iRunFar’s Trail Running Shoe Archive: 2016-2019 Releases

Here at iRunFar, for the most part, we’ve been publishing two articles outlining each season’s new trail running shoes (and […]

By on January 1, 2021 | Comments

Here at iRunFar, for the most part, we’ve been publishing two articles outlining each season’s new trail running shoes (and a few road shoes, for good measure) for over a decade.

What follows is a collection of iRunFar’s semi-annual roundups for trail shoes released from 2016 through 2019. These originally appeared as stand alone articles, but we’ve combined them into a giant trail running shoe archive.

Here’s our corresponding article for trail shoes released from 2009 through 2014. We did not publish article covering shoes released in 2015.

[Editor’s Note: Please know that there are some technical issues with this article, such as broken links, at the moment. We’ll be revising this article in the coming days to help it reach its full potential. Thanks for your patience.]

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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.

For more on new trail shoes, check our articles on new trail shoes for spring-summer 2019spring-summer 2020, and fall-winter 2020. 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 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 atachments, 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

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. For more, read our full review of the La Sportiva Blizzard GTX.

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.

Best New Trail Shoes for Spring-Summer 2019

(Originally published October 25, 2018)

Twice a year, sometime after the respective trade-show season is over, I share info on many (most?) of the new trail-shoe models debuting the following season. Now is one of those such times, so let’s just dive right into more than forty models of trail shoes you’ll see in late 2018 or early 2019!

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

Arc’teryx Norvan SL ($150 – February 2019)

Haven’t tried an Arc’teryx trail shoe yet? Well, the Arc’teryx Norvan SL might just be your reason to do so. Why? Try a 6.5-ounce (185g) trail shoe with Vibram MegaGrip, a minimal upper, and forefoot rockplate. This 6mm-drop shoe is aimed at shorter, faster trail running rather than ultra-distance efforts.

Arc'teryx Norvan SL

The Arc’teryx Norvan SL.

Altra Superior 4 ($110 – January 1, 2019)

The Altra Superior 4 gets updates all around. First of all, the shoe drops in weight to 7.9 ounces (274g) for a U.S. men’s 9. Part of that weight savings comes from a new StoneGuard design that goes from a full underfoot sheet to a cutout design that resembles the foot’s skeletal structure. The Superior 4.0 will also feature Altra’s new Quantic midsole material and gets updated to the brand’s MaxTrac sticky rubber compound. The shoe also adds a rounded heel design and a burrito-tongue construction. The Superior 4.0 will also now be built on the same last as the Solstice. For more, read our full review of the Altra Superior 4.

Altra Superior 4

The Altra Superior 4.

Also new from Altra:

  • Altra Timp 1.5 ($130 – January 1,  2019) – The Timp 1.5 gets the same new MaxTrac outsole and Quantic midsole material updates as the Superior. Up top, the shoe’s durability should be increased with TPU reinforcements over blowout points and a new mesh. The fit will be a bit tighter in the heel and you’ll see Altra’s 4-Point Gaiter trap system added to the shoe. The Timp also trims up, coming in around half an ounce (17g) lighter at 10.5 ounces (298g) for a U.S. men’s 9.
  • Altra Kayenta ($110 – January 1, 2019)  – The Kayenta’s a road shoe, but at 5.9 ounces (167g) in a U.S. men’s 9, it caught my eye. It’s built on the same racing last as the King MT trail shoe.
Altra Timp 1.5

The Altra Timp 1.5.

Altra Kayenta

The Altra Kayenta.

DYNAFIT Feline UP Pro ($170 – April 2019)

The DYNAFIT Feline UP Pro will be one of the first trail shoes to use Vibram’s new Litebase system, which significantly reduces outsole weight. In this case, that Litebase features Vibram MegaGrip in an aggressively lugged shoe that weighs in at 8.1 ounces (230g). The Feline Up Pro has a speed-lace system and a minimal fit.

Dynafit Feline UP Pro

The Dynafit Feline UP Pro.

Also new from DYNAFIT:

  • DYNAFIT Feline UP ($140 – April 2019) –A non-Litebase version of the Feline UP that uses Vibram MegaGrip and weighs in at 8.8 ounces (250g).

The DYNAFIT Feline UP.

La Sportiva Kaptiva ($140 – January 15, 2019)

The La Sportiva Kaptiva adds a new racing option to La Sportiva’s quiver of trail shoes. The Kaptiva’s built around a new snug racing last and weighs in at 9.1 ounces (260g) for a U.S. men’s 9. The 6mm-drop shoe includes moderate lugs (3.5-4.5mm) and a rockplate in the forefoot and heel.

La Sportiva Kaptiva

The La Sportiva Kaptiva.

Also new from La Sportiva:

La Sportiva Bushido II

The La Sportiva Bushido II.

Columbia Montrail Alpine FTG ($130 – February 2019)

Marketing materials for the sub-9-ounce Columbia Montrail Alpine FTG highlight “its low-profile aggressive ground feel” (FTG = Feel the Ground) and its performance “on the most rugged mountain terrain at or above treeline.” Tech specs include a 6mm drop, 4mm lugs, and an overlasted midfoot reminiscent of the Salomon Speedcross. For more, read our full review of the Columbia Montrail Alpine FTG.

Columbia Montrail Alpine FTG

The Columbia Montrail Alpine FTG.

adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic Speed ($100 – February 1, 2019)

With the adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic Speed, the company offers its lightest Terrex model to date with a correspondingly lighter price. The 8mm-drop shoe weighs in at 8.6 ounces (245g) with a breathable, sock-like construction and 3mm lugs.

Also new from adidas Outdoor:

  • adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic Speed GTX ($180 – February 1, 2019) – A 9.7-ounce (275g), 6mm-drop GORE-TEX trail shoe.
  • adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic XT GTX ($170 – February 1, 2019) – Max features. Max protection. Max weight (13.6 ounces/385g).
  • adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic Speed LD ($120 – February 1, 2019) – A reasonably lightweight (9.2 ounces/260g) all-around trail shoe. [Note: This model was initially named the adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic Speed Plus.]
adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic Speed GTX

The adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic Speed GTX.

adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic XT GTX

The adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic XT GTX.

adidas Terrex Agravic Speed LD

The adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic Speed LD.

Inov-8 Roclite 275 ($135 – January 2019)

The inov-8 Roclite 275 is one of four models that bring graphene G-Grip outsoles to the Roclite trail shoes (along with the 290, 300, and 315 GTX) early next year. The 275g (9.7-ounce) version includes a breathable upper, 8mm drop, gaiter-attachment points, and aggressive 6mm lugs.

Inov-8 Roclite 275

The Inov-8 Roclite 275.

Hoka One One Speedgoat 3 ($140 – March 2019)

The updates to the Hoka One One Speedgoat 3 are entirely in the upper, with the underfoot tooling staying unchanged. You’ll immediately notice the switch to an engineered upper mesh along the lines used in the Evo Mafate and Evo Jawz. The shoe also adds a narrow footwrap around the midfoot and reduces the toe bumper around the big toe to create a more accommodating toebox. The redesign bumps the weight up from 9.8 to 10.3 ounces (292g) in a U.S. men’s 9. In reality, the Speedgoat 3 will arrive first as the Speedgoat 3 WP (read as “waterproof”) in January 2019 at $150. For more, read our full review of the Hoka One One Speedgoat 3.

Hoka One One Speedgoat 3

The Hoka One One Speedgoat 3.

Also new from Hoka One One:

  • Hoka One One Challenger ATR 5 ($130 – January 1,  2019) – The Challenger ATR 5 features a redesigned outsole with the lugs closer in the heel for a smoother ride and spread further apart in the forefoot for more traction. Hoka’s also modified the midfoot for better lockdown. Like the Speedgoat 3, this shoe adds half an ounce over the previous version to weigh in at 9.4 ounces (226g) in a U.S. men’s 9. Note: The Challenger 5 will be available in a wide version, a first for a Hoka trail shoe.
  • Hoka One One Stinson ATR 5 ($160 – January 1, 2019) – The Stinson ATR 5 adds arch-lock wings for more midfoot lockdown and a tweaked toebox that’s more accommodating. It adds 0.3 ounces to weigh in at 12.1 ounces (343g) in a U.S. men’s 9.
Hoka One One Challenger ATR 5

The Hoka One One Challenger ATR 5.

Hoka One One Stinson ATR 5

The Hoka One One Stinson ATR 5.

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5 ($130 – April 1, 2019)

The Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5 receives a big underfoot update. The lugs are increased from 3-4 mm to 5 mm, as well as with less pointy lugs for plenty of grip with a smoother feel. There’s also the addition of a sticky rubber pod in the midfoot for added traction on roots and rocks. Also underfoot, there’s also a change to Nike’s recently introduced React midsole material and a more segmented rockplate. Nike experimented with various midsole heights with the midsole material change, but stuck to its current thickness. The upper is similar to the Kiger 4 (review), but with a bit more room in the toebox. For more, read our full review of the Nike Kiger 5.

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5

The Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5.

Also new from Nike:

  • Nike Air Zoom Terra Wildhorse 5 ($110 – April 1, 2019) – The Wildhorse gets updates to the upper, including removing the fit band, which reduces the shoe’s weight by 3/4 of an ounce.
Nike Air Zoom Terra Wildhorse 5

The Nike Air Zoom Terra Wildhorse 5.

Raidlight Responsiv Dynamic ($130 – March 1, 2019)

For Spring 2019, Raidlight revamps their trail line, including introducing the aggressive Raidlight Responsiv Dynamic. This shoe features 6mm lugs and a quick-drying upper with a lace garage. This 9.7-ounce (275g) shoe has a 6mm drop.

Raidlight Responsiv Dynamic

The Raidlight Responsiv Dynamic.

Also new from Raidlight:

  • Raidlight Responsiv Ultra ($140 – March 1, 2019) – A more cushioned option with a more relaxed fit for the longest runs.
  • Raidlight Revolutiv ($165 – March 1, 2019) – Meant for tough conditions with its Tendon Wrapping System and 6mm lugs.
  • Raidlight Responsiv XP ($150 – March 1, 2019) – The only 4mm-drop, slimmer-fitting shoe in the group for a fast, precise feel on the trails.
Raidlight Responsiv Ultra

The Raidlight Responsiv Ultra.

Raidlight Revolutiv

The Raidlight Revolutiv.

Raidlight Responsiv XP

The Raidlight Responsiv XP.

Saucony Peregrine ISO ($120 – January 1, 2019)

The Saucony Peregrine ISO continues with the same aggressive underfoot tooling as the current Peregrine 8 (review). The updates to the Peregrine include the addition of ISOfit for improved midfoot lockdown. The 4mm-drop Peregrine ISO will weigh in at 10.5 ounces (298g) for a U.S. men’s 9.

Saucony Peregrine ISO

The Saucony Peregrine ISO.

Also new from Saucony:

  • Saucony Switchback ISO ($140 – February 1, 2019) – Inspired by Saucony’s Freedom ISO road shoe, the Switchback ISO is a 9.6-ounce (272g), 4mm-drop, neutral trail shoe with BOA lacing.
Saucony Switchback ISO

The Saucony Switchback ISO.

