So you like hiking but feel hiking boots are uncomfortable? We know exactly how you’re feeling. That’s why we made our list of best trail running shoes for hiking. We’ve found the best trail running shoes better fit the needs of most hikers. If you’re hiking the Appalachian or Pacific Coast Trails from start to finish, that’s a different conversation, but most of our readers hike from time to time to see a waterfall, on weekends at their local trail, or on vacation. In those situations, hiking boots are overkill. A good pair of trail running shoes can be more comfortable, lighter, and have great outsoles that can hang with the best hiking boots.
If you wish to see all of our trail running shoe reviews gathered in one place with our road running shoe reviews, you can check out our Running Shoe reviews page.
Categories on this page are placed to easily help you find what you want. If you know what you need, you can simply click the category. If not, feel free to check out the whole list.
We’d also like to hear your thoughts on this list so share those in the comments section below. You can even share your own list.
Let’s get into our picks:
Best Trail Running Shoes for Hiking
- Best Overall Trail Running Shoes for Hiking
- Best Zero Drop Trail Running Shoes for Hiking
- Best Trail Running Shoes for Hiking Now on Sale
Best Overall Trail Running Shoes for Hiking
Saucony Endorphin Edge
The Saucony Endorphin Edge brings both a bouncy PWRRUN PB midsole and a flexible 3-quarter Carbitex carbon fiber plate to the trails. How does it perform? Really, really good. The Endorphin Edge midsole provides a bouncy ride with incredible impact protection. All the sharp rocks and roots are blunted while the upper and lacing system keep you locked into the shoe. You won’t slide around inside the shoe (even though it is wide-footer friendly) or be at risk of turning an ankle on precarious downhill runs.
It’s a comfortable, protective shoe that can handle both all-day hikes and long-distance trail racing. We did have issues with durability as one of our testers ripped a couple of lugs off the outsole and saw significant chipping on the sides of the fragile Pebax midsole. Those aren’t dealbreakers but just know the Edge will get some battle scars rather quickly. If you’re in the market for a speedy, comfortable, and bouncy trail shoe, the Endorphin Edge is one of your best options.
Fit: True to size, Drop: 6mm, Price $200
Brooks Caldera 6
The Brooks Caldera 6 is a unicorn trail shoe. Well-cushioned, super stable, and grips everything. As long as you buy the right size (you’ll need to go half down from your normal Brooks shoe size), you get an amazing shoe. Whether you’re trail running or hiking, you won’t find a better trail shoe. Plus, if you spend a lot of time on the trails, your body will thank you for the bouncy, protective cushioning the DNA Loft v3 midsole offers. Read full review.
Fit: Go a half size down, Drop: 6mm, Price $150
Brooks Cascadia 16
The Brooks Cascadia 16 is everything you need out of a trail shoe. Ballistic Rock Shield, ample cushioning (the most they’ve ever put in the Cascadia), a wide base, and ample room for your foot to expand on long runs or hikes. They feel and perform like a trail running shoe but protect as well as a good hiking boot. The only potential issue is the Cascadia 16 may be too wide for some people. Narrow footers will need to either wear thick hiking socks or go down a half size. Oh, and one other thing. Ok, two. First, the Cascadia 16 comes in some awesome, flashy color combos. And second, there’s a GTX version with an enhanced GORE-TEX upper that will keep your feet dry during the rainy season. The Brooks Cascadia 16 is comfort, stability, and protection wrapped up in a reasonably priced package.
Fits: Slightly Wide, Drop: 8mm, Price: $130
Inov-8 Trailfly Ultra G300 Max
The Inov-8 Trailfly Ultra G300 Max made it to our Best Running Shoes list. The G300 Max excels in two areas: cushion and traction. The cushion integrates Graphene into the brand’s G-Fly foam, making for a soft, bouncy ride that’s also stable. The traction is made of Graphene Grip, which stays true to its name, plus you get some excellent durability from the upper. Read full review.
