Are you fed up with running on the same roads every day? Are you looking for something new and exciting to try out this new year? Why not consider trail running? Trail running is the ideal form of entertainment or exercise for individuals in desperate need of a workout that is more challenging; it can help you branch out of your regular workout routine with ease. However, for such a sport, the footwear you choose is of great importance and only the best trail running shoes for men will do. There are various types of footwear made available for the different kinds of races in existence, and trail running is no exception. A single search for the best trail running shoes will provide you with countless footwear options, each having its unique strength and additional features included in the design to make your running experience more enjoyable.
Our top ten picks for men’s trail running shoes includes the shoes pros, cons and vital features that make it one of the best. There is also a buyer’s guide with essential factors that must be taken into consideration before any purchase or selection is made.
The Best Trail Running Shoe
We refer to the Salomon Men’s Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoe as something more than footwear for men. If you’re a trail running enthusiast who is in need of lightweight footwear with an aggressive grip on both soft and bold trails, this is the best shoe option you will ever have. The Speedcross is more than just a shoe; it is an institution that has been manufactured by Salomon, one of the world’s most magnificent trail running shoe producers in the world. This is a brand that has been in the business for an extremely long time, and thus, they are more than aware of all the various needs and requirements essential in the creation of the perfect trail running shoe.
This 4th edition of the world recognized Speedcross franchise features an iconic design found in the other shoes, a simple trademark of the brand. It comes with features found in all other models, such as the supportive fit, single-pull lace system, as well as a reasonably light yet sturdy chassis. The lugs of this footwear are shaped in the form of an arrow, offering you tremendous traction over various terrains and soft ground such as snow, dirt, and even mud. The supportive upper material, as well as the Speedcross’ thick midsole, ensure that it is mountain-ready at all times.
Textile and Synthetic
Versatile use for different terrains
- Weight12 ounces
Good grip on mud & snow
Quick lace technology
Can’t be used as an everyday shoe
The Asics Men’s Gel-Venture 6 makes a whole lot of sense for individuals who want to mix their smooth trails with some road miles or those who plan on sticking mostly to smooth paths. With its thick materials, large toe cap, and massive lugs, the Gel-Venture is footwear innovatively designed to offer extreme lateral support and stability, with a grip more secure than any other road shoes on the market. It exudes the airy and light feel of a roadrunner with its mesh upper, and when worn by the right person, the Gel-Venture can offer the best of both worlds effortlessly. The Venture is a solid choice, with an excellent value for light trail use. It’s important to note that, using this shoe on steep terrain or rough grounds will leave you feeling disappointed.
These Asics shoes help you take on any smooth trail by providing you with excellent shock-absorbing comfort, thanks to its newly designed midsole and upper. Designed as an upgrade from its predecessor, the Venture features a rugged, one-piece outsole and multi-directional lugs, included to provide runners with confidence-inspiring traction. The durable synthetic material of these trail running trainers from above, together with its stitched-down toe bumper offer nothing short of comfort, protection, and an excellent fit.
Available in various colours
- ModelGEL-Venture 6 MX
- Weight12 ounces
Keep the tempo high in the city with the Salomon Men’s Speedcross 3 Trail Running shoe on your feet. This shoe is fast, fluid, and promises to provide you with a superb fit. Featuring the most secure and precise construction of its upper, this footwear does more than just wrapping your feet with exceptional comfort and support. It features a broad range of technologies, and each included to give you the perfect fit you’re searching for. To provide you with maximum breathability, the underlayer of this trail running shoe is made from a 3D open stretch mesh. Breathability means that fresh air can permeate the interior of your shoe easily, keeping both feet refreshed and cool all day long.
The Sensfit technology is featured on the exterior of this winter running shoe, and it is employed by manufacturers to ensure a secure and precise fit while wrapping to your feet. It provides an accurate, stable, and snug fit by cradling your foot from the midsole to the lacing system. The Sensfit technology brings more comfort while reducing the weight of the shoe with a molding type system. This technology works hand in hand with Salomon’s exclusive technology, the EndoFit Security and Precision engineering tech. It is produced with an internal fit sleeve and does its job by hugging the forefoot. The end goal is to improve both foot wrapping and feedback.
