Twice a year, we round up all of the new trail running shoes we can find and share them with you. Below are more than 25 trail shoes debuting in the second half 2021 (or close to it). We’ll be sure to update the article with the handful of additional trail shoes we know will be hitting the market, but that we can’t talk about… quite yet.
For more on new trail shoes, check out our articles on new trail shoes for fall-winter 2020 and spring-summer 2021. To find even more options for trail running shoes, check out our Best Trail Running Shoes article and our full collection of trail running shoe reviews.
[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated with a brand (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) that produces shoes, please share that relation 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. (Featured previews are bolded in the list.)
- Brooks Cascadia 16
- Brooks Cascadia 16 GTX
- Columbia Escape Pursuit
- Dynafit Ultra 50 GTX
- Hoka One One Bondi X
- Hoka One One Rincon 3
- Hoka One One Zinal
- Icebug Arcus BUGrip GTX
- Icebug Pytho6 BUGrip
- La Sportiva Bushido II GTX
- Merrell Agility Peak 4
- New Balance Fresh Foam Trail More v2
- Nike Pegasus Trail 3
- Nike Pegasus Trail 3 GTX
- On Cloudventure (v3)
- Raidlight Responsiv Ultra 2.0
- Raidlight Revolutiv 2.0
- Salomon Cross 2/Pro
- Salomon Madcross GTX
- Salomon Ultra Glide
- Salomon Wildcross 2
- Salomon Wildcross 2 GTX
- Saucony Endorphin Trail
- Saucony Xodus 11
- SCARPA Spin Infinity GTX
- Speedland SL:PDX
- The North Face Flight Vectiv Guard Futurelight
- Topo MT-4
- Topo ST-4
- VJ Spark
The Brooks Cascadia 16 sees the shoe’s biggest update in at least a decade, if not ever, with the removal the shoe’s trademark pivot post system and the addition of two millimeters of midsole foam underfoot. The midsole foam also switches from Brooks’s BioMoGo DNA midsole to the brand’s DNA Loft v2 midsole, with the DNA Loft v2 reportedly offering a 5% softer ride and a 20% weight reduction. Indeed, despite the addition of midsole material, a U.S. men’s 9 has dropped from a 10.9 ounces (308g) in the 15 to 10.5 ounces (298g) in the 16, for what I’d call a long overdue lightening of this classic shoe. Again underfoot, the Cascadia’s rock plate receives more front-to-back grooves for better side-to-side adaptability, and, therefore, stability. The Cascadia 16 is available in a wide version. The Gore-Tex version of the shoe will weighs a reported 11.5 ounces (326g) and will be available in early October.
For more, read our full Brooks Cascadia 16 and Cascadia 16 GTX review.
While mentioned as “also new” in our previous new trail shoe roundup ahead of a planned July 2021 release, we’ll feature the Salomon Ultra Glide as it’s just hit the market in August 2021. Led by a thick, rockered, ultra-soft Energy Surge midsole; soft, cushy fabrics in the upper; and a road-running last, the Ultra Glide is about comfort. This trail shoe weighs in at 9.7 ounces (274g) and sports a 6mm drop. For more, you can read about U.S. ultrarunner Mike Ambrose and his path to designing the Ultra Glide for Salomon.
- Salomon Cross 2/Pro ($160 – Out Now) –The Salomon Cross/Pro that our reviewer loved, now has a heel counter optimized for a better fit. The 8mm-drop shoe reportedly weighs 10.2 ounces (289g) for a US men’s 9.
- Salomon Madcross GTX ($120 – Out Now) – A Gore-Tex version of the highly lugged and highly cushioned 8mm-drop trail shoe. A U.S. men’s 9 weighs a reported 11.4 ounces (323g).
- Salomon Wildcross 2/Wildcross 2 GTX ($130/$160 – Out Now) – The Wildcross’s upper has been tweaked to make it more flexible and more comfortable. The 8mm-drop Wildcross 2 weighs a reported 10.7 ounces (303g) for a U.S. men’s 9, while the Wildcross 2 GTX weighs a reported 11.2 ounces (318g) for the same size.
The Hoka One One Zinal brings an ultralight, yet far from minimal shoe to the trails. Despite weighing only 8.6 ounces (244g) for a men’s 9, the Zinal still offers plenty of cushioning and a gusseted tongue. Much of the shoe’s weight savings come from its lightly lugged (4mm), far-from-full-coverage outsole made from Vibram Lightbase. It’s a calculated tradeoff for trail runs with minimal traction needs.
