The Best Trail-Running Shoes Of 2024

Best Trail-Running Shoes Of 2024: Jump Menu

Close-up of shoes of trail runner

(Image credit: SrdjanPav / Getty Images)

1. The Quick List ↴
2. Best all-rounder: Saucony Xodus Ultra 2
3. Best waterproof shoe: Saucony Peregrine 13 GTX
4. Best for the mud: Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed
5. Best for road-to-trail: Inov-8 Parkclaw G 280
6. Best value: Evadict MT Cushion 2
7. Best for racing: Asics Fujispeed 2
8. Best for ultra-marathons: Hoka Speedgoat 5
9. Buying advice

Trail running is an appealing proposition for most runners, especially those who have to dodge hordes of people on polluted city streets. 

It’s a chance to get away from it all, forget about your split times and enjoy being surrounded by nature. Taking to the trails opens up a different side of running compared with pounding city pavements.

However, to really enjoy these runs, you need the right kind of footwear. All the fun of trail running disappears when you’re slipping on mud or you turn your ankle several miles from your car.

Below are great options to suit every kind of trail runner, and advice on things to think about to make sure you get the right shoes for you. If you’re an old hand looking for new kicks, use the quick links to jump straight into my recommendations of the best trail-running shoes.

How I Test

You can trust Coach We give honest reviews and recommendations based on in-depth knowledge and real-world experience. Find out more about how we review and recommend products.

Nick Harris-Fry
Nick Harris-Fry

I am Coach’s main trail-running shoe tester and write almost all the running shoe reviews on the site. I run 70-110km a week and have PRs of 15min 30sec for 5K and 2hr 28min for the marathon.


Although I primarily target road events, I do a lot of trail running during my training. For the most part I run on well-kept but muddy forest trails, but I also spend many winter weekends plowing through mud for cross-country events. Trips to see family in Scotland and the Forest of Bowland occasionally allow for more intense trail shoe testing on fells and (small) mountains, but living in the south of England it’s hard to recreate the mountain tracks some trail shoes are designed for. 


While all the shoes in this round-up have been tested extensively, some don’t have my own photos or a standalone review. Coach now publishes full reviews of trail-running shoes, so in time all our featured recommendations will have more detail about my experience with them. I aim to run at least 50km in each shoe I review, and test trail-running shoes on a range of terrains on runs of varied lengths to see how the grip holds up and how comfortable the shoe is.

The Quick List

In the full list below you’ll find multiple recommendations for different terrains and types of trail-running, but first here are my top picks in various categories. Click through to get more details on each shoe.

The Best Trail-Running Shoes

Best All-Rounder

Saucony Xodus Ultra 2

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fru Future)
Best all-rounder

Specifications

RRP: $150 / £145
Weight: 10.5oz / 298g (UK 9)
Stack: 32.5mm heel, 26.5mm forefoot
Drop: 6mm

Reasons to buy

+
Bouncy, comfortable midsole
+
All-terrain grip
+
Light for this level of cushioning

Reasons to avoid

-
Lighter, speedier options available
-
Not the best in thick mud

The Xodus Ultra 2 uses a mix of Saucony’s foams in its midsole to create a stable but lively ride that’s comfortable for long-distance cruising on the trails while still bouncy and speedy enough for faster runs. A firmer PWRRUN foam frame surrounds a springy PWRRUN PB core to create the versatile ride of this shoe that protects the legs well without being bulky.

While the outsole can lose traction if running in deep mud, the shoe has handled every other terrain I’ve tested it on well, and it’s not uncomfortable or prone to slipping when on the road. The shoe also has a secure fit that means you can tackle trickier trails confidently without your foot moving about, and a debris shield that runs around the shoe keeps dust and small rocks at bay.

