5 Best Trail Running Shoes of 2020

Running on a trail is different from running on the road. While you are free to maintain a constant pace on a road surface, running on a trail means that your pace is dictated by the terrain. 

That’s why it’s only right that you should have dedicated trail running shoes designed to grip the ice, mud, and dust. These shoes are also designed to protect your feet from jutting rock outcrops. Generally, it’s a bad idea to take road running shoes onto the trail.

With these facts in mind, we are picking out five top trail running shoes that are currently for sale. We will provide an in-depth assessment of each shoe, the key features, the good points, and the bad ones. Read on for our full buying guide for shoes to consider purchasing.

In A Hurry? Here Are Our Top Picks…

ALTRA Men's AFM1855F Lone Peak 4.0 Trail Running Shoe,...
  • Durable mesh upper with integrated tongue
  • Improved, grippier MaxTrac rubber
  • StoneGuard resembles the skeletal structure of a foot

Altra Lone Peak 4 is inspired by the first trail running shoes that the company manufactured. The shoe introduced Altra trademark technologies of ZeroDrop, FootShape, and Fit4her. 

All of Altra’s subsequent shoes feature these three design templates, with new upgrades for the Lone Peak 4.

ZeroDrop is a reference to the difference in height between the heel and the forefoot. Altra shoes have minimal to no foot drop, meaning your feet will stay flat in the shoes. If you’re new to it, the ZeroDrop feature is worth exploring further.

FootShape technology is an enlarged toe box on Altra shoes that allows a lot of room for toes and feet to expand. The forefoot of Altra is wider than other trail shoes.

The latest updates on the Lone Peak 4 include an integrated tongue with static webbing for enhanced grasping capabilities. The forefoot has been designed to be roomier with an elastic strap overlay. 

Lone Peak shoe comes with a new sandpaper-textured toe cap. In the spirit of upgrades, this shoe is more breathable thanks to draining mesh on the forefoot and the heel.

If you were wondering about traction, TrailClaw technology combined with multi-pronged, curved lugs provides the strongest traction yet. 

The multi-layered StoneGuard feature is updated to mimic the skeletal arrangement of the foot.  The StoneGuard deflects rocks towards the midsole for a smooth run. Overall, this shoe greatly enhances athletic performance.

Key Features

  • Upgraded mesh uppers with tongues, with better drainage capabilities under wet conditions
  • Rubber outsoles with multi-directional lugs and TrailClaw technology for stability on uneven terrain
  • StoneGuard technology protects the underfoot from injuries
  • A-Bound material mitigates the impact of your feet hitting the ground
  • ZeroDrop platform
  • Forefoot cushioning height of 25.3 mm 
  • Fit is true to size
  • Granted the American Podiatric Medical Association seal of acceptance

What We Like

  • The shoe is firm and sturdy
  • The roomy toe box is a unique feature that allows uniform toe-splay
  • Lone Peak outsole design does its job of facilitating smooth movement on uneven terrain
  • Durability because of a superior construction
  • The shoe is sufficiently light
  • Fitting is true to size, so you can buy your regular shoe size

What We Don’t

  • Some runners have reported chafing and hot spots. The tongue pinches the skin when the shoe is laced for some runners
  • The sole may be heavy for some users
  • The color scheme is a bit busy
  • The back of the shoe has a curved end that rubs against the heel

Altra Lone Peak 4.0 will take some getting used to if it is your first time trying this line of shoes. They may feel a little wide on the first try. Most runners are used to compact toe boxes. Let your toes adjust to the feeling of so much wiggle room.

Sale
Under Armour mens Charged Assert 8 Running Shoe, Black (002...
  • NEUTRAL: For runners who need a balance of flexibility & cushioning
  • Lightweight mesh upper with 3-color digital print delivers complete breathability
  • Durable leather overlays for stability & that locks in your midfoot

Under Armour is a world-renowned brand for its elegant and functional sports apparel. That is why their Assert 8 running shoes popped up on our radar. The shoes are for both professional and recreational runners.

