Best New Trail Shoes for Fall-Winter 2019

Drymax Socks

Thanks to Drymax for sponsoring our reporting on fall/winter 2019 trail shoes!

Twice a year, sometime after the respective trade-show season is over, I share info on many of the new trail-shoe models debuting the following season. Now is one such time, even if it’s a bit later than usual. What follows is a collection of shoes that have just launched or will soon launch in the middle of 2019.

[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated with a brand (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) that produces shoes, please share that relationship in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]

If you’re interested in a particular brand or model, you can use the following list to jump ahead. (The more in-depth previews are bolded in the list.)

Saucony Mad River TR ($110 – Out Now)

What the Saucony Mad River TR lacks in flashiness it more than makes up for in features in a solid, all-around package. The 10.7-ounce (303 g), 4mm-drop shoe has a breathable mesh upper with robust toe protection. There are two complete sets of eyelets for personalized fit, simple gaiter attachments, outsole prompts for inserting hex screws for winter traction, and a lace keeper.

Saucony Mad River TR

The Saucony Mad River TR.

Brooks Cascadia 14 ($130 – Out Now)

In my mind, the tried-and-true Brooks Cascadia 14 takes a big step forward in loosing 1.2 ounces to drop down to 10.7 ounces (303 g) without giving up anything in turn. In fact, Brooks upgraded the outsole to its proprietary TrailTack material while widening the medial forefoot a bit. Along the way, they simplified the outsole design and added a Cordura mudguard for increased durability. The Cascadia 14 has an 8mm drop.

Brooks Cascadia 14

The Brooks Cascadia 14.


Also new from Brooks:

  • Brooks PureGrit 8 ($120 – Out Now) –  The 4mm-drop underfoot tooling is unchanged, but Brooks simplified the upper of this 9.3-ounce (264 g) shoe.
Brooks PureGrit 8

The Brooks PureGrit 8.

Skechers Go Run Speed Trail Hyper ($125 – Fall 2019)

The Skechers Go Run Speed Trail Hyper is an 8.0-ounce (227 g), 4mm-drop trail shoe with a super-airy and drainable monomesh upper with a burrito tongue. The midsole features Hyper Burst in the rear and Ultra Flight in the forefoot. The outsole’s perforated so the midsole functions as some of the lugs.

Skechers Go Run Speed Trail Hyper

The Skechers Go Run Speed Trail Hyper.

SCOTT Kinabalu RC 2.0 (150€ – Out Now)

The SCOTT Kinabalu RC 2.0 is a 9.0-ounce (255 g), 3mm-drop trail shoe meant for fast running on less technical trails up to around the marathon. Given this focus, it will oddly not be available in the US market, but it will be in most of the rest of the world.

SCOTT Kinabalu RC 2.0

The SCOTT Kinabalu RC 2.0.

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail ($130 – Out Now)

With the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail, the brand now expands to three trail-shoe offerings and this isn’t just a Pegasus 36 with deeper lugs. The Pegasus 36 Trail does use the same last (foot shape) and midsole foam as its roadie cousin, but it’s slightly wider underfoot in the heel and forefoot for more stability as well as going from a single airbag to two. The 10mm drop shoe has an engineered mesh upper with bigger holes than the road version to let out water while adding some TPU overlays in the toe and heel for durability. The airbags double as rockplates with 4mm lugs underfoot. The Pegasus 36 Trail weighs 10.3 ounces (292 g) for a men’s 10 (as opposed to the more oft-used weight of a US men’s 9).

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail.

Salomon XA Alpine Pro ($160 – August 2019)

The Salomon XA Alpine Pro is designed with rugged, mountainous terrain in mind. The 10.6-ounce, 6mm-drop shoe uses Salomon’s Carbon Edging Chassis, a smoother climbing toe, and a reinforced upper.

Salomon XA Alpine Pro

The Salomon XA Alpine Pro.

Also new from Salomon:

  • Salomon S/Lab Ultra 2 ($180 – Out Now) – We already fully reviewed the Salomon S/Lab Ultra 2!
  • Salomon Sonic RA 2 Nocturne ($160 – August 2019) – A 9.5-ounce, 8mm-drop road shoe with a merino wool liner, slight gaiter, a Gore-Tex Invisible Fit membrane, and a ton of reflectivity.
  • Salomon Supercross ($110 – August 2019) – A lower-price trail shoe with aggressive lugs and a more generous fit. It weighs in at 10.9 ounces and has a 10mm drop.
Salomon S/Lab Ultra 2

The Salomon S/Lab Ultra 2.

