Do you agree, every runner is different? Trail runners are different from sprinters are different from marathoners... Every runner has certain wants, needs, and preferences.

And no two runs are the same... Sometimes wet conditions, sometimes on the trail, sometimes on the road! You get the idea!

Regardless, we know that a good shoe can make a difference when it comes to you and/or the conditions. Check out our "Pick List" of some of the best trail running shoes that will meet your expectations and find the perfect pair for your needs. We're confident you'll find the perfect trail shoe for you or that perfect trail runner in your life!

Running on trails is a completely different experience than running on pavement. With the right trail shoe, trail runners can enjoy a smoother ride, better traction, and more protection against hazards like rocks, roots, or water. Read on and let zBestGuide You!

Once you've finished your review here, we hope you'll be ready to purchase the best trail shoe from our website, today!

We hope you find the perfect solution for your shopping experience from our "Pick List," below! Our editors independently selected each product and all opinions in this article are our own. Oh, and BTW โ€” zBestGuide may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to buy something (that's how we stay in business). Reviews have been edited for length and clarity. Enjoy finding the best trail shoe for you! โค๏ธ๐Ÿ‘‡

zBestGuide's Summary "Pick List:"

Best Waterproof: Salomon Speedcross 5 GTX Trail Running Shoe

Best Road to Trail Shoe: New Balance Fresh Foam 880 V12 Trail Running Shoe

Best for Wide Feet: ALTRA Lone Peak 6 Trail Running Shoe

Best Budget: ASICS Gel-Venture 8 Trail Running Shoe

Best Minimalist: Tie: Xero HFS Trail Running Shoe

Best Minimalist: Tie: Merrell Glove 6 Trail Running Shoe

Best Trail Running Shoes
Tap Here to Buy Trail Shoes on Amazon

Best Trail Running Shoes- Factors to Consider

Trail runners are a dedicated group. There's a lot to think about just getting ready to run. What trail, weather, time of day, etc? And even before all that, how are you set for shoes?

Selecting the right shoes is an exercise all by itself. Here are some of the factors to consider, as you contemplate your purchase:

Traction/Grip: There are several factors to consider when considering traction, such as your outsole's rubber compound and tread pattern. The depth of the lugs is also important.

Lugs that are a little deeper provide a good bite on the looser ground but may be less stable than you might like.

Also, tread design can make a difference. Lug spacing will impact how your shoe will perform in soft or muddy conditions on the one hand or over rock and firm ground on the other.

Cushioning: Unless you are a minimalist, most trail runners opt for a good mix of cushion and stability. The cushion will keep your feet comfortable, especially over a distance. Yet, not so much as to lose contact with the trail such that your foot rolls or you risk a stumble or fall.

Heel-to-Toe- Drop: Heel-to-toe drop is the difference in height, measured in millimeters, between the height of a shoe's heel and the height of its toe. Shoes with a higher heel-to-toe drop (10mm or more) are said to have a "pronounced" drop, while shoes with a lower heel-to-toe drop (3mm or less) are said to have a "flat" drop.

Most running shoes have a heel-to-toe drop of 6mm or more, which is why they're often called "heel strikers." When you run in shoes with a pronounced heel-to-toe drop, your foot is forced to strike the ground first at the heel.

Trail shoes tend to have a lesser "drop" than road shoes. Many trail runners, especially minimalists, prefer a zero drop. We're in the camp that believes it is more of a question of personal preference and comfort. ๐Ÿ‘‡

Best Trail Running Shoes
Tap Here to Buy Trail Shoes on Amazon

Waterproofing: Keeping your feet warm and dry is the ultimate goal, right? However, trail or weather conditions may not cooperate. And yet, those conditions are not likely to keep many trail runners from their objective.

It should be noted that there's no such thing as waterproof trail running shoes. All shoes will eventually leak, it's just a matter of how long they will hold up against the elements. Most trail shoes that market themselves as "waterproof" are in actuality only water-resistant and will keep your feet dry and comfortable up to a point.

Many trail shoes offer the "GTX" or Gore-Tex option and will offer the protection you're looking for. Your shoes will tend to be a little heavier and can impact breathability. At the same time, GTX can keep your feet a bit warmer in colder conditions.

