Trail running is all about navigating across varied terrain and getting used to running up or downhill with varying conditions underfoot. As well as providing an extra challenge, it also takes you off the beaten track where you can find spectacular sights and some incredibly rewarding runs.
Trail shoes vs.road shoes
Trail running shoes provide the support, grip and protection that you’ll need when running on softer, uneven and changeable terrain. That sort of terrain forces the body to constantly react to the changes underfoot so the muscles must work differently with every step. That’s why you need running shoes that support you.
On the road, the surface is typically smooth, hard and even. That’s why road running shoes typically have flatter, smoother and more durable soles for running on a surface that’s constant.
The different trail running shoes
At ASICS, we have trail running shoes that offer more protection and cushioning, such as our TRABUCO™ series. We also have trail running shoes that are lightweight and offer excellent flexibility, such as our FUJI ™ series. The right choice for you will depend on the type of terrain you want to take on, for example, whether its off-road tracks and paths or more challenging conditions such as mountainous and hilly areas with rocky or steep terrain.
Depending on your requirements, you should look for trail running shoes that offer:
- Grip - This is the most important attribute of a trail running shoe. It will help you cope with uneven terrain and reduce the risk of injuries.
- Protection - You need protection both on the bottom of your feet with good midsoles/rock plates and rubber. On heavier terrain, you should also look for solid upper protection with reinforcement in key areas such as the toes and the midfoot.
- Comfort - The thickness of the midsole is crucial to keep your feet comfortable and absorb the lumps and bumps when running on uneven terrain.
Which trail running shoes should I buy?
These trail running shoes boast cutting-edge features to help you navigate unpredictable surfaces and unforgiving routes. They include everything from GEL™ technology for greater comfort to extra-sized lugs on the outsole for more traction.
This rugged and very comfortable trail shoe is designed for the off-road runner who wants excellent durability, grip and protection. It’s well suited to solid and loose surface trails and features a FLYTEFOAM™ midsole for lightweight bounce, the DUOMAX™ support system to reduce stress on the foot and GEL™ technology heel cushioning.
These excellent long distance trail running shoes are extremely comfortable and provide perfect balance and stability on the trails. They deliver plenty of grip even on rocky and muddy terrain while delivering outstanding energy return so you can run at a good speed without expending too much energy for mile after mile.
If your priority is to run fast off-road, then the lightweight FUJITRABUCO SKY™ is a solid choice. It features a flexible plate underfoot so you can move quickly over rough rock and root-strewn trails. Despite being one of the lightest trail running shoes on the market, the FLYTEFOAM™ midolse and GEL™ technology in the heel provides ample cushioning on hard-packed trails and when travelling downhill at speed.
FUJI LITE 2™
This trail running shoe is ideal for neutral runners that want a lightweight and flexible shoe for muddy and loamy trails. It features a reshaped FLYTEFOAM™ midsole that’s formed with recycled materials, designed to provide lightweight shock absorption and propel your stride forward out on the trails.
A range of rugged elements and shock absorption components gives these trail running shoes advanced traction on uphill and downhill sections. They’re lightweight and feature GEL™ technology cushioning to improve shock absorption in higher impact areas, while a technical tread pattern delivers excellent grip on demanding terrains.
The GEL-SONOMA™ is an extremely durable trail running shoe that features trail-specific technology to keep you stable and supported. With its lower price point, this versatile offering is perfect for trail runs, light hiking and other outdoor adventures.
Featuring shock absorption and great cushioning, the GEL-VENTURE™ is an excellent all-round trail running shoe for trail runs, light hiking and exploring. With its more accommodating forefoot fit, it guarantees comfort without sacrificing durability.
How to find the right trail running shoes for you
Here are a few tips from our experts to help you decide which trail running shoes are the best fit for you.
- Try on a few pairs
Comfort is key when choosing trail running shoes. Everyone’s feet are different, so try on a few pairs until you find the perfect fit for you. If you prefer to order online, it’s worth going into a specialist running store to try on a few pairs before placing your order on our website.
- Think about grip
Grippy soles that trail runners can rely on are a must in slick, muddy and rocky conditions. Lugs are the deep rubber indentations or grooves that you‘ll find on trail running shoes that are designed for traction and stability. If the trails you run on are mostly compacted dirt or stone then you should look for a short lug pattern. If you plan to run on muddy or softer surfaces then a deeper lug pattern will provide more traction.
ASICS GRIP™ technology is our own specifically created robber material that delivers unmatched grip on the trails and excels in wet conditions. It is available on the ASICS GEL-TRABUCO TERRA™, GEL-TRABUCO MAX™, GEL-FUJITRABUCO SKY™ and FUJI LITE 2 ™ trail running shoes.
- Comfort and protection
If your priority is a comfortable trail running shoe that you can wear for mile after mile, then the TRABUCO™ series is a good fit for you. It provides unbeatable stability on any surface and excellent levels of protection.
- Lightweight and flexibility
If you’re looking for lightweight and flexible shoes that allow you to run quickly on smooth trails, then consider the FUJI™ series. They make it easier to maintain a brisk pace on less demanding terrains.
Find out more about the equipment for trail running by reading our top trail running essentials .