Best Trail Shoes for Men Reviewed & Rated

When you fall in love with trail running, that bond runs very deep. It’s an entirely new level of running that provides a great thrill. With trail running, you find there could be a branch or rock that threaten your ankles, intense hills, and a variety of terrain. All of the new variables in trail running require a shoe that will get you through your run.

Last Updated: December 23, 2017
By Jessica Thomas:

This post was updated to give you ideas where to find a great trail to break in those trail running shoes.

Featured Recommendations

Salomon Speedcross 3
  • Salomon Speedcross 3
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Ortholite insole
  • Mud & Snow Contagrip
  • Price: See Here
 
Merrell Grassbow
  • Merrell Grassbow
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Bellows tongue
  • Breathable mesh
  • Price: See Here
 
Mizuno Wave Catalyst
  • Mizuno Wave Catalyst
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • X10 landing area
  • U4iC midsole
  • Price: See Here

This list of the best trail running shoes will help you find the best shoe when it comes to your needs on the trails. Maybe you want to take the minimalist route, feel the mud beneath your toes. You could have weaker ankles and knees that demand more support. Follow this guide to find your perfect running partner.

 

10 Best Trail Shoes for Men

 

1. Salomon Speedcross 3

This shoe is a great middle ground for runners who want minimal weight, but still need some support. Enjoy a quicklace design, incredible grip, and ideal design features to keep you comfortable during your entire run.
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Protection
With added obstacles on trail runs, such as rocks or roots, you need extra protection. The Salomon Speedcross 3’s have a protective rubber toe cap, so your toes have an armour. This shoe is also water-resistant and has an anti-debris mesh to help your feet stay dry and clean. Since you already have to think about avoiding various obstacles, you want to make sure your shoelaces are not another thing to worry about. The quicklace is a Kevlar string that is placed through friction free eyelets, and as you pull the lace closes evenly. A stopper will make sure your laces do not come undone, so you can run stress free.

Sensitive
A great feature of this shoe is the Sensifit technology. It’s a developed technology that wraps the foot with a secure fit by cradling the foot. The cradling is from the midsole to the lace system, giving a precise and snug fit. The technology has molded this system into the shoe which reduces weight. Another sensitive item is the OrthoLite sockliner. A combination of particular Ortholite foam and an EVA heel cup, the sockliner will keep you cool, dry, and cushioned in all environments.

Cost and Value
For this middle ground trail running shoe, you will find it to be an outstanding value. The waterproof and debris shedding outside will allow your shoe to carry you through all of your trail runs with ease and for many miles to come.
Pros
  • Tread for mud and snow

  • Neutral and bright color options

  • Lace pocket and lace lock  

  • “Mid-feather” weight construction

  • Grip for descent control

Cons
  • Can run narrow
  • May require additional support if you have pre-existing arch issues

2. Merrell Grassbow

Need a little more support when running on trails? Maybe looking for a great shoe that helps absorb the shock? Look no further than the Merrell Grassbow. You will enjoy excellent support through the entire construction of the shoe.
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Air Cushion
Merrell has included an air cushion in the heel and forefoot of the shoe to help absorb some the shock your feet experience from trail running. It also adds some extra stability to guide you with ease along every trail.

Odor Control
When you are running in mud, dirt, water, or anything else you find on the trail, your shoes can begin to smell quicker than usual. The breathable mesh lining is pretreated with an odor control substance, as is the removable footbed.

Cost and Value
Excellent value because it comes with the a built in support, so you most likely will not need to spend money on extra inserts. It also is a middle of the road in weight, so if that fits your comfort level or you are just starting out with trail running, this is a great price point for this shoe. If you find that trail running isn’t for you, this shoe is also a good hiking shoe, so you will not feel like you wasted money.
Pros
  • Vegan friendly
  • Heel air cusion
  • Can also be used for hiking, multi-use
  • True to size
Cons
  • Not waterproof

3. Mizuno Wave Catalyst

Runners have many needs when it comes to their shoes, and sometimes it can be hard to find a shoe can combines a few of your needs into one. The Mizuno Wave Catalyst combines cushion with responsiveness. This combination makes for a great trail running shoe.
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Cushion
A soft mesh will allow your foot to move freely as you spring forward on the trail. The shoe also has a padded tongue and collar, as well as a midfoot landing to add extra cushion. You will feel comfort on all terrains and will also be a good option if you choose to run a day on pavement, or at the gym.

Responsiveness
The sole of this shoe, and the upper wrap provides support without weighing you down. A great feature is a plastic layer that is embedded in the shoe’s midsole, providing a rigid and lightweight structure. You will feel the structure of the shoe working together to help you bound forward.