As always, an option like waterproof trail shoes is a personal preference. It is important, as well, to remember that your socks may have something to say about comfort and dryness. If you're smart about your socks, your feet will almost certainly be happier, too.

Shoe Weight: This might be one of the more important factors for a trail runner to consider. As you know, trail running offers challenges that are not present over the road. Uneven surfaces, obstacles, water, soft terrain, and so on are all possible, even during the same run! Every trail shoe has its pros and cons; you're going to have to compromise to some degree.

Lightweight trail running shoes, for instance, sacrifice overall protection and support. Heavier trail shoes, or more rugged trail shoes, deliver cushioning and durability for longer runs or a deeper off-trail experience. Generally speaking, somewhere in between the two, striking a happy medium is the likely answer.

Best Trail Running Shoes- Our Selection Process

If you're like most trail runners, you don't have time to read through hundreds of reviews to find the best trail running shoe.

It can be tough to know which trail shoe might work best for you and your plan for the day. There are many brands and styles of suitable shoes for the trail on the market, how are you going to decide?

zBestGuide is here to help. We've read all the top reviews, Google searches, and Amazon best-seller lists so that you don't have to. We've narrowed our selection down to 5+ top-quality possibilities to meet your various trail shoe needs. Our "Pick List." Plus, we've added some useful tips and helpful hints so you can make the right decision for your needs. Ready, set... Get started! ๐Ÿ‘‡

"Pick List" Details:

Best Waterproof: Salomon Speedcross 5 GTX Trail Running Shoe

Salmon Speed 5 GTX

Best Waterproof Shoe

Check Prices on Amazon

The Particulars:

  • 100% Synthetic
  • Gore-Tex construction
  • 12.8 oz

Why Weโ€™re Impressed

The Salomon Men's Speedcross 5 GTX is the latest and greatest version of the iconic running shoe. It features a new GORE-TEX construction with a floating tongue that improves comfort and streamlines the overall look and feel of the shoe. The Speedcross 5 also maintains the renowned grip, outstanding cushioning, and precise fit that have made this shoe a favorite among runners. So whether you're looking to hit the trails or the streets, the Speedcross 5 is sure to provide you with a comfortable and enjoyable ride.

Here's the Inside Story

  • Weather protection: A new Gore-Tex Construction reduces bulk and improves comfort while maintaining complete weather protection.
  • Aggressive Grip: The contagrip-taking sole has an aggressive lug design that digs into the mud, wet ground, or soft snow.
  • Precise fit: the proven Speedcross fit, with Quicklace adjustment, this shoe holds the foot comfortably and precisely.

Best Road to Trail Shoe: New Balance Fresh Foam 880 V12 Trail Running Shoe

The Particulars:

  • Textile, Synthetic
  • Rubber sole
  • 10.5 oz

Why Weโ€™re Impressed

Introducing the New Balance Men's Fresh Foam 880 V12 sneakers. These shoes are designed for maximum comfort, with a textile and synthetic upper that is breathable and a removable insole for those long days on your feet. The raised round-toe silhouette provides a stylish look, while the lace-up closure ensures a secure fit. So whether you're hitting the pavement for a morning jog or hitting your favorite mountain trail, make sure you're doing it in style and comfort.

Here's the Inside Story

  • The heel measures approximately 10 millimeters;
  • Fresh Foam X midsole delivers our most cushioned Fresh Foam experience for incredible comfort;
  • Engineered mesh upper with no-sew overlays;
  • A responsive bottom bed of foam adds additional underfoot cushioning;
  • Lace-up closure for a secure fit.

Best for Wide Feet: ALTRA Lone Peak 6 Trail Running Shoe

The Particulars:

  • Quick-Dry Air Mesh
  • Rubber sole
  • 10.6 oz

Why Weโ€™re Impressed

The ALTRA Lone Peak 6 is the trail icon you know and love, with updated features like new upper construction and a customizable lacing system designed for a better fit on the trails. This evolution provides the ultimate trail features like our grippy MaxTrac outsole with TrailClaw canted lugs designed to conquer any terrain. The Lone Peak 6 is your go-to shoe for any adventure, whether you're tackling a tough hike or taking a leisurely walk in the park. With its comfortable fit and versatile design, the Lone Peak 6 is sure to become your new favorite trail shoe.

