The best trail shoes in the UK 2023

If you want to experience hiking trails in a new way or if you're an urban runner who wants to step outside your comfort zone, the call of trail running is hard to ignore. Before you get lost in the woods or head for the hills, however, you need shoes specifically designed to venture beyond the sidewalk. This guide was put together to help you find the right trail shoes for you.

Evadict Race Light 1

Editor's Choice

Evadict Race Light

The best trail shoes in 2021

If you're looking for a new pair of trail shoes, the Race Light from Evadict is a great value. The brand defines this model as a multipurpose shoe, but it is indeed a trail shoe.

72 £ on Decathlon

Evadict describes its Race Light as a versatile shoe. Let's agree on the term "versatile". Here we are talking about the ability to handle most terrains with a certain rusticity: powerful grip, reinforced construction, solid forefoot protection.

This model offers a heel-to-toe drop of 4mm and puts you on your toes. The cushioning is there, though minimal, and the mesh upper is pretty thin. The aggressive 5mm lugs cut through most terrain and really sink in on wet and dry ground. Evadict's Race Light aren't the most dynamic shoes out there, but their roll isn't violent, and their stiffness is well designed for technical terrain.

Evadict TR for women 2

Best entry-level products

Evadict TR for women

The best entry-level trail shoes

Specially designed for women, the Evadict TR is a versatile trail shoe that can be used on both asphalt and rough terrain.

32 £ on Decathlon

The Evadict TR is a versatile trail shoe in two ways. They can be worn on all terrains, but are suitable for training as well as for official competitions. Evadict has incorporated some of its innovations into its new women's TR model, such as the new CrossContact outsole, which is more durability-oriented, with lots of material, and suitable for rather compact terrain, although this configuration offers some versatility.

The lugs are not very prominent, only 4 mm. The Evadict TRs are intended for short distances, although they incorporate the new Kalensole compound (EVA foam) in their midsole; a very soft material that offers very good cushioning. The CS® system, combined with a 10mm drop, enhances the flexibility of this midsole.


Best high-end products


The best high-end trail shoes

The Gel-Fujitrabuco™ 9 have been at the heart of the Asics off-road lineup for some time. Comfortable, yet sturdy, these trail shoes have always offered good value for money, despite being one of the brand's higher-end models.

112 £ on Decathlon

Asics has always offered very compelling trail shoe models, from very high-tech to very good, functional entry/mid-range models. The Gel-Fujitrabuco™ 9 are part of Asics' very high-tech line. This ninth version features a number of changes from the previous model.

First, a number of Asics technologies make up the midsole. Its comfortable Flytefoam incorporates Gel for impact protection. The model also features the Duomax support system, which incorporates high-density foam on the medial side of the foot to slow the rate of pronation. This model has an 8mm drop with a whopping 20mm cleat height.

Salomon SENSE RIDE 4 4

Excellent products

Salomon SENSE RIDE 4

Excellent rugged trail shoes

Most trail shoe manufacturers want to create "The" versatile model that will appeal to a wide range of terrain types and foot shapes. Salomon seems to have succeeded in doing just that with their Salomon SENSE RIDE 4.

96 £ on Decathlon

In creating the SENSE RIDE 4, Salomon made a number of almost imperceptible changes to make this latest version much more versatile, but still more enjoyable in trail mode. Without sacrificing durability, Salomon switched to a single-layer mesh with the SENSE RIDE 4 and the difference in flexibility and overall comfort is immediately noticeable compared to the previous model, the SENSE RIDE 3. The upper moves better with the foot and breathes better in hot weather.

The traction on the SENSE RIDE 4 is almost identical to its predecessors. Featuring 3.5mm diamond-shaped lugs, these shoes perform surprisingly well in mud and gravel, as the lugs are optimally spaced. While the cushioning isn't very secure, the 8mm drop allows runners who hit with the forefoot to feel fairly connected to the ground. There's a ton of cushioning in the heel, which favors those who lean on their heels on descents. But the biggest improvement in these SENSE RIDE 4 trail shoes is the use of a full-length Optivibe midsole.

