't appeal to many runners. Its thick lugs wear down on abrasive surfaces like asphalt, and its tightly woven mesh heats up when worn across hot sand. Runners looking for a crossover shoe should look elsewhere, as the Speedcross is a more specified trail running shoe. If you need a shoe that will help you climb and descend technical, weather-laden terrain and have another shoe in your arsenal for more mild days, the Speedcross is a fantastic shoe to add to your lineup.

Read more: Men's Salomon Speedcross 6 review

trail running shoes - the speedcross is a highly technical shoe, with its lugs designed to...
The Speedcross is a highly technical shoe, with its lugs designed to bite down deep into the trail for maximal grip.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Best Women's Shoe for Sloppy Terrain

Salomon Speedcross 6 - Women's

Measured Drop: 13 mm | Weight per Shoe: 8.54 oz (W6.5)
Deep, grippy lugs
Excellent protection for the sloppiest terrain
Snug fit creates agility
Tacky outsole wears on pavement
Less stable and versatile
Unique design won't fit all feet

Our female testers loved the same rugged features of the Salomon Speedcross 6 as the men. With 6mm deep lugs, a protective rock plate, and super fine mesh across its upper, this shoe is built to handle some serious conditions. Even the sharp lugs have a grippy texture, adding additional layers of security on sloppy terrain.

The traction of the Speedcross 6 is its most notable and beloved feature. Especially during spring, when snow is melting and trails can get soupy, having a shoe that can handle the demands placed on it is paramount for success and health on the run. The oversized lugs on the outsole of the Speedcross contribute significantly to its exceptional performance in alpine terrain. For challenging runs where conditions are likely to be messy, the Speedcross is our preferred footwear choice, and we think it will be yours, too.

trail running shoes - this highly capable trail running shoe makes tackling difficult...
This highly capable trail running shoe makes tackling difficult terrain a bit easier. The Speedcross feels a bit overbuilt for trails like the one shown here.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Runners who find themselves deep on trails woven with streams and muddy embankments will feel right at home in the updated Speedcross. If you often find yourself hitting the trails after a hearty rainstorm, a shoe with the tread of the Speedcross is a must. This shoe has a slightly narrow fit, which adds to its capabilities but prevents it from comfortably fitting all feet. If you don't require extra toe box space, want a snug midfoot, a ruggedly-capable shoe with a traditional 12mm differential, then you will love this mountain shoe by Salomon.

Many female runners seek out running shoes that offer some stability. While the features of the Speedcross culminate to create a high-performing shoe, it lacks some of the basics that new or moderate trail runners might want to prioritize. The Speedcross is overbuilt for runners who enjoy fire roads and sandy trails and will likely run too hot for runners who trail frolic in warmer climates. It lacks inherent stability because of its 12mm heel-to-toe differential, which is a deal breaker for many runners who overpronate or have a history of rolling their ankles on trails. If you need a shoe that can handle sloppy terrain and provide strong durability, we don't hesitate to recommend the Speedcross.

Read more: Women's Salomon Speedcross 6 review

If you want the traction that really bites and can handle mud and muck like a champion, the Speedcross is not to be missed.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best Men's Zero Drop Trail Shoe

Altra Lone Peak 8

Measured Drop: 0 mm | Weight per Shoe: 10.95 oz (M10.5)
Impeccable trail feel
Light and airy
Traction pattern inspires confidence
More protective features
Less protection overall
Zero drop comfort requires training

With a measured 25 millimeters of level cushioning on the men's Altra Lone Peak 8 and a zero-drop profile, this is the trail shoe we recommend for runners looking for a light and airy, low differential trail running shoe. The spacious toe box gives your toes room to spread out and engage as you bound along your favorite mountain ridge, providing endless comfort on short and long runs alike. The Lone Peak 8 keeps you connected to the trail, supporting precise foot placements and an agile feel. The tacky outsole rubber on the Lone Peak provides all the necessary traction and increases confidence on tricky terrain. Impressive lateral stability only adds to what we love about this shoe.