Assert 8 running shoes provide sufficient cushioning without compromising its flexibility. They turn out to be great shoes if you intend to work up some mileage on the nature trail. The Assert 8 is one of Under Armour’s best-selling shoes.

Key Features

  • Neutral arch support
  • Breathable lightweight mesh at the top of the shoe with 3-color digital print
  • Leather overlays provide stability mid-foot and slow down wear-and-tear
  • The insole is made of EVA foam, the feet will be comfortable in this shoe
  • The midsole consists of molded EVA foam that provides charged cushioning, energy return and durability
  • Solid rubber soles absorb the landing impact of running feet
  • Length of offset is 10 mm
  • Weight of 9.9 oz
  • Small fit

What We Like

  • The comfort is unparalleled. You can wear these shoes the whole day
  • Assert 8 are stylishly designed. These can be worn to make a fashion statement other than running in them.
  • It delivers great performance with quality materials at a pocket-friendly price
  • The shoe is light to aid prolonged running sessions
  • Curved foam cushioning protects the feet in rough terrains
  • Sufficient surface traction 

What We Don’t

  • Quality control issues. Some buyers have purchased Assert 8 shoes whose forefoot section fell apart after a few uses
  • Some runners want arch support. However, research has shown that runners with neutral arch support shoes suffer fewer injuries.

Assert 8 Under Armour are such beautiful running shoes to behold. A lot of thought went into maximizing the functionality of this shoe. There is a reason why they are selling so fast. You can run, walk or just flaunt them.

When ordering this shoe, order up a size larger.

Columbia Men's Redmond Waterproof Hiking Shoe, Black,...
  • DURABLE HIKING SHOE: The Columbia Men’s Redmond Waterproof Low Hiking Shoe is an exceptional...
  • EXCEPTIONAL HIKING SHOE FOR MEN: This imported low-top hiking shoe is made for the outdoor...
  • ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: The upper layer is a combination of suede 100% leather, mesh, and webbing. The...

The Columbia Redmond was another of our versatile running shoes picks. They work well on ordinary road surfaces and unpredictable wilderness ground. They are popular for their comfort, which is why you will find wearers in non-athletic situations.

The Redmond is a waterproof hiking shoe inspired by similar hiking boots by Columbia. This is a trusted footwear company, so you can expect to get a quality product. The low top shoe is intended for people who want to keep their feet dry on multiple surfaces.

The top part of the shoe is made of a compound webbing of suede and mesh. The Techlite responsive cushioning midsole provides protection on the move. The rubber sole uses Omni-Grip technology to keep the wearer steady, no matter the terrain.

Key Features

  • Constructed with suede leather, mesh, and webbing material 
  • Techlite technology on the midsole provides lightweight cushion with high energy return
  • Omni-grip traction rubber sole for long-term control on rugged surfaces
  • Product weight of12 oz
  • Waterproof protection for wet and muddy trails
  • The Omni-Tech membrane makes raindrops slide off the shoes
  • Suede leather combined with mesh netting for ventilating shoes
  • Small fit

What We Like

  • These hiking shoes are made of strong long-lasting waterproof materials
  • The Omni-Tech membrane is both splash-proof and ventilated
  • Techlite cushioning on the midsole is comfortable and offers high energy return
  • Great traction thanks to Omni-Grip
  • Pocket-friendly hiking shoes

What We Don’t

  • Breathability is lacking. In the summer, heat builds up in the shoe

The Columbia Redmond will allow you to walk through wet or muddy nature trails. The shoe was engineered with superior technology to withstand undesirable weather. We would say if you want your socks to stay dry, get the Redmond.

