Since 2009 when Born to Run came out, a running revolution has taken hold.
More and more people are ditching their sneakers for trail-running shoes.
Trail or all-terrain running shoes are great if you enjoy heading out to the dirt. They have a low profile, are more flexible, and playful. You can also expect to see trail-running shoes with features like an aggressive outsole lugging, stronger durable uppers, and stiffer midsole soles.
The most important advantage of trail shoes is that they don’t have to be just for the trail. Many of these trail-running shoes are also suitable for other terrains like dirt, asphalt, and concrete.
We will also be looking at different types of bush and hiking shoes, plus explaining what to look for in trail running shoes.
|Brooks Men's Ghost 13||Best Overall|
|ASICS Women's GT-2000 6 Trail Running Shoes||Budget Pick|
|Brooks Womens Adrenaline GTS 20 Running Shoe||Upgrade Pick|
1. Brooks Men's Ghost 13
- A highly recommended versatile running shoe
- Very comfortable on the road
- Excellent stability and ground-skimming feel
- Outsoles are superbly sticky
- Best shoes for both short and long distance running
- Very effective Cushioning & Protection of joints
- Lesser price than what you pay for
- Great for mid-foot strikers
- High-quality features and a great bargain
- The mesh upper may not be suitable in wet weathers
- Runners with a narrow foot may find it a bit wide
- Not the best shoes for long-distance or trail running
- Not the best shoes for running workouts at the gym
- Heel strikers may find it a bit heavy
The Brooks Men’s Ghost 13 is a very comfortable shoe that offers excellent stability and a ground-skimming feel for easy running. With a killer combination of cushioning and protection, it’s one of the best shoes at this price range and is also one of Brooks’ most popular models.
The Ghost is available in a wide range of colors and styles to match the needs of most runners. It also has a very responsive sole which provides more control for an easier run.
2. Salomon Men's SENSE RIDE 3 Trail Running Shoe
- Breathable mesh fabric
- Sticky rubber outsole for improved traction
- Stable and comfortable fit with good arch support
- Option of wide or narrow shoes
- Great bounce-back from impacts
- Durable toe cap and sensitive rubber toe guard
- Nice style and colors
For a shoe that really gets a lot of bang for its buck, we went with the Salomon Men’s SENSE RIDE 3 Trail Running Shoe.
This shoe offers multi-sport versatility with a relatively thin outsole that is great for use on dirt and asphalt.
It also has great breathability for high-performance running.
3. Brooks Women's Ghost 13
- Provides a roomy forefoot area with ample toe spring
- Has a smoother transition from heel to forefoot area
- Sole unit is low-top
- That is easy to wear for long distances
- Provides excellent comfort
- Its Freerider toe box is asymmetrical to accommodate the shape of your foot
- Has superb-grip fit.
- Offers a comfortable experience
- Removable foot bed
- Has nylon arch shank
The Brooks Women's Ghost 13 Running Shoes are a perfect choice for high impact activities.
Go ahead and give it a try.
The cushioning area is well engineered and offers great resilience and durability.
4. Brooks Men's Adrenaline GTS 20
- Large collection of great running shoes
- Elite Cushioning Protection
- Good heel support
- Good for high to moderate arch type of feet
- Good stabile footing
- Great grip on multiple terrains
- Shoe rolls well when landing, so minimal impact
- Excellent endurance shoe
- Some users may find the running shoe too narrow
- Soles are not ideal for wet conditions
- Not very good for lifting weights as the shoe offer little to no lateral support
The Brooks Men’s Adrenaline GTS 20 is a great all around running shoe for established endurance runners. It is a higher cut shoe offering a snug comfortable fit without being too tight.
This is a lightweight and comfortable running essential that offers a higher level of cushioning and support for arch type of high impact running. The shoe is ideal for neutral to moderately over-pronating feet.
The sole has grip on multiple terrains and is good for use on road surfaces and in mixed terrain.
