31 best trail lightweight running shoes

Based on reviews from 128 experts and 7,437 users. Learn how our rankings work or see our guide to trail lightweight running shoes. Updated Nov 2019.

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Lightweight trail running shoe

For some people, trail running is one of the most appealing but challenging outdoor activities. Getting the right pair of trail shoe should be the top priority in order to experience a fun and more satisfying run.

Trail shoes are expected to be heavier than road shoes because they come with durable outsole and protective coverage. But there are also lightweight trail shoes that are still durable and protective. These shoes won’t disappoint on the trail

Choosing the best lightweight trail running shoes

best lightweight trail running shoes
Best lightweight trail running shoes - March 2019

In finding the perfect companion for trail running, a lot of factors are needed to be considered before buying one. The right combination of technologies is essential in crafting the best footwear for short and long-distance trail runs. Below are some of the things to consider in choosing the best lightweight trail running shoes:

  • Traction. Shoes that are intended for trail running utilize deeper lugs. These lugs are essential when the user decides to run in bigger surface areas. They aid in achieving the right amount of traction needed in tackling uneven and challenging trails.
  • Protection from rocks. If you’re tackling a rocky ground, some stones tend to push underfoot. It is then important that the shoe provides maximum foot protection throughout the run. A trail shoe should not only offer underfoot protection but absorb and disperse impact as well.
  • Comfortable upper. Running on a wide variety of terrains can be very stressful. To reduce this, a comfortable upper unit can be very helpful to provide the runner with an enjoyable ride. Generally, lightweight trail running shoes are meant to deliver comfortable and smoother in-shoe feel.
  • Stability. When running on uneven surfaces, roots, and rocks, stability is really needed. Trail shoes should deliver stability and support by using denser midsoles, supportive uppers, and heel counters.

Benefits of lightweight shoe for trail running

These are some of the benefits of using   running shoes for the trail:

  • With the utilization of a lightweight trail running shoe, the runner is able to hit the terrains with ease and comfort. It allows runners to run in speed without the feeling of fatigue.
  • Lightweight trail running shoes still offer the same level of durability and grip just like the heavy ones.
  • Lightweight trail running shoes will help the user to traverse challenging terrain with ease and confidence. These shoes provide a reasonable amount of underfoot cushioning for protection and comfort.

Brands that are selling the best lightweight trail running shoes

Running shoe brands put a lot of effort and time to develop the best lightweight trail running shoes that consumers would love and appreciate. Salomon, Mizuno, Inov-8, and The North Face are some of the popular brands that are manufacturing lightweight trail running shoes.

Salomon

Salomon is considered as one of the leading companies in the running world. They feature their own technologies that are focused on enhancing the lifespan and performance of the shoe. The Salomon brand is known for building durable and top-quality running shoes.

Mizuno

Mizuno is one of the companies that aim to create rigorous and speedy lightweight trail running shoes. They use predominantly sports-centric design philosophy that aims to produce highly optimized shoes for outdoor activities. Mizuno considers the type of runner, foot movement and topography in developing and crafting their trail and road running footwear. Mizuno running shoes are slightly expensive but still considered as an excellent option and a must-try shoe for outdoor activities.

The North Face

The North Face lightweight trail running shoes are widely used by runners because of its responsiveness, breathability and lightweight structure. The North Face running shoes also offer durability and great ground contact.

Inov-8

The Inov-8 is a reliable brand when it comes to trail running shoes. Most of the Inov-8 running shoes are specifically designed and strategically engineered for a wide variety of terrains. They make use of technologies that will take every trail runner's activity to the next level.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are lightweight trail shoes durable?

Most lightweight trail running shoes are durable but, ideally, runners should replace their shoes after 300 to 500 miles.

What is the cheapest lightweight trail running shoe?

The most affordable lightweight trail running shoe in the market today is the Merrell Trail Crusher. Sold at the price $80, the shoe delivers an amazing performance on the trail.

Can I use my lightweight trail shoe on the roads?

Yes, you can use trail shoes for road running as long as it feels comfortable. The trail shoe should not prevent you from experiencing a satisfying run.

Is it better to wear a lightweight shoe for trail running?

It depends on the runners and its running style. Generally, weight affects the agility and the endurance of the runner. For some the more lightweight the footwear is, the better. However, you should not sacrifice cushioning, protection and durability.

15 best trail lightweight running shoes

  1. Inov-8 Trail Talon 235
  2. Merrell Agility Synthesis Flex
  3. Inov-8 X-Talon 230
  4. Merrell Trail Glove 4
  5. Inov-8 X-Talon 200
  6. Salomon S-Lab Sense 7 SG
  7. Altra Superior 4.0
  8. Inov-8 X-Talon 212
  9. Altra King MT 1.5
  10. New Balance Summit Unknown
  11. Merrell Bare Access XTR
  12. La Sportiva Helios 2.0
  13. Merrell Trail Glove 5
  14. Vivobarefoot Primus Trail FG
  15. Merrell Trail Glove 5 3D
Author
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Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com
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