10 Best Trail Running Shoes of 2019: Hard & Soft Ground Options

trail running shoes

Trail running.  A mixture of beauty, pleasure, pain, and nature.  Some believe trail running is about enjoying nature while enjoying a job.  Others do it simply to keep in shape and treat it as more of a workout.  No matter what your experience with trail running, or what you get out of it, this guide will help you sort through some of the best options on the shoe market that address various needs for running on trails.  While it might seem obvious to point out that running trails and on the road are different, it is very important to do just that.  Trails can vary greatly from one another.  Your trail might be a simple gravel road to run on, while others might be running on what is essentially clay.  Still yet, other might be on grass, or any number of other combinations of surfaces.  So, it is very much important to know and identify just where you are running at.  On top of that, it’s also vital to know yourself and your specific needs as well.  By combining those two things, you will be able to come up with footwear options that are best suited to your needs.  Today, we are going to delve into the topic with a buyer’s guide that seeks to answer any questions you have about selecting a pair of shoes for trail running.  Then, we will take a look at some of the best, most popular options that are currently for sale this year.

Top Trail Running Shoes Comparison Chart

ProductMaterialSolePriceWhere to Buy?
Salomon Women’s XR Mission Running ShoeSyntheticRubber $$Check Price On Amazon
Salomon Women’s Speedcross 4Mesh, TextileRubber $$$$Check Price On Amazon
Merrell Women’s Siren Edge HikerMeshVibram $$$$Check Price On Amazon
ASICS Women’s Gel-Scram 3SyntheticRubber $$Check Price On Amazon
New Balance Women’s NitrelSyntheticRubber $$$Check Price On Amazon
Salomon Men’s Speedcross 4Textile & SyntheticRubber $$$$Check Price On Amazon
Salomon Men’s XA Pro 3DTextile & SyntheticRubber $$$Check Price On Amazon
Vibram Men’s VPolyester & SpandexRubber $$$$Check Price On Amazon
New Balance Men’s 510v3Leather/MeshRubber $$$$Check Price On Amazon
Adidas Men’s RockadiaTextile & SyntheticRubber $Check Price On Amazon

Trail Running Shoes Buying Guide

I Can Just Wear Running Shoes, Right?

Remember those diagrams we used to have?  The ones with the two circles that converged and made a third one in the middle?  This is sort of the illustration needed to answer this question.  Running shoes are great to have.  They are usually comfortable, fairly supportive, and they do a good job when you are running on the road.  They also look cool.  But, and this is a big but, they do have their limitations.  Running shoes are made for the road.  They will keep you in decent traction as long as you are on it, and will give you a little bit if you are off it for a moment or two.  But over the long haul, they are just not good for trails.  Trails require something more sturdier and rigid than your normal running (or tennis) shoes give you.  So you must be careful about assuming you can just plug and play your running shoes into any situation.  However, with all of that said, you can use your trail running shoes on the road to double.  The reason why is they still offer all the traction needed.  Of course, they will be heavier, but they can still do the job for you!

Another major plus is that many of the trail running shoes that we will see today are going to be great for other things as well.  Due to the explosion in the popularity of the sport, many consumers have started to find that trail running shoes can be great for other purposes in the outdoors, too.  People that like to backpack are using them, as well as those that like to go on moderately long hikes.  Especially if they are possibly running and walking during those journeys! So, don’t forget that you have a number of options for your new pair of shoes!

Explaining the Differences Between Running Shoes and Trail Running Shoes, And What it All Means

There are many, many things that differentiate running shoes from trail running shoes.  In this section, we’re going to go over the things that are changed, while also going into detail about why and what to look for to make sure that you are in fact looking at an actual pair of trail running shoes.

Rubber

The type of rubber used is going to be one of the most noticeable changes on the shoe.  The biggest thing to note is that the sole of the sole is going to have more grip and will literally feel sticky to you.  This is a good thing because it means it provides you traction as you run, something that ordinary running shoes just cannot offer on most terrains, save the road.  This type of rubber used better enhances your ability to run on wet surfaces, as well as giving you an edge on rocky climbs, too.  Also, don’t be alarmed if they feel ‘soft’ to you.  They will still hold up well for you, it’s just how they are made.

