trail-running shoes reviews

Hoka One One Speedgoat 3 trail-running shoes.

Review: Hoka One One Speedgoat 3 Trail Running Shoes

Trail Running/Hiking Shoes Hoka One One Speedgoat 3 $140, 1 lb. 4 oz. (US men’s 9) Sizes: US men’s 7-14, women’s 5-11 backcountry.com Trail running and hiking can be hard on feet. Beyond the possibility of blisters, miles of pounding can sometimes leave your feet feeling beat up and sore—and longer distances magnify the effects of all that impact. As …

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Gear Review: Brooks Cascadia 12 Trail Running and Hiking Shoes

Brooks Cascadia 12 trail-running shoes.
Brooks Cascadia 12 trail-running shoes.

Hiking/Trail Running Shoes
Brooks Cascadia 12
$130, 1 lb. 10 oz. (US men’s 9)
Sizes: men’s 7-15, women’s 5-12
moosejaw.com

Lightweight, low-cut, trail-running shoes that cross over well to dayhiking and ultralight backpacking can look similar, but many share the same three shortcomings: inadequate support and cushioning for rugged trails; not enough toe space, especially for longer outings; and uppers that lack the durability for the abuse of rocky trails. Wearing the Brooks Cascadia 12 on fall trail runs of up to 10 miles, and on a 16-mile, roughly 5,000-vertical-foot dayhike of Utah’s 11,749-foot Mount Timpanogos, I found these shoes excel where other models fail at all three of those performance metrics—while still weighing in lighter than many competitors. Here’s why.

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Gear Review: La Sportiva Akyra Trail Running and Hiking Shoes

La Sportiva Akyra
La Sportiva Akyra

Hiking/Trail Running Shoes
La Sportiva Akyra
$140, 1 lb. 11 oz. (US men’s 9.5)
Sizes: men’s Euro 38-47.5/US 6-14, women’s Euro 36-43/US 5-12
moosejaw.com

Build a shoe for running and hiking mountain trails, and it’s hard to keep that footwear from putting on weight—shoes intended for that level of hard use simply need more support and stability under the hood than your average, wafer-light shoes for running asphalt, or no-drop shoes with minimal underfoot cushion and support. So when I saw Sportiva’s Akyra weighing in lighter than many models in this category—and having owned and liked previous Sportiva mountain-running shoes that crossed over smoothly between running and dayhiking—I pounded the Akyra on a variety of trails, discovering much to like about them and one minor complaint.

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Gear Review: Aku Mio Surround GTX Hiking Shoes

Aku Mio Surround GTX hiking shoes.
Aku Mio Surround GTX

Hiking/Trail Running Shoes
Aku Mio Surround GTX
$200, 1 lb. 14 oz. (US men’s 9)
Sizes: US men’s 7-13

The pivotal question you might ask yourself before buying trail footwear is: How much do I need? You’re probably thinking along the lines of how much support you need in a shoe or boot. But that question could also refer to the delicate balance between how much protection you need from wetness on the outside getting inside, versus breathability so moisture on the inside gets released. The new Gore-Tex Surround technology alters that equation, and Aku’s Mio Surround GTX leaps feet first into this debate as a lightweight, low-cut shoe that could serve the needs of a wide range of dayhikers and backpackers.

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Gear Review: Scarpa Proton GTX Shoes

Scarpa Proton GTX
Scarpa Proton GTX

Hiking/Trail Running Shoes
Scarpa Proton GTX
$169, 1 lb. 7 oz. (men’s Euro 42/US 9)
Sizes: men’s Euro 39-47, 48, women’s 37-41
moosejaw.com

Everyone wants ultralight footwear for all manner of outdoor adventures these days, from light hiking and ultra-hikes to trail running and ultralight backpacking. Bonus if you can scramble a peak in them. I feel the same way. But that kind of hybrid shoe can be a challenging find. I put some trail miles on Scarpa’s new Proton GTX, a low-cut, waterproof-breathable trail runner that crosses over to hiking, and found it packs a heap of performance and versatility into one of the lightest pieces of outdoor footwear you’ll find.

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