Cost and Value
This shoe would be ideal for runners who already know they love road runs, but want to venture into trail running. It’s an approachable price and if you find you don’t fall in love with trail running, you can use it for road runs, giving this shoe excellent value.
Pros
  • Neutral and bright color options
  • Could wear all day and be comfortable
  • Good arch support
  • Durable construction
Cons
  • Take a few wears to break them in

4. Salomon XA Pro 3D

4. Salomon XA Pro 3D
There are many occasions that call for rain boots, but wouldn’t it be nice to have the waterproof protection without the bulk of a tall rain boot? Wear these stylish boots in many casual situations, not just in your garden or while it’s raining.
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Construction
The Salomon XA Pro 3D has a low profile stabilizing unit between the outsole and the midsole to help with motion control and security of your arch and ankle. Enjoy a molded sockliner that provides comfort and helps absorb the shock of each step.

Light
For a supportive trail shoe, it is on the lighter weight side. They are comfortable, socklike, and provide great support without weighing you down too much. This is really important when it comes to trail running. You want a shoe that is going to feel light to help you lift your feet quick, and avoid any roots or rocks.

Cost and Value
This is a very expensive shoe, so it’s recommended for those who love trail running and know what they are looking for in a shoe. If you are just looking to try out trail running, and find you don’t enjoy it these shoes may not be a great value, especially since they are not waterproof so they aren’t recommended for hiking unless you are in a dry climate.
Pros
  • Protective rubber toe cap
  • Quick dry mesh
  • Great traction and grip
  • Quicklace design
  • Both neutral and bright shoe choices
Cons
  • Not waterproof
  • Not ideal for wide feet

5. Merrell Trail Glove 3

5. Merrell Trail Glove 3
Trail running provides a surge of adrenaline because you never know what surface you might face. If you seek a shoe that is a tight fit, excellent traction, low profile shoe, you have found your match. The Merrell Trail Glove 3 is a smart choice for trails that will have a variety of terrain.
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Traction
Enjoy a lug pattern to provide stability in both wet and dry surfaces. The traction will help with both sandy trails and rocky terrains. This shoe has also been tested in both extremely high and low temperatures, and it performed in both situations.

Low Profile
If you do not like a constricting ankle height, then you will love the Merrell Trail Glove 3. The ankle cuts low to give you a full range of motion. The shoe will be a glove like fit, meaning it will be tight around your entire foot. The advantage of this fit is you will be less likely to catch or trip on any obstacles on the trail.

Cost and Value
Great value for the quality of construction. You can expect this shoe to last you for many miles and will be your go to for all climates and conditions, making this shoe worth the price.
Pros
  • Vegan friendly
  • Pre-treated with anti-odor
  • Midsole cushioning
  • Glove like fit
Cons
  • Arch support can be uncomfortable for some feet

6. Adidas Kanadia 7 TRM

6. Adidas Kanadia 7 TRM
A great trail shoe with excellent traction, and a nice balance of a neutral weight shoe (9.7 ounces) with the comfort and durability factors, makes this a great shoe for hitting the trails.
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Breathability
When your shoe isn’t necessarily super lightweight as a trail shoe, you want it to give it the illusion that it is. The synthetic mesh overlay both adds support, and allows your shoe to feel light and breathable.

Bonus Add Ons
This shoe features a Traxion mudguard to avoid any mud seeping into your shoe, or excessive water from getting in. The Traxion outsole also provides excellent traction and grip in all directions for your trail runs. Laces can be customized to your fit and comfort level of tightness.

Cost and Value
Great value, and approachable in cost. This would be a great option for begging trail runners as well. You will find this shoe is multi-use, great for trail runs and hikes.
Pros
  • Eye catching colors
  • Excellent support, and you can add your own if needed  
  • Classic Adidas branding
  • Low maintenance care
Cons
  • Not completely waterproof

7. New Balance MT690v2

7. New Balance MT690v2
A great option for rocky and hill heavy trails. The shoe as a whole is constructed for those environments and will lend you the support you need for speed and endurance.
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Kick rocks
The New Balance MT690v2’s have a toe protector that reinforces the front of the shoe and helps protect your toes from rocks and hard surfaces. The improved tread from the previous model will also give you better traction on rocks and slippery surfaces. The outsole is designed for both on and off road running, so you will find this shoe becomes your favorite overall running shoe very quickly.

Support
A molded midsole that is injected into the shoe, will give you great support during your entire run and in all terrains. This shoe also have a performance insert to give you another level of comfort and support.

