The Best Trail Running Shoes for Men in 2021

Natalie Cecconi
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One of the best parts about trail running is the scenery. Whether you take a leisurely stroll or want to push the pace and cover as much ground as possible; it's the place to be.

Trail running is a fantastic and low impact form of exercise. So, depending on your level of fitness, you can make a trail out of pretty much any place … even your local grassy hill!

If you want to keep injury out of the picture, it is important for you to wear the right shoes. Of course, as with everything, there are a lot of trail running shoes out there. They vary in comfort, support and even looks.

Here, we've compiled a review of the six best trail running shoes for men in 2021. We believe that the shoes we have chosen offer the best balance of comfort, support and durability.

NameCategoryProduct
Brooks Men's Cascadia 14Best OverallBrooks Men's Cascadia 14
Saucony Men's Peregrine 8 Running ShoeBudget PickSaucony Men's Peregrine 8 Running Shoe
Salomon Sense Ride Running ShoeUpgrade PickSalomon Sense Ride Running Shoe

1. Brooks Men's Cascadia 14

Our rating: 9 / 10

Brooks Men's Cascadia 14

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Pros:

  • Fantastic water resistance capability
  • Durable rubber outsole
  • Great cushioning technology
  • Midfoot stability
  • Comfortable and lightweight

Cons:

  • Straps can be a little annoying
  • Bulky design
  • Not the best trail running shoes for women

The latest iteration of the Brooks Men’s Cascadia is a fantastic trail running shoe that offers some nice improvements over its previous models. 2017’s Cascadia 14 accommodates a wider foot and is more breathable … all while maintaining a nice lightweight design.

In addition, the midfoot has some great stability that helps with the more heavy-duty running you might do while taking on more challenging trails. The toe box is a little bulky, so it might not be the best trail running shoe for more slender feet.

However, this is a trail running shoe for men that maintains that typical Brooks shoe feel: like a supportive, versatile classic that will serve you well over long trail runs and high-mileage days. Overall, the Cascadia 14 still provides a really nice balance between cushioning and lightweight that allows for smooth and balanced movement.

2. ALTRA AFM1855F Men's Lone Peak 4 Trail Running Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

ALTRA AFM1855F Men's Lone Peak 4 Trail Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Made with durable and lightweight breathable materials
  • Rigid enough to prevent injuries
  • Made to feel comfortable on even the roughest terrains
  • Versatile enough to be used in both light and heavy conditions

Cons:

  • Feels a bit rigid and clunky for some users
  • Not good for heavy-duty terrains

The Altra Lone Peak are a lace-up, aggressive-looking trail running shoe for men. The shoe is built with a lightweight mesh upper and a Vibram outsole. The outsole has aggressive traction lugs for better grip on rough terrains.

Winner of multiple awards such as the Runner's World Editor's Choice Award and Best of Show Award during the world's largest outdoor expo.

The shoe's design provides high mobility and a wide range of motion. This allows runners to move more naturally and efficiently. The design also helps reduce injuries for people who are more prone to getting injured. The unique midsole keeps the shoe stable and rigid, preventing injuries to vulnerable midfoot joints. The shoe can also resist tears due to extended uses.

3. Salomon Men's Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoes

Our rating: 8 / 10

Salomon Men's Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoes

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The Salomon Men's Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoes are a comfortable pair of shoes with a snug fit. They're made of a lightweight, breathable mesh for a good airflow. These shoes are made for the trail, so that implies a lot of lateral movements. They have an elongated lacing design for the maximum security fit, even for fast movements.

These shoes are definitely lightweight, so they'd be suitable for longer distances. But they can be a bit heavy for some users. If you're looking for good cushioning, you'll probably love these shoes. However, they're not very flexible. While you will want to stick to a neutral terrain route if you want to run these, you can use these shoes for just about any terrain as long as you're prepared to work a bit.

They should also be a good option for people who are interested in trail running but don't have a lot of experience with the sport. That's because these shoes are a good balance between trail performance and being comfortable.

