The Best Trail Running Shoes 2022

The Best Trail Running Shoes 2022

The Best Trail Running Shoes 2022

Written By: SportsShoes

New to trail running and not sure which shoes to choose? Don't worry, we've got it covered. Our Sportsshoes ambassador Ben Mounsey rounds up the best trail running shoes for 2022 in all major categories:

 

  1. The Best All-Round Trail Running Shoes For Spring And Summer
  2. The Best All-Round Trail Running Shoes For Autumn And Winter
  3. The Best Budget Trail Running Shoes For Spring And Summer
  4. The Best Budget Trail Running Shoes For Autumn And Winter
  5. The Best Trail Running Shoes For Snow And Ice
  6. The Best Trail Running Shoes For Cushioning
  7. The Best Lightweight Trail Running Shoes For Racing On Hard Surfaces
  8. The Best Lightweight Trail Running Shoes For Racing On Soft And Muddy Ground
  9. The Best Trail Running Shoes for Breathability
  10. The Best Waterproof Trail Running Shoes

1. THE BEST ALL-ROUND TRAIL RUNNING SHOES FOR SPRING AND SUMMER

THE INOV-8 TERRAULTRA G 270

Price NOW £99.99 (RRP 149.99)
Weight 270g
Drop ZERO drop (12mm stack height)
Length True to size
Width Wide (5 on the inov-8 fit scale, 1 = narrowest, 5 = widest)
Comfort 4.5/5
Cushioning 4.5/5
Support 4.5/5
Grip 4.5/5
Protection 4.5/5
Overall 4.5/5

This multi award-winning shoe is fast-becoming an iconic model in the world of trail running. As an improved version of its predecessor, the TERRAULTRA G 260, inov-8 continue to make small and significant changes with every new release, which makes this trail shoe very hard to beat. Firstly, it feels faster and lighter than previous versions, mainly because of the sleek design of the upper materials, which almost seamlessly bond together. Fans of ZERO drop shoes will love the inov-8 TERRAULTRA G 270 which promotes the best natural form when running long-distances, allowing the largest range of motion in the ankle joint. This shoe is the widest fit (5) on the inov-8 scale and fits true to size. Most importantly, this shoe gives back a serious amount of energy return, noticeable from the very first step. They provide tons of bounce and cushioning, exactly where you need it. I felt this much more in the mid-sole and forefoot, particularly when running on hard-packed trails. With ample grip, supreme comfort and sticky traction designed to last even longer, the inov-8 TERRAULTRA G 270 is the perfect choice for both training and racing. Suitable for all distances and almost every type of terrain, this is the ultimate shoe for big trail miles. The perfect choice for beginners to elite level and those runners who just want one trail shoe to do it all.

Most suitable for: Mixed terrain (Hard and Rocky, Paths and Trails, Road), during Spring and Summer months.

SHOP ALL INOV- TERRAULTRA G 270 TRAIL RUNNING SHOES NOW


2. THE BEST ALL-ROUND TRAIL RUNNING SHOES FOR AUTUMN AND WINTER

THE LA SPORTIVA CYKLON

Price £139.99
Weight 315g (EU 42), 270g (EU 38)
Drop 7mm
Length Small fit
Width Standard
Comfort 4.5/5
Cushioning 3.5/5
Support 5/5
Grip 4.5/5
Protection 5/5
Overall 4.5/5

The La Sportiva Cyklon Trail Running Shoe is the ultimate performance shoe for off-road races on technical terrain for medium to long distances. This shoe delivers stability, cushioning, precision and a perfect fit, all wrapped up in a stylish, comfortable package. Featuring a range of technologies like the unique BOA® Fit System for a personalised fit, the dynamic cage for stability and protection and an ultra grippy FriXion White Outsole, this shoe is perfect for tackling a range of extreme trail surfaces.

Ben's full and detailed review of the La Sportiva Cyklon Trail Running Shoes here

Most suitable for: Technical and challenging terrain, during Autumn and Winter months.