Dual-density EVA midsole
- ModelSpeedcross 3-M
- Weight4 pounds
Good responsiveness for a trail running shoe
Snug and comfortable fit
Not the most recent model
Can’t be used as an everyday shoe
The next best brand for trail running on our list is Adidas, and the Adidas Men’s Terrex Tracerocker actively represents them. Constructed from synthetic materials, this trail running shoe is designed by footwear professionals specifically for inclement weather and rough terrain. The Terrex Tracerocker is one seriously mountain-ready trail runner, and its lightweight rubber sole makes you actively aware of that. The aggressive Continental outsoles of these Adidas shoes have been found to be sticky with an excellent grip on mud, rock, and snow while sharing a lug pattern with a mountain bike tire.
Contributing to the stable feel of this running footwear over technical terrain is a low stack height and semi-stiff platforms. The all-around nature of this shoe is something that leaves many professionals and runners in awe and amazement. This shoes can be used as a hiking or fastpacking boot, as it performs impressively on both flat and steep trails. With its extended comfort, the use of breathable materials for this shoe enables air to circulate your feet as you run, keeping your feet fresh and refreshed for a very long time.
High Traction Rubber Outsole
- ModelTerrex Tracerocker
- Weight12 ounces
Ever heard of the Merell Men’s Trail Glove 4? If you have not, you’re missing out on knowledge about one of the world’s best trail running footwear in the entire universe! An iconic holdover from the minimalist shoe craze, this is one intriguing shoe with many exciting perks. Some distinct features of this shoe that strikes everyone is its superior trail feel, low profile, and zero-drop shape. These features help the Glove 4 stand out from other brands and many other models in its category. At 16 ounces, it is easily one of the lightest shoes around, and yet it still manages to use its close fit, Vibram outsoles, and rock guard to retain a modest trail performance.
If you’re a minimalist trail runner who loves to run short distances on easy trails, the Trail Glove is a good choice. There are only a few shoes currently on the market who can boldly match the Trail Glove’s barely-there feel. If you’re a heel striker, new to the minimalist style, or you’re only looking to transition from a traditional shoe, it’s important to consider that you will need a bit of time to adjust to this shoe’s zero-drop ride fully. The degree of rollover stability and protection offered by this footwear isn’t nearly the same as traditional shoes due to its thin construction.
100% Textile and Synthetic
Mesh & TPU upper. Vegan-friendly
- ModelTRAIL GLOVE 4-M
- Weight1.8 pounds
Light and low
Lacks ankle support
Another creation from the Asics camp on our list is the Asics Men’s Gel Venture 5 running shoe. Constructed to offer men everyday comfort, this great fitting footwear features a rugged outsole and a Rearfoot GEL Cushioning ideal for a vast range of running terrains. In many customer reviews, the Gel-Venture 5 scores extremely well for various reasons. One vital feature that leaves many users impressed is its durability. A high level of strength is attained through the materials selected for its construction. All materials are of top-notch build quality.
You are permitted to use your Venture 5 for walking purposes, but it is designed to perform well as a running shoe instead. With running being at the center of this shoe’s design, manufacturers have included certain features that promise to make running something more than just a sport or hobby. One highlight added is the brushstroke pattern found along the mesh body of this footwear. The model exists to ensure that all runs made are incredibly comfortable. The interior of this shoe is soft enough to prevent you from experiencing any leg pains during or after a series.
An outdoor-ready runner
Rearfoot GEL cushioning
- ModelGEL-Venture 5-M
- Weight12 ounces
Quality runner who offers comfort
GEL cushioning inside to protect your feet
Rubber protection in high wear areas
Not a very durable
A bit pricy
The New Balance FuelCore running shoe is one of the current trainers manufactured by New Balance. It feels more like an evolution of footwear than a simple trail running shoe, which makes it merely terrific. The FuelCore Sonic features a corrupt fast Boa lacing system, together with a slightly lighter upper which adds up to its magnificence. The outsole of these cross country running shoes is constructed from blown rubber, while its midsole makes use of the RevLite technology to offer users a great deal of comfort. With a midsole as responsive as that of the FuelCore Sonic, you can run without having your footwear breaking down, for hundreds of miles.
The durability of this New Balance shoe manifests at the outsole, where the performance DNA of this shoe ends. The outsole, however, is made with a lot of rubber and thus, a little dampness can cause you to feel your shoes starting to slip when you push yourself harder during a race on wet terrains. One noticeable feature found on the upper of this trail running shoe is the Boa lacing system, which offers you the perfect tightness every time. The laces are designed thin to encourage even distribution of pressure between the back and front of the dial reels. The upper also features a wide strap that causes this shoe to hug your foot whenever you wear it.
