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Running Footwear

Find the best trail running shoes, including minimal and barefoot models, right here, thanks to independent reviews and ratings by real trail runners, endurance athletes, and outdoor enthusiasts. Don't forget the technical wicking running socks and compression socks.

For more top-rated outdoor footwear—including hiking, backpacking, and mountaineering boots, climbing shoes, and sport sandals—check out our full Footwear reviews and ratings for real-world user reviews.

Types of Running Footwear

photo of a trail running shoe

Trail Running Shoes

photo of a barefoot / minimal shoe

Barefoot / Minimal Shoes

photo of a running sock

Running Socks

photo of a compression sock

Compression Socks

photo of a insole


Top Picks

How we choose: The best running footwear highlighted here were selected based on 860 reviews of 435 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

How we test: Trailspace is powered entirely by our community of readers. The reviews posted here reflect the real-world experiences of outdoor enthusiasts just like you.

If you've used a running footwear that you think should be listed here, please share your experience.

Disclosure: Trailspace never accepts payment for gear reviews, product placement, or editorial coverage. When you buy through affiliate links on our site, Trailspace may earn a small commission, which helps cover the costs of running the site.

Top Barefoot / Minimal Shoe

Vibram FiveFingers Classic

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (6 reviews)

After years of trying various shoes, boots, orthotics, socks, etc., and never being quite happy with the way my feet feel, I tried the Vibram Classic. What a difference! Hiking/city walking both work well. Your feet feel very light. After not running for the past 20 years due to bad knees, I'm tempted to break into a run just because it feels like it would be so much fun with these on. You do have to watch where you put your feet; gravel of a certain size can give you quite a poke in the heel or mid-foot.

Read more: Vibram FiveFingers Classic reviews (6)

Top Insole

Superfeet Green

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (7 reviews)

A nice option to have for those who are looking for an insole that provides great arch support. They are MUCH less expensive than shelling out the cash for custom orthotics. I have pretty severe foot problems and the Superfeet Green insoles have allowed me to continue my active lifestyle.

Reasons to Buy

  • Great arch support
  • Fits in a variety of different shoes
  • Durable
  • A good option for those who have suffered previous Lisfranc injuries

Reasons to Avoid

  • I really can't think of any??

Back in 2008, I suffered a pretty bad injury to my left foot, commonly known as a Lisfranc Fracture. It is named after a French doctor who described the injury in 1815 when riders would fall off their horse with their foot stuck in the stirrup. It's a fracture of the midfoot coupled with the rupture of ligaments. The injury is also common in American Football, with players such as Dwight Freeney, Maurice Jones Drew, and Santonio Holmes having suffered the injury. Sadly, I did not play American Football and could not have afforded the expertise of doctors such as Dr.

Read more: Superfeet Green reviews (7)

Barefoot / Minimal Shoe / Trail Shoe / Trail Running Shoe / Water Shoe

Vibram FiveFingers KSO

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (18 reviews)

As a children how many of us did not need any shoes and were happy running around barefoot even if it meant to get some blisters here and there? Later on, when we had to put shoes on and go to school and then work and so on, things changed and it would be considered inappropriate to one day show up without any shoes on. I wonder how many of us feel happy with what they are wearing on day to day basis on their feet and how many of us is actually comfortable?The Vibram soles is revolutionary innovation as far as comfortable shoes can be, which is based on the age old methodology that being barefoot helps your balance and will make you feel aware of the nature around and ground beneath your feet.

Read more: Vibram FiveFingers KSO reviews (18)

Top Trail Running Shoe

La Sportiva Bushido II

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

The La Sportiva Bushido II is a solid, comfortable trail running shoe for all-around, year-round use on trails and mountains. With excellent traction and fit, it retains everything I loved about the original Bushido trail runner with some minor refinements.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfort and fit
  • Traction
  • Durability
  • Works well for trail running or hiking
  • Comfortable in year-round temps
  • Cushion and stability adequate for most trail use

Reasons to Avoid

  • For technical runs and hikes, I'll switch to a shoe with more cushion and stability
  • No waterproof/GTX version
  • Costs $130, but the price has remained the same from previous versions and is comparable to other shoes

When I heard that La Sportiva was introducing an updated Bushido II trail runner my first response was "No!" What if they screwed something up? I've worn at least six pairs, possibly more, of the original La Sportiva Bushidos over the five years since they launched. That totals well over a thousand miles, probably double, by my rough guesstimate. While I also have road running shoes for pavement and own a few other pairs of trail runners, not to mention hiking footwear, the Bushidos are my go-to, everyday pair for when dirt, rocks, mud, and snow are underfoot here in Maine.  I rarely think about these shoes.

Read more: La Sportiva Bushido II review (1)

Top Running Sock

Balega Blister Resist Quarter

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

Balega's Blister Resist Quarter is a hybrid mohair and synthetic sock from a company that does a great job with running socks. Great wicking properties help keep your feet comfortable. Smooth material doesn't tend to chafe. They tend to show wear by looking "fuzzy" but that's cosmetic—no notable thin spots or wear. Slightly more bulky than a typical running sock.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfort
  • Wicking
  • Durability

Reasons to Avoid

  • Thickness of material
  • Price

OVERVIEW By calling this a "blister resist" running sock, Balega is pretty clearly pushing the narrative that this sock is somehow better at protecting your feet from blisters than the average sock. I'll address that but will mostly focus on the more general reasons you might want to get a couple pair of these socks. I was provided two pair to review—a quarter-height and crew height Blister Resist sock. You can see that the crew is a few inches longer on your leg than the quarter. Other than the height and the color, both pair are effectively the same.

