Trail running shoes continue to evolve as more research is done on what runners need and want out of their shoes. And nowadays, they’re even more impressive than their early predecessors, offering better upper comfort and security, lighter weights, more energetic rides, all-terrain traction and smoothers runs. Like any good trail runner, we know that having a handful at your disposal for all kinds of conditions is pretty important. This year, we began testing a few of the latest offerings on the market and found five standouts to add to your shoe closet. Here are a few trail running kicks that we’re loving right now:
Salomon XA Elevate
Weight: 10.4 oz. (US 9M); 9 oz. (US 7W)
Stack Height: 25mm/17mm (8mm drop)
Price: $130; available now
The Salomon XA Elevate excels at the extremes and is the most versatile of the shoes tested. It is stable, secure and highly-protective when terrains force more hiking than running. However, it also excels on smoother, flatter trails and could even be used on the road. The dual density midsole with substantial rock protection is on the firm side, but not excessively so. The shoe is also responsive and smooth when running on moderate terrain, and its outsole and 5mm lugs provide reliable traction on all surfaces. The upper with new internal underlays is comfortable, secure and well-padded with a moderately-narrow fit and a somewhat lower volume than others on the list.