Buying guide • November 2023

Best trail shoes

Any specific needs?

The best trail shoes in 2021

The best entry-level trail shoes

The best high-end trail shoes

Excellent rugged trail shoes

Your guide : Samuel

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Comparison table of the best trail shoes

The best Inexpensive Top of the line Excellent
Evadict Race Light 5
Evadict TR for women 6
Salomon SENSE RIDE 4 8
Evadict Race Light
Evadict TR for women
Salomon SENSE RIDE 4
If you're looking for a new pair of trail shoes, the Race Light from Evadict is a great value. The brand defines this model as a multipurpose shoe, but it is indeed a trail shoe.
Specially designed for women, the Evadict TR is a versatile trail shoe that can be used on both asphalt and rough terrain.
The Gel-Fujitrabuco™ 9 have been at the heart of the Asics off-road lineup for some time. Comfortable, yet sturdy, these trail shoes have always offered good value for money, despite being one of the brand's higher-end models.
Most trail shoe manufacturers want to create "The" versatile model that will appeal to a wide range of terrain types and foot shapes. Salomon seems to have succeeded in doing just that with their Salomon SENSE RIDE 4.
Lightweight trail shoes
Lightweight trail shoes
Off-road trail shoes
Rugged trail shoes
4 mm
10 mm
8 mm
8 mm
Climb height
5 mm
4 mm
20 mm
3.5 mm
Materials of manufacture
Interior 75% Ethylene vinyl acetate, 25% Polyester / Exterior 60% Polyester, 35% Polyurethane, 5% Thermoplastic polyurethane / Sole 56% Synthetic rubber, 44% Ethylene vinyl acetate
Interior 85% Polyurethane, 15% Polyester / Exterior 60% Polyester, 40% Polyurethane / Sole 56% Synthetic rubber, 44% Ethylene vinyl acetate
Nylon-mesh upper and synthetic leather reinforcements / Removable EVA footbed, FLYTEFOAM™ midsole and silicone GEL / ASICS GRIP rubber outsole
100% Synthetic upper / 100% Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine sole
Weight (in size 42)
225 g
299 g
305 g
290 g

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Buying guide - trail shoes

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How to choose your trail shoes

When you're in the store looking for classic running shoes, the criteria are fairly simple: weight, stability and cushioning. There are also countless choices, helping you define exactly what you want. However, when it comes to trail running shoes, the choices can be more complicated. Beyond finding shoes with the right fit, there are a few key things to consider when choosing trail shoes.

#1 - Fit

Fit is the first consideration when buying any type of shoe. Even the most beautiful shoes in the world won't fit if they don't come in your size and don't adapt to your foot shape. And getting the right fit involves more than length and width. Feet are biomechanically complex and a good fit will also take into account factors such as arch shape, arch length, foot volume, etc.

Never assume you know your shoe size. Your feet change with age, so it is always wise to have your feet measured. Next, you need to take into account that your feet swell when you run: you will need shoes with adequate length and width in the toe area. A footwear specialist can assess the size and shape of your feet and advise you on the type and brand of trail shoes that are best for you.

#2 - Treading

The tread on trail shoes is much more aggressive than that on regular running shoes. In fact, this is one of the biggest differentiating factors between the two. When the lugs on the outsole are deeper and more widely spaced, they offer the runner better traction. This is essential if you are running on a muddy or rocky trail, or both.

That being said, deep spikes, 5 to 7 millimeters in height, tend to be quite uncomfortable if you are running on sidewalk or dirt. So, if you intend to run primarily on hard trails, look for shoes with a shorter spike. About 2 to 4 millimeters seems to be ideal. The lugs should also be closer together. On the other hand, if you intend to run on a stony or rocky trail, look for a pair of trail shoes that have the phrase "sticky rubber" in the description. This is a special rubber that provides a better grip on rock.

