The Best 2018 Trail Running Shoes for Men: Your Guide and More

So you’ve got a marathon coming up. And, yeah, you’re all set with the right clothing gear, except that you’re still unsure of the right trail running shoes to grab in that store.

Goes without saying you’re spoiled for choice, as there’s simply a ton of these to choose from. Worse, still, you don’t know what makes for a great pair of trail running shoes, even.

It’s obvious you’re confused.

But you know what? Relax.

We have the answers to your questions. Yes, you need to grab a good shoe that won’t compromise stability in the valleys or on the hills. Yup, footwear that can resist splashes of water in those streams. Shoes that can get your toes protected just in case you bump into some rock.

In a nutshell, you need the best trail running shoes!

Trail Running Shoes Versus Road Running Shoes

Trail running shoes are different from road running shoes. That’s why you don’t want to wear your road shoes on the trails — unless you really don’t care for your feet. Trail shoes come with a heavy build and increased protection. They are designed to withstand rough surfaces. They feature considerable traction as well as stability.

This explains why trail running shoes give a comfy ascend on the hills (and a relaxed descend in the valleys).

Road running shoes, on the other hand, are the exact opposite of it. They are light and offer less protective material. They don’t come with such a pronounced system for traction. Consequently, they aren’t that protective; you’re likely to face injuries when wearing road running shoes on the trails.

Therefore, do yourself a favor and wear the right shoes on the right surface.

Types of Trail Running Shoes

There are different types of trail running shoes. These are categorized based on trail surfaces, but some trails can be pretty light while others couldn’t be tougher. Let’s take a peek:

Light-trail shoes

These are shoes meant for the light trails. This footwear is less heavy and offers less protection. Traction is also limited. It’s because light trails are less of a tough/rough surface. They are less likely to get the runner injured.

Consequently, the shoes need not be overly protective.

All-purpose-trail shoes

These can serve a mix of trail surfaces. They are good for both light and rough trails. For that reason, they boast a mix of features so they can tackle different types of trails. These shoes are best for runners who tend to alternate between light trails and rough trails.

Rough-trail shoes

These are the opposite of light-trail shoes. They are quite heavy, and they come with great traction. Also, they feature increased cushioning for added protection on the trails. They are the product to grab if your cup of tea is tackling tough terrain.

What Are Good Trail Running Shoes

Good trail running shoes should enhance your running experience. They should be the reason you win that race. They should be comfortable enough. Things you might want to look for include protection, weight, and traction. Let’s dive into these and more.

Lace-up closure

You want running shoes with laces that give a tight knot so you can experience a comfortable fit. Be wary of elastic laces or those that don’t tie tight enough. Otherwise, they can be a threat to your running experience, including limiting your speed and resulting in accidents here and there.


Trail running shoes have thick, sturdy treads. They give great traction, even on uneven surfaces. The terrific grip also withstands mud and dust, ensuring your feet are well-balanced. It’s also why the runner is less likely to slide on the muddy or dusty ground.


Breathability is an important feature of trail running shoes. It enables your feet to breathe freely. Breathable shoes usually are made of nylon material. Also, look for strongly woven breathable material to ensure durability. Your shoes should allow for breathability both when they are new and for as long as they serve you.


With increased cushioning comes protection against the tough environment characteristic of trail running. Trail running shoes should have more cushioning, especially if you’re going to tackle rough trails. However, even ground or light trails might not be in need of shoes with as much cushioning.


It’s not uncommon for trail runners to step on damp ground during the action. Yes, streams, swamps, rivers, etc. are all a part of the harsh environment typical of cross-country running. That explains why trail running shoes should feature good waterproofing. Wet shoes are uncomfortable during a run, and so are wet feet. It could well be the reason your running suffers if you don’t have the right shoes.


Stability is important, especially when you’re dealing with rocky or mountainous surfaces. On uneven ground, you can easily topple and fall if your shoes aren’t that stable. It goes without saying, therefore, that you should look for trail running shoes with great stability for a smooth run.


Trail running shoes are heavier than their road counterparts. The added weight helps give a solid platform, which is handy enough — given the nature of the environment associated with this type of running. Lightweight shoes can easily tear up when subjected to rough terrain.

How to Buy Trail Running Shoes

The last thing you want is to end up with is the wrong running shoes. It’s important that you consider a couple of things before heading to the shoe store. Some of these include the following:


Not all runners have neutral pronation.

Nevertheless, whether you are an overpronator or underpronator, there’s something for everyone. There are shoes designed to address various pronation needs. Overpronators should go for shoes with added stability. Underpronators, on the other hand, should aim for trail running shoes with increased protection as well as flexibility. And, normal pronators are better off with neutral shoes.

Running surface

Another thing you need to look into is the running surface. This is crucial. Wearing the right shoe on the right surface can minimize injuries while boosting performance. Heavy shoes with a robust lug pattern, for example, offer good traction on tough trails. Relatively light trail running shoes, on the other hand, increase responsiveness on light trails.


Different runners cover different distances. Some run short distances, while others cover longer distances. The thing is, long-distance runners tend to experience swollen feet during the action. Consequently, they need shoes with a little more room to house the swells. They might, therefore, consider buying shoes an entire size up, or just a half size up. Short-distance runners, however, can stick to their standard sizes.

Price Range and Where to Buy Trail Running Shoes

Trail running shoes sit in the $30 to $390 range. A lot of factors, including the build, determine the price range. Most of these shoes are available on Amazon. You can also purchase them in other online stores, including Rei.

