Saucony ProGrid Peregrine
Saucony ProGrid Peregrine

Best trail-running shoe

This new trail shoe is more minimalist than a standard trail-running shoe. At just 10.1 ounces, it's substantially lighter than trail shoes of the past and sits much closer to the ground. Reviewers say the ProGrid Peregrine provides a hard-to-find balance of fit, flexibility, protection and responsiveness. It handles a wide array of both wet and dry terrain, but those who run on particularly rugged trails may want to consider the Montrail Rockridge (*Est. $75).
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Merrell Trail Glove
Merrell Trail Glove

Minimalist or barefoot-style trail-running shoe

In recent years, serious runners and manufacturers have begun to emphasize the lightness of a trail-running shoe and the trail feel (or how much a runner can feel and then respond to the terrain). No other running shoe is lighter or allows for a closer-to-the-ground feel than the men's Merrell Trail Glove and its sister shoe the women's Pace Glove. These are true minimalist running shoes, with a zero heel-to-toe drop and sitting a mere 4 mm off the ground. The shoe has a great fit and stellar flexibility.
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Montrail Rockridge
Montrail Rockridge

Trail-running shoe for rugged terrain

The Montrail Rockridge costs less than most trail running shoes but earns just as many accolades as pricier models. Reviewers from multiple publications are impressed with the shoe's excellent traction. Grippy rubber lugs on the outsole ensure stable footing over gravel, slippery rocks and mud, they say. The Montrail Rockridge also protects against sharp rocks and trail debris, thanks to a rock plate in the forefoot. While offering a stable and sturdy ride, the Rockridge is also responsive enough so users still feel the trail under their feet. Some testers think the heel is too hard, which is most noticeable on flat trails. We also saw a few reports that narrow-footed testers have trouble getting a comfortable fit due to the roomy upper and wide toebox.
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The North Face Double-Track
The North Face Double-Track

Motion-control trail-running shoe

Trail running shoes are more stable than road shoes, so most runners won't need extra stability in their trail shoes. However, if you have moderate to severe overpronation (meaning your foot rolls inward too much when you run), The North Face Double-Track provides more stability than most. A medial stability post and a heel cradle provide stellar support and cushioning. Reviewers also say the shoe transitions well from trail to road.
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*Est. $110 Estimated Price
Salomon XR Crossmax Neutral
Salomon XR Crossmax Neutral

Road-to-trail crossover shoe

Most trail shoes provide very little cushioning and have a firm ride. This makes them generally uncomfortable for road running, which requires a bit more cushioning underfoot. The Salomon XR Crossmax Neutral strikes a good balance between necessary trail-running features (think multidirectional lugs) and a cushy, comfortable insole. This combination makes the XR Crossmax Neutral an ideal shoe to go from trail to road and back again. Runners looking for a crossover trail shoe with more stability features may want to consider The North Face Double-Track (*Est. $110).
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COMPARE PRODUCTS
See a side-by-side comparison of key features, product specs, and prices.

Trail Running Shoes Runners Up:

Brooks Cascadia 6 *Est. $110

6 picks including: Runner's World, REI.com…

The North Face Single-Track *Est. $100

5 picks including: Backcountry.com, Runner's World…

La Sportiva Raptor *Est. $110

4 picks including: Runner's World, National Geographic Adventure…

New Balance Minimus Trail *Est. $100

4 picks by top review sites.

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