7 Best Trail Running Shoes For Women in 2022

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
7 Best Trail Running Shoes For Women in 2022

There are nearly 500 trail running shoes for women available on the market. Choosing the right pair is exhausting, to say the least.  

But don’t fret, we took our time testing and selecting the best trail runners for women from various brands. They also come from different categories. So whether you’re looking for a trail bruiser, a protective shoe, or a long-distance tank, you got the answers on this list.

How we test trail running shoes

We conduct a multitude of tests in all the trail running shoes in our arsenal. With our own shoe testing lab, we gather data on each shoe that helps to explain why they are the greatest. Even more, we also make sure to do the following: 

  • Get them with our own money to avoid bias
  • Run at least 30-50 miles in each shoe
  • Slice them open and see what’s inside
  • Measure each part of the shoe based on 30 different parameters
  • Calculate their CoreScore through gathering thousands of expert and user reviews

Best trail running shoes overall for women

Salomon Sense Ride 4
Salomon Sense Ride 4

Corescore

86
Great!
4.3 / 5 from 1,137 users
87 / 100 from 7 experts

Pros

  • Fits wider feet
  • Energy-efficient ride
  • Great lacing system
  • Doesn’t weigh you down
  • No heel slip
  • Insane grip
  • Really durable

Cons

  • Runs ½ size longer
  • Needs breaking in

Verdict

Who would’ve thought a trail beast could be this fun and lively? The Salomon Sense Ride 4 crushed everything underfoot, while giving us all the bounce we craved. 

With its 3.57-mm lugs, its claw-like grip made us tackle the most rugged terrain with confidence. For high-mileage efforts and steep climbs, this is our top go-to. 

If you prioritize protection and stability, the Sense Ride won’t disappoint. In our lab test, its midsole is 31.7% stiffer than the average. While its outsole is 6.4HC tougher than normal.

And of course, this reflects on the weight. At 10.5 oz, it’s on the heavy side. But with its spring-like response, it was agile and didn’t cause any drag. 

Although firm, the Sense Ride has some give to it. Our feet never felt strained nor did they need recovery after. 

To top it all off, the generously padded upper wrapped our feet with so much plushness, comfort was taken up a notch. Even better, small rocks and debris were the least of our worries.

See our full review and facts

Best Nike trail running shoes for women

Nike Pegasus Trail 2 GTX
Nike Pegasus Trail 2 GTX

Corescore

90
Superb!
4.5 / 5 from 306 users
89 / 100 from 8 experts

Pros

  • Outstanding waterproofness 
  • Great for road-to-trail transitions
  • Lively ride
  • Feels lighter than it is
  • Good grip
  • Perfect for autumn and winter
  • Runs true to size
  • Undeniably durable

Cons

  • Not breathable
  • Semi-gaiter lets snow in
  • Bulky

Verdict

The Nike Pegasus Trail 2 GTX is a trail shoe that REALLY impressed us. It kept our feet dry all throughout the wet conditions we ran! It's made for training runs so don't expect anything fast. Instead, expect a superbly bouncy and comfortable shoe that will mute out all the rocks and roots underfoot. Even better, in areas of grip and durability, this shoe will wow you!
See our full review and facts

Best off-trail trail running shoes for women

Salomon Speedcross 5
Salomon Speedcross 5

Corescore

91
Superb!
4.6 / 5 from 53,360 users
90 / 100 from 27 experts

Pros

  • A beast for difficult rugged trails
  • Perfect for mud
  • True to size
  • Responsive
  • Spot-on cushioning
  • Fits like a glove
  • Superior traction
  • No break-in
  • Foot protection

Cons

  • Limited for specific use 
  • Thick tongue holds water

Verdict

It nails it in the traction arena, we think it’s the cleats version of trail shoes. Seriously, the Salomon Speedcross 5 grips so well, soft and loose trails are nothing next to it. 

It’s no wonder why it bites so well. As opposed to other trail shoes, it has 4-mm lugs (vs. 3.2mm) that digs deep into the ground for surefooted steps. 

Protection is also paramount in the Speedcross, which is why it’s our top pick for the harsh off-trail surfaces. It has so much cushion underneath, we totally forgot about the jagged rocks and roots beneath us. 

Lockdown is as great as it gets. The laces and upper clutched our feet securely, we were cruising with confidence. What’s more is the laces stayed tied all throughout our test runs. 

Splashes from creek crossings and moisture from snow can’t get through this shoe. Although it’s not waterproof, it somehow manages to repel water. 

