Top 10 Trail Running Shoes of 2014

Top 10 Trail Running Shoes of 2014

Brooks Cascadia 9

With 4-point pivot posts built to mimic the suspension system of a sturdy SUV, the newest edition of Brooks’ Cascadia provides adequate support for almost any type of rugged terrain. The shoe’s newest updates include a slightly lowered heel and flat laces while its classic no-sew structure provides lightweight comfort. A Brooks signature BioMoGo DNA midsole offers extra cushioning that promises to conform not only to your feet but the many different surfaces  you choose to run over, too.
—Katie Rosenbrock; $120

Ecco Biom Ultra Trail

Providing superior ground feedback, the Biom Ultra is marked by its low-to-the-ground construction. Along with great flexibility, an anatomical fit, and dedicated performance zones, this shoe will work with the natural motion of your feet to insure a responsive ride. Built to take off-road, durable toe caps and mud guards provide added protection and stability in navigating the ruts and rocks of the trail. With an impressive selection of options, the Biom Ultra comes in three upper styles. The Quest is marked by an open mesh for the utmost in versatility, the Quest GTX has a technical 100 percent waterproof Gore-Tex membrane, and the Quest Plus uses a pliable yak leather.
—Mackenzie Lobby; $160, $180, $180

Asics GEL-Venture® 4

A simple but sturdy shoe, the GEL-Venture 4 features Rearfoot GEL® Cushioning for shock absorption, a removable sock liner for runners in need of an orthotic insert, and a tough trail-specific outsole with reversed lugs that deliver extra uphill and downhill traction over almost any type of landscape.
—Katie Rosenbrock; $60

Altra Olympus

In line with Altra’s other offerings, the Olympus is distinctive for its zero-drop platform and foot-shaped toe box. These attributes allow for a more natural foot strike and toe splay with each step of the run. The Olympus provides a max-cushioned option via a 36mm stack height, reducing your workload on a long day of running. Made with a trail specific sticky rubber, these shoes can truly go from the road to the trail and back again. A quick-dry upper mesh allows for breathability and moisture control, while also contributing to the surprisingly light feel for such a highly cushioned model. Slightly less expensive than some of the other maximalist models, this may serve as a great entry shoe into the category.
—Mackenzie Lobby; $130

The North Face Ultra Smooth

Designed for runners with a neutral stride, this new sneaker from The North Face is a versatile trainer that boasts the ability to handle multiple terrains. Proper foot positioning and a smooth stride are encouraged by the shoe’s CRADLE™ technology and as part of the Ultra Protection series the Ultra Smooth implements plenty of protection against impact and the elements while remaining supple and lightweight.
—Katie Rosenbrock; $110

Topo Mountain Trainer

Designed for both trail running and light hiking, Topo’s new Mountain Trainer features a more traditional design, but still includes the same secure fit, near-neutral platform, and lightweight material that makes their split-toe models so popular. A high-traction outsole offers a steady ride over a variety of terrain and a light but supportive midsole protects against rugged earth without compromising ground feedback.
—Katie Rosenbrock; $100

Vasque Ultra SST

Showcasing Vasque’s new ShapeShifter technology, the Ultra SST offers a unique solution for trail runners. By stitching the upper directly to the midsole, the necessary cement to hold the shoe together was reduced by fifty percent, making for a more streamlined fit and lighter weight construction. EVA geometric sole pods integrated with a high traction outsole provide ample cushioning over rocky trails, while still allowing for plenty of control and reducing fatigue over the miles. A Boa L5 single-pull closure system helps to not only give the shoe a custom fit, but it also allows for easy adjustment out on the trail. While the supreme cushioning and unique design give this shoe an untraditional look, it is an ingenious solution for serious off-road runners.
—Mackenzie Lobby; $170

Merrell All Out Fuse

The All Out Fuse was made to allow for full-out freedom on the trails. Described as supple and resilient, this trail-specific shoe will provide protection against impact thanks to its natural shape that activates the foot’s innate responsive nature. Merrel’s trademark Omni-Fit Lacing system allows for a perfectly snug fit and thanks to multi-directional M-Select GRIP traction you can tackle any trail with swift, agile speed.
—Katie Rosenbrock; $110

New Balance Trail 860v4

This trail shoe’s water-resistant mesh upper makes it a perfect fit for the runner who likes to get down and dirty. Not only will the 860v4 protect your feet from the elements, but you’ll also experience unparalleled stability and support with New Balance’s innovative sneaker technologies like the ABZORB® Crash Pad which provides extra heel cushioning and a thick medial post on the shoe’s inside edge to help inhibit over-pronation.
—Katie Rosenbrock; $120

Scarpa Ignite

This trail shoe was designed to hold up over long distances yet still boasts a lightweight, flexible build. The Ignite’s EVA midsole makes for a dynamic ride and with a slim EVA trail plate runners can depend on extra forefoot protection, too. The shoe’s outsole features an innovative tread pattern that allows for an excellent grip so every runner can tackle the territory of their choice with confidence and ease.
—Katie Rosenbrock; $125