1. Vivobarefoot Trail Freak
Winning out in both style and naming terms (come on, Trail Freak?!), this unorthodox shoe is durable, lightweight and meant to fit like a sock. The structure is laminated, for improved stability and it’s really flexible, letting your foot move exactly where you want it to. Traction is taken care of thanks to 4.5mm lugs that keep you grounded and the sole is puncture proof.
£85 | Vivobarefoot
2. Merrel All Out Rush
Merrel really focuses on the tech when it comes to trail running shoes and this pair is no different. Absorption technology has been paired with extra traction to improve your stride and balance, whatever surface you’re running on. Reflective touches keep you visible at night, while a special mesh lining has been treated with M Select Fresh odor control to keep those bad feet smells away.
£95 | Merrel
3. Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 2
The rounded, anatomical heel, combined with a lowered midsole help your foot to roll with the ground, giving you enhanced stride and balance. Breathability is improved with a mesh covering for the toe, allowing the air to flow through and special lugs on the outsole add the massive amount of traction.
£110 | Nike
4. Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra
Designed for hot and dry conditions, rather than slogging it through a muddy park on a drizzly mid-week night, this pair has a reduced heel drop for an even foot strike, plus a mesh construction for extra airflow. A TPU toe cap gives added foot protection, while a nifty tongue cover stops excess dirt getting inside the shoe.
£140 | Salomon
5. Saucony Ride 7 GTX
Getting your feet wet is never fun, so Saucony has equipped this pair with a waterproof Gore-Tex and DWR treated sockliner, to ensure your toes are dry from the start to finish. The Rundry interior lining wicks away moisture, while improved heel-to-toe cushioning is also onboard. Reflective panels don the heel, making sure you’re seen whatever the conditions.
£120 | Saucony
6. Adidas Kanadia Trail 6
One of the most affordable pairs on in our round-up, yet one that doesn’t skimp on features. A Traxion and Adiwear outsole aids grip, while at the same time offering swathes of durability. The textile inside lining is comfortable, even after long period of time and foot support is impressive.
£60 | Adidas
7. Merrel Barefoot Run Bare Access Trail GTX
This full-features trail shoe will float you through the muck with a 4mm lug depth and keep your toes relatively dry with it’s GORE-TEX connect fit. With a pro’s choice of 0mm drop it’s not for beginners, but for the barefoot runner wanting better impact protection its all win. We found the new lug pattern particularly effective on muddy descents, while the snug fit encourages commitment. Another positive is the broad toe box, giving you plenty of movement over longer distances. Merrell’s regular choice of Vibram graces to sole, in all it’s grippiness.
8. Vivobarefoot Breatho trails shoes
As the name suggests, these particular trail shoes are designed to feel as light as possible, almost like you’re running barefoot. A zigzag lacing structure aids comfort, while the Duo Mesh keeps the weight down.
9. Salomon Speedcross 3
Salomon is making some fantastic trail gear at the moment, and the Speedcross 3s are leading the way. The sole provides masses of grip from the edge of the heel to the front of your toe, and the shoe is littered with great little details, from the bungie-cord laces to the elastic lace pocket behind the tongue.
10. Pearl Izumi EM Trail N1
Better as a summer trail shoe, the N1 is supremely comfortable to run in thanks to the smooth heel-to-toe gradient on the sole and the soft, glove-like fitting upper. The 'Dynamic Offset' sole encourages you to run from your heel to your toe, reducing the pressure on your joints.
11. Icebug Anima2 BUGrip
These hardcore Swedish trailers are more than a match for a damp British winter. Carbide tipped studs are minimalist enough not to interfere with tarmac, but will grip on slippery roots and icy roads. The water-repellant upper is great too, though you might want a gaiter to keep your ankles nice and dry.
12. Nike ZOOM Terra Wildhorse
This latest shoe from Nike is designed to fit like a track spike, yet still hold all the features of a top-class trail shoe. Perfect for tough runs, the Wildhorse has angled lugs below the toe which have been specifically designed for efficiency on steep hills. A Nike Zoom unit in the heel adds responsive cushioning, flex grooves improve flexibility and the ultra-lightweight, single-layer mesh material aids in ventilation to avoid your feet overheating.
13. Puma Faas 300 TR
Specially designed with inherent stability for the toughest terrains, the Faas sports an 8mm heel-to-toe drop that encourages a mid-foot strike. It’s fitted with WebCage technology to keep your feet locked in place – perfect for if you’re heading onto tough tracks and uneven ground. Its closed mesh upper also provides support whilst still maintaining effective breathability so you can cover longer distances without losing comfort.
14. Saucony Xodus 4.0 GTX
Built with the ability to endure all weather conditions, the Xodus 4.0 GTX features a waterproof-breathable upper and an outsole made from Vibram XS-Trek to increase grip and prevent slipping. Its Pro-Lock midfoot support band has been integrated into the lacing system for a ‘locked-in’ fit so you can cross uneven surfaces with the same balanced feel you’d have on flat ground.
15. Adidas adistar Raven
These sleek trail shoes not only look the part, the also feel it too. The Raven offers a Techfit Upper for seamless support that will provide a comfortable journey across all kinds of terrain. The Adaptive Traxion system optimises the position of all the lugs on the sole of the shoe working with the Continental rubber to give you the grip to make fast movements in all directions, regardless of the surface you're running.
16. Adidas Supernova Riot 5
If you’re heading out on a more technical trail, the Supernova Riot 5 is light, fast and dynamic so you won’t have any trouble manoeuvring. Built with Continental rubber and an improved grip, these sharp looking shoes are able to tackle uncertain surfaces. Adidas have also installed GEOFIT construction that gives anatomically correct comfort to add extra support on your running regime.
17. North Face Ultra Guide
If you tend to venture off the trail and onto some of the toughest terrain, then this might be the shoe for you. With a rubber outsole inspired by the hoof of a mountain ibex - this high-traction shoe offers a lightweight upper combined with a protective toe area to avoid any nasty surprises if you stub your toes into mountain rocks. The Ultra Guide also features Cradle Guide technology that works with the foot in order to provide an enhanced natural stride that enables you to conquer longer distances.
18. Salomon XR Crossmax 2
The Crossmax 2 provides a customed fit with thicker outsoles to protect your feet against trail running. It incorporates Quicklace technology to let you take your shoes on and off easily no matter how cold your fingers. They also sport a thicker cushioned heel, resulting in a fit that makes this shoe ideal for longer, more technical, distances.