Best Trail Shoes of Winter OR 2016

As we approach the release of many of summer 2016’s trail shoe releases, it’s time to share our favorite trail-worthy shoes from January’s Outdoor Retailer show.

Here are the models you can read up on below. Click on the model to jump to the preview below. (Shoes in bold have more substantial previews.)”

Montrail Rogue F.K.T. (August 1, 2016 – $110)

I’m not sure quite what it is, but I’m excited about the Montrail Rogue F.K.T. It’s a 10.1 ounce, 10mm-drop shoe built on the longstanding Rogue midsole platform. I’ve loved both versions of Montrail’s Bajada, but the Rogue F.K.T. weighs an ounce less than the Bajada II will being more breathable and being solidly treaded with 4.5mm lugs and an outsole pattern that breaks from the brand’s Gryptonite tiny square lug pattern. While far from overbearing, the Rogue F.K.T. upper is way more structured than the Rogue Fly. The Rogue F.K.T. does include a rockplate.

Montrail Rogue F.K.T.

Also from Montrail:
  • Montrail Trans Alps F.K.T. (August 1, 2016 – $130) — An ounce-and-a-half lighter version of the recently release Trans Alp achieved primarily by stripping down the upper. This version weighs 11.1 ounces in men’s 9.

Montrail Trans Alps F.K.T.

Hoka One One Speed Instinct (August 1, 2016 – $130)

Where Hoka’s Speedgoat nails the burly trails of the Wasatch and Hardrock 100s, the Hoka One One Speed Instinct targets slightly milder trails. At men’s 9 weighs in at 8.4 ounces, 1.3 ounces lighter than the Speedgoat. The outsole is reminiscent of Inov-8’s Trailroc platform targeted at hardpacked American trails. It’s also 8-10mm closer to the ground, but retains significant cushioning.

Hoka One One Speed Instinct

Also from Hoka One One:
  • Hoka One One Clifton 3 (July 1, 2016 – $130) – It’s a road shoe, but it’s Hoka’s staple model and folks use it on the trails. For this version, Hoka improved the outsole durability with more outsole material around the perimeter of the forefoot. Hoka also broadened the forefoot fit.

Hoka One One Clifton 3

Salomon S-Lab XA Alpine (August 1, 2016 – $250)

Ok, there are niche products and then there’s Salomon S-Lab XA Alpine. Quite simply, it’s designed for blazing the boundary of trail running and mountaineering. To start, there’s a fully integrated gaiter (with a nice angled side zip) that’s heavily reinforced on its lower extents with a medial ankle guard for added protection. The toe rand is heavily reinforced. The outsole is made from a compound designed to provide wet traction while being laid out in a mountaineering pattern. The shoe is built on the Sense Ultra 5 last with a 6 mm drop. It’s crampon compatible. Despite all of this, it still weighs in at 12.2 ounces (345 grams) for men’s 9.

Salomon S-Lab XA Alpine

Also from Salomon:
  • Salomon Speedcross 4 (August 1, 2016 – $130)/Speedcross 4 CS (August 1, 2016 – $145) — Salomon’s trail running staple is finally updated, if only with tweaks. The drop goes from 11 to 10mm, the underfoot package is more sculpted in the midfoot, and the chevrons around the outside of the shoe are now complete rather than “cutoff,” adding 22% more surface area.

Salomon Speedcross 4

  • Salomon S-Lab Speedcross (August 1, 2016 – $180) — The replacement to the Fellcross loses some foam padding in the upper and moves to a memory foam in the tongue. Four chevrons at the rear of the forefoot have been reversed to provide traction on aggressive descents. 9.9 ounces (280 g).

Salomon S-Lab Speedcross

  • Salomon Speedtrak (August 1, 2016 – $115) — The Fellraiser with the same fit, better materials, and a new name.

Altra Lone Peak 3.0 (July 1, 2016 – $120)

In my mind, Altra’s Lone Peak is the brand’s iconic model. While the upper has seen major changes over the past few year’s, the outsole lug pattern has seemed permanent. Out on the trails, you could tell in an instant if a runner had previously trod by in Lone Peaks. That’ll change with a significant retooling of the outsole in the Altra Lone Peak 3.0. The midsole remains mostly unchanged, while the upper should offer more midfoot support and well as more medial impact shielding. It’ll weigh in at 9.8 ounces in men’s 9.

Altra Lone Peak 3.0

Also from Altra:
  • Altra Lone Peak 3.0 Neoshell (July 1, 2016 – $150) and Mid Neoshell (July 1, 2016 – $160) — The new Lone Peak will also be released in a Neoshell version as it was with the 2.0. However, Altra is now adding a mid (i.e., low boot) member to the Lone Peak family that weighs in at a scant 12.3 ounces.