Here's the Inside Story

  • ๐Ÿ† RUNNER'S WORLD 2022 AWARD WINNER: Best Trail Shoe ๐Ÿ†;
  • Go Further: Balanced Cushioning platform places the heel and forefoot the same distance from the ground, which encourages low-impact landings;
  • Run Naturally: Our FootShape wide toe box allows the toes to relax and spread out naturally;
  • Get Comfortable: Altra EGO midsoles provide a responsive yet soft ride.

Best Budget: ASICS Gel-Venture 8 Trail Running Shoe

The Particulars:

  • Synthetic & Mesh
  • Rubber sole
  • 12.5 oz

Why Weโ€™re Impressed

Do you like adventure? Do you like pushing your limits and exploring new territory? If so, then you need a shoe that can keep up with you. The ASICS Men's Gel-Venture 8 is designed for the great outdoors. This versatile shoe is excellent for trail runs, light hiking, or exploring a new city. Whether you're tackling a tough trail or just taking a leisurely stroll, this shoe will provide the comfort and support you need. The GEL-VENTURE 8 has been updated with a more accommodating forefoot fit while reducing the number of overlays around the forefoot without sacrificing durability. The outsole is more durable with a traction pattern that's been improved with re-engineered lugs under the heel. All of these updates make the new GEL-VENTURE 8 shoe a recommended companion for your next adventure.

Here's the Inside Story

  • Deep lugs are great for difficult and muddy trails;
  • Highly cushioning upper excels on cooler days;
  • Very durable rubber outsole;
  • Short break-in period;
  • Water-resistant upper.

Best Minimalist: Tie: Xero HFS Trail Running Shoe

The Particulars:

  • Mesh Upper
  • Rubber sole
  • 19.2 oz

Why Weโ€™re Impressed

Xero designed the HFS Trail shoes for those who want to move light and fast on their feet. With a new lightweight and breathable mesh upper, these shoes will keep your feet cool and comfortable even on the hottest days. The new tire tread-inspired sole provides great traction and stability on any surface, while the silky moisture-wicking lining keeps your feet dry and comfortable mile after mile. Protected tension straps keep the shoes secure on your feet no matter how tough the terrain gets, making the Xero HFS Trail shoes your perfect partner for any adventure.

Here's the Inside Story

  • SHAPED FOR COMFORT, BUILT FOR SPEED - Xero HFS features a lightweight, minimalist build that contours to the shape of your feet. Its spacious wide toe-box allows you to splay, spread, and relax your toes for superior comfort;
  • XERO DROP SOLE FOR PERFECT POSTURE - The Xero Drop sole offers a non-elevated heel and is low-to-the-ground - this allows for proper posture, balance, and agility for all-round performance;
  • FLEX YOUR FEET, FEEL THE FLOOR - Our tire tread-inspired patented 5.5mm FeelTrue sole strikes a balance between just-right protection and feedback - it delivers heel-to-toe cues to the brain for your best run ever. Allows your feet to bend and flex as nature intended;
  • TRAVEL FRIENDLY, 5000 MILE WARRANTY - Xero HFSโ€™ extra-durable construction is backed by our 5,000 Mile Feel the World Sole Promise. Being ultra-flexible, you can roll โ€˜em up and put them in your pack or pocket for compact storage and easy travel.

Best Minimalist: Tie: Merrell Glove 6 Trail Running Shoe

The Particulars:

  • 65% Recycled Mesh Upper
  • Rubber sole
  • 15.0 oz

Why Weโ€™re Impressed

Looking for a shoe that will let you move freely and naturally? Then check out the Merrell Glove 6 Trail Shoe! This shoe is designed to mimic the shape of the human foot, keeping it in the position it would be in without shoes. Version 6 features an improved fit and increased abrasion resistance. So whether you're running on the trail or just running errands, you can do it all in comfort with the Merrell Glove 6 Trail Shoe!