#3 - Cushioning

Cushioning is an important aspect of any type of shoe, especially for trail shoes. The right type of cushioning ensures comfort. Trail shoes have different types of cushioning depending on the type of running. Ideally, choosing a model with more cushioning makes sense if you plan to use the same shoes for trails and roads. Hard-packed trails and routine long runs also steer most runners toward cushioned shoes. If you're heavier or suffer from joint or knee pain, also opt for a pair of trail shoes with more cushioning, as they'll do a good job of reducing impact.

Trail shoes with less cushioning are ideal if you're running on softer, smoother trails, mostly for shorter distances, or if you simply prefer agile shoes that offer a grounded feel. If you're someone who doesn't do half measures, there are also barefoot shoes. These are built with zero drop and zero cushioning, providing only a thin layer of rubber for protection and traction.

#4 - Heel-to-toe drop

Heel-to-toe drop, sometimes simply called "drop," measures how high the heel of the shoe is relative to the toes. A running shoe drops about 10 to 12 mm from heel to toe. This provides more than enough cushioning in the heel, making it ideal for runners who tend to heel strike. Heel strike is when you land on your heels first when you run.

If the drop is lower, the shoe will favor midfoot striking. This could cause problems for natural heel strikers. A midfoot strike is a low impact stride that uses your foot's ability to absorb shock. Note that if the drop goes even lower, i.e. between 0 and 4 millimeters, then your Achilles tendon will have to work harder. There are those who prefer this configuration, but a beginner will need time to adapt, especially on the downhill.

#5 - Waterproofing

Some trail shoes are waterproof. This is a bit misleading. Each shoe has a giant hole in the top (for your foot!). Water can still get in. But that shouldn't stop you from considering this feature. There will be many times when you walk through shallow puddles. Ideally, waterproof shoes are perfect if you live in a cold or wet area where it is constantly snowing or raining. In all other situations, these waterproof features may not be necessary.

Waterproof membranes, even if labeled "breathable," greatly reduce ventilation. So if you live in a hot, dry climate, opt for breathable, quick-drying mesh shoes. Note that if water manages to get into a waterproof shoe, some of it will remain trapped inside the membrane. If this happens often enough to be a problem, consider adding gaiters. This will prevent water or snow from seeping through the collar of the shoe.

What is the difference between running shoes and trail shoes?

There are several key differences between running shoes and trail shoes, running on the road is a completely different experience than running off-road. On the road, on a generally smooth, hard and uniform surface, running movements are repetitive and consistent. Whereas the softer, uneven and changing terrain characteristic of hiking trails forces the body to constantly react to changes underfoot and forces the muscles to work differently with each step.

Because of the differences in terrain, brands develop and design different shoes for road running and trail running, each built to meet the demands of a particular surface.

Unique demands

Your running style is overall your "gait." Simply put, your upper and lower body work together to take you from your left foot to your right foot in a cyclical, rhythmic motion. Running is a high-impact activity and running on hard, even surfaces like asphalt puts more pressure on weight-bearing joints such as the knee, hip or ankle than running on softer surfaces. Therefore, running shoes often incorporate shock-absorbing technologies and support features to reduce impact.

With trail running, it's a different story! It's all about finding shoes that best fit the unpredictable terrain you'll be running on and that best meet the grip, traction, cushioning and underfoot protection requirements for that terrain. Most off-road shoes are neutral and are designed to be very flexible so that your feet can adapt to the terrain efficiently. The levels of support provided by different models vary depending on the construction of the upper and midsole.

Differences in the midsole

The midsole is the part between the outsole and the insole of the shoe. This is where the cushioning comes from: the type of foam used will dictate the amount of cushioning and stability a shoe will provide. Running shoes are generally more cushioned than trail shoes because they are designed for hard surfaces.

In most running, hiking and trail shoes, the thickness of the midsole is different from heel to toe (thicker at the heel end and thinner at the toe end). This is what we call "heel-to-toe drop". In running shoes, this drop is usually higher to protect your ankle and legs from the impact of the pavement.

In trail shoes, it is usually lower (keeping you lower to the ground) to provide better ankle stability and improve proprioception. With good proprioception comes increased responsiveness and grip on uneven surfaces. Running off-road requires a lot of confidence in your shoes, but if you can increase the feel of where your foot lands, then you'll have much better balance.

