32 best trail waterproof running shoes

Based on reviews from 52 experts and 10,019 users. Learn how our rankings work or see our guide to trail waterproof running shoes. Updated Mar 2019.

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Waterproof trail running shoes

Outdoor terrain can be very challenging to tackle. Even more so when the runner wants to move at a higher speed. There are also other challenges to face when running off-road - the mud, dirt, and even the wet weather. These things are among the reasons why waterproof trail running shoes are created.

To be considered as a great waterproof trail running shoe, aside from the effective waterproofing feature, the right blend of comfort, cushioning and traction is essential as well. This combination will help and allow the runner to get over the trails with confidence.

Benefits of waterproof trail running shoes for men and women

best waterproof trail running shoes
Best waterproof trail running shoes - February 2019

Trail running shoes vary a lot to cater to a wide variety of trail runners. Some shoes are waterproof or water-repellent, while others are not. Some feature a minimalist design while others are highly-cushioned.

Some runners preferred to wear a waterproof trail shoe for the following reasons:

  • Keeps the foot dry. One of the most significant benefits of a waterproof running shoe is that it keeps the foot cool and fresh all the time, especially on wet conditions. With the utilization of GTX lining, water is then prevented from entering the interior and soaking the foot. Some trail shoes are engineered to shed off the water with the use of drainage ports in the midsole. While others are completely waterproof, the shoe tends to be a little stiffer but blister-free.  
  • Prevent cold feet. Cold feet can lead to a very uncomfortable running experience. When the foot is wet, they can get cold especially at low temperature. Wearing a waterproof shoe will prevent this from happening. Keeping the foot warm and dry is a benefit that a runner would get in a waterproof shoe.

Other advantages of wearing a waterproof trail shoe

While the main function of the waterproof trail shoe is to keep the foot dry and warm, most waterproof running shoes also provide the following benefits.

  • Traction. A trail running shoe has multi-directional and large lugs that dig into the dirt and mud. This component of the shoe provides a better grip on challenging and hazardous terrains.
  • Protection. Trail shoe ensures the runner's safety. In addition to providing enough traction, trail shoes utilize toe guards as well as hard and metal plastic plates. These materials are integrated into the sole of the shoe. The primary goal of which is to protect the arch of the human foot from hazardous and sharp rocks as well as exposed roots that can be found on the trails. The upper unit is crafted with the use of durable and stiff materials that won’t easily tear as the user finishes the run. The stiffness of the upper material also protects the ankles and helps the foot to stabilize on slanted and uneven surfaces.
  • Stay blister-free. Blisters can develop when the foot is wet. When the foot is wet, the skin is soft and becomes susceptible to abrasions and rubbing from walking and running. As a result, blisters are formed, making the foot painful and uncomfortable.

How to pick the right pair of waterproof trail shoes

Wearing the right trail shoes is very important. The key features in choosing the right companion in running can vary on the conditions of the terrain and the route you want. Just like any other type of trail running shoes, you have to look out for its cushioning system, traction, upper construction and performance on the trails. The perfect pair for you still depends on your preference. Make sure that when you buy a pair of your choice, you are comfortable and confident enough to start and finish your activity without compromising the performance of the shoe. Here are some tips on how to pick the right pair for you.

  • Know your fit. Get help from an expert to assess the shape and size of your foot. The snug fit is essential in running comfortably and efficiently.
  • Check the waterproofing material used. Always remember that there's a lot of waterproofing trail running shoes that are offered in the market nowadays. Depending on the brand, they utilize specific materials that make them waterproof.
  • Pick a reasonably-priced pair. We have to admit it, having the best waterproof trail running shoes will require financial investments. Keep in mind that the price of the shoe should be reasonable but is sure to provide excellent performance and quality.
  • Assess the type of trails you plan to tackle. The first thing to consider in picking the best waterproof running shoe is to know the kind of trails you expect to take. These include light, rugged and off-trail running. From there, you will be able to determine the right shoe for you.

Brands that manufacture waterproof trail running shoes

Adidas

The Gore-Tex membrane, one of the most prominent waterproofing technologies nowadays, is utilized in some Adidas running shoes that are built for trail running. This allows the user to stay cool and dry, especially when running on wet conditions. The primary focus of this membrane is to protect the foot and the platform from water infiltration without restricting breathability.

Salomon

The Gore-Tex Invisible Fit is used in Salomon trail running shoes. This technology is described as a layer that perfectly blends with the upper section. Without sacrificing the shoe's comfort and breathability, the interior chamber is protected against water infiltration. This is essential in keeping the foot cool and dry throughout the running session.

The North Face

The base material of The North Face running shoes is described to be a lightweight mesh that offers more breathable coverage. On top of this material is a Gore-Tex membrane that is meant to wrap the mesh. This waterproof material results in a fresh and dry foot environment. Even on rainy and snowy days, the membrane delivers protection against moisture during the running activity.

Inov-8

The upper unit of the Inov-8 trail running shoes features the Gore-Tex membrane. This material is described to be breathable and lightweight that keeps the foot to be dry. When running on wet surfaces, the GTX membrane aims to protect the interior chamber against water infiltration. Proper ventilation is provided to encourage a healthier foot environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I wear my waterproof trail running shoe for road running?

Yes. You can wear your trail running shoe on your road runs as long as you are comfortable wearing it. You have to make sure that the outsole unit provides enough grip on the trails to ensure your safety.

What is the difference between a trail and road waterproof running shoe?

The main difference between a road and trail shoe is their composition. Trail running shoes are traditionally heavier in structure. They are designed to protect and support the foot on rugged and challenging terrains. Road running shoes have minimal needs for traction. This is the reason why most of their outsoles are thin.

What is the most affordable waterproof trail running shoe?

One of the affordable waterproof trail running shoes is the Adidas Terrex Tracerocker GTX, which retails at $110. The running shoe was admired by the majority of the consumers who have purchased it because of its notable features and technologies. It made a lot of users happy and contented with its ability to function well on a wide variety of surfaces. For that reason, great outdoor activities are enjoyed by the runner. 

15 best trail waterproof running shoes

  1. Adidas Terrex Skychaser GTX
  2. The North Face Ultra 109 GTX
  3. Salomon Speedcross 4 GTX
  4. Adidas Terrex Swift R GTX
  5. Adidas Terrex CMTK GTX
  6. Topo Athletic Hydroventure
  7. Adidas Terrex Trailmaker GTX
  8. Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX
  9. Altra Lone Peak 3.0 NeoShell Low
  10. La Sportiva Wildcat 2.0 GTX
  11. Adidas Kanadia 7 GTX
  12. The North Face Ultra 110 GTX
  13. Adidas Terrex Tracerocker GTX
  14. La Sportiva Ultra Raptor GTX
  15. Salomon XA Elevate GTX
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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