After 12 hours of research evaluating 80 products, we picked ASICS Men's GEL Venture 5 Trail Running Shoe as our top choice.
Trail running is a wonderful challenge for guys who want to push themselves to the limits of their endurance! Between the rough terrain, the uphills and downhills, and gorgeous outdoor environment, you've got everything you need to feel like a bad-ass.
Trail running requires a very specific pair of running shoes. You don't want to use the running shoes you use in the park, on the treadmill, or at the track. They just don't have what it takes to keep up with rugged runs!
So what do you need?
A good pair of trail running shoes, of course! The best trail running shoes are designed specifically for trails, offering better traction, more stability, (sometimes) more cushioning, and greater durability than you'd get with regular running shoes.
Want to know the best part?
We've done the research to find the best trail shoes for guys of any and all shoe preferences and running styles. Whether you want comfortable, supportive, stable, or minimalist, we've got a pair of trail shoes for you!
Thick cushioning, roomy toe box, solid lacing system, lightweight, amazing protection, and very comfortable. In addition, these shoes offer excellent stability, secure fit, good ventilation, and great traction on a wide range of terrains
Lacking durability and on the expensive end of the spectrum.
Performance: If you're a heavier runner that needs more cushioning, you'll love these shoes. They offer the thickest cushioning of any trail running shoe on the market, but they're surprisingly lightweight. You can run for hours without feeling like they drag at your feet.
The shoes offer good stability and arch support, but it's the traction of the outsole that's the real selling point. The outsole isn't versatile or flexible, but a thick, sturdy platform that will keep you solidly on your feet no matter how wet, muddy, snowy, icy, or gravelly the terrain.
However, be warned: a lot of users have complained that the shoes aren't as durable as they'd like, with quality control issues that lead to rapid breakdown.
Features: The thick midsoles of these shoes aren't the most versatile, but they're ideal for adding extra arch and midfoot support. The thick cushioning built into the heel and forefoot of these shoes reduces joint impact. Despite the heavy-looking construction, the shoes weigh just 19 ounces.
The toe box is roomy (narrow fit was a complaint with the previous model), but the fit is secure enough that you won't have to worry about your feet sliding around.
Price: At $130, these are some of the priciest shoes on our list. They're worth it, though, if you want maximum cushioning and a design compatible with any terrain.
Lightweight, slim profile, minimalist sole made of durable rubber, comfortable, grip your feet firmly, breathable mesh upper, Vibram outsole, zero heel drop, machine-washable, and can be worn without socks.
Potentially too thick for minimalist runners.
Performance: If you're a minimalist runner, these shoes are must-haves for trail running. The durable Vibram outsole offers you excellent traction and a bit of protection for your feet, preventing scrapes and injuries on rocky, rugged terrain. However, the design of the sole is minimalist, so they won't interfere with your natural "barefoot" running form.
The shoes are made to be worn with or without socks, and they're fully machine-washable. They're a beautifully long-lasting pair of trail runners, but made with lightweight materials that won't drag on your feet. All in all, an amazing choice for minimalists and trail runners—one that's also 100% vegan-friendly!
Features: Built with Vibram rubber for the outsole and a breathable mesh-and-thermoplastic polyurethane upper, these shoes are ideal for minimalists who want comfort as well as protection from the elements. There is no heel-drop or cushioning in the shoes, encouraging the most natural stride possible.
The lacing system is simple but grips your feel tightly, ensuring you're always securely in your shoes whether you run in socks or barefoot. The antimicrobial agents used in the footliner will reduce odors and bacteria.
On the downside, some uber-minimalists prefer their shoes with less padding than you'll get in these bad boys.
Price: Starting at $50, these shoes are a tad on the pricier side of life, but worth it if you're a minimalist planning to hit rough and rugged trails.
High quality design, highly durable, flexible, water-resistant, great traction in snowy and muddy conditions, Quicklace lacing system grips your feet tightly, and solid rubber sole feels sturdy without being too heavy.
Narrow fit and some quality control issues.
Performance: For those who want to run anywhere, anytime, these are the shoes to try. They're built with trail running in mind, but they're versatile enough to use on tracks and treadmills as well. Thanks to their durable rubber outsole, you will be as comfortable on a snowy road as on a muddy trail or a sweaty treadmill.
The shoes are fairly lightweight, but they feel solid and sturdy as you run. They offer decent cushioning and excellent support, with a stable platform that will keep you upright and running no matter how rocky or uneven the terrain.
The shoes aren't without flaws, sadly. Users have reported quality control issues: fragile inner padding, sole defects, etc. They also fit narrow, so men with wider feet will feel uncomfortable.
Features: The upper is made with an Anti-Debris textile that is also water-resistant. It's not fully waterproof, but you can run in rainy and snowy conditions without worrying about getting your feet soaked. The rubber sole is highly durable, with a design that offers great traction in snow, mud, and gravel-laden conditions.
The Quicklace lacing system is the total "plus" of these shoes. They make it easy to slip the shoes on and off, but they pull beautifully tight to keep your feet solidly in place. No slipping and sliding with these bad boys once they're laced up!
