Best Trail Shoes of 2020

RW Staff

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#1
Trail runs hold a special place in many hearts—the closeness to nature, and the beautiful views (let's not forget the vert!). We know trail runners love to have the best shoes for those experiences. So, we brought our trail crew in to give their picks on the best trail shoes of 2020. As always, it was a fiery debate.

Read our picks here.

What have been some of your favorite trail shoes? Below is the list of our categories:
  • The Best Cushioned:
  • Most Versatile:
  • Best Lightweight:
  • Best Speed:
  • Best Zero Drop:
  • Best Traction for Mud and Soft ground:

Comment below and share your thoughts!

Tyler
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RW Staff

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#4
@Bjimenezrun

Despite it not being the most cushioned trail shoe, I have found myself preferring the Topo MTN Racer for my long trail runs. Its light, well-cushioned, and my toes are happier with the wider toe-box. If you like more cushion, the Hoka One One Speedgoat is hard to beat. I just tend to prefer a wider fit around my toes.

For Mud and Softground, I like to stick with the Salomon Speedcross 5. Although its a little tighter, I feel the most comfortable running in these in wet/muddy conditions.

Tyler
RW Staff
 
#5
For me,
Best cushioned: Hoka Speedgoat. Nothing comes close, but I do wish it was wider.

Most versatile: Brooks Caldera, particularly the previous version 3 though I appreciate the extra width in the version 4. Great cushioning, durable outsole, worked well on road and trail and for backpacking. I wish they’d make the Caldera with the width and outsole pattern of the version 4 but the lower stack and lighter weight of the version 3.

Best lightweight, speed, and soft/mud traction: Salomon Sense 4 Pro. Light enough to push hard without feeling like I’m being held back but well cushioned and grippy enough to just stomp on nearly everything on the trail without worry. Lower drop and deep, spaced lugs for good grip. And in my case, the Sense 4 pro worked just fine as a 50K plus shoe. I’d like a version with harder lugs, more drop, and slightly wider but I think the Arc’Teryx Norvan LD2 fills that space.

Best zero drop: Topo Runventure 3. Durable, light, and fast feeling with a rock plate that works, without feeling sloppy.
 
#6
For me,
Best cushioned: Hoka Speedgoat. Nothing comes close, but I do wish it was wider.

Most versatile: Brooks Caldera, particularly the previous version 3 though I appreciate the extra width in the version 4. Great cushioning, durable outsole, worked well on road and trail and for backpacking. I wish they’d make the Caldera with the width and outsole pattern of the version 4 but the lower stack and lighter weight of the version 3.

Best lightweight, speed, and soft/mud traction: Salomon Sense 4 Pro. Light enough to push hard without feeling like I’m being held back but well cushioned and grippy enough to just stomp on nearly everything on the trail without worry. Lower drop and deep, spaced lugs for good grip. And in my case, the Sense 4 pro worked just fine as a 50K plus shoe. I’d like a version with harder lugs, more drop, and slightly wider but I think the Arc’Teryx Norvan LD2 fills that space.

Best zero drop: Topo Runventure 3. Durable, light, and fast feeling with a rock plate that works, without feeling sloppy.
My first run in the salomon sense 4 pro and the bottom of my feet hurt! Do the feet adapt to that kind of abuse or is it just not for everyone?
 
#7
  • The Best Cushioned: Wildhorse 6
  • Most Versatile: Terra Kiger 6
  • Best Lightweight: Salomon Sense 8
  • Best Speed: Salomon Sense 8
  • Best Traction for Mud and Soft ground: Inov-8 X-Talon 210/235
 
#8
My first run in the salomon sense 4 pro and the bottom of my feet hurt! Do the feet adapt to that kind of abuse or is it just not for everyone?
It’s hard to say, in my case I would say my feet acclimated since I’ve been running in thinner or busted shoes for months and the Sense 4 Pro felt soft to me.
 

RW Staff

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#9
@airyxi Some people do adjust especially as their feet begin to callous. But other times feet are unable to adapt/work with a certain shoe and over a long period of time leads to injury. It really depends on your body and the type of pain you are feeling. Is this the first time you have experienced this issue or have you had the same experience in other shoes? Are you noticing it on certain trails or all trails?

Tyler
RW Staff
 
#10
Most versatile for me has been the hoka torrent. Comfort is there. Good grip. Good stability. Can also pick up the pace nicely. Best cushion for me has been the topo ultraventure. I feel like I can run forever in them. Evo speedgoat is second only because the shape is less comfortable and a little less stable.
I also enjoy the challenger atr5 for buffed out trails
 

RW Admin

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#12
Most versatile for me has been the hoka torrent. Comfort is there. Good grip. Good stability. Can also pick up the pace nicely. Best cushion for me has been the topo ultraventure. I feel like I can run forever in them. Evo speedgoat is second only because the shape is less comfortable and a little less stable.
I also enjoy the challenger atr5 for buffed out trails
Thank you for the picks! The Torrent was really close to winning the most versatile category for us. I know I had a vote in for it.


Justin
RW Staff
 

RW Admin

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#13
Love the feel of the WildHorse5 but the durability is rubbish. both sets failing at +/- 250ks. Hoping the WH6 lasts better.
I had not heard that about the WildHorse 5. Was there a particular area they weren't holding up?

Let us know how the 6 performs for you.


Justin
RW Staff
 
#14
I had not heard that about the WildHorse 5. Was there a particular area they weren't holding up?

Let us know how the 6 performs for you.


Justin
RW Staff
They are failing right across the center of the forefoot. The perforations in the material are opening up. Same on both sides of the shoes.
 

RW Admin

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#15
They are failing right across the center of the forefoot. The perforations in the material are opening up. Same on both sides of the shoes.
I know you mentioned that you really enjoyed the feel. So, this may not apply. If you purchased them from us, we have a great return policy (you can view here). I know sometimes (as runners) we sacrifice durability for feel/performance, but we (RW) want to ensure you are 100% happy with anything you get from us.

Justin
RW Staff
 
#16
I know you mentioned that you really enjoyed the feel. So, this may not apply. If you purchased them from us, we have a great return policy (you can view here). I know sometimes (as runners) we sacrifice durability for feel/performance, but we (RW) want to ensure you are 100% happy with anything you get from us.

Justin
RW Staff
Thanks, i got them direct from Nike so will be returning to them. What shoes are similar to the Wildhorse that you might recomend. I run in Pegasus 36s normally (which have been awesome and no durability issues) so was looking to try the Pegasus Trail (though concerns about durability there too).
 
#17
@airyxi Some people do adjust especially as their feet begin to callous. But other times feet are unable to adapt/work with a certain shoe and over a long period of time leads to injury. It really depends on your body and the type of pain you are feeling. Is this the first time you have experienced this issue or have you had the same experience in other shoes? Are you noticing it on certain trails or all trails?

Tyler
RW Staff
Thanks for the reply Tyler, I didn’t get a notification of your response. The pain I was referring to was the bottom of the foot feeling beat up from pointy rocks or roots. I’ve been running speedgoats and rinçons for a while so quite possibly just something that needs to be worked into the rotation over time
 
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