4. Brooks Cascadia 14 GTX

Our rating: 8 / 10

Brooks Cascadia 14 GTX

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Pros:

  • All-terrain versatility
  • Water-resistant
  • Superior cushioning
  • Durable and long lasting

Cons:

  • Low ankle mobility
  • Narrow shoes
  • Dismal sole durability

The popular Brooks Cascadia running shoe series is the first of the line to feature the new Gore-tex X-rapid. X-rapid is the world’s fastest Gore-Tex membrane. It has similar properties to the g-ore-tex, but it is more breathable, lighter, and more durable. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it – the Cascadia 14 is a great running shoe that deserves a spot on our list. It manages to retain its balance of responsive cushioning and lightweight performance.

The stylish upper is made of two different fabrics: mesh and synthetic suede. The seamless nature of the upper allows the shoe to fit perfectly with the foot and the Vibram outsole adds durability and traction on invaribly slippery surfaces.

5. Saucony Men's Peregrine 8 Running Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

Saucony Men's Peregrine 8 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Full-length and multi-directional FlexFilm
  • Water-resistant
  • Rubber toe cap protects feet from impacts
  • The toe bumper is very comfortable for toe-sparring
  • Fine-tuned lacing system for a customized fit
  • The wide mid-foot strap locks your foot in place; it’s padded too
  • Great support
  • Great grip on grass and dirt
  • Rolled collar for comfort

Cons:

  • A few users say that the toe box is narrow
  • High arches can cause the inside of the shoe to rub
  • The shoe does not come in a wide option

The Saucony Peregrine is a good option for people who need a comfortable shoe for short to overland trail journeys. It will keep your feet blister-free and safe from dangerous collisions.

The shoe offers the protection against sharp rocks, branches, and potentially dangerous wildlife. The rubber toe guard is durable for enduring impacts, and the flexible material does not weigh you down.

It also comes with an 8mm heel-to-toe drop to match your natural running pattern. You can use the huge Velcro strap to customize your fit, however, the shoe does not come with options for wide feet. If you have high arches, the shoes might rub the inside of your foot.

6. ASICS Men's GT-2000 6 Trail Running Shoes

Our rating: 8 / 10

ASICS Men's GT-2000 6 Trail Running Shoes

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Pros:

  • Excellent traction and grip while running
  • Great padding
  • Very comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Available at multiple color choices
  • Very affordable
  • Innnovative design

This Trail running shoe from ASICS is built for the trails. It’s the perfect combination of comfort and stability with its standard GT-2000 features and traction and grip are superb.

The midsole runs atop thick cushioned EVA foam and gel for a comfortable ride. The outsoles are designed for high-abrasion trail runs.

What’s really great about this shoe is that it’s available at multiple color choices. The price is quite affordable too!

7. Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 Trail Running Shoes

Our rating: 8 / 10

Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 Trail Running Shoes

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Pros:

  • Waterproof upper
  • Lightweight (8.7 oz, pair)
  • Insole has excellent breathability
  • Outsole grips harder than Vibram or Salomon
  • Total support guaranteed
  • Zero-drop design (from heel to toe drop)

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Sizes run a bit big
  • Durability issues with the outsole

"These are the second pair of Hokas that I will be purchasing and will continue to do so as they are by far the best pair of running shoes I have ever bought. They have great traction on trails and fit my feet perfectly. I have tried ASICS, New Balance, On Cloud, Merrell, Nike, and Salomon but nothing compares to the fit and performance of this shoe." —Dave

"I bought these shoes for their great traction on a rocky trail. They did not disappoint. My one minor gripe is that if I exert myself going uphill I can feel the fabric part of the upper pressing against my forefoot. But that might smooth itself out over time. I have several muddy and wet hikes where these kept my feet dry." —Ricky

8. ASICS Men's GT-2000 6 Trail Running Shoes

Our rating: 7 / 10

ASICS Men's GT-2000 6 Trail Running Shoes

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Pros:

  • Excellent traction and grip while running
  • Great padding
  • Very comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Available at multiple color choices
  • Very affordable
  • Innnovative design

This Trail running shoe from ASICS is built for the trails. It’s the perfect combination of comfort and stability with its standard GT-2000 features and traction and grip are superb.