While zero-drop shoes are not made for all runners, those who prefer this shoe style will love the comfortable fit of the Lone Peak 8. Its interior is soft without being mushy, and its exterior is rugged enough for your most intense trail excursions. Its comfort and stable fit make it a shoe we recommend for runners and hikers/backpackers seeking a trail-ready lightweight shoe. The midfoot provides security, and the spacious forefoot prevents feet from feeling cramped as the miles add up.

trail running shoes - the altra lone peak provides unparalleled zero-drop comfort for...
The Altra Lone Peak provides unparalleled zero-drop comfort for runners who plan to spend a ton of time on their feet.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Zero-drop shoes work best if you aren't a heel striker. If traditional running shoes have trained you to land on a highly cushioned heel, you will need to ease into this type of shoe slowly. Your Achilles, calves, arches, feet, and toe muscles must strengthen as you go. For those in the trail running, ultra-running, and hiking communities who've already made this transition, the Lone Peak 8 is a well-loved shoe for its impressive, fairly responsive cushioning and supremely comfortable fit.

The Lone Peak 8 is a fantastic shoe all around; the notable drawbacks are preference-based. If you want an ultra-responsive trail shoe with a slender fit, this will not be the shoe for you. If you want a shoe that feels like your favorite road shoe, adjusting to the Lone Peak will take some time. Runners with preexisting tension in their lower legs will not appreciate the time it takes to feel comfortable in a zero-drop shoe, so keep this in mind as you shop.

Read more: Men's Altra Lone Peak 8 review

All of the elements of the Lone Peak come together to create a perfect trail companion.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Best Zero Drop Trail Shoe for Women

Altra Lone Peak 8 - Women's

Measured Drop: 0 mm | Weight per Shoe: 8.14 oz (W6.5)
Balanced comfort and sensitivity
Excellent long-distance capabilities
Comfortably redesigned upper
Protection-to-weight ratio feels wrong
Zero-drop shoes aren't for everyone

Our female testers agree that the Altra Lone Peak 8 is an incredible shoe that makes you want to stay on the trails until sundown. Its thick tongue and newly redesigned upper come together to create an even more comfortable version of a legendary trail shoe. The women's version of this shoe measures a 1mm drop, a 23mm rearfoot stack, a 22mm forefoot stack, and a protective rock plate. Its multidirectional and precisely placed lugs inspire confidence on technical ascents, flowy downhills, and (almost) everything in between.

It is not often that a shoe provides wear-all-day comfort, but the Lone Peak 8 most certainly does. Its ruggedly plush body, comfortable tongue, ripstop upper, and large toebox are uninstrusive, allowing runners to keep their focus on the trail, not their footwear. As anyone who has spent a lot of time on the trails knows, your feet swell, which can lead to discomfort and even pain. Our testers never found this to be a problem, even when tackling multi-day outings. If you are a runner who feels comfortable in a zero-drop shoe, the comfort of the Lone Peak is hard to beat.

The wide toe box of the Lone Peak 8 makes it a delight for runners who love the feeling of splayed toes as they run.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

As we continue to mention, zero-drop shoes do not always suit all bodies, so please consider this as you shop for your next trail running shoe. For those who prefer a low or zero-drop shoe, the comfort and fit of the Lone Peak can't be beaten. If you are looking for a single shoe that will hold up on a variety of occasions, this is one of our top recommendations. While it isn't the most responsive, speed-focused shoe on the market, it is a fantastic shoe for most occasions. If you want a shoe that you can comfortably wear for all short or long runs, mellow hikes, technical climbs, and even walking your dog around your neighborhood, this is the shoe we recommend. There are many niche shoes on the market, making it tempting to fill your closet, but if one versatile, zero-drop shoe is what you're after, the Lone Peak is a great shoe to consider.

Our criticisms of the new Lone Peak are few and far between. But if we are splitting hairs, the protection-to-weight ratio of this shoe is not as solid as we would like. While it does contain a rock plate and a rubber toe bumper, many shoes on the market have more robust protective features. The Lone Peak is one of the heaviest trail shoes in our lineup, making us question its protection-to-weight ratio. Ultimately, this does not detract from the Lone Peak's performance, though it is something to consider if you are a runner who desires ultralight running gear.

