Five of the best trail shoes

Trail guru Ceri Rees reviews some of the leading off-road models – inov-8, New Balance, Newton, and more

Overall winner

Inov-8 X Talon, £95

 

Inov-8 x-talon-212-side

 

Pros: A lightweight and responsive shoe that also offers some degree of cushioning

Cons: Despite being very grippy, even on slippery rock, they don’t perform quite as well on greasy banks. Still, this is a small quibble.

Style: High marks. Distinctive and eye-catching, these even look OK with jeans – more than can be said for most trail shoes.

Value for money: Similar to other high-end performers in the market. And, in the instance, you get what you pay for.

Best for: Anything from fell races to mountain marathons.

Weight: 212g

www.inov-8.com

 

Highly recommended

New Balance Minimus 1010V2, £80

new-balance-MT1010B2-2013
Pros:
The bubble-like outsole offers Rockstop and Vibram protection, and is a lot more resilient than a lot of other minimal offers.

Cons: By scrimping on weight and extra cushioning, these may feel too minimal for the longest of races.

Style: New Balance shoes always looks great – and these are no exception. Stylish outer with extra forefoot width and a 4mm drop.

Value for money: Pretty good – an affordable option for runners looking for a more natural ride.

Best for: Less technical fell races, short and long trail runs, and ultras.

Weight: 218g

www.newbalance.co.uk

 

Great all-rounder

Newton Boco, £110

 

 

Newton-Boco-All-Terrain

 

 

Pros: This shoe feels fantastically versatile. This could be because of the sole technology, which pushes your feet on to the forefoot. They’re also very breathable and responsible with a 3mm drop.

Cons: The less aggressive grips may not stand up to the wetter or more slippery/rocky terrain.

Style: If your into day-glo – and who isn’t? – you’ll enjoy these eye-catching trainers.

Value for money: Newton’s are not cheap – and this three-figure sum may put a lot of people off.

Best for: Trail runs and off-road intervals on all but the slippiest terrain.

Weight: 272g

www.newtonrunning.co.uk

 

Best value

Kalenji XT4 Kapteren, £60

 

Kalenji(low-res)

 

Pros: A well-cushioned, versatile shoe with plenty of grip for greasy trails, rocky terrain and even some muddy slopes.

Cons: A little on the heavy side for shorter, faster runs.

Style: Kalenji may not be the go-to brand for running fashionistas, but these are a decent looking shoe.

Value for money: Fantastic – at £60, these are an absolute bargain.

Best for: Middle to long trail runs with technical sections.

Weight: 390g

www.kalenji-running.com

 

Minimalist option

Vivo Barefoot Trail Freak, £85

Vivo

Pros: More flexible than a yoga teacher, flat as a pancake and comfortable as feather bed.

Cons: For heavier runner or those still transitioning to minimalist running, the zero-drop profile may be too severe.

Style: If the red and orange version is to gaudy for your tastes, there’s always the more understated blue and green version.

Value for money: Decent – a great trainer that won’t break the bank.

Best for: Light-footed runners looking to go fast on the trail.

Weight: 260g

www.vivobarefoot.com

 

Rick Pearson

Written by Rick Pearson | 237 articles | View profile

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