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 the best trail running shoes for hiking and running. We’ve found that the best trail running shoes better fit the needs of most hikers while also taking care of those who prefer to run.
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 or run from time to time to see a waterfall, on weekends at their local trail, or on vacation. In those situations, hiking boots are overkill and regular running shoes aren’t quite enough protection. A good pair of trail running shoes can be comfortable, lightweight, and come with a great outsole that can hang with the best hiking boots.
You can see all of our trail running shoe reviews gathered in one place alongside our road running shoe reviews on our Running Shoe reviews page.
Categories on this page are created 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 browse 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 & Running
- Best Overall Trail Running Shoes for Hiking & Running
- Best Budget Trail Running Shoes for Hiking & Running
- Best Zero Drop Trail Running Shoes
- Best Trail Running Shoes Now on Sale
Best Overall Trail Running Shoes for Hiking & Running
The Speedland GS:PGH belongs in the upper echelon of best trail running shoes (ever). The Pebax-based drop-in midsole, upper comfort, BOA lacing system, heel lockdown, and Michelin outsole are all elite. The only negative is that it’s not the best all-weather shoe. It’s expensive but hardcore trail runners and racers will get plenty of value. It’s customizable, durable, accommodating, and ready for any trail you can throw at it. Read the full review.
Fit: True to size, Drop: 7mm, Price $275
Topo MTN Racer 3
The Topo MTN Racer 3 is an affordable option for people who need a versatile trail shoe. Vert, technical footing, mud, and flats are all handled well by the MTN Racer 3. It will support your foot over long miles without the extreme softness of some other modern trail running shoes. While we wouldn’t call it an actual race shoe, it’s a workhorse that can hold up over any distance. Read the full review.
Fit: True to size, Drop: 5mm, Price $150
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 descents.
It’s a comfortable, protective shoe that can handle both all-day hikes and long-distance trail running. 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
New Balance Fresh Foam X More Trail v3
The New Balance Trail More v3 is a more stable More v4 with a beefy, tacky, trail-ready Vibram outsole. It feels almost exactly the same as the road version but it’s beefed up with sidewalls that keep you on the footbed. As with the road version, it’s a very accommodating shoe, so narrow footers will want to size half down to get a tighter-fitting trail shoe.
This shoe is a great road-to-trail option because the cushion is just a touch firmer than the road version but still soft enough to work well on roads. There’s no rock plate though so keep that in mind if you run trails with big jagged rocks.
Some will fear turning an ankle in the Trail More v3 because of its high foam stack height but it has the stability to prevent that worst-case scenario. However, this is not the shoe for trail feel. The Fresh Foam always keeps you a bit removed from the travails of the trail.
Fit: True to size, Drop: 4mm, Price: $160
Hoka Challenger 7
You can try to not let the Hoka Challenger 7’s looks influence you but it’s a darn good-looking trail shoe with some fantastic colorways. Luckily, it also performs hella good on the trails. There’s no rock plate, so you will feel some rocks, but the EVA, while not particularly squishy or soft, cushions well. The traction is GREAT. It was extremely rare to get any slippage at all even in wet conditions. Only wet, mildewy rocks caused any slippage, and even then it slipped a bit and then gripped.
The upper is also very comfortable and accommodating while still locking down the foot. It can handle long-distance hikes and runs. If you’re mainly a trail runner, you may want something more protective and/or bouncy but the Challenger 7 is excellent for hiking.
Fit: True to Size, Drop: 5mm, Price: $145
Topo Ultraventure 3
You might be unfamiliar with Topo, but they’ve made trail running shoes for while. This was our first Topo experience, and now we want more. The Topo Ultraventure 3 comes with Topo’s signature foot-shaped toebox, which looks a little odd (at first) but is both super comfortable and allows us to spread our toes. The toe spread really helps make it feel like you’re naturally digging into varied terrain.
The Vibram outsole is grippy and had no issues on traditionally tough areas like slick wet rocks or leaf-covered ground. The lugs are also spaced so that the shoe doesn’t collect rocks. The outsole isn’t the most durable and shows wear quickly, so avoid using it on roads.
There’s no rock plate in the midsole, but the Zipfoam cushions rocks nicely. It’s not a super foam, but it is EVA at its best.
The fit is accommodating, and if you’ve got a narrow foot, you can cinch up tight without the upper bubbling or flexing uncomfortably. It’s a simple engineered mesh upper, but it does the job.
At $150, you are paying a small premium because it’s a smaller brand. But for those that want a wider, more comfortable toe box in a trail shoe that grips everything…the Ultraventure 3 is a great choice.