SCARPA Spin Ultra ($150 – February 2019)

The SCARPA Spin Ultra adds a bit of cushioning to the Spin line with an 18.5/24.5mm stack height (6mm drop). The Spin Ultra is another trail shoe that combines Vibram’s Litebase with MegaGrip, reducing the sole’s base from 1.5 to 0.5mm with commensurate weight savings (U.S. men’s 9 – 9.3 ounces). For more, read our full review of the SCARPA Spin Ultra.

SCARPA Spin Ultra

The SCARPA Spin Ultra.

Also new from SCARPA:

  • SCARPA Proton XT ($150 – February 2019) – Admittedly a run/hike shoe. This could be a bomber replacement for those still longing for a return of the Montrail Hardrock. It’s got Vibram MegaGrip and the heft of 11.9 ounces for a U.S. men’s 9.

The SCARPA Proton XT.

Topo Ultraventure ($130 – October 2018 at REI, November 2018 everywhere)

The Topo Ultraventure is the company’s plushest trail shoe, with a 30mm stack height as well as the highest heel-to-toe drop (5mm) in the line. The shoe features the same outsole design as the Hydroventure 2, but with a Vibram outsole that’s not MegaGrip (the Hydroventure 2 is). With its generous stack height, the shoe foregoes a rockplate. The shoe also gets attachment ports for Topo’s gaiters, as do both of the Topo updates noted below. The Ultraventure weighs in at 11.2 ounces (317g) in a U.S. men’s 9. For more, read our full review of the Topo Ultraventure.

Topo Ultraventure

The Topo Ultraventure.

Also new from Topo:

  • Topo Hydroventure 2 (January 2019 – $140) – The Hydroventure 2 gets deeper, wider-spaced lugs as well as a Vibram MegaGrip outsole.
  • Topo Terraventure 2 (mid-November 2018 – $120) – The Terraventure 2 sees also sees an updated outsole with wider-spaced lugs, but without MegaGrip. The upper sees a more abrasion-resistant mesh and drainage slits in the forefoot TPU film overlays, with the shoe’s TPU overlays generally reduced for better breathability.
Topo Hydroventure 2

The Topo Hydroventure 2.

Topo Terraventure 2

The Topo Terraventure 2.

Salomon Speedcross 5 ($130 – February 1, 2019)

Don’t mess with a classic; that’s what can be said for the Salomon Speedcross 5. While now far from Salomon’s sexiest shoe, it’s perhaps the brand’s most iconic trail runner and a model that’s not updated every year. This version of the Speedcross gets its chevron outsole design tweaked, a new upper mesh, and refinements to its Sensifit for a more secure, but less pinched fit. It’ll weight in at a heavier 11.6 ounces (329g) for a U.S. men’s 9 and have a 10mm drop. For more, read our full review of the Salomon Speedcross 5.

Salomon Speedcross 5

The Salomon Speedcross 5.

Also new from Salomon:

  • Salomon Sense Ride 2 ($120 – February 1, 2019) – The Sense Ride 2 gets its upper tweaked with a more breathable mesh and a more comfortable implementation of Sensifit.
Salomon Sense Ride 2

The Salomon Sense Ride 2.

New Balance Summit Unknown V1 – Update ($110 – April 1, 2019)

Technically, this is an inline update of the existing New Balance Summit Unknown, but it’s an important one. New Balance answered just about every Summit Unknown user’s call and added a lace slot in the tongue to help keep the tongue in place. Yes!

New Balance Summit Unknown V2

The New Balance Summit Unknown V2.

Also new from New Balance:

  • New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro V4 ($135 – January 1, 2019) – A revised upper offers improved breathability, better durability, and improved lockdown.
New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro V4

The New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro V4.

Merrell MTL Cirrus ($180 – February 2019)

With Merrell MTL Cirrus, the company aims to make a high-quality trail runner. The 11.4-ounce (323g) shoe is highly breathable, has 4.5mm Vibram MegaGrip lugs, and a 3/4-length TPU rockplate.

Merrell MTL Cirrus

The Merrell MTL Cirrus.

Also new from Merrell:

  • Merrell Antora ($110 – February 2019) – The Antora is a women’s-only model with a women’s-specific last that’s meant as a high-mileage shoe for moderate terrain. It’s 8 ounces (227g) for a U.S. women’s size 7 with an 8mm drop.
  • Merrell Momentous ($120 – February 2019) – An 11-ounce (312g) shoe for moderate terrain featuring a Vibram MegaGrip outsole, 2D-knit upper with TPU film overlays, burrito tongue, and a really sturdy heel counter.
  • Merrell Trail Glove 5 & Trail Glove 5 3D ($100 & $140, respectively – February 2019) – The Trail Glove 5 is updated to Merrell’s Barefoot 2 construction, which is more tuned to a weigh-bearing foot in motion than a static foot. The TG5 (7 oz/198g) has a tradition mesh upper, while the TG5 3D (8 oz/227g) has a seamless, sock-like knit upper.
Merrell Antora

The Merrell Antora.

Merrell Momentous

The Merrell Momentous.

Merrell Trail Glove 5

The Merrell Trail Glove 5.

Merrell Trail Glove 5 3D

The Merrell Trail Glove 5 3D.

Brooks Caldera 3 ($140 – December 1, 2018)

The 9.3-ounce (264g) Brooks Caldera 3 sees both an updated upper and a new outsole rubber, TrailTack, that’s better on wet rock. The heel and toe areas see reinforced protection while the midfoot mudguard layer includes perforations for better drainage. There’s also a new lace keeper mid-tongue and a new front gaiter-attachment point.

Brooks Caldera 3

The Brooks Caldera 3.

The North Face Flight Trinity ($140 – February 2019)

With a number of new releases from The North Face for spring 2019, the pinnacle shoe is The North Face Flight Trinity, a 9.5-ounce (279g), 8mm-drop offering featuring a knit interior booty with a ripstop outer layer. The Flight Trinity includes TNF’s new EXTS outsole system–featuring tri-star lugs, an S-Curve lug pattern, and targeted rubber compound usage throughout the outsole–also found in the three Ambition Collection models noted below.

The North Face Flight Trinity

The North Face Flight Trinity.

Also new from The North Face:

  • The North Face Ampezzo ($130 – February 2019) – A highly cushion 11.0-ounce (309g), 6mm-drop update to the Endurus TR.
  • The North Face Corvara ($120 – February 2019) – The same underfoot tooling as the Flight Trinity, but in a more affordable package.
  • The North Face Rovereto ($90 – February 2019) – An 11-ounce (318g) entry-level trail shoe with single-density midsole and TPU heel cradle.
The North Face Ampezzo

The North Face Ampezzo.

The North Face Corvara

The North Face Corvara.

The North Face Rovereto

The North Face Rovereto.

Vasque Velocity AT ($120 – February 2019)

I know little about the Vasque Velocity AT, but from a glance it appears to slot in somewhere like a Brooks Cascadia, which is to say a solid, all-around trail shoe. It looks to have a highly breathable upper, a reasonable weight (10.2 ounces/290g), and an 8mm drop.

Vasque Velocity AT

The Vasque Velocity AT.

Note on Spring/Summer 2019 Updates from Other Brands

Skechers and Under Armour have confirmed they don’t have have significant updates for spring 2019.

SCOTT plans to launch a new trail model in the spring.

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 late 2018 and early 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.

Best New Trail Shoes For Fall-Winter 2018

(Originally published March 20, 2018)

Are you looking for your next pair of trail running shoes? Well, if you’re looking past the first half of 2018 or you’re reading this in the second half of 2018 or later, what follows are some of the best new trail running shoes set to debut in the second half of 2018. I saw many of these new models at The Running Event in Austin, Texas in November 2017 or the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in January 2018 with a few additional models included based on information I’ve obtained remotely from brands. This roundup is not intended to be exhaustive and, indeed, will be skewed toward brands that I was able to meet with in person. With that said, check out some of the new trail shoes you’ll see in late 2018!

FYI, the spring/summer release schedule is generally much busier for trail shoes and most such models are already on the market. With that in mind, you might want to check out our Best New Trail Shoes of Spring-Summer 2018 if you’re in the market for new trail shoes right now.

If you’re interested in a particular brand or model, you can jump ahead to the following models. (Full-paragraph previews are bolded in the list.)

Hoka One One Evo Mafate ($170 – July 1, 2018)

The Hoka One One Evo Mafate retains the guts of the to-be-discontinued Speed Mafate 2 while enhancing the upper. Underfoot, there’s still an aggressive 5mm Vibram MegaGrip outsole. Above that, there’s a massively updated… and streamlined upper that helps the shoe drop 2 full ounces in going 11.6 to 9.6 ounces. Wow.

Hoka One One Evo Mafate

Hoka One One Evo Mafate. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Also from Hoka One One:

  • Hoka One One Evo Jawz ($130 – Currently available) — These appear to be Hoka’s first specialized trail racing shoe. Imagine 6mm MegaGrip lugs on a 7.2-ounce (204-gram) shoe. Yeah. With a stack height of 18/21mm, it’s also much closer to the ground than the 29/33mm Evo Mafate.
  • Hoka One One Torrent ($120 – July 1, 2018) — Another lower-profile trail runner from Hoka with stack heights of 18/23mm for men and 16/21mm for women. The 9.0-ounce (254g) Torrent features a Profly midsole that’s softer in the heel and firmer in the forefoot.
Hoka One One Torrent

Hoka One One Torrent. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Altra Lone Peak 4.0 ($120, $150 eVent – August 2018)

In many ways, the 10.2-ounce Altra Lone Peak 4.0 feels like a move back toward the shoe’s roots while being an upgrade at the same time. To start, the outsole reminds me more of an earlier version while at the same time debuting Altra’s new sticky rubber compound MaxTrac. The forefoot should now drain better while also being airier with some thin TPU overlays replacing some stitched overlays. If I’m not mistaken, the women’s Lone Peak 4.0 returns to the original women’s last. The Lone Peak 4.0 will also feature an integrated tongue and a new, highly articulated StoneGuard.

Altra Lone Peak 4.0

Altra Lone Peak 4.0. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Also from Altra:

  • Altra Olympus 3.0 ($150 – May 2018) — The Olympus 3 will have a much wider heel (about 1 centimeter) for added stability, while the stack height is reduced from 36 to 33mm with a bouncier midsole. There’s added drainage in the toe area while the the toebox is generally more airy. At 10.7 ounces for a men’s 9, it’ll be about an ounce lighter than the 2.5.
  • Altra Torin 3.5 ($125 in mesh, $135 in knit – May 1, 2018) — The mesh version of the Torin 3.5 will be airier, with a more relaxed fit and a softer heel counter. The knit version is primarily a new offering, but also has a more traditional heel counter than the mesh version.
Altra Olympus 3.0

Altra Olympus 3.0. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Altra Torin 3.5

Altra Torin 3.5 Knit. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Salomon Ultra Pro ($150 – August 1, 2018)

The Salomon Ultra Pro builds on the success of last year’s Sense Ultra, but on the Pro last and at a slightly lighter 10.3 ounces. The shoe has an 8mm drop and Premium Wet Traction Contagrip without the Sense Ultra’s Profeel Film given the inherent protection of the generous 16/24mm stack height.

