The shoes—marked by lightweight uppers, soft midsoles and outsoles that grip the ground like Spiderman's fingers—are designed to be worn for many miles over a wide range of terrain. If you run off-road, check out this season's crop of standout trail running footwear.
Hoka One One Huaka$150 1 of 13
A favorite brand among trail runners, the Huaka is Hoka's most nimble and light model yet. A "maximal" shoe, it manages to offer increased cushioning underfoot without significant weight gain. The Huaka weighs just 9.3 ounces and is responsive and soft all at once.
A seamless SpeedFrame upper and a strong grip outsole make this shoe suitable for everything from a quick 5K to an ultra event. This level of versatility makes it a great option for trail buffs looking for both performance and durability.
Topo Oterros$100 2 of 13
Topo Athletic, a brand launched last year by Vibram USA's former CEO Tony Post, designed the Oterros shoe to work with your body's natural movements. With a secure heel, wider than average toebox and 4.5-millimeter rugged rubber outsole, they remain comfortable while still providing great traction underfoot.
This is not considered minimal shoe. However, the model does just weigh just 9 ounces thanks to lightweight materials and a seamless printed upper.
Saucony Xodus 5.0$120; $140 (waterproof version) 3 of 13
This is the first iteration of the Xodus to dip under 11 ounces. The 5.0 blends a sleek design with rugged durability and performance. The upper is marked by overlays that help hold the foot in place, providing stability without added weight.
A gusseted internal booty and RunDry collar help keep debris out, all while wicking sweat and moisture from your feet. An EBO rockplate in the forefoot adds extra protection and multidirectional lugs made with Vibram XS Trek help you grip the trail.
Mizuno Wave Hayate$109.99 4 of 13
The Hayate balances aggressive traction with lightweight construction. This shoe features an X-lug outsole and is built to grip in all directions to keep you upright and on the trail over varied terrain, switchbacks and gnarly descents. The Hayate's midsole provides great shock attenuation for one of the smoothest runs in a lightweight 8.8-ounce package.
Pearl Izumi EM Trail N2$120 5 of 13
The EM Trail N2 is designed for the ultra runner. Its seamless upper and dynamic midsole ensure a great fit for a variety of foot shapes. This neutral trail runner relies on its energy foam cushioning and a rockplate in the forefoot for a responsive ride and protection underfoot.
Thanks to multidirectional carbon rubber outsole lugs, you can rest assured that traction and abrasion resistance over many surfaces won't be an issue.
The North Face Ultra Equity$115 6 of 13
For a lightweight stability trail shoe, the Ultra Equity offers both support and resilience. It's marked by a medium-density midsole, firmer-density medial posting and a unique heel cradle—all attributes that help correct overpronation.
The upper features FlashDry fibers and breathable Ultra Airmesh to keep feet comfortable for the many weather conditions trail runners face.
Brooks Pure Grit 3$120 7 of 13
Redesigned for 2014, the Pure Grit 3 takes inspiration from the strong grip of climbing shoes. This shoe provides a lightweight ride, a sense of underfoot awareness and increased proprioceptive qualities.
While you can feel the ground, the shoe still offers great protection and traction, thanks to a ballistic rock shield, toe guard, and luggy outsole. If you're in search of an aggressive trail running shoe that feels close to a road shoe, the Pure Grit is a great choice.
New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail$109.99 8 of 13
The 980 Trail capitalizes on New Balance's Fresh Foam technology. Using 3D printing techniques, the midsole is known for its plush feel without being "maximal" or bulky.
This shoe, outfitted with full-contact outsole along with a gusseted tongue to keep out debris, performs on everything from dirt trails to rocky terrain. The 980 Trail has a synthetic mesh upper that breathes and flexes with the foot, making it one of the most comfortable trail models on the market.
Vasque Pendulum$119.99 9 of 13
The Vasque Pendulum blends the sleekness of a racing flat with the toughness of a trail shoe. A seamless air mesh and synthetic upper keep this shoe light, while the Vasque Visualizer outsole provides traction over technical terrain.
Thanks to a molded TPU protection plate designed to flex with your natural movements, your feet are shielded from sharp rocks and ruts without compromising performance. Coupled with a compression-molded EVA midsole and injection-molded EVA heel cushion, the Pendulum will keep you comfortable over many miles.
adidas Outdoor Duramo Cross X GTX$125 10 of 13
This shoe has a noticeably cushy feel that will appeal to runners in search of durability and underfoot protection. The soft adiPRENE midsole provides all-day comfort and a breathable fabric lining ensures temperature and moisture control to prevent chafing and blisters.
With a GORE-TEX upper and L-shaped outsole lugs for improved traction, this is one of the most rugged options on the market.
Altra Superior 2$109 11 of 13
A lightweight trail shoe with an aptly named TrailClaw outsole, the Superior 2 is both fast and durable. True to the Altra philosophy, this model features a wide, foot-shaped toe box and zero drop from heel to forefoot.
With a 23-millimeter stack height across the entire shoe and a removable stone guard, you won't need to worry about where you step on even the rockiest of trails. Altra has thought of everything with the Superior 2, including a built-in gaiter strap.
Salomon Fellraiser$110 12 of 13
Constructed with the serious mountain runner in mind, you'll be hard pressed to find a trail running shoe with a more aggressive outsole than Salomon's Fellraiser.
The shoe has a low-to-the-ground, grippy feel designed for a multitude of terrain as well as muddy and wet conditions. The shoes are built to cradle the feet and flex with your natural movements. A specialized Quicklace system means the Fellraiser can be easily tightened with a single pull, making them feel one with your foot.