Best Shoes with Traction for Men and Women Reviewed
Whether you’re camping, hiking, running, or more, it’s always a good idea to have a pair of shoes with excellent traction for maximized versatility as well as safety to prevent any slipping and sliding. To select the shoe that’s best for you, it’s recommended you choose according to what type of terrain you’ll be running on. Types include hard surfaces, soft surfaces, and road to trail. Additionally, we’ve featured plenty of all-terrain options if you plan on doing a bit of everything!
- Nike Wildhorse 4
- ASICS GEL-Venture 6
- Salomon Sense Pro
- The North Face Litewave TR
- New Balance Vazee Summit V2
- Saucony Peregrine 8
- Inov-8 X-Talon 200
- Icebug Pytho2
- The First Outdoor Waterproof
- La Sportiva Wildcat
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Shoes With Traction
1. Nike Wildhorse 4
Sizing Runs Small
No trail is untamed blend with the Wildhorse 4 on your feet. Constructed with mesh, it's very lightweight and breathable. It's cushioned with a Zoom unit that is highly responsive and placed in the heel. You'll receive the track spike feel, fit and a trail runner like traction.Read more
You’re on your favorite trail run and out of nowhere, a rock or two has hurt your feet. In the forefoot of the Wildhorse 4, a rock plate is placed there to help protect against various trail running debris including rocks. Having this protective feature will maintain a smooth ride for you while reducing debris distractions and even injuries.
An unstable foot during a run is no good and in addition to the stable construction of the shoe, the Flywire cables will give you even greater stability. They are tiny, mini cables that have been strategically placed throughout the shoe to give you support when and where you need it the most.
Cost and Value
These can run very high in price but with Nike, any price is usually worth it. This shoe is specifically crafted for trail running with a high traction and will keep any unnecessary slippage and instability away. Why cheap out on such a great product?
2. ASICS GEL-Venture 6
Stitched Down Toe Box
Treaded Rubber Outsole
The new and improved Venture 6 comes with a midsole and upper that has been completely redesigned. With comfort that absorbs shock, you can complete any trail with confidence. The outsole is rugged with multi-directional lugs for traction that'll boost any run you partake in. Also, the toe bumper is stitched down for a smart fit and the durable materials (synthetic) provide protection and comfort.Read more
The cushioning system of the Venture 6 is constructed with a gel and is placed in the rear foot. This helps to reduce and evenly spread any shock received from an impact. You'll have a transition to midstance that is smooth.
The sockliner is in place to give you a soft fit that conforms to your feet. However, you may need a little more. Therefore, the liner is removable allowing you to use any line of your choosing. Medical orthotics are great to use in the Venture 6.
Cost and Value
The lower end of pricing which is great for runners on a budget or beginning runners. The features, while very basic, are not low in quality and will give you what you need for a great traction run.
3. Salomon Sense Pro
- Quality Materials
- Versatile Outer Soles
- Lots of Colorway Options
- Quick Lace Closure
- Open Mesh
The Sense Pro's by Salomon is known to be fantastic all around beginner shoes as they excel in the city as well as on moderate mountain trails. The middling drop feels snug and secure on both the mid-foot and heels, providing a fantastic fit for effortless all day hiking/running.Read more
Endofit Internal Sleeve
An internal sleeve is something that most running shoes with great traction lack. The sleeve allows for the wearer to run barefoot is they so please, without the worry of irritation.
HA and HT Contagrip Out soles
With two different types of outer soles, the Sense Pro's make a great choice for road to trail running, as the increased durability and traction provides enough support for esoteric terrain as well the cushioning needed for city running.
Cost and Value
The Sense Pro's by Salomon is one of the more expensive shoes on our list, but that, of course, isn't a bad thing. The Sense Pro's make a perfect shoe for beginners given their road to trail versatility, and Salomon packs a lot of value into their shoes that makes the Sense Pro's worth the price. If you're looking for an all-around fantastic running shoe suitable for beginners and all types of terrain, these are a great option.
4. The North Face Litewave TR
UltrATAC Rubber Outsole
Good Looking Design
Reliable & Durable
You can never go wrong with North Face products, especially with their hiking shoes. The Litewave TR not only have fantastic traction but include a synthetic waterproof build that's perfect for mountaineering.Read more
UltrATAC Rubber Outsole
The North Face excels in creating quality hiking products, and the Litewave TR is no different. With the rubber outsole being one of the best you can get in terms of a mountaineering shoe, its no question why these shoes are such a popular choice among many.