Fit: True to Size, 6mm, Price: $190
Nike ZoomX Zegama Trail
The Nike ZoomX Zegama Trail is a max-cushioned trail shoe with a soft, comfortable upper that’s still protective. And despite the 37mm heel stack height, the heel lockdown is great with the foot sitting below the rim of the midsole foam. Both of those stability features keep your foot on top of the shoe on even the sharpest of turns. The one negative is, though better than previous Nike Trail models, the rubber used on the bottom still has problems in wet conditions. The Zegama Trail is best utilized in more desert-like environments. Rocks won’t bug you on your hikes as the ZoomX inside the midsole cushions every step and mutes anything sharp or knobby. As long as you’re not hiking often in wet ecosystems, the ZoomX Zegama Trail is one of the most comfortable hiking/trail running shoes on the market and should be on your shortlist.
Fit: True to Size, Drop: 4mm, Price: $160
The Brooks Catamount is a well-rounded shoe that you’ll pick up regularly for your hikes. The DNA Flash foam midsole is nitrogen-infused. It’s snappy. The rubber outsole uses TrailTrack, a grippy and durable rubber compound that’s paired with thick lugs. The mesh upper will get dirty rather quickly (avoid the white if possible), but it’s a thick build, so don’t need to worry about its durability. This shoe will last hike after hike. Read full review.
Fit: True to Size, Drop: 6mm, Price: $160
Hoka Speedgoat 5
The Hoka Speedgoat 5 is Hoka’s premier trail running shoe. The Speedgoat 5 can work just as well for hiking but you’ll need to wear long socks. The top edge of the tongue is a little annoying, but if that’s covered, you’ll get a very comfortable upper paired with Hoka’s signature soft midsole. The outsole is durable and the Vibram outsole will last. If you enjoy wearing Hokas daily, then we’d recommend you stick with the brand for your trail adventures.
Fit: True to Size, Drop: 4mm, Price: $155
New Balance Fresh Foam X More Trail v2
The New Balance Fresh Foam X More Trail v2 is basically the trail version of one of our favorite New Balance shoes, the Fresh Foam More v3. The plush foam underfoot and plush foam lining are the keys. It’s a very comfortable shoe built on a wide platform plus there’s a wide version available. The 4mm drop works well on trails where you want to avoid instability when traversing rocks and roots. The smooth rocker shape is still present but the thick midsole may be a little much for hikers who like more trail feel. The Fresh Foam X Trail v2 is one of the most plushly cushioned and best overall trail shoes.
Fit: True to size, Drop: 4mm, Price: $165
Best Zero Drop Trail Running Shoes for Hiking
Inov-8 Terraultra G270
The Inov-8 Terraultra G270 boasts one of the best traction compounds available. It’s called Graphene Grip, and it’s so good that it almost justifies the high price it comes with. The upper won’t work for everyone. It’s a combination of mesh and a thick fuse. Though this isn’t anything new, the fuse may make the upper less comfortable than other shoes on the list. However, if all you care about is not wanting to slip, you’re in the right place. Read full review.
Fit: True to Size, Drop: 0mm, Price $160
Altra Lone Peak 6
We’d call the Altra Lone Peak 6 the most popular zero drop trail running shoe on the market. It’s comfortable, versatile, and offers a wide toe box that accommodates lots of foot shapes. If you want something zero drop for your hiking adventures this is the most reliable option.
Fit: True to Size, Drop: 0mm, Price $140
Altra Timp 4
Want zero drop but something softer and springier than the classic Lone Peak 6? The Altra Timp 4 is the answer. Named after a oft-hiked mountain in Utah County, the Timp 4 delivers soft cushion for long-distance hikes. It may be a little too soft for craggy hikes as you’ll likely feel the rocks beneath your toes so keep that. in mind. Otherwise, the comfortable upper and outsole that easily transitions from trail to road will make this a solid option for most weekend hikers.
Fit: True to Size, Drop: 0mm, Price $160
Best Trail Running Shoes for Hiking Now on Sale
Nike Pegasus Trail 3
The Nike Pegasus Trail 3 is one of the more comfortable trail shoes on the market. The upper feels great on foot and stays comfortable all day. The React midsole is the best midsole on a Nike trail shoe in…well…a really long time. The only issue is traction on wet rocks and mud. On wet days keep these at home, but if you mostly hike in dry conditions, you’ll enjoy the ride.
Fit: True to Size, Drop: 9.5mm, Price: $130