Best Trail Running Shoes of 2022

Best Trail Running Shoes of 2022 | Reviews + Buyer’s Guide (2022)

Many years ago, a niche running shoe sub-segment of the world was established: trail shoes. Most of the trail running shoes today are boot-like shoes, that resemble hiking boots, but the modern trail running shoe as a category is also paved by the advent of running technology in general. Nowadays, trail running shoes are not a novelty in the running shoe industry.

Many companies such as Saucony, Altra, Brooks, and many other brands, Cobina, offer trail shoes. Today, the best trail shoes are usually offered in three categories: versatile, neutral, or lightweight. However, there are still some newer innovations and concepts that go unnoticed. Let’s take a look at the top best trail running shoes of 2022.

1. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 24

This is the go-to shoe for any trail runner looking for an upgrade over the Brooks PureConnect, but at a price considerably cheaper than their GTS and GRP offerings. The GTS 24 is lighter and faster than their classic trail shoe, with a near 30mm drop. Their midsole stability provides added support when negotiating the technical terrain, with a bounce rating of just 3.5. It is also compatible with both carbon and mechanical insoles, which can be swapped with ease, either giving you extra cushioning in the cushionless midsole.

It has a stable, flexible, and low drop, also reducing foot fatigue. It’s waterproof, comfortable, and has a cushioned outsole that is relatively flat. The ergonomics and the tongue are also supremely comfortable. However, the shoe does tend to roll inward. Nevertheless, the extensive waterproofing makes it a true performance trail shoe.

The 20mm upper spike cage provides a controlled, centered feel and prevents the shoe from shifting on the heel. The GTS 24 also has a removable and adjustable pull-on elastic closure system, as well as stiff internal sole molding. The shoe’s high lacing makes it easy to lace up and secure tight. Overall, the shoe’s performance, durability, and reliability make it a popular option among the trail running community.

2. Brooks Ghost 220

The Brooks Ghost 220 has been a staple in the Brooks running shoe family since the first generation launched. The original design introduced, the 220 put a unique twist on the classic trail running shoe, blending the impact absorption of the GRP cushioning with the breathable and soft cushioning of the mesh to create a quick and responsive runner’s shoe.

They updated the shoe with a more rigid rubber outsole in the early 2010s, with a more flexible rubber outsole still available. The shoe itself weighs 9.6 ounces and its somewhat simplistic, minimalist design makes it a hit among runners looking for a fast-selling, fast-flying shoe that will cover the distance in comfort.


The GEL-Lyte V is without a doubt the most popular shoe in the ASICS lineup. The shoe has received rave reviews from runners, who have praised the shoe’s build and comfortability. The GEL-Lyte V is available in 13 different colors, including a cool blue and olive-green colorway that incorporates the ASICS five-star seal. The shoe provides a minimalist design and very minimal tread, making it the most minimalist of the GEL-Lyte line-up, with a 9mm drop. Its outsole is made from synthetic rubber.

The midsole is a lightweight cushioning mesh, which contains the gel in its midsole, making it both lightweight and comfortable. The upper is a mesh-like synthetic that is also lightweight. ASICS GEL-Lyte V is currently only available in men’s sizes, but the model is offered as a women’s shoe in the ASICS GEL-Lyte V Legend edition and even has a semi-nude pink colorway to add a splash of pink to your regular, no-nonsense trail running shoes.

4. Salomon XA Marathon 3

Salomon’s most popular trail running shoe of all time has received significant updates to its upper, as well as its sole, throughout the years, with the latest version, the Salomon XA Marathon 3, being their most successful trail shoe. It’s also their most comfortable shoe and one of their fastest-selling shoes. The shoe features some unique technology: an inverted tongue and space between the midfoot and forefoot to enable maximum cushioning and movement.

The forefoot has a variable amount of support and the midfoot has more space to move. The outsole also features some unique technology. It has a lightweight midsole and, from the outside, a 3D pull-in rubber outsole for stability. The sock liner has a full-length Micro-Active midsole to help increase responsiveness. The shoe is built to tackle any terrain. The shoe weighs 7.7 ounces, and the all-seam construction and hand-cut suede upper make it feel very comfortable and lightweight.

5. Nike Superior Flyknit

Nike’s recent introduction of the Superior Flyknit from their road running line-up made it an instant hit. The shoe is available in two different styles and for all running surfaces, from road to trail. The Flyknit upper contains an upper mesh that creates a premium feel, while the two-tone sole brings some added support, stability, and shock absorption.

The shoe’s biggest design attribute is the flywire in the forefoot, which allows for adaptive tracking, which allows the shoe to respond to foot pressure as the runner moves, resulting in less foot movement. The shoe has received rave reviews, earning a 4.4 out of five-star rating from over 15,000 people on Amazon. It is also popular in the cross-country field, as it is often used by top runners to get off the road.

6. Under Armour Hovr

The Hovr is Under Armour’s first-ever sole, outsole, and running shoe model, and it’s quickly becoming a best-seller, particularly among ultramarathon runners, due to its extremely flexible sole. As a hybrid between a street shoe and an ultramarathon shoe, the Hovr is perfect for anyone looking to enjoy the benefits of having a soft, yet flexible, shoe with the support of a tough and reliable sole.