Lugs

First, there are lugs on a trail running shoe.  Lugs are a term used to describe what is the equivalent to a ‘cleat’ for other sports.  Lugs aren’t so much long and narrow like a cleat, though, instead being shallow and usually in a circular shape.  The size of the lugs can vary, and they affect what how you feel when running.  Usually you can tell just from the measurements if they are going to be good for you.  The deeper the lug, the more uncomfortable it is going to feel for you on harder surfaces.  The range of a good lug for technical trails that feature a lack of good footing is 5 millimeters and up.  These will help you dig into the ground better and just give you a much better experience.  Be aware, though, that they don’t do so well and won’t be nearly as forgiving on you if you do happen to use them on the road.

Shoes with shorter lugs (typically ranging between 2 and 4mm) are good for places where the footing is very secure.  This could be places where the track is soft but not mushy, or trails that run through the woods.  Just be aware because these won’t serve you all that well if you do happen to come up against very wet conditions, so you might want to steer clear if that is the case for you.

An important note here is to know that lugs are going to mostly affect your level of comfort when running on the trail.  While deeper lugs will be sufficient for just about any purpose, in theory, really deep ones can be uncomfortable for you on the pavement.  And shorter lugs can be downright annoying for you if you are attempting to run through water or mud.  This is just a warning, of course, and ultimately it will be left up to you to decide what is best for you.

Height of the Heel

One big talking point- part of the trail running jargon, if you will- revolves around the heel.  Some call this heel height, others called if heel differential.  This all about your specific running style.  If you are someone that runs in such a way that your heel strikes the ground, then you will want a traditional heel drop set up.  The heel should be around 10-12 millimeters to qualify for that.  The lower the drop goes, the more the shoe will cause you to strike around the middle of the foot.  This is considered to be a lower-impact strike, because the midfoot is naturally better suited for absorbing blows than the heel is.  Going extremely low on the drop can be beneficial, but it does present challenges.  You have to be ready to allow time to adjust as it will put pressure on the Achilles muscles.  Some won’t be able to bare with that, but others might just prefer it over the long run.

Cushioning

Cushioning is yet another thing that depends wholly on what you want and need in your shoes.  This area is all about common sense.  There has been a movement in the not-so-distant past to move to shoes that allow ‘maximum freedom.’  What this has done is interesting because it has caused shoe companies to either go all-out with the bells and whistles or to cut them out entirely and basically give you a glorified sock.  If you prefer the latter, you’re saying forget the cushioning.  But if you are more in line for you, then cushioning is something you will want- and need.

It’s generally a good rule to remember that you need more cushioning if you are running on harder ground.  Whether it’s because you are running on the road some, or just because the dirt is packed in really well, it just makes sense to cushion yourself as much as you can.  In addition to that, the distance that you run is also a factor.  If you run long distances, you will want to have more cushion because the miles are going to add up to you, even on the softest of grounds imaginable.

If you just happen to like feeling the freedom of the ground, or have a bit of a ‘light step’ and just want to be as light as possible, then a lack of cushioning could be a good fit for you.  Others that like to go with less cushioning are those that run shorter distances and those that on running on soft, mushy, and/or smooth trails mostly.

One tip for people that are looking to get into shape for the first time, or those that have joint problems, is to heavily cushion your shoes.  Those first couple of weeks will make you want to quit forever even more if you aren’t properly equipped, so you can put your best foot forward- even if you are a heavier set person- by making sure to pad the blow as much as you can throughout your run.

Uppers and Rock Plates

All trail running shoes have ‘uppers’ in them that are better designed for harsher elements than your typical running shoes.  What this means is that the fabric around the toe is much more durable and that it allows you to be able to kick things and be protected much better than normal shoes would ever dream of.

