Best trail running shoes 2024 | Tested and reviewed

There's trail running shoes for all terrains and distances these days, but what about the best all-rounder running shoe? We recommend our favourites...

Best trail running shoes 2024 singles

by Kate Milsom |
Updated on

No doubt you've heard by now that regular old road running is a bore, a chore, a monotonous grind that turns your kneecaps into ticking time bombs. Well, the rumours are true. Welcome to your new favourite hobby – let's talk about the best trail running shoes of 2024.

When you hit the trails, you'll need footwear that can stand up to rough and changing terrain. Not only does your shoe need to be durable and high-traction, but it's also got be cushioned and protective. This is no easy feet – sorry – which is why we at LFTO test dozens of pairs per season.

We also test so much because there are so many different approaches to the humble trail shoe. You might want a hardy, stiff, distance-ready ultra trail running shoe to carry you through an all-day training session. Or (perhaps more likely) you're in search of a versatile road-to-trail running shoe that provides maximum comfort from pavements to park runs to the peak of Snowdon.

What are the best trail running shoes of 2024?

Hoka Speedgoat 5: Best trail running shoe

Nike Pegasus React Trail 4: Best value trail running shoe

Asics Trabuco Max 2: Best road to trail running shoe

Brooks Cascadia 17: Best ultra trail running shoe

Saucony Peregrine 13 GTX: Best waterproof trail running shoe

Remember to account for your own personal running gait, foot size, and comfort level preference when choosing the best trail running shoe for your needs. We've reviewed some excellent lightweight running shoes but if you're a runner who needs that bit more support and cushioning in a shoe, then consider a chunky option. Plus, it never hurts to peruse our roundup of waterproof trail running shoes.

lining up the best trail running shoes for review
©LFTO

Equally, if you prefer to have a good level of ground feel as you run, then we'd recommend you lean more towards a zero-drop trail running shoe than one with a high stack and drop. If all this sounds like jargon to you, why not take a look at our trail running shoes buying guide to better understand the best style of shoe for your feet.

Best trail running shoes in detail:

Best trail running shoe

LFTO
Price: £140.00

www.hoka.com

Though they may look more on the maximalist side, the Hoka Speedgoat 5 are a stunningly popular pair of trail running shoes. That's all down to their versatility and agility on the trail. After our first run in the Speedgoat, we were instantly impressed by their responsive feel, lightweight, and general zippiness. Very much a wolf in sheep's clothing, here's why the Speedgoat 5 remains a cult classic...

The shoe's lightweight yet durable construction includes an updated, breathable mesh upper that enhances ventilation while providing a secure fit. With a wider forefoot and midfoot design over previous iterations, the Speedgoat feels plenty stable over loose terrain and allows for ample toe splay.

The full-length EVA foam midsole, combined with the brand's signature Meta-Rocker technology, offers good impact absorption when it comes to running over more compact ground. This isn't at the expense of propulsion though, the curved form (4mm drop) literally rocks you off your feet, keeping that footfall rolling forward with much less effort than flatter, zero-drop shoes like the Vibram 5-fingers or the Merrell Vapor Glove 6.

Moving down to the outsole, the Speedgoat is equipped with 5mm zonal rubber lugs placement which ensures traction and grip both through lateral and medial planes of movement, which are a dream when tackling awkward ascents and loose terrain.

Through our testing, we found that the Speedgoat 5 excels best over long-distance. It's one of the only shoes we've been impressed with straight out of the box, and that says a lot. There's also a Gore-Tex version available for wet-weather running. Now vegan and made from recycled components, we're happy to see Hoka take steps towards improving sustainability.

Check out the women's version here

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Performance-centred shoe
  • At home on long runs

Cons

  • Can feel cumbersome at first

Best Value

LFTO
Price: $129.99

The Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 is designed to be a comfortable, everyday training trail running shoe. Particularly one for comfort over road-to-trail terrain, the Trail 4 is the newest member of the Pegasus Trail family, which was originally conceived off the back of New Balance's classic Pegasus road-runner.

The main upgrade in this fourth edition is in the outsole, which has three separate tread patterns and 3.5mm lugs. This length is key as it translates to comfort over hard tarmac and a good amount of sticky grip over off-road trails and rocky sections, though predictably, traction does suffer over really slippy ground.