5. Brooks Womens Adrenaline GTS 20 Running Shoe
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Supports impact and shock well
- Durable and long-lasting
- Great value for money
- Vegan-friendly and cruelty-free
- There are some reports on the width fitting small and narrow
- Not suitable for longer walking and running marathons
The Brooks Womens Adrenaline GTS 20 Running Shoe is a lightweight, shock-absorbing, and breathable running shoe. The shoe has a streamlined design ideal for both male and female runners. The shoe features a high-abrasion rubber outsole and a foot-capturing blown EVA midsole. The upper is made of flexible mesh to ease the process of slipping it on and provides a snug fit.
The shoe is also made using recyclable materials and is 100% cruelty-free and made without animal materials.
The shoe runs a touch small, so make sure that you order a size that usually does not come to you normally.
6. Salomon Women's SENSE RIDE 3 W
- Provides support in the right places
- Great traction; perfect for any condition
- Comfortable and spacious toe box
- Lightweight construction
- Great traction on a variety of surfaces
- Breathable mesh material
- Lightweight upper
- Overall a well-designed and well-made shoe
- Relatively inexpensive
The Salomon Women's SENSE RIDE 3 W, Trail Running Shoe is our top running shoe pick for 2020. With its great traction, lightweight material, and fully cushioned upper, this shoe will serve you well on your next run.
7. ASICS Men's GT-2000 6 Trail Running Shoes
- Highly comfortable design
- Highly durable
- Breathable mesh fabric
- Light and flexible
- Cushioning and stability are great
- Limited sizing
- Not as good traction as expected
The GT-2000 6 Trail is made to last, and to help you power through bumps, tread, and other obstacles. It has a breathable mesh fabric, trail specific midsole, and gel cushions that form to your feet and adapt to your stride.
They don’t look too fancy, but they look pretty good, keeping with the minimalist athleisure trend.
You can expect intermediate support, traction, and comfort with these trail running shoes. Comfort is very good, while support is relatively poor.
8. ASICS Women's GT-2000 6 Trail Running Shoes
The GT-2000 6 by ASICS is a trail running shoe with a lightweight design and a rugged construction. The midsole has a semi seamless construction with a plastic outer shank and a firm EVA core. It comes with a generously cushioned heel and tongue.
This shoe runs a bit small especially if you normally wear a half size. If that’s your case, you’ll be better off going up half a size. The laces are also quite firm, which is perfect if you like a snug fit. However if you prefer a looser fit, you can buy separate laces since the length of the ones it comes with is quite short.
The traction of these shoes is adequate for most surfaces, which includes trails, roads, and light to moderate trails. They aren’t suited for running in sand, mud, snow, or on especially hard trails though. When it comes to durability, the GT-2000 is surprisingly sturdy. The sole and toe box is very durable, and the shoe has held up well in a variety of environments including street surfaces, asphalt, and unkempt trails.
9. ASICS Men's Fujitrabuco Lyte Running Shoes
The ASICS Men’s Fujitrabuco Lyte Running Shoe is a great off the beaten path shoe for trail runners of all skill levels. These ASICS road runners have a mesh upper and midsole with a wider design for maximum cushioning.
The design has a nice combination of colors and it provides flexibility, which is great for off-road running. A cool feature is a reflective 3M Reflective tape that provides enhanced visibility. They feel good with a nice fit.
However, the shoes do run a little bigger than what you should wear, so we recommend buying these shoes at one size smaller than your normal shoes from a shoe store.
10. ASICS Women's Fujitrabuco Lyte Running Shoes
- Highly durable rubber outsole
- Outstanding balance and grip
- Efficient water, dirt, and debris removal
- High shock absorption and stability
The Women’s Fujitrabuco Lyte Running Shoes from ASICS are a fantastic option to consider if you’re looking for a higher quality option. The fantastic thing about this model is that it offers great shock absorption and stability, so it can be used by beginners and serious athletes alike.