Salomon Sonic RA Nocturne

The Salomon Sonic RA Nocturne.

Salomon Supercross

The Salomon Supercross.

Topo MTN Racer ($140 – Out Now)

The Topo MTN Racer is similar in many ways to the company’s Ultra Venture model, but in a more race-focused package. For starters, it’s got a firmer midsole and changes to Vibram MegaGrip while retaining the same midsole and outsole patterns. Topo’s also removed the tongue padding and added a second upper-most eyelet for additional lacing-lockdown options. The shoe weighs in at 9.3 ounces (264 g) and has a 5mm drop.

Topo MTN Racer

The Topo MTN Racer.

Also new from Topo:

  • Topo MT-3 ($110 – Out Now) – Topo added 2mm to the stack height by moving to the original Terraventure midsole/outsole combination. This 9.9-ounce (281 g), 5mm-drop trail shoe does not have a rockplate.
  • Topo Phantom ($130 – Out Now) – An 8.6-ounce (244 g), plush road shoe with a 30mm/25mm stack height. The first Topo shoe with their new Zipfoam midsole compound.
Topo MT-3

The Topo MT-3.

Topo Phantom

The Topo Phantom.

Altra King MT 2 ($130 – August 2019)

The Altra King MT 2 keeps its identifying features intact with the velcro lockdown strap, rugged design, and 6mm lugs. However, the shoe gets a big upgrade to the LiteBase version of Vibram MegaGrip that shaves 25% off the weight of the outsole. The King MT 2 will weigh in at 8.7 ounces (246 g) for a US men’s 9.

Altra King MT 2

The Altra King MT 2.

Also new from Altra:

  • Altra Torin 4/Torin 4 Plush ($120/$140 – Out Now) – Altra’s bifurcated the Torin line with the Torin 4 being an ounce lighter (9.1 ounces/257 g versus 10.1 ounces/286 g) and 2mm lower to the ground.
  • Altra Escalante 2 ($130 – Coming Soon) – A decoupled midsole/outsole makes this road shoe more flexible underfoot, while a redesigned upper simultaneously makes the shoe more breathable and more secure in its 8.8-ounce (249 g) package.
Altra Torin 4

The Altra Torin 4.

Altra Escalante 2

The Altra Escalante 2.

Hoka One One Evo Mafate 2 ($170 – Out Now)

The Hoka One One Evo Mafate 2 merely tweaks its predecessor, but it results in a much better shoe. The shoe sticks with the same underfoot tooling and last, but the upper features lycra in the center of the upper and a redesigned toe box for a more generous fit. The trail shoe weighs in at 10.3 ounces (291 g) and has a 4mm drop.

Hoka One One Evo Mafate 2

The Hoka One One Evo Mafate 2.

Also new from Hoka One One:

  • Hoka One One Arkali ($200 – Out Now) – Combination running shoe, climbing shoe, and hiking boot. It’s a protective mid-height shoe with adjustable heel and ankle straps along with Vibram MegaGrip. It’s a hefty 17.9 ounces (508 g) with a 6mm drop.
  • Hoka One One Clifton 6 ($130 – Out Now) –  With version 6, the Clifton goes on a diet, losing half an ounce to weigh in at 9.0 ounces (255 g). The 5mm drop road shoe uses a slightly softer midsole and adds a bit to the toe rand.
  • Hoka One One Rincon ($115 – Out Now) – A 7.7-ounce (218 g), 5mm-drop road shoe with an earlier-stage rocker meant for faster running. It’s also a tad on the softer side.
Hoka One One Arkali

The Hoka One One Arkali.

Hoka One One Clifton 6

The Hoka One One Clifton 6.

Hoka One One Rincon

The Hoka One One Rincon.

Inov-8 Trailroc 280 ($150 – October 2019)

The Inov-8 Trailroc 280 replaces the existing Trailroc 270 and 285. The 280-gram (9.9oz) shoe with an 8mm drop now includes the brand’s G-Grip graphene-infused outsole material.

