The dirt on 13 new models, from mud-run monsters to road-trail hybrids to old-school classics
Not long ago, I took an informal poll of what the trail runners in our office look for in a trail shoe.
“Zero to 8mm drop, minimalist to mid-cushion, softer stiffness,” said one.
“Can’t stand minimal shoes!” said another.
“I prefer shoes with a 4 to 6mm differential, adequate but not overdone cushioning—something that can take a beating but isn’t so bulky as to inhibit a natural gait cycle—and on the stiff side,” said a third.
“Hmm, not sure about flex and stuff, but I need a lot of arch support,” said a fourth.
If describing a shoe preference can seem as complex and individualized as ordering a drink at Starbucks, the good news for trail runners is that there are almost as many varieties of trail shoes on the market today as there are permutations of latte. Our spring 2015 roundup has just about anything you could dream up: super-stable mountain runners with monster tread; a super-flexible mud runner with monster tread; agile, low-drop models with just enough cushion to go long; a max-cushioned model light and responsive enough to go fast; and tried-and-true classics with middle-of-the-road appeal.
Whatever your trail running goals are this spring, it won’t be hard to find a shoe that fits.
La Sportiva Mutant 11.3 oz | 10mm drop | $130
An aggressive mountain runner with a super-stable ride. Editor’s choice
Altra Superior 2.0 9.5 oz | 0mm drop | $110
A slipper-like fit with a tread that can handle most anything you throw at it. Editor’s choice
HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 8.6 oz | 5mm drop | $130
A max-cushioned shoe that’s speedy, light and agile on technical trails. Editor’s choice
Adidas Terrex Boost 11.5 oz | 6mm drop | $160
Aggressive and bomb-proof for the nastiest conditions
Asics GEL-FujiRunnegade 9.2 oz | 6mm drop | $100
Light and flexible, with monster lugs that bite into loose dirt and muck
Brooks Cascadia 10 11.6 oz | 10mm drop | $120
The latest iteration of this classic trail shoe features a secure, dialed-in fit
Inov-8 Race Ultra 270 9.5 oz | 4mm drop | $120
Fast and nimble, this shoe dances over technical terrain
Merrell All Out Charge 10 oz | 6mm drop | $120
An all-around performer with moderate protection and tread, and a supremely comfortable fit
Montrail Bajada II 11.4 oz | 10mm drop | $110
An old-school trail shoe that can take a beating
Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 9.3 oz | 8mm drop | $90
An affordable max-cushion option with a soft, stretchy upper and pillowy cushioning
The North Face Ultra Cardiac 9.7 oz | 8mm drop | $110
A well-balanced shoe for runs with a little bit of everything
Topo Athletic Runventure 8.9 oz | 2mm drop | $110
A flexible, low-drop shoe with just enough cushion, protection and structure
Salomon X-Mission 2 10.2 oz | 10mm drop | $110
A road-trail hybrid for urban trail adventures
Can’t get enough shoe reviews? Check out our roundup of fall 2014 trail shoes.