The different types of trail shoes

Trail shoes fall into three main categories: lightweight trail shoes, rugged trail shoes and off-trail shoes.

Lightweight trail shoes

Lightweight trail shoes are designed for relatively even surfaces. Think fire roads, gravel roads and rolling hills. These shoes will be the closest in weight and design to road running shoes. Here are the main features of this type of trail shoe:

  • Moderate protection from rocks and roots,
  • Lightweight designs make it easy to maintain a steady pace,
  • Moderately stiff cushioning that promotes stable foot placement,
  • Shallow lugged soles that provide traction on compacted ground,
  • In some shoes: sufficient cushioning in the midsole that allows you to run comfortably,
  • In others: minimal midsole cushioning that allows you to feel more in contact with the track.

Heavy-duty trail shoes

Rugged trail shoes are primarily designed for those who like to run on rougher trails like an abandoned mine. Thus, this category covers a wider spectrum of terrain. Here are the main features of this type of trail shoes:

  • Forefoot toe guards and hidden underfoot plates for protection from roots and rocks,
  • Rugged materials and linings for protection against brush and thorns,
  • Resilient midsole cushioning to absorb steps on steep descents and hard landings on rocky terrain,
  • Supportive shank and rigid construction to stabilize feet on laces and unstable surfaces; some models also include internal shanks, which add rigidity to midsoles,
  • Various lug patterns that provide grip and stopping power at any angle,
  • Thick, multi-directional lugged soles provide excellent traction on soft and muddy ground,
  • Soft, grippy rubber that resists slipping on wet stone or wood surfaces or harder, less grippy rubber that offers greater durability.

Off-road shoes

If you plan to run where no one has set foot before, off-trail shoes are for you. Off-trail shoes offer all the features listed above for rugged trail shoes, with a few enhancements:

  • The materials will be stronger: you can have polyurethane foam midsoles, for example, rather than the EVA foam midsoles found in most rugged trail shoes.
  • The structure will be stronger to provide greater "torsional rigidity," meaning a shoe is less likely to give way when a significant torsional force is applied.
  • Your route may take you across streams and bogs and expose you to extreme weather conditions, so you'll find more waterproof shoes in this category.

Hiking shoes or trail shoes

Hiking shoes

Hiking boots are a modern style of hiking boots, but with a lower cut at the ankle. In general, they offer as much stiffness and support underfoot as hiking boots, but without the bulky feel. The generally rugged construction, often made of durable leather or nylon, is designed to withstand mile after mile on the trail while offering good protection from obstacles like roots and rocks. Many hiking boots are also available in waterproof versions, but keep in mind that a low boot (as opposed to a mid-high boot) is inherently more vulnerable to water entry through the ankle opening.

Trail shoes

Trail shoes are a style of shoe used by runners frequenting, you guessed it, rough trails. They are designed to allow for light, springy movement, but with the added protection, support and traction needed for off-road travel. But trail shoes aren't just used by runners anymore. In recent years, they've been adopted by seasoned hikers and even recreational hikers who like to travel fast and light. Some shoes in this category are primarily running shoes, while others are designed specifically for fast and light hiking. Like hiking boots, some trail shoes are also available in waterproof models.


There are certainly many factors to consider when deciding between hiking boots and trail shoes. But generally speaking, hiking boots offer a good balance of support, water protection and durability. You may like hiking boots if you like the durability offered by hiking boots and still want waterproof footwear, but prefer something lighter and don't care about ankle support. Trail shoes are perfect for those who value comfort and lightness. Among long-distance hikers and short-distance trail runners, trail shoes tend to be the most popular choice.

Why buy good trail shoes?

For improved traction

Trail shoes are designed for better traction when you're off-road. Companies improve traction in different ways. Some shoes use stickier rubber to improve your grip on rocks, wet logs and other slippery surfaces, while other shoes use different tread patterns. However, many trail running shoes have deeper rubber lugs on the outsole to dig into soft dirt and mud. Regardless of the type of traction, trail shoes make tight turns easier and help you feel more secure.

