In all honesty, having written iRunFar’s new trail shoe roundups for a decade, this is the most exciting round of new trail shoes in many years. In some ways, it’s got the heel of the early 2010s, with numerous shoes that look a little like models that have come before. On the other hand, there are also a bunch of new models and updates to existing models that marry improved materials and manufacturing to make outstanding new trail shoes without necessarily breaking any molds. Whatever your pleasure on the trails, there will surely be a few models among the nearly 50 new trail shoes models noted below (along with a handful of new road shoes) that’ll get you excited. Now, let’s get going!
[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated with a brand (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) that produces shoes, please share that relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]
If you’re interested in a particular brand or model, you can use the following list to jump ahead. (Featured previews are bolded in the list.)
- adidas Terrex Speed Ultra
- adidas Terrex Speed Pro
- adidas Terrex Two Flow
- Altra Lone Peak 5
- Altra Superior 5
- Altra Timp 3
- Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2
- Brooks Caldera 5
- Brooks Divide 2
- Columbia Escape Ascent
- Craft CTM Ultra
- Craft CTM Ultra Carbon
- Dynafit Alpine
- Dynafit Alpine DNA
- Hoka One One Carbon X 2
- Hoka One One Clifton 8
- Hoka One One Mach 4
- Hoka One One Zinal
- Inov-8 Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max
- Inov-8 Parkclaw 260 Knit
- La Sportiva Cyklon
- La Sportiva Karacal
- Merrell Moab Flight
- Merrell Antora 2/Nova 2
- Merrell Trail Glove 6
- Merrell Vapor Glove 5
- New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro V6
- Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7
- Nike Wildhorse 7
- On Cloudultra
- Salewa Ultra Train 3
- Salomon Sense Ride 4
- Salomon S/Lab Pulsar
- Salomon Ultra Glide
- Saucony Peregrine 11/11 GTX
- Saucony Peregrine 11 ST
- SCARPA Ribelle Run
- SCARPA Spin 2.0
- SCARPA Spin Infinity
- Skechers GORun Razor TRL
- The North Face Flight Vectiv
- The North Face Vectiv Enduris
- The North Face Vectiv Infinite
- Topo Cyclone
- Topo Fli-Lyte 4
- Topo MTN Racer 2
- Topo Phantom 2
- Topo Terraventure 3
- Topo Ultraventure 2
- VJ Sport Ultra
The adidas Terrex Speed Ultra looks like a real winner in combining light weight, breathability, and reasonable cushioning together in the same package. Some trail shoes are built around a particular standout feature. The Speed Ultra’s not one of those shoes and that’s fine with this trail runner. The 8.5-oz (240g), 8mm-drop trail shoe rides on a combination Lightstrike/Boost midsole atop modest 2.5mm Continental rubber lugs.
- Adidas Terrex Speed Pro ($150) – The lean and mean version of the Speed Ultra weighing in at 6.7 oz (190g) with a 4.5mm drop, even more breathability, and lugs upsized to 4mm.
- Adidas Terrex Two Flow ($110) – A 10.9-oz (310g), 6mm-drop, all-around trail shoe.
The Dynafit Alpine DNA adds a light and fast racing option to Dynafit’s growing trail shoe lineup. This 6mm-drop shoe weighs in at 8.5 oz (240g), and includes a “volume reducer,” which is essentially a second insole to give a snugger fit for folks with lower volume feet. Underfoot, the shoe features a Vibram MegaGrip outsole.
- Dynafit Alpine ($140) – A 6mm-drop, 9.2-oz (260g) shoe with moderate volume, a no-seam tongue, and Vibram MegaGrip outsole.
The highlight of the 2021 update for the Altra Lone Peak 5 is the switch from a dual-layer EVA/A-Bound midsole to the AltraEGO midsole material, adding cushioning and durability. The integrated Stoneguard was lightened by removing material from the rockplate where protection isn’t needed. However, the overall shoe weight has increased from 10.5 oz (298g) to 11.1 oz (318g). The zero-drop shoe also has a slightly modified outsole design. For more, read our full Altra Lone Peak 5 review that calls the Lone Peak 5 as the best Altra trail shoe yet.
- Altra Superior 5 ($120 – June 1, 2021) – A lighter Stoneguard (like in the Lone Peak 5) and new burrito tongue feature in this 8.8-oz (249g) trail shoe.
- Altra Timp 3 ($140) – Updated upper with more protection through the midfoot and toe along with additional fit modifications. It weighs in at 11.0 oz (311g).
