6 Best Waterproof Trail Running Shoes in 2024

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
6 Best Waterproof Trail Running Shoes in 2024
We earn affiliate commissions at no extra cost to you when you buy through us. Why trust us

It’s known to many - the trails aren’t the friendliest. Apart from jagged rocks and roots, there are also some stream crossings and other wet conditions you have to endure. 

And when faced with these, your trusty go-tos are waterproof trail running shoes. They keep your feet dry and protected. So much so, they can even be your pair of winter running shoes.

We took it upon ourselves to test the shoes so that we could help you make an informed decision in picking up your pair. We have made the shoes go through multiple steps in our testing method, to end up with only the best.


How we test trail running shoes

It’s easy to get lost, given the number of waterproof trail running shoes from athlete-trusted brands like Nike, Hoka, Saucony, Brooks, etc. But fret not, we have tested and selected the best of the best through our own RunRepeat shoe testing lab. 

Before we come up with our list, we make sure to buy each pair with our own money. We then examine each shoe from top to bottom using the following steps: 

  • We run in each waterproof running shoe model for at least 30 to 50 miles
  • We cut them open to see what’s inside
  • We measure each aspect of the shoe via parameters like weight, cushion, flexibility, etc. 


Best waterproof trail running shoes overall

What makes it the best?

Protective upper, incredible traction, lasting comfort, and energy return — these are just some of the qualities we saw in the lab and experienced in our test runs. The outstanding and versatile Nike Pegasus Trail 4 GTX is the best among all waterproof trail running shoes we tested. 

Wrapped in several protective layers and a Gore-Tex membrane, the upper can surely take a beating. It proves itself durable even further as our brutal Dremel barely made an impact on the upper.

We ran on wet grass, uneven terrains, and even snow to test the outsole’s traction. We’re ultimately impressed with the shoe’s grip as we remained in control the whole time thanks to its variety of 3.5 mm lugs.

The Pegasus Trail 4 GTX has a brilliant midsole that feels comfy and energetic underfoot. The foam comes at a generous stack height of 37.7 mm (5.5 mm higher than the average of trail running shoes) while also measuring 29.0% softer than average. To say that our feet enjoyed maximum protection and TLC during our trail adventures is an understatement.

Though the upper offers excellent waterproofing, its tongue is not fully gusseted. We believe this is a crucial feature for the complete waterproof experience.


  • Versatile road-to-trail performance
  • Grippier than the standard version
  • Surprisingly light for a GTX shoe
  • Accommodates wide feet with ease
  • Delivers a really stable ride for neutral runners
  • Upper showcases remarkable durability
  • Fantastic option for heel strikers


  • Non-gusseted tongue allows water and debris to enter the shoe
  • Not suitable for technical terrain
  • Excessive drop for midfoot or forefoot strikers
Full review of Nike Pegasus Trail 4 GTX

Trail waterproof running shoes with the best grip

What makes it the best?

Our test runs and lab analysis show that Speedcross 6 GTX offers the best grip among trail waterproof running shoes. It’s built for action and technical terrains — ensuring we’re in control with its deep lugs, protective upper, and supportive platform.

We felt steady on loose gravel, muddy terrains, and wet paths thanks to the reliable traction of the 5.0 mm lugs. Our caliper measurement shows it’s 1.5 mm deeper than average, giving that extra bite on softer ground. The lugs are cleverly spaced to shed off mud and are chevron-shaped to act as brakes on hills and sharp turns. 

Speedcross ensures our feet remain dry on rainy days and below-the-ankle river crossings. Under our microscope, we noticed one of the densest uppers we’ve seen. It leaves no room for air to pass through, and all the more water! It scored the lowest 1/5 on our lab breathability test.

The platform blends rigid and fluid elements for support and comfort. The foam provides enough cushion for relief yet feels firm for stability. Our durometer confirms it’s 21.3% harder than average. Speedcross allows for longitudinal flexibility yet it's hard to twist, earning the highest 5/5 on our torsional rigidity test. Together with the stiff heel, we remain steady even on challenging terrains.

Unfortunately, its 11.5 oz (325g) weight is hard to ignore and feels quite heavy on foot.


  • Fully functional Gore-Tex membrane
  • Ample cushioning for long adventures
  • Excels in challenging, technical terrain
  • Rapidly sheds mud
  • Agile and tenacious grip on twisted trails
  • Remarkable durability
  • Ideal for heel strikers


  • Completely lacks breathability
  • Midsole could feel overly firm for some
  • Exceptionally heavy
Full review of Salomon Speedcross 6 GTX

Waterproof trail running shoes with the best cushioning

What makes it the best?

Going faster and longer on the trails while being comfortable—these perfectly sum up our experience with the Hoka Speedgoat 5 GTX. A cushioned, grippy, jack-of-all-trades trail shoe that’s also water-resistant, the Hoka Speedgoat 5 GTX is our pick for having the best cushioning in the waterproof trail running shoe group.

A combination of soft and thick midsole foam makes the Speedgoat 5 GTX a massively comfortable shoe to run with. Running in these shoes makes the rough terrain somewhat smoother and more manageable. It's an understatement to say we truly enjoyed our trail runs and day hikes.

