As the days get warmer, many runners will ditch the hot city pavement for a path less paved. But before you venture out into the backcountry, make sure you're prepared for what lies ahead. You'll need a pair of trail running sneakers that are well-protected, with an outsole that can grip the grain, yet are lightweight and supportive enough to keep your feet comfortable.
With trail running increasing in popularity, there are a lot of different off-road sneaker options to choose, from a variety of different brands. To help you find the right pair, and to help get you out on the trail faster, we've put together the following list of The 10 Best Trail Sneakers Available This Spring.
No. 10 - Saucony Xodus 3
There's an upgraded version of the Saucony Xodus slated to drop later this summer, but until then, the current Xodus 3 will do just fine. The lightweight trail runner features a Vibram Trek outsole designed to rip through virtually any type of off-road terrain. The shoe's open mesh construction on the upper offers proper ventilation, while the full-length ProGrid Lite provides responsive cushioning.
No. 9 - Vivobarefoot Neo Trail
For minimalist trail runners, there are few options out there better than the Vivobarefoot Neo Trail. The water-resistant Neo Trail features a low-profile design that hugs the ground for a smooth ride, even on uneven terrain. The shoe's upper is incredibly lightweight and flexible, and the lugged rubber outsole can handle mild-to-moderate off-road terrain.
No. 8 - adidas Response Trail Rerun
The latest trail runner from adidas blends retro style with off-road technology to create a shoe that is ready for anything. With a lightweight air mesh upper for max breathability, the Response Trail offers a comfortable ride even during intense heat. Adiprene+ in the forefoot provides impact resistance from trail debris, and the shoe’s Torsion System offers the stability needed to conquer uneven terrain.
No. 7 - Asics Gel-Fuji Trainer 2
Some of you were probably expecting to see the Asics GT-2000 Trail on the list, but there's another Asics trail running shoe that has caught our attention: the Gel-Fuji Trainer 2. At just over 9 ounces, the Fuji Trainer 2 is one of the lightest options currently on the market. It features Gel inserts in the heel for shock absorption. While a Solyte midsole provides lightweight support on the trail. The shoe features an open mesh upper for breathability, and an anti-gravel tongue to keep debris out.
No. 6 - Mizuno Wave Ascend 7
Mizuno is set to welcome in the newest member of the Wave Ascend series in July, but make no mistake about it—the Ascend 7 can hold its own with the best of them. The Ascend 7 is designed for runners with moderate over pronation. It offers incredible responsiveness thanks to the Wave technology in the midsole. A rugged outsole pattern provides solid traction on loose terrain.
No. 5 - La Sportiva Ultra Raptor
With a sticky FriXion DF rubber outsole leading the way, the Ultra Raptor is a trail runner with the soul of a climbing shoe. The shoe is reinforced in all the right places, including the wrap-around toe bumper on the forefoot, and the compressed EVA Rock Guard for maximum protection against debris. It features an AirMesh construction on the upper for breathability, and a TPU Lacing Harness for support.
No. 4 - Brooks Cascadia 8
When the terrain gets difficult, strap on a pair of the Brooks Cascadia 8. The neutral trail running shoe offers the perfect mix of support and protection on the trail. A Brooks DNA midsole and Caterpillar Crash Pad combine to keep the foot comfortable, and safe from loose gravel and other debris.
No. 3 - New Balance Leadville 1210
When you need to go the distance—and that distance is packed with rugged, off-road terrain—the New Balance Leadville 1210 is the one you want. With N2 cushioning, a REVlite midsole, and a Vibram outsole, the Leadville features everything you'll need to conquer the beaten path. The shoe features an 8mm heel-to-toe drop, along with a medial post on inside edge of shoe to help prevent over pronation.
No. 2 - Saucony Peregrine 3
The latest iteration of the Peregrine series is back this Spring, and it looks better than ever. With a redesigned FlexFilm upper leading the way, the Peregrine 3 has been upgraded to be more sleek, lightweight, and provide that seamless fit that runners crave. The shoe’s 4mm offset offers a low-to-the-ground ride that has somewhat of a minimalist feel to it.
No. 1 - Brooks Adrenaline GTX
We, here at Sneaker Report, have a soft spot for the Adrenaline GTX. And if you've ever had the liberty of running in this do-it-all sneaker from Brooks, then you know exactly why. The Gore-Tex upper gives the shoe all-weather capability, without restricting its breathability. The shoe's outsole can handle the toughest of terrains, yet is versatile enough to hit the road as well.
Gurvinder Singh Gandu is a New York City-based writer with West Coast roots. A resident wear-tester for Sneaker Report, and contributor to Complex Media, follow him @GurvinderSG for the latest in performance footwear and gear.