The Best Trail Running Shoes of 2022

The Best Trail Running Shoes of 2022 | Reviews + Buyer’s Guide (2022)

Running on various hard trails is a refreshing change from hammering the street. Even better, trail running is a very simple sport to learn and requires very little equipment. Our finest Trail Running Shoes for 2022 are listed below, and they range from flexible and lightweight shoes for easy trails to durable and solid shoes for technical or hilly terrain. Check out our compatibility list and buying tips below the picks for extra info.

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Selecting a Trail Running Shoe

The ideal trail running shoe will depend on several criteria, like your running style as well as your personal choice. We used to assume that categorizing our recommendations above would be beneficial. We’ll tell you what to wear”. But then we examined our footwear selections more closely. For bridge mountain runs, we regularly chose a “stagnant hikes” shoe.

Finally, we concluded that most running shoes defy categorization and are much more about the interaction between both the shoes, the terrain, and the runner. There are, however, several hints that can assist you to limit your options.

Trail Running Shoe of the Year

La Sportiva Jackal ($140)

The Jackal is a new addition to La Sportiva’s mountain running shoe lineup, which is recognized for being narrow and solid. The Jackal, like the Salomon Sense Ride, is a good all-arounder, featuring ultra-long-distance cushioning and a large toe box, as well as hillside characteristics like a stone block and tenacious Vibram FriXion rubber.

It all adds up to a super-comfy, high-performance shoe that can handle anything including dirt paths and pebbles to cross-country terrain. Ultimately, despite several run-ins with jagged rocks and plants, damp circumstances, and over 200 trail miles, the Jackal’s durability has amazed us.

The Jackal isn’t especially light, weighing in at 1 pound 5.2 ounces for the pair, but it feels incredibly light, and the soft foam provides a little more bounce than the Feeling Ride. Remember that the 3-millimeter lugs are smaller than we’re used to seeing in a mountainous running shoe, which means they’ll grip rocky, hard-packed terrain better than sand or mud or snow.

Furthermore, the Jackal runs small, and some runners have complained about friction around the heel, though we didn’t have any concerns during our testing. Similarly, Sportiva’s Caracal ($130) has similar all-around objectives and a little spacious fit.

Topo Athletic MTN Racer 2 ($145)

Topo Athletic isn’t as well-known as Salomon or La Sportiva, but its track and road running shoes speak for themselves. The MTN Racer 2 is a notable trail-specific model in their lineup, with a wide top of the foot and locked-in waist and heel, similar to the Lone Peak above, providing only that luxury for swelling and painful feet.

With a 5-millimeter fall, slightly stiffer cushioning, a sticky Vibram Megagrip sole, and a minor weight reduction, the MTN Racer adds some requisite skills. Generally, it’s a very easy shoe to wear. We suggest the MTN Racer to people more than any other model on this list, and we’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t like it.

The MTN Racer “2” has been improved with a more breezy upper, a redesigned heel, and a more streamlined fit. We think it’s a wonderful improvement to a shoe, and the MTN Racer should last you up to 500 miles thanks to its robust construction.

Mountain runners will want to go for a stronger and more preventative ride like the La Sportiva Bushido or Salomon Sense Ride above on genuinely off-camber ground. The Topo Athletic, on the other hand, is a reliable and capable friend for those who stay on the route.

La Sportiva Bushido II ($130)

Mountain athletes aren’t afraid to take on large, difficult obstacles with only a pair of running shoes and a day’s supply of resources. Many of our click shoes are from climbing expert La Sportiva, which has a growing line of quick footwear options. Their Bushido II is a firm favorite, excelling on anything from muddy trails and snow to 5th rock and slippery ankle.

The robust tread clings astonishingly well on the muddy ground without being heavy and bulky for tough ground, and the grippy FriXion rubber provides strong traction while ascending. The Bushido is a strong and confident workhorse of a shoe with a robust upper, sturdy toe cap, and rock protection below.

In comparison to the Speedcross, the La Sportiva here is far more ideal for a wide range of on- including off terrain. Mountain runners will also appreciate the shoe’s low stack height, which provides security and a strong ground feel. On smooth pathways, though, all of this performance feels a little excessive, and the Bushido’s minimally padded midsole is less comfy than all-around models like the Speedgoat or Sense Ride 4, especially on long days.

The Bushido, on the other hand, is hard to beat for challenging missions that don’t require extensive dry trails—think high climbs in the Cascades, Sierra, and Colorado. Mountain runners with specific requirements can check into La Sportiva’s portfolio, which means a new Cyklon.

Salomon Speedcross 5 ($130)

The Speedcross 5 is a well-cushioned go-to for well route networks, but it struggles in soft terrains such as mud and snow. You’ll need a complete rubber outsole with considerably long and densely packed knobs that bite into the ground with each stride in these conditions. The adventure Speedcross 5 from Salomon sets the bar in this category, combining large 6-millimeter arrow-shaped lugs with a comfortable and snug-fitting upper for exceptional speed control.

However, while the Speedcross is unbeatable on soft ground, it isn’t a very adaptable shoe. On easy trails and gravel roads, the tooth-like lugs and aggressive construction are excessive, and the lofty pile level can feel tippy on uneven ground.

We recommend a more rooted, stone design like the Sense Ride above or the Bushido below for off-trail adventure. The Speedcross, on the other hand, is designed specifically for rainy and rocky woodland paths, right down to the anti-debris mesh upper and feature dimension tongue.

