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Review – Trail Running Shoes

For the optimal trail-running experience, try out some of these trail-specific shoes.

Sure, you can use your regular running shoes on the trails, but for the optimal trail-running experience, you might want to try out some of these trail-specific shoes. Designed to deal with the added abuse from rocks, roots and other obstacles, these shoes also offer some added traction and support.

NTR Seismic – $150

With a cool mesh upper and special Omni fit lacing system, the NTR Seismic is a trail running/ hiking shoe that will keep your feet cool and comfortable. There’s a 2 mm thick EVA insole which is treated with an Aegis antimicrobial solution to keep shoes fresh, too. We found the Seismic offers a very flexible toe box and lots of heel support, making this one of the more comfortable shoes we’ve tried in this class.

New Balance:  915 OR

Thanks to the Stabilicore lightweight medial posting and Abzorb Strobel Board and cushioning, the 915 manages to offer a lot of shock absorption and cushioning in a lightweight package. Even with all that support, there’s a reasonable amount of flexibility, which you’ll appreciate when you try to move the pace up a notch or two in your next Xterra race. New Balance has covered all the bases with the 915 – the unique, extremely breathable mesh upper dries really quickly, while the rubber outsole provides lots of traction even on wet rocks. Rock Stop embedded into the forefoot provides protection from sharp rocks and debris.

Gel Trail Attack – $140

Weighing in at 11.7 oz, the Gel Trail Attack feels like a road shoe while also providing lots of trail-specific features. The Rock Protection Plate provides protection against stone bruises, while the trail specific outsole uses reversed lugs for uphill and downhill traction on all types of terrain. There’s SpEVA 45 in the midsole to and GEL in the rearfoot to provide lots of soft cushioning. We especially liked the slightly curved last and extensive heel support that meant this shoe provides lots of control, but still allows you to get on your toes quickly when it’s time to pick up the pace.

ProGrid Peregrine – $130

Using the same platform as the Kinvara, a shoe that we absolutely loved for road running, it’s easy to see why we’re impressed with the Peregrine. Weighing just 9.1 oz. and offering a 4 mm heel drop, the Peregrine offers a minimalist-feel while still providing cushioning and support. Multi-direction lugs on the sole of the shoe provide lots of grip, too. Since the shoe is so low to the ground and has lots of flexibility, it’s extremely responsive when it comes to technical sections of the trail. This is a great option for faster runners when it’s time to hit the trails for training or racing.

Roclite 285 – $125

At just a shade over 10 oz., this elite trail and adventure racing shoe is designed for speed. The low profile midsole provides just enough cushioning and support for short races. The sticky rubber outsole helps you grip on even slippery, wet rocks. The radical design of the Roclite 285 even includes a fascia-band to improve your running efficiency. The mesh upper is extremely breathable, while the soft heel cup will wrap around virtually any heel to provide lots of comfortable support.

XR Crossmax – $140

If you’re looking for a shoe that will work equally as well on the roads or through the trails, the Crossmax might be your answer. This high mileage training shoe is geared for neutral runners and offers lots of support, which your feet will appreciate when you’ve got a long run to finish up. The stretch air mesh upper is both breathable and comfortable, while the fit is enhanced thanks to the gusseted tongue and quicklace system. The Crossmax is very stiff, which heavier runners will appreciate, but lighter runners will need to take note that they’ll need some time to break this shoe in.

Supernova Riot 3 – $140

This shoe offers lots of midsole medial support to runners who overpronate. That support doesn’t come at the expense of any flexibility, though – we found these to be some of the most flexible trail shoes we’ve tried. The Geofit construction provides a snug, anatomical and comfortable fit. There’s lots of cushioning to go along with the support, too, and the special outsole provides excellent grip in virtually any weather conditions and over almost any terrain.-KM