The Best Women’s Trail Running Shoes

by Claire Huffman
Last Updated: 12/04/2020
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Trail running shoes are specifically designed to suit rough terrains. They are much heavier than road shoes to provide much-needed traction and support. On this note, trail shoes come in more robust materials that can withstand the elements as well as the condition of the trail which makes them essential to every woman’s running gear collection.

Trail shoes feature more durable soles with aggressive tread patterns. This design defends against rocks, sticks, and other objects that you might encounter on the trail. The soles of trail shoes are wider than the regular road running shoe. This feature ensures they provide adequate support on uneven surfaces as you run.

More to this, the design prevents the ankle from twisting when you run on bumps or rocks. Trail shoes have a protective toe bumper to guard against stubbed toes. Some models have a thick insert between the outsole and midsole for extra cushioning and protection. 

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Top 7 Trail Running Shoes for Women

1.      Salmon Speedcross Women’s Trail Runner Shoes

Salmon Speedcross

The unique style of this pair makes it one of the best women’s trail running shoes.

Key Features

  • Aggressive grip
  • Precise foothold
  • Lightweight protection
  • Deep sharp lugs

The speed cross lug pattern is ideal for soft, technical trails. With Contagripta, these shoes provide maximum grip on loose, soft, and rugged, uneven surfaces. The sharp and deep lugs balance durability and adhesion.

The shoes are lightweight yet durable to withstand regular trail running. However, these are only suitable for people with narrow feet. They have little wiggle room in actual sizes, so a half a size or a size larger would work.

2.      Salomon Women’s XA Pro 3D GTX Trail Running Shoes


The stability that this pair provides makes it one of the most useful designs for use on trails.

Key Features

  • Excellent grip
  • Long-lasting protection
  • Durable construction
  • Low-profile advanced chassis

These particular shoes work well with wet climates. They come with a full premium wet traction grip to keep you safe on wet grounds without affecting your performance. They feature a reinforced toe cap to keep your feet in the right shape when running.

One of the unique features of this pair is the low-profile advanced chassis. It comes between the outsole and midsole to maximize security, ensure motion control, and provide maximum protection.

The pair is durable; however, it runs half a size small. The design is slightly narrow in the front which can be uncomfortable for long runs.

3.      Adidas Australia Women’s Terrex Tracerocker GTX Trail Runner Shoe


If you are searching for a durable pair to use for regular runs, this one from Adidas should be top of your list.

Key Features

  • Lace closure
  • Mesh upper
  • Waterproof quality
  • Traxion outsole
  • Regular fit

The pair comes in a simple design that is comfortable for long hours of running. It features a lace closure that is flexible to enhance the fit of the shoe. More to this, the shoe has a waterproof yet breathable upper, thanks to the Gore-Tex lining.

The Traxion outsole provides an extraordinary grip for easy use on rough terrains. This pair is durable; however, it runs small in regular sizes. With this in mind, order a size up for lasting comfort.

4.      Pearl Izumi Women’s Trail Shoe

Pearl Izumi

Finding a trail shoe that combines comfort and style can be challenging. This pair from Pearl Izumi has an attractive design and provides the support you need for hours of running.

Key Features

  • Seamless upper
  • Lace-up design
  • Dynamic off-set shaped midsole
  • Bi-lateral mid-foot posts
  • 1:1 energy foam
  • Protective rock plate

The shoe offers much more than an attractive style. It features a particular type of midsole that enhances mid-foot pronation running gait. Additionally, it has mid-foot posts that keep feet on top of the midsole platform in rough terrain.

With the protective rock plate, these shoes protect your feet against injury from rocks underneath. And, with the energy foam in the forefoot, you get the cushioning and comfort you need.

5.      Salomon XA Discovery Women’s Trail Runner Shoe

Salomon XA

Salomon is known for is high-quality running shoes, and this pair is no exemption.

Key Features

  • Comfortable toe area
  • Excellent grip
  • Flexible design
  • High-performance EVA foam

The design of these shoes combines the right amount of foothold with adequate mobility to provide all-day comfort. These features an all-surface rubber compound and a versatile lug pattern to ensure an excellent grip. On this note, they are suitable for both wet and dry surfaces.

With the high-performance EVA foam, the shoes provide adequate shock absorption. They are comfortable; however, they may not work for people with wide feet. The design is quite narrow and can be too snug and uncomfortable.

6.      Fila Women’s Memory Rapidflash Trail Running Shoes


If you are looking for a breathable pair to wear regularly, you might want to consider this pair.

Key Features

  • Knit fabric and synthetic upper
  • Slip-on entry and elastic laces
  • Memory foam cushioned footbed
  • EVA foam midsole
  • Rubber traction outsole

These are simple yet supportive running shoes for regular use. The upper comes in a knit, synthetic material to provide breathability for hours of wear. With the round toes design, these shoes are comfortable and leave little wiggle room for free toe movement.

The EVA midsole is highly supportive, and together with the durable rubber outsole, these protect your feet from injury. For extra comfort, they have a cushioned footbed.  