The large 9mm drop suits my midfoot-striking tendencies fine, thanks in part to the soft and durable React foam, which provides both a bounce to your step and a nice amount of shock absorption. Considering the absence of a rock plate, there's still a reasonable amount of protection, with a medium-width toe cap and protruding heel tail.

Find the women's version here

Read our full Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 review

Pros

  • Good value
  • Genuine road-to-trail versatility
  • Close fit and firm lacing
  • React foam gives real spring to your step

Cons

  • Lacks protection over high-mountain terrain
  • Lacks grip over wet, sloppy mud
  • Sustainability could be better (or just better explained)

Best road to trail running shoe

LFTO

Fast becoming one of our favourite maximalist trail running shoes, the Asics Trabuco Max is a monster machine of a running shoe. With a stack of 43mm at the heel and 38mm at the forefoot, along with a healthy amount of cushioning, they have a heavenly comfy amount of cushioning. But if you think this would translate to a heavy and slow-feeling shoe. You'd be wrong.

We have an inkling this is down to the FF BLAST PLUS foam midsole, which aims to reduce landing impact and boost comfort. Unlike other chuncky-stack shoes we've tested, the Trabuco somehow manages to maintain some semblance of ground feel. Put it this way, we don't feel like we're running on stilts, one step away from a twisted ankle and for trail running, that's pretty key!

The Trabuco is made from at least 50% recycled materials, which can be found in the ventilated jacquard mesh upper, which has a protective overlay around the toes and an inbuilt gaiter system. All this combines to make the shoe feel highly structured and protective when it comes to wading through trail debris, while still managing to hold onto a bit of flex at the forefoot. Moreover, the foot hold is excellent, and while running on a recovering ankle weakness, we felt at ease and comfortably braced from ground impact.

Another star of the show is the ASICSGRIP outsole. Never have we ever ran in a stickier shoe... in a good way. You can even hear the stick at each step on wet tarmac! The Trabuco excels on wet rock and loose trails, it's comfortable and cushioned enough to take on sections on the road, while the 4.5mm lugs can tackle mud and technical off-road paths with confidence. If you're racing, you may want to reach for the agile Speedgoat 5 or a shoe a little closer to the ground, but for a supportive training shoe, you'd struggle to find much better than the Trabuco Max 3, and that's why they're our favourite road to trail running shoes.

**Read our full Asics Trabuco Max 3 review
**
Check out the women's version here

Pros

  • Highly cushioned
  • Well-structured and supportive
  • Traction of range of terrain
  • Stylish

Cons

  • Not as agile as some
  • Stack height may deter minimalist-lovers

Best ultra trail running shoe

LFTO

Our new top pick in the ultra category, the Cascadia 17 from Brooks is aimed squarely at trail runners who value stability, durability, and support above all else. We found this shoe impressively tough – having battered it on mountainous and muddy trails in the lake district over a particularly harrowing winter.

Now in its 17th generation, the Cascadia model has undergone more tweaks and overhauls than most cars at this point. Where the 16 presented a fairly roomy and relaxed fit, the Cascadia 17 has locked down its tightly-woven mesh upper, which now fits snugly and features an effective, wide-set lace system.

The slightly stiffer feeling won't be for everyone, but if you enjoy challenging trails, this one's the biscuit. Brooks have kept the rockplate from the last Cascadia, but it's now fitted inside the midsole foam, rather than sitting between the midsole and the outsole. This provides a firm, rigid underfoot sensation, meaning we didn't get much feedback from the ground, but did feel incredibly well protected from sharp rocks and other debris.

Rounding out the truly mountain-ready approach of the Cascadia 17 is Brooks' proprietary outsole unit, called 'TrailTack'. As the name suggests, this sole has great traction. We found it had solid bite and grip on all surfaces, from grass and mud to rock and scree. A truly versatile showing, with aggressive lugs separated by mud-shedding channels.

Brooks earn a bonus point for using 25% recycled content in their outsole, though hopefully the 18 will be even more sustainable.

