The ultimate trail shoe test 2017

Keen to explore the great outdoors but not sure where to start? We test the best trail running shoes on the market.

The ultimate trail shoe test 2017

Get the most out of your adventures by investing in the right kit. Take your pick from the best tried and tested trail shoes on the market and head for the hills.


Adidas TraceRocker

Runner: Ed Prince

RRP: £42

Rating: 4.5/5

Key Features: Grip, shock absorption, style

  • The TraceRocker lives up to adidas’ strong reputation. With a ‘Traxion’ sole providing high-levels of grip and stability, they did not disappoint despite looking quite different than your traditional trail running shoe. The sole provides excellent grip and stability, and the toe box is roomy.
  • For entry level shoes, these are light and the fit is excellent. Perhaps not the shoes to take out on very rocky or muddy terrain, these are more being suited to footpaths and bridal-ways. However, in almost all cases, these shoes are the excellent companion to the great outdoors. For the money, you’d struggle to find better.

Inov8 Roclite 305

Runner: Mark Lyons

RRP: £115

Rating: 5/5

Key Features: Great fit, surefooted tread, tough outer

  • This shoe might be Inov8’s greatest all-rounder yet. Snug but comfortable, the 305s hold their own on a number of terrains, including trails, forest roads and in the hills. Remaining hotspot free even after regularly running in them for several hours at a time, the shoes are agile, light and with a deep tread to give one of the most comfortable and surefooted all-round shoes I’ve ever ran in.
  • The mesh upper is tough and tight knitted. It is built with an 8mm heel drop which will be a personal choice for some but it’s the perfect do it all drop for the majority of trail runners. The high price reflects the shoes’ ability to cover all terrains comfortably and securely, and as a result they are great value for money!

New Balance MT 590v1

Runner: Ed Prince

RRP: £44.99

Rating: 4/5

Key Features: Value, support, traditional "no-nonsense" shape/style

  • At an amazing price, the New Balance MT 590v1s will certainly appeal to those who are starting out on their running adventure. Offering a high-level support, with an excellent grip, these shoes are the perfect ‘all-purpose’ shoe.
  • Billed as trail shoes, these offer up a very good level of support and the sole is not overly technical. In fact, the sole actually exceeded expectations on both trail and road, with excellent grip. Although the fit was good, the MT 590s lose points on style. But if you’re only going to get them muddy, who cares? 

Brooks Cascadia 11

Runner: Ed Prince

RRP: £75

Rating: 5/5

Key Features: Consistent support, breathability, high-quality construction

  • Already secured in their place as a trusted trail running shoe, the reliability of the Brooks Cascadia make it easy to see why they have been named the ‘ultimate’ trail shoe. Having used my pair for a number of long runs, it's not hard to see why. For trail shoes they're more cushioned than you'd expect, making a big difference when you’ve clocked up some miles and your feet are starting to tire.
  • You always feel like your feet are well supported but also have enough room to move naturally to soak up the varied terrain - a tough balance to get right. These are probably all the trail shoe you'll ever need, and hence why they fully deserve their status as one of the most popular trail shoes on the market.

Under Armour Speedform Turbulence

Runner: Ed Prince

RRP: £100

Rating: 5/5

Key Features: Comfort, speed, construction

  • Under Armour is not the first brand that comes to mind when thinking about fast road shoes, but after giving them a go I’m left wondering what took me so long to try out a pair. I’m told that the design of these stemmed from craftsmen in a Bra Factory, and as such I was expecting my feet to be very well supported, but also not to be able to undo them. Luckily that wasn’t the case, but the Speedforms really do feel more like clothing than shoes. T
  • here are no noticeable seams and the material is extremely lightweight and comfortable. With a unique ‘sockliner’, adding some cushioning and reducing moisture build-up, it’s fair to say they are definitely designed for running fast in good conditions. With exceptional breathability and as a brilliantly responsive shoe that’ll see you eat up the miles in comfort, these are worth every penny. 

Salomon XA Enduro

Runner: Mark Lyons

RRP: 129.99 (Buy here)

Rating: 3/5

Key Features: Sticky rubber sole, grit gaiter, speed lacing

  • Your typical Salomon shoe; well-built, high quality and with a swift aesthetic, the XA Enduros are everything your would expect. The shoe fitted great, the ankle gaiter did its job admirably and they looked amazing but their lack of grip took some of the enjoyability out of a run.
  • They have a sticky rubber sole and a shallow grip which will favour drier trail conditions highly, but perhaps lack the serious grip needed for muddier terrain. The shoe also has a rock plate and 9mm heel drop down below. Although an expensive shoe, you’re getting a lot for your money with the excellent gaiter design.

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