The sturdy design and highly durable outsole means it can handle even the most rigorous of workouts. The shoe is also equipped with a special GEL cushioning system which greatly improves shock absorption and reduces the chances of getting blisters.
The upper mesh layer integrates a multidirectional support pattern that utilizes a seamless knit to provide ultimate comfort and breathability. In addition, it’s specially reinforced with a rubber material to provide balance and grip no matter where you’re using your hands.
11. Brooks Men's Caldera 3
- Great traction
- Versatile for trail running and training
- Allows natural movement
- Some customers complain about sizing
- Absorbs temperature changes too quickly; won’t suit those who want a shoe that’ll last the warm summers and the cold winters
The Caldera 3 from Brooks offers a nice, wide toe box that allows them to fit comfortably. The mesh upper is a nice touch that helps to keep it cool and ventilated during hot weather runs. These shoes are recommended for those who frequently do shorter runs or races of shorter distances. They’re not very flexible and the outsoles might not be durable enough for long distance runs of 50 miles or more.
The Caldera 3 is a pretty lightweight shoe, at only 10.8 ounces. This is about half the weight of its predecessor, the Caldera 2.
While they might not be the right shoe for all runners, we still recommend them for those who want a nice lightweight performance shoe that offers good comfort and excellent grip on terrain that ranges from roads and trails to the treadmill or the track.
12. Brooks Caldera 3
- Lightweight and cushy
- Well-responsive outsole for excellent traction
- Great fit that provides good support and flexibility
- Durable material
- Not very breathable
- Low-profile heel for increased stability but less sensitivity
The Brooks Caldera 3 running shoe received the Runner’s World Editor’s Choice Award. And rightfully so.
As the culmination of Brooks’s years of research and development in racing shoe technology, it is quick, responsive, incredibly lightweight, and most importantly, a joy to run in.
The Caldera 3 offers excellent cushioning thanks to its Ortholite foam midsole. It has a roomy toe box, so your toes can move freely while still fitting snugly in the shoe. This, together with a super-comfortable upper, makes it easy to wear this shoe for a longer duration and makes it fast and nimble.
13. Nike W Air Zoom Pegasus 34 Shield 907328-002 Thunder Blue Women's Running Shoes
- Provides exceptional heel support and stability
- The soft footbed helps with reducing foot fatigue
- Extremely lightweight
- Really soft rubber from the midfoot to the toe box
- Smooth and responsive ride
- Offers excellent traction
- The laces don’t fit well
- The toe box is too narrow
- Sole is less cushioning
- The plastic seams are less sturdy
Nike’s W Air Zoom Pegasus 34 Shield is a well-rounded running shoe for use on roads and trails alike. It’s lightweight, breathable, and even offers great control and performance when you’re tackling tough terrain.
The shoe is highly cushioned in the heel and the forefoot which makes it a great choice for runners who want a bit of give in their midsole.
While the shoe’s design is sleek and attractive, it’s not without its minor issues. Many people have complained about the fact that the shoe’s laces are prone to damage. Another issue is the fact that the toe box is somewhat narrow.
14. Salomon Sonic RA WOM Shoe Bl/Ye 8.5 B
- Reliable and durable
- Have an excellent grip
- Meant for long distance running
- Available in multiple sizes and colors
The far from minimalist Salomon Sonic RA WOM Shoe Bl/Ye is a popular shoe for women looking for a light run shoe. It has a lightweight design that maximizes the wearer’s performance, yet remains durable. These shoes, available at multiple sizes and colors, can be worn by runners of all skill levels.
The shoe weighs 5.2oz without the laces and 7.0 oz with them. It also features a cushioned Salomon Speed Zone footbed that keeps the runners comfortable for an extended period of time and has an ergonomic design that caters to the female anatomy.
The outsole is made of durable rubber that repels moisture. It has an 8mm drop to accommodate the movement of the foot. This accommodates the wave-like motion of the runners’ body. It also has 4mm lugs, rocker, and a rubber heel bridge that adds to the shoe’s shock absorption which relieves pressure from the ankle area.