7.      ASICS Australia Trail Women’s Running Shoe


The right trail running shoe should combine comfort and durability. This pair from ASICS is an ideal choice and works well for regular use.

Key Features

  • Synthetic leather and mesh upper
  • Water-resistant quality
  • Breathable design
  • Trail outsole
  • Reinforced toe box
  • Lightweight cushioning

One of the quality features of these shoes is the design of the outsole. It features reverse lugs and comes in high-quality rubber material to provide excellent traction. Additionally, it is tough to withstand rocks, wet surfaces, etc.

The shoes have a mesh fabric and synthetic leather upper. These two materials contribute to durability while ensuring breathability. Therefore, you can use the shoes for running in mud, grass, pavements, etc. regardless of the weather conditions.

With the cushioning, you get the protection in a lightweight, comfortable shoe. You will love the reinforced toe box as it provides extra protection while ensuring the free movement of the toes.

How to Choose the Right Running Shoes

The Type of Running Shoe

Running shoes come in different types to suit various conditions and preferences. The most common type is the lightweight running shoe. These are typically lighter than most others and, therefore, much flexible on your feet. They have flexible cushioning and come in upper material such as breathable mesh. They are therefore suitable for light walking and running.

Trail running shoes have a unique set of features to suit different rugged terrains. The shoes have liners, midfoot wraps, and lugged rubber outsoles. They come with a little weight to them and have durable uppers for optimal protection.

Motion control running shoes are ideal for people than tend to lose balance as they run. The design of these shoes helps to reduce and control excessive rolling of the foot. They also correct the gait cycle and provide adequate shock absorption.

Cushioned ones, on the other hand, suit people whose feet do not roll inward enough or roll outward too much. This rolling motion is essential as it helps the feet absorb shock with every step. Cushioned shoes, therefore, help to reduce the shock by mimicking the natural feet-rolling process.

Another type, stability running shoes, provides cushioning and durability. The design comes as a compromise between motion control and cushioned ones. These work to stop the excess motion of the feet and ankles. On this note, they do not compromise on the natural movement of the feet.  

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The quality of the material determines how long the shoes will last. Trail running shoes come in robust materials that can withstand use in rugged terrains. Generally, you should go for shoes with tightly-woven mesh to prevent rips from debris on the trail.

Most runner shoes have rubber lugs on the outsole for better traction. Some designs have waterproof upper materials such as leather to suit wet climates. Whatever material you choose, be sure to check if it is suitable to use on the terrain you intend to run.

Lacing Systems

Like other shoes, the lacing system of your trail running shoe is a vital feature to keep in mind. The design of the lacing system affects how well the shoes fit. It is, therefore, essential to find a trail shoe with a flexible lacing system. This way, you can customize the fit to your specific foot shape.

The right lacing system should help reduce toe pressure as well as heel slippage. Most trail running shoes have flexible lacing systems for easy customization. Some designs come with elasticized laces or ribbed laces to ensure they remain secure as you run.

Weather Protection

As much as trail shoes are designed to withstand different terrains, it is essential to consider the level of weather protection a specific pair provides. However, this feature is more of a personal preference than a quality feature. This is because a shoe that keeps moisture away may also leave your feet sweaty and hot.

On a similar note, those that have breathable uppers may not be the best for wet climates. The best thing is that there are different degrees of both breathability and weatherproofing. You can find a pair that provides both features in a reasonable measure.

The Fit

The best running shoes should be in the right size. However, some designs require you to go a size up or a size down. Some have a wide fitting, and others come with a narrow fitting.

When choosing running shoes, the idea is to select your regular size but with a little wiggle room. You want to ensure the toe box leaves enough space for free movement when you run. However, too much space will result in heel slippage and discomfort.


Is It Bad to Run With Trail Shoes on the Pavement?

You can wear trail running shoes on the pavement. These shoes have the quality to provide more traction and stability. As much as they are best suited for rugged terrains, they are comfortable to wear and use on pavement. Your road shoes may be a better choice, but with the versatility of trail shoes, you can still make use of them on pavements.

When Should I Wear Trail Shoes?

Trail shoes are some of the best running shoes in that they suit a variety of conditions. You can use them on rocky, muddy and uneven surfaces. The sturdy design keeps the ankles stable, protects your feet, and keeps you safe from falling.

How Do I Choose the Right Running Shoes for Women?

Women’s shoes, in general, are slightly different regarding the designs and fit. One of the main features to keep in mind when looking for women’s running shoes is the size. It is often different from men’s sizes, and you can find options for both wide and narrow feet.

The Bottom Line

Trail running shoes are essential if you enjoy running on different terrains. These shoes are flexible and provide stability and protection that your feet need. The above reviews are a great starting point, and, with the features in mind, you can select a suitable pair for your runs.

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About the author

Claire is a fitness enthusiast with a flair for writing. She is dedicated to promoting a healthy, balanced lifestyle underpinned by long-term solutions. After being physically competitive, Claire put on significant weight during her university years. She made a decision to get fit again and is now helping thousands of individuals achieve their fitness goals. View All Posts

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