2018 Trail Shoe

361 Degrees 361-Santiago (Men’s)

4.5/5 Stars – Price: $160 | Weight: 320g | Drop: 9mm | www.361usa.com 

Although the 361-Santiago felt a little stiff initially, it quickly allowed my feet to find my preferred running mechanics. This shoe immediately felt like it would be able to withstand high volumes of running on rough, rugged or hard surfaces without compromising running technique.  I expect the performance and cushioning benefit will last longer than most shoes I have worn. By the end of the run, these shoes felt as though I had already run a few times in them due to the quickly adapting responsiveness and forgiveness of my bony foot contours. In addition to functional control and support, this shoe has significant lateral support that should help anyone concerned about spraining an ankle or knee. The 9mm drop from heel to toe was perfect for my slightly sore Achilles tendon and plantar fascia. This drop with the supportive feel combined nicely to protect my feet and still allowed for an unhindered running style on varied inclines, declines and speeds. I would recommend this shoe to anyone who is looking for a long lasting, protective, comfortable shoe for long or easy runs up to tempo pace on road or trail.

Aaron Case – 2:40 marathoner & Active Release/Shockwave Chiropractor

2018 Trail Shoe

361 Degrees 361-Santiago (Women’s)

4/5 Stars – Price: $160 | Weight: 258g | Drop: 9mm | www.361usa.com

With excellent traction and comfort, the 361 Santiago trail shoe makes for a cushy ride. I have narrow feet and high arches and this shoe fit me like a glove, even though the toe box was roomy, my foot was snug. Traction was on point on sandy or wet trails, I didn’t need to slow down when running technical trails. The sole is a bit too high for somebody who wants more speed, as it feels like running on big 4×4 tires at times. The shoe felt a bit stiff when I first tried them, but by Day 2 I didn’t feel any hotspots. The upper mesh design kept my feet cool in the California heat, but when running hard the extra cushion in the heel made my feet too warm if running longer than a couple of hours. I tested the trail shoe while hiking and trekking and it was light enough that I could hike for hours comfortably. I would highly recommend this shoe to trail runners who are looking for comfort rather than speed, and it’s an excellent hiking shoe for serious hikers.

Norma Bastidas – Ultra-runner & adventurer in Stevenson Ranch, Calif.

2018 Trail Shoe

Altra Superior 3.5 (Men’s)

5/5 Stars – Price: $160 | Weight: 261g | Drop: 0mm | www.altrarunning.ca

The Altra Superior 3.5 could be the most versatile, adaptive trail shoe on the market. Sticking with Altra’s roots, the minimalist zero drop design and generous real estate in the toe box, this shoe offers a moderate stack height (19 mm) and a dialled-in fit. Not all trails are created equal and the Superior’s removable rock plate that lives underneath the insole allows the athlete to adapt the shoe for the trail conditions of the day, sometimes even mid run when exceeding or dropping below the tree line. The upper hasn’t changed much from the 3.0 design. (If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.) The two welcome changes are the addition of the sausage laces to reduce pressure on the extensor tendons and the built-in gaiter Velcro clasp in the back of the heel. Weighing in at 261g this shoe runs light. The only negative I can pick on is that the upper runs a bit hot and in 25C weather your feet will sweat a bit more than the 3.0. The Superior 3.5 borders on the delicate edge of speed and distance. This is now my go-to 100 mile trail shoe and I would also wear it for 10K-15K races as well. The main reason why performance decreases in longer distance trail events is foot health and comfort and this shoe delivers in spades.

Dave Proctor – Canadian 24 hour, 48 hour & 72 hour record holder

2018 Trail Shoe

Altra Superior 3.5 (Women’s)

4/5 Stars – Price: $160 | Weight: 227g | Drop: 0mm | www.altrarunning.ca

The Altra Superior 3.5 trail shoe is an evolution of the popular 3.0 version and maintains many of the features that made it popular among women trail runners. Like other Altras, this shoe has a roomy toe box that allows the toes to be active and engaged through the running stride. In particular, the big toe feels much more activated during push-off than in more traditionally shaped shoes. That’s a big advantage when navigating more technical terrain. Lightweight, the Altra Superior has good tread and grip and a substantial enough base to negotiate off-road running without feeling every rock and pebble underfoot. The zero drop platform is also something many runners enjoy. This shoe is perfect for women trail runners and ultra-runners as it is provides enough cushioning for long runs and downhill running, while also being lightweight and flexible. The only down side is the breathable materials are best for drier conditions and provide evidence of dirt and dust after a run. But who doesn’t like to proudly display the proof of hard work on their feet!

