Whether your grabbing a new pair for a local 5k trail race, the next Tough Mudder or Spartan Race or getting ready to throw down big on a Century – check out this list of goodies to try out this year.
One of our favorites was mentioned in this list which included the Brooks Cascadia.
Video – Brooks Cascadia 8
Check out Brooks Cascadia 8 Trail Running Shoes @ Amazon.com
Brooks Cascadia 8 Review:
Updates to the shoe have improved traction and midfoot fit. Nice comfortable ride with great cushioning. Toebox is slightly snug when wearing heavier socks. Forefoot overlays may cause pressure to the toes leading to circulation issues. Bottom line is reliably smooth and comfortable all-purpose trail shoe capable of hundreds and hundreds of miles of wear.
Patagonia EVERmore trail running shoe
Check out the Patagonia Scree Shield CrossTrainer at REI.com
Patagonia EverMore trail shoe review by J.B.
“Bought these for 6-12 mile mountainous trail runs and they’ve been one of the best rugged runners I’ve owned. The wide forefoot allows for more stability in the rocky stretches. I like the low profile as well. They fit a hair larger than I would want and wearing them barefoot may be a problem, however I rarely wear trail-runners barefoot anyway, so this hardly affects me.”
New Balance Minimus Hi-Rez
New Balance Minimus review by Mitchell: These are a minimalist shoe, so they don’t have a lot of support. It has a 4mm heel drop which puts you in a very neutral position for doing cross training, which is what you want; you can feel your feet. Makes for a more intimate workout. I wear these strictly in the gym for about half hour +, while i do tabata training or longer format interval training. I have been exercising for over 40 years, so i think i know my way around a pair of shoes. The New Balance Minimus are great shoes – for the gym they give great lateral support for doing footwork and hold your feet in well.
Video Review – Vasque Pendulum trail running shoe
The Pendulum Trail Running Shoe is a minimalist-meets-rugged-runner shoe and offers the cushioning and protection needed you need for rocky trails and the agility you want to be quick off your toes. As the lightest, most breathable, and most versatile trail shoe in Vasque’s lineup, the Pendulum gets it just right for long-distance missions on the singletrack or fast hill-running in the mountains.
Altra Superior review by Tsherman
I have a wide forefoot and narrow heal. These shoes provide ample toe room and yet still don’t slide on my heal. Based on other reviews I went a size larger (I wear a 13 normally, but went with a 14, as half sizes aren’t available in this size range). I’m glad that I did. The Altra Superior is my first pair of zero drop/ barefoot style shoes. The first few days they seemed a bit hard, but I’m quickly getting used to them. Too early to evaluate durability, but they are construct well and so I’m optimistic.
Asics GEL-Fuji Trainer 2
Asics GEL-Fuji Trainer 2 review by J.H.
These are my current off-road running shoes and I’m very pleased with them. After a week-long break-in I used them to run an 11 mile Tough Mudder and they were fantastic. The ASICS Fuji were light and the chevron cleat tread pattern is reminiscent of the agricultural tires you’d see on tractors and is fantastic in the mud. I’m a short fat kid but on obstacles like the Mud Mile I was easily passing taller, more athletic people on the humps simply because they could not gain purchase on hills I could simply walk up. At the end of the course I hosed them off and they looked almost brand new, five months later I’m still wearing them to exercise.
Brooks Pure Grit 2
Brooks Pure Grit 2 by Tim
This is my third pair of the Brooks PureGrit shoes. In the last 6mos I have worn them for a Spartan Beast, a Tough Mudder, and done all my trail running in them for training. They fit well, take a beating (on my feet and in the washing machine) and grip like mad. My wife recently got me a pair of the green with the cool green soles to wear for a Spartan sprint in AZ, I almost broke my neck the first time I wore them out. It seems that the colored soles are VERY slick with any moisture, this has not been a problem with my black/black soled pairs. I will still keep these, but I will not be using them in any events or any runs on slick trails. Buy the shoe, but stick (no pun) with basic black!!
Dynafit Feline Ghost
Dynafit Feline Ghost by Aby
I have never heard about the Dynafit Feline Ghost before. However, the price made me by it. I have absolutely zero regrets about this deal. The quality is excellent and so is stitching and the materials. It feels very comfortable, offers a lot of support, and feels as it will last forever.
Hoka One Bondi B 2
Hoka One Bondi B 2 review by T.R.
Normally I wear a 8.5 and this shoe fit perfect as far as size goes. But I cannot say enough great things about this shoe!!! I love it, love it, love it!!! I have purchased every shoe I could think of to stop the pain in my feet because I have arthritis in my feet as well as Plantar Fasciitis. I still wear the sof sole insert for arch support of the plantar fasciitis problem but running in these shoes has been the best experience I have ever had with running shoes. I have been running for 3 years now, running in Reebok (too light), Saucony (too minimal), Nike (no support), Adidas (junk) and finally I have found the HOKA One Bondi that prevent the pounding on the bottom of my feet after 3 miles of road running.