Injection Molded Eva
No Response 2.0 Performance Insert
No-Sew Material Application
- BrandNew Balance
- Weight2 pounds
New Balance FuelCore Sonic General Info
Trail running has a lot of benefits it offers to those who practice it, which include the chance to build your strength and also increase your endurance. However, every sport requires the right gear, and with the right gear, there’s no such thing as bad weather. So don’t be afraid to explore and play with the elements with your Salomon Men’s XA Pro 3D CS trail runner. This shoe is meant to help connect you to all kinds of terrain, regardless of their conditions. Every ground and every race you undertake is made an iconic adventure with the Salomon XA Pro 3D CS. Manufacturers have ensured that this trail running shoe meets the shoe needs of all kinds of runners by making it durable. With a sport such as trail running, abuse on shoes is inevitable, whether you’re coming from a road-running background, a trail hiking background, or from a mountain.
Unlike the other lightweight trail shoes mentioned in this article, the XA Pro 3D CS is a great option for both professionals and first-time runners, as it vows to protect you better than they all can. Concerning protection, this shoe is referred to as a shoe tank for many good reasons. For unprecedented underfoot protection, this midsole rock plate of the XA Pro 3D CS is solid and inflexible. With an upper manufactured from multi-layered synthetic leather, we guarantee that no other shoe will take care of your foot like this one.
Textile and Synthetic
- Weight3 pounds
Added midsole material
Needs breaking in
Insole provides no support
The predecessor of the XA Pro 3D CS is the Salomon Men’s XA Pro 3D. Created from a passion for skiing and design innovation, this trail running shoe is an iconic, proven adventure shoe that offers all users improved durability, an incredible fit, and a grip that inspires confidence during your runs. It features a performance-driven design where new ideas are converted into action, ultimately expanding the limits of possibility. The best feature possessed by this footwear is its versatility. It enables all users to run comfortably and effortlessly on all types of terrains and surfaces by offering them an excellent grip.
To deliver a fast, comfortable fit for your feet, the XA Pro 3D design features the use of Sensfit and quick lace, which does its absolute best to ‘hug’ your foot within this shoe for a precise fit. Stability is not an issue with this footwear, and this is thanks to the use of a 3D chassis. This feature works excellently without having to sacrifice forefoot mobility. One feature that is important to note as a user of this shoe is the need for the pump to be broken into. Breaking in is done to prevent users from complaining about an extra-stiff upper overall or moments of pinching while running.
Sensifit with quick lace
- Weight12 ounces
Bold colors & catchy design
Comfort & support
Needs breaking in
The Altra Men’s Lone Peak 3.5 shoe is the last shoe on our list, but it has one of the best trail running shoe reviews. It is an updated version of its predecessor, coming with great features such as a 4-point gaiter system to do away with all rocks and dirt, drainage holes to ensure your feet stay dry all day, and an upgraded mesh that offers enhanced durability. With such a shoe on your feet, you are more than ready to tackle any trail you encounter. Beat the roughest surfaces running with the wind in confidence, thanks to the shoe’s TrailClaw outsole, FootShape toe box, Zero Drop platform, and MaxTrac.
Some notable changes in this footwear, as opposed to its predecessor, include a shaped rock plate and a grippier, more durable outsole. The rock plate design adds flexibility to the forefoot, while the improved features of the outsole make it a high performance on different terrains. If you like a roomy toe box, or you’re only in need of a cushioned, comfortable ride, which you regard as a priority, you will love the Lone Peak 3.5. Be sure to also check out our list of the best water shoes for hiking for more great items like this.
Textile and Synthetic
- Weight3 pounds
Cushioned and very comfortable.
Sticky Vibram Megagrip outsole
Ultra Protect CRADLE provides heel stability
Trail Running Shoes Buying Guide & FAQ
Features To Consider In A Trail Running Shoe
Waterproof - It is generally advised that as a runner, you stick to highly breathable shoes. You may not want a waterproof shoe if you're going to be trail running. This is because unlike activities such as hiking, trail running will cause your feet to sweat excessively, and the waterproof membrane of any running shoe will find it hard keeping up. There are however some terrains that may call for such pumps, and these include snowy trails at ultra-lengths or excessively muddy and snowy trails. When searching for the perfect trail running shoe, you must be particular about its intended use. If you're a trail runner who undertakes year-round hiking, a waterproof shoe may come in handy for you. There are great options for cold weather that aren't waterproof but will prevent your feet from freezing.