Along the same line as that comes the rock plate.  For a more casual trail runner, this is likely to be an unnecessary thing to get, but if you are very serious and are an avid participant, this could be the avenue you wish to take.  A rock plate- which can be made out of various materials including Nylon- is built into the insole of the shoe.  It is made to keep the bottom of your foot from bruising when you land on gravels or bigger, pointed rocks that are sticking out.  The one trade off, of course, is that the rock plate is going to make the shoe weigh more.  This is something that has to be thought about by the consumer, but it’s well worth it over the long haul to make sure you don’t get bruised and have to sit out a weekend or two because of it.  Unless you just happen to love the minimalist nature of shows, you are most likely to see a rock plate included on most of the trail runners you see on the market.

Waterproof and Mesh

These two concepts are closely linked together, so we will look at each one.  Everyone should know what waterproof means, it does say it all in the title after all, and it can be a valuable tool to those that choose to run on wet, soggy lands.  The level of waterproof-ness depends on what you need.  If you don’t want your feet to get wet at all, then just know that you’ll pay more of a premium.  These also come in handy when you are in the cold as well, because they make sure you aren’t sweating and then getting cold down there, which can be a harrowing experience.

The thing you give up when being waterproof, or even water resistant, as some will be as well, is the mesh factor.  Mesh is a really great tool that many areas of the shoe market use.  Mesh allows your shoe to breathe, allowing your sweat and everything to not be trapped in.  But it’s not just about smell, it’s about making you feel cooler as well.  Because mesh has openings, you can’t really combine it with being waterproof.  If you have no qualms with water, just know that doesn’t necessarily mean mesh won’t sometimes be a let-down.  If you’re running in the desert, or just on a dusty path, you could end up getting dust and dirt inside your shoes.  To many it wouldn’t be a big deal, but if it goes on long enough it might require a stop to empty it!

While you can’t combine the useful tools of mesh with waterproofing, you can combine the two options with a shoe that is “quick-draining.”  While a quick-draining shoe isn’t waterproof, it does shake off the residual water pretty quickly, and when combined with mesh, it can give you the best of both worlds in a nice compromise.

Forefoot Width

One thing that isn’t really that big of a deal in normal running shoes is the width of the forefoot.  This is because they are very much standardized and “one size fits all.”  What trail running shoes do differently is mold the forefoot to fit various purposes and styles.  For example, if you are inclined to run shorter distances and want to feel secure on technical (ire mountainous or difficult) terrain, you might want to opt for a tighter fit.  If you are going to be going further than a short run, you are going to want something that’s not as tight because you will have a lot more swelling as you go on.  Like so many things, it all about preference, and which one you prefer is solely based on your style and needs.

Types of Trail Running Shoes

This part of the guide is where you need to start thinking where you, or possibly whomever you are buying for, is going to be doing their running.  Different types of ground will require different types of shoes to be worn, and this is the section where we break it all down for you.

All Surface Trail Running Shoes

This one’s all in the name.  An all surface shoe is going to be great for just about any challenge you are presented with.  Whether you are going to be running on wet or dry surfaces, rocky or smooth, this is the type you just might want to invest in because you are going to be able to go from one to another easily.  If you like to run a lot and you do so in different places, this is probably the best option for you.  But if you have a certain place you go to all the time, this might not be the most ideal option.

Hard Ground Trail Running Shoes

Once again, the name says it all here.  If you are in a warm climate that does not experience a whole lot of rain, this is likely going to be what you need.  Or if you just so happen to run on the road some as well, this will help you out a lot as well.  Whether the ground is just packed hard, or it is rocky, these will work to protect your feet.  These typically do not offer a lot of traction for wet climates, so it would be unwise to give it a go there unless you’re just ultra brave.

Soft Ground Trail Running Shoes

Another self-explanatory name for this group.  These are the direct opposite of the hard ground ones because they allow you to run in muddy and wet environments.  Even if the ground is a little mushy, you will want to favor these as they have more traction on the bottom of them.  These are fairly new on the market compared to the other two, and many of them also come with a system that will do its best to keep your feet dry, which is a huge boost when you just can’t do without a run on a cold, windy day.  Some people just prefer these no matter what the conditions are because of the extra traction that they provide, but that choice is ultimately up to you and just what you prefer to have.