Altra Lone Peak 3.0 Mid Neoshell

  • Altra Tokala ($90)/Altra Desert Boot (May 2016 – $120) — I wear my Altra Instinct Everydays nearly every day, but these leather shoes are not idea in really hot or wet conditions. So, I’m excited for Altra to release two new casual models, the slip-on canvas Tokala on The One 2.5 platform as well as the lighter-than-the-Everyday leather Desert Boot on the Torin 1.5 platform.

Brooks Mazama (October 1, 2016 – $140)

The Brooks Mazama looks to be a slicker, faster cousin of the famed Cascadia. Weighing in at 9.3 ounces with a 6mm drop, the stats definitely suggest such. So does the forefoot propulsion plate and some front-to-back rigidity (though maintaining torsional flexibility). There are moderate lugs formed from sticky rubber along with what looks to be a pleasantly breathable upper with a lace garage.

Brooks Mazama

Also from Brooks:
  • Brooks PureGrit 5 (June 1, 2016 – $120) — While still maintaining its heritage, the Brooks PureGrit continues to go a bit more mainstream as it looses its “outrigger” and gains a more streamlined upper along with generalist omnidirectional lugs. It’s got a 4mm drop in a 9.9 ounce package.

Brooks PureGrit 5

New Balance Gobi (July 1, 2016 – $95)

If you’re a fan of New Balance’s Fresh Foam midsole, keep your eyes open for the New Balance Gobi set to hit the trail in July. It’s built on the Zante v2 midsole with its 6mm drop. The outsole has a moderate lug depth with lots of ground contact, so it should transition well from the trail onto the road. There’s a gusseted tongue, but no rockplate given the generous outsole. It weighs in at 9.5 ounces in a men’s 9.

New Balance Gobi

Also from New Balance:
  • New Balance 910v3 (July 1, 2016 – $110) — This shoe features a tongueless booty construction. They’ve closed up the mesh a bit in the midfoot for more structure. 11.25 ounces and 8mm drop.

New Balance 910v3

Skechers GOtrail Ultra 3 (March 15, 2016 – $120)

In updating to the Skechers GOtrail Ultra 3, the company went to a full-rubber outsole for more traction and durability. The shoe has four pores in the rear of the shoe as well as a perforated sockliner for drainage. The heel counter is also better padded in this 10.8-ounce, 4mm-drop shoe.

Skechers GOtrail Ultra 3

The North Face Ultra MT Winter (July 25, 2016 – $170)

This year The North Face Ultra MT Winter will bring the brand into the fold of those offering trail shoes with integrated gaiters. The uppers will be splash proof in the forefoot and include rear overlays to help keep snowshoes on, quick-pull laces, and a more generous-than-usual heel pull. Under its exterior, the underlying Ultra MT upper has been simplified and lightened given the full exterior shell. Underfoot, the Ultra MT Winter features the Ultra MT’s aggressive lugs, but they’ll be made from Vibram IceTrek for added grip on ice. There’s an 8mm drop.

The North Face Ultra MT Winter

Saucony Razor Ice+ (September 1, 2016 – $180)

Continuing on in winter mode, the Saucony Razor Ice+ is another gaiter-equipped winter specialist. The shoe definitely leads with its outsole, which features a mix of brand new Vibram Arctic Grip (great on wet ice) and IceTrek (best on drier ice) compounds for outstanding grip along with a thermochromic outsole patch for a little flare. It’s got a 4mm drop with the Peregrine’s midsole. The gaiter has a super-soft lining and a front zip. The tongue is quite thick (for warmth?) and there’s a speed lace. It weighs in at 11.6 ounces.

Saucony Razor Ice+

Also from Saucony:
  • Saucony Xodus ISO (June 1, 2016 – $130) — Saucony’s Xodus range continues with 5mm shaved off both sides of the heel for a more nimble ride. There’s no rockplate, but the Xodus now features Saucony’s Everun topsole, so it provides additional, closer-to-foot cushioning.

Saucony Xodus ISO

Merrell All Out Crush Shield (July 1, 2016 – $120)

The Merrell All Out Crush Shield builds on the company’s Tough-Mudder friendly All Out Crush’s identical midsole (7mm drop) and outsole. What’s new? The upper. It’s got TPU overlays for mud and water shedding along with a breathable tongue that aims to offer protection from morning dew or occasional mud. It’s got a moderately aggressive outsole and a 7mm drop.

Merrell All Out Crush

Call for Comments

Which of these models are you most excited about?

[Editor’s Note: If you’re leaving a comment regarding a product made by a company with which you’re affiliated (employee, ambassador, etc.), please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]

Bryon Powell: is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Having spent nearly 20 years as an ultrarunner and three decades as a trail runner, he's also written Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and co-wrote Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running. He calls Silverton, Colorado and Moab, Utah home.

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