Somehow the Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2 is even lighter than its predecessor, moving down to 6.0 oz (170g) from an already svelte 6.5 oz (185g). Much of the weight reduction likely comes from a switch to the LiteBase version of Vibram MegaGrip that sits beneath the shoe’s 3.5mm lugs. The brand also claims that the shoe’s more comfortable and more durable than the first Norvan SL. One area of targeted improvement is an ankle collar that rides closer to the ankle to reduce the introduction of trail debris into the shoe, while the upper was generally redesigned to minimize friction and increase flexibility made, in part, by a redesigned U-throat/eyelet lacing zone. The durability enhancement comes from a longer lasting midsole material. The 7mm-drop shoe features stack heights of 19/12mm. For more, read our full Arc’teryx SL 2 review.
The La Sportiva Cyklon centers around the shoe’s lateral BOA Fit System and its Spyral Tongue EVO system designed for a secure fit with homogenous pressure across the top of your foot. Underfoot, aggressive 7mm lugs made from La Sportiva’s proprietary Frixion XF 2.0 outsole will provide plenty of grip below a moderate thickness, 8mm-drop EVA midsole with medial and lateral stabilizer inserts. Up top, the Cyklon features a “comfort heel” with an integrated pull tab for easily pulling on the 11.6-oz (330g) shoe.
- La Sportiva Karacal ($130) – The Karacal is built for comfort with a high volume fit and plenty of cushion atop 3mm lugs. The 7mm-drop shoe weighs in at 10.2 oz (290g).
It looks the Salomon S/Lab Pulsar brings lessons learned in Salomon’s ME:sh custom shoe program into a standardized production model. That’s no knock! The S/Lab Pulsar has a highly breathable, sock-like fit upper made from Matryx mesh. While retaining moderate cushioning, this 6mm-drop trail shoe weighs in at an amazing 5.9 oz (170g)!
- Salomon Sense Ride 4 ($120) – 2021 sees a more breathable, more durable, anti-debris mesh upper and a more secure heel hold for the 10.2-oz (289g), 8mm-drop trail running shoe.
- Salomon Ultra Glide ($140 – July 2021) – Led by a thick, rockered, ultra-soft Energy Surge midsole; soft, cushy fabrics in the upper; and a road-running last, the Ultra Glide is about comfort. This trail shoe weighs in at 9.1 oz (257g) and sports a 6mm drop.
Okay, so the Hoka One One Zinal doesn’t officially launch until mid-July, but we’re throwing it in as it’s exciting and available for pre-order in mid-June. The Zinal looks like a fully functional trail shoe with 4mm Vibram MegaGrip lugs, a moderate stack height (17/22mm for women; 18/23mm for men), and a fully gusseted tongue with this trail shoe weighing in at a race-worthy 8.5 oz (242g). The Zinal features Hoka’s Profly dual-density midsole with an ultralight foam atop rubberized EVA.
- Clifton 8 ($130 – June 2021) – This softer Clifton weighs in at 8.8 oz (250g), just a hair more than its predecessor, with a new heel pull tab and more rubber coverage underfoot.
- Mach 4 ($130) – A soft, lightweight foam directly atop a rubberized foam yields a softer, bouncier Mach that weighs in at 8.6 oz (244g).
- Carbon X 2 ($180) – The X 2 has a refined collar shape, a notched tongue, and reinforcement around the laces and will lose a bit of weight to come in at 8.4 oz (238g) versus 8.7 oz (247g) in the first version of this road shoe.
The inov-8 Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max’s hallmark feature is a generous TPU midsole infused with graphene with the goal of enhanced midsole longevity and energy return. The midsole runs between 19mm and 25mm thick, so it’s more midsole than you’ve ever seen in an inov-8 shoe. Further underfoot, the outsole is made of inov-8’s Graphene-Grip material with 4mm lugs. Up top, you’ll find as generous a fit as inov-8 offers. This trail shoe weighs 12.0 oz (340g) and has a 6mm drop.
- Inov-8 Parkclaw 260 Knit ($145) – A 8mm-drop, 4mm-lug, knit-upper hybrid road/trail shoe that weighs in at 9.2 oz (260g) averaged across its size run.
The Craft CTM Ultra Carbon is an entry into the new world of well-cushioned, highly rockered, carbon-plated trail running shoes. (The shoe trends toward a road/moderate trail hybrid.) The shoe features Craft’s Vault Foam midsole with a 10mm drop and a total stack height of 40mm. The Craft CTM Ultra Carbon weighs in at 9.2 oz (260g) for a US men’s 8.5 (a half size smaller than most quoted shoe weights).