Malindi Elmore – 6-time national running champion, Olympian, triathlete & running coach

2018 Trail Shoe

Brooks PureGrit 7 (Men’s)

4/5 Stars – Price: $120 | Weight: 272g | Drop: 4mm | www.brooksrunning.com

As soon as I slipped on the PureGrit 7, I felt at home. The fit was comfortably snug and provided a personalized wrap over my foot for added comfort. The toe box was well ventilated and stretched to give way for my Having run in many Brooks shoes previously, as soon as I slipped on the slick PureGrit 7, I felt at home. This was especially welcoming as a road runner and made this transition to a trail shoe an easy one. For me, the fit was comfortably snug and provided a personalized wrap over the top of my foot for added comfort. The toe box was well ventilated and stretched to give way for all my toes but the heel cup was slightly more shallow than I typically enjoy. This shoe delivered exactly what I had anticipated. The PureGrit was a light ride and so makes it ideal for a fast-paced workout or a nimble, gruelling race. On some of the harder surfaces I was looking for a tad more cushion, which is the feel I like. The biggest surprise to me was the stickiness of the outsole. Weaving left and right, there was next to no movement of the shoe, giving me the solid plant of my foot that I’m looking for on trails. This feature will be loved by those who crave the technical routes., but the heel cup was more shallow than I enjoy. The PureGrit was a light ride, ideal for a fast-paced workout or gruelling race. The biggest surprise to me was the stickiness of the outsole. This shoe will be loved by those who crave the technical routes.

Nick Hastie – Former Canadian elite triathlete & current distance runner

2018 Trail Shoe

Brooks Cascadia 13 (Women’s)

4/5 Stars – Price: $160 | Weight: 300g | Drop: 10mm | www.brooksrunning.com

Shoe companies have reached a whole new level of fit, function and ride with trail shoes these days. Brooks Cascadia 13 fits right into this durable trail running category and I just loved running in this shoe. I appreciate a shoe I can trust in the trails, with the need for extra grip and stability. I usually wear a neutral lightweight running shoe for flat trails and road and this shoe ran responsively like my everyday trainers. I totally appreciate the protective feel of the Cascadia 13, from both what I was landing on underfoot to the way it hugs my foot and has a wraparound toe guard. Brooks has melded a super grippy lugged outsole (and I run straight up rock faces when I test shoes!) with an amazingly light and flexible feel that makes this shoe perform like a tempo shoe. Extra features like the heel loop, laces pocket and smooth sock liner make this a great shoe for a runner looking for neutral, lightweight, cushioned and protective trail shoe.

Lucy Smith – 19-time Canadian champion runner & multisport athlete

2018 Trail Shoe

Columbia Variant X.S.R. (Men’s)

5/5 Stars – Price: $195 | Weight:  330g | Drop: 8mm | www.columbiasportswear.ca

My expectations were immediately exceeded with the Caldorado III Outdry Extreme. After reading about the enhanced feature and materials (FluidFoam, FluidGuide, Pearl Foam), I was still unsure how this shoe would feel and carry due to its slightly heavier appearance. As I slipped on the shoe, I was very impressed how great this shoe feels. They were much lighter and more comfortable than I expected on my battle tested 45-year-old feet. As I headed out for my run, it almost felt like I was cross training due to a decrease in impact that I typically feel when running. In addition to a great feel, my typical pace was easy to maintain, similar in energy return to a cup of coffee! The transition was seamless between road and trail and back to road throughout my run. By the end of the run, my legs felt like I had run a few kilometres less than I actually had. I was very impressed by the feel, cushioning, support and responsiveness of this shoe and would recommend it to anyone looking to run on varied terrain, especially when alleviating impact, aches and pains is the goal.

