In my quest to find the best trail running shoes, one thing that really stood out was that a ‘regular’ running shoe is unlikely to cut the mustard, with extra cushioning and stability an absolute necessity on the rugged terrain.
Trail shoes are designed to perform mile after mile, whilst ensuring that runners can take on even the worst conditions.
All products discussed offer something a little different, while they cater to customers with varying budgets, style and needs. All of the shoes suggested are available for both men and women, whether you are looking to step up your marathon training or simply take a light jog in the forest.
The first of my products come in the shape of the Adidas Pure Boost All Terrain, which is one of the most lightweight and stable shoes on the market.
Boost technology is used throughout, which I found helped to increase the speed of directional movement whilst running.
Meanwhile, the Pure Boost All Terrain features a water-repellent upper, which not only helps to keep your feet dry but also adapts to the shape of your foot.
The moulded heel counter ensures optimal movement of the achilles at all times, while the outsole provides the perfect platform even in the most testing conditions. Weighing under 300g, the Pure Boost Terrain is lightweight yet stable, while a unique tongue system helps to reduce pressure on hard surfaces.
The Pure Boots All Terrain is available in a range of colours and its price point should cater to both beginners and more experienced trail runners.
This really is a shoe that gives more with the more energy put in.
The Solomon Sense Ride performs well across the board when it comes to comfort, stability and traction, making it suitable for both short distance jogging and tough terrain runs.
Despite perhaps not being the best-selling of Salomon’s trail shoes, the Sense Ride is undoubtedly their best value for money product, with its built-in lacing system being just one of the standout features
As someone with a wide foot, I found that the Sense Ride was an excellent option for me, with its toe box even allowing for much-needed room. As well as this, the material used on the upper allows for quick drying, while the outsole should provide traction on both short and long-distance runs.
A toe bumper is also found in order to battle even the firmest of terrains, while the fact that the Sense Ride comes in a range of colour options only adds to its suitability for most runners.
For those on a budget, this option from Salomon is certainly likely to appeal.
The Asics Gecko XT provides both protection and grip when taking on some of the toughest trails around, while the concealed lacing system makes it one of the best looking of the products discussed too.
This latest offering from Asics is also very lightweight, whilst still providing wearers with excellent responsiveness while running.
The Gecko XT is also one of the most durable of the shoes mentioned in this article, with a rock protection plate meaning that it can withstand even the most demanding terrains.
Meanwhile, I found that the anti-gravel tongue helped to ensure that no unwanted debris entered my shoes during testing.
The ASICSGRIP technology provides excellent grip on a range of terrains, without affecting the durability of the shoes. The Gecko XT comes in at a mid-range price point, whilst also being available in a range of different colours to allow you to add your personality somewhat.
The Summit K.O.M. is the latest trail offering from New Balance, with a range of updates making it their most aggressive shoe to date in this field.
Firstly, the outsole now provides more traction due to the introduction of a Vibram Megagrip upper, which I found to provide grip on both wet and dry surfaces.
Elsewhere, thick overlays in the two area help to protect your feet from any knocks, while the underfoot comfort makes the Summit K.O.M. a viable option for both long and short distance trail runners.
The Summit K.O.M. from New Balance weighs in at about 310g (UK size 9), which is a little heavier than some of the products previously discussed, certainly doesn’t hinder your speed or flexibility.
Overall, New Balance is offering an affordable shoe made from high-quality materials, meaning that it is an excellent investment.
The traction on the Saucony Koa ST means that it is one of the best options for really testing conditions, all being achieved by a deep stud pattern on the sole, a feature that makes this model unique.
A reinforced heel piece ensures both stability and protection at all times, which I found hugely useful when testing the shoes on rocky surfaces.
The synthetic upper found on the Koa ST helps to ensure that mud is shredded during your run, keeping the shoes dry in the process. As well as this, a toggle lacing system allows for quick and easy adjustment, meaning that it can also be used for hiking.
I found that the Koa ST does run a little small, so it could well be that you need to go for a half-bigger size than you normally would.
Overall, Saucony has been able to produce a modern shoe with technologically advanced features, meaning that it’s really going to suit more advanced runners who are on more testing ground.
Having looked through my suggested products, you are likely to have identified what you believe it the best trail running shoe for you. However, before you make your final decision, there are a number of additional factors that must be taken into consideration, with each potentially having an effect on the final product that you buy.
Many trail running shoes come in a wider fit, however, this means that those with a narrower foot are likely to find it more difficult to find something to meet their demands. It is nice to have a little extra room around the toe area when running, but an ill-fitting shoe can also affect stability.
Running shoes should generally be as lightweight as possible, but a trail running shoe is likely to be heavier than a generic option, purely due to the durability required. As a result, I would recommend that you find a shoe that is somewhere in the middle in terms of weight, providing everything you need from a trail shoe in the process.
Trail runners will be looking for more traction than others, meaning that the length of the lugs found on a potential shoe is likely to have an effect upon its performance in tough terrains.
Think about the types of run in which you are likely to complete, with those carried out on stones and hard dirt only requiring a short lug, while muddy and softer surfaces need a deeper option.
Those running over rocky terrains on a regular basis may wish to go for something which offers a little more protection from such surfaces, meaning that a foam plate is likely to be appealing. Meanwhile, a rock plate will be suitable for those looking for more of a natural feel on the ground.