Read our full Brooks Cascadia 17 review

Find the women's version here

Pros

  • Excellent stability
  • Protective and supportive
  • Great traction
  • All-day comfort

Cons

  • Quite heavy with low agility
  • Lacks underfoot sensitivity

Best waterproof trail running shoe

Live For The Outdoors
Price: £84.99 (was £140)

www.sportsshoes.com

**Editor's note: We've now tested and reviewed the latest version of this shoe, the Peregrine 14, but at time of writing, we still feel the 13 is an excellent model and better value for its price.
**
The Saucony Peregrine 13 trail running shoe has a family tree as long as a dynasty. Always made for lightness and speed, this 13th edition shaves more weight off while adding a touch more cushioning, taking the stack height up to 28/24mm.

On the trail, the Peregrine 13 feels plenty padded for mid-distance runs, with the 5mm lugs doing an excellent job of gripping on mud and gravel paths, even holding their own along technical sections.

The low weight keeps them feeling agile, while the Gore-Tex version tested also does a great job at keeping moisture out, the gusseted tongue fending off trail debris well.

Read our full Saucony Peregrine 13 running shoe review

Check out the women's version here

Pros

  • Even lighter than predecessor
  • 3 different versions available
  • Vegan
  • Fantastically comfortable
  • Very grippy on almost all surfaces

Cons

  • Not ideal for long distances
  • Questions over brand sustainability

Best winter trail running shoe

LFTO

Our favourite winter trail running shoe for 2024. La Sportiva's Cyklon Cross GTX may seem imposing in its profile, but it's a remarkably comfortable and versatile winter trail running shoe. When worn with running leggings, it blends in seamlessly and doesn't appear outlandish.

The integrated gaiter is highly effective at keeping out dirt, snow, and puddle splashes. Initially, we were skeptical of the BOA lacing system, but it's a fantastic addition to a shoe like this. It offers a snug fit that's easily adjustable and quick to fasten or release.

The Cyklon Cross GTX boasts an exceptional outsole featuring La Sportiva's Frixion White compound, known for its durability and superb grip. Combined with its aggressive lug pattern, this shoe excels in muddy and snowy conditions, and it's also compatible with La Sportiva's AT Grip spikes for icy terrain.

While it provides ample debris protection and generous underfoot cushioning, it does have limited toe protection, featuring only a minimal TPU toe cap. This is worth considering if your routes involve rocky terrain. Nevertheless, for cold conditions, this is our top pick.

Read our full La Sportiva Cyklon Cross GTX review

Find the women's version here

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Excellent debris protection
  • Incredible grip
  • Perfect for slushy British terrain

Cons

  • Minimal toe protection
  • May look a bit odd in shorts (though this may be a pro for some)

Best for all-day comfort

LFTO

New for 2024 in its third generation, the Scott Kinabalu 3 is back again with a “full re-design” and “improved comfort, protection and running efficiency”, according to the Swiss brand. We quickly found this description to be bang on – the Kinabalu 3 feels much more agile and cushioned than its predecessor.

The upper uses a tried and tested design, with soft and lightweight ripstop mesh covering the forefoot and top of the toe, and a sturdier thermoplastic polyerethane reinforcing the heel, toe, and sides. We noticed some decent flex in the polymer, with a fairly standard fit that feels locked in on the top but still accommodates your usual swell and splay.

The big highlight on the Kinabalu 3 is the midsole cushioning and rocker shape, which feels nicely springy and energetic, especially for a trail shoe that looks, at first glance, a bit chunky. The midsole is fairly thick, providing a comfortable and plush feel, and ultimately making us pleasantly surprised by how fast our test runs ended up being.

This is partially thanks to the rocker shape of the midsole which increases efficiency and gets you into a good flow on the trail. We were also quite impressed with the materials underfoot, which are all proprietary. Scott's 'Kinetic Foam' comprises the midsole and was notably light and responsive – Scott claim the material "provides 14% more energy than standard EVA".

Meanwhile, the proprietary outsole leans into this smooth flowing approach with 3.5mm chevron-shaped lugs. It's not a very aggressive pattern or depth, but similar to the North Face Vectiv Pro, it excels when you're wanting to move fast over hard packed paths in the hills or woodlands.

We tested this shoe on a mixture of trails in the Lake District, and while they certainly aren't fell running shoes, the Kinabalu 3 is an excellent pick for mixed terrain, including the odd pavement which, let's face it, we can't all avoid.