Salomon Ultra Pro

Salomon Ultra Pro. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Also from Salomon:

  • Salomon S/Lab Sense 7 ($180 – August 1, 2018) — This racing shoe gets a bit racier as it lowers to a 14/18mm stack height. It’ll weigh in at 7.0 ounces for the hard ground and 7.4 ounces for the soft ground versions.
  • Salomon Sense Ride GTX ($160 – August 1, 2018) — Salomon’s first shoe with GORE-TEX’s new Invisible Fit system that laminates the waterproof membrane directly to the upper material.
Salomon S/Lab Sense 7

Salomon S/Lab Sense 7. Photo courtesy of Salomon.

Salomon Sense Ride GTX

Salomon Sense Ride GTX. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Inov-8 Terraultra 260 ($130 – July 1, 2018)

The Inov-8 Terraultra 260 is the brand’s first model in the Terraultra line that’s intended to balance comfort and responsiveness on long trail outings. The shoe has a gusseted tongue, 4mm lugs, gaiter attachments, and no heel-to-toe drop. It will weigh in at 260g (or 9.2 ounces).

Inov-8 Terraultra 260

Inov-8 Terraultra 260. Photo courtesy of Inov-8.

Also from Inov-8:

  • Inov-8 Mudclaw 275 ($130 – July 1, 2018) — The all-new Mudclaw 275 will offer massive 8mm lugs in a 275g (9.7 ounce) shoe.
  • Inov-8 X-Talon Ultra 260 ($145 – July 1, 2018) — A, X-Talon with Sticky Grip rubber and a wider toebox in a 260g (9.2 ounce) shoe with both 8mm lugs and 8mm of drop.
Inov-8 Mudclaw 275

Inov-8 Mudclaw 275. Photo courtesy of Inov-8

Inov-8 X-Talon Ultra 260

Inov-8 X-Talon Ultra 260. Photo courtesy of Inov-8

Brooks PureGrit 7 ($120 – July 1, 2018)

The 9.6-ounce Brooks PureGrit 7 includes totally new underfoot tooling, while retaining a 4mm drop. The new outsole features sticky rubber with unique directional lugs under the big toe and an altogether more targeted tread pattern. The PureGrit retains its forefoot rockplate.

Brooks PureGrit 7

Brooks PureGrit 7. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Also new from Brooks:

  • Brooks Cascadia 13 ($130, $160 GTX – June 1, 2018) — The updates in the 11.9-ounce Cascadia 13 version include an aggressive printed-rubber mudguard on the upper, the addition of a lace garage and a rear velcro patch for gaiters, perforations in the tongue for better breathability, and an area of stickier rubber around the edge of the outsole.
Brooks Cascadia 13

Brooks Cascadia 13. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

New Balance Summit K.O.M. ($120, $135 GTX – July 1, 2018)

The New Balance Summit K.O.M. puts some of the technical aspects of the discontinued NB Leadville in a new package. The upper features an enhanced midfoot saddle and toe protection. Underfoot, Vibram MegaGrip adds to the shoe’s traction. The Summit K.O.M. will weigh in at 11.2 ounces for a U.S. men’s 9.

New Balance Summit K.O.M.

New Balance Summit K.O.M. Photo courtesy of New Balance.

Skechers Go Run Maxtrail 5 Ultra ($120 – July 1, 2018)

The Skechers Go Run Maxtrail 5 Ultra is a shoe I can imagine seeing on the Hardrock course with its cushioning, water drainage, and, now, integrated low gaiter. This version also adds harder claw-like lugs in the forefoot to an already grippy 6mm lug outsole. The shoe retains its 10.6-ounce weight and 4mm drop.

La Sportiva Lycan GTX ($140 – August 1, 2018)

The La Sportiva Lycan GTX features GORE-TEX’s GoreFlex waterproof membrane, while also having a different toe and tongue mesh than the standard Lycan. Underfoot, the shoe will have the deeper lugs of the La Sportiva Mutant. The Lycan GTX will weigh in at 12.5 ounces (355g) for a U.S. men’s 9.

La Sportiva Lycan GTX

La Sportiva Lycan GTX. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Columbia Montrail Mountain Masochist IV OutDry XTRM WTR ($170 – August 1, 2018)

The Columbia Montrail Mountain Masochist IV OutDry XTRM WTR *breath* is the Mountain Masochist IV with an integrated OutDry Extreme softshell gaiter. A men’s 9 weighs 11.1 ounces.

Columbia Montrail Mountain Masochist IV OutDry XTRM WTR

Columbia Montrail Mountain Masochist IV OutDry XTRM WTR. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Also new from Columbia Montrail:

  • Columbia Montrail Bajada III Winter ($110 – August 1, 2018) — A fleece-lined version of the Bajada III. A U.S. men’s 9 weighs in at 10.4 ounces.
Columbia Montrail Bajada III Winter

Columbia Montrail Bajada III Winter. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic XT ($140, $170 GTX – July 1, 2018)

The adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic XT has some racing aspects with its Boost midsole, lower profile, and Adios last. On the other hand, it weighs in at 12.5 ounces (354g). There is film-based rock protection.

adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic XT

adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic XT. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Topo Ultrafly 2 ($120 – May 2018)

The Topo Ultrafly 2 adds a stronger, more tear-resistant mesh to the upper while reducing the number of overlays in a 10.0-shoe. While technically a road shoe, an iRunFar tester found the original Topo Ultrafly to be a trail worthy ride.

Topo Ultrafly 2

Topo Ultrafly 2. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Merrell Agility Synthesis Flex ($110 – August 2018)

The Merrell Agility Synthesis Flex is a lighter, less cushioned, rather nimble 9-ounce, 8mm-drop addition to Merrell’s Flex line. There aren’t any bells and whistles here, but that might be the point.

Merrell Agility Synthesis Flex

Merrell Agility Synthesis Flex. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Saucony Xodus ISO 3 ($150 – July 1, 2018)

The 12.9-ounce, 4mm-drop Saucony Xodus ISO 3 is the company’s first trail shoe with full-length Everun midsole for enhanced comfort. The dual-compound outsole features harder, thinner lugs in the forefoot for a more claw-like grip.

Saucony Xodus ISO 3

Saucony Xodus ISO 3. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Under Armour Horizon BPF ($130 – July 1, 2018)

The Under Armour Horizon BPF (bullet proof feather) features a full polyurethane cage over the entire shoe and a new pattern for Michelin outsole with 3-3.5mm lugs. The shoe will weigh in at 9.4 ounces and have a 7mm drop.

Under Armour Horizon BPF

Under Armour Horizon BPF. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Brands without Significant Fall/Winter 2018 Updates

Arc’teryx, Nike, SCARPAThe North Face, and Vasque have confirmed they don’t have have significant updates for fall 2018.

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 trail shoes debuting later this year are you most excited about?
  • Have any technical questions? Ask away!
  • Know of other trail shoes due out in the second half of this year? Tell us about them in a comment.

Best New Trail Shoes for Spring-Summer 2018

(Originally published August 24, 2017)

For the past decade, I’ve provided semi-annual updates from the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City, Utah. With fewer trail brands attending the show this summer, I’ve updated the breadth of this soon-to-come shoe update to include some brands that weren’t in attendance at the show. This roundup is not intended to be exhaustive and, indeed, will be skewed toward brands that I am able to meet with in person. With that said, check out some of the new trail shoes you’ll see in late 2017 or early 2018!

If you’re interested in a particular brand or model, you can jump ahead to the following models. (Full-paragraph previews are bolded in the list.)

New Balance Summit Unknown ($110 – April 1, 2018)

For ages, I’ve teased New Balance about wanting a trail version of my beloved RC1400s. Well, the New Balance Summit Unknown is just such a shoe… in fact, its developmental name was the TR1400. It’s a 10mm-drop shoe with RevLite midsole and a racing last, just like the 1400. Add to that 4mm lugs that continue to tweak the Vazee’s Summit’s pattern and a TPU rockplate, and, voila, you’ve got a speedy trail shoe. Add in a soft, sock-like tongue for a comfortable fit and an outer mesh that doesn’t absorb water in a 8.6-ounce shoe, and you’ve got a winner.

New Balance Summit Unknown

A prototype of the New Balance Summit Unknown.

Also from New Balance:

  • New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v3 ($135 – January 1, 2018) — The Hierro gets a major update with a move from 4mm to 8mm drop, even softer Fresh Foam, bootie construction, a switch to HypoSkin upper construction that tries to blend lockdown with accommodation for foot expansion, a more rounded shaped in the upper, and an updated outsole pattern with deeper and more aggressive lugs (still with Vibram MegaGrip), all for an additional 0.8 ounces.
New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v3

The New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v3.

The North Face Flight RKT ($150 – February 2018)

While versions of a Rob Krar shoe have been in development for years, one will finally hit store shelves early next year in The North Face Flight RKT. This 8-ounce (227g) shoe with 8mm drop was made for light and fast running. To make that happen, the shoe has a thin upper throughout, no rockplate, and minimal outsole material with 2mm multi-directonal lugs. There’s a dual-density midsole with TNF new FastFoam midsole system made up of a super-soft inner core with a standard-density outer region for stability that results in a cushioned ride despite the low weight. This is not your everyday shoe, as its designed for approximately 100 miles of wear. You might get a few more miles out of a pair, but not much. The shoe also has a more accommodating forefoot than you might expect in most racing shoes.

The North Face Flight RKT

The North Face Flight RKT.

Also from The North Face:

  • The North Face Ultra TR III ($110 – February 2018) — The TR3 gets an injection of FastFoam, the addition of Vibram MegaGrip, and a mesh upper. It’ll weigh in around 9.8 oz (278 g).
  • The North Face Ultra Endurance II ($120 – February 2018) — The Ultra Endurance 2 gets an updated upper with a more breathable tongue and updated geocage for improved midfoot lockdown. It’ll weigh in around 11.5 oz (327 g).
The North Face Ultra TR 3

The North Face Ultra TR 3.

The North Face Ultra Endurance 2

The North Face Ultra Endurance 2.

La Sportiva Unika ($190 – February 2018)

A long-distance trail shoe made entirely in Europe, the La Sportiva Unika comes at a hefty $190 price point. Built for the long haul, the shoe features compression-resistant polyurathane midsole along with a rockplate. The midsole also wraps up the shoe’s medial side for added stability while the lacing system enhances midfoot stability. The Unika weighs 11.6 ounces and has an 8mm drop.

La Sportiva Unika

The La Sportiva Unika.

Also from La Sportiva:

  • La Sportiva VK ($135 – February 2018) — Sportiva worked with Vertical Kilometer record holder Urban Zemmer in developing this 6.9-ounce (198 g) shoe with 4mm drop. It’s light, but still has a forefoot rubber outsole along with a partial rockplate.
  • La Sportiva Lycan ($115 – February 2018) — A mid-distance, everyday trainer that weighs 9.5 ounces (268g) and has a 6mm drop. It’s got a wider forefoot fit than most Sportiva shoes and a sticky outsole in a pattern reminiscent of the C-Lite 2.0.
La Sportiva VK

The La Sportiva VK.

La Sportiva Lycan

The La Sportiva Lycan.

