Light Weight Trail Running Shoes

#1
Just about every lightweight trail running shoe I've loved has been discontinued and changed and most manufacturers are still leaning towards beefy shoes.

I'm looking for the following:

4-8mm drop
9oz or less per shoe
snug fit
good on mountain trails

Some favorites have included:
1. Asics Gel-Fuji Racer (maybe my favorite ever)
2. La Sportiva Helios SR
3. Salamon Sense Pro 3
 

Joe

Administrator
Staff member
#2
Trail running shoes are heavier as a category than running shoes designed for the road, thus our classification of a lightweight trail shoe is sub 10.0 oz in a US men's size 9.0 (vs sub 9.0 oz for lightweight in road models). If you can live with something slightly above your 9.0 oz criteria (although you didn't mention size which affects the overall weight), it certainly opens up quite a few more options: https://www.runningwarehouse.com/Se...PP&filter_set=MSFILTER&filter_type=Mens_Shoes

2 HOKA's to consider:

1. HOKA EVO Jawz: https://www.runningwarehouse.com/HOKA_ONE_ONE_Evo_Jawz/descpage-HOEJ1M1.html
2. HOKA Torrent 2 - one of our best sellers at 9.1 oz in a US men's size 9.0: https://www.runningwarehouse.com/Reviews/HOKA-ONE-ONE-Shoe-Reviews/hoka-one-one-torrent-2.html

Let us know if you need anything else.

Joe
 

RW Admin

Administrator
Staff member
#3
Just about every lightweight trail running shoe I've loved has been discontinued and changed and most manufacturers are still leaning towards beefy shoes.

I'm looking for the following:

4-8mm drop
9oz or less per shoe
snug fit
good on mountain trails

Some favorites have included:
1. Asics Gel-Fuji Racer (maybe my favorite ever)
2. La Sportiva Helios SR
3. Salamon Sense Pro 3
@BMSFNM,

Welcome to the TR Community!

Joe had some great recommendations with the Hoka shoes above. To add a bit of context, the EVO Jawz fits a lot of your parameters. However, it does have some pretty large lugs. So, if your mountain trails need that extra traction, that is a great option. The Torrent on the other hand is just solid across the board. It has consistently one of my favorite trail runners since it debuted. It lines up to your specifications pretty well. The only thing that may not is the fit. As some say, it has a higher volume fit. However, one of my good friends is an avid Ultrarunner with a narrow foot, and he wears the Torrent.

Below are a couple options that came up when I searched according to your parameters:
  • Salmon SLAB Sense 8
    • It is built as a more race-day shoe (which may be a good or bad thing depending on use case for you). I haven't run in the SLAB sense since the 2nd version. So, I cannot comment on experience with it.
  • Saucony Switchback 2
    • I think this one could be really interesting for what your looking for. It is in the same weight category as the Torrent (9.1) but lower to the ground. So, a solid option if you want more ground feel than Torrent.
I will note that ASICS will be rolling out a Fuji Lite 2 in June. So, that may be worth keeping in mind for future trail options. I'm not certain on the stats as we haven't been able to weigh and measure it here yet.

Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.
Thank you,


Justin
RW Staff
 
#4
@BMSFNM,

Welcome to the TR Community!

Joe had some great recommendations with the Hoka shoes above. To add a bit of context, the EVO Jawz fits a lot of your parameters. However, it does have some pretty large lugs. So, if your mountain trails need that extra traction, that is a great option. The Torrent on the other hand is just solid across the board. It has consistently one of my favorite trail runners since it debuted. It lines up to your specifications pretty well. The only thing that may not is the fit. As some say, it has a higher volume fit. However, one of my good friends is an avid Ultrarunner with a narrow foot, and he wears the Torrent.

Below are a couple options that came up when I searched according to your parameters:
  • Salmon SLAB Sense 8
    • It is built as a more race-day shoe (which may be a good or bad thing depending on use case for you). I haven't run in the SLAB sense since the 2nd version. So, I cannot comment on experience with it.
  • Saucony Switchback 2
    • I think this one could be really interesting for what your looking for. It is in the same weight category as the Torrent (9.1) but lower to the ground. So, a solid option if you want more ground feel than Torrent.
I will note that ASICS will be rolling out a Fuji Lite 2 in June. So, that may be worth keeping in mind for future trail options. I'm not certain on the stats as we haven't been able to weigh and measure it here yet.

Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.
Thank you,


Justin
RW Staff
Other than the outsole, can you explain to me why a trail shoe is necessary? I don't quite understand the advantages, other than marginal things like a little extra grip and perhaps a narrower shoe.
 

RW Admin

Administrator
Staff member
#7
To RW, but I'll take answers from anyone. It's a genuine question. I've been considering some trail shoes, but I don't see the point.
Happy to answer! We've discussed this internally quite a bit.

What I'm about to say might sounds a bit controversial, but... Trail shoes aren't strictly necessary. It depends on three things in my opinion:
  1. Terrain
  2. Goals
  3. Preferences
Terrain + Goals
If you are running on a smooth trail with little to no rocks/roots and reasonably solid ground, you are probably OK with a road shoe. However, you start to get the benefits of a trail shoe regardless of the "technical" (just meaning more challenge to the terrain based on the conditions on the trail) nature of the trail. A trail shoe becomes most beneficial when you need to tackle technical terrain. We tend to think of it as a tool to do a specific job. Examples include:
  • larger lugged trail shoes for soft/muddy terrain (increase grip)
  • steel spikes/lugs in trail shoes for snow/ice (again grip)
  • rock plates/toe guards in more technical trail shoes (to protect from rocks/roots)
  • sticky rubber to help grip on rocks/wet rocks
Those factors above help inform why goals are an essential aspect of the conversation. A properly chosen trail shoe will help you grip the ground better (even on a smooth trail), allowing for improved performance. The reduction of slipping/sliding can assist in doing speedwork/racing on the trail and/or reducing excess muscle fatigue created by needing to compensate for your lack of grip. Also, it helps keep you from biting it (falling on your face. I've come close in some road shoes... in some trail shoes too, but that was usually my fault). Finally, some construction aspects of trail shoes can help protect from injury too. Example, a rock plate can help protect against rocks harming under your foot. That protection can help keep you out on the run.

Preferences
This is a big part of running too. What do you feel good in? Some people really love their road shoes. Part of running will always be based on that "feel." I've found that can be a solid tipping point for performance. I'm no psychologist. So, I can't really comment on why people perform better with something that may not be optimal by other metrics. However, it is a component.

I hope that helps! Happy to answer further questions or expand on anything here.

Justin
RW Staff
 
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