Here's the Inside Story

  • 100% recycled laces;
  • External rear sling locks in the heel;
  • Merrell Barefoot 2 construction is designed to keep the foot in a natural position;
  • Rock plate for protection;
  • BLOOMยฎ performance midsole foam is made of 10% algae biomass, transforming green water into clean water in the process;
  • Vibramยฎ EcoStep outsole is designed with 30% recycled rubber which provides added durability and improved grip on wet and dry surfaces. ๐Ÿ‘‡
Best Trail Running Shoes
Tap Here to Buy Trail Shoes on Amazon
Immage of an FAQs Icon in support of best Trail Running Shoes

Best Trail Running Shoes- FAQs

You're looking for a great pair of shoes to take your running game up a notch, but you don't know where to start.

There are so many different types of running shoes on the market these days that it can be hard to decide which pair is right for you. Do you need trail running shoes? Road to trail shoes; waterproof shoes?

We've got you covered. Here, we'll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about trail running shoes so that you can make an informed purchase.

Is it OK to use trail running shoes on the road?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best trail shoe for someone might not be the best road running shoe for someone else. However, some general tips on choosing the best trail running shoes for road running include:

1. Look for a shoe that offers good cushioning and protection against impact forces, as this will help reduce the risk of injuries when running on hard surfaces.

2. Choose a shoe with a strong traction pattern to provide a good grip on wet and slippery surfaces.

3. Make sure the shoe is lightweight and flexible enough to allow your feet to move and flex naturally while you run.

Are trail running shoes worth it?

Yes, most trail running shoes are worth it. In fact, they're essential if you want to protect your feet and ankles while running on trails.

There are a few key features that make a trail shoe different from regular running shoes. For starters, trail running shoes have a more aggressive tread pattern that provides better traction on uneven surfaces. They also have a higher ankle collar to protect your ankles from bumps and scrapes, and they're typically made from tougher materials that can withstand the abuse of rocky trails.

Can you wear trail shoes every day?

Yes, you can wear trail running shoes every day. In fact, if you're looking for a versatile and durable shoe that can be worn for a variety of activities, trail shoes are a great option.

However, if you're someone who's on their feet all day or does a lot of rigorous activity, it might be better to alternate between two pairs of shoes so that your trail shoes have time to dry out and air out. And if you're new to trail running shoes, it's always a good idea to start slowly by gradually increasing the time you wear them each day. This will help your feet get used to the new shoes and allow them enough time to adapt to any potential changes in terrain.

Best Trail Running Shoes
Tap Here to Buy Trail Shoes on Amazon

How many miles should you put on trail running shoes?

It depends on the type of running shoes, the runner's weight, and the trail's condition.

Some trail runners prefer to replace their running shoes every 300 - 500 miles, regardless of how well they are still performing. Another trail runner may only replace his/her shoes after 1000 or even 2000 miles if they are still in good condition. It boils down to personal preference.

Is it worth getting Gore-Tex trail running shoes?

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing great trail running shoes, but ultimately it depends on the type of terrain you'll be running on and your own personal preferences.

Gore-Tex trail running shoes are a great option for those who want durable shoes with good water resistance. They tend to be slightly heavier than other options, but they offer good protection against water and debris getting into the shoe.

If you're looking for a lighter-weight option with better breathability, there are plenty of other good brands of trail running shoes to choose from. Just make sure to read reviews or go see them in person before making your purchase so you know what you're getting. ๐Ÿ‘‡

Best Trail Running Shoes
Tap Here to Buy Trail Shoes on Amazon

What is the difference between a running shoe and a trail running shoe?

A trail shoe typically has a more aggressive tread pattern and is more durable than a running shoe. It is also likely to be waterproof and has a higher ankle collar for additional support.

Running shoes are designed for use on paved surfaces, while trail shoes are designed for use on trails with loose dirt, gravel, or rocks. Therefore, a trail running shoe will provide better traction and protection from debris than a running shoe.

Should you buy a size-up in a trail running shoe?

Not necessarily. It depends on the brand of shoes. Different brands have different sizing guidelines.

A good way to find the best trail shoes is to read online reviews from people who have actually tried them. That will give you a better idea of how well they fit and how comfortable they are.