SCARPA Spin RS ($135 – February 2018)

The SCARPA Spin RS will be a moderate-weight, everyday trail runner with more cushion than the Spin. It’ll weigh in at 10.5 ounces for a men’s 9 and feature an 8mm drop with a Vibram MegaGrip outsole featuring 4mm lugs. SCARPA and the Spin RS will be the first trail shoes to include Vibram’s Lightbase technology, which reduces outsole weight by co-molding a fabric base with the outsole rubber, allowing for a thinner rubber base. The Spin RS will have a sock-like tongue.



Also from SCARPA:

  • SCARPA Neutron 2 ($130 – February 2018) — The Neutron is updated with a new last, a more roomy toe box, and a new outsole pattern for increased durability and traction in 12.1 ounces. It’ll also be available in a $170 GORE-TEX version.
SCARPA Neutron 2

The SCARPA Neutron 2.

Inov-8 X-Talon 230 ($130 – November 1, 2017)

Next spring, Inov-8’s hallmark X-Talon line will become more versatile with the introduction of the 8.7-ounce, 8mm-drop Inov-8 X-Talon 230. In general, the shoe’s upper and underfoot tooling will remain familiar. However, the outsole gets an upgrade to Inov-8’s brand new Sticky Grip compound, which the company is touting as providing 50% more and 20% more traction in the forefoot and rearfoot, respectively. The midsole also gets an upgrade to Inov-8’s Powerflow+ compound for better shock absorption and energy return. They’ve also added a rockplate for added protection, took out water-absorbing materials, tried to make the shoe more breathable, and added a gusseted tongue.

Inov-8 X-Talon 230

The Inov-8 X-Talon 230.

Also from Inov-8:

  • Inov-8 Roclite 315 GTX ($145 – November 1, 2017) — A bomber option with GORE-TEX’s Invisible Fit membrane and partially Kevlar upper in a 11.0-ounce (311 g) shoe with 8mm drop.
Inov-8 Roclite 315 GTX

The Inov-8 Roclite 315 GTX.

Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 2 – renamed S/Lab Ultra ($180 – March 1, 2018)

Aside from a major cosmetic overhaul, the most noticeable change in the Salomon S/Lab Ultra are the two decoupled SensiFIT wings, both, medially and laterally, for improved midfoot lockdown. The lace garage is now top- rather than bottom-loading and there’s now an enhanced mud guard. Underfoot, a forefoot insert adds to the cushioning and durability. It’ll weigh in at an even 300 grams (10.6 ounces). (iRunFar’s Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra review)

Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 2

The Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 2.

Also from Salomon:

  • Salomon S-Lab Speed 2 ($180 – March 1, 2018) — Revised to a completely hydrophobic upper.
  • Salomon S-Lab XA Alpine 2 ($250 – March 1, 2018) — Redesigned gaiter to be completely waterproof and include an asymmetrical zipper.
  • Salomon XA Elevate ($130 – March 1, 2018) — A 9-ounce (255 g) trail shoe with moderate lugs of Premium Wet Traction Contagrip, airy mesh upper, and stable rear in a Sense Ride-like ride.
  • Salomon Speedcross 4 Wide ($130 – March 1, 2018) — The iconic shoe line adds a wider version.
Salomon S-Lab Speed 2

The Salomon S-Lab Speed 2.

Salomon S-Lab XA Alpine 2

The Salomon S-Lab XA Alpine 2.

Salomon XA Elevate

The Salomon XA Elevate.

SCOTT Kinabalu ($155 – January 2018)

Replacing the current T2 Kinabalu 3.0, the SCOTT Kinabalu is back with an update to the midsole/outsole based on that of the Kinabalu RC introduced early this year and a 2mm lower stack height than the prevoius version. There’s no heel counter or rockplate here. It’ll weigh in at 11.2 ounces (320 g).

SCOTT Kinabalu - 2018 version

The SCOTT Kinabalu for 2018.

Also from SCOTT:

  • SCOTT Kinabalu Power ($160 – January 2018) — The Kinabalu Power looks to be the beast in the Kinabalu series, with an external heel counter, an external stability cage in the rear foot, ripstop panels in the midfoot, and TPU plate in the mid- and forefoot in an approximately 12.2-ounce (350 g), 8mm-drop shoe.
SCOTT Kinabalu Power

The SCOTT Kinabalu Power.

Altra King MT 1.5 ($140 – January 2018)

As an Altra “point five” update, the Altra King MT 1.5 sees mostly iterative changes to the upper, including a more durable mesh upper and the addition of drainage holes in the toe box. The velcro band has also been shortened due to user feedback and there’s a new “shark skin” fabric in the heel liner for better lockdown. A men’s 9 will now weigh in at 8.5 ounces (241 g).

Altra King MT 1.5

The Altra King MT 1.5.

Also from Altra:

  • Altra Superior 3.5 ($110 – December 2017) — Altra continues to make the Superior’s upper more durable, while adding the company’s 4-Point GaiterTrap this time around. This version will weigh 9.2 ounces.
  • Altra Duo ($130 – January 2018) — While a road shoe, the Duo is a max-cushion shoe that comes in at 7.9 ounces with a very open toe box.
Altra Superior 3.5

The Altra Superior 3.5.

Altra Duo

The Altra Duo.

Arc’teryx Norvan LD ($160 – February 2018)

For its second trail running offering, the Arc’teryx Norval LD, Arc’teryx has designed a more all-around long-distance trail shoe. The 10.9-ounce (310 g), 9mm-drop shoe features a moderately-lugged Vibram MegaGrip outsole, 3-piece EVA midsole (including some medial support, and a TPU rockplate.

Arc'teryx Norval LD

The Arc’teryx Norval LD.

Hoka One One Challenger 4 ($130 – January 1, 2018)

The Hoka One One Challenger 4 is updated with an expended toe cap for better protection while the rest of the upper has seen overlays removed and a more durable mesh implemented which combined yield better durability and breathability. A men’s 9 will weigh 9 ounces (254 g). (iRunFar’s Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3 review)

Hoke One One Challenger ATR 4

The Hoke One One Challenger ATR 4.

Also from Hoka One One:

  • Hoka One One Mach ($140 – January 1, 2018) — The evolution of the popular Clayton 2 road shoe with a completely redesigned engineered-knit upper and built on a new last that’ll relieve arch pressure. It’ll weigh 8.2 ounces (231 g). [Updated with additional info Aug 24.]
Hoka One One Mach

The Hoka One One Mach.

Brooks Caldera 2 ($140 – December 2017)

The 9.9 ounce Brooks Caldera 2 sees mostly updates to the upper at the end of the year with the a more durable fabric and additional rubber overlays. (iRunFar’s original Brooks Caldera review)

Brooks Caldera 2

The Brooks Caldera 2.

Also from Brooks:

  • Brooks Mazama 2 ($140 – December 2017) — This 9.3-ounce shoe sees a dual-layer mesh replaced by a single mesh layer with 3D-rubber printing overlays.
Brooks Mazama 2

The Brooks Mazama 2.

Saucony Peregrine 8 ($120 – January 1, 2018)

The biggest updates to the Saucony Peregrine 8 is the removal of its rockplate and a switch from Saucony’s SSL EVA to PWRFoam midsole. It’ll come in at 10.0 ounces (283 g), about a half ounce more than its predecessor. (iRunFar’s Saucony Peregrine 7 review)

Saucony Peregrine 8

The Saucony Peregrine 8.

Dynafit Ultra Pro ($140 – Spring 2018)

Stability and protection are the main foci of the Dynafit Ultra Pro yet it weighs in at a reasonable 11.2 ounces (320 g). The shoe features Vibram MegaGrip, a quick lace, and an 8mm drop.

Dynafit Ultra Pro

The Dynafit Ultra Pro.

Salewa Ultra Train 2.0 ($139 – Spring 2018)

The Salewa Ultra Train 2.0 is updated with a grippier Michelin OCX outsole and enhanced midfoot wrapping for better stability. It’ll weight 11.0 ounces (313 g) and have an 8mm drop.

Salewa Ultra Train 2.0

The Salewa Ultra Train 2.0.

Merrell MQM Flex ($110 – February 2018)

The approximately 9.5-ounce Merrell MQM Flex is premised on “moving quickly through the mountains,” whether that’s trail running or scrambling. Truthfully, in today’s market, the MQM Flex feels like a light hiker than someone could run in, as it is built based on Merrell’s Flex trail-running line, but with a more built-up rear upper, and tougher mesh in some areas. There’s also a $140 version with GORE-TEX Invisible Fit waterproofing throughout.

Merrell MQM Flex

The Merrell MQM Flex.

Also from Merrell:

  • Merrell Trail Glove 4 Knit and E-Mesh ($140 and $120, respectively – February 2018) — The Merrell Trail Glove has two reimagined uppers with the knit version pictured.
Merrell Trail Glove 4 Knit

The Merrell Trail Glove 4 Knit.

Columbia Montrail Variant X.S.R. ($150 – February 2018)

Named for its “cross-surface running” focus, the Columbia Montrail Variant X.S.R. features modest lugs in an all-arounder package. The shoe’s most noticeable feature is its PearlFoam midsole that mixes expanded TPU pellets into an EVA matrix for enhanced resilience. It weighs in at 12.8 ounces and has an 8mm drop.

Columbia Montrail Variant X.S.R.

The Columbia Montrail Variant X.S.R.

Also from Columbia Montrail:

  • Columbia Montrail Mountain Masochist IV ($160 – February 2018) — Longtime fans need not worry, the fit and underfoot tooling remain unchanged. The only changes are some material updates to make the upper more breathable and the addition of a speed lace. The updated shoe will weigh 10.2 ounces. (iRunFar’s Montrail Mountain Masochist III review)
  • Columbia Montrail Fluid Flex X.S.R. ($110 – February 2018) — The XSR version of the FluidFlex adds heel stability in an 8.5-ounce package, the lightest shoe in Columbia Montrail’s line.
  • Columbia Montrail Caldorado III ($120 – February 2018) — In its third version, the Caldorado’s upper gets a new mesh and a more generous fit in a 10.3-ounce package. (iRunFar’s Columbia Montrail Caldorado II review)
Columbia Montrail Mountain Masochist IV

The Columbia Montrail Mountain Masochist IV.

Columbia Montrail Fluid Flex X.S.R.

The Columbia Montrail Fluid Flex X.S.R.

Columbia Montrail Caldorado III

The Columbia Montrail Caldorado III.

Vasque Trailbender 2 ($130 – February 2018)

After launching three entirely new models late in 2016, it’s no surprise that Vasque isn’t overhauling its current trail line. Instead, the Vasque Trailbender 2 receives only a few tweaks to its upper, specifically, it drains better and the terry-loop interior has been updated to more of a ribbed lining. It’ll weigh 11 ounces (310 g). (iRunFar’s Vasque Trailbender review)

Vasque Trailbender 2

The Vasque Trailbender 2.

Also from Vasque:

Vasque Constant Velocity 2

The Vasque Constant Velocity 2.

Topo Runventure 2 ($110 – November 2017)

After a hiatus from Topo’s lineup, the Runventure is back with the Topo Runventure 2. This 9.2-ounce (260 g) version lowers the Runventure from its previous 2mm drop to zero drop. The Runventure is less cushioned and lower to the ground than the in-line Terraventure, but moves to the same outsole as the Terraventure and adds a rockplate. The Runventure also has a completely redesigned upper with a totally collapsible heel. The shoe now features attachment points for the $10 Topo Athletic Gaiter.