The Speedgoat 5 GTX is mind-boggling. The durable and grippy Vibram outsole grips loose trail surfaces, mud, and even frozen surfaces. Along with the excellent waterproofing, these are the shoes to wear in wet conditions.

Getting cold and wet feet is one of the most uncomfortable feelings during a run. Luckily, we did not experience this thanks to the excellent waterproofing the Speedgoat 5 GTX offers. Its Gore-tex upper kept our feet dry and warm through and through. 

However, the Gore-tex may make the shoe too warm in hotter conditions. For cooler weather, these shoes are perfect.


  • Plush, cushioned midsole
  • Exceptional stability
  • Remarkable breathability for a Gore-Tex shoe
  • Spacious enough for most foot types
  • Well-suited for ultra marathons
  • Superior grip on easy and moderate trails
  • Vibram Megagrip outsole
  • Utilises recycled materials in the upper


  • Simply too heavy
  • Midsole hardens noticeably in cold temperatures
  • Could benefit from increased flexibility
Full review of Hoka Speedgoat 5 GTX

Best road-to-trail waterproof running shoes

What makes it the best?

We tested Hoka’s Challenger 7 GTX on our wet excursions and against intensive lab tests and it proves its versatility in any weather and terrain. It serves the grip, protection, and cushion we need to run securely from the roads to the trails, making it our best hybrid shoe in the trail waterproof running category.

We pushed our durometer against the outsole and the Durabrasion rubber measures a balanced 81.0 HC, ensuring traction without sacrificing durability. We found the shoe suitable enough for moderate trails thanks to the 3.8 mm lugs. Thankfully, they didn’t feel intrusive on hard concrete and asphalt.

Challenger 7 GTX features a robust upper with a fully gusseted tongue to ensure protection from debris. Upon checking our microscope, the thick mesh has several protective layers and a Gore-Tex membrane to shield off water. We can confirm our feet remained dry as we ran through rain and puddles.

This hybrid shoe offers exceptional comfort that lasts all day through its plush platform. Our caliper shows it rises above average, especially its 39.2 mm heel stack. The velvet cushion ensures our legs don’t feel tired during long runs. Our durometer confirms the foam is 25.3% softer than average.

Because of its maximalist nature, we recommend runners who prefer having more ground feel to look elsewhere.


  • Fully waterproof and winter-ready
  • Secure lockdown thanks to the gusseted tongue
  • Amazing stability
  • Provides a comfortable ride on roads and easy trails
  • Ideal for long runs
  • Generous CMEVA cushioning underfoot
  • Surprisingly lightweight given its stack height
  • Just £20 more than the regular version


  • Lacks reflective elements
  • Potentially too stiff for hiking for some users
  • Higher heel-to-toe drop than anticipated
Full review of Hoka Challenger 7 GTX

Waterproof trail running shoes with the best foot protection

What makes it the best?

The Salomon XA Pro 3D v9 GTX is a shield like no other, offering defense from top to bottom so we can run confidently in various terrains. It’s built like a tank with its dense upper, firm cushion, and balanced outsole. Our lab results back up our run observation that this trail waterproof running shoe delivers the best foot protection.

We first tested the Gore-Tex upper through our smoke and light test, and it cemented its impermeability by receiving a low 1/5 score. Low doesn’t mean bad because this confirms it’s extremely protective against water, cold weather, and debris.

Moving to the next layer, the cushion has a brick-like feeling, which our durometer confirms is a firm 32.5 HA. We found that it dampens landing impact well and maintains our balance since it doesn’t bottom out. The stiff 3D chassis also serves as an additional stability element and rock plate of the shoe.

Underfoot, this trail monster is supported by a Contagrip outsole with 2.8 mm lugs. We have no issues with its traction on loose sand, snow, and rocks. The shoe also displayed minimal wear after miles of outdoor testing, proving its durability.

Unfortunately, all the extra protection comes at a heavy 12.7 oz (359g), 22.1% heavier than average. Backpackers and hikers might appreciate this shoe more than speedy, agile runners.


  • Incredibly protective
  • Extremely stable and supportive
  • Great traction even on wet surfaces
  • Watertight Gore-Tex upper
  • Flexible and forgiving on the foot
  • Makes a great hiking companion
  • Effectively dampens landings
  • Generously padded from heel to tongue
  • No lace bite whatsoever
  • Durable, high-quality construction
  • Simple yet snazzy design


  • Could be lighter
  • Rather firm cushioning
  • Upper needs breaking in
  • Lacks the agility for technical trails
Full review of Salomon XA Pro 3D v9 GTX

Best budget waterproof trail running shoes

What makes it the best?

Finding a stable and protective waterproof running shoe for the trails doesn’t have to break the bank as seen in our best budget pick: the Nike Juniper Trail 2 GTX. With a non-intimidating £140 price, it's more affordable than the £170 average waterproof running shoe in our lab. 

