Best Sneakers for Trail Running

Don't hit the trails before finding the one pair of sneakers for you


Running in the city or in the gym can get very boring after a few miles. This is where trails come in. Change your running environment and make it more fun and challenging by going swapping out hard asphalt for softer ground, which is easier on the legs anyways.

Trail running can be fantastic for your body – physically because as trails are three dimensional and mentally because they offer more scenic and stimulating views. Also, being surrounded by nature is one of the best ways to cope better with stress, feel happier and have more self-esteem, according to research. Other studies have shown that walking in green spaces can put the brain in a state of meditation.

But you need the right gear. The trail running shoes on the following list have been selected after analyzing many reviews on, Runner’s World, Trail Runner Magazine, and Running Shoes Guru. Rankings have been based on hundreds of users’ scores and expert opinions.

Altra Lone Peak 2.5

The Lone Peak has been updated. What’s new is the redesigned upper, better lacing system, upper durability, and slightly firmer midsole so you can better run along challenging and unpredictable trails. As one reviewer wrote: “I picked this shoe up a couple of weeks ago, looking to find a shoe that was minimal in terms of heel to toe drop, but still provided adequate cushioning.[…] I did 2 easy hour-long runs in them first, then did a 5-hour run on really rocky terrain. I had no issues with them at all. They provided great protection.” The bottom line is that this shoe is comfortable for any terrain and has a good combination of cushion and ground-to-foot contact.

Merrell All Out Peak

Most of the people trying the Merrell All Out Peak gave it 5 stars. It’s best for neutral pronators and normal training. Actualy, the most negative review is still a positive one: “The Peak easily handles: mud, icy snow, wet wooden bridges, and slick pavement, while providing tremendous rock protection.” The running shoe features mesh and synthetic upper, reflective details, removable footbed, breathable mesh lining, and TrailProtect™ pad for extra sole protection.

Brooks PureGrit 4

The Brooks PureGrit 4 have a low heel-toe drop and a flexible midsole so you can be as agile as possible on a technically difficult terrain. The cushioning is just enough to protect you. These running shoes are ideal for short to medium and fast routes, according to reviews. People like them because they are comfortable, have good traction and are pretty light. “Love the way the shoe doesn't interfere with your natural way to run,” one person wrote.

Salomon Speedcross CS

The overall score of the Salomon Speedcross CS shoe derived from 389 users was 4.8 out of 5. The bottom line is that it brings speed and quality performance to the trails. “The protective upper, weather protection and aggressive tread are the things this shoe offers to the trail runners.” If you are going for a run of normal training, this may be the shoe for you. It offers great underfoot comfort. The upper comes with an anti-debris mesh.

Asics Gel Venture

The Asics Gel Venture scored 4.6 out of 5 after reviews by more than 2,500 people were taken into account. “The arch support is incredibly high and strong,” one review read. If you’ve got a high arch, or a low arch that needs some extra support while you’re running, this is the shoe you should consider. The sneakers are very comfortable and have a good gripping sole. Many people love the design too.

Saucony Nomad TR

The firm cushioning is what people love the most about the Saucony Nomad TR. It may not look this way at first glance, but this is a very comfortable shoe that is ideal for you if you are running on hard-packed dirt and gravel trails. The sneakers have been engineered to adapt to various terrain types while providing excellent traction and durability. “A significant number of runners applauded the cushioning and flexibility of this shoe,” according to RunRepeat. It comes with an oblique toe shape for exceptional fit.

Hoka One One Huaka

One of the best things about the Hoka One One Huaka, other than its light weight and cushioning, is its design. “I took these shoes on a 24 mile road run. They performed flawlessly in basically all areas. They were comfortable the whole time, provided a smooth ride and the cushioning felt great,” one review, similar to many others, read. The shoes have better durability and an exceptional outsole grip. The three-layer welded support frame is designed to offer protection between the foot and the upper on any trail.  

More readings: 

How to Prepare for Trail Running

Training Tips for Trail Running

Top Spring Running Gear for 2016