Hoka One One Torrent 2 ($125)

Hoka One One is known for its ultra-cushioned shoes, but the Torrent 2 defies the trend with a lower profile that delivers enough ground sensation. As a result, the Hoka is responsive and quick, making it ideal for both competition day and tempo sessions.

The speedy Torrent maintains its technical terrain, too, thanks to its low-slung design and Hoka’s patented sticky rubber sole. We’ve logged over 200 miles on a pair of Torrent 2s and are impressed by their low weight and soft feel, as well as their excellent grip on a range of environments.

The Hoka’s reduced design is excellent for short and rapid runs, while the more padded MTN Racer is best for all-day runs. The designed mesh and padded tongue of the Torrent 2 make it a little softer around the foot than the sleek Topo Athletic, while the MTN Racer does have a more stable midfoot lock.

In terms of traction, the MTN Racer’s complete Megagrip rubber outsole is hard to beat, while the Torrent’s rubber and foam combo are cheaper and a better choice for road-to-trail runs.

Nike Pegasus Trail 3 ($130)

Nike focuses its attention on road running shoes, but the Pegasus Trail 3 is a high-quality, extra-cushioned trail shoe. This trail-specific Pegasus is modeled after the road-specific Pegasus, but with trail-specific features like a full-rubber tread and upper troops. It’s a great option for runners transitioning to the trail world.

The big attraction here is Nike’s soft yet flexible React midsole, which provides excellent energy return and lengthy comfort. The towering stack height is balanced off by a wide flare in the front for steadiness on moderate terrain, though you won’t get the low-slung sensation that many mountain runners prefer.

The Pegasus Track is the definitive everything in Nike’s trail portfolio, sitting alongside the sturdy Wildhorse and the light and quick Terra Kiger. The Pegasus Trail has the lead in terms of luxury and distance, but it’s not the most achievement of the three.

The shoe’s maximum padding will feel unstable on rocky trails, and grip is poor, especially in wet conditions. Furthermore, at 11.3 ounces per shoe, the Pegasus Trail is substantially bulkier than the competitors, and it runs narrower than other trail shoes, despite being roomy for a Nike.

Nike’s Pegasus Trail 3 is a terrific alternative for casual running shoes, long-distance training, and sometimes even road-to-trail routes because of its maximum cushioning and unquestionable flair.

Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 ($160)

Many runners choose max-cushioned shoes because of their added convenience and stress protection, but trimmed-down varieties are also popular. You’ll want a shoe that is light on your feet and promotes ground feel for short track races, Vertical Kilometer events, or challenging runs.

Though a Vibram Megagrip sole and a snug, approach-shoe-like fit, the SL 2 offer great grip and efficiency on rock, which comes as no surprise given Arc’teryx’s supremacy in the climbing market. A carabiner is even accommodated by perforation on the inside heel of the shoe.

The Norvan SL 2 shares many of the same features as the La Sportiva Bushido, such as limited padding and a solid rubber sole. The Arc’teryx is on a whole other par in terms of speed, weighing only 12 ounces for the pair, giving it much more validity as a race-ready shoe. The drawback is less overall safeguard and consistency.

It also competes with the Brooks Catamount for our favorite light and nimble shoe, but the Norvan SL is in a different weight category and trades the Catamount’s cushy cushioning for a much stiffer sole. As a result, it has the advantage over the Brooks for short ranges and more tricky terrain, but the Brooks is the better all-arounder and provides considerably more comfort, especially for greater distances.

Altra Olympus 4.0 ($170)

Anyone from running shoes to thru-hikers is talking about Altra’s Lone Peak (above), but the Olympus 4.0 is perhaps the better shoe for long hikes. With 33 millimeters of cushioning, you’ll have no trouble staying comfortable all day, comparable to the Hoka One One Speedgoat and Nike Pegasus Trail 3 above.

The revised upper provides an incredibly snug fit at the midfoot, resulting in excellent off-camber stability, while Altra’s hallmark spacious foot keeps your toes happy. With the addition of a Vibram Megagrip outsole, the Olympus 4.0 is equipped for anything from easy hardpack to tough cross-country treks.

Neither will want to enter the negligible, additional club and the Olympus, with its muscular midsole, is even more divisive than the Lone Peak. However, we appreciate the combo because it feels more sturdy than most max-cushioned shoes because of the large foundation.

The Altra Olympus 4.0, on the other hand, is certainly worth another look for long and slow days when comfort is more important than actual precision and speed. Altra now provides the Mont Blanc, which has a little more simplified footbed for individuals with narrower feet.

The Altra Olympus 4.0 seems to be well worth a quick look for long and slow days when comfort is more important than technical perfection and speed. The Mont Blanc, which has a somewhat more slimline footbed, is now available from Altra for individuals with smaller feet.


Trail running shoes have become increasingly popular among day hikers, fast packers, and thru-hikers in recent years. And that makes sense: you can move faster with less effort when you have a lightweight and flexible feel but excellent traction. Furthermore, because most day hikers and thru-hikers keep their packs light, they don’t require the steadiness and ankle support that a solid shoe or boot provides.

There are several obvious problems. One is toughness. Track runners are doubtful to last as long as a lightweight hiking shoe or a full-on hiking boot, which are meant to withstand more wear and abuse. Furthermore, a track runner simply cannot provide the same level of protection as beefier hiking footwear, particularly those with substantial rubber ringgit and leather uppers, due to its minimum materials and mass.

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