Price: Starting at a little over $70 and rising as high as $300, these are definitely on the pricier side of things. However, given their versatility, comfort, and durability, they're a shoe worth having if money is no object.
Zero-drop design, wide toe, excellent cushioning, incredibly rugged design, great for hiking as well as running, not too pricey, comfortable, feel solid on your feet, sturdy lacing system, and great support from the EVA midsole.
Wide toe box may feel too roomy for some, and these bad boys are on the heavier side.
Performance: For those who want a pair of running shoes that can handle even the roughest mountain trails, you'll love the Altra Lone Peak 3.0. Altra's latest upgrades include a highly durable upper and a solid outsole that offers superior traction on even slippery surfaces. However, the 3.0 retains the cushioning and wide toe box that made the Lone Peak 2.0 such a great choice for trail running.
The shoes are highly durable, with a heavyweight design that feels solid and rugged with every step. The cushioning feels luxurious without reducing grip and versatility on rocky trails. The solid platform—durable rubber and EVA midsole—makes each stride comfortable and stable. Thanks to the excellent support, the shoes will protect your feet from the pounding of trail running.
Features: The wide toe box is one of the most controversial features of the Lone Peak. It's a bit too wide for men with narrow feet (leading to a sloppy, slippery feel), but men with larger, wider feet will love the roominess of the shoe. The wide footbed also gives better stability when running downhills.
The shoes are terrain runners, but they are designed to be used for thru-hiking and trekking as well. The Velcro tab on the back of the shoes makes them easy to attach to gaiters, ideal for running in wet conditions. With the durable, tight-fit upper, your feet will be comfortable, secure, and well-ventilated as long as you run.
Price: At $70, these are a bit on the pricier side. However, given their durability, you'll find they will outlast most of the other trail runners on our list.
Lightweight, slim profile, stylish, excellent traction, comfortable, great fit for wide and long feet, improves balance, sturdy, good protection for your feet, breathable, cushioning to reduce joint strain, and offers good versatility.
Limited upper protection, and the sole is a bit too thick for some runners.
Performance: For those who want to run in style and comfort, look no further than these Nikes. Not only do they have a thick rubber outsole, but they have an EVA sockliner and the Zoom Air cushioning system. Together, these three things help to cushion impact and reduce wear on your joints. The rubber outsole may be a bit thick for runners who want a more responsive shoe, but it will prevent sharp edges and rocky terrain from hurting your feet.
The shoes offer neutral arch support, and they're lightweight and beautifully breathable. What the upper lacks in durability, it more than makes up for in ventilation. The slim profile makes these shoes stylish, and you'll love the supportive nature of the flyweight mesh upper.
Features: The Zoom Air cushion built into the shoes gives you more rebound with every step, plus reducing joint impact. For muddy and slippery surfaces, you'll find the lugged sticky outsole offers better wet surface traction than most trail runners.
The upper is built to hug your feet, with Flywire cables integrated into the synthetic material. The design of the shoes will prevent slipping around, improving stability and preventing blisters. With the exaggerated lugs in the outsole, you'll always be on solid footing no matter where you run.
Price: At $125, these are some VERY expensive shoes. However, given the durability and reliability of Nike's manufacturing, you can trust they'll last for a long time. If you want shoes built for experienced runners, they're worth the price.
Excellent traction, decent durability, comfortable, supportive, wonderful heel cushioning, good arch support, stable on most trails/roads, well-priced, stylish, excellent midfoot cushioning, and encourages more natural stride.
A bit narrow and reduced stability on very rocky terrain.
Performance: If you want a high-performance pair of trail running shoes at a great price, you won't find much better than these ASICS Gel shoes. Starting at $40, they're a fairly lightweight option that won't drag on you as you run long distances. However, thanks to their design, they offer durability and comfort as well.
Made with a synthetic upper and durable rubber outsoles, these shoes provide excellent traction on dusty, muddy, and gravel-covered surfaces. You'll find the platform is a bit narrow for very rocky terrain, but for the average trail, track, or treadmill, they're an excellent choice. They can be used indoors, outdoors, on the road, and up any mountain. Thanks to the thick cushions in the midfoot and heel, you'll be comfortable for hours of running.
Features: The GEL cushions built into these shoes are to die for! They reduce impact on your joints (ankles and knees), prevent heel fatigue, and encourage better pronation. With the durable rubber outsole, they're a long-lasting pair of shoes that offer amazing comfort. The reversed traction lugs built into the sole will keep you steady on the trail.
The synthetic and mesh upper is lightweight and breathable, keeping your feet cool as you run. They're not a bulky pair of trail runners, but the slim profile and simple design make them a good choice for beginner runners. And thanks to their cushioning, even heavier runners will be able to go the distance in these bad boys.
Price: Starting at $40, these are one of the best-priced trail running shoes around. They offer good durability, a steady platform, great stability and cushioning, and supreme comfort. Definitely what everyone looks for in a good pair of trail shoes!