Aaron Case – 2:40 marathoner & Active Release/Shockwave Chiropractor

2018 Trail Shoe

Columbia Variant X.S.R. (Women’s)

5/5 Stars – Price: $190 | Weight: 303g | Drop: 8mm | www.columbiasportswear.ca

When I opened the shoebox and saw the women’s Variant X.S.R I fell in love. The beautiful melonade steel bright colour, the sleek style and the comfortable plush feel make this shoe ready for anything. It weighs a little over 300g and has an 8mm drop that creates a sweet neutral ride. I enjoy the enhanced heel fit that moulds to your ankle giving extra protection and cushion to the foot. This shoe is comfortable, cushioned, durable and light. The noticeable feature was the plush pearlfoam midsole. This innovative design delivers amazing energy return and stability with cushioning. The outsole has grooves that run horizontally and vertically that make it extremely flexible and light. I found the Variant’s thick outer sole to be grippy and flexible, but also stable for more technical terrain. I also really enjoyed taking these shoes out in the sun along the Vancouver seawall for a steady run. Even with the thicker sole my stride felt snappy. This sleek stylish shoe transitions seamlessly from walking to yoga, to a steady run on the roads, to exploring through the trails. I admit this is one of my favourite trail shoes I have tried so far.

Katherine Moore – Competitive runner & yoga teacher

2018 Trail Shoe

Icebug Oribi3 RB9X (Men’s)

4/5 Stars – Price: $200 | Weight: 235g | Drop: 7mm | www.icebugcanada.com

Don’t let the playful brand name fool you, this high quality Swedish shoe company has been manufacturing shoes for more than 15 years. The Oribi3 RB9X is best suited for trail racing and training in the harshest conditions on the planet. Most runners will choose Icebug because it is super light with amazing ground grip due to its tractor-like tread and soft rubber compound. It is one of the best I have tested on steep ups and downs and particularly in the mud (it even has a mud guard). Made of high quality material and attention to details including a seamless EVA moulded Insock, soft tongue and snug sturdy heel cup (rock protector qualities). The forefoot toe box is quite wide which will allow for feet swell on longer trail runs, however, I prefer more lateral stability at the front of the shoe for fast running on twisty single track. I really like the look of the shoe, along with the lacing system (never comes undone). Most will appreciate ample cushioning in the heel (7mm drop) and mid foot. The upper is made of lightweight, water-resistant material that breathes well. If you are in the market for a great trail shoe, consider the Oribi3 RB9X. Icebug has done its homework.

Calvin Zaryski  – 7X World XTERRA Champion & 2017 Silver Medalist at ITU Cross AG Champs

2018 Trail Shoe

Icebug Oribi3 RB9X (Women’s)

3.5/5 Stars – Price: $200 | Weight: 190g | Drop: 7mm | www.icebugcanada.com

This shoe has a fairly specific purpose in my opinion. When buying Icebugs, you know you are getting something that you will feel confident in on any terrain. The tread certainly doesn’t allow for any slippage, there is a rock plate for safety and rigidity, but the shoe does lack a bit in the cushion and comfort category. It is a very lightweight but protective shoe, and I found this combination meant lacking a little in comfort. The laces are probably the greatest laces I have ever seen on a shoe, likely could stay tied in a hurricane! It runs a half size small, so if you go up a half size it should be perfect, and the width is neither narrow or overly wide, it was right in between. It might be truer to size if you have a narrow foot, but for my wide foot I definitely would have had to go up a size. This shoe falls right in the middle of preferred shoes for me, if the price tag was a bit lower I would be more inclined to purchase.

Rachael McIntosh – Nationally ranked multisport track athlete

2018 Trail Shoe

inov-8 X-talon 230 (Men’s)

5/5 Stars – Price: $170 | Weight: 230g | Drop: 6mm | www.inov-8.com

This narrow fitting, precision fit shoe is a monster for technical, muddy, mountain terrain. This shoe just looks aggressive and aside from gripping well on muddy terrain, the new rubber compound that Inov-8 is using sticks and grabs rock like a good climbing shoe. It’s a huge improvement over previous versions, which increases confidence dramatically. The upper feels a bit stiff out of the box, but they look and feel bullet proof, so the upper should last a long time, which is what you want from a mountain running machine. The gussetted tongue held my foot well in place and the heel box is classic Inov-8 providing a snug and secure hold. If you are looking for a narrow fitting mountain running machine that is durable without compromising on weight or precision, this is a perfect shoe for you.

Adam Campbell – Lawyer & professional mountain athlete

2018 Trail Shoe

inov-8 Roclite 315 (Women’s)

5/5 Stars – Price: $170 | Weight: 315g | Drop: 8mm | www.inov-8.com

The Roclite 315 is a strong, tough, durable trail running shoe. How light this neutral shoe felt amazed me. The sticky sole, moderate stability and high level cushioning allowed me to hit more technical running trails with confidence. I love this shoe for its unbelievable waterproof, windproof, breathable features. With X-Protec fabric and Gore-Tex invisible fit, I would run through a stream or puddles and the shoe would dry out very quickly. The reinforced hybrid tongue stops debris from entering the shoe. I love that the outsole features three different densities of rubber that stick to any surface. The hardest, most durable rubber is on the back heel, with a medium rubber in the centre for traction and comfort, and softer rubber on the edges for grip over tough terrain. I feel very comfortable, supported and free in the Roclite. This would be a great training or racing shoe for short or long distances. I may just sign up for a trail race!