Topo Runventure 2

The Topo Runventure 2.

Under Armour Horizon 50 ($150 – April 2018)

The primary distinguishing feature of the Under Armour Horizon 50 is its integrated sock-gaiter. The 11.1-ounce shoe also features dual-density rim-and-core midsole construction. It has the same last and 7mm drop as the rest of the recently introduced UA trail lineup.

Under Armour Horizon 50

The Under Armour Horizon 50.

adidas Outdoor Terrex Two BOA ($120 – April 2018)

The adidas Outdoor Terrex TWO Boa is the first new trail shoe I’ve seen with BOA lacing for next season. It’s a 10.8 ounce (305 g) everyday trail runner with a 6mm drop. Aside from the BOA lacing, the most noticeable aspect is that the first colorway will be largely die-free with more colorful versions coming a month after the initial launch.

adidas Outdoor Terrex Two BOA

The adidas Outdoor Terrex Two BOA.

Brands without Significant Spring/Summer 2018 Updates

Nike has confirmed they don’t have have significant updates for spring 2018.

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 late 2017 and early 2018 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.

Best New Trail Running Shoes from the 2017 Winter Outdoor Retailer Show

(Originally published January 19, 2017)

Every January brings a ton of trail shoe manufacturers to Salt Lake City, Utah for the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market (i.e., Winter OR), where they show off their offerings for the following Fall/Winter season. In reality, these shoes tend to hit the market around August 1st, give or take a month. Below, I profile many of the most notable models from this year’s show. While Winter OR tends to be quieter than its summer partner show in terms of trail shoe debuts, this show saw more new models than usual, such that I’ve left out a few models that merely represented the waterproofing of an existing model. On the other hand, I’ve highlighted a few manufacturers who I didn’t meet with at last Summer OR (See our Summer OR ’16 shoe preview!), who have notable trail shoes that have just hit store shelves.

If you’re interested in a particular brand or model, you can jump ahead to the following models. (Full paragraph previews are bolded in the list.)

Saucony Peregrine 7 ICE+ ($150 – September 1, 2017)

If I could get just one pair of shoes from those I saw at Winter OR right now, it’d be a pair of Saucony Peregrine 7 ICE+. Why? I’d simply love a lightweight pair of shoes that have both Vibram’s Arctic Grip (for wet ice) and Ice Trek (for dry ice) compounds in the outsole. Here in the hills above Moab, I end up running many a winter mile on poorly plowed rural roads covered for weeks on end with some combination of snow, slush, cold sheer ice, and ice coated with liquid water with frequent transitions between each type of treachery depending on the road’s bend and angle, the sun angle, clouds, elevation, temperature, and so on. Having the Arctic Grip/Ice Trek outsole would give me one tool to take on these variable conditions. The upper is made primarily of Saucony’s FLEXSHELL water-resistant material with an attached tongue. The Peregrine 7 ICE+ weighs 9.4 ounces (266g) for a men’s 9 and has the Peregrine’s standard 4mm drop.

Personally, I’d love to see a road shoe with this Vibram rubber combination. Put that beneath an upper with an ion-treated or other water-resistant upper and you’ve got a winter winner on the roads.

Saucony Peregrine 7 ICE+

Saucony Peregrine 7 ICE+

Also from Saucony:

  • Saucony Peregrine 7 Runshield ($130 – September 1, 2017) — Essentially, the same as the Peregrine 7 ICE+ described above, but without the winter-specific Vibram outsole materials.
  • Saucony Xodus ISO 2 ($130 – June 2, 2017) — The Xodus remains the same underfoot while the upper is updated, including a reinforced heel frame and enhanced toe bumper.
  • Saucony KOA TR ($110 – June 1, 2017) — A new 10.3-ounce (292g) hybrid trail shoe with moderate 3.5mm lugs and 4mm drop. There’s no rockplate in the KOA TR.
  • Saucony KOA ST ($130 – June 1, 2017) — The KOA TR, but with 8mm(?!) lugs at supposedly no weight penalty over the TR version. The ST replaces the TR’s laces with a quicklace system.
Saucony KOA ST

Saucony KOA ST

Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 ($140 – June 2017)

Hoka’s original Speedgoat has been in its lineup for a couple years. Now, the Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 is what appears to be a great update to the original. Anyone who’s run in the original Speedgoat will immediately notice the similarities. Just as quickly, some differences will pop out, primarily with the upper which is a whole lot more refined in the second iteration. First off, the overbuilt and, frankly, clunky tongue construction is much more streamlined. Overall, the upper seems lighter and more breathable. Underfoot, the lug pattern has been redesigned, but retains its 5-mm depth and Vibram MegaGrip, while the flex grooves have been lessened a bit for a more stable platform. Much less noticeable are the slightly wider platform underfoot, wider last, and new injection-molded EVA midsole that should feel a bit less rubbery and a bit stiffer. The Speedgoat 2 will weigh in at 9.8 ounces (278g) for a men’s 9 and have a 4.5mm drop.

Hoka One One Speedgoat 2

Hoka One One Speedgoat 2

Also from Hoka One One:

  • Hoka One One Stinson 4 ATR  ($160 – June 2017) — For those looking for a wider forefoot on a Hoka, this is your shoe. Based on a new last, it will have the widest toebox of any Hoka along with a more gradual taper around the little toe.
  • Hoka One One Speed Instinct 2 ($130 – June 2017) — Updates to the mesh and overlays make for a more breathable shoe as well as increasing durability by avoiding overlays over high-crease areas.
Hoka One One Stinson 4 ATR

Hoka One One Stinson 4 ATR

Columbia/Montrail FluidFlex II ($110 – August 1, 2017)

The entire Columbia/Montrail FKT line gets a revamp come late summer. The Columbia/Montrail FluidFlex FKT II will retain the same underfoot package while improving the step-in comfort. To start, there’s an improved ankle collar with a nicer lining material. The tongue gets a big update across the FKT line with a laser perforated microsuede tongue with zonal cushioning that’s attached at the bottom via a flat seam. Not only should this be more comfortable, but it should shave weight, as well. The FluidFlex II should weigh in around 9.3 ounces (264g).

Columbia/Montrail FluidFlex FKT II

Columbia/Montrail FluidFlex FKT II

Also from Columbia/Montrail:

  • Columbia/Montrail Rogue FKT II ($110 – August 1, 2017) — Aside from the new “FKT Tongue,” The Rogue FKT gets a simplified upper with a redesigned TPU cage.
  • Columbia/Montrail TransAlps FKT II ($155 – August 1, 2017) — Having determined that the first TransAlps FKT stripped too much away, the TransAlps FKT II has more substantial overlays, including over nearly all of the forefoot, as well as a more durable mesh upper.
Columbia/Montrail TransAlps FKT II

Columbia/Montrail TransAlps FKT II

Columbia/Montrail Bajada III ($110 – February 1, 2017)

I was about to include this as an add-on bullet above, but an update to my favorite trail shoe of the past half decade and Meghan’s current go-to shoe is about to launch. While I wrongly assumed the model was going away, there’ll soon be a Columbia/Montrail Bajada III. (And there was much rejoicing.) For fans of the shoe, the midsole and outsole remain unchanged. Up top, there’ll be a good deal more TPU-film overlays, for both additional structure and greater durability. The heel collar is much more padded, while the insole has been upgraded to a dual-piece unit. The tongue construction has been upgraded by changing to a less-intrusive apparel stitch where the tongue meets the forefoot mesh while there’s an asymmetrical gusset that’s higher on the medial side. The Bajada weight remains unchanged at 11.2 ounces.

Columbia/Montrail Bajada III

Columbia/Montrail Bajada III

Salomon Sense Ride ($120 – June 1, 2017 at specialty running stores; August 1 everywhere)

Salomon’s big launch for the summer will be the Salomon Sense Ride, a shoe that brings some of Salomon’s premium features to a more standard price-range product. The most prominent feature is a full-length midsole insert of Opal Vibe, a compound previously used to reduce vibrations in car chassis that both dampens impact vibrations and lightens the shoe’s midsole. This will also be Salomon’s most affordable shoe with Premium variant of its Wet Traction Contagrip outsole material. The shoe will have a bit more of a generous fit that many other Salomon models. With an 8mm drop, the Sense Ride will feature the sock-like EndoFit system and weight in at 9.7 ounces (275g) for a men’s 9.

Salomon Sense Ride

Salomon Sense Ride

Also from Salomon:

  • Salomon Snowcross 2 CSWP ($200 – August 1, 2017) — The Snowcross gets updated from the Speedcross 3 to the Speedcross 4 platform. The full gaiter now zips asymmetrically to the lateral side. The previous version’s carbide spikes have been removed.
  • Salomon Speedspike CS ($170 – August 1, 2017) — This is the Speedtrak (née Fellraiser) with the addition of nine carbide spikes per shoe, an upgrade to Premium Wet Traction Contagrip (from the non-premium version), and a ClimaSalomon waterproof membrane shell.
Salomon Snowcross 2 CSWP

Salomon Snowcross 2 CSWP

La Sportiva Tempesta GTX ($170 – September 1, 2017)

While there were plenty of more showy winter running shoes at this year’s Winter OR, the La Sportiva Tempesta GTX was one of my favorites. The combination of a very low-gaiter with fully accessible laces was great, given the infrequency that I’d personally need a high-gaitered waterproof shoe and the near universal difficulty in adjusting the laces on shoes with integrated waterproof gaiters. The Tempesta GTX weighs in at 11.3 ounces (320g) in a men’s 9. It has a 10mm drop.

La Sportiva Tempesta GTX

La Sportiva Tempesta GTX

Also from La Sportiva:

  • La Sportiva Urugano GTX ($190 – September 1, 2017) — A high-gaitered version of the Tempesta that retains the accessible laces. It weighs in at 12.0 ounces (346g).
  • La Sportiva Akyra ($140) and Akyra GTX ($160 – both September 1, 2017) — An aggressively lugged cousin of the Akasha, this time with a 9mm drop, but still in a 11.35-ounce (330g) package (13.7oz/388g for the GTX version).
La Sportiva Urugano GTX

La Sportiva Urugano GTX

Altra Timp ($130 – July 1, 2017)

Altra announced the Timp IQ last July, and will follow that with the non-computerized Altra Timp this summer. Altra feels that the Timp falls in the sweet spot between the highly cushioned Olympus and the more traditional stack height of the Lone Peak. The 11.8-ounce (335g) Timp also has what might be the sleekest and most breathable upper amongst its Altra trail running peers as of this coming summer.

Altra Timp

Altra Timp

Also from Altra:

  • Altra Lone Peak 3.5 ($120 – June 1, 2017 at REI, July 1 elsewhere) — Altra’s reduced the number of overlays on the upper from four to two, while replacing some of those overlays with strategic stitching. Conversely, the LP 3.5 goes from two to four gaiter attachment points to go with its redesigned gaiter. There are now a couple drainage ports in the toe cap as well as a tongue that’s a seamless continuation of the forefoot mesh. It weighs 10.4 ounces (295g).
Altra Lone Peak 3.5

Altra Lone Peak 3.5

Inov-8 TrailRoc 270 ($140 – July 2017)

This summer Inov-8 will relaunch its TrailRoc series with the Inov-8 TrailRoc 270 (and 285). The new TrailRoc 270 has short lugs with lots of surface area for a smooth ride over hard-packed trails while a denser midsole provides protection on rockier terrain. It’s got a stripped-down upper and 4mm drop in its 9.5 ounces.

