When your run takes you off-road, you need a shoe that gives you the right balance of cushioning and traction. Compared to road running shoes, a shoe designed for the trail grips the trail so that you're less likely to slip and fall even when the ground is wet. Trail running shoes also resist rips, tears, and snags from branches and rocks. Before you buy a new pair of shoes for your off-road adventures, check out our list of the best trail running shoes.
Best Overall: ASICS Women's Gel-Venture 7 Trail Running Shoes
The ASICS Gel Venture provides the support and traction you need on uneven terrain so you can focus on the scenery instead of the trail. The ORTHOLITE sockliner adds a layer of support to the GEL technology and molds to your foot for a customized fit that keeps you comfortable. Yet, you can remove the liner if you'd rather use your own inserts.
Best Value: New Balance Women's 590v4 Fuel Core
With New Balance's Women's 590v4 Fuel Core shoe, you get the top features of the brand's trail running shoes at an affordable price. Users report that the shoe has ample cushioning that helps reduce knee and hip pain during runs. An extra-wide toe box helps improve balance, so you stay steady when your runs take you off-road.
Best Minimalist Trail Running Shoe: WHITIN Men's Minimalist Trail Runner
Designed to mimic barefoot walking, WHITIN's Minimalist Trail Runner offers maximum flexibility to increase your comfort during trail runs. This zero-drop shoe reduces stress on your joints, while the wide toe box increases your balance as you navigate uneven terrain. Reviewers note that the shoes tend to run larger than expected. One person had to order a shoe two sizes larger than usual.
Best Cushioning: New Balance Men's 510v4 Cushioning Trail Running Shoe
The name says it all. New Balance's Men's 510v4 Cushioning Trail Running Shoe provides maximum cushioning and greater comfort for running through the woods. One reviewer noted that the shoe's design distributes the edges of rocks and branches over the sole so that they're less noticeable on the trail.
Best for Wide Feet: ALEADER hiitave Unisex Minimalist
ALEADER's hiitave Unisex Minimalist shoe is an excellent choice for runners with wide feet. The super flexible upper stretches and forms to the foot so they don't feel crammed inside the shoe. It also features a wide toe box and zero-drop sole that provides more stability when running up and down hills.
Best Vegan Trail Running Shoes: Merrell Women's Glove 4 Trail Runner
Merrell's Womens Glove 4 Trail Runner is completely free of animal products, making it a safe option for runners who need a vegan shoe. However, that's not the shoe's only selling point. The most common comment from reviewers is that the shoe is comfortable. Reviewers also mention that the shoes felt comfortable right out of the box and did not require a break-in period.
Best for Men: adidas Men's Terrex Tracerocker Trail Running Shoe
The Men's Terrex Tracerocker Trail Running Shoe by adidas is a lightweight shoe that holds up well on the trail. Despite the abrasion-resistant ripstop, the shoe stays breathable for maximum comfort. According to one reviewer, the shoe wasn't damaged when snagged by branches on an extended hike. Another reported that although it's not a waterproof shoe, it didn't hold in water during an off-road mud run.
Best for Women: Saucony Women's Cohesion TR12 Trail Running Shoe
Saucony's Women's Cohesion TR12 Trail Running Shoe is a popular choice for women who appreciate the way the shoes fit their feet. A wide toe box allows plenty of room for spreading the toes for greater balance, while the heel tapers for a snug fit. It's top selling point, though, is the VERSAFOAM cushioning system that supports the feet for maximum comfort.
Best Traction: Salomon Men's Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoes
Salomon's Men's Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoe takes cues from the brand's iconic skiing shoe. Its aggressive grip keeps your feet from slipping and sliding on the trail and along off-road obstacle courses and mud runs. At the same time, it has just enough cushion to comfort your feet but still lets you feel the trail you're running on so you can adjust your stride accordingly.
Best Water-resistant Trail Running Shoe: New Balance Men's 481V3
Running on trails or participating in off-road obstacle courses can take you through wet terrain. When that happens, it helps to have a water-resistant shoe like New Balance's Men's 481V3. The combination of water resistance and cushioned insoles keep your feet comfortable throughout your event. According to reviewers, their feet stayed dry even when walking through snow and rain or when working around water.