Katherine Moore – Competitive runner & yoga teacher

2018 Trail Shoe

La Sportiva Lycan (Men’s)

4/5 Stars – Price: $115 | Weight: 268g | Drop: 6mm | www.sportiva.com

I slipped on the Lycan, clomped across the parking lot and thought this stiff upper built over a tight heel and a ton of lateral motion control is going to hurt. Out of the Jeep and onto the trail I swear it was a different shoe. Once moving at a running clip the stiff upper softened, flexed and moved comfortably with each stride. I kicked through a stream 3K in and the combo EVA midsole and rock guard outsole owned the rocky bottom both with traction and shock absorption. Out of the stream I was dry in 10 minutes. The Lycan worked equally well up and downhill. The Lycan rides like a road shoe, setting you higher off the ground with an awareness of ankle rolls on technical downhill sections. That wee negative for neutral runners turns positive for those running with pronation or control issues. The Lycan tames trails with its well-designed combination of comfort and control. It is well cushioned without being gushy and stable without being pushy. I propose a solid four-star review for the larger runner and a comfortable 3 star for those smaller and more fleet of foot.

Pete Estabrooks – Elite personal trainer & trail runner

2018 Trail Shoe

La Sportiva Lycan (Women’s)

5/5 Stars – Price: $115 | Weight: 225g | Drop: 6mm | www.sportiva.com

Lycan is built for all-round mountain running. It is great for steep ascents and descents because of the multi-directional lugs and FriXion grip system, which helped me stick to the mountain-side. Compared to other trail shoes, this is one of the lightest I have run in. The upper is soft and flexible, with the thoughtful addition of a protective toe-cap. The tough material wrap around the upper of the shoe was durable and shielded my foot from scree and sharp rock.

Bridget Pyke – Calgary track runner & physiotherapist

2018 Trail Shoe

Merrell Agility Peak Flex 2 (Men’s)

4/5 Stars – Price: $160 | Weight: 286g | Drop: 6mm | www.merrell.com

The outsole is where the magic lies with the Agility Peak Flex 2. Flying down a steep rocky section of trail, the entire outsole played in unison, correcting each foot strike, redirecting my stride and setting me back on the trail step after step. The Hyperlock heel system keeps you snug without rubbing. The Omni-fit lacing has flexible eyelets that hold the shoe tight without pinching. Add a padded tongue that keeps out trail trash and I say, well done Merrell.

Pete Estabrooks – Elite personal trainer & trail runner

2018 Trail Shoe

Merrell Agility Peak Flex 2 (Women’s)

5/5 Stars – Price: $160 | Weight: 244g | Drop: 6mm | www.merrell.com

I tested this shoe on a trail run along Tent Ridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta. This particular run involved clambering over avalanche debris, as well as some unplanned bushwhacking. Despite the geographical diversity – these shoes stepped up. The upper is light, yet maintains its structure, so you get the feel of a running shoe, without compromising support. The snug fit around the instep kept my foot secured and toenails bruise-free after the descent. The midsole cushioning was firm and responsive. The treads provided sufficient grip to keep me upright on soft trails with slippery roots and loose scree, but not quite enough grip to keep me from taking a tumble after running head-first into a tree branch. Looking forward to using these shoes for the rest of the summer!

Bridget Pyke –  Calgary track runner & physiotherapist

2018 Trail Shoe

New Balance Summit Unknown (Men’s)

5/5 Stars – Price: $140 | Weight: 244g | Drop: 10mm | www.newbalance.ca

There’s something very familiar about the Summit Unknown. Out of the box, this neutral trail shoe from New Balance looks like the iconic and wildly-popular 1400 road racing flat. The feel is similar, too, with a light and responsive ride that’s built for ripping through woods and trails at speed. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a minimalist racer for non-technical trails, however. The rubber lugs underfoot offer a surprising amount of grip and protection and the RevLite sole feels firm and robust. The fit is snug but unlike its road racing counterpart, the Summit’s toe box is quite roomy, while the toe protector allows the wearer to navigate roots and rocks in comfort. Overall, it fits true to size. I fell in love with this shoe on the first run; it’s fast, aggressive and a whole lot of fun. I think I’ve found my new go-to trail racer.

