Runners who enjoy a new challenge tend to head for the trails. Trails feature a variety of twists, turns, and steep inclines, and as such, trail runners need shoes that are durable, robust, and stable. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the best trail running shoes for 2020 based on the tread, cushioning, heel-to-toe drop, and customer reviews.
We’ve narrowed things down to a list of the 5 best trail running shoes based on your trail-running style. No matter what climate you live in – we’ve got you covered. If you’re not quite ready for the rugged lifestyle of a mountainous runner, check out our list of the best running shoes for 2020.
- 1 The Best Trail Running Shoe in 2020 for the All-Rounder
- 2 The Best 2020 Trail Running Shoes for the Muddiest Trails
- 3 The Best 2020 Trail Running Shoe for the Rockiest Terrains
- 4 The Best 2020 Street-to-Trail Running Shoe
- 5 The Best Value for Money Trail Running Shoe in 2020
- 6 Which Trail Will We Find You On?
The Best Trail Running Shoe in 2020 for the All-Rounder
Some of us just need the one shoe that does it all. Rain, shine, rocks, road? No problem. Here we’ve selected the most neutral model of trail running shoes. Most trail runners value durability, security, and grip. These are the best trail running shoes for most purposes.
Professionals and amateurs alike highly rate the Hoka One Torrent Textile Trail Runners. The overall 4.8-star reviews (as of June 2020) commend the shoe for being a successful all-rounder. Reviews specifically note that they’re light and comfortable to wear across mixed terrains. These shoes were tested on slippery, grassy, and muddy surfaces, as well as harder packed rock surfaces.
The cushioning is best for a neutral strike with a 5mm heel-to-toe drop. This drop is perfect for runners who like to feel the ground but also need extra support. The grip (or lug) is multidirectional, making it a safe companion on those slippery surfaces. The shoes are indeed lightweight at 9.5oz, so you’ll be able to run fast on the harder surfaces. Starting at $135, the Hoka One One Torrent Textile Trail Running Shoes are a good option for those who navigate diverse terrains.
The Best 2020 Trail Running Shoes for the Muddiest Trails
Living in a rainy climate can seriously interfere with your trail running goals. Luckily, there are quite a few shoes out there that can help. To conquer the elements, you’ll need a pair of shoes as unshakable as your mindset. These shoes are the best on the market in 2020 for grip, cushioning, and support.
The no-nonsense Salamon Speedcross 5 is ideal for trail runners who navigate the most challenging terrains. The first thing you’ll notice on these shoes is the massive lugs (grips on the bottom of the shoe). These will get you through mud, wet grass, snow, and whatever else you encounter on the trails. The large lugs will help you with your push off and braking as you deal with multiple surfaces.
The heel-to-toe drop is 10mm, so it’s best suited for neutral and heel-strike runners. It’s 11.3oz, which gives you the support you’ll need during a tricky trail run. It’s rated at a high 4.7 stars, and other customers are loving the grip, comfort, and low wear-in period. As mentioned, these shoes are best for those who run in a variety of weather conditions. The Salomon Speedcross 5 is currently as low as $118 on Amazon.
The Best 2020 Trail Running Shoe for the Rockiest Terrains
Live in a drier climate? Those that find themselves dodging and kicking rocks along the trail can quickly end up in trouble if they don’t have the right shoe. Most of us do have lapses in focus from time to time, and if our feet drag, this can result in a face-first fall in the dust. One way to help prevent falls is to utilize light but durable shoes.
The brand new 14th edition Brooks Cascadia is over an ounce lighter than the 13th model. For a mid-range price of $112 (as of June 2020), you can expect comfort and durability. The drop is 8mm, so it’s best for neutral runners. On rocky surfaces, you’ll need an ultra-high level of cushioning. The maximum stack height is a height of 26mm while remaining light at 10.7oz.
Rated 4.1 stars by dedicated Brooks Cascadia fans, reviews are saying these shoes keep you warm in snowy climates with a grip that you can rely on. The lug is decent, but they certainly don’t compare to the Salomons for slippery terrains. If you’re striking rocks and hard surfaces often on your trail runs, the Brooks Cascadia 14 is the best shoe for you.
The Best 2020 Street-to-Trail Running Shoe
Let’s face it; trail running shoes aren’t always the trendiest fashion companion. That said, for the campers and backpackers who use their trail shoes as a fashion statement (in addition to a trail-friendly trainer), we’ve found the perfect shoe for you. The recommended street-to-trail shoe here provides the perfect mix of road and trail running qualities, and we just can’t get enough of that design.
Okay, so the running joke is that New Balance is the ultimate “Dad” shoe brand. However, the twitter feeds that once teased New Balance wearers obviously didn’t come across the New Balance Hierro V5 trail running shoe. At a light 9.5oz, you can glide through trails, pubs, campgrounds, and cities in no time.
The lugs here are smaller than the other shoes on the list (which is better for road conditions), but they are multidirectional, which provides excellent grip if you do get stuck in the mud. They offer plenty of support on the lighter trails with moderate cushioning, and a neutral 8mm drop. They’re priced at $99.95 on Amazon, with an impressive 4.6-star review rating in 2020. The New Balance Hierro V5 is an excellent option for the runner who needs a versatile trail running shoe.
The Best Value for Money Trail Running Shoe in 2020
Switching from road running to trail running is a big step, and it’s hard to know if you’re ready to take the leap. On the trails, you’ll be pushing your heart rate to the max as you run up and down steep terrains, weaving in and out of numerous obstacles. Not 100% if sure if this is the path for you? We’ve found the best value trail running shoes for those who aren’t looking to break the bank.
For such a well-known brand, I couldn’t believe the Adidas Rockadia Trail Running Shoes were listed with a median price of around $60 on Amazon. Their features are comparable to the other specialist brands on the list, and one review is titled “who needs $200 shoes” because of the incredible value of these trail runners.
These shoes are designed for a neutral striker with an 8mm drop. They’re not too bulky at 12oz, and they provide a considerable amount of protection from rocks with a high max stack height of 28.9mm. We will note that you should buy a size up if you’re used to other brands. The only negative reviews tend to revolve around frustration with a smaller fit.
Which Trail Will We Find You On?
The only thing better than running is… running in nature! The smell of fresh air and the sounds of birds chirping can typically lift anyone’s spirit. So now that you are armed with the best trail running shoes on the market in 2020, we’d love to learn more. Where is your go-to trail located? What are the conditions of some of your favorite trails? Feel free to share below as I’m sure we all welcome ideas for future getaways.