Spring is a beautiful time of year to get out on the trails. The grass is always greener this side of winter, the sun is out longer, the flowers are blooming and it’s pretty much happy days on the way through to summer. But you want your trail shoes to be able to handle the less idyllic conditions of autumn and winter as well; those times when the terrain starts to get hairy. Finding shoes that will give you good traction on everything from slippery rocks to frost-glazed tree roots is key. A protective midsole, durable outsole and weather-proof upper is also essential to keeping you comfortable – and injury-free! We tested out the latest shoes on the market for this exact criteria. Here were the five shoes that ticked all four boxes.
Saucony Xodus ISO
An upgrade to the Xodus 6.0 that came out last year, this neutral trail shoe is even comfier. Not only is a lighter but features an EverRun layer of foam for added comfort in the midsole, giving it a plush and spongy feel. The ISOFIT upper offers a supportive sock-like feel and is constructed from a ventilating mesh upper, which our testers found did an excellent job of drying out the shoe in wet conditions. The WRTRAC Rubber outsole offers some seriously impressively traction and, when tested out on a wet day, the grip couldn’t have been more responsive.
Salomon Wings Flyte 2
For a stability trail shoe with generous cushioning, you’d struggle to find much better. The EVA cushioning not only feels plush underfoot but offers advanced protection – ideal if you’re taking on a particularly rocky trail. The outsole incorporates an aggressive lug system which, combined with its Agile Chasiss System, brings fantastic stability, giving you great control on undulating trails. An all-over mud guard combined with a mesh upper ensures feet stay as dry and well ventilated as possible and, with a quick-lace one-pull lacing system, they couldn’t be easier to get on and off.
ASICS Gel Fuji Trabuco 5
If you’re looking to take on some more technical trails, yet opt for a more cushioned vs. responsive ride, the ASICS Gels Fuiji Trabuco 5 is a good choice. You’ve got a high-density Rock Protection Plate to protect your feet from sharp rocks and a Silicone-based Gel midsole, which feels spongy underfoot and absorbs shock well. A stability shoe, the gel midsole has been designed specifically for over-pronators, helping to ease the transition from heel-strike to toe-off. We were impressed with the degree of traction provided by the outsole but, moreover, how well the shoes stood up against wet weather, with the mesh upper and inner sock-liner providing noticeable ventilation after getting sodden. With trail shoes, due to the level of protection incorporated into the shoe, they can often look quite bulky and oversized but, with these, they are much more streamlined and delicate in look and style.
Merrell All Out Crush Shield
The deep 5mm lugs on this shoe’s outsole offer excellent grip in muddy conditions – perfect for this time of year. Our favourite feature, though, is the water drainage ports, which allow water to escape quickly and efficiently.
In terms of protection, these shoes aren’t the best the in show – the midsole feels a little flimsy in comparison to the more cushioned shoes we tried and the absence of a rock plate leaves them unforgiving on rockier trails. That said, for the neutral runner after a lightweight shoe with a response ride, these would be spot on.
Columbia Montrail Rogue FKT
For only £80, these shoes are a serious steal. The sturdy fluid foam midsole offers unrivalled shock absorption, flexibility and protection yet, due to their light-weight design, they don’t feel too cumbersome. The outsole is equally protective, featuring a full-length rubber outsole with 3-point lug shapes for multi-directional control – ideal when taking on technical descents. The seamless mesh upper keeps the foot cool and dry, yet a secondary layer beneath ensures the foot stays protected from dirt and debris. We loved the coral and blue colour way, too – feminine yet not too garish!
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