Read more: Women's Altra Lone Peak 8 review

trail running shoes - the maxtrac outsole and specified lugs create strong grip and...
The MaxTrac outsole and specified lugs create strong grip and enjoyable comfort uneven surfaces.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Best Men's Crossover Trail Shoe

Hoka Tecton X 2

Measured Drop: 7 mm | Weight per Shoe: 9.64 oz (M10.5)
Impressive energy transfer
Very comfortable upper
Springy feel when shoe is new
Not the best for solely technical terrain

The Hoka Tecton X 2 is super fast and excels on crossover terrain. A newly redesigned upper provides security through the foot, limiting unwanted movement. The signature carbon plates take some getting used to, but the spring mechanics allow for unmatched energy return. Throughout our testing, we picked this model over others specifically for speed workouts and race efforts. While it's most suited for blended surfaces (gravel and easy trail), it can tackle technical terrain if you are experienced. City users who frequent natural surfaces and roads could also find this model ideal due to the less pronounced lug design, which won't slow you down.

Many trail running shoes have carbon plates, but they are typically designed to provide underfoot protection instead of propulsion. The plate of the Tecton is built for energy return, which pairs beautifully with the stability it offers. This shoe gives tempo runs on the trails a bit of a boost. Many of our favorite road running shoes have embedded plates for the same reason as the Tecton: to make you run fast. Because of this and its lack of deep lugs and other trail-specific features, this is a great shoe for wearing on your local fire roads and city streets.

The Tecton X 2 is excellent for crossover terrain. It provides a high energy return without being overly heavy.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Veteran trail runners looking for a shoe to wear from their front door to their local trail system will love what the Tecton X 2 has to offer. Its design and underfoot feel take a bit of getting used to, preventing us from recommending this shoe to runners seeking their first trail shoe. The lack of underfoot sensitivity makes it difficult to sense what is going on beneath you, leading to potential issues on highly technical terrain. Runners with a trail running background who plan to pick up the pace on moderate trails will love this race-ready, plated trail runner.

Users who are less focused on performance could find this shoe to be overkill. The issue with carbon plates is they require a certain load to track correctly. For unfocused running, this model can feel vague and unnatural. The carbon plates also limit adaption to impacts on technical trails, so your footwork must be precise; otherwise, your ankles will pay the price. We wouldn't recommend this to be your first trail shoe, but if your current shoe feels dull when you turn up the pace, consider the Tecton X 2.

Read more: Men's Hoka Tecton X 2 review

The Tecton X 2 was also tested by our female team. It didn't win an award but scored similarly in most metrics.

trail running shoes - we're big fans of the carbon plate embedded in this shoe that makes...
We're big fans of the carbon plate embedded in this shoe that makes it a great crossover pair from trails to pavement.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Notable Women's Crossover Trail Shoe

Hoka Challenger 7 - Women's

Measured Drop: 10 mm | Weight per Shoe: 7.28 oz (W6.5)
Super protective stack
Well-equipped traction
Impressively lightweight
Great stability
Lacks sensitivity
Low differential for a road shoe

The Hoka Challenger 7 shoe is a versatile trail shoe that is suitable for occasional road use, making it one of our favorite crossover shoes. It provides comfort and support for trail runners tackling technical terrain but can joyfully adapt to the road that gets you to the trailhead. The design of the Challenger strikes a balance between road capabilities and trail features, catering to runners looking for adaptability in their footwear.

The underfoot cushioning of the Challenger is its standout quality. Its ample cushioning and support make it ideal for long runs, road jaunts, and evening brewery excursions. The construction ensures a smooth ride on most terrain types, offering stability and well-padded responsiveness that makes running comfortable. Even on occasional road runs, this shoe delivers the comfort and performance needed to keep you feeling confident and comfortable mile after mile.

For a therapeutic feeling run, we love the underfoot cushion of the Challenger.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

For runners who frequent fire roads, neighborhood trails, and occasional paved surfaces, this shoe offers the versatility needed to tackle diverse terrain. The durable outsole of the Challenger provides reliable traction on various surfaces, ensuring grip and stability on both trails and roads. With its adaptable design, this shoe seamlessly transitions between different running environments, accommodating the preferences of versatile runners.

