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2017 Fall trail shoes guide

Our top picks for running shoes that will help you tackle the trails this fall.

The fall always seems to be a great time to hit the trails. In addition to providing some variety to your regular training, trail running can be a great way to work on your strength and turnover. The softer terrain can also give your bones an joints a bit of a break, too.  While a regular pair of training shoes will certainly do the trick when it comes time to hit the trails, just about all of the major players in the shoe market offer at least one trail-specific model with a bit more support and traction to ensure you’ll get the most out of your trail running experience.

Skechers GoTrail 2 — $140

The GoTrail 2 offers up the best of Skechers’ road technology in a shoe that is designed to hit the trails. This water-resistant shoe uses 5GEN midsole cushioning to ensure you get lots of cushioning, while the midfoot strike zone that we like so much in the Skechers road models remains, ensuring you get a fast-feeling shoe that’s easy to turnover and launch from your heel to toe with ease. There’s a special forefoot pressure dispersion plate for added impact protection, along with a multi-surface traction outsole that offers lots of traction and protection. You can really feel the moulded heel counter that ensures the shoe hugs your foot. The end result is a lightweight, comfortable shoe (272 g or 9.6 oz.) that feels super fast, but also provides excellent cushioning and support.

Saloman S-Lab XA Amphib — $220

Swim/Run events are becoming more and more popular these days and the S-Lab XA Amphib is designed specifically for those races. Fast and efficient whether your feet are wet or dry, these shoes don’t provide a lot of cushioning (at 215 g or 7.6 oz. there’s not much too them). But for those who can handle a closer-to-barefoot shoe, they are an amazing option when you need to be able to bounce back and forth between swimming and running. Designed so that the midsole cradles your foot, you can use the Quick Fit lacing system to dial in a customized fit. The quick drying mesh upper is extremely comfortable, while the OS Tendon support system built into the shoe provides a surprising amount of support and some cushioning.

Asics Gel Fujirado — $160

The Boa lace system, which uses specially designed soft laces on Asics’ Gel Fujirado, ensures you can literally dial in the perfect fit so you get lots of comfortable, lateral support that will get you through even the toughest trails. The mono construction provides a snug fit that keeps out stones, twigs and other debris, while the SpEVA midsole offers lots of protection. The high-density rubber used in the outsole, which has reversed lugs, provides lots of traction and durability. Weighing just 300 g (10.6 oz.), you get a lot of support in this flexible and fast-feeling shoe.

Under Armour Horizon RTR — $140

The latest version of the Horizon trail shoe from Under Armour, the RTR offers lots of cushioning and support, making it an ideal option for the most challenging trails. The shoe exudes durability with a breathable textile upper and high-traction rubber lug outsole that provides lots of traction. The mesh heel and moulded collar cups the back of your foot, ensuring a snug fit and providing lots of lateral stability that will keep you upright through rocky terrain or over trails that require negotiating around lots of big roots. The Charged Cushioning foam puck in the heel provides lots of cushioning. At 340 g (12 oz.) these are a bit heavier than other shoes in our review, but for those looking for durability and support for rough outings will appreciate all the support and cushioning these shoes provide.

Saucony Xodus ISO 2 — $170

This trail-specific shoe sits at the top of Saucony’s RunAnywhere collection and it lives up to expectations – this shoe will get you through even the toughest terrain in style. The trail-specific Isofit system is designed to give you added protection in a neutral, low-riding shoe so you are less likely to roll over on your ankles as you hit rocky terrain or run over root-laden trails. The external support frame on the shoe provides extra protection and seems to hug your heel, while the beefy outsole offers outstanding traction and durability. Weighing just a hair over 261 g (9.2 oz.), the Xodus ISO 2 is very light and easy to turnover quickly on the trails.

New Balance 880 GB7 — $155

With a surprising amount of cushioning in a lightweight shoe, the 880 GB7 feels fast but still has all the protection and support you’ll need for even the longest of trail efforts. The breathable mesh FantomFit upper uses a no-sew overlay so you get a snug, but very comfortable fit. The midsole uses two layers of foam to provide a smooth ride even over gnarly rocks and roots. The blown rubber outsole provides lots of protection, durability and traction. (314.5 g or 11 oz.)

Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 —  $220

Like Hoka’s road-oriented shoes, the Speedgoat 2 uses an oversized EVA midsole for outstanding support and cushioning in a shoe that still manages to feel light and fast. The Speedgoat 2 is designed for any surface that’s not road, but is really geared for technical and tough trails. A wide base ensures you have a stable platform as you go over rough terrain, while the Vibram MegaGrip outsole uses 5 mm lugs to provide lots of grip. The mesh upper is supportive and hugs your foot, but remains very breathable. Like the Hoka One One road shoes, the Speedgoat 2 feels quick from heel to toe but still offers lots of protection and support. (278 g or 9.8 oz.)