Overall the Salomon Speedcross 5 is THE most reliable off-trail running shoe we’ve ever tried. And if you want a shoe that’s built to take the abuse from the harshest terrains, it won’t fail you.

See our full review and facts

Best women's trail running shoes for ultra

Altra Olympus 4.0
Altra Olympus 4.0

Corescore

90
Superb!
4.5 / 5 from 1,759 users
89 / 100 from 15 experts

Pros

  • True to size
  • Wide toebox
  • Built for long runs
  • Superb cushion
  • Excellent traction
  • Durable Vibram sole
  • Light for a maximal shoe
  • Gusseted tongue
  • Very comfortable
  • Breathable

Cons

  • Not very responsive
  • Expensive

Verdict

Named after the highest mountain in Greece, the Altra Olympus 4.0 is built to go the distance. And if you’re racing 100 miles, this is your go-to. 

Of all the ultra essentials that we’ve laid out, the Olympus 4.0 ticks all our boxes. With its 33-mm midsole foam, protective and comfortable isn’t even enough to describe it. And on your off-days from racing, it can be your cozy pick for easy and recovery paces.  

It’s also your friend when your feet start to swell. Like a true Altra, it’s extremely spacious in the toe box, your toes can splay comfortably. 

Of course, the Vibram outsole is just as trusty as ever. On rocks, mud, and loose trails, it handled everything with no sweat. 

Moreover, comfort is not only found in the Altra Olympus 4.0’s midsole. It’s also evident in the upper. It’s light and breathable, you don’t have to worry about blistered toes.

See our full review and facts

Best road-to-trail trail running shoes for women

Brooks Caldera 5
Brooks Caldera 5

Corescore

88
Great!
4.5 / 5 from 1,364 users
85 / 100 from 9 experts

Pros

  • Cushioned
  • Welded overlays
  • Superb grip
  • Very durable
  • Gusseted tongue

Cons

  • Not so breathable
  • Stiff, heavily padded heel

Verdict

From road to trail, we didn’t have to switch gears in the Brooks Caldera 5. On the road, its traction was easy-going. And on the trails, it clung fantastically. 

It’s not speed-oriented. Rather, it’s a commuter shoe that will take you miles and miles on the pavement and unfriendly outdoor terrains. 

Enjoyable is how we’d describe the performance of the Caldera. It’s soft and forgiving with a tinge of bounce for a lively ride. 

It’s burly on the outside, and it’s exactly how it is on the inside. After some hard playtests, the upper and outsole are still as flawless fresh from the box. While the midsole is not bottoming out. 

And who doesn’t love a gusseted tongue? It made it easy to put the shoe on and off. What’s more is it upped the lockdown. No wobbling nor slips.  

It’s heavy on paper at 10.5 oz. But for the protection, comfort, and versatile traction the Caldera 5 from Brooks provided, we can move past its weight.

See our full review and facts

Best value trail running shoes for women

Brooks Divide 2
Brooks Divide 2

Corescore

84
Good!
4.3 / 5 from 647 users
88 / 100 from 4 experts

Pros

  • Breathable
  • Nice tongue design
  • Laces stay in place
  • Secure lockdown
  • Protective
  • Comfortable cushioning
  • Light
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Dull ride
  • Lacks plushness
  • Some durability issues

Verdict

Brooks Divide 2 proved to us that all-rounders don’t always come at a high price. It only retails for $100, but does an even better job than most expensive trail shoes. 

If you want one shoe from your door to the trails, the Brooks Divide will deliver with flying colors. It’s not overbearing on paved roads. And when it’s time to hit the trails, its grip is just as reliable. 

Unlike other trail shoes in our arsenal, it wasn’t hard on our feet. Its comfort is even along the ranks of road running shoes! 

Its lockdown is also to die for. Thanks to the gusseted tongue, our feet never slid out of the shoe. Up front, there’s also enough space and volume for the toes to splay. Even wide-footed runners can enjoy it. 

For such a budget-friendly price, we were astounded that it’s loaded with a rock plate. Although it’s not designed for the technical trails, Brooks really outdid themselves in the Divide 2. 

It’s not meant to go fast. But if you want a foolproof road-to-trail hybrid, we can’t recommend the Brooks Divide 2 enough.

See our full review and facts
Author
Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic

Whether it's a vertical kilometre or an ultra, climbing in the Alps or exploring local mountains, Jovana uses every opportunity to trade walls and concrete for forests and trails. She logs at least 10h/week on trails, with no off-season, and 4x more on research on running and running shoes. With a background in physics and engineering management, she prefers her running spiced with data.