Since the Challenger was designed as a trail shoe, it features a lower heel-to-toe drop than typical road models, making it feel a bit different from your standard road shoe. You might consider a road-specific shoe if you plan on predominantly running the roads. However, this combination of features makes it an excellent choice for runners seeking a versatile shoe that can handle occasional trail runs without sacrificing the comfort and performance expected from a road shoe.

Read more: Hoka Challenger 7 review

trail running shoes - if you'd like something well-cushioned and capable enough for both...
If you'd like something well-cushioned and capable enough for both trail and pavement, the Challenger 7 is a great option.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

How We Test Trail Running Shoes

After well over a decade of testing trail running shoes, our men's and women's review teams don't lack experience. We've racked up in-depth reviews of more than 300 pairs of trail running shoes, running at least 60 miles in each pair. We've covered thousands of trail miles to bring you this review and help you find your next favorite pair. Our testing process starts with meticulous research to help us choose the best shoes on the market to buy and test side-by-side. Then, we hit the trail, taking detailed notes about each shoe's performance along the way. After that, we spend time with them in the lab, weighing, cutting open, and measuring the significant details of each pair, thoroughly examining them to determine what features contributed to our experience on the trail and how well they could hold up to all the abuse.

If there's something to measure or dissect (or both), we've probably done it, all in the name of helping you find the best trail runner for your needs.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Six key metrics were used to assess each shoe and tally its score:
  • Foot Protection (25% of score weight)
  • Traction (20%)
  • Sensitivity (15%)
  • Stability (15%)
  • Comfort and Fit (15%)
  • Weight (10%)

Saturating the shoe and observing how much water penetrates our socks is one of the most effective ways to evaluate the water resistance of a pair of shoes. After that, we conduct a survey to determine how long each shoe takes to dry.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Why Trust GearLab

Ally Arcuri leads our women's test team. She is a trail runner and cancer survivor with a degree in kinesiology from Cal State Fullerton. She uses her biomechanics background to assess each shoe's construction down to every detail. Ally was set up for success by Amber King, who has tested trail running shoes for GearLab since 2014 and completed ultras like the Bryce Canyon 50 miler, and the Telluride Mountain Run, a 38-mile ultra with over 14k of elevation gains and losses. She's also a passionate fastpacker whose missions take her around the globe.

Shoes, shoes, and more shoes. From the lab to the trail and back again, we've spent an outrageous amount of time geeking out for your benefit.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The men's team includes Matt Bento and Matthew Richardson. Matt B started running in high school and learned to love cruising trails in Yosemite Valley when temps hit the 90s, and it was too hot to climb. He worked up to 40-mile loops into the high country. Matthew runs mountains in his native southwest Colorado. He's run the Chicago Basin 14ers in a day and finished in the top ten at the Telluride Mountain Run. So, you know, we run.

Ask any of our testers about choosing a trail running shoe and they...
Ask any of our testers about choosing a trail running shoe and they will recommend the S/Lab Ultra 3. It's that good.
It's important to us to test these shoes in every condition...
It's important to us to test these shoes in every condition imaginable, even the beach.
We get to see some beautiful places testing all these shoes.
We get to see some beautiful places testing all these shoes.
We spend months running miles and miles in these shoes across variable terrain to get a true picture of how they perform - and then chop them up in our lab to see what's inside.

What Makes It a Trail Running Shoe?

You want to run on a trail. It doesn't have to be complicated. Yet, the many shoe options and their often inconsistent and jargon-filled descriptions don't help matters. We break down the details of trail running shoes to help get you outside and running in the woods, up the mountain, or across the desert.

Since trails expose your feet to rocks, roots, mud, dirt, and debris, trail running shoes are more protective and agile than road running shoes. They're often stiffer than road shoes, with more aggressive traction to stabilize your foot across uneven terrain. They can even include a rock plate or a protectively dense midsole to cushion your feet against rocky impacts.