Cost and Value
Very approachable price point and great for all levels of trail runners from beginners to experts.
Pros
  • Gusseted Tongue
  • All-terrain and durable construction
  • All day and all use comfortable
  • Neutral and bright color options
Cons
  • Medium fit, so may not be best for wide feet

8. ASICS Gel-scram 3

8. ASICS Gel-scram 3
ASICS are a well known and respected brand in the running world. If you already know and love this brand, you will not be disappointed with these trail running shoes. If you are unfamiliar with ASICS, it is very recommended you check out these shoes. There are some great features specific to trail running that will help you navigate and run with ease.
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Outsole
Most trail runs have a number of hills included. You need extra protection and traction when you run both up and down hills. The ASICS Gel-scram 3 have reversed lugs on the outsole to help provide more traction uphill, downhill, and on many terrains.

Personalize
It’s really awesome how many shoes come with custom sockliners. There are some that build in the support for the type of runner you are. What if you don’t fit that mold? You may find those sockliners are really uncomfortable, or cause more injury. This shoe comes with a removable sockliner, so you can personalize this shoe if you need a custom or medical orthotic.

Cost and Value
This brand can get expensive, but this trail shoe is priced in a very approachable range. Expect the quality to stand up to many miles, giving you a great value.
Pros
  • Rearfoot GEL cushion
  • Low maintenance care
  • Neural sizing, but true in size
  • Quality construction and made with trail running in mind
Cons
  • Not completely waterproof

9. New Balance MT 10V1 Minimus

9. New Balance MT 10V1 Minimus
This shoe is ideal for those who like a minimum shoe, but aren’t quite ready to take the full dive. Trail running is very much about being closer to nature and challenging yourself, but some runners might want a touch of a step up from barefoot, or bare-minimum shoes. If you are that runner, then the New Balance MT 101V1 Minimus is the shoe for you.
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Support
This shoe has upper materials to assist with your forefoot, then a midfood wrap will hold your foot steady throughout your entire run. If you find that this isn’t enough support, you can order one size up and wear cushioning socks. This shoe also allows for you to insert your own orthotic if needed. One piece of advice is to make sure you really wear in these shoes if you are not used to such a minimal shoe. Once you have worn them in, you will never want to take them off.

Fresh smell
An antimicrobial and odor-resistant treatment will keep your shoes fresh. The shoes are a great size for packing in gym bags, suitcases, or drawstring bags. It’s the worst when you open up your bag and all of your clothes smell like the inside of your shoe. This shoe also does well with being washed inside of a washing machine.

Cost and Value
If you are just starting out with trail running, this might not be a great value if you end up going back to full-time road running. This shoe would be great for basic gym exercises, such as weightlifting, spin, or step. If you are a serious trail runner, and you like the light weight, this shoe is excellent value.
Pros
  • Vibram sole
  • 4mm drop  
  • Sleek design
  • Breathable mesh fabric
Cons
  • Not waterproof
  • Runs small, order at least a half size larger

10. Mizuno Wave Kazan

10. Mizuno Wave Kazan
Versatility at its finest. This all-terrain trail running shoe is a fantastic mix of support and lightweight. Don’t be surprised if you become a repeat Mizuno shoe user after running in this shoe.
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Design
The synthetic upper materials were designed to reduce the stress of your foot, helping to avoid injury. Your feet will feel so great, you may find yourself running a few miles longer than originally planned. The reinforced toe overlay for protection and heel design to minimize movement will have you feeling supported from toe to heel. Mizuno has also incorporated “SmoothRide Engineering”, a sole design that creates a rocking chair transition from toe to heel.

Grip
This shoe has a carbon runner outsole with “X” grooves for great traction. The great thing about this outsole is the flexibility so you don’t feel constricted, but you still feel the grip.

Cost and Value
A touch on the expensive side if you don’t trail run on a regular basis, but you will find a great value with the quality of design. If you are a regular trail running and like having a little more support, this is an excellent value.
Pros
  • Heel-cradling concave wave design
  • Design inspired by Japanese rock garden
  • Breathable fabric lining
  • Lightweight upper materials
Cons
  • Specific design, may not fit all visual styles
  • Takes a few wears to break them in

You’ve hit that open trail, take a mental note of the terrain you run on, how many hills do you run, and your typical climate. These things will tell you all you need to know about what you need from a trail running shoe, slip on a pair of shoes from this recommended list and find you can run faster, more comfortably, and with the support you need.

Need ideas on where to find a great trail near you? Try finding a local running club or go into your local running shoe store. Often those stores will have upcoming races in your area and will be able to recommend a great trail for you. This also works if you are traveling to a new area.