Another feature that's desired on trailing shoes is the ability to be Waterproof. On the Litewave TR, the synthetic materials are resistant to wearing and tearing as well as water, making sure to keep you on the trail longer.
Cost and Value
The Litewave TR's are one of the best long-range trailing shoes available currently on the market, so it only makes sense for the shoes to cost a bit more. With improved traction and great features for improved comfort, you'll be provided with one of the greatest trail features the market has to offer.
5. New Balance Vazee Summit V2
- Toe Guard
- Rock Stop Plate
- All Skill Levels
- Lack of Color Options
- Runs Small
The Vazee Summit is considered one of the best all-terrain trail and running shoes on the market; capable of handling rocky, wet, and smooth terrain with ease. Additionally, the Vazee Summit's were awarded the 2017 "Best Gear of the Year" award as they were known to handle all terrains with ease and provide fantastic protection.Read more
3/4 Rock Stop Plate
The fantastic protection of the Vazee Summit's is attributed to the Rock Stop Plates on the underside of the shoe, protecting the wearer from any sharp edges or other hazards when out on the trail.
Lightweight Toe Guard
What makes these shoes so versatile in addition to the Rock Stop Plate, is the Lightweight Toe Guard. In combination with the protective underside, the user can travel long distances over rubble with minimal discomfort, and while staying safe.
Cost and Value
The Vazee Summit V2's come in at a nice and affordable mid-range price tag, which makes these shoes a perfect buy for beginning runners, as well as veterans. With the addition of added protection on the underside of the shoe as well as a toe guard, the Vazee Summit's are extremely versatile, making them a fantastic option for all types of terrain.
6. Saucony Peregrine 8
Lightweight & Durable
Porous, Breathable Upper
Cushioning Recovers Easily
Sizing Runs Large
Liquids Easily Enter
Treading Catches in Carpet
The Peregrine 8 always pops up on our lists because it’s one of the top shoes available. Constructed with traction in mind, the outsole is a PWRTRAC for traction that is dialed in allowing you to conquer all kinds of terrain available. Also, the EVERUN topsole gives you non-stop cushioning, supreme comfort, and top energy return with every step in your run. Traction plus comfort? Your run will never be the same again.Read more
This shoe is all about power, and the PWRFOAM is a full-length midsole to give you a smoother ride with an additional rebound. In reality, the midsole is nothing more than a specialized EVA foam that is high quality. You’ll have awesome durability too.
The PWRTRAC is made for you to grip all kinds of surfaces. From smooth and flat to rough and uneven. Even just taking a look at the traction on the outsole shows that the Peregrine 8 means business when it comes to grip.
Cost and Value
Not too low but not too high. The price is just right for the serious runner in you. Due to the intense focus the Peregrine 8 has when it comes to traction, you might be disappointed in purchasing any other shoe based on price alone.
7. Inov-8 X-Talon 200
- Great Traction
- 7 Ounces (Lightweight)
- Breathable mesh
- Sand & Dirt Get Into The Shoe Easiliy
Inov-8 is a British company based in "England's Last Wilderness" that strives to create light and flexible shoes in order to create the best running experience possible. The X-Talon 200's are a staple in the running world as they are a popular choice among those in Spartan Races due to their unmatched traction and fantastic build, weighing in at just 7 Ounces.Read more
Soles: Renowned Grip
As mentioned in the introduction, the traction on the X-Talon 200's is quite good. This is due to the 8mm sticky rubber studs that claw through soft terrain and hold firmly on to the harder ground, making this a perfect choice for all-terrain running.
7 Ounce Weight
The low weight of the X-Talon's compliments the natural movement of the foot, as well as prevents excessive fatigue when exercising for long periods of time, a great feature adding to the overall versatility of the shoe.
Cost and Value
Although the X-Talon 200's are a bit more on the expensive side, it's no question why they're so popular among those participating in triathlons due to their fantastic traction and lightweight build. If you need something reliable that works fantastic on off-trail running, mountain running, or obstacle racing, these shoes are a great choice.
8. Icebug Pytho2
- High Quality Materials
- Great for Obsticles & Trails
- Carbide Tip Studs
- EVA Insoles
- Lack of Color Options
The Pytho2 BUGrip is one of Icebug's best sellers in their line of running shoes, and it's obvious why it is. With Icebug originating from the cold Sweden winters, the Pytho2 is ideal for cold temperatures as well as snow, making sure to keep your feet warm and dry when out on a run.Read more
3D Flow ExoSkeleton
The ExoSkeleton, or overall build of the Pytho2, hold the wearer's foot firmly in place when out on the trails. Since Icebug shoes are more akin to offroading, the 3D flow ExoSkeleton is much wider than other models and is noticeably more comfortable.
