The best trail running shoes offer serious runners the proper support and traction for those picturesque and peaceful runs through forests, hills, and valleys. Trail running shoes are built differently than common running shoes that marathon runners and triathletes will wear when they go on their daily treks, as they have to be wider and have more grip due to the ever-changing surface of trails. This can often translate to a clunky, slightly ugly, and uncomfortable running shoe; that is, if you don't know what to buy. However, with a review of the best trail shoes listed below, you'll know which running shoes are the most versatile out there.
The Brooks Cascadia 6 running shoes are incredibly soft and comfortable on the inside, but rough and tumble on the outside, allowing you to run from hard to soft or wet to dry surfaces without really noticing the difference in traction. The outsole is segmented under the heel and bent slightly upward in the forefoot, so the heel-to-toe movement that occurs when running is smoother. While these shoes may have a habit of coming untied over long distances, their lightness combined with their durability makes them one of the better trail running shoes you can buy, at $100 per pair.
New Balance consistently makes some of the best running shoes out there, and their 915 series are considered by serious trail runners to be the ideal running shoe to own. They have a sticky rubber outsole, making them ideal for incredibly rough and rocky conditions. This is because the sole has a plastic plate inside of it, giving the 915's both a stiffness and grip that no other trail running shoes have. The upper materials also repel water, allowing your foot to stay dry when you stomp through a stream or decide to do some off-road running in the rain. Due to the added weight and odd shape, these aren't the best shoes for running on easy trails or the regular surfaces on which most runners run. However, if you're a real outdoorsman who enjoys running through nature, there isn't a better shoe. These sell for $125 per pair.
Part of the Brooks PureProject shoe line, which has been a favorite of trail runners everywhere, the Brooks PureGrit is a light trail running shoe that promotes your natural stride. This is because it has a natural heel, a nav band across the laces to create a more secure fit, a toe flex to separate the big toes from the other toes for better connection to the ground, midsole foam for support, and an anatomical last that curves to each individual's foot. At $100 per pair, the uniquely minimalist running shoe works on lighter trails and just about any other surface that doesn't have a lot of rocks and crags.
A 6.8-ounce bare-bones running shoe, the Merrell Trail Glove feels and fits like a lightweight cross country shoe that offers a lot more protection then any cross trainer meant for a track. This sole is excellent for strengthening runners who use it on a regular basis and is perfect for medium to light trails that are sandy or covered with soil, not a lot of rock.