Padding - Padding is exceptionally essential when deciding on the type of running shoes to purchase. It is advised that to avoid the case of rubbing during a run, you must consider looking for a padded tongue and collar. These add support to your feet, and they're appreciated by those who run for long periods. Padding may seem like little detail, but it makes a lot of difference in your running and comfort.
Stability - The stability and relative stiffness of a trail running shoe is related directly to its intended use. Shoes manufactured for use on mountains or rough races are designed with more structure and are made to be stiffer. Shoes intended for easy trails feel more comfortable and flexible as soon as you wear them. Many trail running shoes on the market today offer a stable ride, even with their lightweight nature. Stability is essential as it helps resist ankle rolls.
Sole Stiffness - With a vast range of land types available for trail running, there are different designs of soles manufactured, designed according to the terrain it is going to be used on. Shoes with spaced-out lugs are excellent for people living in areas with a lot of precipitation and wet, muddy conditions. The spacing out of the lugs prevents a build-up of mud, which may lead to falls and slips. We recommend lovers of steep hills and rugged terrains to opt for soles with more support, structure and the ability to protect your feet from all kinds of obstacles.
Cushioning - The amount of cushioning provided in a shoe is dependent on the manufacturer. Some brands feature very thin cushioning, while others offer heavy cushioning. Shoes with a small cushion provide runners with a closer feel of the terrain. The downside to this is the potential of runners to experience very sore feet as they run further.
On the other hand, heavily cushioned shoes are so smooth to use, you hardly notice the ground underneath. The downside to this is a runner's inability to connect with the trail on which they run. Also, the tall height of these shoes increases a runner's chances of rolling over. Many runners prefer shoes with not too much cushioning and not too little; somewhere in the middle.
Fit - The vital factor to consider when selecting the perfect trail running shoe is fit, and this statement is not made lightly. If a shoe doesn't fit your foot, it doesn't matter how positive the reviews are, and it is just not meant for you. A good shoe fit goes far beyond the length, shoe size and width of a shoe. It also includes factors such as the length and arch shape of your feet. A footwear specialist is the best person to help you find a shoe of the right size. The best time to see such a specialist is at the end of your day when our feet are swollen a little. The swell helps you get a shoe big enough to accommodate your feet.
Lacing System - An excellent lacing system doesn't tighten or bag your feet excessively, and it simply holds your foot in place comfortably. Laces play a fundamental role in the ultimate comfort of a shoe, but most often, it is overlooked and considered irrelevant. There are running shoes that still make use of the standard lace-up method, but other brands are branching out and introducing more innovative solutions such as the Quick Lace system. If you're a runner who often struggles with laces to ensure a precise and secure fit, you can opt for shoe options that avoid the use of quick laces.
Grip - The difference between trail running shoes and road running shoes is that the former generally have a broader, wider spaced grip pattern, unlike the latter. You must consider the kind of terrain you will often ply, before making a purchase. For the greatest grip and stability, however, it is best to choose shoes with large, multi-directional and aggressive lugs.
Types of Trail - The surface on which you run will determine the kind of shoe you need to purchase. There are various brands and models in today's market for every type of trail, from light racing to sturdy trails shoes. Thus, it's vital that you know the kind of path you will be running on when selecting your pump.
Terrain - There are different kinds of ground, and they all have shoes designed to cater to their surfaces. For example, sturdy trail shoes with deep lugs are recommended for muddy terrains.
- Trail racing: this race type takes places usually on mountains and grassy terrains.
- Triathlons: this race is a 3-part activity involving a swim, cycle and runs in the final lap. It is the most challenging race type.
- Fun Runs: this race appeals to many beginner runners, as it helps you build up experience and fully introduce yourself to the world of racing. You can run alone, with friends or with organizations for charity.
- Team Obstacle Race: if you're an adventurer at heart, then this race is designed for you. It takes you from a series of dark tunnels, over dangling electrical wires and through cold water.
- Ultra racing: if you love running long distances, ultra-running is your best option. Going further than 26.25 miles, ultra-marathons are great for those who don’t find traditional marathons challenging enough.
Trail Running Shoes FAQ
Q: What are trail running shoes?
A: Trail running shoes are footwear designed for runners who love going off the road, as trail running happens on softer surfaces such as dirt and grass.
Q: How is trail running shoes regular from different shoes?
A: The composition of most men's trail running shoes is what sets it apart from every other shoe. Trail shoes are traditionally designed to protect and offer support to the foot for the different terrains that will be run on. Road shoes, on the other hand, feature thin threads since the traction needed for paved roads is minimal.