For more, read our full Hoka One One Zinal review.
- Hoka One One Bondi X ($200 – October 2021) – The Bondi X extends the Bondi’s rocker rearward, adds a carbon-fiber plate, and makes other tweaks to the rocker. This is a maximally cushioned road shoe that incorporates recent road shoe innovations. It weighs a reported 10.6 ounces (300g) for a men’s 9.
- Hoka One One Rincon 3 ($115 – Out Now) – This road shoe gets an asymmetrical tongue, a thinner pull tab, and vented-mesh upper. A men’s 9 weighs a reported 7.4 ounces (210g), down from a reported 7.0 ounces in the Rincon 2.
The VJ Spark will be the Finnish brand’s lightest shoe to date at a reported 8.1 ounces (230g) for a U.S. men’s 9. With a roomy toe box, the Spark is a 5mm-drop, 6mm-lug, flexible, breathable trail shoe aimed at short- and middle-distance runs.
The Nike Pegasus Trail 3 actually launched on June 1, but as we learned of the release so late last season, we’re including it here. The midsole and outsole are unchanged, while the upper was adjusted for a better midfoot and heel fit. Specifically, an internal arch band was added in the midfoot for better containment on downhills and technical surfaces, the stitching around the heel and ankle collar were updated to reduce irritation, and the heel tab was made more functional. We’ve weighed a U.S. men’s 9 of the standard Pegasus Trail 3 in at 11.0 ounces (310g), while a U.S. men’s 10 of the Nike Pegasus Trail 3 GTX weighs a reported 11.1 ounces (316g).
Well, you can’t start talking about the Speedland SL:PDX without first mentioning the $375 price tag. No typo there. $3-7-5. Once you pick your jaw up off the ground, what’s this shoe about? Well, it certainly brings together a slew of premium materials. There’s the Dyneema knit upper, the removable Carbitex carbon plate, the removable Pebax SCH midsole, and the pair of BOA Li2 dials, which allow for turn-dial fine tuning in both directions, a feature I’ve looked forward to in a production trail shoe since seeing a prototype concept a decade ago. The super sticky Michelin rubber outsole is marked with places to trim outsole lugs and introduce drainage holes as desired. As mentioned, both the carbon plate and the midsole are removable and the outsole is marked with modifications, so the shoe is clearly aimed at diverse customizability in one shoe. We’ve weighed a fully intact men’s 9 at 10.6 ounces (300g). The SL:PDX has a 5mm drop (28mm/23mm).
With Saucony Endorphin Trail, the brand takes its Speedroll technology from the roads to the trails for the first time, meaning a substantial, highly rockered Pwrrun PB midsole. This highly cushioned, 4mm-drop shoe also has moderately aggressive 4.5mm lugs and a D-ring for gaiter compatibility. A U.S. men’s 9 weighs an actual 10.5 ounces (298g).
- Saucony Xodus 11 ($150 – Out Now) – The Saucony Xodus 11 launched in June, but as we didn’t include it in our previous Best New Trail Shoe article, we include it here. The upper was updated to a more breathable, more durable engineered mesh along with adding protection in high abrasion areas. A men’s 9 weighs a reported 11.9 ounces (337g).
The Dynafit Ultra 50 GTX is a brand-new model making its debut in a Gore-Tex Invisible Fit version. (Dynafit will release a non-GTX version of the Ultra 50 early next year.) The 8mm-drop shoe aims to provide plenty of cushion and protection for your ultra-distance efforts. The Pomoca outsole has fairly aggressive, widely spaced lugs targeted for wet and muddy terrain. The shoe includes an “Invisible Lacing” system, which appears to be an external gusset covering the lower two thirds of the lacing. The Ultra 50 GTX reportedly weighs 10.9 ounces (310g) for a U.S. men’s 9.
Topo’s made a few changes in evolving the Topo MT-4 from the MT-3, including switching to a lightweight, breathable mesh upper, a dual-density midsole, and a Vibram XS Trek Evo outsole, as well as adding Topo gaiter compatibility. The 3mm-drop MT-4 weighs a reported 10.7 ounces (303g) for a U.S. men’s 9.
- Topo ST-4 ($100 – August 2021) – The no-drop ST-4 loses 0.4 ounces to a reported 6.9 ounces (190g). A more conventional lacing system gives the upper more structure. The shoe also moves to an Ortholite insole, from an engineered mesh to a new, lighter, and more breathable mesh upper, and to the Phantom 2’s outsole.
