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Spring 2021 Trail Running Shoes

Looking for the newest trail running shoes? These are them. And we’ve got the lowdown on every one. The main guy who writes these shoe reviews has been running since he was 10 years old. That was over 35 years ago. He know his sh*t, and so does everyone else who weighs in on these things. We don’t even bother showing you crappy shoes, because . . . what’s the point? If you see a trail running shoe on this list, you can bet it’s the best thing since the invention of the cast iron skillet. Enjoy.

 

YOUR BEST TRAIL RUNNING SHOES

SPRING 2021

 

HOKA ONE ONE CHALLENGER ATR 6 SHOE REVIEW

Your True Hybrid Trail Running Shoes That Can Do Anything.

Rock solid on dry roads, wet roads, technical trails, and water crossings.

Hoka trail running shoes

The Basics

Cushion Level: Maximum cushioning. You can’t get more than this.

Support Level: Neutral. So, if you have high arches, which typically don’t need much arch support, you want this trail shoe.

How It Fits: Hoka shoes tend to be on the roomier side and the Challenger fits the usual profile. The midfoot and toe-box allow for toes to spread out more naturally, which is good. If you have narrower feet, just cinch down the laces and you’ll be good.

Weight: Men’s Challenger ATR 6 – 9.8 ounces // Women’s Challenger ATR 6 – 8.1 ounces

Heel to Toe Drop: 5 mm

 

Why You Should Get The Challenger ATR 6

Lots of trail running shoes call themselves hybrids. But the Challenger ATR 6 outperforms them all. It truly feels at home on dry roads, wet roads, hard-packed trails, technical trails, and even creek crossings. If you need one shoe that can do it all, you can’t beat the Challenger ATR 6.

 

It’s wildly light for how much cushioning is packed into this trail shoe. Low profile lugged tread give you great traction on dirt, gravel, rocks, roots, and puddles. And one of the best updates is that the upper is soft and supple thanks to recycled yarns. Good for the environment and good for you!

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ALTRA LONE PEAK 5 TRAIL SHOE REVIEW

Your Ultimate Zero-Drop Trail Running Shoes.

Altra’s #1 trail shoe built for gravel roads, single track, and technical rocky trails.

men's Altra Lone Peak 5 Trail Running Shoe side  

The Basics

Cushion Level: Not the most, but still a lot of cushioning. Best of all, it’s a very springy formula, so it feels more cushioned than it actually is.

Support Level: This is a neutral trail shoe, which means if you have high arches that don’t flex a whole lot, this is perfect for you.

How It Fits: The Lone Peak 5 is quite roomy from the heel through the toe box. That’s Altra’s thing. Wider shoes let your feet spread out more naturally to promote foot health. If you find it’s too roomy, you can simply wear a thicker sock to dial in your fit.

Weight: Men’s Lone Peak 5 – 11.1 ounces // Women’s Pegasus Trail 2 – 9.2 ounces

Heel to Toe Drop: 0 mm

men's Altra Lone Peak 5 Trail Running Shoe bottom

Why You Should Get The Lone Peak 5

The Lone Peak 5 is a beast of a trail shoe. It’s so tough, Appalachian Trail through-hikers wear this thing for the entire 2,190 miles. So, you know it’ll survive your weekend warrior trail runs and hikes on local trails.

You’ll find the Lone Peak 5 has plenty of cushion and the springy formula energizes each step. Altra improved the drainage in this model, so it does a great job expelling water on rainy days and creek crossings. One of the best features of the Lone Peak 5 has to be its Stoneguard, a built-in rock plate. It smooths out the most technical trails and reduces foot fatigue.

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BROOKS CASCADIA 15 TRAIL RUNNING SHOE REVIEW

Your All-Around Trail Running Shoe.

Built to take you from your front door to the trail.

  Brooks trail running shoes

The Basics

Cushion Level: Lots. Not the most, but plenty to soften rocks and roots.

Support Level: This is a neutral trail shoe, which means it’s for people with higher arches who don’t need much, if any, arch support.

How It Fits: A narrower toe box fits medium to narrow feet best. If you have wider feet, no problem. The Cascadia comes in wide 2E for men and D for women.

Weight: Men’s Cascadia 11.0 ounces // Women’s Cascadia 10.0 ounces

Heel to Toe Drop: 8 mm

tread design: Brooks trail running shoes

Why You Should Get The Brooks Cascadia 15

This is the trail running shoe ultrarunner legend Scott Jurek made into a household name. This was his go-to, and for good reason. It’s cushioned, has great toe and heel protection, and has unique, grippy multi-directional tread.