15. HOKA ONE ONE Women's Challenger ATR 4 Trail Running Shoes
- Eva midsole
- Contagrip outsole
- Quicklace system
- Customizable fit
- The outsole can be resoled for a long lifespan
- Lightweight at 9.5oz
- Good grip on a variety of terrain
- Offers additional stability thanks to a medial support on the heel.
- Flexible feels for a custom fit
- More expensive than competing shoes
- Might feel heavy compared with minimalist shoes
- Laces can cause foot irritation after a long period of time
- Not really suitable for wide feet
- It lacks waterproof material, so it won’t be suitable for all different weather conditions
While the Hoka One One Challenger ATR 4 is in fact a trail shoe, it’s also suitable for road running activities. It actually provides great overall protection on any type of surface, from muddy forest trails, rugged mountain climbs, to city streets.
Because of its nifty design and comfort level, it’s a great choice for trail running.
16. Inov-8 Men's Roadtalon 240 Running Shoe
- These are versatile shoes. Can be used on the track, treadmill, roads, trails and hills
- The shoe is durable
- With the great grip, you can go any place
- Comfortable and lightweight
The Inov-8 Roadtalon 240 is a lightweight trail shoe ideal for off-road running. It is designed with an external heel counter for support, and the triangular shaped meta stays add a firm grip to the toe box. The upper part of the shoe is made from a breathable mesh material, and it has a synthetic toe guard.
The outsole is designed with a specific Vibram pattern for optimum traction on and off road. The rubber outsole is designed with a lug pattern that functions well on the trail and mud. Additionally, the Inov-8 Roadtalon 240 has a removable insole for air flow and comfort.
Bottom line: The Inov-8 has a lightweight structure and a secure and firm grip. It is designed for off-road running and can be used on the track, treadmill, roads and trails. It’s breathable mesh upper makes it a perfect shoe.
17. HOKA ONE ONE Men's Challenger ATR 4 Trail Running Shoe Black/Kumquat Size 9 M US
- 20% lighter than previous models
- Wide toe box makes it easy to get into
- The sole uses a pattern that provides excellent traction
- The midsole provides excellent cushioning
- Almost zero lift off at the heel, which is excellent for stability
- Minimal toe spring
- Some people find them to be a tad bulky
- Some don’t find them to be that durable
- Can feel stiff at first
The Challenger ATR 4 Trail Running Shoe from Hoka One One is a 4-millimeter omni-rigid trail running shoe that’s great for almost any kind of terrain. It also provides excellent toe-off traction and can be worn for both running and hiking.
This shoe features a roomy toe box, an air-pillowed heel, and low-to-the-ground cushion for a very stable fit. It’s available in 10 different color variants, so you can choose one that’s going to match your style.
The lightweight suede upper and protective rubber toe cap are a welcome addition to a trail shoe. The firm midsole provides excellent cushioning, which is what most reviewers love about this shoe.
18. Salomon Sonic RA Mens Running Shoes
- Great for trail running
- Good arch support
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Looks great
- Enough cushioning for urban running
- Sole is flexible
- Poor traction on wet surface
- Price is on the expensive side
- Narrow in the front
- Some people find the colors to be not so attractive
Here’s a running shoe that’s been crafted for the trail and also for the city. The Salomon Sonic RA is a top-of-the-line trail shoe for both men and women. It comes with enough traction to handle anything you throw at it, and it is lightweight and comfortable.
It is versatile enough you could wear it to the office if you want to. With a padded tongue it will keep you comfortable, and your feet will remain dry and fresh thanks to its anti-microbial treatment.
19. Nike Men's Air Zoom Pegasus 34 Shield Running Shoes
- Good for training and racing
- Highly breathable
- Relatively lightweight
- Not good for cold weather
- Can’t give refunds
- Way too big
- A bit expensive
- Not ideal for training
If you want something that’s flexible for the road AND easy to run on trails than the Nike Men‒s Air Zoom Pegasus 34 Shield are an excellent choice. Its blend of softness, durability, and technology they’re perfect for all posture types.