Inov-8 Trailroc 280

The Inov-8 Trailroc 280.

Also new from Inov-8:

  • Inov-8 Oroc 280 v3 ($140 – Out Now) – The third version of this carbide-spiked shoe has a revised upper with increased toe protection.
Inov-8 ORoc 280 v3

The Inov-8 Oroc 280 v3.

La Sportiva Blizzard GTX ($200 – September 2019)

The La Sportiva Blizzard GTX is a dedicated winter trail running shoe with deep lugs, carbide tips, an integrated gaiter, and a Gore-Tex membrane. By the numbers, it weighs in at 13.3 ounces (377 g), has a 6mm drop, and sports 7mm lugs.

La Sportiva Blizzard GTX

The La Sportiva Blizzard GTX.

Also new from La Sportiva:

  • La Sportiva Kaptiva GTX ($160 – September 2019) – A 9.5-ounce (270 g) waterproof version of the Kaptiva with Gore-Tex Invisible fit.
  • La Sportiva TX Top GTX ($200 – September 2019) – A 17.6-ounce (500 g) technical winter hiker with Vibram MegaGrip and gaiter with pillowed ankle protection.
La Sportiva Kaptiva GTX

The La Sportiva Kaptiva GTX.

La Sportiva TX Top GTX

The La Sportiva TX Top GTX.

Merrell Bare Access XTR ($100 – Out Now)

The Merrell Bare Access XTR is an 8-ounce (240 g), 0mm-drop trail shoe with a moderate midsole with Merrell’s Barefoot construction.

Merrell Bare Access XTR

The Merrell Bare Access XTR.

Arc’teryx Norvan VT 2 ($170 – August 2019)

The Arc’teryx Norvan VT 2 improves upon the previous version’s upper by removing the inner sock-like liner for more breathability and a lighter mesh with a thin TPU coat where durability calls for it. The shoe moves from two Vibram compounds (MegaGrip and Idrogrip) in the outsole to only MegaGrip in this revision. There are also additional eyelets for a more precise fit and a 0.7 mm TPU layer mid-forefoot for underfoot protection.

Arc'teryx Norvan VT 2

The Arc’teryx Norvan VT 2.

adidas Outdoor Agravic Flow ($130 – Fall 2019)

The adidas Outdoor Agravic Flow is a 10.9-ounce (310g) road/trail hybrid with a full-length Boost midsole and a low-lugged Continental Rubber outsole.

adidas Outdoor Agravic Flow

The adidas Outdoor Agravic Flow.

Dynafit Speed MTN ($140 – Out Now)

The Dynafit Speed MTN is designed to fit in the space between a trail running shoe and a hiking shoe. As such, it’s a robust 11.6 ounces (330 g).

Dynafit Speed MTN

The Dynafit Speed MTN.

Salewa Speed Beat GTX ($180 – Out Now)

The Salewa Speed Beat GTX features a robust upper with Gore-Tex membrane in a 12.3-ounce (350 g) shoe intended for winter running.

Salewa Speed Beat GTX

The Salewa Speed Beat GTX.

Notes on Fall/Winter 2019 Updates from Other Brands

New Balance is releasing the Fresh Foam Hierro v5 later this year, but we’ve not yet received any detailed information about the shoe.

Columbia Montrail, RaidlightSCARPA, The North Face, and Under Armour have confirmed they have no new trail shoes for Fall/Winter 2019.

Call for Comments

[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a brand that produces shoes, please share that relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]

  • Which new trails shoes for mid-2019 have you most excited?
  • Have any technical questions? Ask away!
  • Know of other trail shoes due out early next year? Tell us about them in a comment.

There are 35 comments

  1. Leo

    Are there any shoes under $100? The cost of trail shoes is absurd for the limited lifespan. I go through 7 pairs a year. How about a discussion about what is driving the price up every season? When are we going to be able to recycle our dead shoes? This sport should be sustainable and affordable. Am I the only person who is concerned?
    Unafillated Hermit

    1. Jay

      @Leo. You bring up a good point about what exactly is driving up the price every season. I’ve seen this debate on other message boards, as well…and from best I can tell it’s a number of factors. Yes, there is SOME innovation in the game, but the material cost is arguably the biggest reason for the price increase. They seemingly go up every year, sometimes higher in certain years than in others. Add in the fact that shipping costs go up and you have element for consumers paying higher prices.