The cleat-like lugs underfoot are larger and more aggressive and are sometimes covered with tacky rubber to increase your grip on variable terrain. The upper materials work to balance the need to withstand more abrasions from rough granite or overgrown vegetation with the need to breathe well enough to keep your feet dry and comfortable — especially since you're likely to run into rain or creek crossings. Some trail running shoes even include ankle collars to block debris.

trail running shoes - complex tread patterns that incorporate a mix of layers and textures...
Complex tread patterns that incorporate a mix of layers and textures give trail shoes the grip you need to stay on your feet.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Men's Trail Runners

To see a detailed analysis of all the products we pitted against each other, check out our full review of men's trail running shoes. The chart below shows the overall scores of each pair tested.

Women's Trail Runners

Our female runner test team put in the work to assess the best women's trail running shoes side-by-side. The individual scores for those shoes are shown below.

How to Choose the Best Trail Running Shoes for You

How aggressive the shoe's traction, how stiff its construction, and how durable its fabric is depends on what type of trails the shoe is meant to tackle and how much protection you prefer. Generally, there are three types of trail shoes — light, rugged, and extreme.

Often, the amount of cushioning a shoe has is conflated with the type of trails it is best suited for. But some runners prefer maximum cushioning on even the smoothest trails, and others want to feel every rock and root beneath them. We'll talk about this more in the cushioning section below.

Our men and women test teams have logged countless trail miles over the last decade to help you find an ideal trail running shoe.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Light Trail Runners

Light trail running shoes resemble road running shoes, with additional features to increase foot protection, agility, and traction. They're a great option if you alternate between runs around town and trail runs on the weekends. Offering less protection than their hard-core counterparts, these lightweight designs are a great choice for those who like to move fast on less complex terrain.

These shoes are also often more flexible, offering moderate support on rough terrain. They tend to have lower profile lugs since you don't need top-notch traction on consistent surfaces, and they can catch awkwardly on pavement. The upper portion of these shoes also tends to be made of less durable materials since they won't need to weather as much abuse. This can make for a less expensive shoe, which we always appreciate.

The amount of cushioning and the heel-to-toe drop varies widely across light trail running shoes (we'll go into detail about these design choices below), and you can usually find an option to suit your preferences.

trail running shoes - your feet don't need as much protection if you stick to smooth...
Your feet don't need as much protection if you stick to smooth, rolling trails.
Credit: Ryan Baker

Rugged Trail Runners

Hitting the sweet spot that works for most people on most trails most of the time, rugged trail running shoes offer enough foot protection to tackle the majority of terrain without the extreme stiffness and traction of off-trail versions, which can take time to get used to. If your favorite trails aren't consistently smooth and flat, but you aren't leaving the path to scramble across a mountainside, these shoes are likely for you.

trail running shoes - more protective shoes help save your feet with burlier toe boxes and...
More protective shoes help save your feet with burlier toe boxes and tread that extends to form a protective cap.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Rugged trail shoes have more robust protection in the form of rock plates or densely padded EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) foam midsoles. The upper fabric is usually tough, with a more pronounced toe guard. The upper and the platform offer enough support and rigidity to stabilize your foot on uneven ground and steep descents without being so stiff that a lengthy break-in period is required.

Testing the Speedgoat 5 in early winter to assess weather resistance and traction.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Rugged trail shoes offer high-quality traction with larger lugs organized in patterns to provide multidirectional grip on a range of trail angles and surfaces, e.g., loam, sand, gravel, and rock. Widely spaced lugs work well to grip muddy trails while allowing the muck to shed easily to avoid slowing you down. Some of these shoes are covered with soft rubber that offers maximal grip, but these compounds tend to wear down quickly. Others opt for tougher rubber that is less grippy but lasts longer.

