Pack up the pavement shoes because it’s time to take on the trail. Whether you like to seek some solace on a route less traveled or it’s simply convenient to opt for the trail at your local park, you need running shoes specifically designed for the unpredictable terrain and conditions. And heads up, these picks can be excellent options for trail walking shoes too.
Just like running on the track or pavement, every trail runner is a little different. Some runners may be looking for a lightweight trail running shoe for agility, while others may be exploring uneven mountain trails, which would require a sticky rubber outsole.
If you’re on the hunt for a new pair, there are a few things to keep in mind: traction, durability and comfort. You should consider these three features when choosing the right pair to help keep you supported and agile on the rugged path. There’s a shoe for every type of trail run, so if you need help narrowing down your search, check out our trail running shoes buying guide to get started.
Ready to hit the trail in a new pair of shoes? Here are our picks for the best trail running shoes that will fit each of your terrain needs.
BEST LIGHTWEIGHT TRAIL RUNNING SHOES
Take to the trails in the Brooks Divide. They are made with a lightweight rock plate designed to offer protection and reliable traction that can help you take on rugged paths. It’s designed with a midfoot wrap that offers a secure fit, but still remains comfortable thanks to the lightweight BioMoGo DNA cushioned midsole. With a sticky rubber outsole and horseshoe-shaped heel groove, you can confidently take on uneven terrain. If you’re looking for traction, durability and midfoot support, this might be your pick.
Shop the Brooks Men’s Divide Trail Running Shoes.
Take to the trails in the Brooks Divide. Their lightweight rock plate is designed to offer protection from rocks and roots and reliable traction can help you take on rugged paths. It’s designed with a midfoot wrap that offers a secure fit, but still remains comfortable thanks to the lightweight BioMoGo DNA cushioned midsole. And finally, these shoes feature a sticky rubber outsole and horseshoe-shaped heel groove to help keep you stable. If you’re looking for traction, durability and midfoot support, this might be your pick.
BEST EVERYDAY TRAIL RUNNING SHOES
Whatever your trail run entails, feel confident with the Salomon Alphacross. The aggressive traction married with a lightweight feel can help keep you pushing forward on every run. It’s designed with a mesh upper for breathability and boasts crazy comfort, traction and durability. The Contagrip® outsole features a versatile lug patter made to handle any wet or dry surface. If you’re looking for a good everyday go-to, this shoe could be for you.
BEST FOR UNEVEN TERRAIN OR MOUNTAIN TRAILS
For a smooth ride on tough trail terrain, step into the Brooks Cascadia 14. This rugged shoe is designed to protect over any trail without weighing you down. Its Cordura Mud Guard protects from debris while allowing water in and out. The breathable upper and internal bootie help keep you feeling comfortable as well. For agility, this shoe is built with a rubber outsole, segmented heel pads and cushion dispersers. If you’re looking for that added agility, this shoe could be a perfect fit.
Step into the Brooks Cascadia 14 for a smooth ride on tough trail terrain. Stay light on your feet while remaining protected with this rugged shoe. Its Cordura Mud Guard helps protect from debris while allowing water in and out. The breathable upper and internal bootie help keep you feeling comfortable as well. For agility, this shoe is built with a rubber outsole, segmented heel pads and cushion dispersers. If you’re looking for that added agility, this shoe could be a perfect fit.
Take on the trails with the Brooks Caldera 4. Amazing grip and cushion can help you conquer even the toughest trails. These shoes feature an engineered mesh upper designed to provide ventilation and strategically-placed stretch points for added comfort. The adaptable midsole, whose large grooves are designed to respond and adapt to changing terrain, is also a key feature. With a TrailTack sticky rubber outsole, the Brooks Caldera 4 helps provide outstanding traction up and downhill and on wet surfaces. Many reviewers note this shoe’s comfort too. If you’re looking for a grippy, cushioned, durable option, the Caldera 4 could be a great choice.
Stay agile on your feet with the Brooks Caldera 4. Plush cushion and amazing grip can help you tackle new terrain. They feature an engineered mesh upper designed to provide breathability and strategically-placed stretch points for added comfort. The midsole and outsole work together to help you experience a smooth, stable ride. Thanks to the sticky rubber outsole, traction won’t be a problem. Many reviewers note this shoe’s comfort as well. If you’re looking for an option with grip, cushion and durability, the Caldera 4 could be a great choice.
Bringing a well-loved running shoe to the trails, the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 trail running shoes are ready to help take on your next trail with confidence. The perforations on its upper enhance breathability in the forefoot and arch, and the widened forefoot helps give a roomier feel. Enjoy a smooth ride with responsive Zoom Air units in the heel and cushioned foam. For comfort, function and fashion, this shoe might be your next running buddy.
Energize your run by experiencing the ASICS GT-2000 8 G-TX. Feel confident and stable with every step thanks to the arch-boosting, molded, breathable sockliner and forefoot cage. And in a nice contrast to the added stability features, you’ll find comfort with shock-absorbing GEL® Technology. Plus, the lugged traction pattern is made to increase grip on loose and slippery surfaces. This shoe can be great if you have lower arches and want a lightweight and comfortable ride.
Now that you’ve picked your new pair, get out there with these Trail Running Tips!
Didn’t find what you were looking for? Check out our full selection of trail running shoes at DICK’S.com.