SHOP ALL LA SPORTIVA CYKLON TRAIL RUNNING SHOES NOW


3. THE BEST BUDGET TRAIL RUNNING SHOES FOR SPRING AND SUMMER

THE NEW BALANCE FUEL CORE NITREL V4

Price £44.99 (RRP £74.99)
Weight 274g
Drop 8mm
Lug depth 3mm
Length True to size
Width Standard with narrow toe-box
Comfort 4/5
Cushioning 4/5
Support 3/5
Grip 2.5/5
Protection 3/5
Value for money 5/5
Overall 4/5

Featuring leading trail technology and a sleek modern appearance, the New Balance FuelCore NITREL V4 is an entry level trail shoe which offers a winning combination of speed and style. This shoe is comfortable to wear and cushioned for hard packed surfaces. It's best suited to light trails as the grip provides ample traction, but is not aggressive enough to handle extreme off-road terrain. The FuelCore NITREL V4 is excellent value for money and perfect for runners looking to transition from road to light trail without breaking the bank.

In terms of length this shoe is true to size, but does have a narrow toe-box.

Most suitable for: Dry conditions and light trails, during Spring and Summer months.

SHOP ALL NEW BALANCE FUEL CORE NITREL V4 TRAIL RUNNING SHOES NOW


4. THE BEST BUDGET TRAIL RUNNING SHOES FOR AUTUMN AND WINTER

THE HIGHER STATE SOIL SHAKER 2

Price £39.99
Weight 296g
Drop 8mm
Lug Depth 7mm
Length True to size
Width Narrow fit
Comfort 4/5
Cushioning 3/5
Support 3.5/5
Grip 2.5/5
Protection 3/5
Value for money 5/5
Overall 4/5

Perfect for fell and mountain running, the Higher State Soil Shaker 2 has an 8mm drop, rugged outsole and ripstop upper that will have you tearing through the mud with ease, whilst offering maximum cushioning and ventilation. Lighter and more robust than its predecessor, the Soil Shaker 2 will have you running with efficiency and agility.

In summary, this shoe is fantastic value at this price point. I would happily recommend it not only to novice trail/fell runners, but also to those with more experience who are looking for an affordable winter training shoe.

Read Josh Westwood's full and detailed review of the Higher State Soil Shaker 2 Running Shoes here

Most suitable for: Soft and muddy ground, during Autumn and Winter months.

SHOP ALL HIGHER STATE SOIL SHAKER 2 TRAIL RUNNING SHOES NOW


5. THE BEST TRAIL RUNNING SHOES FOR SNOW AND ICE

THE LA SPORTIVA BLIZZARD GTX

Price £170.99 RRP. £179.99
Weight 370g
Drop 6mm (Heel: 18mm, Toe: 12mm)
Lug Depth 7mm
Length Small fit
Width Standard
Comfort 5/5
Cushioning 4/5
Support 4.5/5
Grip 5/5
Protection 4.5/5
Overall 4.5/5

Designed for the most extreme conditions, the La Sportiva Blizzard GTX is the ultimate winter trail shoe, performing faultlessly when tested to the limit. I'll cut straight to the chase, this is the best extreme winter trail running shoe I've ever worn, scoring consistently high marks across the board.

The Blizzard GTX utilizes a dynamic gaiter and integrated tungsten alloy spikes for maximum protection and grip in the most severe conditions. Ideal for cold weather training and competitions during the winter months, they offer reflective details, a super secure lacing harness, an exceptional fit and unmatched traction.

Read Ben's full and detailed review of the La Sportiva Blizzard GTX Trail Running Shoes here

Most suitable for: Extreme, frozen and challenging terrain, specifically during the Winter months.

SHOP LA SPORTIVA BLIZZARD GTX TRAIL RUNNING SHOES NOW


6. THE BEST TRAIL RUNNING SHOES FOR CUSHIONING

THE HOKA SPEEDGOAT 4 TRAIL

Price £124.99
Weight 263g
Drop 4mm (30mm heel – 26mm toe)
Lug Depth 4mm
Length Small fit
Width Standard
Comfort 4/5
Cushioning 5/5
Support 3/5
Grip 4/5
Protection 2.5/5
Overall 4/5

If you're looking for a trail shoe with some added bounce, then look no further than the HOKA Speedgoat 4. The comfort and cushioning that this model provides is noticeable in every part of the shoe. Just like the inov-8 TERRAULTRA G 270, the HOKA Speedgoat 4 have injected pure joy back into my training, making every trail run a truly pleasurable experience. Switching from road to trail has never been easier, to the extent where most of my autumn and winter training on the roads has been done wearing these shoes. This is undoubtedly one of my favourite trail shoes of the year.

The SpeedGoat 4 is a lightweight trail shoe that soaks up the big miles, perfectly suited to running long and ultra-distances. They are ideal for training, however, I wouldn't personally recommend them as a racing shoe for short distances, purely because of their bulkier shape and fit.