The midsole runs atop thick cushioned EVA foam and gel for a comfortable ride. The outsoles are designed for high-abrasion trail runs.

What’s really great about this shoe is that it’s available at multiple color choices. The price is quite affordable too!

9. New Balance Men's Hierro v3 Fresh Foam Trail Running Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

New Balance Men's Hierro v3 Fresh Foam Trail Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Posture control, stability, and support
  • Great grip on all trail surfaces
  • Very breathable materials
  • Good traction on most surfaces

Cons:

  • Not recommended for heavy runners
  • Weird sole composition
  • A little tight on the toes

The New Balance Men’s Hierro v3 Fresh Foam Trail Running Shoe is a sturdy trail-running shoe that has great stability and sturdy for the moderate to heavy trail runner. It is also available at an Affordable price.

The Fresh Foam midsole technology regulates your foot’s temperature during the run, making you feel comfortable and supported. The rugged outsole is designed for rugged terrain yet the shoe feels lightweight on your feet.

The shoes offer 360 degrees of flexibility, to help provide the maximum amount of stability where it’s needed, while also provide a great degree of comfort on the long run. They are also waterproof.

10. Nike Women's Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4 Running Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

Nike Women's Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Breathable mesh/mesh tongue
  • Tread outsole provides a great grip in any weather
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Thin and flexible
  • Seamless mesh material for extra comfort

Cons:

  • Not suitable for cold weather
  • The sole may wear out after a while
  • A little narrow for some people
  • The tongue is too low

The Nike Women’s Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4 Running Shoes is a lightweight and comfortable running shoe that is ideal for trail running and trail hikes.

It has thin and flexible soles, so it doesn’t get in the way of your footwork when moving around obstacles.

It also has a breathable mesh/mesh tongue for added comfort and to keep your feet cool and dry.

11. HOKA ONE ONE Men's Challenger ATR 4 Trail Running Shoe Black/Kumquat Size 9 M US

Our rating: 5 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Men's Challenger ATR 4 Trail Running Shoe Black/Kumquat Size 9 M US

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Pros:

  • Great traction and road grip
  • Excellent stability and support
  • Excellent cushioning and comfort
  • Great wet grip
  • Efficient foot support

Cons:

  • Some have found the Upper to be a little tight
  • The sole can be a little flexible
  • Heavier than some shoes
  • Can be a little pricey

When it comes to trail running, there is a popular notion that the more aggressive your shoe is, the better it is suited for trail running. Sometimes it is true in this case as well. However, too much aggressiveness can cause foot blisters in some cases. In the case of this shoe, it is an all-rounder trail running shoe. The Hoka One One Challenger ATR 4 is a shoe that will get you through buffed dirt trails and rocky alpine trails equally well.

The cushioning and density of the sole is what truly makes this shoe an excellent option for trail running. The ramp angle used in this shoe is high and ensures a smooth transition for hikers, and it also gives good comfort even on rough terrain. The outsole is made of Continental rubber which grips well on wet terrain.

The upper is a breathable soft mesh which reduces the accumulation of moisture due to sweating. However, some users have found the upper to be a little tight around the toe box. Most won’t face this issue though.

12. HOKA ONE ONE Men's Challenger ATR 4 Running Shoes

Our rating: 5 / 10

HOKA ONE ONE Men's Challenger ATR 4 Running Shoes

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Pros:

  • Fantastically designed trail running shoe with good traction
  • Lightweight design makes a highly versatile shoe
  • Great customer service
  • The emphasis on mid-sole material comfort and support gives you a smooth ride
  • You can feel the trail grip well

The Hoka One One Men’s Challenger ATR 4 is a highly cushioned trail running shoe with good traction and a structure design optimized to deliver high stability. It’s also lightweight, breathable, and designed to reduce net drop.