Read more in my Saucony Xodus Ultra 2 review


Best Waterproof Trail Shoe

Saucony Peregrine 13 GTX

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)
Comfortable all-rounder with a waterproof upper

Specifications

RRP: $160 / £140
Weight: 10.8oz / 308g (UK 9)
Stack : 28mm heel, 24mm forefoot
Drop: 4mm

Reasons to buy

+
Waterproof upper
+
Excellent grip
+
Fairly light

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavier than standard Peregrine
-
Can get a little hot

I’ve tested and enjoyed using several generations of the Peregrine, and the Peregrine 12 and 13 stand out because they’re lighter than their predecessors and have more cushioning. For the 13th edition I tested the Gore-Tex version of the shoe, which has a waterproof upper that brings obvious benefits when running in wet and cold conditions. The trade-off is that the Peregrine 13 GTX is heavier than the standard Peregrine, and gets a little hotter on warm days. It also costs $20/£10 more.

It’s still a pretty light shoe though, especially considering the Gore-Tex liner and 5mm lugs on the outsole, and I enjoyed using the Peregrine 13 GTX for easy and fast runs alike. The outsole also grips better in the mud than most all-round trail shoes, and the 13th edition has been tweaked slightly to run smoother and be more comfortable on the road. 

Read more in my Saucony Peregrine 13 GTX review

Best Trail-Running Shoe For The Mud

Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed running shoes on grass

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)
Best for the mud

Specifications

RRP: $140 / £130
Weight: 9oz / 257g (UK 9) Stack: 26mm heel, 22mm forefoot
Drop: 4mm

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent grip on soft ground
+
Light design that drains well
+
Sheds mud well

Reasons to avoid

-
Not that comfortable on hard ground
-
Other shoes are more versatile

The Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed combines features from two of the brand’s other lines—the lightweight X-Talon and the more protective Mudclaw—to create a shoe that’s nimble and quick for fast running on soft ground, but which has enough cushioning underfoot for spells on harder trails and longer runs. 

I loved using it for a hilly five-mile XC race on a mix of mud and frozen grass. I’ve also enjoyed using it for longer easy training runs on soft ground, which I wouldn’t do with the lighter X-Talon shoe because of its lack of cushioning underfoot. The Mudtalon Speed is a versatile soft ground option, even if it’s not an all-rounder shoe since it’s not that comfortable for long spells on harder tracks.

Read more in my Inov-8 Mudtalon Speed review


Adidas Terrex Speed SG Pro

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)

Adidas Terrex Speed SG

A lightweight option for soft ground

Specifications

RRP: £140 (UK only)
Weight: 8.1oz / 231g (UK 9)
Stack: Not given
Drop: 4mm

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight
+
Upper drains rapidly
+
Great grip on mud and fells

Reasons to avoid

-
Firm ride on harder ground

The SG in the name of these shoes stands for soft ground, and the 7mm chevron-shaped lugs provide exceptional grip on muddy terrain as well as on steep, slick hills. The shoe also lives up to the Speed in its name thanks to its low weight, and I’ve found it a great option for the XC season, tackling 8km and 16km races in it.

While the midsole cushioning is thin, and firmer than you’ll find elsewhere, the Terrex Speed SG is not uncomfortable over long distances—as long as you’re sticking to mostly soft ground overall. I did a 27km run in the Pentlands in Scotland that contained plenty of harder sections and the shoe protected my legs well, while gripping like a champ on both muddy hills and icy paths. 


Best For Road To Trail

Yellow Inov-8 Parkclaw G 280 trail-running shoe on grass

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)

Inov-8 Parkclaw G 280

Best for road to trail

Specifications

RRP: $180 / £160
Weight: 10.9oz / 309g (UK 9)
Stack: 18mm heel, 10mm forefoot
Drop: 8mm

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable on the road
+
Better grip than other road-to-trail shoes

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than alternatives

The Parkclaw G 280 does not look like a typical road-to-trail shoe: it doesn’t have a huge stack of cushioning and the 4mm lugs look like they’d offer great grip off-road but be uncomfortable on it. However, looks can be deceiving, and I found the Parkclaw comfortable for long stretches of road running and the graphene material used for the outsole is hard-wearing, so you need have no fears about the lugs grinding down.

Inov-8 is renowned for shoes that grip well on all kinds of terrain and even though the Parkclaw is a road-to-trail shoe it offers better grip than many full trail shoes. The lugs bite into soft ground and I had no problems with traction on wet or uneven trails. Given the terrain it can handle, the Parkclaw is one of the most versatile shoes available.


Best Value Trail-Running Shoe