There are some great brands out there that make really good trail shoes, such as Salomon, Merrell, and Altra. So it really depends on what type of shoe you're looking for.

Can you use trail running shoes for walking?

Yes. Many people use trail running shoes for walking, and they work well for that purpose. However, if you're looking for the best shoes for walking, you may want to consider a pair of shoes specifically designed for that activity.

Trail running shoes are designed to provide good traction and stability on uneven surfaces, which is important when you're running on trails. They also tend to be lightweight and have a flexible sole, which allows your foot to move more naturally while you're walking. If you're looking for a shoe that will help you walk briskly or jog occasionally, then a pair of trail shoes would be a good choice. But if you plan to walk regularly or do extended walks, it might be worth considering. ๐Ÿ‘‡

Best Trail Running Shoes
Tap Here to Buy Trail Shoes on Amazon

Can I wear trail running shoes on a treadmill?

Yes! In fact, trail shoes are often recommended for treadmill use because they have more traction and durability than other types of sneakers.

When looking for a good pair of trail running shoes, it's important to consider the specific features that will be most useful on the treadmill. For example, shoes with lots of cushioning and stability are ideal for absorbing the impact of running on a hard surface. Additionally, shoes with a strong grip can help you stay planted on the belt during your workout.

Is trail running harder than normal running?

If you're running on a flat surface, it's basically just like running on pavement, so it would be just as hard. However, if you're running on a trail with hills and obstacles, it can be much more difficult because you have to navigate the terrain and there is more potential for slipping or getting injured.

The best way to make sure you're prepared for the trail is to wear trail shoes that are designed specifically for trails. They have extra grip and tread that will help keep you from slipping and provide more cushioning than regular shoes in case you take a tumble.

Do I need trail running shoes on gravel?

If you are running on a well-maintained gravel path with few rocks and little dust, then regular running shoes should be fine. However, if you are running on a more rugged trail with rocks and a lot of dust, you may want to opt for a pair of dedicated trail running shoes. These shoes typically have thicker soles that can provide more protection from sharp rocks and better traction in dusty conditions.

Best Trail Running Shoes
Tap Here to Buy Trail Shoes on Amazon

Should trail shoes be snug or loose?

There are a few things to consider when it comes to whether a trail shoe should be snug or loose. One of the most important factors is how much support and stability you need while you're running. If you need more support, it's best to go with a snugger fit so your foot doesn't move around as much. However, if you want more freedom of movement, a looser fit is ideal.

Another thing to consider is how deeply you'll be sinking into the ground while running. If the terrain is soft and unstable, having a snugger fit can help keep your shoe in place. Conversely, on harder surfaces, a looser fit will give your foot more breathing room and prevent your shoe from rubbing

Can you run trails in regular shoes?

Yes, you can definitely run trails in regular running shoes! However, trail running shoes are designed to provide better traction and durability when running on uneven or unpredictable terrain.

If you're just starting out, it might be a good idea to invest in a pair of trail running shoes so that you're less likely to slip or fall while running. And if you're a seasoned trail runner, upgrading to a good pair of trail running shoes can make all the difference in your performance.

So ultimately, the answer is yes - you can run trails in regular running shoes - but it's not recommended for people who are new to trail running or for those who are looking to perform at their best. ๐Ÿ‘‡

Best Trail Running Shoes
Tap Here to Buy Trail Shoes on Amazon

May we say in conclusion...

So, what are the best trail running shoes? Weโ€™ve scoured Amazon, Google Shopping, and buyer reviews to find a great pair of trail running shoes for you. We hope our "Pick List" has been helpful in assisting you to find a great pair.

Remember to consider all of the factors we outlined, including traction, comfort, weight, and terrain type, before making your purchase. And donโ€™t forgetโ€”the most important thing is to find a pair of shoes that make you feel comfortable and confident when hitting the pavement or trail. Ready to shop?

Tap the buttons below to check prices on some of our favorite pairs of trail shoes!

Thanks for spending time with zBestGuide and happy shopping! ๐Ÿ‘‡

Join us on YouTube...

Internal link for