The shoe features a full-length, zero net drop platform to ensure optimum energy transition.

The 4-point PWRTRAC outsole is lightweight and utilizes Continental’s new Trail King outsole compound.

13. Salomon Sense Ride Running Shoe

Our rating: 5 / 10

Salomon Sense Ride Running Shoe

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Salomon is a well-known brand when it comes to trail running shoes. Their flagship trail running model is the Sense Ride. It’s an excellent lightweight model with aggressive tread for a natural feeling and overall good performance in tough conditions.

What makes it such a unique champion is the midsole. It provides for a natural feeling to the soles of your feet, and it’s only 1.8 ounces lighter than other trail running shoes that are heavier. The Sense Ride offers a flexible AirMesh upper which helps regulate the temperature of your feet.

The outsole of the Sense Ride is very formidable, being 8mm thick. It’s thicker than many other models. The rubber material it’s made from is quite substantial; it can handle all kinds of terrain including rocks, roots, mud, and snow.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the best trail running shoes for men?

As the name suggests, trail running shoes are ideal for running on trails. Trail running shoes have been developed to handle uneven terrain and provide more traction as compared to road running shoes.

Most trail running shoes are made for medium to long distance trail runs. So, if this is the main reason why you’re looking for a trail running shoe, then it’s a smart move to go long distance. If you won’t be running for long distances, then it doesn’t make sense to get a trail running as it is more expensive as compared to normal running shoes.

For those who want an in-depth guide on how to choose a trail running shoe, we suggest going through our How to Choose the Best Trail Running Shoes piece.

What is the best cushioning trail running shoe?

( June, 2016 )

Really the best shoe for you will be a shoe that fits well and is comfortable. A shoe with a little less cushioning will cater to a person looking to get a more natural feeling out of their shoe. A shoe with a lot of cushioning will be a great shoe for someone who is looking for a little bit more support for their runs.

In terms of activities specific to running, any shoes will work for running. A shoe with a little less cushioning will work for speed work, just as well as a super cushioned shoe. The only difference is that a little less cushioned shoe will give you a little bit older and more natural feeling and a more cushioned shoe will feel softer and a little bit more supported.

Picking the right kind of shoe will be based on the individual and what they are looking for.

Are trail running shoes OK for pavement?

Obtaining the best trail running shoes doesn’t mean you have to stay on trails exclusively. In fact, going with a pair of shoes designed for running both on and off the trails is an excellent choice. Many people prefer trail running shoes for everyday use because they are high quality and durable.

If you’re looking for the best trail running shoes you will notice that there are two genres of shoe: the road, and the mountain. Road shoes are very thin with limited tread. They are designed to make athletes go as fast as possible on flat terrain and come with a variety of different compounds to suit your needs.

Mountain running shoes are made with thicker tread that is great for rugged terrains and packed dirt trails. They have large lugs, which give your foot more traction. They will also wear down a little quicker than road running shoes, because they have to work harder to compensate for the added grip.

When should I buy new trail running shoes?

You should replace them when the design starts to actually break down. If you find that your running shoes are giving you blisters, discomfort in the toebox or excessive wear then it is time to replace them.

This is where quality lining comes into play. When it is of high quality, it can help reduce these issues and extend the life of the shoe. If the sole of the shoe is showing excessive wear or you lose too much of the outsole then it was time for a replacement.

Time is the easiest way to know what type of condition your shoes are in.

Conclusion

It’s true that choosing the best trail running shoe can be a challenge. We searched high and low for shoes so you don’t have to. We decided to focus our efforts on finding the best trail running shoes that were also all-round winners in other categories. We found that the stability, cushioning, and traction of the Salomon Speedcross 4 shoes made them the clear winner in this category.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Brooks Men's Cascadia 14Best OverallBrooks Men's Cascadia 14
Saucony Men's Peregrine 8 Running ShoeBudget PickSaucony Men's Peregrine 8 Running Shoe
Salomon Sense Ride Running ShoeUpgrade PickSalomon Sense Ride Running Shoe