Read our full Scott Kinabalu 3 review

Find the women's version here

Pros

  • Excellent midsole
  • Good cushioning
  • Light
  • Comfortable ride

Cons

  • Not the most aggressive outsole

Best minimalist trail running shoe

the lugs of the norvan SL3 trail running shoesLFTO
Price: £140.00

arcteryx.com

These ultralight, sleek, minimalist trail running shoes are an absolute dream for runners who love to feel agile and nimble in the mountains. The Norvan SL3 is wildly different from its long-distance focused cousin, the LD3. Rather than providing lush cushioning and a roomy fit, the SL3 is precise, and geared towards tackling scree and scrambles.

The brand say they've used feedback from their mountain athletes to refine the shoe's design, and this certainly shows. From the way the shoe narrows around the forefoot to the tiny loops at the heel for clipping into a harness, the Norvan SL3 belongs in the mountains.

That said, we tested this shoe in the UK and still felt the benefits of its design without the alpine background its aiming for. The shoes weigh next-to-nothing, with a men's size 11 clocking in at just 215g per shoe. This is a massive highlight, as minimalist shoes are all about feeling light and free on the trail.

The stack is typically low, ranging from 19mm in the heel to just 12mm at the toe. While the midsole is fairly soft, we found the SL3 incredibly responsive and providing a lot of ground feel, which is ideal for scrambling and moving fast over difficult terrain. The Vibram outsole has great traction on rocks, and it survived decently on forrest tracks, though we don't think we'd take this shoe – with its 3.5mm lugs – out on anything wet and muddy.

Still, the fit is excellent but snug, so wide-footed buyers beware. We also like that the tongue is totally integrated into the upper, forming a snug knit collar which wraps around your whole ankle like a sock. This does a great job of keeping out rocks and dust, and helps the shoe feel extra secure.

Read our full Arc'teryx Norvan SL3 review

Find the women's version here

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Highly durable upper
  • Outsole works great on technical trails

Cons

  • Somewhat narrow toebox

Best trail racing shoe

LFTO

This race-ready trail shoe is equally comfortable on alpine mountain ultras and local park runs. It's rare that a shoe with this level of cushioning is still so geared for performance, but the Vectiv Pro manages to pull off an impressive balancing act.

The key to its design is having features which simultaneously contribute to speed and stability. One such feature is the Vectiv 2.0 carbon plate, which sits in the midsole and retains the Pro's signature shape. The plate's forked construction keeps your footstrike stable and reduces lateral movement, which is crucial for maintaining a consistent, confident pace. This 2.0 version is leaps and bounds ahead of the original.

The carbon plate also works with the new high-rebound midsole to add propulsion. This is achieved through rocker geometry, which works to smoothly rock you from your mid-foot onto the springy raised forefoot, giving you the optimum angle to push off with each step.

The pronounced rocker shape and highly cushioned midsole make the Vectiv Pro our second choice from The North Face for super technical sections. If you prefer a bit more tactile feedback from the ground, we'd recommend the Vectiv Sky.

That said, the Pro remains the race shoe of choice for North Face athlete Elsey Davis, who recently gave us some expert trail running advice. "The added propulsion on the uphills and flat sections is definitely worth having to go a tiny bit slower on technical downhills," she attests. Elsey recently smashed the Eiger Ultra 50k, finishing second with her trusty Vectiv Pros.

Read our full North Face Summit Vectiv Pro review

Find the women's version here

Pros

  • Geared for high-performance runs
  • Cushioned enough for long distances
  • Highly breathable upper
  • No-slip laces that actually work

Cons

  • Higher stack takes some getting used to
  • Not the best choice for difficult downhills

Best for high cushioning

LFTO
Price: £160.00

www.hoka.com

The Stinson 7 is, in typical Hoka fashion, the exact opposite of a sleek, minimalist running shoe. It features a thick EVA midsole with a towering 42mm/37mm stack height (40mm/35mm in the women's version). We wore worried this would affect the stability of shoe, but Hoka have compensated by giving the Stinson 7 an extra wide platform.

Between the width and height of this sole unit, of course the Stinson 7 is outrageously comfortable. We'd even call it pillowy. The midsole features a design touch called Metarocker which aids heel-to-toe transitions, which works nicely with the huge amounts of cushioning to create a seamless flow when you're running.

