Summer is the time when you can really enjoy every step of your trail run. Relax and lace up with these top offerings of trail shoes.
These shoes are great for running moderate trails. Both protective and durable, they’re ideal for those who want a more connected, fast experience. With features such as the Vibram megagrip, a Burrito tongue (which wraps the foot for a natural fit), a Hyperlock moulded heel counter for security, a TrailProtect rock plate (which protects feet from underfoot debris), and forefoot and heel cushioning pods, they ensure a comfortable ride. A knit upper and a breathable mesh allow great breathability. A comfortable, lightweight shoe.
New Balance Summit QOM
Ideal for both parkruns and longer expeditions, the QOMs give an initial hard ride, but a very supportive one – perfect for slippery and wet conditions, in which they perform brilliantly. The firm Toe Protect tip and Vibram sole make these ideal for a hike too. The lugs are fairly shallow, making them good for summer runs. If you normally go up half a size, do the same here – they were a perfect fit, adding to a very supportive feel. The hard ride eases off in use, and distance, and they look fantastic: perfect for that Insta post-run shot!
Salomon Speedcross 5
The Speedcross 5 is the latest update to the iconic trail shoe. Gone is the overworked upper: now a soft stretch mesh enables the foot to move easily while providing an impressively tough outer. The Quicklace lacing system locks the laces in place, while Salomon say the mid-sole EnergyCell+ provides a springy step and that seems a fair claim. But what this shoe is known for is traction and this is reliably good: the deep lugs shed mud while the outer protects feet from rocks or roots. All in all, a great update to a superb shoe.
Saucony Switchback ISO
This shoe has cushioning and toe protection but makes an ideal racing shoe, with a very responsive ride. The grip is effective yet subtle on firm surfaces. The drop is a low 4mm, adding to a natural, minimal feel and a dial lacing system means no more tying laces with fumbling, frozen fingers. This is a fabulous trail shoe ideal for those wanting a lightweight, nimble, flexible product.
INOV-8 Roclite G 275
The Roclite is the perfect all-terrain trail shoe. It’s lightweight and versatile, while graphene grip gives great traction on all types of surfaces. The toe box is roomy but cushioned, and a secure fit makes them very comfortable. They are fast, light and durable. If they’re good enough for Jasmin Paris to destroy the Spine Race record, they’re good enough for us. Definitely winners’ shoes!
Salomon Sense Ride 2
These were so comfortable we went straight out and raced in them fresh from the box! They didn’t disappoint – there weren’t any hot spots. There’s excellent support around the heel, you’re getting enough cushioning to protect your foot and ankle, but they don’t feel heavy or clunky. The lugs aren’t large – making them a dream for summer trails. The Quicklace system means you can slip them on, pull and tuck your laces away.
The North Face Women’s Ultra Endurance II GTX
These shoes are a beast of a ride, packed full of features. Fully waterproof, the Gore-Tex membrane protects your foot from the wet weather and puddles while the Vibram Megagrip outsole ensures stability across all terrains. Importantly, comfort isn’t compromised, thanks to the OrthoLite sole. The orange laces and sole are an attractive addition to the otherwise sturdy appearance.
Dynafit Feline Up Pro
This is a such a versatile shoe. Lightweight with a 4mm drop, the shoe features a quick-lace system which allows it to sit nicely around the foot. It has a perfect fit. This is a shoe which wants to run fast and it’s so comfortable you want to push harder on the trails. It’s a neutral shoe, though intended for people with narrow feet, designed to tackle mud, soft ground and snow. It’s a precise and reactive shoe and we loved it!
These are lightweight road-to-trail shoes with a breathable and soft knitted upper mesh that helps feet stay cool. The upper dries quickly and the mesh provides a secure and comfortable fit. The laces stay tied and the midsole has great responsiveness. They’re not as bouncy as other shoes but you have the ability to feel the ground. The rubber outsole is flexible straight out of the box but lacks toe protection, and we suggest sizing up.
INOV-8 Parkclaw 275
Another inov-8 model that works hard on the trails and transitions well to the road. Not as hardcore as the Roclite, the Parkclaw studs are small enough to feel smooth on a path or road. It’s going to perform brilliantly for parkruns or grass work, where you don’t need a heavy grip. On the move the heel counter feels soft on the inside yet sturdy, there’s a little bit of wriggle room in the toebox and they feel both light, soft in the upper and responsive. The grey and coral colourway is very fetching, too.
La Sportiva Bushido II
This is a brilliant, versatile, lightweight trail shoe. It comes in fun colours and is perfectly designed for different types of terrain, due to its stability. The foot stays in place as it has a high level of support. It has an impact brake system which provides traction while climbing and going down paths. It’s also responsive, stable and comfortable. The kind of shoe you can take on your daily training runs or for long distance running.
Hoka Evo Mafate 2
Available from 1 July, the updated Evo Mafate is full of substance and style. The vibrant orange and black colourway strikingly extends to the outsole which has the impressive 5mm Vibram Megagrip lugs to keep your feet steady over the toughest terrain. The upper has been revamped to accommodate greater flexibility in the forefoot using Hoka’s Matryx fabric upper, which delivers exceptional stability, protection and water drainage. They score highly on comfort too.
Prices are RRP and correct at time of print for Women’s Running Issue 115 July 2019.
How we test: All our kit is tested by real runners. Our reviews team is a group of passionate women with diverse running experiences, from dedicated marathon runners to happy plodders. We wear the clothes, run in the shoes and use the tech on our usual runs to see if they go the distance. We then give each piece of kit our star rating.
Looking for a pair of technical shoes instead? Check out our top picks.
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