12 BEST TRAIL RUNNING SHOES OF 2021
Want better traction and zero falls during your trail run? Kick away your road only shoes, consider investing in a perfect pair of trail shoes & become a winner. Trail shoes have come a long way since a few models began appearing on store shelves heretofore 25 years. More than just what they’re known best for (robust outer soles) they possess amazing other features that make these shoes more compatible with trail running.
No matter how far you wanna trail, picking the best trail running shoe according to your taste is an important step for you to be in the right mindset. There is an array of options in the market when you head to, made for every type of track and preference. Here in this blog, I’ve rounded up some of the best picks from popular retailers so you can find yourself the best trail running shoe without asking your running partner..
What to look for?
Long-distance running shoes require ticking the following boxes:
- Must be lightweight
- Responsive cushioning
- Must be comfortable
- Don’t let your foot marinating in sweats
- Has some amazing speed to break the ground (if its a speed run)
Things to remember:
Replace running shoes once they’ve covered 400 to 500 miles.
Always be in a new or slightly used pair of shoes for a marathon.
Best Comfortable Trail Running Shoes
Topo Athletic UltraVenture 2
Best Cushioned Trail Running Shoe
- ✔️ Thick & spongy footbed
- ✔ Built with 3 piece EVA foam
- ✔️ Sturdy cushioning
- ✔️ Optimized for breathability and strength
- ✔️ Drainage “gills” for water release & quick-dry
- ✔️ Tit for wide feet
- ❌ No rock plate
- ❌ Loose fit in the midfoot
Meet the Ultraventure—a perfectly cushioned minimalist trail shoe stuffed with more cushion.
Cushioning in a trail shoe? This factor has seen the most change in recent years with brands offering more cushion to maximalists and little cushion to minimalists. However, this shoe hits two birds in one go.
So, if you’re someone who wants to feel like you’re running on a cloud, get this one!
Brooks Caldera 5
Best Neutral Trail Running Shoe
- ✔️ Enough cushioning
- ✔️ Lightweight
- ✔️ Nice arch support
- ✔️ Can handle roads to trails
- ❌ Not provide traction in muddy conditions
- ❌ Took little longer than other shoes to break-in
- ❌ Doesn’t excel in the speed department
Brook’s Caldera 5 is a true darling when it comes to comfort and versatility. Being the fourth version of its series, Caldera 5 is a perfect combination of a thick mid and outsole for more protection. It is well cushioned but without the bulk. The underfoot midsole is an EVA-based midsole that provides a high level of rebound and energy return.
Best Trail Running Shoes For Gender
Different gender means different needs. Find out our picks of best trail running shoes according to your gender.
Altra Lone Peak 5.0-10th Anniversary
Best Trail Running Shoes For Women
- ✔️ Roomy toe box
- ✔️ Solid traction
- ✔️ Super comfortable
- ✔️ Breathable
- ✔️ Rock plate with increased protection
- ✔️ Durable
- ✔️ Grippy
- ✔️ Lightweight
- ✔️ Cushier soles
- ❌ Mesh isn’t so durable
- ❌ A bit tight in the midfoot
- ❌ Heels kind of rub
For overall quality and performance, Altra Lone Peak 5.0 (10th Anniversary) is a true darling for female trail runners. Moreover, the shoe has been awarded for being the #1 choice of thru-hikers across the globe, which makes it the best women’s trail running shoes for hiking as well.
Here are some pros and cons of the shoe that you must check out.
Salomon S-Lab Ultra 3 - Unisex
Best Men’s Trail Running Shoes
- ✔️ Protective midsole and upper
- ✔️ Sock-like fit
- ✔️ Stable ride
- ✔️ Durable
- ✔️ Grippy outsoles
- ✔️ Lightweigh
- ✔️ Perfect cushioning
- ❌ Kind of expensive
- ❌ More than enough padding in upper
- ❌ Slightly narrow
Salomon SPEEDCROSS 5 GORE-TEX
Best Trail Running Shoes
- ✔️ Comfortable fit ground feel
- ✔️ keep a hold on the wild paths
- ✔️ Comfortable cushioning
- ✔️ Perfect for every kind of terrain
- ✔️ Nice speed
- ✔️ Protective toe cap
- ✔️ Made with high-performance EVA foam
- ✔️ Anti-debris mesh
- ❌ Not waterproof
Best Trail Running Shoes For Heel Pain
Shoes can make or break a run. Here is a list of best trail running shoes according to different foot shapes and needs.
Altra Lone Peak 5.0 - 10th Anniversary
Best Trail Running Shoes For Wide Feet
- ✔️ Zero-drop
- ✔️ Protective underfoot
- ✔️ Stable
- ✔️ Roomier enough for wide feet
- ❌ Kind of heavy
- ❌ Tight in the midfoot
- ❌ Poor durability
- ❌ Badly rubbing heels
Do you belong to the wide-fam who can’t squish into those “normal” width trail shoes?