For added protection

Rocks and roots can wreak havoc on your feet and damage your shoes, so trail shoes include protective linings in the upper to minimize the impact of blows and reduce the risk of tearing soles. Some trail shoes also incorporate a rock plate, which is a thin piece of plastic or carbon fiber sandwiched in the midsole to prevent sharp rocks from entering the bottom of the shoe. If the trails you regularly hike are rocky, consider shoes with this feature.

For a comfortable fit

Your trail shoes should fit the same as your road running shoes, which means they should be comfortable yet sturdy. A snug fit around the midfoot is essential to keep your shoes in place on rough terrain, while a wider forefoot allows your toes to breathe well, especially on climbs and descents. If your shoes are uncomfortable when you have a chance to try them on in a store, they will be uncomfortable when you run. Modern running shoes, whether road or trail, don't need a break-in period to fit properly. They should work for you right out of the box.

For more support and stability

Some traditional running shoes, those designed for overpronators, have a stability feature built into the midsole to straighten out a runner's stroke. But trail shoes offer stability to all runners, whether they are neutrals or overpronators. This is a different kind of stability. The stability in trail shoes comes from stronger materials on the upper that really aim to secure your foot and keep it from slipping too much. That, coupled with what is often a more secure fit in the heel that expands to a wider toe area, provides stability in the shoe.

For more durability

Running shoes are designed to last a long time, but excessive wear and tear from rough trails will significantly reduce their lifespan. Trail shoes are designed to withstand off-road and off-road obstacles. Added heel and toe reinforcements protect the mesh upper from abrasion, and improved drainage allows your shoes to dry out faster after crossing streams or splashing in puddles.

The best brands of trail shoes

In our opinion, the best brands of trail shoes in 2022 are :

Hoka One One

Formerly Kelinji, Evadict is a brand of trail, hiking and running shoes, affiliated with Decathlon. The brand offers a wide catalog of entry/mid-range models incorporating the latest technologies in the industry.

Salomon is a French company founded in 1947 in Annecy, Haute-Savoie. It is specialized in sports and leisure articles. It is the undisputed leader in the trail shoes market. The brand is known for the extreme durability of its shoes.

ASICS is a Japanese manufacturer of sports equipment founded in 1949. Its ranges of trail shoes leave no athlete indifferent. Its catalog includes comfortable and very high quality shoes.

Inov-8 is a brand of shoes, clothing and equipment for committed trail and off-road runners. Since its inception in 2003 by Wayne Edy, Inov-8 has distinguished itself by becoming a grip specialist, offering trail shoes that offer great stability and support.

Hoka One One is a French company specializing in running shoes, whether it's running, hiking or trail running. Wearing HOKA offers a feeling unlike any other. Its shoes feature enhanced cushioning and a meticulously designed midsole to provide you with a fluid stride.

What is the price trail shoes

The diagram below will help you to get an idea of the typical prices for each price range (entry-level, mid-range and high-end).

However, more expensive does not necessarily mean better.

We therefore advise you to always consult our ranking before deciding, rather than blindly relying on price ranges.

30 £ to 70 £
70 £ to 120 £
more than 120 £
Price range diagram


Clean your trail shoes right away after a session

Washing your trail shoes is not only a question of aesthetics. It's also a matter of hygiene and durability. If your trail shoes are really dirty, remove the mud and dirt as quickly as possible by rinsing them with water. It's easier to clean off mud while it's still fresh.

Range your trail shoes

If you don't plan to use your trail shoes for several months, rinse them off and let them dry completely. Remove the insole from each shoe and store them in an area with good air circulation, away from moisture and sunlight. Do not put them in a plastic bag or sealed box. Also keep them out of closets, drawers or poorly ventilated gym bags.

Lace your trail shoes properly

For wide feet, simply cross the laces at the beginning and keep them on the same side between the second and third holes. This allows your foot to have more room. However, if you have a narrow foot, you need to form a lock to hold it more firmly. So, you need to cross the lace first and keep it on the same side from the second and third.

