Unearth the Best: Top 10 Trail Running Shoes of 2014 for Unrivaled Performance

top 10 trail running shoes 2013Check out the Top 10 Trail Running Shoes from the Outdoor Retailer Show and from our list of athletes that have completed the Spartan Race, Tough Mudder and GORUCK events.

Whether you are starting out with your first 5k trail run or getting down and dirty with a full marathon plus – this list will do you right.

What is the best trail shoe? For starters find the one that fits your foot – then go from there.

Ok; we actually have 14 trail running shoes we like – check em out.

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Vivobarefoot Breatho Trails

The Vivobarefoot Men’s Breatho Trail Running Shoes have been a true companion on my trail running endeavors. Built with 100% vegan material and a mesh fabric, they’re not only eco-friendly but also incredibly durable. I wish I could show you the state of my Breathos after clocking an estimated 500 kilometers; they’ve truly taken a beating and emerged almost unscathed. Despite enduring this distance and more, they keep performing exceptionally well.

What I appreciate most about these shoes is their adaptability. I’ve logged around 750 kilometers this year, a good 250 of which were barefoot. I bought these specifically for an ultra and aimed to acclimate myself to them by wearing them as much as possible before the event. The Zigzag webbing with Lock-Lacing system ensures a snug fit and excellent foot stability, crucial for trail running. Additionally, the Hex-Flex moisture management insole keeps my feet dry, providing comfort even on long runs in challenging terrains. The off-road barefoot traction outsole offers superb grip, allowing me to confidently navigate through various terrains without losing my footing.

Overall, these shoes have proven to be incredibly resilient and supportive, enduring a significant amount of wear while still maintaining their performance. For military athletes seeking a reliable, durable, and comfortable shoe for trail running, the Vivobarefoot Men’s Breatho Trail Running Shoes are definitely worth considering.

Check price at Amazon.com

#2 Merrell Ascend Glove

I wasn’t sure how this shoe would fit and/or what it’s like going for a jog on a trail. Buying shoes online and not in a store comes with it’s risks. However, I was quite pleased when the Merrell Men’s Ascend Glove Gore-Tex Trail-Running shoes arrived and I tried them on. They are very comfortable and very light weight. Not quite what I was expecting from a trail running shoe.

The fit is as I expected it to be. I have a 10.0 wide foot, so I selected a 11 medium. These are great shoes, but I’m not sure how great they’re on for heavy duty trails in the woods. They come lower than I would expect, so not much protection from a root sticking up or a rock. I wouldn’t knock a star off for that, but something to be aware of.


This is a great Tough Mudder shoe: Bought these for the Tough Mudder in Atlanta, Georgia. Worth every penny. Never slipped, even on very muddy hills. The Salomon Men’s Speedcross 3 Trail Running Shoe even had very reasonable tread/grip on the snow obstacles. The laces hold tight, the shoes produced no blisters, they didn’t hold very much water or mud and therefore didn’t noticeably increase in weight after they were wet.

I typically wear a size 10 and there was no variance in these shoes – my typical size fit perfectly. I really can’t think of anything remotely bad to say about these shoes.
Would definitely recommend these shoes for Tough Mudder.
Also, many people throw their shoes away at the end of the race.. I think these have multiple runs of Tough Mudder left in them!

#4 Asics GEL-Venture 4

Cant go wrong. Good value and expected Asics fit & quality. The ASICS Men’s GEL-Venture 4 Running Shoe are my new running shoes. I guess I’m a bit biased because I only buy asics athletic shoes. If you have wide feet you can’t go wrong… I always buy a 1/2 size up and 4E width, and everything works out great for me. We know athletes that have used the Asics Venture 3 as a tough mudder or Spartan Race shoe. Navy SEAL Mark James wears Asic trail shoes for the Tough Mudder.

#5 Pearl Izumi EM Trail N1

Great shoe. I have only had the Pearl Izumi EM N Trail Running Shoe for a short time but WOW I love them. Looking forward to wearing for my trail marathon next month. I have worn several different brands and have had a hard time finding something I felt good in because I have sprained both ankles. I wanted a shoe with decent cushion but low to the ground.

#6 Icebug Anima2 BUGrip review

It’s a dream come true. It helps catch the ground and release my toes from the task of graping the shoes to keep me running worry free.

The Icebug Anima2 BU Grip Trail Running Shoe is best in snow and rain and is good in shiny weather.

I like them a lot and I may buy more.


These shoes look good and perform as advertised. Soles are more sticky than most hikers. This is my first shoe from this company and it appears to have earned the solid reputation. Only downside is the fit.