Then it’s time for you to give a big hug to these zero drop shoes ya’ honey!
With a roomier toe box and locked-in feel of the lacing system, your foot will feel more protected and more power. It represents the evolution of trail shoes that helped Altra launch a new paradigm in shoe design a decade ago. The shoe was founded on the idea that runners are best served by running in shoes with a level platform that has a wider toe box to allow their feet to move and flex naturally, as they do when they’re barefoot.
The solid protection you will experience (both for the tops of the feet and bottoms) wearing this is matchless. The midsole (made of a sandwich of StoneGuard Rock plate and Altra’s new foam compound) provides ultimate defense without being overly thick.
Asics Gel Venture 8
Best Trail Running Shoes For Flat Feet
- ✔️ Perfect arch support and stability
- ✔️ Gel cushioning system
- ✔️ Stay on place laces
- ✔️ Protective mesh upper
- ✔️ Super durable
- ✔️ Ample cushioning
- ✔️ Responsive shoe
- ❌ Heavyweight
- ❌ No rock plate
- ❌ Poor traction on gnarly surfaces
- ❌ Narrow width
- ❌ Wearing them in hot weather is not comfortable
Runners with flat feet look for shoes that have proper arch support to distribute their body weight and support the arches of their feet. For in-depth details we have covered up 11 best Nike running shoes for flat feet only.
There are brands creating running shoes to meet the needs of people with flat feet, but nothing says trail like Asics Gel Venture 8.
These built-to-last, super soft, and supportive shoes are a perfect match for people with flat feet. The top feature of the shoe is the EVA midsole which improves bounce-back characteristics and decreases the midsole breakdown providing you ultimate protection during tough times. When combined with a rear gel cushion, this foam midsole provides ample support for a number of surfaces.
Moreover, they are super lightweight, as well, helping to reduce the weight of the sole unit while retaining the structural integrity of the shoe. In a nutshell, there is no heavy strain on your foot, ample arch support, and stability that your flat feet need, this is just ideal stuff for you!
But before you make your mind, it’s better to look at some cons too, so you can rest assured of things ahead of the race day.
Saucony Hurricane 23
Best Trail Running Shoes For Overpronation
- ✔️ Responsive ride
- ✔️ Max cushioned stability
- ✔️ Energy return to the highest degree
- ❌ Available in only 2 colors for men & women
- ❌ A bit heavy
- ❌ A bit loose in the heel area
Is stability for overpronated foot you need to take care of when you’re on trail run?
Then Saucony’s Hurricane 23 is all that you need! Stability is overkill when it comes to Hurricane 23!!! You can literally run miles and miles without aches, where your ordinary neutral trail running shoes fail. It is because of the rock-solid medial post, which supports the extremely overpronated gaits but sits nestled deep inside a hunk of Saucony’s super bouncy foam called PWR RUN+. This foam when in heels gives a firm sensation, when on the forefoot, it feels soft and gives exceptionally high energy return throughout. While there is a sticky outsole tread that has high-abrasion rubber at the outer heel & toe which makes the shoe super durable also.
Asics Gel Venture 8
Best Trail Running Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis
- ✔️ Budget-Friendly
- ✔️ Very Stable
- ✔️ Comfortable
- ✔️ Durable construction
- ❌ Less Aggressive outsole
- ❌ Not recommended for technical terrain
About 5-10% of the running injuries caused by Plantar Fasciitis as revealed experts. Plantar fasciitis happens when a strain to a thin ligament (Plantar Fascia) causes inflammation. Exercising and running on hard surfaces or wearing less cushioned shoes during physical activity can ignite the cause. According to experts, people with plantar fasciitis need extra cushioning in their running shoes to relieve pain and provide support. So, if you’re experiencing plantar Fasciitis pain and it’s holding you to perform to the fullest, look no further than GEL-Venture 8 by Asics. It is perfectly cushioned with gel and ASCIS’s classic cushioning in the rear foot. Notably, it takes the shape of the shoe, making every step comfortable and smooth. Perfect cushioning comes with perfect shock absorption which is just unparalleled. Moreover, the shoe comes with removable sock liners that allow runners to insert heel support taking comfort to the next level. So, if you’re someone with Plantar Fasciitis, I’d suggest checking these pros & cons before buying it for real.