BUGrip 17 Carbide Tip Studs
As mentioned in the product title, the Pytho2 features BUGrip technology, that includes a high-quality rubber outer-sole with Carbide Tip Studs, making the Pytho2 an ideal choice for trail running.
Cost and Value
Because Icebug shoes are imported from Sweden, the shoes are naturally going to cost more. Although the Pytho2 is more expensive then most, the quality of the materials used is top notch, and the high-quality traction control makes these shoes a perfect choice for offroad adventures.
9. The First Outdoor Waterproof
- First-Grip Out Soles
- PU-Coated Leather
- Quality Lace Up Closure
- Heel & Toe Slidage While Running
- Take Some Time To Get Used To
Another Waterproof shoe entry this time in a Women's shoe and from The First Outdoor. This waterproof shoe is extremely versatile allowing the user to switch from road to trail with ease.Read more
First Outdoor shoes are known for having shoes with great traction as their staple First Grip Soles compliment any type of terrain by grabbing and gripping city streets as well as rough trails.
On any long-range trail to road shoe, traction, as well as comfort, is a priority. The "First-Comfort" system included keeps air circulated throughout the shoe, cooling the wearer's foot and keeping the runner comfortable for miles.
Cost and Value
First Outdoor Products and this shoe particularly are great budget options for road to trail running. The First Grip Outer soles and waterproofing make this an ideal choice if you're looking to do a bit of everything when going out on a run.
10. La Sportiva Wildcat
- Lightweight Mesh
- Shock Absorbing
- Well Cushioned
- Ankle Support
- Great Trails & Offroad
- Lack of colors
La Sportiva shoes are known to be fantastic trailing shoes and the Wildcat's are no exception. With the inclusion of well cushioned inner soles, great ankle support, and vented mesh, it's no question why the Wildcat's are so popular among avid trailers.Read more
Grippy FriXion AT Sole
The soles of the La Sportiva Wildcat's feature Grippy FriXion Technology that provides fantastic traction on uneven terrain. Additionally, the outsole bites into the trail and allows you to trek through areas which you wouldn't normally be able to with regular shoes.
Vented Air Mesh
The mesh uppers work to keep your feet cool as well as wick moisture while out on the trails. The mesh also works to prevent blisters without adding extra weight, overall keeping the entirety of the shoe nice and light.
Cost and Value
La Sportiva shoes are most likely going to be some of the more expensive shoes available on the market, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Quality materials are utilized in the Wildcat's making them a great long-term investment if you ever wanna do some serious trailing. With the addition of great traction control as well as high quality and lightweight materials, the Wildcat's are a great option for beginners as well as more experienced trailers.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The modern running shoe is composed of the upper, midsole, and outer sole. Obviously, when choosing the best shoes with traction currently available, a lot more goes into the shoe than just quality traction control.
To create an efficient running shoe, the entirety of the shoe has to be high quality. This is circular logic because one part of a shoe can’t be composed of quality materials while others aren’t. The shoe as a whole would suffer is this was such. Below are the parts of each running shoe and the materials utilized for each one:
The uppers of the running shoe hold the foot in place while providing stability and protection from rocks and other debris. Usually composed of leathers, reflective materials, and mesh.
The midsole is considered by many the most important part of the shoe and is composed of three different sub-materials that each has their own function.
In terms of this particular buying guide, the outer sole is the real meat of the shoes we’ll be looking at. The modern running shoes in pretension to the bottom soles feature treads for traction and flex for protection from trails and road debris.
The tread on the bottom of different running shoes is normally tailored to do different jobs. A wide variety of shoes with good traction gives the buyer lots of options to choose from depending on what they’re going to use the shoe for. these can include trail, road, and obstacle running and of course shoes that are good at all three; shoe examples of each category will be listed below.
Road shoes are your city running shoes, what you’ll use when roaming the streets. A typical road shoe will be well cushioned and will include treads that support the foot as running on asphalt is quite stressful. Examples include the Men’s Sense Pro by Saloman, the Vazee Summit by New Balance, and the Gel Venture 5’s by ASICS.