The Icebug Arcus BUGrip GTX is a highly cushioned winter running shoe with Gore-Tex Invisible Fit for water resistance. While well cushioned, the forefoot’s midsole is made from a higher density material for a more responsive toe off. Winter traction is aided by 13 carbide spikes per shoe. The Arcus BUGrip’s upper (except for the Gore-Tex) is made from 100% recycled post-consumer PET bottles. A U.S. men’s 10 weighs a reported 12.0 ounces (340g).
- Icebug Pytho6 BUGrip ($190 – October 1, 2021) – Aside from a sportier look, the Pytho6’s upgrades center around sustainability, including using recycled fishing nets in the toe and heel reinforcements. A U.S. men’s 10 weighs a reported 11.3 ounces (320g).
While the On Cloudventure retains its original name, in August the Swiss brand launches the third iteration of its hallmark trail shoe. This update adds a new “Slingshot Speedboard” plate in the midsole, supposedly to provide better ground feedback. The all-new upper has also been updated based on lessons learned with its sibling, the Cloudventure Peak, with increased breathability and better protection while now being made from 70% recycled polyester. A U.S. men’s 8.5 weighs a reported 10.9 ounces (310g).
The Merrell Agility Peak 4 improves on the Agility Peak 3 by moving to an “omnifit” webbing lockdown system, moving to a strong and lighter weight jacquard upper, and adding gaiter compatibility. The tongue’s been improved with lessons learned from the MTL Long Sky (full review). Underfoot, the shoe moves to a lighter Vibram Megagrip outsole and a full dual-density FloatPro midsole, while moving to a full-length rock plate. The 6mm-drop shoe weighs a reported 10.9 ounces (310g).
The New Balance Fresh Foam Trail More v2 includes a number of updates to the original model. Underfoot, the shoe moves to New Balance’s Fresh Foam More v3 midsole material and moves to a Vibram XT Trek Evo outsole with a fully redesigned tread pattern. The upper’s also been redesigned, including additional Toe Protect material for protection around the toe box. The Trail More v2 weighs in at a reported 11.3 ounces (320g), roughly have an ounce more than the v1’s reported 10.8 ounces (307g).
Columbia pegs the Columbia Escape Pursuit as a “performance trail running shoe… at a value price” and, indeed, it’s the lowest price trail model we’re aware of this season. The highlight to the shoe might be its lightweight, breathable, (mostly) seamless upper. Underfoot, the 8mm-drop Escape Pursuit feature’s Columbia’s go-to trail package of a Techlite midsole and Adaptitrax outsole. A U.S. men’s 9 weighs a reported 11.0 ounces (312g).
This September, The North Face adds Futurelight waterproofing and an integrated gaiter onto its Flight Vectiv to form the The North Face Flight Vectiv Guard Futurelight. A men’s Flight Vectiv Guard Futurelight will weigh a reported 12.6 ounces (356g).
The La Sportiva Bushido II GTX is a Gore-Tex Invisible Fit version of, well, the La Sportiva Bushido II. Key changes between the two iterations of the Bushido include adding more cushioning to the forefoot and the tongue. A U.S. men’s 9 weighs a reported 10.5 ounces (298g).
The SCARPA Spin Infinity GTX is a Gore-Tex Invisible Fit version of the Spin Infinity launching early this fall. It weighs a reported 11.6 ounces (330g) for a U.S. men’s 9.
From France, the Raidlight Revolutiv 2.0 comes out as 6mm-drop, 6mm-lug trail shoe weighing in at a reported 10.2 ounces (290g).
- Raidlight Responsiv Ultra 2.0 (€150 – Early October 2021) – A 6mm-drop, 4mm-lug trail shoe weighing in at a reported 9.9 ounces (280g)
Altra, Arc’teryx, Montrail, Salewa, Skechers, Tecnica, Under Armour, and Xero have confirmed they do not have any new models of trail shoes launching in the second half of 2021.
Stay tuned for updates from inov-8 and SCOTT later in the season.
We’ve not had a definitive update on second half of 2021 releases from adidas TERREX and ASICS.
Call for Comments
- Which new trail shoes of late 2021 have you most excited?
- Have any technical questions? Ask away!
- Know of other trail shoes that are coming out in the second half of 2021? If so, tell us about them in a comment.
[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!]