Inov-8 Trailroc 270

Inov-8 Trailroc 270 (black and red shoe)

Also from Inov-8:

  • Inov-8 TrailRoc 285 ($150 – July 2017) — Very similar to the TrailRoc 270, but with 8mm of drop and an additional 15 grams.
  • Inov-8 ParkClaw 275 ($130 – July 2017) — An alternative road-to-trail shoe with 8mm of drop and 4mm lugs just like the TrailRoc 270, but intended for tamer terrain.

Under Armour Horizon KTV ($130 – Out now)

Under Armour recently launched what looks like their first legitimate foray into trail running with the Horizon line. Amongst the line, the Under Armour Horizon KTV stands out as the lightest, most nimble option while remaining an everyday option for many. The 9.8-ounce (278 g), 7mm-drop shoe has a one-piece upper that’s heavily overlayed with TPU film along with a beefy toe bumper and a forefoot ESS plate. The tongue is perforated for additional breathability with the laces transitioning from punched holes to ghillies and back to punched holes for a precise fit. It has moderate 3.5mm lugs.

Under Armour Horizon KTV

Under Armour Horizon KTV

Also from Under Armour:

  • Under Armour Horizon RTT ($110 – Out now) — While only 10.6 ounces (300g), the RTT is positioned as “the tank” next to the KTV. It’s got an ESS rockplate and 5.5mm lugs.
Under Armour Horizon RTT

Under Armour Horizon RTT

Merrell Agility Glacier Flex ICE+ ($180 – August 1, 2017)

For the time being, the combination of Vibram Ice Trek (best on ice that’s dry) and Arctic Grip (for ice that’s wet) is proprietary to Wolverine-owned brands, including Merrell and Saucony. The Merrell Agility Glacier Flex ICE+ is a high-gaitered version of the Agility Flex platform (see preview) with an Ice Trek/Arctic Grip outsole.

Merrell Agility Glacier Flex ICE+

Merrell Agility Glacier Flex ICE+

Also from Merrell:

  • Merrell Trail Glove 4 ($100 – May 1, 2017) — After a bit of a pause, the Trail Glove gets an update. It’s got a redesigned outsole and upper while sticking with its popular last.
  • Merrell Agility Summit Flex ($170 – August 1, 2017) — Apparently integrated low gaiters are an “it” thing at the moment, and the Agility Summit Flex brings this feature to Merrell’s Agility line.
Merrell Trail Glove 4

Merrell Trail Glove 4

SCARPA Neutron G ($210 – August 2017)

The SCARPA Neutron G is one the of the growing legion of high-gaitered winter running shoes. Built on the Neutron platform, perhaps the nicest distinguishing factor of the Neutron G is its thinner-than-usual lighter gaiter material. On the downside, it’ll also make your wallet lighter with its $210 price. The outsole and 5.5mm-deep lugs are made from Vibram Ice Trek for traction on ice that’s dry. The Neutron G has speedlaces, a 6mm drop, and weighs in at 13.8 ounces (391g) in a men’s 42.

SCARPA Neutron G

SCARPA Neutron G

Brooks PureGrit 6 ($120 – June 1, 2017)

In its sixth iteration, the Brooks PureGrit 6 retains the same outsole and midsole as its predecessor with the updates coming solely in the form of updates to the upper. The primary update there is the use of 3D-printed rubber as a primary overlay component, including a 360-degree mudguard. There is one slight change underfoot as the strobel (the component between the insole and the midsole) will change from EVA to mesh, reducing weight and slightly lowering the foot toward the ground. There’s also a simple lace garage. The PureGrit 6 will weigh 9.6 ounces (272g) in a men’s 9.

Brooks PureGrit 6

Brooks PureGrit 6

The North Face Ultra Cardiac II ($120 – August 1, 2017)

After two years, the Ultra Cardiac gets a full revamp to The North Face Ultra Cardiac II. Underfoot, the outsole now has a more articulated “podular” construction along with an upgrade to Vibram Megagrip, while the drop has been lowered from 8 to 6mm. The shoe utilizes the same midsole EVA, but at a slightly higher density for a bit more rock protection and a firmer ride. On the upper, the TPU film overlays appear to be thinned out in general, while additional structure is given via a cable cradle in the rear- and mid-foot. The suite of changes adds a bit over an ounce per shoe to come in at 11 ounces (311g).

The North Face Ultra Cardiac II

The North Face Ultra Cardiac II

Topo Terraventure ($110 – out now)

At this winter’s OR show, I checked out the full Topo line for the first time and it’s surprisingly broad. What caught my eye was the Topo Terraventure, a 3mm drop trail shoe with an ESS forefoot flexible rockplate. At 10.4 ounces (295g), it’s Topo’s heaviest trail model, but the shoe’s still plenty nimble for everyday use.

Topo Terraventure

Topo Terraventure

adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravix Speed ($120 – February 1, 2017)

Launching this spring, the adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravix Speed is the most nimble adidas Outdoor offering that I’ve seen to date. It’s a mere 9.2 ounces (260g) and is quite flexible. It features a sock-like fit.

adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravix Speed

adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravix Speed

Skechers GOtrail 2 ($100 – July 2017)

The Skechers GOtrail 2 is an all-upper update that features TPU-film overlays over knit fabric that makes the shoe a bit lighter overall. The shoe’s most distinguishing characteristic is the use of three different eyelet styles, moving from loops to ghillies to traditional eyelets as you move up the shoe in pursuit of a better fit.

Skechers GOtrail 2

Skechers GOtrail 2

Call for Comments

  • Which shoes are you most excited to check out?
  • Fire away with any spec questions you might have on these models!

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

Best New Trail Running Shoes from the 2016 Summer Outdoor Retailer Show

(Originally published August 11, 2016)

In the dog days of every summer, a slew of shoe companies share many of their trail running shoes that will debut in “Spring/Summer” of the following year at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City, Utah. While these are “Spring/Summer” releases, most will hit retailers shelves first thing next year, while a few will be available much sooner. Below are some of the most notable shoes that were shared at this year’s Summer OR.

If you’re interested in a particular brand or model, you can jump ahead to the following models. (Full paragraph previews are bolded in the list.)

Vasque Trailbender ($130 – Mid-December 2016)

After a couple years on the down low, Vasque is reentering the trail running world with three entirely new models late this year. The most ultrarunning-oriented model from that lineup is the Vasque Trailbender. The 10.4-ounce shoe with 6 mm of drop is built on an entirely new last with a broader, but relatively shallow toe box with more arch support than prior Vasque trail running offerings. The outsole is highly segmented to conform to trail obstacles, while the shoe lacks a rockplate. In the U.S., all three new models from Vasque will be an REI-exclusive for one year.

Vasque Trailbender

The Vasque Trailbender.

Also from Vasque:

  • Vasque Constant Velocity ($120 – Mid-December, 2016) — The Constant Velocity is a do-everything shoe with 8 mm of drop in a 10.8-ounce package. It’s got the most aggressive lugging of the three models and contains an ESS rockplate.
  • Vasque Vertical Velocity ($120 – Mid-December, 2016) — This 9.8-ounce shoe is the lowest to the ground of the three models and has a 4-mm drop. It features a Vibram MegaGrip outsole and an ESS Rockplate.
Vasque Vertical Velocity

The Vasque Vertical Velocity.

Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra ($180 – February 1, 2017)

For anyone who’s looked at the Salomon Sense lineup of shoes longingly over the past half decade without the tools to run in them (at least not for very long), you might want to take a look at the Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra. You can think of this as François D’haene’s answer to Kilian Jornet’s shoe. Most notably, the Sense Ultra’s drop has been increased to 9 mm with the addition of more midsole material in the shoe’s midfoot and rear, such that it should yield a more cushioned ride. The lugs are also deeper and there’s a full-length Pro-Feel Film protective layer. All of the rest of the features and know how from the S-Lab Sense line are included.

Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra

The Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra.

Also from Salomon:

  • Salomon XA Enduro ($160 – February 1, 2017) — A 10.6-ounce (300 g) mountain running machine with a mesh upper and a breathable, integrated gaiter that’s attached from within the ankle collar. It also features Salomon’s premium sticky rubber and Pro-Feel Film protection.
  • Salomon Sense Pro Max ($150 – February 1, 2017) — A highly cushioned trainer debuting Salomon’s Vibe midsole inserts to reduce vibrational shock found in the midfoot phase of foot strike. The 10.2-ounce (290 g), 6-mm drop model has a more generous forefoot fit than most Salomon models.
  • Salomon S-Lab XA Amphib ($180 – February 1, 2017) — From the now-I’ve-seen-everything department, Salomon is offering a dedicated swim-run S-Lab model.
Salomon XA Enduro

The Salomon XA Enduro.

Altra King MT ($140 – February 1, 2017)

The Altra King MT is definitely aimed at the “hardcore” end of trail running with super-aggressive lugs (6.5 mm), a full-length rockplate, and a midfoot velcro strap for quick additional lockdown on the most technical terrain. Built on Altra’s XC-racing last, the King MT is part of the company’s multi-model launch of its new Altra Ego high-rebound midsole material. The shoe has Altra’s rear velcro Gaiter Trap while the brand has added a ring at the front of the laces for the forward attachment. The shoe will weigh in at 9.5 ounces.

Altra King MT

The Altra King MT.

Also from Altra:

  • Altra Timp IQ ($220 – February 1, 2017) — The Altra Timp IQ is the brand’s first computerized training tool for the trails. More generally, it’s designed to generally fit in between the brand’s Lone Peak and Olympus offerings, while it will be built on the Superior’s last. A non-IQ version is in the works.
  • Altra Superior 3.0 ($110 – November 15, 2016) — The all-new Superior 3.0 has both a new outsole and a new midsole, but they’re both similar to those components in the 2.0. The major updates are in the upper with more durable mesh and the addition of some sewn-on overlays for structure and durability. The weight will increase only slightly.
  • Altra Escalante ($130 – February 1, 2017) — While it’s on the road side, the Escalante is Altra’s first offering with a knit upper. The 8.5-ounce shoe has a burrito tongue and an Altra Ego midsole.
Altra Superior 3.0

The Altra Superior 3.0.

Brooks Caldera ($140 – December 1, 2016)

If I’m honest, the Brooks Caldera is what the Cascadia should be at the moment: a versatile, everyday trail runner that weighs less than 10 ounces. The 4-mm drop Caldera has a nice rocker for a quick transition. The shoe features an all-around outsole with semi-soft rubber in 3-3.5-mm multi-directional lugs. The reasonably breathable upper is built around a new last that’s snug in the midfoot and wider in the forefoot. The upper features a lace garage, true gussets, and a rear gaiter tab.

Brooks Caldera

The Brooks Caldera.

Also from Brooks:

  • Brooks Cascadia 12 ($130 – January 1, 2017) — The 12th Cascadia remains quite familiar with 10 mm of drop in a 12.1-ounce shoe. The midsole and outsole are all new with the biggest change being the four triangular “pivots” being replaced by an X-shaped internal chassis. Rumor is that the Cascadia is in for a major update soon.
Brooks Cascadia 12

The Brooks Cascadia 12.