Road-to-Trail Shoes

At least none of the names are too confusing, right!?  These shoes are pretty similar to all surface ones, but they do have a key difference that has to be pointed out.  Most pairs in this category don’t offer a ton of traction for wet (or loose) terrain.  They also don’t offer much in the way of support for you as you go up or downhills.  These are great for someone that runs on the road and the quickly goes to a trail and does a loop or two, but wouldn’t be good for someone that is running up a mountain trail, for example.  This is all due to the outsoles being made more like normal running shoes.

Weights

A key topic to bring up fairly early on is that trail running shoes are going to weigh more than most shoes out there.  Just get used to the idea of it.  Over the last couple of decades, a move has been made to see very lightweight options come into the market.  While this is a good thing for many people, it also distorts our view on other types of shoes when it really should not.  Trail running shoes are designed for a very specific purpose.  Because you could be on rocky terrain, for example, some pairs will have added in durability that just requires more weight.  In general, all trail running shoes are going to weigh more than normal tennis shoes.  This shouldn’t be looked at as a negative, rather it’s just a consequence of the type of activity you are doing.  While this can, in theory at least, make it harder to run as long on a trail as you would on pavement with lighter shoes, you can and will get used to them over time and learn to love them for all their pluses and minuses.

Gender and Getting a Good Fit

Before we get to the review, a quick word.  First and foremost, you need to wear a shoe that is not fitted to you but also designed for you.  Therefore, we greatly encourage you to buy a shoe that fits your gender.  Yes it does matter, even in 2018.  There are certain things that a man’s foot requires and certain things a woman’s foot does.  By assuming you will be taken care of either way, you are mistaken.

As far as fit, in general you want to buy get a size that is half a size larger.  The reason that is the general rule is because you are ‘cold’ when you are trying on a shoe.  Over time as you run, or even just stand, your feet will begin to swell.  Most forget to take this into account, and they then wonder why the shoes don’t feel very good.  Of course, this means you should probably get out of the house and go try on some pairs of shoes, then come back and buy online if you choose!

Let’s Review the Top 5 Women’s Trail Running Shoes!

  1. Salomon Women’s XR Mission Running Shoe

Salomon are one of the top companies in the outdoor shoes market, and it is easy to see why with this pair of shoes. Ladies will be impressed with more than just the cool colors and designed with these nice-looking shoes.  In addition to looking great, you are going to be able to have a versatile shoe that allows you to go on both the roads and the trails.  They are equipped with mesh to allow your feet to air out, and they even include a quicklace system, which makes it very easy for you to ‘tie’ your shoes and get out on the trail.  The footbed of the shoe is composed of foam to help you not only stay cozy but to also prevent any slippage, while the outside has good traction without overdoing it. Overall, this is a great all-around trail running shoe that is at a moderate price, and it is one that is great for short and middle length runs.  While these aren’t necessarily meant for wet climates, they also have shown to do a good job at wicking moisture quickly as well, so they really are the kind of shoe that is a good go-to for all-around stuff, and thus its popularity has risen as a result.

Pros:

  • Really cool colors and look
  • Quicklaces make it easy to go and stay secure
  • Great for short distances in warm and dry climates

Cons:

  • Not intended for cold or wet climates
  • Not much luggage going on underneath
  1. Salomon Women’s Speedcross 4

While #1 and #2 may share the same brand name, the two pairs do have quite a few alterations. This pair of trail runners are much more specialized, seeking to give the hardcore trail runner the option they crave.  And they do so while also being very sleek and cool, just like their cousins above were.  Unlike the offering above, which had little luggage, this one offers a lot of lug support on the bottom of the shoe.  Located on both sides, and in the front, middle, and back, lugs are placed strategically all around the Speedcross. Another key difference is that these are meant to be an option for you in wetter climates, but that isn’t just because of the lugs underneath you.  It’s also due to the fact that the outsole has traction provided through a ‘contragrip’ compound to keep you upright and on the trail.  A big selling point of the Speedcross is that it seeks to be “just enough” to give you what you need without being constrictive and totally “maximalist.”  Encounter both the wet and the dry, all while having the quicklace system as before with this shoe!