In terms of grip, I was quite impressed with how the Speedgoat's Vibram sole handled the switch from different types of surfaces and terrain. They perform well in both wet and dry conditions, although more suited to the latter. The uppers are made from a breathable mesh and offer some protection against sharp rocks, although not as much as other comparable shoes. The sides of the shoe are the most vulnerable areas, although the deep and cushioned sole does help to alleviate this small issue as it raises your feet further from the ground. My only other slight criticism is that they could do with even more lateral support to help prevent movement inside the shoe whilst running over rugged and unpredictable terrain.

The shoe is a standard width, but it is worth knowing that there is a wider version of the Speedgoat 4 also available. In terms of length, I have found that Hoka generally fit smaller than usual. In most brands I wear a size UK 10, but I wear UK 10.5 in these.

Most suitable for: Dry conditions and hard-packed trails, during Spring and Summer months.

SHOP HOKA SPEEDGOAT 4 TRAIL RUNNING SHOES NOW

7. THE BEST LIGHTWEIGHT TRAIL RUNNING SHOES FOR RACING ON HARD SURFACES

THE SALOMON S/LAB PULSAR

Price £164.99
Weight 170g
Drop 6mm
Lug Depth 4mm
Length Small fit
Width Precision
Comfort 5/5
Cushioning 4.5/5
Support 3/5
Grip 3/5
Protection 3/5
Overall 4/5

Designed for Kilian Jornet to break some of the most iconic course records, the Salomon S/LAB PULSAR is built for speed. This ultra-light, precise and dynamic shoe weighs just 170g and is the perfect racing shoe for light trails and hard-packed surfaces. With a soft sock-fit and tons of cushioning, you'll feel like you're going to take off. It is also the most comfortable trail shoe I've ever worn. If you want to travel fast and light, whilst enjoying unrivalled levels of comfort, then this shoe is most definitely for you.

Most suitable for: Trail racing in dry conditions and hard-packed surfaces and light trails, during Spring and Summer months.

SHOP SALOMON S/LAB PULSAR TRAIL RUNNING SHOES NOW


8. THE BEST LIGHTWEIGHT TRAIL RUNNING SHOES FOR RACING ON SOFT AND MUDDY GROUND

THE INOV-8 X-TALON 210

Price £121.49 (RRP £134.99)
Weight 210g
Drop 3mm
Lug Depth 8mm
Length True to size
Width Narrow/precision
Comfort 4.5/5
Cushioning 4.5/5
Support 3/5
Grip 5/5
Protection 3/5
Overall 4/5

The inov-8 X-TALON (pronounced Cross Talon) has been my choice of racing shoe for as long as I can remember. In fact, I'm very proud to say that I have owned every single pair of X-TALON shoes since their original release way back in 2008, when the original X-TALON 212 model first hit the trails. The main reason that the X-TALON has always been my choice of racing shoe is mainly based on two very significant factors - the fit and the grip. That's not to say that other features aren't important, but it's certainly what I look for first in a fell shoe. It's worth knowing that this particular X-TALON model is a precision fit shoe, so is more suited to runners with thin feet (perfect for me!). When I'm descending at pace, I need a shoe that feels almost invisible to wear and acts like a natural extension of my feet. This ensures less movement inside the shoe, resulting in less chance of rubbing and chafing which ultimately causes blisters. If you have wide feet, then don't despair - the inov-8 X-TALON ULTRA G 260 V2 are a wider fit and share many of the same characteristics as the X-TALON G 210. Check out my review of this particular model here.

As is the case for almost every trail shoe suitable for soft and muddy ground, there isn't a tremendous amount of cushioning in the midsole and for good reason. This kind of terrain is softer and has less impact with every footstrike - there is much more give in the ground compared to a really hard surface. The idea of a trail shoe like this is to allow you to have close ground feel, enhancing your connection with the terrain.

In summary, the inov-8 X-TALON G 210 is a lightweight trail shoe for extreme and muddy terrain. This model has unrivalled grip, with an aggressive 8mm lug pattern and is my weapon of choice for travelling light and fast on the trails.

Most suitable for: Trail/fell racing on extreme terrain and soft and muddy ground, all year round.