All these extra features add up to extra ounces. While these aren't the lightest shoes, they are more durable than light trail runners and often last longer.

trail running shoes - both of these shoes have 5mm lugs, those on the left work well on...
Both of these shoes have 5mm lugs, those on the left work well on hard, rocky surfaces thanks to their wide spacing. The narrow lugs on the right are best suited to softer, smoother trails.
Credit: Jill Rice

Extreme Trail Runners

If you've ever looked up at a random rocky mountain and thought, I'd like to run straight up that, these shoes may be for you. Essentially a pair of rugged trail shoes on steroids, these extreme trail running shoes are made of the most resilient materials. They usually offer maximum torsional rigidity (think twisting the sole of your foot) with the help of more resilient midsoles.

trail running shoes - when you're running on terrain like this, a literal lava field in...
When you're running on terrain like this, a literal lava field in Oregon's Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, you need a burly, protective running shoe.
Credit: Andy Wellman

These shoes are also more likely to be waterproof if you encounter snowfields or streams. Waterproof shoes may sacrifice breathability and can be heavier and stiffer than average. You may need to put some miles in to soften them, but they certainly secure your feet. Many shoes are available in both a regular and a Gore-Tex version, so if you think you see a shoe you like but want the added water resistance, check to see if Gore-Tex is an option.

trail running shoes - we wouldn't call this running, but if a section of the trail you...
We wouldn't call this running, but if a section of the trail you want to tackle looks like this, you'll want shoes that can handle it.
Credit: Jonnah D.

Consider Your Trails and Climate

Where do you normally run? If you stick to smooth trails and throw in the random road run, light trail running shoes will work wonderfully. Look for a rugged shoe if you like to run on what most people would call a hiking trail. You'll want an extreme, off-trail option if your run requires a map, compass, and multiple route-finding sessions.

And don't forget to factor in your climate. If you often find yourself slogging along on muddy or snowy trails in the spring, a waterproof shoe with large, mud-shedding lugs could be your best bet. If you live in dry and rocky climates, sticky Vibram rubber shoes will have you feeling like a mountain goat.

trail running shoes - in desert climates, you'll want shoes that release heat and moisture...
In desert climates, you'll want shoes that release heat and moisture to let your feet breathe and that hold traction in sandy terrain.
Credit: Matt Bento


How much cushion you want in your shoe depends on the trails you'll be running, how much you like to feel the earth beneath you, how far you'll be going, and how easy you want to go on your joints. There are three general categories of shoe cushioning — barefoot or minimal, moderate, and maximum.

trail running shoes - trail shoes range from essentially no cushion (requiring you to...
Trail shoes range from essentially no cushion (requiring you to strengthen your feet and lower leg muscles), to all the cushion (with the goal of going easy on your joints).
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Barefoot or Minimal Shoes

Barefoot shoes largely function to protect your feet from punctures and abrasions. They let you feel the trail beneath your feet with very little filter. They're usually flat, with no drop from the heel to the toe, forcing you to strengthen your feet and lower leg to provide the cushion and support many of us are used to getting from our shoes. If you're not used to this, you'll have to start very slowly with these shoes.

Minimal shoes offer a bit more support with some midsole padding and as much as a 4mm heel-to-toe drop. They are a good option if you'd like more trail feel but want to ease your body into it.

Some people will wear these kinds of shoes on the roughest trails out there, but they've (hopefully) put the time in to do so safely. If you're new to these shoe styles, they're best on trails with few obstructions since there is little protection from a stubbed toe. Trust us on that one.

trail running shoes - one of the benefits of a minimally cushioned shoe is how connected...
One of the benefits of a minimally cushioned shoe is how connected you feel to the trail, enabling nimble foot placement.
Credit: Amber King


Most trail shoes fall into the moderate cushion category, buffering the harsh feel of rocks and roots without feeling like you're running on marshmallow platforms. They offer moderate feedback from the trail. This middle ground is great when you need quick footwork to navigate tricky trails but don't want to pay the price of missing a step and landing hard on a sharp rock.

trail running shoes - mid-range cushioning can make for an incredibly versatile shoe, like...
Mid-range cushioning can make for an incredibly versatile shoe, like Salomon's S/Lab Ultra 3, which lets you feel the trail without being injured by it.
Credit: Ally Arcuri


Hoka's are a classic example of a maximum cushion shoe. We tend to like these soft, floaty shoes on days with a lot of elevation gain and loss or when our muscles and joints need extra love. They do a lot to reduce the strain of repetitive downhill pounding.