Pros:

  • Also has many great colors
  • Lugs, lugs, lugs
  • Good for wet and dry

Cons:

  • Can be pricey depending on size and color
  • Not waterproof but still good for wicking moisture
  1. Merrell Women’s Siren Edge Hiker

Remember the axiom earlier that trail running shoes are versatile? Well, so, too, are hiking shoes, and one of the most popular train runner shoes are technically for hiking.  But that doesn’t mean that Merrell haven’t done a great job with this offering, because they definitely have.  First thing, you notice that while the design isn’t flashy, it does look nice and has a number of colors to pick from that will make you happy.  The next thing to point out is that the heel of the foot is up quite high.  This is especially good for those of us out there that have flat feet because it will give you increased support.  Another very noticeable feature is the amount of mesh that is used.  It is made up of 100% mesh, meaning it will air out your foot constantly.  This isn’t the best thing in the world, however, if you are going to be in the wet for extended periods of time, but it does not mean that they don’t wick moisture well.  If you prefer a shoe that you can tie yourself, this one allows you to do just that in a bit of a throwback kind of look.  The lugs are at 4mm, which will give you a decent amount if you do have to go into mildly wet areas, but it is best for places that have harder types of terrain. Overall, it’s a great moderately priced option for those that want a plug-and-play type of experience for the trails.

Pros:

  • All mesh keeps breathability high
  • Good moderate price
  • Supports flat feet well

Cons:

  • Mesh causes problem with dampness
  • Lugs not greatest for best traction out there
  1. ASICS Women’s Gel-Scram 3

ASICS are one of the top brands for running shoes in general, and it should come as no surprise why they have made this list with a great pair of trail running shoes here. Coming in a multitude of camo-looking colors, these shoes don’t just look great. They are best meant for short to medium distance runs due to the fact that there isn’t a lot in terms of lug support for them. That doesn’t make them a bad option, but it does mean that they are meant to be worn for specific purposes only. A synthetic sole combined with mesh allows you to keep them clean while also giving your feet the breathability it needs. ASICS are famous for their gel compounds in their shoes, and this trail shoe is no different at all in that regard.  The back of the foot is engineered by its “Rearfoot” cushioning system to make it easier for you to push off in your stride and then transitions well as you move toward the middle part of your stance.  While the ‘reverse’ lugs are good starters for going up and downhills, it’s still encouraged to look toward another option if you are going to be doing long runs or will be on very hard land while doing so.  The inner liner can be removed to feature your own insert, so that is another big plus of them you can look forward to.  They also come at a very good price, so it’s not a big factor in buying them at all.

Pros:

  • Good price
  • Sleek camo design
  • ASICS gel continues to pay dividends

Cons:

  • Not great for longer distances
  • Lugs aren’t very deep
  1. New Balance Women’s Nitrel

Making the list with the flashiest colors so far is this snazzy offering from New Balance that will be good for general use. The Nitrel is composed of synthetic and mesh, allowing your feet to breathe out as you go for your run.  The front of the toe is skewed upward a little, so it can be a good fit for those that tend to run on the front of their feet.  It’s also got a pronounced toe plate, a common thing that is done obviously on this particular model.  The reason this shoe is a good one for general use is because it is much like a normal running shoe.  While it does have some lugs, they are not huge and won’t help you dig in all that much if you are on softer grounds.  They also will probably not suit you all that well if you are going long distances, either, though you might be able to get over it if its an occasional thing.  It comes with its own performance insert, which is their second iteration of it as they attempt to keep you from having to add your own.  Some have complained about their stability on the trail, so this is more of a ‘crossover’ shoe if anything.  Still yet, it’s a great look and will do the job for you if that fits your description.  One thing to be aware of is that this pair tends to run small, so you might need to try them on.

Pros:

  • Very flashy colors
  • Performance insert provides nice cushioning
  • Good all-around shoe

Cons:

  • Trail stability could be left wanting
  • Runs a little small

Let’s Review the Top 5 Men’s Trail Running Shoes!