Hoka One One Arahi ($130 –  January 1, 2017)

The Hoka One One Arahi (“Guide” in Māori) is described as a “dynamic stability” option for the roads. That’s primarily achieved with a wide footprint, dropping the foot into the midsole material, and the introduction of the “J-Frame,” a band of denser (than Hoka’s standard) foam that runs along the inside and rear of the shoe. Think of a softer than usual post. With this shoe and some other model updates for spring/summer 2017, Hoka is introducing its HR3 last, which will be more generous in the toe box. Hoka is also introducing new upper materials in many of its SS17 updates, the most notable of which are “puff print” overlays that provide a small amount of give as opposed to the highly inelastic TPU-film overlays used in many of today’s shoes. A men’s size 9 weighs in at 9.3 ounces (265 g) with 5 mm of drop.

Hoka One One Arahi

The Hoka One One Arahi.

Also from Hoka One One:

  • Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3 ($130 – January 1, 2017) — The Challenger ATR gets the new HR3 last and puff print upper construction with better upper breathability. The lug spacing is widened for better mud shedding. It weighs 9.5 ounces (269 g).
  • Hoka One One Bondi 5 ($150 – January 1, 2017) — The 10-ounce Bondi gets an upper revamp with higher quality materials (such as puff print overlays) and Hoka’s new HR3 last with a more roomy toe box.
Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3

The Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3.

SCOTT Supertrac RC ($150 – January 1, 2017)

The SCOTT Supertrac RC looks like it will be a lot of fun to run in. The radial lug pattern is reminiscent of soccer (football) shoes and is unlike anything I’ve seen in the trail market of late. The outsole is also designed with lots of surface area for a smooth feel on roads, while the chevron lugs and siping should add a touch of cushioning. Underfoot, the shoe uses that lug-based cushioning and full-rubber outsole to eliminate the need for a rockplate. The shoe will weigh 8.8 ounces with a 5-mm drop, although SCOTT’s platform makes the drop number less useful for inter-brand comparisons.

SCOTT Supertrac RC

The SCOTT Supertrac RC.

Merrell Agility Peak FLEX ($130 – November 2017)

With the Merrell Agility Peak FLEX, the company tried to bring its hallmark barefoot feel to a more traditional running shoe. To effect this, they came up with “Flex Connect” wherein they put significant grooves in the top of the midsole, such that it can much more easily flex downward in addition to upward. On the other hand, the shoe has 6 mm of drop and a two-piece rockplate in the heel and forefoot. The shoe should be grippy with its 5-mm lugs. It’ll weigh in at 11 ounces.

Merrell Agility Peak FLEX

The Merrell Agility Peak FLEX.

Also from Merrell:

  • Merrell Agility Charge FLEX ($110 – November 2017) — The Agility Peak FLEX’s less aggressive sibling. It retains Flex Connect and the 6-mm drop, but has a lower overall stack height, 4 mm lugs, a forefoot-only rockplate, and a burrito tongue.
Merrell Agility Charge FLEX

The Merrell Agility Charge FLEX.

Inov-8 Roclite 290 ($120 – November 1, 2016)

Due out this autumn, the Inov-8 Roclite 290 looks like a well-lugged, every day trail running option. The upper is open and airy with good midfoot lockdown. The Roclite 290 weighs, unsurprisingly, 290 grams (10.15 ounces) and has a 4-mm drop.

Inov-8 Roclite 290

The Inov-8 Roclite 290.

Also from Inov-8:

  • Inov-8 Roclite 305 ($130 – November 1, 2016) — Similar to the Roclite 290, but with more durable upper materials and 8 mm of drop.
Inov-8 Roclite 305

The Inov-8 Roclite 305.

SCARPA Spin ($130 – February/March 2017)

Next spring, SCARPA will launch the SCARPA Spin, which it positions between its inline Neutron and Atom. Despite that, the shoe will weigh in as the lightest shoes in the SCARPA trail lineup at 8.9 ounces. Underfoot, it features a full Vibram MegaGrip outsole (with weight-saving cutouts) and rockplate with a 4-mm drop. The upper features a sock-like tongue and lace garage.


The SCARPA Spin.

Arc’teryx Norvan VT ($170 – February 1, 2017)

Next spring, Arc’teryx with enter the trail shoe world with the Arc’teryx Norvan VT, a high performance shoe aimed at mixed trail running and scrambling. Made from a mix of Vibram MegaGrip in the heel and midfoot and proprietary climbing-rubber-inspired Idrogrip compound up front, the outsole features 3.5-mm modified chevron lugs that are arranged for high surface area for maximum grip on wet rock while still penetrating softer ground. The most innovative feature is a hook on the medial side of the lacing to which you can attach the lace from the lateral side of the forefoot, thereby going from a more roomy trail running fit to a tighter precision fit for scrambling without having to retie one’s shoes. It’s got a breathable booty construction that has some some folks going sockless. The 9-mm drop shoe will weigh in at 300-310 grams (~11 ounces) and also come in a $200 GORE-TEX version. There’s no rockplate.

Arc'teryx Norvan VT

The Arc’teryx Norvan VT.

Icebug Oribi RB9X ($160 – April 2017)

The Icebug Oribi RB9X looks like a light (230 g/8.1 ounces), grippy trail shoe that should work for those looking for a bit more drop, as the Oribi comes in at 7 mm. The moderate lugs are made from Icebug’s particularly tacky RB9X compound. There’s a rockplate located above the midsole. There are tiny, sausage-link laces.

Icebug Oribi RB9X

The Icebug Oribi RB9X.

Also from Icebug: Other Icebug

  • Icebug DTS3 RB9X ($160 – Spring 2017) — Icebug finally offers a non-BUGrip (studded) version of its everyday “Distance Trainer Shoe.” It’s got a 12-mm drop and weighs in at 11.1 ounces (315 g).
Icebug DTS3 RB9X

The Icebug DTS3 RB9X.

La Sportiva Akyra ($140 – February 1, 2017)

The forthcoming La Sportiva Akyra looks like a more runnable version of the brand’s Ultra Raptor model. First off, the upper will be much more breathable. The outsole is also more aggressive for better trail bite. Underfoot, the outsole is decoupled at the heel and big toe for better roll. The shoe will weigh in at 11.3 ounces with a 9-mm drop. The Akyra will launch as an REI exclusive.

La Sportiva Akyra

The La Sportiva Akyra with the Ultra Raptor in the background.

New Balance Fresh Foam Trail Hierro 2 ($115 – January 1, 2017)

The New Balance Fresh Foam Trail Hierro 2 adds Vibram MegaGrip with a change from somewhat linear lugs to a much more multi-directional pattern. This version also adds 3 mm of additional Fresh Foam throughout the shoe for even more cushioning. The shoe also has more protection and should offer better midfoot lockdown than its predecessor. It will weigh in at 10.8 ounces (307 grams) with a 4-mm drop.

New Balance Fresh Foam Trail Hierro 2

The New Balance Fresh Foam Trail Hierro 2.

Also from New Balance:

  • New Balance Vazee Summit 2 ($100 – April 2017) — In version 2, the Vazee Summit’s upper is massively reinforced with TPU-film overlays over the midfoot for a more structured fit and greater durability.
New Balance Vazee Summit 2

The New Balance Vazee Summit 2.

The North Face Ultra Vertical ($120 – January 25, 2017)

The North Face Ultra Vertical replaces the company’s Ultra MT model. Like its predecessor, it’s got well-lugged Vibram MegaGrip outsole, but with a more of a yin/yang multidirectional focus. The Ultra Vertical will also be built around a wider last than the Ultra MT. The upper has been opened up with fewer overlays, the substitution of TPU-film overlays for fabric overlays, and the removal of the shoe’s distinctive overlasting. The Ultra Vertical weighs 10.7 ounces with a 6-mm drop and a Snakeplate.

The North Face Ultra Vertical - Outsole

The outsole of The North Face Ultra Vertical.

Also from The North Face:

  • The North Face Endurus TR ($130 – January 25, 2017) — An 11.2 ounce, 8-mm drop shoe that introduces TNF’s new Xtrafoam midsole material. The Endurus TR has a Snakeplate, heel cradle, light breathable upper, sock-like fit, and 3-mm stairstepped lugs.
The North Face Endurus TR

The North Face Endurus TR.

Columbia Montrail Caldorado II ($120 – February 1, 2017)

Built on the same midsole/outsole package as its predecessor, the Columbia Montrail Caldorado II’s updates focus on the upper. First, some stitching and overlays have been removed. Second, the tongue and gussets are completely redesigned, with the highlight being no little flap at the bottom of the tongue. They’ve also reduced the heel counter a bit and replaced the laces. At the end of the day, the weight drops a fifth of an ounce to 10.4 ounces. (There’ll also be an Outdry Extreme version of the shoe.)

Columbia Montrail Caldorado II

The Columbia Montrail Caldorado II.

Saucony Peregrine 7 ($120 – January 1, 2017)

Saucony isn’t going to mess with a good thing. As such, the Saucony Peregrine 7 merely tweaks the previous model. The biggest change is the removal of an EVERUN–the brand’s proprietary TPU cushioning–heel pod with the addition of a full-length EVERUN topsole. Otherwise, the outsole and midsole are unchanged. Saucony removed the forefoot gaiter ring from the upper while replacing layered overlays with simpler TPU-film overlays. This version weighs 9.4 ounces.

Saucony Peregrine 7

The Saucony Peregrine 7.

Dynafit Alpine Pro ($160 – March 1, 2017)

The Dyanfit Alpine Pro is a feature-rich every day trail shoe. The 8-mm drop, 10.6-ounce (300 g) shoe has a Vibram MegaGrip outsole, carbon rockplate, and quick laces.

Dynafit Alpine Pro

The Dynafit Alpine Pro.

adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic Speed ($120 – February 1, 2017)

Coming in at 8.8 ounces (250 g), the adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravix Speed will be adidas Outdoor’s lightest trail running option. The breathable upper has a sock-like construction, while the shoe has a 6-mm drop.

adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic Speed

The adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic Speed.

Call for Comments

  • Which shoes are you most excited to check out?
  • Fire away with any spec questions you might have on these models!

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

Best Trail Shoes of Winter OR 2016

(Originally published on May 26, 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 FKT

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 FKT

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

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

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

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 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 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

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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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+

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

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

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!]

Best New Trail Running Shoes from the 2015 Summer Outdoor Retailer Show

(Originally published November 19, 2015)

Each August, shoes companies debut many of their next year’s trail running models at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City, Utah. While these are are dubbed “spring/summer” releases, almost all hit retailer shelves during the following “winter/spring.” Below are some of our favorite models from this year’s summer OR. You should be able to get your feet in them and onto the trails in the coming months!

If you’re interested in a particular brand or model, you can jump ahead to the following models. (Full paragraph previews are bolded in the list.)