Fit: True to size, Drop: 5mm, Price $150
Brooks Cascadia 17
The Brooks Cascadia 17 is a modern-looking take on a classic trail runner. This affordable shoe provides stability, reliability, and durability. Previous Cascadia models were fairly plain jane but the looks on the Cascadia 17 are a huge upgrade. The Cascadia 17 is a steady and dependable workhorse that will get the job done whether that’s trail running or hiking. Read the full review.
Fits: True to size, Drop: 8mm, Price: $140
Craft Endurance Trail
The Craft Endurance Trail was a very pleasant surprise. This shoe offers the softness and cushion of other long-distance options but adds great responsiveness and energy return.
Although it feels like this shoe is built to move fast and will perform well at higher speeds, the versatility of the Px Foam midsole makes it a good option for any experience level looking to have added comfort. The outsole sticks to everything and the road geometry makes this a perfect choice for runners who like to go straight from their doorstep to the trailhead.
It’s also wide foot friendly. Make sure you get the right size to avoid any potential stability problems as narrow feet will have lots of extra space in the upper.
The Endurance Trail is a jack-of-most-trades option and a shoe that many trail runners or hikers will benefit from adding to their rotation. Read the full review.
Fits: True to size, Drop: 9mm, Price: $160
Brooks Catamount 2
The Brooks Catamount 2 has a snappy midsole, a comfortable upper, and high-end durability. Like the original Brooks Catamount, the DNA Flash midsole makes it fun to go fast. But unlike the original, the new SkyVault plate in the midsole works to add some pop and protect the foot like a traditional rock plate. And while it’s not an aggressive shoe, it’s a versatile shoe.
The widely spaced lugs work across a variety of surfaces and even roads if needed. It’s not the ideal shoe for highly technical trails but it still features gaiter hookups for those that do technical hiking. At $170, the price is a touch high but it’s a good option if you want something a little peppier than the Caldera 6. Watch Kofuzi’s review.
Fits: True to size, Drop: 6mm, Price: $170
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
Nike Pegasus Trail 4
The Nike Pegasus Trail 4 is even more comfortable than the Pegasus Trail 3, which also made this list. The upper and the tongue feel awesome on the foot, and the shoe stays comfortable all day whether you’re hiking, chasing children around, or playing golf (it’s a solid golf shoe). It’s a great walking shoe, even if you’re just walking around your neighborhood.
The React midsole is nicely cushioned and provides ample impact protection though it’s not quite as fun a ride as its big brother, the Nike ZoomX Zegama Trail. But, as with all Nike trail shoes, the wet traction stinks so keep these in the garage until the ground is dry.
Fit: True to Size, Drop: 9.5mm, Price: $140
Hoka Tecton X 2
The Hoka Tecton X 2 is a trail racer that sits atop Hoka’s trail line. The Tecton X 2 is at its best when moving fast through flat to intermediate terrain. It can also work on longer, slower runs and hikes because it’s plush and puts some extra pep in your step with the bouncy Profly-X midsole and parallel dual carbon plates.
The outsole is Vibram Litebase and provides trustworthy traction on anything except deep mud. The upper is new this year and securely locks down the foot with a minimal yet protective build. The Tecton X 2 is wide-foot friendly but does have a slightly narrower toebox so if your foot is widest at the toes you’ll want to opt for a try-on first. At $225, it’s an expensive shoe, but the pricing lines up with the majority of carbon-plated race day shoes.
The Tecton X 2 is targeted at serious trail runners and hikers who want a complete package for ascending and descending as fast as they possibly can.
Fit: True to size, Drop: 5mm, Price: $225
Best Budget Trail Running Shoes for Hiking & Running
Puma Fast-Trac Nitro
The Puma Fast-Trac Nitro is Puma’s budget trail running option. Sitting at only $110, you get some great value for that price.
First, the Puma Grip ATR outsole, while not as deeply lugged as the Voyage Nitro, still grips everything. You’ll likely want to upgrade to the Voyage Nitro if you’re tackling trails that are glorified mud pits, but otherwise, you won’t have an issue with the outsole. Second, a full-length Nitro drop-in surrounded by ProFoam Lite provides both a stable and cushioned ride. It’s not particularly thick cushioning, but it provides solid impact protection. Third the upper, while not premium, uses a hearty ripstop mesh that can take a beating. And finally, Puma packs in some appreciated extras like a lace garage, a quick lacing system, and a heel gaiter attachment.
The upper fits true to size lengthwise but runs fairly narrow through the midfoot and toe box so wide footers should go up a half size. The Puma Fast-Trac Nitro is a lightweight, inexpensive trail model with everything you need to make trail running or hiking comfortable.
Fit: True to size, Drop: 8mm, Price: $110
Best Zero Drop Trail Running Shoes
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 an 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 Now on Sale
No current shoes on our best trail running shoes for hiking and running list are on sale. Check back soon as we’re constantly adding new shoes to the sale list.