Top 5 Trail Running Shoes
We pride ourselves on our running heritage and impassioned advice, that's why we've created videos with our in-store experts.
Using their insights, we curated our ‘Top 5 Trail Running Shoes' - our list features the latest in running technology, so there's a shoe for everyone
When it comes to hitting the trail, your footwear is vital, whether you’re looking for a trail shoe built for endurance, protection & traction,
a lightweight shoe covering diverse terrain, breathability in hotter conditions, sustainability, or you're a beginner/ after value for money
- our list has it covered.
According to Run Repeat, trail running popularity has grown 57% in the last decade, with 1.77 million trail runners worldwide.
The beauty of trail running is that the route is yours to make, meaning it’s highly adaptable to your fitness, location, ability, age, and availability.
Let’s start with the sustainable option, it’s important that businesses and consumers alike give back. Offsetting carbon footprints while making footprints on the trail is certainly a priority for us. The Hoka Challenger ATR 6 combines elite performance and features with responsibly sourced and crafted materials. Its Unifi Repreve recycled yarn and CMEVA foam provide stable footing and absorbs impact points. Zonal rubber placement, symmetrical bed cushion, and 4mm lugs are perfect for all-terrain traction and comfort, meaning you don’t need to worry about where you run, the shoes have you covered. Its laces and gusseted tongue are made from recycled materials and its lightweight and breathable frame is made of completely vegan-friendly fabrics. If you’re after a superbly durable, comfortable, lightweight, and downright sustainable option, the Hoka Challenger ATR 6 is certainly a top contender.
Trail running can be a demanding sport, but depending on your needs, it doesn’t have to be a bank-breaker. If you’re a new or intermediate trail runner, who won’t be hitting the toughest terrain, step out with the Salomon Sense Ride 4 and you’ll be in safe hands. Offering all-round comfort, absorption and strong responsivity from the soft Optivibe cushioning, immediately you’re off to a winner. Ideal on any low-impact terrain, the synthetic textile upper-sole delivers an excellent foothold on surfaces, and the Profeel film protects against sharp objects you ay encounter on the trail. The Sense Ride 4, as the name suggests, provides a really immersive ride, and with its resistant, anti-debris mesh, is durable for the longest of trails, so there’s no excuse to stop. All-in-all this is a lot of shoe for not much cost, and is definitely a recommended shoe for those new to trail running.
A new challenger has entered the ring. The New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7 may have only been available for a matter of weeks, but let us tell you, this is a top trail shoe. Providing lightweight comfort and support on roads, trails, and uneven wet surfaces, the Hierro v7 is lightweight, with a breathable synthetic mesh fabric, and cutting-edge Vibram outsole offering a smooth yet protective ride wherever your trails take you. With a no-sew overlay and Fresh Foam midsole, there is an abundance of cushioning and durability. The X Hierro v7 is built for endurance and grip on any trail or terrain, and its lightweight, breathable frame delivers a sleek fit and feel helping you stay light on your feet, mile after mile.
The Brooks Cascadia 16 shoe offers a lot of features as a standard without a hefty price tag, but its standout is its breathability. The Cascadia 16 is ideal for trail runs in hotter, drier climates, so your feet can stay cool and supported, reducing moisture build-up while providing continuous comfort. With its neutral gait (see Gait analysis) and biodegradable deluxe BioMoGo midsole and TrailTrack outsole, you get some serious traction and innovation in your footwear. The Cascadia boasts an engineered monoloop mesh and 3D Fit Print, allowing flexibility, comfort, and durability. Brooks shoes have ballistic rock shields integrated into them, protecting your feet from pebbles and rocks, and release grooves in the midsole for adaptability in tough terrain. It has a lightweight frame and stowable laces with quick-drying fabrics, so whatever the terrain and conditions, your shoe is up for the challenge. If you’re looking to beat your trail bests in arid conditions, the Brooks Cascadia 16 is a major contender.
Like many experienced trail runners know, heavy impacts on the joints will inevitably cause injuries, especially on those longer, more uneven trails. Managing your body whilst staying comfortable, protected, and energised is as down to the shoe as your own vigilance. The Hoka Speedgoat 5 may be lightweight, but it is built for endurance. Breathable fibres are usually associated with less protective shoes, not in this case, staying dry and comfortable comes at no compromise. Its Rocker sole and hard toe-end absorb even the toughest impacts keeping your heels, toes, and ankles springy and free from damage. A tough Vibram Megagrip outsole and increased surface area gives even better traction on loose dirt and rockier trails, and its CMEVA midsole delivers unwavering comfort, response, and great energy return. Coming in at 224g, you won’t feel any sluggishness at the expense of long-lasting protection and comfort. It’s one beast of a shoe.