The weather is getting warmer and the sun is shining bright, producing ideal conditions for some outdoor running. And if you’re fortunate enough to live near trails, you could avoid roads packed with cars and lackluster scenery for a nature-fueled adventure.
But off-road running requires shoes built for a terrain your road and treadmill-ready sneakers aren’t built to handle. If you’re not in the know with the latest and greatest in trail running, you’re in luck: We’ve narrowed down the nine shoes available now for men and women that you could buy to enhance your experience devoid of sidewalks and double-yellow lines.
Hoka One One Speedgoat
This trail runner isn’t on the list because of its awesome name; the shoe is packed with technology that will get will get you through the toughest terrains. For $140, you get a tough shoe — inspired by ultrarunner Karl Meltzer and the conditions of the Speedgoat 50K in Utah — featuring 4mm Vibram rubber lugs and a rubber toe cap for protection.
New Balance Vazee Summit Trail
The Boston-based brand’s Vazee Summit Trail features a look and light weight reminiscent of its acclaimed road shoes, but a rugged multidirectional lug pattern on its outsole built to handle any outdoor conditions. The shoe — which retails for $100 — also features the brand’s RockStop and Toe Protect technologies to keep your feet safe and sound throughout your run.
Brooks Cascadia 11
The brand likens this shoe to an “SUV for your feet.” The versatile trail shoe — retailing for $120 — boasts a ballistic rock shield for protection from hazards and a rugged outsole for traction on wet surfaces. It also features Brooks’ celebrated BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning technology.
Merrell All Out Crush
Popular outdoor brand Merrell delivers a shoe built to withstand sharp rocks, loose dirt and mud on your run in the All Out Crush, which retails for $100. It features the brand’s M-Select Grip, designed to keep the shoe durable and slip-resistant on both wet and dry ground.
Mizuno Wave Kazan
The look of the shoe will catch eyes on the trail, but its technology — led by the shock-reducing and durable U4ic midsole — will keep your feet safe and comfortable off-road. The Wave Kazan retails for $120 and also features an aggressive x-studded outsole pattern for optimal grip and traction.
Inov-8 Terraclaw 250
The shoe — the high mileage edition of the Terraclaw family — is designed with versatility in mind, built to handle runs on a single track to steep descents with an atypical lug design constructed to rid the outsole of debris and grit. The Terraclaw 250 retails for $130 and is available at a number of Inov-8 retail partners.
The North Face Ultra MT Gore-Tex
If you decide to go for a run on the trail and it starts to rain, you’ll be all right in this shoe from The North Face. The shoe features an impenetrable moisture barrier to keep your foot dry, as well as many other technologies for a great run off-road such as a Vibram Megagrip outsole and FlashDry collar lining. The shoe retails for $150.
Saucony Xodus 6.0 GTX
Another weather-resistant option is the Saucony Xodus 6.0 GTX, which retails for $140. The shoe features Gore-Tex to keep your feet dry on a rainy run, as well as a number of other features for a great experience on the trails such as a Vibram outsole and a forefoot External Bedrock Outsole plate for protection from sharp objects.
Altra Lone Peak 2.5
The brand known for its shoes with a zero drop and a foot-shaped toe box has a shoe ready for the toughest trails. The shoe — which retails for $120 — features improvements from its predecessor such as a more durable upper and a more firm midsole. It also boasts its StoneGuard rock protection system and Gaiter Trap strapless gaiter attachment.