Of course, this only lasts until things get hairy on the trail. Weighing 365g (men's 10) and sporting that wide outsole makes the Stinson 7 a tad clompy, which is great for long distances, but does come at the cost of agility. We wouldn't pick it for skyrunning.

That said, the Durabrasion rubber outsole performed pretty well across a range of terrains. It features 4mm lugs and wide mud channels which did their job on wetter outings. We've seen this sole before on the Hoka Challenger 7, and we were impressed then as well. Being able to handle damp grass is critical, and we were pleased to find that the Stinson 7 could hold its own all throughout the Yorkshire moors.

It may not be the best for tricky terrain, but if you're hitting more typical UK trails and looking for comfort and stability, then this shoe is the ticket.

Read our full Hoka Stinson 7 review

Check out the women's version here

Pros

  • Sumptuous cushioning
  • Stable
  • Vegan
  • Decent grip
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Big stack height not for everyone
  • Look a bit clumpy

Best for Sustainability

LFTO

Expect a wider, stable shoe when you slip on a pair of Hierros and one that's a touch lighter than previous models. Look forward to a plush ride as well, thanks to NB's Fresh Foam X cushioning.

When it comes to technical paths, the Vibram Megagrip outsole does what you'd hope when it comes to protection, durability, and traction, not least because the lugs are up 1mm to 4.5mm. There's also an 8mm drop and plenty of structure to the shoe.

Also, let's not forget New Balance has embraced sustainability in a big way, so it's good to read this shoe meets the company's green leaf standard: 50% or more materials are sourced as environmentally preferred.

Read our full New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7 review

Find the women's version here

Pros

  • Stable and cushioned
  • Capable over a range of terrain
  • Big tick for sustainability

Cons

  • Not for slippy conditions

Best for slippy conditions

Live For The Outdoors
Price: £103.99 (RRP £130)

www.sportsshoes.com

The Salomon Sense Ride 5 is designed to be a lightweight, versatile trail running shoe for mixed trails. Salomon claims the Sense 5 is equally competent over short and ultra distances.

With a lug pattern clearly angled towards hard-packed trails and at 3.5mm, these shoes really maximise grip over firmer ground thanks to the Contragrip sole. They're also agile, managing to remain surprisingly lightweight despite the comfort provided.

For those with slightly narrower of average width feet, the Sense 5 feels blissfully comfortable in use. The generous heel arch hugs and supports the foot, while the padded heel nicely locks you in place to avoid slippage during descents. Despite this, there's clearly a balance being struck here between padding and agility, with the forefoot feeling firm and responsive.

Overall, the Sense 5 is a great choice for those door to hilltop runs where you need a good all-rounder trail shoe to get the job done.

Read our full Salomon Sense Ride 5 review

Check out the women's version here

Pros

  • Good value
  • Great for a wide range of terrain
  • Balance of cushioning and responsiveness
  • Quicklace system

Cons

  • Mid to narrower fit won't suit all
  • Brand sustainability could be better

How to choose the best trail running shoes for you

running through the woods
Getting the right fit and cushioning for your feet is key ©LFTO

Carbon: For many of us, the summer or dry spells are all about running that bit quicker, and there's no argument carbon provides runners with more response on the harder, more uniform trails this season provides. Some will run faster, while some will benefit from the reduction in impact carbon provides. Yes, there's a cost, but it's well worth the investment.

Breathability: In the same way you'd look for fabrics that breathe in t-shirts, go for materials that allow air and water vapour to escape from inside the shoe while also allowing cooler air from outside to enter.

Weight: Of course, there's no definitive weight in a running shoe as more than any other product, it's very much individual. But, as a general rule, summer shoes are lighter and swifter feeling, so you'll be thinking of shoes that weigh less than 300g for that rip-roaring 10km PB.

If you're thinking long distance though, think about additional cushioning and, therefore, in some, but not all, additional weight, bringing the shoes into the mid-300s.

Toe box: The rocks will be there year-round, so look for protection in that department.

outsole of a trail running shoe
Ideal lug depth depends on ground wetness and terrain ©LFTO

Drop: There's almost a generational gap here. Older shoe models work off an 8mm-12mm drop for a higher, more cushioned ride, while many of today's shoes come in at around 4mm-6mm for a closer-to-the-ground, faster feel. As with any shoe advice, it's always about what feels good personally.