 

The newest version of the Brooks Cascadia 15 has been updated to be a more versatile trail shoe that appeals to more people than ever. You can run in it, hike in it, backpack in it, or wear it as your everyday around-town shoe. A great trail running shoe for all but the most technical trails. You’re not going to ascend Everest, but you’ll get pretty darn close.

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HOKA ONE ONE SPEEDGOAT 4 TRAIL SHOE REVIEW

Your Ultimate Long Distance Softie.

Built to soften the most technical trails for ultra distance running.

Hoka trail running shoe

The Basics

Cushion Level: Pretty much the most cushion you can find in a trail running shoe.

Support Level: This is a neutral trail shoe, which means if you have high arches that don’t flex a whole lot, this is perfect for you.

How It Fits: Medium volume heel and midfoot with a wider toe box for toes to spread out freely.

Weight: Men’s Speedgoat 4 – 10.9 ounces // Women’s Speedgoat 4 – 9.2 ounces

Heel to Toe Drop: 4 mm

 

Why You Should Get The HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4

It’s soft. It’s grippy. It’s crazy comfy. So, if ultras are your bag, then this is your GOAT. And while that softness is amazing for loooong miles, it’s not real springy. That means it’s not the fastest shoe, which is no big deal if speed isn’t your thing.

 

The upper is designed to repel mud and it’s breathable enough to expel water if you need to slog across a stream. Outsole lugs are aggressive and grippy on wet and dry trails, so no worries there. Bottom line: if you need a comfy trail running shoe for long, technical, rocky miles, it doesn’t get any better than this.

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ASICS GT-2000 9 TRAIL RUNNING SHOE  REVIEW

Your Everyday Trail Running Shoe Workhorse.

Designed to be a true hybrid that’s at home on the road and the trail.

Asics trail running shoes 

The Basics

Cushion Level: Mid-level cushion is enough to smooth out trails without being too squishy.

Support Level: This is a stability trail shoe, which means it’s for people with low to medium height arches who need arch support.

How It Fits: Classic ASICS fit with a medium width heel cup and midfoot with a little extra room in the toe box for forefeet to spread out.

Weight: Men’s GT-2000 9 Trail 10.2 ounces // Women’s GT-2000 9 Trail 8.5 ounces

Heel to Toe Drop: 10 mmtread closeup: Asics trail running shoes

Why You Should Get The ASICS GT-2000 9 Trail

ASICS is known for the nailing the sweet spot between a cushioned ride and snappy performance. Not too soft, not too firm. Juuust right. And the GT-2000 9 Trail definitely delivers.

Built off the platform of its legendary road cousin, the trail version adds grippy, sticky tread to keep you sure-footed on dirt roads and hard-packed trails. If you’re not planning on doing super technical, rocky trails, and just need reliable comfort for lighter trails, this is your shoe.

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NIKE PEGASUS TRAIL 2 SHOE REVIEW

Your Lively Road-To-Trail Commuter.

Designed to be friendly on road and off, with more emphasis on off-road.

Nike trail running shoes 

The Basics

Cushion Level: A lot.

Support Level: This is a neutral trail running shoe, which means if you have high arches that don’t flex a whole lot, this is perfect for you.

How It Fits: The Pegasus used to fit pretty snug from heel to toe. Not anymore. It fits just right with medium volume back end that widens at the toe box to give feet freedom to spread out.

Weight: Men’s Pegasus Trail 2 – 11.1 ounces // Women’s Pegasus Trail 2 – 9.4 ounces

Heel to Toe Drop: 10 mmtread closeup: Nike trail running shoes

 

Why You Should Get The Nike Pegasus Trail 2

This year’s Pegasus got a total overhaul. It looks nothing like last year’s Pegasus. And that’s a good thing. The styling is cooler, it’s got a ton more cushioning, and it’s still an excellent pick for roads and flatter, less-technical trails.

 

So, what’s new? It’s got full-length React foam, Nike’s magical cushioning that’s at once soft and squishy, yet springy and bouncy. You get a super soft Neoprene tongue which makes for a crazy comfy lockdown around your foot. The main drawback to the Pegasus Trail 2 is it’s on the heavy side of trail running shoes. But if you’re not trying to break any records and you simply want a durable shoe for running or hiking on easy trails, the Pegasus Trail 2 is a solid choice.

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This is a professional review blog which gets compensated for the products reviewed by the companies who sell or produce them. All of the products are tested thoroughly and high grades are received only by the best ones. We are independent reviewers and the reviews are done based on our own opinions.

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