They often lack a feeling of connection to the trail, and they aren't our first choice for fancy footwork. Racers may feel like they lose energy by pushing off against a cushioned base, but many also praise the style for keeping their legs feeling fresh longer. And some shoes in this category are evolving to provide impressive energy conservation and transfer. The heel-to-toe drop in these shoes can range from minimal to pronounced.

trail running shoes - when you have many, many miles to cover, the comfort of a maximally...
When you have many, many miles to cover, the comfort of a maximally cushioned shoe can make all the difference to your joints.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Heel-to-Toe Drop

The heel-to-toe drop is the difference between the stack height of the shoe's heel and that of its toe. Barefoot or zero-drop shoes have no heel-to-toe drop. Minimal shoes can range from a 1 to 4mm drop. Moderate and maximally cushioned shoes can have a wide range, up to 10mm or more.

A Word on Our Measurements

If you've perused some of our reviews, you might have noticed that our measured stack height and drop numbers don't always match the manufacturers' claims. This is because there is no industry standard for these measurements — companies can do or say whatever they like. Our measurements are at least standardized among all the shoes we've tested so you can get some helpful comparative information within our lineups. Our process follows the requirements set by World Athletics, the international governing body for running competitions, and includes the tread, all the cushioning, and the insole.

Many of us started running in shoes with a moderate to pronounced heel-to-toe drop, and our muscles developed accordingly. If you switch to a lower heel-to-toe or zero-drop shoe, you'll need to give your body ample time to adjust. You may even need to change your gait. Since there is no extra padding for your heel in a zero or minimal drop shoe, you need to land on your mid or forefoot to dissipate the energy. This doesn't work for everybody. If you're interested in transitioning to lower-drop shoes, you could work your way down gradually over time.

trail running shoes - zero-drop shoes work best when you land every step in the middle or...
Zero-drop shoes work best when you land every step in the middle or on the front of your foot. They don't offer enough support to land on your heel.
Credit: Jill Rice

If you typically land on your heel when you run, higher heel rises may be better for you. Heel-to-toe drops of 7mm and over are considered to be high heel-drop shoes, according to Running Warehouse, and are best for people who land heel first. Neither high nor low-drop shoes are definitively better for everyone; it all comes down to what you and your body prefer. As you learn your body, the terrain you plan to run will also factor in.

trail running shoes - the speedcross 6 has a great protective sole, but the 10mm...
The Speedcross 6 has a great protective sole, but the 10mm heel-to-toe drop can make it unstable when on steeper trails.
Credit: Jill Rice

Get the Right Fit

Some shoe brands tend to run narrow; some are known for a wide-toe box. It's always a good idea to break out the tape measure, get your foot's dimensions, and match them to the sizing tables on each brand's website. This is especially important if you're trying a new shoe brand or it's been a while since you ordered. Your shoe size can and does shift over time.

trail running shoes - every trail shoe fits a little bit differently. from well-contoured...
Every trail shoe fits a little bit differently. From well-contoured heel collars to wide toe boxes to strong arch support, there is a shoe that will suit each runner's unique anatomy perfectly.
Credit: Ally Arcuri


Running shoes are spendy, and you'll go through them surprisingly quickly. According to Runner's World, they last somewhere between 300 and 500 miles. If you run 20 miles a week, they'll work well for three to six months. Consider that when weighing the price of your next pair.

trail running shoes - our trail running test teams log miles in each of these shoes so you...
Our trail running test teams log miles in each of these shoes so you can find to perfect fit.
Credit: Ally Arcuri


Shopping is fun and all, but we'd rather be trail running. After a decade of testing trail running shoes, we're thrilled to pass our hard-won knowledge on to you. Whether you've just started your trail journey or you're newly barefoot or maximum-cushion curious, we've tested a shoe for you. We hope this review helps relieve the pain of endless scrolling by directing you to an excellent option for your feet and running style.

Ally Arcuri, Matthew Richardson, Matt Bento, and Amber King