The best off-road running shoes | Women's Running

The best off-road running shoes

Read Time:   |  August 25, 2020

It’s time to take to the trails, to enjoy those greener trees, bluer skies and longer evenings

BROOKS Cascadia 14 £110
Tester: Sarah

These look feminine but trail ready in the black with pink colourings and are lightweight with a sleek appearance. They have a pivot post system, which works like a stabilising suspension, allowing your foot to stay level throughout the running gait. You quickly notice they have a great rubber outsole and are versatile for different terrains, thanks to cushioning and comfort within the close-to-foot fit, plus good traction on the sole. These felt and performed like an old favourite even on a first trail run.

HOKA ONE ONE Torrent 2 £110
Tester: Geri

Light, soft, springy cushioning for speed, the Torrent 2 have multi-directional lugs, so you get a strong grip. You can even hear the rubber ‘sticking’ to rocks, it’s that tacky. The ProFly midsole is soft under foot, especially under your heel, though not as plush as some HOKA models and these don’t have such a flexible midsole, but this makes them feel fast. Think of them as a racing flat for the trails. The weave of the upper – made from recycled polyester fibres – keeps all those annoying stones out but allows air to flow over your feet. Light and fast these will serve you well in shorter trail races.

SALOMON Supercross £100
Tester: Beccy

These are very comfortable from the first run due good sizing and excellent cushioning. The grip feels top rate, with two lugs on the front to really help eat up the mud and keep you safe on wet surfaces. SensiFit feels amazing, with a very snug fit around your foot, which is why they can go straight into a race, and the toe cap does a great job. Strangely, the normal Salomon pocket for laces was left off this shoe, which was the only detraction from the running experience, as these laces will be hard to undo when caked in mud. Otherwise, a dream to run in.

MERRELL MTL Long Sky £125
Tester: Geri

Merrell and pro ultra-runner Anna Frost have come up with a tough and grippy shoe perfect for your long trails runs. The design of the MT Long Sky is different to the company’s usual minimalist look. This shoe is heavier and slightly taller but offers durability and stability for your runs. Although the upper material is not totally waterproof, the shoe is breathable and the cushioning makes it extremely comfortable. The tongue is fully connected to the shoe, which makes it fit like a glove. Great mix of colours too. This is an awesome shoe for all terrain and all weather.

HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4 £125
Tester: Tina

The 4 is so comfortable, with the signature plush Hoka cushioning, and you can go straight into running far in these. The midsole is tall but stable, and the overall feel is slightly firm, so your feet have solid protection, especially on tricky terrain. The outer lugs have a multidirectional patterning to give you that extra traction through the mud. The upper fits just right, but your feet are still going to get wet in deeper puddles. These are bread and butter shoes for any kind of terrain. They make running on tricky trails so easy.

SAUCONY Guide 13 £120
Tester: Caroline

Saucony have created the Guide 13 to suit those who require support on the trails due to over-pronation. This midsole hugs the arch, thanks to the Eva cushioning, which also offers excellent energy return on every strike. The upper is breathable and durable with added protection across the toes to repel stones and debris. They are relatively comfortable and are quite conservative-looking, but this is a trusted brand that knows how to get you the results. A solid trail shoe for summer running.

NEW BALANCE Hierro £125
Tester: Laura

These trail shoes are brilliantly lightweight, with lots of bounce from the plush Fresh Foam midsole. They also give plenty of protection from stonier trails and the toe protector gives you a solid shield from rocks. The Vibram outsole feels great and really grips the ground. The shoe doesn’t feel heavy and the lugs aren’t too large, ideal for drier summer trails. The shoe feels flexible too, so your foot can move through each stride easily. These felt fast and have the added bonus of looking like a casual trainer.

COLUMBIA Trans Alps FKT III £125
Tester: Esther

These trail shoes are total beauties. While they’ve been designed for trails, we found them equally good as a hiker during lockdown walks. Offering good support with more flex than you’d expect, they offer lots of cushioning: we were able to comfortably run on pavements as well as on trails. The fit is snug, thanks to the stretchy sock that surrounds the tongue. The midsole is supportive – there’s a torsion bar in there for stability. And the outsole is beautifully grippy, with good size lugs to give you confidence on the trails.

361 Taroko 2 £104.99
Tester: Hazel

361’s second iteration of the hybrid Taroko offers sturdy support for off-road runners and pavement pounders alike. It feels reassuring, with good traction on slightly rougher terrain, and performance is consistent across different conditions. The heel lacing system means your foot is held snugly in place, wherever you’re running, and the breathable upper provides plenty of airflow during hotter, summer runs. The polite lugs means you may need something a bit more aggressive if you’re hitting the trails in wet/cold conditions, but overall they’re a good all-rounder.

ON Cloudventure Waterproof £150
Tester: Tina

A brilliant for rainy days on the trails, which also performed just as well on the road. They are very definitely waterproof, and the upper and outsole can’t be faulted: the construction is unrivalled. The upper is more rigid than many, but on flinty trails this is what you want: they’re solid around the heel and the roll feels strong and sturdy. The elasticated loop for laces is welcome too. You may find the occasional stone gets stuck in the large lugs, but overall they give brilliant grip and impressive cushioning due to those Cloudpods.

LA SPORTIVA Jackal £130
Tester: Claire

This trail running shoe has been designed for long distances. The exceptional cushioning allows for a superbly comfortable run.They have a wide fi t, designed for ultramarathons, while net-mesh helps great ventilation, keeping feet cool and dry. The soft, wide, elastic tongue is a winner, feeling comfortable against the top of your foot while protecting against stones and mud entering the shoe. They also have an impressive innovative sole/midsole with internal cushioning pads. The sole tread and lugs are shock absorbing and provide an excellent grip. These shoes are also amazingly lightweight.

INOV-8 X-Talon G 235 | £140
Tester: Caroline

Extremely comfortable, these shoes give you the confidence to tackle tough terrain. With the 8mm studs you feel like they are clawing through soft ground and holding firm on harder stuff. They are brilliant for fast shingle reps and beach dunes. Weighing in at just 235g and designed with lightweight, non-water absorbing materials they feel airy and fit snugly. They also feel responsive to the ground and have a 6mm drop. For those who love bold colours for training kit, they are a zesty orange. Overall the fit is slightly narrow, but without feeling uncomfortable, and they have made the spring trails such a joy.

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