      Now, at the same time, I have heard from at least one primarily road running shoe store employee that Hoka was a game changer in the market as far as price point. Once Hoka became known, other brands/companies caught onto this and realized “Hey, we can charge $150 for a pair of shoes and people will pay it. Hoka has shown us this”..so they all started raising prices.

      Again, I don’t think it’s just one factor driving the price increases. As far as saving money, do what many of us do and buy the previous years model for 30 to 40% off when the new model is released. Sometimes you might have to wait a few months, but this strategy hasn’t failed me yet.

      1. Max

        I’d sat the cost of shoe production is among the smallest reasons for expensive shoes. These days every reputable manufacturer can afford to pay a healthy sponsorship for a fleet of athletes for them to not have a day job. Enough people care about ultra trail running for there to be real money in it.

        Running, tends to be the single biggest money pit people devote their free time to. From my experience with how much money people throw at other “middle class white guy” sports, $1.5k per year is a fairly expected budget. Just look at the cost of skiing for a season, or replacing blown climbing gear.

        As Jay mentioned Hoka was the first player in road running to get away with charging $150 per pair, though I’m pretty sure Asics was already charging that for their top models.
        And when Salomon released the Shoe That Won Western States, at an even $200, that shoe was sold out on pre-order.

        Also don’t forget inflation. That’s some 3-5% of compounding annual cost that must be made up for.

    2. KenZ

      @Leo- that’s why I buy almost all of my shoes as closeouts at Running Warehouse. I rarely pay more than $80/pair for the same stuff listed here… just last year’s model. They’re fine.

  2. Tim

    Skechers Speed Trail Ultra Flight indeed looks cool – rockplate doubling as a propulsion plate. Any idea of Ultra Flight material is?

    Any word on the following shoes:
    Arc’teryx Norvan LD 2
    Hoka SpeedGoat Evo
    2020 releases?

    1. Bryon Powell

      I’ve got info on the Spring/Summer (i.e., early) 2020 releases in my inbox and in the stack of papers next to my desk. I’ll publish a piece about them this autumn.(That’ll include the Norvan LD 2, but not the Speedgoat Evo… which I’ve heard about, but is not yet in Hoka’s SS20 lineup.

      I’m looking into more info on the Ultra Flight midsole compound. From what I can find in various reviews, it’s a reasonably lightweight midsole compound that balances energy return well with cushioning. Based on the use of two midsole compounds in this speed-focused shoe, I’d guess the Ultra Flight is more “responsive” than the Hyper Burst compound.

      1. Rob

        Ultraflight is pretty much the standard midsole that’s in the non-Skechers Performance line, also was in most of the current-pre Hyper Burst midsoles. Ultraflight has been around awhile. This Hyper Burst / Ultraflight gives the SpeedTrail a good combination of cushioning and responsiveness. Definitely feels like having more shoe underfoot than there really is. So light and amazing.

        [Rob is a brand ambassador for Skechers.]

        1. Bryon Powell

          Hey Rob,
          Thanks for the helpful comments with more details on the Skechers. From your blog it loooks like you might be affiliated with them. If that’s the case (please confirm), I’ll add a small parenthetical to your comments here. We just ask brand-affiliated folks to share that when commenting within their sponsor’s gear category.

          1. Rob

            Hello Byron. Yes, I’m a brand ambassador for Skechers Performance, and before then a long time wear-tester from the very early days of the SP line.

            1. MB

              WS100 is presented by Altra as the footwear sponsor.

              some Hoka athletes were in the Evo Speedgoat at WS100 so the sponsored athletes who were key in the product development process of new production shoes had them ahead of public release for key races.

    2. Bryon Powell

      Tim,
      Here’s what someone at Skechers shared about Ultra Flight:

      ULTRA FLIGHT was Skechers Performace’s lightest midsole material prior to HYPER BURST. The proprietary TPU-based foam is designed to be lighter and bouncier than older foams, so you get the same level of cushion with less weight and more energy return.

  3. MJ

    Thanks for the roundup Bryan!