SHOP ALL INOV-8 X-TALON 210 TRAIL RUNNING SHOES NOW


9. THE BEST TRAIL RUNNING SHOES FOR BREATHABILITY

THE ADIDAS TERREX SPEED PRO SG

Price £125.95 (RRP £139.99)
Weight 225g
Drop 4mm
Lug Depth 7mm
Length Small fit
Width Narrow/precision
Comfort 3.5/5
Cushioning 3/5
Support 2.5/5
Grip 4.5/5
Protection 2.5/5
Overall 3.5/5

The adidas TERREX Speed Pro SG is the most breathable trail running shoe on the market and the runner up in the category for best lightweight trail racing shoe on soft and muddy ground.

Like the inov-8 X-TALON G 210, there is a clear focus here on grip as opposed to cushioning. Its aggressive tread with 7mm lugs is perfect for clawing its way through sloppy and slippery terrain and the Continental™ Rubber outsole provides plenty of traction in both wet and dry conditions. It's also worth mentioning that for a lightweight SG trail shoe, there is noticeably more cushioning than many of its comparable rivals. But the stand-out feature for me is this shoe's unrivalled breathability, as the majority of the upper material is made from a tough black mesh, which means that air can circulate and water can drain quickly and easily. Forget about keeping your feet dry, it's just not going to happen. But equally, you don't have to worry about water not being able to escape. This is, quite literally, the polar opposite of a GORE-TEX waterproof trail shoe design. And this suits me just fine, because in wet and muddy conditions, I've found that no trail shoe (except those with a higher fitting upper) ever really stays dry anyway, especially when fully submerged in a stream or deep bog, and at least this way water won't slosh around in your shoe and have nowhere to escape. I'd much rather wear waterproof socks to keep my feet reasonably dry and have a shoe that can drain quickly and effectively.

In summary, the adidas TERREX Speed Pro SG is an ideal choice for racing and moving quickly over soft and muddy ground, allowing you to feel closer and more connected to the ground and the terrain, for increased control and precision.

Read Ben's full and detailed review of the adidas TERREX Speed Pro SG Trail Running Shoes here.

Most suitable for: Trail/fell racing on extreme terrain and soft and muddy ground, all year round.

SHOP ADIDAS TERREX SPEED PRO SG TRAIL RUNNING SHOES NOW


10. THE BEST WATERPROOF TRAIL RUNNING SHOES

THE NORTH FACE FLIGHT VECTIV GUARD FUTURELIGHT

Price £179.99 (RRP £224.99)
Weight 356g
Drop 6mm
Lug Depth 5mm
Length True to size
Width Standard
Comfort 4/5
Cushioning 4/5
Support 3.5/5
Grip 4.5/5
Protection 5/5
Overall 4/5

Photo credit to Jack Atkinson

The North Face Flight Guards are the most responsive waterproof shoes in the elite trail running range. If you're a fan of VECTIV™ technology, then you'll love these shoes as they're basically a high-cut, fully protected version of the popular Flight VECTIV trail model, which features a full carbon fibre footplate, midsole rocker geometry and SurfaceCTRL™ grip. With this model there is also the bonus feature of a highly reflective logo at the back of the shoe for enhanced visibility.

You can read Ben's full and detailed review of The North Face Flight VECTIV here

Made specifically for ultra-distances, this shoe is incredibly durable thanks to Kevlar®, polyamide and Matryx® fabrics. The uppers are made with breathable-waterproof FUTURELIGHT™ technology enhanced with durable Spectra® yarn and feature a zipped gaiter for protection even in snowy conditions.

I'm a really big fan of The North Face waterproof apparel, as I've found the FUTURELIGHT material to be the most breathable waterproof fabric on the market. So, this addition of a lightweight protective jacket over each shoe means that your feet are better protected in wet conditions, but they can also breathe more easily. This protective shield completely covers the entire perimeter of the shoe and extends above the ankle so that you can run through deep puddles without having to worry as much about water pouring in from above. This effective design is fully complete with a velcro strap which wraps comfortably around the top of your ankle, allowing for a really neat and personalised fit.

In summary, if you're looking for a trail shoe with all the benefits of a Flight VECTIV trail shoe, but with added protection and a fully waterproof weather guard, then this model is the perfect choice.

Most suitable for: Hard-packed trails in extreme conditions, during Autumn and Winter months.

SHOP THE NORTH FACE FLIGHT GUARD TRAIL RUNNING SHOES NOW


You can follow Ben's adventures on Instagram or via his website.

Find out more about off-road running by visiting our trail running hub and make sure you've got all the running kit you need for your next adventure.

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