From lug patterns to heel-to-toe drops, trail running shoes have many features unique to their functionality. However, the best trail running shoes must be durable enough for rocky and muddy roads and light enough to pick up speed. Below, we reviewed three different trail running shoes for men to find out which among them is the best for off-road adventures.
Best Trail Running Shoes: Our Three Choices
1. Adidas Men’s Rockadia Trail Running Shoes
Adidas has been in the shoe industry for decades. They are known for producing reliable and top-quality shoes, and that is why we have high expectations over their Rockadia Trail Runners. Let’s find out if this pair will live up to its brand’s reputation.
The upper part of the Adidas Men’s Rockadia Trail Running Shoes is made of a breathable air mesh material, so your feet won’t easily get sweaty even if you run a hundred miles during noon time. It also features a grippy rubber outsole so that you can tread over rocks and wet slopes with ease. Additionally, it’s made of textile and synthetic overlays that provide strategic support so that you won’t hurt your feet.
All these features together with its 13-ounce approximate weight make each step light and bouncy. As for the aesthetics, you can choose from eight non-flashy color combinations.
As per its shoelaces, they are thick and round, so they are easier to handle. Size-wise, these shoes are available from 6.5 to 15 using the USA standard.
- Comfortable and bouncy
- Good grip and traction
- Not true to size or undersized
- Not suitable for cold, rain, and snow
2. Salomon Men’s XA Pro 3D Trail Running Shoes
Salomon does not just make any shoes; they make mountain sports shoes. Their expertise in this field is the reason why we have their iconic XA Pro 3D as one of our contenders for the best trail running shoes.
Like the Adidas Rockadia, the Salomon Men’s XA Pro 3D Trail Running Shoes is made of a breathable mesh fabric to keep your feet cool and dry. It’s also made of 100% textile and synthetic material.
It features an advanced 3D Chassis midsole to provide stability and lateral support on the foot while still saving room for the forefoot to move. Its outsoles are made of rubber with a high traction contact grip and aggressive lug patterns so that you can confidently run on different types of terrain. It also has a protective heel cap to prevent blisters.
These shoes’ Sensifit feature, along with its quick-tie lace system allows users to easily tighten or loosen the shoes and achieve a precise fit. It weighs 1.1 pounds, which is slightly heavier than the Rockadia. It is available in 22 different color combinations, and available in sizes seven to 14 (USA standard).
- Keeps feet cool
- Dries fast
- Good grip on wet conditions
- Quick lacing system
- Inner elastic loop on lacing system catches on toes
- Not cost effective if you only hike once a week
3. Merrell Men’s Vapor Glove 2 Trail Running Shoes
Merrell began its shoemaking journey by creating custom hiking boots. Today, they specialize not only in making footwear for hiking but also for trail running, and they believe that trail running lets you connect more to the earth. Their Vapor Glove 2 comes from their line of “barefoot” shoes.
The main feature of the Vapor Glove 2 is its sticky Vibram outsole that gives you a natural, zero-drop running experience. It even has no lugs at the arch so that you can flex your foot more naturally. Other than the arch, the rest of the outsole has lug patterns for greater traction on both dry and wet ground.
The upper part of the Merrell Men’s Vapor Glove 2 Trail Running Shoes is made of thermoplastic polyurethane, as well as breathable mesh fabric that follows the shape of your foot. As such, your stride feels more uninhibited.
It also features the exclusive long-lasting M Select Fresh with antimicrobial agents that prevent the reproduction of odor-causing microbes. Thus, your shoes will feel and smell fresh even if your feet get wet from crossing over puddles or due to sweat.
These minimalist shoes only weigh 6.1 ounces and are available in four colors, and USA sizes ranging from eight to 15. Its low-profile design features a pull tab at the counter and lace-up vamp. Additionally, Merrell did not use any animal products in the production of these shoes.
- Lets your feet do the work and feel the ground
- Lightweight and breathable
- Has anti-odor properties
- The toe box is narrower than most trail running shoes.
- Not true to size or oversized
- Laces must start at the toe to tighten
Each of the three trail running shoes reviewed caters to a different market. The Adidas Men’s Rockadia Trail Running Shoes has all the basic features of good trail running shoes. It’s a decent pair considering its price and is designed for hard-packed dirt with a few rocks but not for super muddy and wet ground as well as during cold climates. Hence, we highly recommend this for those who are new to trail running and don’t want to spend that much on their first trail running shoes.
The Salomon Men’s XA Pro 3D Trail Running Shoes has many features similar to that of the Adidas Rockadia since it is also a basic pair of trail running shoes, which can be tested out and practiced on by beginners. However, these shoes are more rugged and can be used for a variety of terrains. Thus, it is perfect for trail runners who plan to run more on smooth trails and just run on wilder and rougher roads a few times a month.
On the other hand, the Merrell Men’s Vapor Glove 2 Trail Running Shoes is perfect for minimalist trail runners who don’t want a bulky pair that will only slow them down and inhibit their natural foot flexes. These shoes have thinner, more sensitive soles compared to the first two so it is not recommended for those who are used to shoes with extra cushioning at the soles.
That said, if we have to choose one, the Merrell Vapor Glove 2 wins because it’s the most versatile, lightweight, and durable trail running shoes among the three. Plus, it’s vegan-friendly! It comes with a higher price tag, but if you see yourself trail running for a long time, then this pair of shoes is a good investment.