Brooks Glycerin 19
Best Trail Running Shoe For Heavy Runners
- ✔️ Well-cushioned and comfortable fit
- ✔️ Great for distance running/recovery runs
- ✔️ Comfy updated engineered mesh upper
- ✔️ Durable
- ❌ Lacks desired responsiveness
- ❌ A bit on the heavy side
- ❌ Not versatile as others in the market
- ❌ Not enough energy return
If you are a heavy runner, you know how it feels when it comes to finding the right running gear. With so many product variations in the market, you may have learned a bunch of advice from people to go for a stability shoe, or one that is highly cushioned, however, this is wrong. Heavy runners need a balance of cushioning and ride comfort. And when it comes to the perfect level of cushioning and comfort for heavyweight trail runners, Brooks Glycerin 19 Running Shoe is an option to consider! Made of full-length DNA midsole, the show provides a nice level of cushion so the firm undertone makes the ride supportive for heavy dudes. It offers all-around comfort in a seamless upper, and a structured, secure fit with a stretchy 3D Fit Print saddle. Though it may seem sleek, it is certainly heavy-duty. All the materials in the shoe are very high quality and durable to bear heavy kicks towards the ground. These shoes are highly recommended for long runs and recovery runs and can suffice for longer tempo runs.
Although it is a bomb, however, small updates to the products could be a game-changer for heavy trail runners. Here are some pros and cons of the shoe that you should check out too.
Brooks Cascadia 15 GTX
Best Trail Running Shoes For Supination
- ✔️ Internal saddle system gives close-to-foot fit
- ✔️ Heel pivot prevents excessive outward rolling
- ✔️ Soft cushion & responsive ride
- ✔️ Gore-Tex lining for waterproofness
- ✔️ Extra traction over wet & dry surfaces
- ✔️ Soft and flexible upper
- ❌ A bit heavy
- ❌ Kind of noisy
- ❌ The heel collar is a little stiff
Runners with supination are at a high risk of injuries such as shin splints, knee pains, strains, plantar fasciitis, and stuff.
If you’re one, you can feel the pain as well as the frustration of finding the right pair of running shoes, right?
Well, been there, done that, brother, let’s cry together!
You know your chances of injuries can be reduced with just one right pair of shoes. Glad there is (GTX)Cascadia 15 to wipe our tears!! It is an ideal pair of shoes for people who supinate while running. There is a pivot system in the midsole that helps minimize the tendency of your feet to roll outwards. Its advanced pivot system works like a stabilizing suspension system, connecting with the uneven ground underfoot to keep your foot level from landing to push-off. Notably, no matter how long you run, its Cordura mudguard keeps the debris away allowing your food to stay dry.
Merrel Bare Access XTR
Best Support Trail Running Shoes (Arch Support)
- ✔️ Budget-friendly
- ✔️ Maximum support and comfort
- ✔️ Zero drop
- ✔️ Lightweight
- ✔️ Super stable
- ✔️ Solid traction
- ✔️ Great ground connection
- ❌ Light duty thread
- ❌ Not well-cushioned
- ❌ Narrow fit
- ❌ The upper mesh isn’t super durable
Back in a decade, when prices of sports shoes were skyrocketing, one thing that grabbed the attention of many trail runners was the price of Merrell Bare Access XTR…which gravitated them and made them fall in love with these shoes. They are the best zero drop trail running shoes that offer an intimate trail feel. Compared to most trail running shoes, this one has a very different, and highly noticeable comfort. It is due to the high arch combined with a narrow fit through the midfoot which makes it the best trail running shoe for high-arches. The arch is so pronounced that it feels as if it is designed to control inward pronation. Build with 3 layers of super plush foam in the underfoot, you can expect maximum support and protection.
Best Trail Hiking Shoes
Hiking shoes protect your feet against bruising and provide you ultimate support and comfort. Here is our pick for the best trail running shoes that are best for hiking also.
Hoka One One Speedgoat 4
Best Trail Running Shoes For Backpacking
- ✔️ Comfort in a lightweight package
- ✔️ Amazing traction with tough rugs
- ✔️ Water & mud protection
- ✔️ Gusseted tongue for breathability
- ✔️ Wider forefoot
- ❌ Less protection in the heel area
- ❌ Moderate energy return
- ❌ Kind of stiff
- ❌ Lacking speed
Hiking shoes should fit snug everywhere, tight nowhere, and offer room to wiggle your toes. With a lot of similarities and comfort, many hikers are preferring trail running shoes for hiking. And if you’re finding the best trail running shoes for hiking, look no further than Speedgoat 4 by Hoka One One. It is nicely rugged and gets you through slippery rocks and hard nails like a pro. Whether you plan on crossing creeks or stepping into dry sand, waterproof footwear is a safe and versatile bet. Grippy on the uphill and secure on the downhill, the Speedgoat 4 is badass when it comes to hiking. In addition, the aggressive outsole is one of our favorites, with substantial lugs and tacky Vibram Megagrip rubber that hold well in everything from dry dirt and mud to steep rock. So, if you want to hike uphills without carrying loads of bulk on your foot, put your foot in these best trail running shoes that are perfect for hiking.