Columbia shoes tend to fit small, so order a size bigger for a comfortable fit.

adidas Men's Rockadia m Trail Running Shoe, Core Black/Matte...
  • Imported
  • adidas shoes
  • Fit tip- If in between sizes, for tight fit, go one size down and for loose fit, go one size up

The Adidas Rockadia Trail is a beautiful shoe. The thing with elegant shoes is that they give you confidence. However, it’s more than just its looks. The Rockadia Trail shoe has superior design that will give you the spirit to venture out onto the trails.

Like many hiking shoes, it has a hardy look.

Key Features

  • The outsole is composed of ADIWEAR rubber for maximum traction and prevention of degradation
  • Gripping lugs on the bottom of the shoes are ideal for an upward or a downward descent 
  • The outsole ejects mud and debris lodged on the shoe so that the shoe doesn’t have more weight
  • The midsole is double-sectioned. The front carries the foot during toe-off and the back midsole absorbs the impact of landing
  • Molded form in the insole provides arch support and added cushioning for the foot
  • Upper part of the shoe is made of breathable mesh for airflow
  • Synthetic overlays reinforce the top unit, controlled by the lacing system to tighten or loosen
  • Pull straps at the back of the shoe
  • Toecap protection
  • Padded collar and tongue

What We Like

  • This shoe is affordable
  • Impressive grip by the outsole components
  • It is a versatile shoe that is still comfortable and fashionable for daily wear
  • It is aesthetically pleasant
  • The cushioning protects the feet over miles of running
  • A quality design worthy of its brand name

What We Don’t

  • Some buyers reported that the shoes made a squelching sound 
  • The shoes feel a bit narrow

The Adidas Rockadia is loved by many runners because of how affordable it is. The beautiful design and functionality also contribute to its popularity. Even though it is designed for trails, feel free to use it to fish for compliments while going about your errands!

Rockadia is half a size smaller than your normal fit. So order half a size up to get the right shoe.

New Balance Men's Nitrel V3 Trail Running Shoe, Red/Black,...
  • All terrain outsole
  • Innovative REVlite midsole provides premium responsiveness and durability at a 30% lighter weight...
  • Synthetic/mesh upper

The New Balance Nitrel V3 is a shoe for lighter trails without extreme changes. It will serve you well on light mud and wet terrains, small gravel roads, and pavements. It, however, performs best on single track dry nature trails.

These budget-friendly shoes are light enough for a long-distance run. They weigh only 8 ounces with an 8 mm arch support. The shoes are sufficiently cushioned to provide comfort on the trail.

Key Features

  • Synthetic overlays on a breathable mesh upper
  • Natural fabric lining
  • Responsive cushioning for speed running
  • REVlite foam compound in the midsole absorbs landing impact
  • Arch protection
  • All-terrain rugged and flexible rubber outsole
  • Running lug design provides traction
  • True to size fitting
  • Toe protection
  • Lace-up tightening

What We Like

  • Comfortable to wear
  • The shoes are extremely lightweight
  • It is versatile for both running and everyday wear
  • The color scheme of the shoe is artistic
  • The arch protection and lugs provide support and stability respectively
  • The overall design of the shoe is tasteful
  • The shoe is flexible when running
  • It is a budget running shoe

What We Don’t

  • The shoe narrows at the toe area 
  • It is not well aerated when it's hot and sweat accumulates within the shoe
  • If you wear the shoe for long periods, the top of your toes start to feel a burning sensation

These shoes by New Balance are overall decent trail shoes. While they are not suitable for harsh, rocky ground, you will experience excellent performance on dry, tame trails. Some mud is no problem either. 

When ordering the Nitrel V3 online, buy your normal size. These hiking shoes are artistically engineered to create a combination of fashion and functionality for a song. 

Conclusion

Pay keen attention to the type of fit on the product features for each brand of running shoes. Some companies produce shoes that are smaller or bigger fit than the standard. Others get it right in line with the standard. Do you research so you can get the right size when you are purchasing shoes from online vendors.

Happy shopping! We are confident that this buying guide provided all the information you need to purchase a hiking shoe.

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