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Warmer weather calls for hitting the trails and taking your running off-road. Instead of dodging traffic and dancing through intersections, running trails offers a refreshing escape. But once you decide where you’re heading, you’re going to need the best trail running shoes to do it.
How to Choose the Right Trail Running Shoes
For an optimal experience out on the trails, choose a sneaker that best matches the terrain and type of running you engage in most often. For sloppy trails, you’ll want a knobby outsole. For rocky routes, opt for a model with a sticky rubber outsole. And if you’re running long distances, your feet will thank you for wearing maximally cushioned shoes.
Here’s a run-down of the best trail running shoes available this summer.
1. Best Zero Drop – Altra Lone Peak 5
The Lone Peak is an amply cushioned shoe with a moderately aggressive outsole conducive to running on a wide range of trail surfaces. What sets it apart, like all Altra shoes, is that it’s built on a “zero-drop” platform (a.k.a., flat or level, without a slightly raised heel like most shoes) and a wider toe box to allow your feet to move and flex naturally, similar to when you’re barefoot.
[$158; amazon.com]Get it!
2. Best For Comfort – ASICS FujiTrabuco Lyte
A featherweight shoe with exceptional traction, the FujiTrabuco Lyte serves up a smooth, agile ride similar to your favorite road running shoes. It lacks excessive structure and protective elements, making it ideal for running fast and free on mild trails without challenging technical features.
[$190; amazon.com]Get it!
3. Best For Rugged Terrain – Hoka One One TenNine
The gargantuan TenNine is a mountain running shoe with an oversized platform and a huge extension off the back of the heel. Its extraordinary size and shape offer maximal ground contact like the tires of a fat bike, allowing a runner to surf downhill trails over loose rocks and gravel with ease. It feels surprisingly light and nimble going uphill, too.
[$250; zappos.com]Get it!
4. Best For All-Terrains – La Sportiva Jackal
A protective, durable trail running shoe in a surprisingly lightweight, airy package, the Jackal is ideal for running a wide variety of terrain in hot conditions. It has a sticky rubber outsole that helps it feel secure on dry, wet, and sandy terrain, while reinforced sidewalls and a durable toe bumper offer for protection on rugged, rocky routes.
[$140; amazon.com]Get it!
5. Best For Running – Merrell MTL Skyfire
Do you feel the need for speed? The race-ready MTL Skyfire was designed to run footloose on both smooth and rugged surfaces. It’s lightweight, agile, and low to the ground, but it also has a tear-resistant upper, trail-specific protection, and an aggressive, grippy outsole to conquer the gnarliest of terrain.
[$100; amazon.com]Get it!
6. Best All-Rounder – New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v5
With bold, paint-splatter graphics and abundant cushioning, this shoe is as comfortable as it is eye-catching. But it’s also adept at running on a wide variety of trails, thanks to a grippy, sticky rubber outsole, a protective toe cap, a supportive upper, and a soft, comfortable interior.
[$150; amazon.com]Get it!
7. Best For Road And Trail – Nike Wildhorse 7
A shoe designed to run wild on gnarly trails, the thick-cushioned Wildhorse 6 combines a protective rock plate and an aggressively lugged outsole with a subtly reinforced upper and a padded tongue that wrap around your feet. It feels durable and secure on rugged terrain, but offers a soft, springy ride on smoother surfaces.
[$190; amazon.com]Get it!
8. Best Outdoor Gear – Salomon Sense Ride 4
Salomon has blended technical mountain acuity, trail-specific protection, and resilient, vibration-damping cushioning into the Sense Ride 4. That combination has resulted in a versatile shoe that’s capable of running comfortably on flat suburban trails, even though it’s right at home tackling mountainous terrain with rocks, roots, and gravel.
[$120; amazon.com]Get it!
9. Best Value – WHITIN Minimalist Trail Runner
For those looking to save a little money without sacrificing quality in their trail running shoes, then you need to pick up these shoes from WHITIN. They have a lightweight and comfortable design with plenty of room for your toes to breathe and plenty of protection for your feet on the trail. You’ll have a good session with these affordable shoes on your feet.Get it!
10. Best For Outdoor Adventures – Brooks Cascadia 15
Brooks is out here providing the kinds of trail running shoes that you want for an outdoor adventure. Going out on the trails away from the neighborhood, these shoes have the kind of protection that’ll keep you running without any undue pain all day long.Get it!
11. Best For Distance Running – Saucony Excursion Tr11 Running Shoe
Long-distance running is its own kind of challenge. And it’s a challenge that’ll need the kind of shoes that’ll handle the strain. Which is why you need to pick up these Saucony shoes. It’s durable, so it won’t break down. The soles got the kind of traction that’ll keep you from slipping. And it’s so comfortable that your feet won’t complain during the run, letting you go as long as possible.Get it!
12. Best For Adventure – Under Armour Charged Assert 8 Mrble Running Shoe
Under Armour is always a brand you can trust for your physical fitness needs. And these runners are no slouch. When you go outside for your workouts, these will be a big benefit to your routine. Strong, balanced, and flexible enough to give you the mobility and comfort you need to run with ease.Get it!
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