Nike Pegasus Trail 3
Best Speed Run Shoe On Trail
- ✔️ Lightweight shoe
- ✔️ Versatile when in action
- ❌ Not durable
Whether you’re training for an endurance event or wanna become a faster trail runner overall, you deserve being in the right shoe, and that’s none other than Nike Pegasus Trail 3, a shoe that has helped runners of every level reach their goals. Known for its durability, fit, and responsiveness, it’s a gas pedal that sets you up for your fastest marathon.
Be it a trail run or a combination run, a great option that is ready to tackle both surfaces. Integrated with a perforated mesh upper, there are Zoom Air units underfoot that increase comfort. Unbeatable lungs further provide traction on your uphill climbs…Finally, You get to enjoy a slipper-like comfort, with some fresh air kissing your foot. Oh, and debris…Well, that’s a No-No !!
Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7
Best Track And Field Shoe
- ✔️ Perfect traction
- ✔️ Anatomical design
- ❌ Not super durable
If you brave track and field race, you need a shoe that has spikes having subtle differences that will affect your running. Then you field shoes, which also have separate specialties such as jumping and throwing events. Well, Nike merges the goodness of both things in one shoe and that’s Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7. Whether it’s a small run or a long-ass track and field marathon, this shoe is ideal with the stamina to get you through 3k-10k distances. They’re ultra-lightweight, breathable, well-cushioned, and have surface-gripping sharkskin heel pad—Uhmm, pretty much everything you can expect.
Nike Air Zoom Tempo Next% Flyease
Best Long-Distance Stability Shoe
- ✔️ Zero heel slippage
- ✔️ Durable outsole
- ❌ A bit pricey
- ❌ Feels clunky-clunky
Are you running with flat feet? Or maybe struggling to run smoothly? I understand that running with flat feet can really fall short of your running goals. Your feet may absorb the shocks like superheroes but cause them to be more prone to injuries ranging from shin splints to aches. Well, stop living that life & say thanks to Nike’s Air Zoom Tempo Next % FlyEase!! It’s a perfect stability shoe that keeps you rockin’ through heavy miles. Known for its super responsiveness, this shoe pampers your big foot (males) with Nike ZoomX foam in the foot bed & a visible Zoom Air unit—designed to increase comfort. The ride, I must say is something you will get addicted to..super responsive, super springy, and supportive.
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38
Best Nike Running Shoes For Long Distance Training
- ✔️ Specifically tuned for males
- ✔️ Cushioned ride
- ✔️ Responsive forefoot
- ✔️ Outsole traction
- ❌ Not so versatile
- ❌ A bit narrow toe box
Are you ready for a combo of training? Maybe slow but high mileage training or running is your goal…Waste no time and unlock your Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38. If you’re a sucker of Nike’s Air Zoom Pegasus series, you will definitely fall in serious love with these shoes. It’s super durable, super lightweight, designed keeping slow but long runs/training in mind. You may be heavy, you may be a forefoot runner, these shoes are so loved even by elite athletes cuz of the support it gives to your foot while absorbing shocks. You will be glad to be in these super responsive shoes (made specially keeping the needs of males in mind) on your run. Try these on and get hooked.
Nike Quest 3
Best Nike Long Distance Running Shoes Under Budget
- ✔️ Versatile & comfortable
- ✔️ Solid traction
- ✔️ Good looking shoe
- ❌ Limited color variations
Running with peanuts in your pocket? Nike has your back. Being broke doesn’t mean you cut your wings off my friend!! Give a fits bumpeee to Nike Quest 3. For like 75 bucks, Nike Quest 3 delivers functional versatility and amazing comfort. Its streamlined design features layers of awesomeness to help you stay cool and secure mile after mile. With a bed of cushion in the midsole, it offers a bumpy, bouncy, and responsive ride that makes this shoe look and feel fast. With premium rubber outsoles, you get to enjoy nice, supportive, and comfortable traction..what else can you get at such a good price?
It is common for runners to carry around a bunch of shoe pairs dedicated to different situations and needs and so we have mentioned 9 best Nike running shoes for everyday use in our daily blog. If you love going miles and miles, you know there is nothing pleasurable than carry pair of best shoes with You. Letting your body guide you over vast amounts of the territory is oh-so-intoxicating. However, being in the wrong shoes quickly cages the joy. Well, everybody knows that nothing understands the situation as Nike!! If you are scratching head finding the best Nike long distance running shoes, this article by and large covers pretty much everything for you. Moreover, you will be glad knowing that Nike.com offers free trials of shoes, as many as you want…so hesitate no more! Listen to the type of run you’re buying new shoes for and try on different Nike shoes from this guide until you find your ideal fit.