20. Inov-8 Women's Roadtalon 240 Running Shoe
- Low profile pack design
- Amazing traction (including for trails)
- Great for narrow feet
- Fantastic value for money
- Very comfortable
- Longer break-in period
- Might feel stiff at first
The Inov-8 Women's Road Talon 240 is a low profile running shoe made for a multi-sport and minimalist wear. Ideal for runners with narrow feet. It was designed to offer responsive power transmission, great traction and flexibility.
The Inov-8 Women's Road Talon 240 features the slim, low profile design with great traction. This is a great shoe for up to the trails. It offers great traction and comfort even on less technical terrain. The shoe is made from a synthetic and rubber material, and very breathable for high- performance running.
The shoe has a low heel drop that means it doesn’t limit mobility. The outsole shaft has been designed to offer effective traction. It will not only make you confident while running, also ensures that you stay stable on your feet. The rubber compound is very resilient too, which means you can run long distances without getting tired or uncomfortable. Plus, the Inov-8 Women’s Road Talon 240 is very light at 280 grams.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can you wear trail running shoes for road running?
Most people can, but it depends on what type of foot you have! If you think you can, just give it a try. Really go for an extended walk or run. Then if it feels fine, maybe even buy another pair and use them for road running.
If you have a very wide foot and you find that the large toe area of the shoe is pushing your foot forward, try a shoe with more room in the toe box.
For a more defined idea of what type of running shoe you need, have an expert look at your feet. Runners’ World offers shoe fittings where they look at exactly how your foot strikes the ground and what your arch and foot type is. This way they can adjust the fit to meet your needs.
They also have classes at some locations where they look at your feet and show you the correct shoe to pick.
This is an extremely helpful way in picking the best running shoe.
What are the best shoes for road running?
Shoes for road running need to have great stiffness, stability, and overall cushioning to be a good road running shoe. They also need to offer a natural ride, and provide a lot of protection to the foot and ankle.
The best road running shoes will combine all of these factors into one shoe, but there are different models that do certain things better than others.
For example, the most stable shoes are the most heavy duty shoes. They won’t always offer as much cushioning as lighter models, and that’s why they work the best for road racing, where placing first is the ultimate goal.
What are the best running shoes 2022?
There are hundreds of running shoes in the market, and some of them are great for one activity while others are better for the others.
However, there are certain shoes that are great for both roads and trails. If you want to run on the road, then there are some road shoes and if you want to run on rocky trails, then you can choose trail running shoes.
Trail running shoes are great for long distance running on rough terrain as they come with durable and strong grip. But you can also use them while running on roads.
If you want to run in a tunnel or a treadmill, you can use the best running shoes for men and women.
You can buy shoes made for men, women, and high arches or flat feet.
What's the difference between a trail running shoe and a regular running shoe?
Well, first of all, a trail running shoe is a lot more rugged than a regular running shoe and is built to handle a lot more abuse. They usually have a much stronger and stiffer sole, and they are usually waterproof and built with a lugged, non-slip sole. The upper material is usually waterproof and is built with a much more durable and tougher mesh that is designed to take more punishment and abuse. Even the tread on the sole is designed differently. With trail shoes, the lugs give maximum amount of grip in the mud, dirt, snow or whatever else you can throw at it with a tough and flexible rubber compound.
Lots of trail shoes also have little nylon loops on the upper material, and the sole of the shoe that are used for tying them to your ankles and feet tightly to make sure they don't come loose.
The best running shoes for running on both paved and unpaved surfaces in 2022 are the ASICS Gel-Nimbus 20. When you’re talking about running shoes, you’re talking about the one thing that your body needs to help it propel itself forward.
|Brooks Men's Ghost 13||Best Overall|
|ASICS Women's GT-2000 6 Trail Running Shoes||Budget Pick|
|Brooks Womens Adrenaline GTS 20 Running Shoe||Upgrade Pick|