Trailing shoes are for mountain running and other such nature type terrain. Typically trailing shoes will include added protection such as some sort of rock plate, and treads suitable for dirt, mud, grass, rocks, etc. Examples include the Men’s Peregrine 7 by Saucony, the X-Talon 200 Unisex by Inov-8, and the Women’s Wildcat by La Sportiva.
Obstacle running as risen in popularity recently due to Spartan races becoming more and more prominent in the world of athletics. Obstacle courses typically include a mud run, rope course, and other various obstacles usually constructed from wood. Shoes suitable for this type of running have to fit tightly and have enough traction to support a multitude of different obstacles. Examples include the X-Talon 200 Unisex by Inov-8 and the Men’s Peregrine 7 by Saucony.
A really important feature you want in a running shoe is traction; the ability to grip the surface we’re running on. The driest, warmest, most supportive shoe won’t ultimately help you run in winter or slippery conditions if it isn’t able to stand up to harsh, often slick terrain. So, before you look for any other features in the running shoe, make sure the shoe you’re buying has good traction.
Because you’ll be running in them, you don’t need to consider buying crampons or shoe spikes and attaching them to your regular running shoes. You usually won’t need anything that heavy duty. You’ll usually be running on sidewalks or roads, so you won’t need to look for shoes with spikes or cleats either. A shoe with soles that have ample grip will be sufficient for giving you the control you need when you’re running on a cold or icy surface. Just make sure your shoes have good grooves or a raised-pattern outsole designed to give you a good hold when you run.
This applies to train and boot camp, but it can also be applied to all other types of workouts, physical activity, or sports. The right pair of footwear must provide sufficient ventilation for your feet to breathe. The most obvious benefit is the reduction in unpleasant odor (we all know that moment when you come home from a long day, slip them off, and catch a whiff… mhm, home sweet home.). But apart from that, there’s also the decrease in moisture and the reduced risk of harmful bacteria growing on the nice comfortable insole of your shoes.
The best material to provide breathability is mesh. Mesh is a type of synthetic material that is very light and flexible. Air can flow through it freely so that when it is found in the uppers of athletic shoes, the moisture from perspiration and any unpleasant odor is quickly filtered out to evaporate into the air. Besides allowing the air to flow, it also keeps the overall shoe nice and lightweight. This way, when you’re jumping around and working your butt off, you won’t have extra weights weighing you down at your feet. Mesh also dries quickly, which is convenient when they get wet by accident.
Some trainers also have leather in their uppers. The main practical benefit of this is that they render the shoe more durable. After all, leather is a very tough and hardwearing material. When it comes to appearance, they obviously have a handsome and luxurious look about them. Even if working out isn’t about having shining kicks to show off to your gym buddies, it can be good to know you’re still dressed decently when sweating and panting after a good session – because everything else about you sure isn’t impressive. However, leather isn’t as breathable as synthetic materials. It is breathable to some degree, but it’s not as efficient as a mesh. In turn, it is not a good option for those who tend to have sweaty feet.
If there is one part of purchasing a product that consumers care about the most, it’s the price tag. While we all want to purchase the most valuable product, we don’t want to be spending an entire paycheck to do it. With that being said, as we created this buying guide today, we carefully used the price tag as a means to measure the best products.
What we mean is: we noted what products were higher priced and lower priced. If they carried the value to match it, we included it on our list. We always wanted to make sure that, no matter what product you decided on purchasing (1-10), the value and price were matching.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
If you've ever been out on any trail for a run, you know that you can encounter many different scenarios and trail conditions. Always be wary of less tractionable surfaces, such as loose gravel or wet leaves, to make your run hazard free and enjoyable!
Most times when we lose our footing, it's due to a steep slope descent or incline, combined with less than ideal surfaces. Try to select areas to place your feet with packed dirt or solid rock to help you from slipping. When descending, let controlled momentum carry you through the descent as abrupt stops will cause slips.
Frequently Asked Questions
Depending on what type of running you'll be doing, it's best to check the above criteria section named "Versatile Selection of Shoes."
We have a complete guide written on this topic here but my preferred method is leaving dryer sheets in the specified shoe overnight.
You always want to make sure that you don’t use your running shoes for casual use because it essentially racks up miles, wearing down the shoe much quicker. Another thing you can do is keep track of the miles you run on a particular shoe to find out which brand or type of shoe works best.
Typically running shoes can last anywhere from 300-500 miles each.
Running shoes now are made of much more flexible and softer materials making it not necessary to wear them in.