The Scarpa Ignite Trail Running Shoe are narrow and run a little bit long so it was tough to find one that fit. I took the advice of the other reviews and ordered a half size smaller but wound up ordering a larger size after the first one was too tight.

#8 Nike ZOOM Terra Wildhorse

Shoes are awesome. Have received many compliments. Bright colors, soft stable ride and really holds to your foot.

Just as a warning to some colors are a little off in the pic. The Nike Zoom Wildhorse Trail Running shoe is light gray with bright light blue and salmon light pink not red scheme.

#9 Puma Faas 300 TR

So I just got the PUMA Faas 300 TR Running shoe today but they fit really nicely and were much lighter than my older pumas I believe the night fox edition. The colors are poppin as usual. The heel is snug which in like and the curl from heel to toe is suited to for a more curved foot which was good for me, maybe not you though. The only thing I would complain about is the support in the ankle though I have weak ankles so we shall see how they hold up to the trails.

#10 Saucony Xodus 4.0 GTX

I am a novice/occasional runner (more of an avid walker, really!) and I bought these after looking for a good shoe for winter walks/runs on snowy/icy/slushy city sidewalks and parkland trails and they have been tremendous so far. I wear a standard 11 and the 11 in the Saucony Xodus 4.0 GTX Running shoe which fits me perfectly.

I haven’t experienced any of the traction or slipping issues other reviewers have mentioned. They provide great traction, have kept my feet warm even as I’m hiking over snowpack and are a pleasing combination of substance and lightness. (They feel substantial on my feet but not so heavy that I feel like I’m wearing hiking boots!)

#11 Adidas Adistar Raven

The Adidas Adistar Raven 3 Trail Running Shoes offer good water resistance against rain and wet foliage, but if you submerge your foot, they will take on water. This is due to the laces being threaded through the climaproof lining- there are normal lace holes going right through it. Seems like an easy design fix, especially for a shoe that costs $120. Regardless, they are comfortable, and fit like normal adidas (I have always bought 12 in response trail and others and bought wear a 12 raven).

I have added new balance ultra arch insoles to mine, replacing the custom insoles Adidas provides, which provide decent cushioning for a couple hours but offer little arch support.
The best thing about the shoe is the snug, formed-feel fit, especially in the heel, and the grippiness of the rubber. They do squeek on waxed floors, but they also hold to wet rocks and such pretty nicely.

#12 Adidas Supernova Riot 5

I recently purchased a pair of Adidas Adizero Feather 2.0. These are serious running shoes, about as light as they get, and are good for that purpose, but for an everyday use, I found that they were too soft and not offering much support at all. So, I decided that I needed to get myself a new pair of sturdier running shoes.

I noticed the Adidas Supernova riot 5 Men’s Running Shoes (mine is in yellow instead of red) and I was intrigued and decided to give them a try. Fit. The fit is comfortable, somewhat snug. Keep in mind that the tongue of these shoes is only free for about an inch. So, if one has high insteps, getting in can require a little bit of effort, but they do fit since I do have high insteps.

#13 North Face Ultra Guide

I have a couple of pair of North Face shoes for hiking, one a bit light for when the hiking is easy and the other more rugged and supportive pair for when the hiking is difficult.

I had also been using the light pair for mountain biking as I use toe clips and not clipless pedals but then I found using them was wearing them out a bit quickly because the pedals also have screws sticking up into the shoe tread to hold the shoe to the pedal. I decided to get a dedicated pair for biking and since that was the use for them I got a rather light pair, these North Face ‘Ultra Guide’ Trail Running Shoe.

#14. Salomon XR Crossmax 2

I was fearful ordering this after reading the various reviews, but as a former Crossmax 1 owner, I’ve not been displeased in the least with the Salomon XR Crossmax 2 Trail Running shoe. It’s a bit stiffer right now, but no more so than I remember the 1. The grip is superior and does appear to have the increased durability it’s supposed to. I find the fit to be the same (and I continue to switch back and forth with my 1s–I’m a forefoot striker, so I’m not particularly concerned with mid-sole break down in the rear–just the tread wear up front, which with the 1’s is substantial).
Question: What about the Salewa Firetail?
This shoe is more of an approach shoe and less of a trail running shoe. You can hike and even mtn bike (without clips). If you are looking for that then try the Salewa MS Firetail EVO Approach Shoe.
Question: What is the Outdoor Retail Show? Check out info here:
Navy SEAL Mark James training blog for Tough Mudder
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