In theory, it's worth progression to lower drop shoes as they do feel quicker (half the job), but it can be at a cost for your calf muscles. There are lower drops as well, with 0mm replicating barefoot. The jury is out at the moment as to what is best!

Midsole: EVA, PU, TPU or Pebax are the foams of choice for most brands. All offer softness and flexibility to different degrees.

Fit: There's the traditional lacing system, of course, but the Salomon system and the Boa fit in a variety of brands, including La Sportiva and Adidas do offer superb stability on rough, steep terrain. Consider the surfaces you'll be running. Tough descents and contouring lend themselves to this new fit system.

Lug length: Summer shoes will offer less in the grip department, so lugs around 3mm at the most, while winter shoes go all the way up to 6mm and even beyond on occasion. Rubber, of course, wears quicker, so longer lug-length shoes need to stay strictly off-road!

If you want even more info, take a look at our guide to running shoe anatomy.

Are trail running shoes worth it?

If you're planning on exploring more off-piste than your usual pavements and local park, then we'd highly recommend you invest in a pair of trail running shoes like those reviewed above. As you transition from road to trail, you’ll find you need extra help in stabilising your feet and pushing off from the ground as you run.

Runners heading down a grassy hill
Trail running shoes become pretty darn necessary when you hit the hills ©LFTO

This is because trails can be wet and slippy, with loose terrain and unpredictable bumps and dips. You need running shoes with extra protection to ward off errant rocks and roots, and lugs along the outsole (grippy spikes on the bottom) to latch onto the ground and help propel you forwards as you enjoy the trail.

The more off-road and wild you get, the more likely you’ll need longer lugs and more protection from the elements. You may even want to consider a semi-aquatic shoe like the Vivobarefoot Hydra for when the trails get boggy after a good British watering. If you’ve got lofty ideas of building up to the longer distances, you should definitely consider grabbing a stability-focused long-distance trail running shoe with a bit of extra cushioning (we've just spotted a discount on the Inov8 Trailfly Ultra G 300, which fits the bill nicely!) to keep you comfy as the miles stack up.

Can you use trail running shoes on the road?

runner in the forest
Depending on the season, you may want to go for a Gore-Tex waterproof running shoe ©LFTO

Many trail running shoes will not feel comfortable to wear on the road for extended periods of time. This will especially be true for those with long lugs along the bottom, which will dig into the soles of your feet as you run if the shoe has a slim midsole. Thankfully, there’s a specific category of trail running shoes emerging in recent years called road-to-trail.

It’s in the name, but these handy run shoes strike the perfect balance between cushioning, midsole impact absorption, and grip, to deliver a shoe that can cope with extended sections of road running as well as some mildly muddy and gentle trails. These days, mostly everyone will need to contend with both road and trail on their everyday run routes, so investing in a road to trail shoe can make your runs much more enjoyable and smooth.

Are trail running shoes good for hiking?

Trail running shoes are good for some types of hiking when you want optimal speed and agility (even if you aren't running), such as fastpacking or short, sharp treks. Trail running shoes are lightweight and have grippy soles - key traits for these types of hikes. However, trail running shoes lack the durability and support needed for long distance or technical hikes, where walking boots are much better.

How trail running shoes should fit

The size you choose for your next pair of trail running shoes really depends on what distance you're planning to run. Now we’re not suggesting you go crazy and order several sizes up from your usual digits, but it’s worth bearing in mind that as you run, four-times your bodyweight goes through your feet upon impact with the ground. That’s basically like repeatedly hitting the soles of your feet with a frying pan for the duration of your run.

la sportiva cyklone cross gtx trail running shoes
©LFTO

Obviously, this is going to have an impact on your feet - they will swell. So to ensure you remain comfortable and rub-free, it’s worth sizing up 0.5-1 sizes on what you’re normally used to wearing, especially if you’re planning on running long distances. Other than that, make sure if your feet are particularly wide you get a wide-fit shoe or look at brands like Altra whose shoes are designed with extra room in the toe-box. Equally, if your feet are extra narrow, you’ll need slimmer shoes like some Salomon ones, in order to still be able to achieve that locked-in, blister-free fit.

When to replace trail running shoes

When it comes to deciding when to replace your trail running shoes, you may be tempted to follow the same rule you would with your road running shoes. That is that typically, we replace running shoes every 500-800km. However, since trail running shoes are (sometimes literally) put through the wringer much more when out on the trails, you may want to adjust this depending on how much you’ve managed to wreck them in the good muddy stuff.

