Image via Running Warehouse
Image via Running Warehouse

No. 10 – New Balance 980 Trail

Key trail feature: Trail-specific outsole
Rugged factor: 2 out of 5
TV/Film character they'll make you feel like: All four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Bring a little color to the trails with the New Balance 980. This specially designed trail version of their 980 model features a redesigned outsole with jagged lugs that will really help you dig in. Up top, it’s built with the same comfortable no-sew Air Mesh upper and bouncy Fresh Foam cushioning. These are a smart choice for runners who are new to the trails and want just the right amount of traction without all the extras.

$100

Image via Running Warehouse
Image via Running Warehouse

No. 9 – The North Face Ultra Equity

Key trail feature: FlashDry upper
Rugged factor:
3 out of 5
TV/Film character they'll make you feel like: '70s era Batman

The North Face is best known for their jackets and gear, but don’t make the mistake of sleeping on their shoes. The Ultra Equity is built for harsh conditions from top to bottom, starting with a FlashDry upper that will dry off quickly in the event you get stuck in rain or hit an unexpected puddle. Down low, a triple-density EVA midsole is paired a Vibram outsole for traction on the most stubborn of surfaces.

$115

Image via Running Warehouse
Image via Running Warehouse

No. 8 – Asics Gel Fuji Trainer 3

Key trail feature: Anti Gravel Tongue
Rugged factor:
3 out of 5
TV/Film character they'll make you feel like: Dan Marino from Ace Ventura

For neutral runners seeking a minimal feel, the Asics Gel Fuji Trainer 3 has enough durability to keep you protected without holding you back. The open mesh upper is held together by the lacing system and overlays that wrap the entire foot for support, and an Anti Gravel Tongue has been implemented to keep debris away from the foot. The SoLyte Gel-cushioned midsole has been tweaked for extra durability and comfort on rugged terrain, while the Asics High Abrasion Rubber outsole features lugs for both uphill and downhill traction.

$80

Image via Running Warehouse
Image via Running Warehouse

No. 7 – Mizuno Wave Hayate

Key trail feature: Active X outsole
Rugged factor:
3 out of 5
TV/Film character they'll make you feel like: LT Pete "Maverick" Mitchell

The Mizuno Wave Hayate puts an emphasis on speed, taking its name from a famous Japanese fighter plane. It’s incredibly light at just 8.9 ounces, but it’s not a minimal shoe by any means. The Wave Hayate is decked out in performance tech, including Wave cushioning, a U4ic midsole, and an Active X outsole with durable X10 rubber. The outsole’s specially shaped lugs will handle just about any terrain you throw at it, and it also features Wet Traction tech for improved grip on slippery surfaces.

$80

Image via Running Warehouse
Image via Running Warehouse

No. 6 – Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 2

Key trail feature: Trail-specific outsole
Rugged factor: 3 out of 5
TV/Film character they'll make you feel like: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Neutral runners will benefit from the responsive feel of the Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 2, which lets its aggressive outsole lugs do the talking. The cross-country inspired traction pattern is sure to stand up against a variety of terrains, and the center of the forefoot uses a sticky rubber layer for extra grip in wet conditions. Elsewhere, Flywire cables provide a supportive and customizable fit on the green-friendly recycled upper.

$125

Image via Running Warehouse
Image via Running Warehouse

No. 5 – Scott Trail Rocket

Key trail feature: Wet Traction Rubber outsole
Rugged factor: 3 out of 5
TV/Film character they'll make you feel like: The Grinch

If you’re looking to try something new, look no further than the Scott Trail Rocket. The brand specializes in biking footwear, so it’s safe to say they know a thing or two about performance and traction. The Trail Rocket’s upper is built with closed mesh, allowing the shoe to remain breathable while keeping dirt, rocks, and other debris from getting inside. Elsewhere, the high abrasion outsole is composed of Wet Traction rubber so you won’t lose your footing even when it’s damp out.

$130

Image via Running Warehouse
Image via Running Warehouse

No. 4 – Hoka Rapa Nui 2 Trail

Key trail feature: Trail-specific outsole
Rugged factor:
3 out of 5
TV/Film character they'll make you feel like: RoboCop

Runners who need a little more support should consider the Hoka Rapa Nui 2 Trail. The chunky EVA midsole is matched with Balanced Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry, which essentially means your stride will be cushioned and as natural as possible. Down low, a specially designed trail outsole uses multidirectional lugs and high-abrasion rubber to ensure that the Rapa Nui 2 Trail will hold up against serious wear no matter wear you take ‘em.

$130

Image via Running Warehouse
Image via Running Warehouse

No. 3 – La Sportiva Bushido

Key trail feature: Impact Brake System
Rugged factor: 4 out of 5
TV/Film character they'll make you feel like: The Bride from Kill Bill

If you need something a little more equipped, the La Sportiva Bushido will get the job done. The air mesh upper features a stretchy tongue that covers the inside of the shoe, keeping debris at bay. At the front of the Bushido, a sturdy TPU Toe Cap keeps your toes safe so you won’t have to worry about what’s in your path and can keep it moving. The midsole uses Dual Density Rock Guard EVA to further protect against hazards, and the sticky FriXion XT outsole utilizes Impact Brake System Tech for a combination of cushion and traction.

$125

Image via Dick's Sporting Goods
Image via Dick's Sporting Goods

No. 2 – Under Armour Tough Mudder FTHR Shield

Key trail feature: Storm upper
Rugged factor: 4 out of 5
TV/Film character they'll make you feel like: The villain from every '90s horror flick

This UA runner was designed with Tough Mudder in mind, which makes it one of the most rugged trail running options around. You don’t have to enter the treacherous competition to get the most out of these, although it’s a great way to get the most bang for your buck. On the trail, these will tear through obstacles thanks to a mountain bike inspired outsole pattern and a water-resistant Storm upper. The only question is, are you tough enough to handle them?

$120

Image via Running Warehouse
Image via Running Warehouse

No. 1 – Salomon S-Lab XT 6

Key trail feature: Contragrip outsole
Rugged factor: 5 out of 5
TV/Film character they'll make you feel like: Darth F'n Maul

When you’re faced with an especially challenging trail or adverse weather, break out the Salomon S-Lab XT 6. These beasts are equipped to go just about anywhere your feet can take them, powering through soft ground surfaces with ease. The upper uses Anti-Debris Mesh and a water repellent treatment to keep things clean and dry inside, while a protective rubber toe cap guards your most vulnerable area. But the real star of the Salomon S-Lab XT 6 is its outsole, which is ready to take on everything from mud to snow thanks to its Contragrip outsole. Whether you reside in an area with crappy weather or you just want to push it to the limit this fall, the Salomon S-Lab XT 6 is the top choice for trail runners.

$170

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