Best Trail Running Shoes of 2018 – Complete Reviews With Comparisons

Best Trail Running Shoes of 2018 - Complete Reviews With Comparisons
Buying Guides Running Shoes
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For those who enjoy running, it is not always the case that you need to or want run on flat surfaces such as around the streets or a local park. We are referring to running on more rugged terrain where the challenges may include running across rocks, mud and other uneven surfaces.

To help keep a steady footing you will need to wear a pair of the best trail running shoes. In this article, we are going to help you choose by reviewing five of the top trail running shoes currently available and highlight their best features that will help you keep your grip and avoid slipping.

Comparison Chart

adidas Men’s Rockadia m Trail Running Shoe

New Balance Men’s Mt410v5 Cushioning Trail Runner

Altra Men’s Lone Peak 3.5 Running Shoe

Salomon Men’s XA Pro 3D Trail Running Shoes

Merrell Men’s Bare Access 4 Trail Runner

Trail Running Shoes Reviews

1. Adidas Men’s Rockadia Trail Running Shoe

No review of sports footwear would be complete without at least one product from Adidas, so we’ll start with their Rockadia trail running shoes which look very rugged.

Review

If you were to judge a product just on their first impression, these Rockadia trail running shoes would be regarded a tough and durable before you even tried them on.

Starting underneath and looking at the sole you cannot help but be impressed by the thick tread with chunky lugs that are certainly going to provide excellent traction when you are on soft or wet ground. Even when it is dry, if you are running up or down steep inclines, you will be able to do so confidently thanks to the grip you have underneath you.

The interior of the Rockadia trail running shoes has a foam insole which is molded to provide as much cushioning for the base of your feet as possible. This also helps to support the arches of your feet, especially when you are traversing uneven ground.

In the upper, you have a very lightweight, but durable, synthetic material, which has a mesh construction so that your feet can breathe. This reduces sweating and therefore lessens the risk of any blisters or irritation.

Further protection is provided by the cushioned tongue, and to help make taking the shoes off easier there is a pull-tab on the rear section.

PROS

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    Excellent underfoot tread
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    Durable materials
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    Breathable upper
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    Molded foam insole

CONS

  • Sizing is too small
  • May not suit those with small arches

2. New Balance Men’s Mt410v5 Trail Running Shoe

This trail running shoe from New Balance certainly doesn’t lack any of the features you’d expect to find, including a sole with plenty of grip and an exterior that looks tough enough for most terrains.

Review

First sight of the uppers on the New Balance Men’s Mt410v5 Trail Running Shoe leaves no doubt that this footwear is going to be able to withstand just about any terrain you go running on wearing them.

The stitching throughout looks and feels extremely strong, and the multiple layers around the heel should give you confidence that it will provide excellent support in this area. These layers are a combination of synthetic and leather overlays, so there will be no lack of durability.

The upper is breathable so that your feet do not overheat, and it has a sufficient level of flexibility to allow you maximum maneuverability when running across or around any obstacles you may encounter such as rocks or fallen trees.

Under your foot you have a midsole which is made from injection-molded EVA foam, to provide both support and comfort when you are running over rough or uneven terrain.

Obviously, the grip you have underfoot is crucial when trail running so it is great to see that New Balance has made the one on these trail running shoes very effective. It is made from rubber, and its thick chunky grip pattern should make you very secure regardless of how wet and uneven conditions are underfoot.

PROS

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    Chunky rubber grip
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    Pull on/off tab
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    Durable upper materials
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    Molded EVA midsole

CONS

  • Arch support is lacking
  • Very narrow on all sizes

3. Altra Lone Peak 3.5 Men’s Trail Running Shoe

If you are looking for a feature-packed pair of trail running shoes, then this pair from Altra is bound to appeal to you as they have several enhancements that many of their competitor’s products lack.

Review

The upper has a number of enhancements that will make these trail running shoes more comfortable and more supportive. First, there’s the mesh material which is designed to keep your feet dry and cool, and this is complemented by the lining, which is also a breathable material.