Read more: Balega Blister Resist Quarter review (1)

Trail Running Shoe

Salomon XA Pro 3D

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (11 reviews)

Salomon’s XA Pro 3D is a heavy duty trail running shoe that has been around, with various updates, for years. It is very heavy and firm for a running shoe, and I use it as a low light hiker. It’s available with a waterproof/breathable membrane, but I like the no-membrane version for it’s very good breathability. Very good traction, support, foot protection, and durability, plus an interesting lacing system, make this a winner. The non-waterproof version’s availability in wide sizing was fortuitous for me, as the regular version was too narrow for my feet.

Reasons to Buy

  • Unusual but effective lacing system
  • Vents sweat well
  • Waterproof/breathable version available
  • Lots of support
  • Solid, grippy sole
  • Width sizing
  • Nice features

Reasons to Avoid

  • Heavier than typical trail running shoe
  • Very firm midsole might not suit some people
  • Relatively expensive for a trail runner

Basic Information The pair weighed 2.2 pounds out of the box, including the light insoles that I discarded. The guy who built my latest pair of custom orthotics recommended this shoe for its relatively firm and more supportive midsole, and I always wear them with the orthotics. The shoe requires break-in because it is so solid; it takes some time to get used to the firmness of the shoe. More on that in a bit. These are on the heavy end of the spectrum for trail running shoes, and also on the more expensive end at $130 full price.

Read more: Salomon XA Pro 3D reviews (11)

Trail Running Shoe

La Sportiva Wildcat

user rating: 4 of 5 (8 reviews)

A sturdy trail runner fit for lightweight backpacking. The outsole on this shoe is the best thing since the old Vibram soles on my heavy full-leather boots. They stick to every condition I've encountered on the Appalachian Trail (except for mossy wet rock, but everyone is going to break their neck on that stuff). Lightweight and breathable. If the shoe fits, wear it!

Reasons to Buy

  • Outsole/lugs
  • Breathable
  • Heel cup
  • Dries fast

Reasons to Avoid

  • Durability

After 15 years backpacking in heavy, full leather, boots, I finally decided to give a trail runner a try. I wish I had switched sooner. The differene between having 2 lb boots on each foot vs. this 12 oz shoe is amazing!  Here's the bad news, these shoes will not last as long as a leather boot. The inside of the shoe at the top of where you insert your foot is starting to wear after only about 80 miles of backpacking and trail running. But, that's the only place where I think they are wearing too soon.

Read more: La Sportiva Wildcat reviews (8)

Topo Athletic Runventure 4

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

These are great trail running shoes for runners who want a grippy, zero-drop Vibram sole shoe with a wide toe box and low stack height. They are comfortable and lightweight and work well on various types of trail surfaces.

Reasons to Buy

  • Zero drop
  • Vibram soles
  • Wide toe box
  • Light weight
  • Low stack height
  • Good for various terrains

Reasons to Avoid

  • Ugly bright yellow color
  • Shoe laces too long

I've been searching for a lightweight zero-drop trail running shoe with a wide-toe box. I've used Altra Lone Peaks in the past, but some of the recent Lone Peaks are narrower in the toe box than previous editions, so I've moved on from those. Enter Topo Athletic shoes. I've used Topo shoes for road running, and I have a pair of Topo hiking boots, and I really like both. So I knew I should look to Topo for a good pair of trail runners. I settled on the Runventure 4's because they are zero drop, lightly cushioned, and have a wide toe box.

Read more: Topo Athletic Runventure 4 review (1)


Superfeet Berry

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

When you buy a boot, ya gotta buy an insole. The money goes into the boot and not the insole, so it can mean the difference between an adequate boot and a great comfortable fit. Matching up the insole to the boot can be the most critical part of your boot system.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfortable
  • Customizable
  • Heel stabalization
  • Ball strike coushioning

Reasons to Avoid

  • Seem costly
  • Can be limited in transfer to other shoes

I hike in Keens and everything is great, except a couple incidents where I had heel slippage on the ups and toe smacks on the downs. I decided to get Superfeet and was worried about the fact once I got them, I was stuck with them, or I would have to buy a new set and try them out too. But REI encouraged me to spend a lot of time walking around in the store with them in my boots. So I did. Like 40 minutes. After comparing the various ones I selected the Berry. Not too much arch, which I need to be careful of but it was just enough to snug down my heel in the back.

Read more: Superfeet Berry review (1)

Trail Running Shoe

Altra Lone Peak 6

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

These shoes have a fit and build that are great for all day comfort, on or off trail. "Original Footshape fit" is amazing for wide feet! The extra space may make them unsuitable for fierce competition, though.

Reasons to Buy

  • Wide toe box
  • Zero drop
  • Gaiter trap
  • Grippy outsole with great traction

Reasons to Avoid

  • I like Salomon's quick tie laces better
  • No studs

Fit: These use Altra's "original footshape fit", which is their roomiest fit. Believe it, or not, they also come in a wide. When I ordered these, they were only available in wide, so that's what I got.  Comfort: The wide toe box is so comfortable. I'm almost always used to having my foot squeezed, especially at the end of a long day. That's a thing of the past with these. I am constantly checking for another deal on these because I definitely want another when these wear out. Support: Feels great, but I'm used to minimalist shoes, so don't know how they'd feel for someone used to more support.

Read more: Altra Lone Peak 6 review (1)

More Running Footwear

Trailspace reviewers have shared 860 reviews of 435 different running footwear. Narrow your search and view more specific running footwear recommendations in these categories:

Trail Running Shoes

Barefoot / Minimal Shoes

Running Socks

Compression Socks


All Running Gear

Other Types of Running Gear

Find more running gear reviewed in these related categories:

Running Clothing

Packs, Vests, Water Bottles

Running Accesories

+2 more types

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