Keith Bradford – Elite master’s 10K runner, MitoCanada world record relay team

2018 Trail Shoe

New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro V3 (Women’s)

4.5/5 Stars – Price: $170 | Weight: 269g | Drop: 8mm | www.newbalance.ca

Out of the box, the Fresh Foam Hierro V3 was a little heavier than I had expected. The difference may come from the 8mm drop versus the 4mm in the V2. The upper is a durable rubber that I have not seen on any shoes I’ve worn before (and the colour is so beautiful and eye catching!) It has a comfortable and secure fitting sock built in to keep out debris, and helps prevent any movement that could cause blisters or irritation. The sock also eliminates the need for a tongue, and doesn’t reach too high.

There is a great rigid toe protector for those who are prone to stubbing toes on rocks or roots. Note that there is no removable insole, so if you need orthotics this probably isn’t the shoe for you. I have a very wide foot and the width was good, but not exceptionally wide. It fits true to size and offers tons of grip so you won’t have to worry about losing your footing.

Rachael McIntosh – Nationally ranked multisport track athlete

2018 Trail Shoe

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4 (Men’s)

4/5 Stars – Price: $170 | Weight: 275g | Drop: 4mm | www.nike.com/ca

The Terra Kiger 4 is designed for runs up to around 50K and works best on non-technical trails due to the lack of a rock plate. The main selling feature is the upper. Despite its look, it is incredibly abrasion resistant and keeps debris out well, without overheating. The Kiger 4 has the feel of a road shoe, while still holding well on dry trails. Overall, the Terra Kiger has a great, go-fast, cushioning-to-weight ratio that makes it a joy to run in.

Adam Campbell – Lawyer & professional mountain athlete

2018 Trail Shoe

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4 (Women’s)

4/5 Stars – Price: $170 | Weight: 249g | Drop: 4mm | www.nike.com/ca

The Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4 is a versatile trail shoe that works for a number of surfaces, including trail, crushed gravel and grass. It also has good traction for more technical trails. Lightweight and neutral, it is a comfortable shoe with a Flymesh material on the upper that provides a breathable, airy experience for your foot and conforms to the shape of your foot over time. It is a good shoe to wear in the summer to keep your feet from getting too hot during long runs. Aside from the technical components, which include a new lacing system that keeps your foot more secure (who likes when their shoes are loose!) the Terra Kiger 4 is comfortable for day-to-day use around town. The graphics, materials and colours add up to a stylish kick, which serves double duty for people with quick transitions between running and life.

Malindi Elmore – 6-time national running champion, Olympian, triathlete & running coach

2018 Trail Shoe

The North Face Flight RKT (Men’s)

3/5 Stars – Price: $200 | Weight: 227g | Drop: 8mm | www.thenorthface.com

With a minimalist mesh upper and a sole featuring a series of rubber pods, the Flight RKT from The North Face certainly stands out from the crowd. Its eccentric looks – with a cloud-like colour scheme – aren’t the only unique thing about this shoe. The plush, cushioned ride is light yet luxurious. Designed in collaboration with ultra-running star Rob Krar, the Flight RKT is as comfortable a trail shoe as you’ll find. One thing you’ll notice is that there’s no rock plate or toe protection. That’s because this shoe isn’t designed to take you up the mountainside or onto technical terrain. It’s tailor-made for speeding along single track and dirt trails. Soft, yet nimble and well-ventilated, it’s a good fit for longer runs on mixed terrain and less technical races. If you spend a lot of time on the trails, it’s well worth a test ride.

Keith Bradford – Elite master’s 10K runner, MitoCanada world record relay team

2018 Trail Shoe

The North Face Flight RKT (Women’s)

3/5 Stars – Price: $200 | Weight: 184g | Drop: 8mm | www.thenorthface.com

The Flight RKT is The North Face’s light-weight trail runner. Weighing in at just 184g, but with more than adequate cushioning, the Flight FKT mimics a racing flat in a trail runner. I found the shoe took time to break in; the heel-toe drop of 8 mm made the shoe feel slightly clunky. However, I enjoyed the shoe’s breathability, supplied through a ventilated and lightweight upper mesh. The tongue of the shoe is thin and took some getting used to, as it would fold when putting the shoe on. The shoe also fits slightly snug. The Flight RKT was well-suited to moderate trail terrain, although I would avoid using it on slippery surfaces given the lack of grip. I would recommend this shoe for runners who prefer a larger heel-toe offset and are looking for a light-weight race day shoe, particularly in warm weather.

