The Best Trail Running Shoes Of 2024

Men’s Health’s pick of 2024’s best trail running shoes

For those who prefer to take their runs off the beaten path, we’ve rounded up the best running shoes for rugged terrain.

RUNNING IS ONE of the simplest, most effective and fun ways to work out, but let’s face it, it can get boring. When you’re endlessly repeating the same route and forging the same quotidian path around your local park to the point that it feels like you’re literally boring a divot in the pavement, the urge to call it a day and break from your schedule can become overpowering. For that reason, it’s important to shake things up every now and then, and what better way to do it than by heading off road?

Trail running is a godsend for the runner who’s tired of their routine. With near-infinite opportunities and myriad potential routes, no two trail runs are the same. And the scenery on offer is only equal in quality to the burn you’ll feel after a topsy-turvy off-road run that plays fast and loose with inclines. But for all its benefits, trail running does require a little more investment than other forms of running.

Most runs take place on solid ground, be it a treadmill, road or footpath, so a reliable pair of sturdy, everyday runners is typically all you need to get going. This is where trail running differs, as those same dependable sneakers that have never let you down on a road run will be about as useful as an elephant in a minefield if you use them on a trail run. Trail running requires purpose-built trail running shoes. These will typically feature superior stability, underfoot traction, protection from debris and enhanced durability. They’re not the kind of shoes you’ll see in flashy commercials, but they do the job nonetheless. Here, we’ve rounded up the best of them.


Trail Running

Nike Pegasus Trail 4

Nike’s Pegasus Trail 4 is the everyman’s trail running shoe. Whether you’re just dipping your toe into the experience or have been blazing trails for as long as you can remember, the Pegasus Trail 4 will give you what you need. Boasting a sole design adept at tackling various surfaces, from smooth roads to rugged trails, these shoes offer an impressive balance of traction and comfort. The grippy lugs ensure stability on uneven terrains, while underfoot Nike React technology provides a responsive and supportive ride from the get-go. At 10.4 ounces (295g), they’re lightweight, yet they could hardly be called flimsy. What’s more, the Pegasus Trail 4 is similarly effective on-road, making it a versatile addition to your running shoe arsenal.




Trail Running

Hoka Mafate Speed 4

These shoes are named after an imposing caldera on the Indian Ocean island of Réunion. The name of that caldera was derived from a Malagasy word meaning ‘lethal’, owing to the difficulty of climbing the formidable peak. Hoka’s Mafate Speed 4’s are aptly named then, as they’re designed to support lethally challenging undertakings. The Mafate Speed 4’s dispense of the plushness most trail running shoes utilise in favour of low-profile cushioning that offers superior agility and responsiveness. A Vibram Megagrip rubber sole and 5mm lugs also provide surefooted traction on any surface.




Trail running shoes

Adidas Soulstride Flow GTX

Adventurous runners seeking reliable performance in any weather conditions should look no further than the Adidas Soulstride Flow GTX. Designed to excel on the toughest of trails, these shoes have a Continental rubber outsole, which provides unparalleled traction on varied terrain, ensuring stability even in wet conditions. Thanks to the GORE-TEX membrane, your feet stay dry and comfortable, while still allowing for ample breathability. The shock-absorbing EVA platform delivers cushioning and support, reducing fatigue and enhancing overall comfort. With an engineered mesh upper, they also offer a snug and supportive fit.



Trail Running shoes

New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7

New Balance’s Fresh Foam X Hierro v7 is hard to look past as a superb option for those venturing off the beaten path. Designed to tackle unpredictable terrain, these shoes offer a combination of durability, traction, and weather protection. With a Vibram Megagrip outsole, they promise unflinching grip on a variety of surfaces, from slippery rocks to muddy gullies. The inclusion of Gore-TEX waterproof lining ensures that your feet stay dry even in the wettest conditions. The breathable upper with no-sew overlays not only enhances comfort but also adds to the shoe’s sleek appearance. Incorporating some of New Balance’s top-notch technology, the Hierro is a top contender for the title of the grippiest trail running shoes of its time.


Trail Running Shoes

Saucony Peregrine 14

Named for the peregrine falcon—the world’s fastest bird—the Saucony Peregrine 14 is all about speed on rugged surfaces. These shoes were crafted to be the ultimate trail running companion, with unrivalled versatility and performance. The Peregrine 14 boasts a secure fit suitable for varied terrains, a treaded outsole guaranteeing superior grip on wet or dry surfaces, a reinforced upper which promises enhanced breathability, and an innovative PWRRUN foam midsole providing lightweight cushioning and optimal balance. The Peregrine 14’s are a do-it-all pair that goes the extra mile so you can too.





Under Armour Charged Bandit Trail 2

With its crazy cushioning and durable outsole equipped with technical trail lugs, runners can confidently navigate even the toughest trails with optimal traction and stability in Under Armour’s Charged Bandit Trail 2. The engineered two-toned mesh upper not only provides increased ventilation but also lightweight support, ensuring breathability and comfort throughout your runs. Additionally, that very same upper has been Storm technology-treated to repel water—that’s right, they don’t just let water out with meagre drainage slits, they actively chase the stuff away. The moulded sockliner also bears mentioning, adding another layer of comfort by conforming to the foot and eliminating slippage.




Brooks Catamount 2

Brooks’ first edition of the Catamount was a consumer favourite, and the second attempt made it even better. Some trail running shoes go too far in one direction, prioritising one of stability, grip, protection or speed while disregarding all else. That’s not a problem with the Catamount 2, a balanced shoe with exemplary cushioning, responsiveness and agility. The Catamount 2 has a SkyVault plate built into the midsole, making it ideal for undulating and frequently changing terrain, as it enhances uphill running while smoothing out the inevitable downhill segments.



Trail Running ShoesNew Balance Fresh Foam X Trail More v3

The New Balance Fresh Foam More Trail v3 is a luxury you can afford. Whether you’re a veteran of the trails or just there for the scenery, these kicks will ensure you’re performing at the peak of your powers with feet that are as comfortable as they are cool. With a rugged upper, synthetic mesh outsole and Fresh Foam midsole, these shoes provide superior traction and cushioning on uneven terrains. Safety is another strength of the Trail More v3, with innovative toe protect technology and the highest stack height in the New Balance range. There’s also more foam than any other shoe on this list, so if that’s your poison, pick this one.



Salomon Sense Ride 5

The Salomon Sense Ride 5 is a true all-rounder of a trail running shoe. Whether you’re tackling short, fast runs or pushing the limits with ultra distances, this shoe is designed to excel. Its versatility shines through a balanced midsole that provides cushioning and responsiveness in equal measure. The engineered mesh upper, featuring Sensifit technology, offers a comfortable hold that adapts seamlessly to various terrains, ensuring a snug fit with breathability in spades.





Nike Wildhorse 8

The names of running shoe models are becoming exceedingly abstract, describing a series of seemingly unrelated elements with dubious links to running. Nike’s Wildhorse 8 is the exception to this rule, as it’s not hard to discern the link between an untamed stallion and a determined trail runner. The lugged design is the standout here, with multi-directional lugs made of high-abrasion rubber, the Wildhorse 8 can tackle any terrain. Meanwhile, Nike React foam will be keeping your feet comfortable for the duration of your journey.



Men’s Health provides reviews and recommendations to help you find the right product at the right price. Products you purchase through links on this page may earn us a small commission.


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By Cayle Reid

Cayle Reid is a fan of everything sports and fitness. He spends his free time at the gym, on his surfboard or staying up late watching sports in incompatible time zones.

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