- Craft CTM Ultra ($160) – A lower priced, slightly lower weight (8.8 oz/250g) version of the CTM Ultra Carbon.
Since we could only share broad details about The North Face Flight Vectiv in our previous new trail shoe roundup, we’re including it again here. This is a well-cushioned, highly rockered trail shoe with a carbon fiber plate for propulsion. Further underfoot, it’s got moderate 3.5mm lugs. The Flight Vectiv weights in at 10.1 oz (285g) and, nominally, has a 6mm drop, but that’s somewhat moot on such a rockered shoe.
- The North Face Vectiv Infinite ($170) – A slightly heavier (10.8 oz/307g), carbon-plate-less version of the Flight Vectiv.
- The North Face Vectiv Enduris ($140) – A slightly heavier (11.2 oz/316g), carbon-plate-less version of the Flight Vectiv with additional midsole cushioning.
This spring, Skechers brings an adaptation of its popular GORun to the trails in the Skechers GORun Razor TRL. The 8.0-oz (227g), 4mm-drop shoe features the company’s Hyper Burst midsole foam (its lightest and most resilient foam) and moderate Goodyear rubber lugs.
For the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 7, Nike added a large, articulated Zoom Air Bag in the forefoot for increased responsiveness and protection and adjusted the outsole traction for improved grip in muddy conditions. The ankle collar has been updated with a minimal edge design that’s lighter and provides a better fit. An increased amount of open engineered mesh leads to more breathability and better drainage. The bottom eyestay has been adjusted for improved forefoot adjustability. The Nike Kiger 7 goes up in weight from 10.3 oz to 10.9 oz (309g) for US men’s 10 (a full size larger than most weighed models) and maintains its 4.5mm drop (12/16.5mm stack height). For more, reader our full Nike Kiger 7 review.
- Nike Wildhorse 7 ($130) – The seventh Wildhorse adds a dynamic fit midfoot lacing system for better midfoot lockdown, increases the amount of open mesh for more breathability and drainability, and adjusts the heel-pull tab to improve ease of entry. The shoe weighs 11.1 oz (328g) for US men’s 10 (a full size larger than most weighed models) and has an 8mm drop (14.5/22.5mm stack height).
The Brooks Divide 2 is the company’s go at a hybrid trail shoe that bridges the gap between roads and trails. Updates center around a more structured upper around the heel and midfoot for better lockdown. The shoe maintains its 10.3-oz (292g) weight and 8mm drop.
- Brooks Caldera 5 ($140) – The addition of four lateral and medial midfoot straps and Ghillies to the lacing system gives better lockdown and a more customizable fit. Slightly thicker printed overlays give a bit more structure and protection. This shoe weighs a bit heavier than its predecessor at 10.6 oz (301g) versus 10.0 oz (284g).
Topo’s most popular trail shoe gets an upgrade this year in the Topo Ultraventure 2, with a more secure heel and midfoot thanks to a molded foam collar and a new internal belt in the midfoot. The upper sees a more breathable engineered mesh upper with fewer TPU overlays for the 10.4-oz (295g), 5mm-drop shoe.
- Topo Cyclone ($120) – A 5mm-drop, 7.9-oz (224g) road trainer that extends the Zephyr’s line with a lighter, softer option.
- Topo Fli-Lyte 4 ($115 – June 2021) – This road shoe moves its midsole from EVA to ZipFoam, adds a wider and more stable platform, and upgrades to more outsole coverage with slightly shorter lugs (4-to-3 mm) in a 3mm-drop, 8.3-oz (235g) shoe.
- Topo MTN Racer 2 ($145 – June 1, 2021) – A 5mm-drop, 10.0-oz (284g) trail shoe updated to fill in some exposed midsole foam, which is now a softer, more resilient ZipFoam. The upper moves to a more breathable material while adding a thin external heel counter and a front D-ring gaiter attachment point.
- Topo Phantom 2 ($140) – A more cushioned, dual-density-midsole road shoe with an additional 3mm of midsole height, a reduced heel counter, and more outsole coverage with slightly shorter lugs (4-to-3 mm) in a 5mm-drop, 10.3-oz (292g) shoe.
- Topo Terraventure 3 ($125 – May 2021) – This trail shoe loses more than half an ounce to 10.2 oz (289g), moves from Vibram’s XS Trek to MegaGrip outsole, and moves to two kinds of upper meshes with the rear being more comfortable and the forefoot being more durable.