New Balance Vazee Summit ($100 – April 1, 2016)
The New Balance Vazee Summit is the closest NB has yet gotten to a trail version of its beloved (at least by me) 1400 road shoe. To start, the Vazee Summit uses the 1400’s performance last, so the shoe has a narrow, locked-down feeling. The Summit also includes the 1400’s 10.5 mm of heel-to-toe drop and a similar amount of midsole (actually 1 mm less), but with a change from the lighter RevLite midsole compound to more durable Acteva Lite. The biggest and most-visible difference between the 1400 and the Vazee Summit is the latter’s 4.5 mm lugs in a full-coverage outsole. Not surprisingly, there’s also a 1 mm rockplate in the forefoot. The one-piece upper includes a thin mesh with wide application of a thin film overlay. Weights are in the low-to-mid 9-ounce range for U.S. men’s 9s.

New Balance Vazee Summit

The New Balance Vazee Summit.

Also from New Balance:

  • New Balance Minimus 10v4 Trail ($115 – April 1, 2016) — The 7.2 oz, 4mm drop Minimus Trail receives a major update with the incorporation of Revlite midsole material, a switch from a gusseted to a burrito tongue, and a softer, more open forefoot. Oh, and the outsole-delamination problem should be resolved.
New Balance Minimus 10

The New Balance Minimus 10.

SCOTT Kinabalu RC ($130 – January 2016)

Not long ago, SCOTT introduced a trail-racing shoe in the Trail Rocket. That push has evolved into the SCOTT Kinabalu RC with input from Joe Gray. The Kinabalu RC weighs in at 8.3 ounces (235 grams) with a new seamless upper with a little more lateral support in the midsole. There’s a small rockplate in the forefoot.

SCOTT Kinabalu RC

The SCOTT Kinabalu RC.

Also from SCOTT:

  • SCOTT T2 Kinabalu 3.0 ($140 – January 2016) — 9.9-ounce (280-gram) update to the Kinabalu line with increased upper durability and dust protection.
  • SCOTT Kinabalu Supertrac ($145 – January 2016) — 2 mm lower to the ground than the Kinabalu 3.0. More midfoot flexibility for increased “dynamic stability.” Extremely lugged outsole.
  • SCOTT Kinabalu Enduro ($150 – January 2016) — Moderately lugged Vibram Megagrip outsole with many flex grooves to allow for underfoot adaptation to the ground. One-piece upper with extensive molded overlays.
SCOTT Kinabalu 3.0

The SCOTT Kinabalu 3.0.

La Sportiva Akasha ($140 – February 1, 2016)

The La Sportiva Akasha is built for comfort. It’ll be the most-cushioned shoe in La Sportiva’s line, have a wide, stable heel, and a wide toe box. It should also be quite protective with a significant rubber toe cap, gusseted tongue, and overlasted upper. This may have you thinking of an overbuilt, overly heavy shoe, but that’s not the case with the 11.35-ounce Akasha, which includes a decoupled heel and considerable thought in the “path of balance” midsole/outsole package.

La Sportiva Akasha

The La Sportiva Akasha.

Also from La Sportiva:

  • La Sportiva Helios 2.0 ($125 – February 1, 2016) — La Sportiva has updated the Helios to help the upper better compliment the foot. They’ve added medial and lateral cutouts over the ball of the foot to make the shoe more flexible, removed the heel counter for better feel, and added a new air mesh for better breathability. Also added is a speed lace.
La Sportiva Helios 2.0

The La Sportiva Helios 2.0.

Altra Olympus 2.0 ($150 – December 2015)

The Altra Olympus is the brand’s maximum-cushioning trail shoe. While some loved the previous versions, there was a glaring issue: traction. Well, with the Altra Olympus 2.0, the company looks to have solved that issue by adding toothier lugs (from an average of 2.5 mm deep to 4.5 mm) as well as Vibram Megagrip. They also removed a layer of mesh from the upper to make it more breathable… which also helped in making the shoe an ounce lighter with it now weighing in at 11 ounces (311 grams).

Altra Olympus 2.0

The Altra Olympus 2.0.

Also from Altra:

  • Altra Superior 2.0 Update ($110 – January 2016) — Altra has made an incremental upper update with height added to the toe box as well as a lengthening of the men’s shoes by about a half size. The midfoot and forefoot uppers receive some internal reinforcement to lessen mesh blowouts.

Salomon Wings Pro 2 ($140 – February 2016)

With the evolving marketplace, Salomon’s line of XT Wings shoes increasingly became seen as hiking shoes. Next spring, the Salomon Wings Pro 2 look to transform the non-S-Lab Wings line back into trail running shoes. The biggest change here is the removal of the entire plastic “chassis” ahead of the heel. That and other tweaks should give a more natural feel including allowing some moderate pronation. The Wings Pro 2 also picks up ProFeel Film for rock protection. They’ve got a 10 mm drop and weigh in at 11.8 ounces (335 grams).

Salomon Wings Pro 2

The Salomon Wings Pro 2.

Also from Salomon:

  • Salomon S-Lab Sense 5 Ultra ($180 – February 2016) — With the fifth edition, Salomon takes the Sense Ultra back toward its roots with a much-airier mesh in the upper. It’ll let in a bit more dust, but it’ll also be cooler and breathe better, which is more in line with its original target race, the Western States 100.
Salomon S-Lab Sense 5 Ultra

The Salomon S-Lab Sense 5 Ultra.

Hoka One One Challenger ATR 2 ($130 – January 1, 2016)

The Hoka One One Challenger ATR created a bit of a stir upon release. It was Hoka’s lightest-weight and most-affordable trail shoe. For next year, they’ve tweaked the upper to make it hardier/more trail worthy. Specifically, the toe bumper is beefed up, the mesh closed up, and TPU overlays as well as an external heel counter added.

Hoka One One Challenger ATR 2

The Hoka One One Challenger ATR 2.

Also from Hoka One One:

  • Hoka One One Stinson 3 ATR ($160 – January 1, 2016) — An all-around more-comfortable upper with improved heel counter, nicer tongue, and overlay updates.
  • Hoka One One Carbon Rocket ($180 – April 1, 2016) — [Update: Just prior to publication that this shoe will not be publicly available, although it should be available to some Hoka-sponsored athletes, so you may see it around.] Okay, so it’s a road shoe, but tons of folks wear Hoka road shoes on the trails. What’s noteworthy here is that the Carbon Rocket weighs only 6.3 ounces (178 grams) and has a carbon plate that should add rock protection in addition to spring. With a lower stack height (19/20mm for men and 18/19 for women), the 1 mm drop might start to come into play.
Hoka One One Carbon Rocket

The Hoka One One Carbon Rocket.

Saucony Peregrine 6 ($120 – January 1, 2016)

Not messing (too much) with a good thing seems to be Saucony’s take with the Peregrine. For the Saucony Peregrine 6, the company’s added a bit more ground contact for a better ride and swapped in its Everun midsole, included 3 mm of cushioning above the strobel (that cardboard bit below the insole) in the heel for a softer ride. This version will weigh in at 9.4 ounces and maintain a 4 mm drop.

Saucony Peregrine 6

The Saucony Peregrine 6.

Brooks Cascadia 11 ($120 – December 1, 2015)

The Brooks Cascadia 11 is largely the Cascadia 10 with improvements to minimize the upper-tearing issues found in its predecessor. More specifically, Brooks generally improved durability in the forefoot and added of a mesh layer over the medial midfoot support webbing to prevent debris from getting between the webbing and underlying mesh.

Brooks Cascadia 11

The Brooks Cascadia 11.

Montrail Trans Alps ($130 – February 1, 2016)

If a style of running shoe has been neglected since, well, as long as I’ve been publishing iRunFar, it’s been the shitkicker trail running shoe in the vein of the old Montrail Hardrock. Well, the Montrail Trans Alps looks like a pretty solid shitkicker of the shoe. It’s got 6 mm lugs, a full-foot rockplate, a substantial guidance system engineered from blended-softness midsole foam, a real toe bumper, significant overlays on the upper, and a gusseted tongue. Sure, it weighs 12.5 ounces and that sounds like a lot with today’s options, but it’s a lot lighter than what this sort of shoe weighed five or six years ago.

Montrail Trans Alps

The Montrail Trans Alps.

Also from Montrail:

  • Montrail Caldorado ($120 – February 1, 2016) — An 11.0-ounce (313 g), 8 mm drop shoe that looks a lot like the Bajada with Montrail’s multi-softness FluidGuide midsole technology added in.
  • Montrail FluidFlex F.K.T. ($120 – February 1, 2016) — The existing Fluid ST with a new upper, notably with a lower ankle collar with a little more padding.
Montrail Caldorado

The Montrail Caldorado.

The North Face Ultra Endurance ($125 – January 25, 2016)

Whereas the recently introduced TNF Ultra MT is a specialized “top-of-the-mountain” shoe, the The North Face Ultra Endurance brings some of those features to all-around, everyday trail running. First, the Ultra Endurance brings over the awesome grippiness of the Ultra MT’s Vibram Megagrip outsole, but lowers the 5 mm lug height to a more multipurpose 3 mm. The shoe’s footprint also appears to take a less-tapered, more-traditional shape for everyday comfort. There’s also a bit more length in a given size shoe in the Ultra Endurance than the Ultra MT. As you’d expect, there’s also TNF’s cradle, an ESS forefoot rockplate, and a breathable mesh with ultrasuede and TPU overlays on the upper.

The North Face Ultra Endurance

The North Face Ultra Endurance.

Mammut MTR 201-II Boa Low ($129 – Spring 2016)

Finally, a running shoe with two-directional BOA lacing–not only do you dial the knob to tighten the laces, but you can incrementally loosen the laces by turning the dial in the opposite direction. The Mammut MTR 201-II Boa Low is based on an upgraded version of the MTR 201, which has a 6-mm drop. It’ll weigh in at 10.7 ounces (305 grams).

Mammut MTR 201 II Boa Low

The Mammut MTR 201-II Boa Low.

Also from Mammut:

  • Mammut MTR 201-II Max Low ($119 – Spring 2016) — A more-cushioned version of the baseline MTR 201-2 with a 22-mm heel stack height, quicklace, and well-lugged sole.

Dynafit Feline Vertical Pro ($159 – February 2016)

The Dynafit Feline Vertical Pro looks like a pretty badass shoes. It’s an 8.8-ounce (250 gram) shoe that’s heavily lugged with Vibram Megagrip. It also features a carbon plate running through the forefoot and midfoot for protection and quick rebound as well as a quicklace system. It’s got 4 mm of drop and a racing fit. Looks like it’ll be a fun ride.

Dynafit Vertical Pro

The Dynafit Feline Vertical Pro.

Also from Dynafit:

  • Dynafit Feline Vertical ($129 – February 2016) — The same as the Feline Vertical Pro, but with a plastic rather than carbon rockplate.

ECCO Terratrail ($130 – January 2016)

The ECCO Terratrail is an interesting mix. The top 80% of the upper is an ultra-airy mesh with minimal overlays, while the lower 20% is heavily reinforced. There also the full-coverage outsole with a sticky rubber compound and a fully interlocking lug pattern that should enhance comfort on smooth trails and road, but slightly detract from the 3 mm depth of the lugs. It’ll weigh in at 10.93 ounces (310 grams).

ECCO Terratrail

The ECCO Terratrail.

Call for Comments

  • Which shoes are you most excited to check out?
  • Fire away with any spec questions you might have on these models!

[Looking for Best Shoes of Winter Outdoor Retailer 2015]

[Looking for Best Shoes of Summer Outdoor Retailer 2014]

Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Founding Editor of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for more than 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.