Trail running bring out a different breed. Going out for any jog is just a socially acceptable insane person’s activity, but doing it on the trail adds more difficulty through elevation and a less stable surface. The reward, of course, is views far superior to what you’ll find in more populated areas and freedom from breathing in the exhaust of a Ford F-150.
Whether you’re looking to replace a cooked pair of trail sneakers or are looking to gear up to get into the activity for the first time, you smashed that click and are here to find the perfect pair for you. We’ve put together a range of options suited for different levels of terrain, your preferences for support, and the all-important factor of taste. Some even stand up well for road running, making your latest cop all the more economical.
Take a gander through our seven choices below, pick the sneaker for you, and you’ll soon find yourself able to thumb your nose at those who don’t put up their miles on the trail.
Hoka One One Evo Mafate 2 ($170)
An absolute unit among absolute units. The Evo Mafate 2 is cushioned to the max above a lugged Vibram outsole, and Matryx fabric on the upper is as soft and breathable as it is secure. This is the out-and-out best sneaker here, but the odd feeling from Hoka One One’s signature and beefy sole construction may not be for everyone.
Adidas Terrex Two Ultra Primeblue ($180)
I’ve had nothing but a great experience since being seeded a pair of Terrex Two Ultras last year, and the model has since been updated with a sustainable Primeblue upper in a host of more fun colors. The shoe is dumby light, but you’ll never feel as if it can’t handle an errant rock thrown your way.
Inov Roclite G 275 ($145)
Whatever Inov’s Roclite lacks in style points, it more than makes up for with its superb grip on uneven surfaces. If you’re not sure how dicy the trial ahead of you might get, this shoe is up for however difficult it may get.
La Sportiva Bushido II ($98)
The Bushido II isn’t just the best name on this list, it’s also the most dynamic in its appearance and one of the most stable you’ll find. STB technology on the cage locks down the upper, while the outsole doesn’t need the most overt of lugs to keep you upright on slippery surfaces, be they wet or rocky. And if you like this color scheme, you’ll be happy to know it’s on sale for $30 cheaper than La Sportiva’s others.
The North Face Flight Vectiv ($200)
The North Face’s best sneaker yet is as great on roads as it is on the trails. A carbon fiber plate in the midsole works with rocker geometry and Vectiv cushioning to maximize the propulsive forces of each stride. Kevlar, the material used for bullet proof vests, also help to keep your foot in place — and we’ve never been more stoked on a shoe from TNF.
Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 ($180)
Salomon’s highly technical kicks have been a revelation during gorp’s reign in fashion, and the brand’s S/Lab has an even greater eye for style. The speed-lacing system comes together in a flash, and the whole shoe has been specifically tuned for long-distance runs without debris ever slowing you down.
Nike Pegasus Trail 3 ($TBD)
Nike’s Pegasus Trail 2 is a fantastic trail running shoe, but with its successor coming June 3 there’s no reason not to wait. The sneaker’s upper will get new synthetic overlays and an revamped laceguard to increase stability, while the toe guard has been beefed up for more protection. Pricing is yet to be announced, but expect something similar to the Pegasus Trail 2’s $130 tag.