Best trail running shoes 2024 closer
©LFTO

Other factors to take into account when considering the right time to replace your trail running shoes are whether the midsole has been substantially flattened from repeated impact, and how worn the lugs are along the bottom. Trail shoes are first and foremost used to give you traction when running along slippy and unpredictable terrain, so if the main component that provides traction is worn out, it’s probably time to reinvest in another pair like those we've reviewed above.

Meet our team of testers

The trail running gear we review always undergoes rigorous real-world testing. As soon as a new trail shoe hits the scene, we allocate one of our expert gear testers and force them out of the office and into the hills. We do occasionally destroy shoes in our testing, but these don't make the 'best of' list, naturally. Anything that appears in our roundups has survived some serious work on a range of different terrains and distances.

LFTO Trail Running Tester Team
©LFTO

We consider myriad factors when testing and reviewing trail running footwear, from the obvious, such as comfort and performance, to the less obvious and intricate, such as sustainability. Read more about how we test our trail running gear.

Kate Milsom

Kate Milsom trail running
©LFTO

Kate is a Digital Content Writer for Live For The Outdoors, within which she specialises in trail running content, including expert gear reviewing, training advice, and breaking news in the world of trail running. She loves a comfy cushioned shoe, and gets on very well with midsole monsters like the Hoka Challenger 7. Kate is also an ultra runner and triathlete herself, having previously worked on cycling and triathlon publications. Kate has been working for LFTO since 2022.

Chris Williams

Chris Williams trail running
©LFTO

Chris trained as a journalist in New Zealand, and then made the fatal error of leaving his mountainous home for the relatively flat UK. However, we're glad he did, as he's been working on Live For The Outdoors since 2021, testing gear across camping, hiking, and most recently, trail running. Chris is our expert in sustainability, having already got his hands on the latest bio-based trail running shoes, and is continuing to seek the perfect balance of sustainable construction and top-level performance.

Milo Wilson

trail runner wearing the inov8 performance hybrid jacket
©LFTO

Milo physically cannot stop himself from running everywhere. Which is useful, because he can't drive. He joined LFTO in May 2023 and immediately began testing trail running shoes over the often-sloppy and cow-ridden Surrey hills. He's a big fan of carbon plates and fast shoes, and you'll more than likely catch him vasodilating during the pub crawl run at Love Trails.

Caring for your trail running shoes

Outdoor footwear gets a hard life. If you want to keep yours performing as well as they can for as long as possible, a little TLC is needed. Keep fabrics clean to maintain breathability, and waterproof fabrics need reproofing every so often to maintain water repellency. Here are the products we'd recommend to help extend the life of your running trainers...

Keep your shoes dry

sidas cedar wood dryer bagSidas

While the other products in this list will keep your shoes squeaky clean on the outside, these dryer bags will help soak up the moisture from your running shoes on the inside. Keeping them feeling fresh and free of that post-run 'pong'. We've never come across such a handy product to help refresh our kicks after wet runs. These sacks are stuffed with 100% cedar wood, which absorbs moisture out of the inside of a shoe four times quicker than air drying. They're also re-useable – simply hang them up to dry after use for six hours in between runs, then they're ready to go again!

Keep your shoes clean

This Nikwax bundle is a footwear care kit for leather and fabric materials, complete with a brush and a dry bag. This kit earns high marks for its sustainability credentials, and the included dry bag proves invaluable during extended running trips and adventures.

Keep your feet protected

This compact Footcare Kit from Sidas contains a bundle of mini-sized items geared towards caring for your feet over long distances, and getting you to the finish line pain-free should any issues flare-up mid-run. This is truly a Hail Mary rolled up in one smart little pouch!

Those who enjoy long days out on the trails will know that they often come hand in hand with sore feet, black toes, and sometimes blisters. The Sidas Footcare Kit is small enough to fit into any running pack and includes heel and toe protection pads to stick over blisters, gel toe sleeves to protect against black toes, or lessen any pain from black toes already forming (make sure your trail running shoes have a little extra room in the toe-box to accommodate these). Along with two 15ml tubes of anti-friction cream and recovery cryo gel.

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