La Sportiva Helios
La Sportiva Helios by JB: I was a fan of the Vertical K, which is the La Sportiva shoe from which this one is derived. It is very flexible and light, with excellent traction, some protection, but lacking a rock plate. The Helios adds a rock plate as the missing ingredient. Flexibility is still very good, and the shoe is still light, but there is just enough structure to make it easier to last 100 miles in a race. I have worn the La Sportiva Helios for several 100- and 50-mile races, and they never disappoint. Great in mud, hardpack, even in rocky mountain terrain. These are my go-to shoes for ultras.
Montrail FluidFlex review by MM
I’ve been running in the Montrail Fluidflex for about 2 months and they are a great “transition” shoe from traditional heavily-cushioned running shoes. I typically run in the Asics 2170s, and also think that Asics makes great running shoe (I’ve run in Asics 2150, 2160, 2170 for the last 10 years). That said, over the last year, I’ve started to focus more on my running form and transitioning from being a heel-striker to a mid-foot striker.
New Balance Leadville – MT1210
New Balance Leadville review by T.Jackson
I rarely leave reviews, but I thought this shoe had warranted one. I have really flat, wide feet and it’s almost impossible to find a shoe that fits right and is light. Most running shoes for guys like me are either too narrow, too high of an arch, or look like old man shoes that feel like you’re lugging around bricks on the bottom of your feet! The New Balance Men’s MT1210 NBX Trail Running Shoe,Blue/Green,11.5 D US are by far the lightest shoe I have found that is comfortable, supportive and has plenty of toe box. The build quality is superb and the vibram sole is a bonus. These look even better in person.
Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra
Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra review by Cicero
You don’t need a heightened sense of awareness to recognize the trail-grinding ability of the Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra SG Trail Running Shoe. This snaggle-toothed beast flies over loose rocks and chunky limbs without leaving your toes covered in a gritty film of dirt. A combination of foot-fitting design elements create a confident fit without tying your foot in a tourniquet. The 4mm drop keeps you in contact with the ground, while a soft midsole buffers your sole from the bumps and bruises of running over unmarked mountain passes. Fine mesh uppers keep the grit and grime from trail off your foot without taking away air circulation.
Saucony Peregrine 3.0
Saucony Peregrine 3.0 review by Brian
This is my 4th pair of Saucony shoes but 1st pair of their Trial Shoes. I run on the street in the Saucony Kinvara 3. While these Peregrine 3s are not quite as light as the Kinvara’s, the tread is more durable which accounts for the weight. By No means are these heavy. In fact they are the lightest trail shoes I have ever had on my feet. It’s a Minimalist shoe but does not feel like one. I would say I only feel 1 out of every 30 or so rocks on the trial and those I feel look very sharp yet feel dull to my feet. The tread is Awesome when running up hill and down hill in muddy conditions.
Scott T2 Kinabalu
Scott T2 Kinabalu review by Jimbo
Great shoes… just right. A lot of trail shoes are too bulky and there is a trend toward minimalist trail shoes (which is great for some) so these fall in the middle. There are lots of good trail shoes out there but what makes the Scott T2 Kinabalu is the eride sole which is just a slight rocker shape. The whole rocker sole got kind of a bad rap due to “tone your butt” claims from some manufacturers which is too bad. Many of the top trail racers are using rocker soles (Scott, Hoka), as well as marathon (yes… Skechers), and triathlon (Scott). In my opinion this shape is more efficient for runners who are not natural midfoot strikers and is noticibly smoother and faster while reducing impact on the downhills.
The North Face Hyper-Track Guide
The North Face is introducing a new line of trail shoes based around its new Cradle Guide technology in which two irregularly-shaped midsole pieces are molded together without glue or hard edges. The layers are contoured differently depending on the model to cradle your foot as warranted by the specific shoe model and its intended uses. The North Face Hyper-Track Guide and Ultra Guide come in under 10 ounces.
Pearl Izumi E:Motion Line
Pearl Izumi E:Motion review by Sam
The Pearl iZUMi Men’s E:Motion trail running shoe has been another milestone in the search for the perfect shoe (for me). Since I started trail running a little over a year ago I have been all over the spectrum. I had some knee problems and got into studying my stride and my biomechanics. Which I have to say is a wonderful thing to do for any runner at any level for any terrain. I became interested in lower drop shoes to promote a mid/forefoot strike but I mistakenly thought that a low drop shoe also, by default, had to be minimally padded. So I settled into a pair of Inov-8 Trailroc 245s (3mm drop). I absolutely love that shoe but have resigned it to shorter runs (50k and under).
Questions from athletes in our gym and readers online.
Question: Coach, what running shoes do you like? I wear Pearl Izumi and La Sportiva mostly.
Question: Coach, I am itching to get out on the trails, what are the top trail running shoes? Check out the reviews and videos above.
Question: Coach, which do you prefer with the LaSportiva vs Pearl Izumi Emotion? I have pairs of both shoes and love them both. Flip a coin.
Question: What are the best running shoes for Special Forces training? Check out this article on the best running shoes for Navy SEAL training HERE
Question: Would you recommend the Brooks pure grit 3 for a Tough Mudder? Yes; the Brooks pure grit would be good for a Tough Mudder or Spartan Race.