  1. Salomon Men’s Speedcross 4

Sound familiar? If it does, it’s because these are essentially the same pair of shoes mentioned in the ladies’ section.  Only with this one, it is designed for the man’s foot and the harder pounding they tend to take.  One of the first things you see is the looks.  They still look great, but they aren’t as overstated as the women’s would be.  Of course, that just makes sense.  Outside of that, you get most of the same features as the Women’s Speedcross.  These are a minimalistic shoe, intended to keep you protected but making you feel as if you have as little protection as possible doing it.  One of the most-loved features of the shoe is the fact that the foothold is very comfortable and makes you feel grounded.  That offers a little bit of extra security, and when you take that and add to it that the shoe has great traction on soft ground, you really have an extraordinary find.  The laces are not tie-on, but rather they are a string where it just takes one pull to tighten them, meaning you don’t have to slow down on the trails unless you just want to in order to take a break.  These can run pricey, but given that you can do a lot of different terrains on them, it is seen as well worth the price by most that have bought them.  They also have a tendency to wear out quickly when you put them through a lot of use and abuse on hard surfaces for too long, so you might want to avoid if you do a lot of pavement running.  If you want a light shoe with lug support, this is your go-to.

Pros:

  • Very strong foothold
  • Great traction to drive you forward
  • Really awesome look

Cons:

  • Can be a little expensive depending on size and colors
  • Not the best option for lots of road running
  1. Salomon Men’s XA Pro 3D

While similar to the Speedcross in looks and makeup, the XA Pro 3D does offer some key differences that could entice you to give them a go instead of their brother shoe above. Like the Speedcross, the laces are the same and many, cool and flashy colors are used with a black undertone to offset it a little.  But if you look at the bottom of the shoe, you can see where the true changes are.  This shoe has strategically moved around some of the lugs.  While there are probably just about as many on these as on the Speedcross, the lugs are located more in the center of the shoe than on its brother.  Instead of having them at the forefront and at the very back of the shoe, they are moved in ever so slightly.  What this does is offer a different feel to you, and it’s one that you might just like a little bit better.  A few things that are detriments include that they can also run in the more expensive kind of range.  They also don’t give a lot of shock absorption, especially in the heel area, so that could be a thumbs down for some.  Lastly, ankle support seems to be a little low on this particular model, so that could also cause you to steer clear if you have ankle issues.  Like its brother, it is a good shoe because it offers breathability while drying quickly, it has good waterproofing ability, and it also is comfy on rocky and soft grounds.

Pros:

  • Great for all weather types
  • Good waterproof system
  • Reduced weight makes movement much freer

Cons:

  • Isn’t the cheapest option out there
  • Heel and ankle areas can take a beating
  1. Vibram Men’s V

Finally the minimalists get an option on the list with Vibram’s V line. The first and most obvious thing about these is that they literally look like swimming shoes.  These are geared toward a very specific group of people, so if that doesn’t tailor to you, it is understandable.  With that said, these do not look dorky like swim shoes tend to look, and they come in a number of colors that do look good and will help you stick out even further.  The best way to describe the fit would be to say they feel like a glove for your feet, allowing your toes plenty of wiggle room.  This can be very advantageous to someone out on the trail because after a while, it can get constraining to not be able to move your toes around as much as you’d like. They are able to do this by using a combination of polyester and spandex, and they pair that along with rubber to help protect your foot as much as possible given the minimalist approach that is used.  One of the best things about this product is the anti-microbial sock liner that will make sure you don’t have to constantly wash them since they are most likely going to be worn without any socks since that’s the kind of people that they are geared toward.  These also do an excellent job of keeping your feet from get bruised thanks to the cocoon technology they have used.  One thing to point out is that the sole is waterproof, but the upper is not. Thus you could get soaked.  Also, this is not a great option on the pavement or on harder grounds, for obvious reasons, for prolonged amounts of time!

