Whether you are new to the world of trail running or a seasoned veteran, what you wear on your feet can have a huge impact on your performance. Weight, fit, comfort, traction and flexibility are all examples of things you need to consider when buying a new pair of trail running shoes.
So with that in mind, let’s take a look at what I think are some of the best options for trail-running:
Ideal for: Fast trail runs in hot and dry conditions
Weighing in at 220g, the Salomon S-Lab X-Series Trail Running Shoes are designed for ultimate endurance racing in dry, hot conditions. The Salomon S-Labs come fitted with a breathable open mesh to encourage air flow to the feet, as well as a full TPU toe cap to protect your toes from all angles.
One of the best features of this shoe is the S-Lab Sense Technology™, which provides a low heel drop to encourage mid-foot striking and increased agility. Combined with their ultra-lightweight build, these shoes are the lightest and lowest trail racing shoe in the entire range – perfect for your 10k sprints.
Some other notable features are the EndoFit™ technology, which is an internally fitted sleeve designed to hug the foot in all the right places, and the Non-Marking Contagrip© outsoles, which give increased traction on varied terrains.
Vasque Lotic Performance
Ideal for: Hard, wet terrain
Trail running isn’t always dry, and sometimes it’s a nice change to wade through a stream over wet slippery rocks or explore canyons. If that sounds like something that appeals to you, then you want the Vasque Lotic water shoes.
With their exclusive Idogrip rubber, these shoes will have you scrambling wet rocks like a gecko. Not only is the grip top-notch, but the Vibram© Sliprock soles are completely drainable through 20 debris filtered ports.
The uppers of this shoe are constructed of fast-drying polyester mesh, which drains rapidly and keeps sand and other debris from getting on your feet. The Single Density Perfed Antimicrobial footbed is designed to be comfortable to wear without socks and helps keep sand or muck from getting inside the shoe from the outsoles.
To top it off, the ‘supportive heel yolk with active strap system for secure heel fit’ and quick Kevlar lacing system ensure a tight, but comfortable fit made for performance!
Inov-8 Men’s Race Ultra 270
Ideal for: All-terrain long distance
Building on the success of the 2014 Inov-8 Ultra 290 running shoes come the all-new, even lighter Inov-8 Men’s Race Ultra 270 shoes. Just like the 290s, the 270s fit into the “all-in-one” category, offering comfort and support combined with a lighter, more flexible build.
With a reduced 4mm drop (heel to toe) and widened outsole, these new shoes bring you closer to your terrain for an increase in speed and agility. The wide toe splay also helps you stay on your feet should any fatigue set in over a long trail.
They come fully fitted with Inov-8’s third generation of metatarsal protection, the Meta-Shank™ III system. This provides full metatarsal support, allowing increased benefit from the “Windlass Effect” while retaining protection and flexibility.
They also feature the Race Ultra Gaiter on-shoe attachment points for extra protection should you need it.
Ideal for: Scrambling and climbing
Last, but not least on my list of the best trail running shoes are the Patagonia Rovers. One thing that stands out with these shoes is their extreme versatility. Hiking, trail running, climbing and scrambling – the Patagonia Rover trail shoes can do it all.
The first thing that strikes you is the weight. At just 250g, the Rovers are ultra-light. This ultimately means they are also ultra-flexible too. Their variable lacing system allows you to completely adjust the shoe top to bottom to fit your foot perfectly and gives you complete control over your footing.
They come with a 4mm drop which lets your feel the terrain and promotes a natural foot strike. The dual-density EVA midsoles provide comfort and support.
The outsoles have a softer, tacky heel, providing you with tons of traction. The toe area is made of a slightly harder, sticky rubber that will help you climb. The forefoot ESS plate will also protect your feet from rocks and sharp debris whilst running.
As if all that wasn’t enough, the uppers of this shoe are made from extremely breathable, abrasion-resistant mesh that drains very well, meaning you can take these shoes into water comfortably. A perfect all-in-one option!