The midsole has the cushioning of a lightweight cushioning system while the outer sole is primarily made from a mix of porous, durable rubber and a thin but durable textured rubber. It’s one of the best-performing and lightweight minimalist shoes on the market right now. The shoe is highly flexible and the sole can be worn for the entire distance from the start of the race to the end of the race.

7. Brooks PureFlow

Brooks designed the PureFlow to be the best shoe that can be worn both on the street and on the trail. In terms of lightweight and performance, it’s hard to beat. The PureFlow, while light in weight, offers the support of a midsole or outsole designed for running, but the grip and traction of a trail running shoe.

The midsole of the shoe is made of a combination of a new cushioning material (“Kevlar One”) and the classic Kevlar Ultra energy-returning belt system used in every Brooks shoe. The shoe’s outsole is comfortable and firm on the road and gentle on the trail. The 4-degree drop and minimalist design of the shoe allow for greater freedom of movement while also increasing the traction of the outsole.

8. New Balance Minimus Trail 4

The new Minimus Trail 4 is a trail shoe designed specifically for trail runners who want the support of a shoe but with a minimalist design, more room for cushioning, lightweight performance, and durability. The toe box is low-profile and tapered to accommodate the changing foot shape. The forefoot is designed to protect your feet from rocks and other sharp objects.

The low-cut laces enable you to keep your shoes untied when running trails. The shoe has a breathable knit upper for comfort and maximum ventilation. Its four-degree drop is perfect for all surfaces and the laces can be tied fastened to help reduce bunching and rubbing, which happens when the laces are too tight.

9. Saucony Kinvara 9

The Kinvara 9 is one of the most popular minimalist running shoes on the market, especially among cross-country runners. The shoe is both lightweight and supportive and is made of a combination of lightweight, but durable materials. The Vibram outsole has been around for over 70 years and has a wonderful tread that allows for traction, without having to worry about scuffing up your shoes.

The toe box is roomy and less restrictive than most minimalist shoes and the upper is made from a lightweight mesh fabric, offering excellent air circulation. A great shoe for anyone looking to go barefoot.

10. Keen Warrior

The Warrior is one of the most iconic minimalist shoes on the market. The shoe is sold at almost every major athletic shoe retailer and is used by many elite athletes such as Michelle Carter, one of the fastest women in the world in the 800-meter and 1500-meter distances. The shoe’s goal is to deliver a shoe that offers the support and cushioning of a traditional running shoe with the comfort of a minimalist shoe.

It features a sole made of Vibram soles and elastic yarn used for the midsole. The Vibram sole offers traction on both hard and wet surfaces and is shock absorbent so that your foot won’t tire while running. The yarn in the midsole is used for cushioning and shock absorption, while the canvas upper is durable and breathable. The midsole material is designed to help keep your feet cool when exercising in warmer weather and for less impact on your feet when you come back from a run.

11. Asics Gel Kayano 24

The Kayano 24 features a full-length running heel and an ultra-comfortable and flexible midfoot. The “SuperMono” midsole increases your flexibility and the Gore-Tex midsole protects against wet surfaces, hot pavement, and rough, uneven ground.

The shoe has a thin flexible TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) for support and another layer for flexibility. The Kayano is durable and comfortable and has become an all-star shoe for runners. The Kayano has over 1.3 million pairs in circulation.

12. Adidas Adizero Falcon

The Adidas Adizero Falcon is the company’s latest shoe, released in 2014. The shoe is a minimalist running shoe for both outdoor and indoor use. It is specifically designed for running in warm weather and comes with a waterproof membrane to protect your feet from rain and the winter cold.

Adidas sent us a pair for review purposes, but these shoes can also be worn without shoes. The Vibram outsole is very thin and responsive, so you can kick it without even thinking about it. The shoe is light enough to be comfortable, yet sturdy and comfortable for long runs. The grippy mesh upper is breathable and comes with an adhesive side to ensure it stays in place while you run.

13. Brooks PureGrit 3

The Brooks PureGrit 3 is a good all-around shoe for runners who want to keep the weight low and the comfort high. The shoe is lightweight and offers some great cushioning, yet it offers good cushioning for most runs. This shoe is made of a mesh upper, covered with a lightweight, synthetic, Nike Air midsole.

The grip pattern on the outsole is very smooth and has a small rise to it, which keeps your feet in place while you run. The grippy outsole also allows you to land softly and roll off of the heel with each stride. The shoe is advertised as the company’s “lightest midsole option.” The sole is also made of lightweight mesh material to ensure support and features an incredibly thin tread that allows for a very soft and cushioned ride.

14. Saucony Ascenda 8

Saucony offers a wide range of minimalist shoes for runners, from the popular Kinvara 8 shoe to the less popular shoe, the Ascenda 8. The Ascendant is targeted at distance runners, with a 3mm-thick heel and a wider toe box for more ankle support. Saucony sent us a pair of Ascenda 8s for review purposes.

The shoes are very lightweight, yet durable and have an excellent cushioning pad for the heel and a great cushioning pad on the forefoot. The stability ball sole will help your feet absorb impact when you come down on hard surfaces. The ball insole also provides some extra cushioning under the arch for a comfortable running experience.

What are your favorite minimalist running shoes? Share them with us in the comments below.

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