Trail-Running Shoes


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Outside tester and mountain guide Andrew Skurka summed up the Lone Peak best in his roundup of backpacking shoes: “[It’s] a favorite of thru-hikers, who appreciate its extra-wide toe box and generously cushioned 25-millimeter stack height when putting in long days on well-maintained trails.”…

The Wildcross made our 2021 Winter Buyer’s Guide list of the best running shoes. It “absolutely slays loose, off-trail terrain, firmly grabbing sandy trails, rocks, and mud,” wrote testers Lisa Jhung and Cory Smith. “However, its chops on messy surfaces come at the expense of its ability…

The Ultra Pro is one of our favorite trail shoes. Its “relatively light weight lends a nimble feel (the men’s size nine is 10.3 ounces and the women’s size seven is 8.8 ounces),” wrote testers Cory Smith and Lisa Jhung. “One tester thought it ‘would be a…

Faster splits and higher summits are just around the corner

We gave the Spin Ultra a Gear of the Year award for its unparalleled ability to handle trail runs of any distance. The Vibram Megagrip sole provides traction on rough terrain, and the TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) toe cap keeps your feet safe from stray roots and rocks.

In our 2019 Summer Buyer’s Guide, these were our favorite all-mountain chargers. “The toothy Vibram Megagrip lugs offer killer traction, and that surefootedness, combined with massive Hoka cush, inspires confidence on technical terrain,” we wrote. The third version of the shoe has an updated tongue and a heartier toe…

In our 2019 Summer Buyer’s Guide, this was our favorite all-mountain charger. “The toothy Vibram Megagrip lugs offer killer traction, and that surefootedness, combined with massive Hoka cush, inspires confidence on technical terrain,” we wrote. The third version of the shoe has an updated tongue and a heartier toe…

Grip and support on any dirt, at any distance

Jessica Rogers and her team make some of our favorite trail-running gear

Every year, Outside dedicates two whole magazines to gear. Here's what goes on behind the scenes.

This trailblazer was one of our favorite shoes for long and steep runs. “The Caldera 3 serves up road-worthy comfort in a trail-ready package,” we wrote. We found the EVA midsole soft and springy, while a protective toe bumper and mesh upper gives it the mountain chops to flourish…

Dad knees and an aging body changed my mind about Hokas

Meet one of our favorite trail-running shoes for those long and steep sessions. We highlighted these soft but springy kicks in our June 2019 issue for their slipper-like comfort, flexible outsole, protective toe bumper, and quick-drying mesh upper. “The shallow tread is best on well-traveled dirt,” we wrote.

In our 2020 Winter Buyer’s Guide roundup of the best running shoes, we recommended the Pegasus 36 Trail for mellow terrain. It has “toothy, multidirectional lugs that gripped dirt and gravel even in a rainstorm, and reinforcement in the upper that lent protection off-road without adding a lot of…

Our tester Wes Siler loves these shoes for hiking and backpacking trips. Siler said the Lone Peak 4 “is more comfortable and has better grip than anything else I’ve tested.” Altra designed the Lone Peak 4 for hikers and runners with a wide, comfortable footbed and exceptional traction on…

This trail runner is one of our top choices for big alpine outings. “With its narrow last, rock-solid fit, and big six-millimeter lugs, it can quickstep through sketchy rock piles and bank tight switchbacks with confidence,” wrote our tester.

We featured the Challenger ATR 4 in our roundup of the best trail-running shoes of 2018. Though it’s thick soled, testers described it as “admirably nimble.” It’s great all-around, too: “Extra-long days on hardpack? Easygoing efforts? Both felt great,” our testers wrote.

Spry and responsive foul-weather trainers for road and trail

The Spin Ultra won our 2019 Gear of the Year award for its high-quality performance on the trail. The Vibram Megagrip soles “serve up unparalleled traction,” our testers said. Plus, Scarpa added extra cushioning to the Spin Ultra for all-day comfort whether you’re charging up a hill or doing…

We sat through the 20-minute molding process, then took them out on dirt to see how they performed

The Lone Peak 3.5 is one of AT hiker Eiryn Reynolds’ favorite pieces of gear. Its aggressive lugs grip the trail and offer comfort on long-distance days. The wider toe box allows for a more natural foot stance and fewer blisters.

Whether you're on burly mountain ridges or buffed singletrack, these kicks have you covered

The Salomon X-Mission 3 is a versatile, comfortable hiking shoe for people with narrow feet, according to one of our gear columnists, who said it “will do just fine for everything but the gnarliest backpacking trips.”…

Lightweight hikers that command the path

A practical guide for purchasing your next pair of trainers

Our testers picked the Caldera 2 as one of the best trail runners of summer 2018. “This was the shoe we reached for when we wanted to take it easy on our dogs,” they wrote. “On most trails, the Caldera provided ample protection.”…

In the past few years, trail runners from the French gear company have started showing up on runways. Why?

Contributor Justin Nyberg picked the Caldera 2 as one of the best trail runners of summer 2018. “This was the shoe we reached for when we wanted to take it easy on our dogs,” he wrote. “On most trails, the Caldera provided ample protection.”…

One of our favorite trail running shoes of 2017, the Trailbender impressed testers with its cushioning. “We were pleasantly surprised by how well this shoe bombed full-speed down deeply rutted trails,” they wrote. “It’s a confident, cushioned shoe that delivers support, not just stack.”…

The founder of the Boulder Running Company is opening a new store and merging it with his physical therapy business

Light up the trails with these all-terrain performers

Altra founders Golden Harper and Brian Becksted will remain involved under the new ownership

Two new running shoes designed specifically with the ultrarunner in mind

Get low, ride high, and stomp everything in between

From a totally reinvented ski boot to a wetsuit that's good for the environment, this is the stuff we're most excited about

In our ongoing Weekly Escape series, we aim to transport you from your desk to an incredible place in 2 minutes or less.

Our three favorite trail runners

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