Staying with the upper part of these shoes, you also have enhanced support for the back of your foot, and the lace and tongue design provides secure closure to prevent small stones from entering the shoe and keep your foot securely in position.

The midsole is made from EVA foam which is the best material for providing both stability and flexibility in this crucial part of the shoe. Altra’s trail running shoes are designed to mold as closely as possible to the shape of the wearer’s feet, so that they are secure and comfortable.

Underfoot you will find the ‘Max Trac Outsole’ which is made from a sticky rubber material. This durable material provides you with a very secure footing in all conditions, and they are especially good at preventing slipping on wet surfaces.

PROS

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    Excellent grip on wet surfaces
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    Good heel support
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    Molds well to foot shape
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    Breathable mesh upper

CONS

  • Toe box area is small
  • Tongue is too short

4. Salomon Men’s XA Pro 3D Trail Running Shoes

If you like to have as much choice as possible when it comes to the color of any sports footwear you are buying, then you’ll be delighted to learn that you have over 20 colors to choose from with these trail running shoes.

Review

There is no doubting that one of Salomon’s main objectives when designing these trail running shoes was to provide the wearer’s feet with as much support as possible. All areas of these shoes have multiple support features which will be of huge benefit when running over uneven or slippery terrain.

Speaking of slippery terrain, this is when you need the trail running shoes you are wearing to have a grip that gives you secure footing. Salomon uses a bespoke rubber compound which they call Contragrip, and this along with the specially shaped lugs help keep your feet from slipping.

If we now move to the interior of these trail running shoes, you will find a durable and very flexible EVA midsole. This provides the shock absorption you need when running on uneven ground, plus sufficient cushioning to keep your feet comfortable at all times. Another feature of the interior is the sock liner, which is both anti-bacterial and resists sweat too.

The upper material is not only breathable, which helps keep your feet cool, it is also very durable as well, which an important consideration when the surfaces you’re running on are less than perfect.

PROS

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    Breathable upper material
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    Antibacterial sock liner
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    Excellent rubber grip underfoot
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    Provide good support

CONS

  • Can take some time to break in
  • Lacing system can be bothersome

5. Merrell Men’s Bare Access 4 Trail Running Shoe

Our last review has us looking at a very distinctive pair of trail running shoes from Merrell, which have some very interesting and useful features we think you will like.

Review

We’ll start with the upper on these trail running shoes, as it is one of the more unique ones we have seen. The first thing you will notice is there is a lot less stitching and layers, that you would normally find on these types of running shoes. Its upper appears seamless which means it can mold itself more readily around the shape of your foot.

Another aspect of this upper material is that has a high level of breathability and thus ventilation to keep your feet dry and cool. The upper also has reflective lines which is a great way to make these more visible when you are running in the dark.

The midsole is designed to give you the cushioning you’d expect, and its high-quality foam is designed to ensure that it is durable. The technology used to create this midsole is such that it allows for your foot to be cushioned, but at the same time it can give you a feeling of the surface you are on for a better running experience.

The grip you’ll be looking for when you are trail running is provided by the durable rubber sole. The traction it gives you makes running on wet or uneven surfaces safer, and more pleasurable.

PROS

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    Excellent traction from sole
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    Durable midsole foam
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    Reflective detail for visibility
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    Seamless and breathable upper

CONS

  • Too much space in heel area
  • Sole can come loose

FINAL VERDICT

We hope our reviews of the best trail running shoes has helped you in your search, and that you’ll soon be making your choice of which ones to purchase.

We are happy to recommend each of them, but as we always do, we have selected the product which we believe is the top one. Our choice for the best trail running shoes is the Salomon Men’s XA Pro 3D Trail Running Shoes.

They offer runners fantastic support across the entire foot, which is vital when trail running over variable surfaces. The grip is especially impressive and ideal for wet and slippery underfoot conditions.

Finally, they are very comfortable to wear, thanks to the breathable upper which keeps your feet cool, and the EVA midsole keeping them well supported.

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