Our feet remained dry as we encountered wet conditions in the wild. To prove its waterproofing abilities further, we counterchecked with our breathability tests and the 2/5 score aligns with our observations. Its dense upper doesn’t allow liquid particles to enter but still has some room for ventilation, which is a plus! Not only that, the padding greatly resisted our Dremel and proved its durability with a flawless 5/5 rating.

Juniper Trail 2 GTX offers a firm ride, as confirmed by our durometer measurement which is 27.8% denser than average. This delivers surefooted strides, further boosted by its high level of torsional rigidity and vast landing base. Our caliper reveals a generous width to find our footing, with 114.4/94.3 mm in the forefoot and heel. To balance off all the rigidity, the midsole feels easy to maneuver, needing 20.3% less force than average to bend.

However, we recommend sticking to easy to moderate trails with this pair, as it lacks grip for more challenging terrains.


  • Impressive upgrade
  • Top-notch waterproofing
  • Amazing durability
  • Exceptional stability
  • Ideal for heel strikers
  • Spacious toebox
  • Excellent for winter conditions


  • High price increase
  • Firm ride
  • Grip could improve
Full review of Nike Juniper Trail 2 GTX

Choosing the best waterproof trail running shoes

A large part of trail running’s appeal is the sense of unpredictability: the varied terrain, the challenging conditions—it all adds to the adventure.

But that unpredictability is not so fun if you’re unprepared to deal with it. If your shoes are not up to the task of navigating muddy trails, snowy ascents, and torrential downpours far from the parking lot, your trail running adventures can quickly go south.


The benefits of waterproof trail running shoes

Let’s begin by stating what should be obvious: no trail running shoe is completely waterproof. Fording knee-deep creeks and travelling on rain-soaked muddy trails all day will ultimately result in wet feet.

But the best waterproof trail running shoes will keep your feet drier in more challenging conditions than your standard trail shoe. With waterproof but breathable materials, seamless upper designs, and extra insulation, waterproof trail running shoes provide two primary benefits: superior weather protection and superior warmth.

waterproof GTX shoe vs. breathable shoe

As we can see from the video above, even in a GTX shoe, the water can still seep through the sides of the tongue. Especially when it's not fully gusseted.

Superior weather protection 

Most road and trail running shoes favour lightweight, mesh uppers. These lightweight uppers make for extremely breathable but not very weather-resistant shoes. Even moderate rain will saturate your shoes relatively quickly. Waterproof trail running shoes most often feature a GORE-TEX upper. GORE-TEX is not water-permeable but still vents moisture, so your feet stay dry in snow or rain without suffocating.

Superior warmth

Waterproof trail running shoes are warmer than your usual running shoes. This is a result of either water-resistant coatings on shoe uppers or uppers made from waterproof materials like GORE-TEX. Sometimes waterproof trail running shoes feature both.

By blocking moisture out, waterproof trail running shoes inevitably trap heat inside the shoe. Although GORE-TEX is breathable, it does not provide the same airflow you get from light mesh uppers. But in cold or wet conditions, limited breathability and extra warmth become desirable qualities.


The qualities of the best waterproof trail running shoes

The best waterproof trail running shoes almost all use GORE-TEX (GTX) to achieve a reliable and durable waterproof design. Like Vibram outsoles, GTX is the industry-leading waterproof fabric for a reason. It is simply the best option for high-performing waterproof trail running shoes. It provides robust protection from rain, snow, or mud, with just enough breathability to ensure your feet don’t clam up with your own sweat.

Beyond GTX uppers, look at the design of the upper itself. Seamless construction will minimise holes from developing in the upper. A gaiter-style ankle collar can also help keep water and snow from sneaking into your shoes, a problem that waterproof fabrics will do nothing to prevent.


Should you get waterproof trail running shoes?

Waterproof trail running shoes provide benefits, but they have considerable drawbacks as well. So, are they really worth it? They certainly can be, but only in a few specific contexts.

Running in snow

You would likely benefit from waterproof trail runners if you continue to hit the trails year-round, even when blanketed in snow. They prevent snow from seeping into the shoes via permeable upper fabrics. A gaiter-style ankle collar or pairing shoes with running gaiters can effectively keep your feet completely dry on snowy winter trails.

Running in cold and rainy conditions

Waterproof trail running shoes are also beneficial in cold and rainy weather. The waterproofing results in more insulation, and GTX uppers or waterproof coating will stop rain from saturating the shoes.

When to choose waterproof trail running shoes

Outside of cold, snowy, and rainy conditions, waterproof trail running shoes are usually unnecessary, or even undesirable. It is best to avoid them if you primarily run in warm or hot weather, even if the trails are muddy and puddle-filled. In these conditions, your feet will get soaked no matter what shoes they’re in.

Waterproof trail running shoes are less breathable and do not drain well. Once moisture gets in, it takes a long time to leave. In hot weather, even if the trails are wet, normal trail runners are a better choice because they drain and dry faster.


However, if you train for many months of the year in the cold and snow, a pair of waterproof trail running shoes is a valuable addition to your shoe rotation. They fit similarly to other running shoes, but you might consider sizing up half a size if you’ll be running in thicker socks for cold or wet winter conditions.

Jens Jakob Andersen
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.