Lace your shoes again after 30 minutes of trail running

When you run, your feet swell after only a few minutes. The reason is that the blood circulation increases. Your feet will expand and that's why you need to retie your laces. This way, your feet will feel comfortable inside your trail shoes.

Take it easy with your new trail shoes

Building a new habit takes time, and running in new shoes is no exception. One of the most common mistakes new runners make is trying to do too much too fast, and that's understandable given the excitement that usually accompanies the creation of fitness-related goals. Don't fall into this trap and build a sustainable running routine by doing a little less first to get used to your new shoes.


What trail shoes to choose if you are a woman?

Just like choosing running shoes or hiking boots, choosing the best trail shoes for women is a very subjective decision. However, there are a few objective selection criteria that apply for both men and women. If you're new to trail running, the easiest place to start is probably to find a trail shoe in the brand you prefer.

What trail shoes for heavy runners?

Generally, runners are considered "heavy" if they have a BMI over 25 or weigh more than 200 pounds. Weight affects runners in different ways. That's why heavy runners need to think more about arch support, overpronation, and fit when choosing trail shoes.

Why should I clean my trail shoes?

Cleaning your trail shoes (like all your sneakers) is an important part of caring for your gear so it lasts longer. For example, dried mud forms a crust that makes the outer material stiff. This accelerates the wear of the material. Dirt will also penetrate the fibers of the material, causing mechanical wear.

What is heel to toe drop?

This is the difference in height between your heel and forefoot in the shoe. It is normally measured in millimeters and is determined by the combined height of the insole, midsole and outsole under the heel and forefoot. For example, for a heel that is 19 mm high and a forefoot that is 10 mm high, the drop will be 9 mm.


Note: Below are some of the sources we have consulted in writing this article. Links to other sites are not continuously updated. It is therefore possible that a link may not be found. Please use a search engine to find the desired information.
  1. How to choose your trail shoes the ultimate file,
  2. How to choose your trail running shoes?,
  3. How to choose trail shoes?,
  4. Hoka One One: which shoe model to choose?,
  5. Trail Shoe Buyer's Guide,
  6. How to Choose the Best Trail Running Shoes For You,
  7. Trail Running Shoes Buying Guide,
  8. How to Choose Running Shoes | Running Shoe Fit Guide 2021,
  9. 10 Best Trail Running Shoes for Women of 2021 - CleverHiker,
  10. Best Running Shoes for Big & Heavier Men | 2021 Buying Guide,
  11. Chaussure Trail | More than 250 Pairs of Shoes from ....,
  12. Shoes | Trail | INTERSPORT,
  13. Cheap trail shoes up to 40% off on Ekosport,
  14. Trail shoes for men | Alltricks,
  15. Trail shoes - buy cheap - GO Sport,
  16. Best Trail Running Shoes 2021,
  17. Best Trail Running Shoes 2021 the Top 10!,
  18. Men's trail shoes :,
  19. Trail Running Shoes | Men & Women | Decathlon,
  20. Trail shoes for men and women - Chullanka,
  21. Trail Running Shoes | Scott,
  22. Trail shoes purchase men's and women's trail shoes ...,
  23. Best Trail Shoes 2021 - Test and Compare,
  24. Men's Trail Shoes - Trail Sneakers | INTERSPORT,
  25. Men's Nordic Walking Trail Shoes ....,
  26. Men's Trail Running & Running Shoes | La Sportiva®,
  27. Best Trail Shoes 2021 : the top 11 to do ...,
  28. Men's Trail Running Shoes | Decathlon,
  29. Men's Trail Shoes - buy cheap - GO Sport,
  30. Men's Trail Running Shoes | Salomon,
  31. Trail Shoes - Raidlight,
See more


March 2022 : Translation of this buying guide from our partner

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Our selection
Evadict Race Light 9
Evadict Race Light
Evadict TR for women 10
Evadict TR for women
Salomon SENSE RIDE 4 12
Salomon SENSE RIDE 4


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