Pros:

  • Plenty of flexibility allowed
  • Still offers bruise protection
  • Look very cool

Cons:

  • Not for road running at any decent distance
  • Upper part of the shoe is not waterproof, contrary to how it may look
  1. New Balance Men’s 510v3

This shoe from New Balance shocks off the idea that they aren’t cool; these look really great in a number of different colors that you, too, should like a lot. Furthermore, where it counts the shoe does its part. One thing that you will notice is that they are composed of leather and mesh.  Mesh is not uncommon in this corner of the market, or any part of it where sports are involved, but the leather is interesting because nearly all of the shoes in this area have synthetic materials nowadays.  The leather does mean it weighs a little bit more than some have on our list (about 12 ounces each) but it does give you increased comfort and a sturdy shoe overall.  A look at the bottom of the shoe shoes the lugs are stationed periodically with nearly all of them being in the very center.  They aren’t particularly deep, though, so this is more of a general type of shoe for a more casual trail runner.  That doesn’t mean they aren’t good for everyday running or the such, but you might not want to take them up big cliffs or through muddy waters.  A look on the inside reveals an insert that is called “ultra soft” and it looks just like it says.  It seeks to give you as much comfort as possible for you no matter how long your run may last.  These shoes are not waterproof by any means, but they do breathe well and do a good job of wicking moisture off of them over time.  They also do tend to run a little small, while also being a bit narrow on some people, so if that has been a problem for you before, you might want to try on a pair and see how you feel at the store.

Pros:

  • Leather gives more comfort
  • Good all-around shoe
  • Mesh is great for humid areas

Cons:

  • Runs small and narrow
  • Not meant for very difficult terrain
  1. Adidas Men’s Rockadia

Like just about any offering from Adidas, you don’t have to worry about how they are going to look. Nearly everything with the three stripes will look great, and these are no different, with a variety of colors to pick from.  Next up, you see the looks of a serious trail running shoe.  You have the toe plate that is made abundantly clear and then you have plenty of luggage underneath as well.  The most pronounced areas are the very rear and the very front, helping you to get up and down easier as you push off into your stride.  As the name indicates, these are intended to be used on the rocks, so it wouldn’t be the best idea in the world to use these out on mushy trails.  You could probably get away with it for a little while, but you might not be the happiest with the results. The outsole is very grippy, providing maximum traction possible, while mesh is used in the upper to help your foot air out and for you to not feel so sweaty in there.  One big issue is that they do run small.  It’s a perilous game to play ordering online, so you should definitely look for these in person to know the true size you need, lest you be disappointed.  They also seem to be noisy, so if that is a concern for you, you might look elsewhere.

Pros:

  • Great look like always from Adidas
  • Good shoe for rocks and hard surfaces
  • Excellent grip

Cons:

  • Sizes don’t run correctly
  • Squeaks frequently

Conclusion And Final Trail Running Shoes Recommendations 

To conclude our trek today, let’s recap everything.  Trail running shoes are distinctly different from normal shoes.  They are heavier, because they need to be in order to help your feet hold up over the strenuous miles you put on them, and they have many features that normal shoes just don’t have.  In addition to making you a much better runner, most of these shoes can also help in other outdoor areas like hiking and backpacking, too.  That makes buying a pair of trail running shoes a viable solution to your foot care needs if you are outdoorsy.  The most important rule of buying any shoe is realizing what you are and what you need.  If you know you have a specific issue, there are plenty of shoes out there that will fit your needs.  If you like to do a certain style of running, or you embrace the minimalist culture, there are options.  Just get out there and try some on and then take them for a spin!

FAQs About Trail Running Shoes

How Long Should My Shoes Last?

Trail running shoes, just like any shoes, are going to have varying rates of durability.  However, you can safely assume that any moderately priced shoe (and up) is going to be able to last you between about 300 and 500 miles.  That’s quite a lot of running.  It’s worth noting that it is important to change your shoes after so many miles because they start to lose their grip and don’t protect you as well.

How Do I Avoid Blisters and the Such?

A good way to make sure you are doing your best to avoid blisters or losing toenails is to make sure your shoes are large enough for you.  Making sure your toe has at least a half a thumb of room can be key to ensuring you are not only happy during- but also after- your run.

Are They Really Worth the Money?

YES.  If you are going to be on trails, no matter how big or small, no matter how soft or hard, getting a pair of trail running shoes is worth it.  Will they cost more than ordinary tennis or running shoes, absolutely.  But, they will be worth it when you are able to enjoy life after you have ran.  While it’s OK to run in normal shoes a time or two, it’s no way to properly do it and will risk your safety, health, and your happiness in the process.

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