How We Reviewed

Our review process involved many things. We looked at different brands, the price range, and different types of trail-running surfaces. We also assessed verified reviews from real buyers to get a sense of customer satisfaction. And, last but not least, we looked at different features that can enhance your trail running experience.

Best Trail Running Shoes for Men Today

Below is our collection of the best trail running shoes for men. We hope they help you make a better purchase decision. So, please choose wisely. This list is in no particular order.

1. Saucony Peregrine 8

This shoe comes with long lugs for enhanced traction. It also scores well when it comes to comfort thanks to the premium midsole and ample cushioning. Your feet are well protected.

Most runners like the terrific traction this shoe offers, as it makes for a smooth run. Some users also find that the footwear works fine on just about any trail surface, which is a plus. Some buyers, though, complain that this shoe could be more stable.

The average price range is $110 to $140, and Amazon reviewers give the footwear 4.2 out of 5 stars.

2. La Sportiva Bushido

If you’re looking to tackle rough trails, La Sportiva Bushido is sure not to disappoint. It boasts a terrific grip so you can move over unfriendly ground with ease. Another thing you get with this footwear is a responsive feel.

La Sportiva Bushido is a favorite for runners who fancy long runs on a tough surface. It’s because they offer the necessary protection and traction that is key to trail running. A major con is that the cushioning is limited. Runners also report that the shoe is somewhat heavier and stiffer when worn on light trails.

This shoe revolves around $120 to $150. Its average rating on Rei is 4.2 out of 5-stars.

3. Hoka One One Speedgoat 2

Standout features of the Speedgoat 2 include a terrific lug pattern, which seriously aids traction in the mud. The sole is also thick and strong — ideal for tough-trail runners.

People who’ve used Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 praise it for tolerating tough trails, without compromising performance. Runners with wide toes find that the toe-box is a tad narrower, however.

This footwear sits in the $150 to $320 price range. Additionally, it boasts an average rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

4. Salomon Speedcross 4

This trail runner fits the bill when it comes to traction. The treads are deep and boast a unique shape for added grip in the dust as well as mud. The thick midsole is also a plus.

Users recommend this shoe for traction alone. It’s a winner with its unmatched grip. Even so, it has limited stability on uneven ground, according to some runners.

You can get this shoe for $90 to $390. A rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars is given on Amazon.

5. Asics Gel-Venture 6

The Asics Gel-Venture 6 is the footwear for those runners on a budget. The shoe boasts a relatively light build, too, making for a good option for light trails. And, to ensure your feet are airy during your runs, this shoe couldn’t be more breathable.

According to buyers, this shoe doesn’t break the bank. Runners applaud the footwear for an excellent job on light trails. A few runners, however (probably those who’ve used the shoe on tough trails), complain that Asics Gel-Venture 6 is mediocre when it comes to tackling tough environments. It doesn’t give the necessary protection, and the traction is wanting.

Generally, price lies in the $30 to $220 range, and the average rating on Amazon is 4.5 out of 5 stars.

6. Brooks Caldera 2

Long-distance runners, where are you? The Brooks Caldera 2 is the shoe to embrace for added comfort. This footwear won’t wear you out as it’s comparatively light. You get unparalleled cushioning for support, and you’ll love the solid lugs.

Buyers like that this shoe is not only long-lasting but also gives a snug fit. That helps you experience a comfy run. Some users have had their fair share of woes, though. Runners with narrow feet aren’t comfortable with the shoe’s wider platform.

Pricewise, Brooks Caldera 2 costs $130 to $160 on average. It scores a 3.3 out of 5 stars rating on Rei.

7. Topo Athletic Terraventure

For those runners with wide toes, this shoe is a must-have. It’s also very durable. Furthermore, Topo Athletic Terraventure offers a snug fit, giving it an edge.

Like other terrific footwear on our list, users report a good experience with its traction. Flipping the same coin, however, these effective lugs aren’t evenly distributed, according to some users. Another con is that the wider toe-box isn’t great for runners with narrow feet.

The average price range is $100 to $130. Buyers on Rei rate the footwear 4.6 out of 5 stars.

8. Adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic

The Adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic is a comfortable shoe with a solid platform for increased stability. Plus, you get a great grip thanks to the effective lug system. Another feature you’ll fall in love with is the sturdy outsole.

Most buyers are on good terms with this shoe. The shoe lasts relatively long. Buyers also enjoy the stability that this shoe affords, and they find that the traction is reliable enough. According to a few users, though, the shoe isn’t that breathable. Some more have issues with the shoe’s weight, especially long-distance runners. They are concerned this heavy footwear takes a toll on them during runs.

This shoe’s average price is $40 to $290. It scores an Amazon average rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars.

So What’s Really the Best?

According to our list, the best trail running shoes are those that best address your running needs without compromising performance. Therefore, whether you’re handling light trails or tough trails (or a combination of both), you want to choose a shoe that suits that particular purpose.

With that said, the Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 is the shoe to embrace if you’re looking to tackle pretty tough trails. The footwear’s outstanding lug pattern is no joke. Most users have no issues with the shoe’s performance. On the other hand, for those runners who fancy light trails, Asics Gel-Venture 6 is sure not to disappoint. Not only is this footwear affordable, but it’s also pretty light. It doesn’t take a toll on you during runs. It’s very breathable, as well.

Do you own a pair of trail running shoes? What’re your thoughts on them? Tell us below!

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