Shauna Gersbach – Trail & road runner, 2:49 marathoner

2018 Trail Shoe

Salming Trail 5 (Men’s)

4.5/5 Stars – Price: $165 | Weight: 318g | Drop: 5mm | www.shopsalmingcanada.com

The Salming Trail 5 is a great shoe for athletes looking for the fit of a lower-drop road shoe combined with the ever-brilliant Vibram Mega Grip outsole. I really loved this outsole and the tread pattern performed well in wet and dry conditions. The shoe was a pleasure to climb in and I found the overall fit to be one of the most comfortable trail shoes I have worn – and you’ll know if it fits you well right out of the box. My only criticism is I feel the “plush” nature of the interior led to my toes getting pushed to the front of the box more than I would like on long descents. Some runners can alleviate this by lacing the shoe using the ankle lock. If you are a runner who likes to get off road daily, wants good rock protection and craves excellent traction in all conditions, I’d recommend the Trail 5.

Jordan Bryden – Professional triathlete in Ultra, IRONMAN & 1/2 IRONMAN races

2018 Trail Shoe

Salming Trail 5 (Women’s)

4/5 Stars – Price: $165 | Weight: 235g | Drop: 5mm | www.shopsalmingcanada.com

The Salming Trail 5 is a super comfortable shoe right out of the box. The layered mesh upper is soft and breathable while at the same time, offers great protection on the trails; it also gives nice midfoot support. The midsole cushioning is responsive and substantial enough for longer distances. And then that Vibram outsole! It’s incredibly grippy and handles well in both wet and dry conditions. In my opinion, there are only a few downfalls to this shoe. They’re a little stiff and I experienced some heel slippage, especially on uphills. And although these shoes advertise a roomy toe box, I think Altra takes the win with its FootShape toe box design. I typically wear a size 10 shoe, but had to size up to a 10.5 in this model. Overall, the Salming Trail 5 is a versatile, dependable and extremely durable shoe that will literally go the distance.

Julie Hamulecki – Elite ultramarathoner & TV producer at The Social

2018 Trail Shoe

Under Armour Horizon 50 (Men’s)

4/5 Stars – Price: $180 | Weight: 337g | Drop: 7mm | www.underarmour.com

You are never going to “slip” into a pair of Horizon 50. You’ll lock your fingers into the loops front and back of the Lycra stretch debris-defying collar that sits atop a light air mesh upper and firmly pop your foot into the shoe. This is an important point because once you are in you are in. Comfortably snug from your toes at the end of a roomy toe box along the sole, under your arches around your heel, up to your ankles this shoe becomes a part of you. The Horizon is a neutral super well-cushioned shoe with great traction that fits like a glove. It is, by my definition, a “low rider,” the offset distance from your heel to the ground, is small. It means as a heel striker, it’ll take a few miles to adjust your stride. Lean a little further forward on the flats and uphills and sit back a little further on the downhills, both of which are good for your running and will add a little rip to your run while letting these Horizons do their thing. For me, it’s a 4 star shoe that lets you run and worry about the trails, not your feet.

Pete Estabrooks – Elite personal trainer & trail runner 

2018 Trail Shoe

Under Armour UA Horizon 50 (Women’s)

3.5/5 Stars – Price: $180 | Weight: 265g | Drop: 7mm | www.underarmour.com

The UA Horizon 50 is a lightweight (265 g), medium drop (7 mm), high-volume trail shoe that is probably better suited for hiking than running. I took this shoe for a road run, a trail run and a mountain scramble. With its Lycra sock collar, it’s a bit of squeeze to get into the shoe, but once in, I found it instantly comfortable – roomy in the toe box and snug around the ankle. They felt clunky and claustrophobic on the road, but the excellent cushioning absorbed all the pounding. They performed better on the trail, particularly on rock, but they were quite slippery in mud. I got a few strange looks while mountain scrambling in these eye-catching shoes, but loved how the Lycra sock kept out all the scree. The upper held up well to the sharp rocks, but the rubber sole looked worn after just two hours in the rough Canadian Rockies. If you are looking for a comfortable and stable hiking shoe that is guaranteed to keep all the dirt out, then I recommend the UA Horizon 50. But it was a little too much shoe for me.

Nicki Rehn – Ultra-marathon runner & adventure racer