    Would much appreciate if you could include for each shoe (in a roundup or review) whether it comes in widths (wide, double-wide, and for those who need the other end, narrow). There are almost no trail shoes that come in my needed double-wide (IME) and it’d be great if I could just narrow in on those rather than getting excited about a shoe and disappointed on further research. If not an update to this piece, could you add in the future?

    Best, and thanks for all you and IRF do. :)

  4. Michael

    I’m excited about the Skechers Go Run Speed Trail Hyper – although it looks like they’re trying to outdo Salomon when it comes to using ridiculously long names. I love the Skechers Performance road shoes but up until now their trail shoes have been real clunkers. Question though: is there a chance that red part of the midsole is a carbon or plastic plate? It kind of looks like the Speed Elite Hyper, which has a carbon plate in it.

    1. Michael

      Nevermind, just answered my own question: according to Gearpatrol.com, it does have a forefoot plate. Interesting choice for a trail shoe…

      1. Rob

        I’ve put in a ton of miles in various Speed Trail Hyper prototypes and near production releases including a super technical trail marathon race and numerous local rough trails. They are awesome! The plate does a lot more than protect the forefoot area. It adds to the roll stability and gives it a nice level of responsiveness. Plate is not carbon fiber, but that’s actually a good thing. Carbon fiber is extremely brittle for the kinds of forces exerted on a trail shoe.

        [Rob is a brand ambassador for Skechers.]

        1. Michael

          Rob, thanks for the info. My thought was that the plate might make the forefoot overly stiff (I prefer a shoe with decent flexibility), but my only frame of reference for shoes with propulsion-geared plates has been feeling how stiff the 4% and Carbon X are in the store. Plus both of those are carbon, which is probably a lot stiffer than plastic.

          1. Rob

            Speed Trail plate is definitely not overly stiff. The only carbon fiber plates I’ve tested were in a Skechers Performance Speed Elite. Now those things are pretty stiff but for it’s intended application that’s a good thing.

        2. brian

          Rob or Bryan, any idea what the stack height is for these Skechers? Rob, would you go any longer than what runs you’ve already done in them? Maybe a 100?

          1. Rob

            Not sure of specific stack height numbers. Funny you should ask about going longer in them. I’m pondering wearing a pair of late prototypes at the AC100 in a couple of weeks. I really think they can go the distance since they really do feel like more shoe (because of the Hyper Burst and flex plate) than is there and they’re so light! But, I think that kind of distance is probably outside the scope of the intended design. Risky. Then again, I’ve done 100s in less shoe in the past…

  5. Scott Gater

    I got a pair of the Cascadia 14 and love them! Much better fit then my Cascadia 13 and for secure feeling on technical trails here in the Mid Atlantic.

    1. MJ

      Thanks Trey. Wish 2E was wide enough for me. I need 4E men’s (though I’m female) I used to be able to wear women’s EE but my feet widened/shoes narrowed and now not so much. Altras are looking more like regular shoes to me, and they’re not wide enough anymore in the models I’ve tried (plus I’m not a zero dropper). Hoka wides aren’t wide enough for me either. Asics has limited 4Es.

      Not new but the NB Summit KOM and Unknowns (replacement for Leadvilles I think) comes in 2E. Doesn’t look like 4E is available, which is a bummer as the Leadvilles were.

  6. Will

    It’s a shame that the Norvan vt 2.0 lost the very things that made it such a great and unique piece of kit. Gone is the idrogrip forefoot and gone is the front clip that gave the shoe the ability to get really dialed in on approach runs. I haven’t tried another shoe that works as well in those conditions. In its current iteration its just another shoe in the lineup. What were they thinking?

  7. Brad K

    Hi Bryon. Thanks for the article. After reading this, I went ahead and gave the Nike Pegasus 36 Trail a try. So far, I am a big fan. What had sold me was your quick review (above), and the 10mm drop along with that flared heel that stays clear of my Achilles tendon. Love that. Also, I really like the lacing setup. Very comfy. My only wish is that they were a bit lighter (another ounce lighter). I would have no problem wearing them at any race, including MMT, or running up & down Mt Minsi at Delaware Water Gap. Obviously, they’d be fine for LT, WS, HRH, etc etc
    I guess they feel similar to my old Montrail Rogue Racer’s but with just a tad more cushion (which is exactly what I wish they had).
    Thanks for putting all of this together.

Post Your Thoughts