The On Cloudultra takes the comfort of On Running onto the trails. The 8mm-drop, 10.4-oz (295g) (for a US men’s 8.5) trail shoe is highly cushioned with modest lugging. Aside from On’s characteristic Swiss-cheese midsole, the most defining feature of the Cloudultra might be its FlipRelease tool in the laces, which provides an instant switch from a snug fit to a more relaxed fit and back.
The Saucony Peregrine 11 ST’s upper receives an update with a more debris-resistant mesh, reinforcing printed overlays, and a mesh debris shield over much of the tongue opening. The grippy trail shoe now weighs in at 11.5 oz (326g).
- Saucony Peregrine 11/11 GTX ($120 / $150 GTX) – A mesh substitution in the upper adds durability. The two versions weight in at 10.7 oz (310g) and 11.5 oz (326g), respectively. There’s also a Peregrine 11 Wide version.
The Merrell Moab Flight is a lightweight, breathable, all-around trail shoe that weighs in at 8.1 oz (230g) with a 10mm drop. From a sustainability standpoint, the Vibram EcoStep outsole is made from 30% recycled rubber, the upper’s mesh is 70% recycled material, and the laces are 100% recycled material.
Also new from Merrell:
- Merrell Nova 2/Antora 2 ($110) – In this version 2, the Nova/Antora gets updated upper materials and design. The 8mm-drop Nova 2 weighs in at 9.9 oz (280g).
- Merrell Trail Glove 6 ($100) – The 7.4 oz (210g) Trail Glove 6 gets both a new outsole and a redesigned upper with better lockdown and abrasion resistance. FYI, it fits about a 1/2 size larger than the Trail Glove 4 did, but similarly to the Trail Glove 5.
- Merrell Vapor Glove 5 ($80) – A new outsole and a move to a sock-like upper highlight the changes to the Vapor Glove 5. The no-drop shoe weighs in at 4.6 oz (130g).
The SCARPA Ribelle Run gets featured status here as it appears to represent a category of trail shoe we don’t often see anymore. It’s a true running shoe (as opposed to a light hiker that you could run in) built to be bombproof. It makes me think of the Montrail Hardrock shoe of yore. The Ribelle Run features a rugged upper and a stouter-than-normal connection between the upper and the midsole. It has a well-but-not-overly cushioned midsole with modest lugs of SCARPA’s sticky SuperGum outsole. The ankle collar and tongue are integrated to keep out trail debris. All in all, this seems like a mountain-worthy shoe that still weighs in at a surprisingly reasonable 10.6 oz (300g).
- SCARPA Spin 2.0 ($160 – June 2021) – An even lighter version of SCARPA’s lightest existing trail shoe (8.9 oz/252g), now with a new Pebax Rnew midsole with improved rebound and compression resistance.
- SCARPA Spin Infinity ($150 – July 2021) – SCARPA’s most cushioned trail shoe to date with a firmer EVA rim for foot stabilization. The 26/22mm stack height yields a 4mm drop for this 10.8-oz (305g) trail shoe.
The biggest change found in the Salewa Ultra Train 3 is an entirely new outsole with a switch from Michelin rubber to the brand’s Pomoca rubber. We include this 12.6-oz (357g), 8mm-drop “speed hiking shoe” as an option for those looking for something at the ruggeder end of runnable.
The Columbia Escape Ascent brings three new Columbia technologies to the trails. To start, there’s the Adapt Trax outsole compound and tread underfoot. Next, there’s the Navic Fit lacing system to provide extra lockdown over the foot’s navicular bone. Finally, there’s the new Techlite+ midsole that blends energy return and cushioning. The Escape Ascent weighs 10.5 oz (298g) and has an 8mm drop.
Various upper modifications make the New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro V6 nearly an ounce lighter than its predecessor, with the V6 weighing in at 11.9 oz (337g) for a men’s 9.5. The V6 upper is an engineered mesh strategically infused with TPU for durability and lockdown. The 8mm-drop trail shoe retains the V5’s midsole and outsole in its entirety.
The VJ Sport Ultra is the brand’s most cushioned shoe to date with a 33/27mm full stack height for a 6mm drop. The shoe’s 4mm lugs are made from VJ’s super sticky butyl rubber, while the upper’s blend of Kevlar and nylon should hold up for plenty of miles. A US men’s 8.5 weights 9.3 oz (265g).
Icebug, Raidlight, and SCOTT have confirmed they do not have any new models of trail shoes launching in the first half of 2021.
We’ve not had a definitive update on first half of 2021 releases from ASICS and Under Armour.
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 for spring-summer 2021 have you most excited?
- Have any technical questions? Ask away!
- Know of other trail shoes that came out in the first half of 2021? If so, tell us about them in a comment.