Men’s Trail Shoes

(Scroll down for women’s reviews)

Men's Altra Superior 3.0

Altra Superior 3.0 – 5/5 Stars

Men’s // Zero mm Drop // 261g // www.altrarunning.ca – $170

Having run the Grand Canyon in May, I wish I had these Altras to pound off the 85K on dirt, rock and sand. Fantastic right out of the box, Altra’s signature foot shape toe box allows for ample forefoot space and accommodates tons of swelling on long hauls. With zero drop, light weight and great tread, this shoe lets you feel the ground, making it easy to negotiate technical trail running. There is ample mid-sole cushioning and deep lugs for trail, but if running mountain rock you will need to insert the rock plate sole that comes with the shoe (a great benefit).

Calvin Zaryski – 3-time Triathlon Canada and Alberta Triathlon coach of the year from Calgary.

Instagram @CalvinZaryski Twitter @CalvinZaryski

Men's Arc'teryx Norvan VT

Arc’teryx Norvan VT – 4.5/5 Stars

Men’s //9mm Drop // 305g // www.arcteryx.com – $200

This footwear is perfect for runners who love scrambling and mountain running. Classified as a hybrid trail shoe, the Norvan is capable of repelling water, preventing small rocks and sand from entering the upper without gators, has ample cushioning to protect you from sharp rocks and roots and provides great support for rugged trail. The unique lace system allows for a snug fit and even the option of tight heel lock for some fast trail rips. The shoe is not overly light but does give great stability and protection, perfect for some serious vertical gain.

Calvin Zaryski – 7-time world triathlon champion from Calgary.

Instagram @CalvinZaryski Twitter @CalvinZaryski

Women's Altra Superior

Brooks Caldera – 5/5 Stars

Men’s // 4mm Drop // 280g // www.brooksrunning.ca – $160

Just when you thought you couldn’t possibly need another trail shoe, Brooks comes through with a neutral support gem that provides true responsive feedback. Tired of sore legs after pounding rocky trails on long runs? Consider getting the Caldera to keep your legs fresh hours into your longer workouts. The shoe absorbs ankle-turning trail features and helps keep your stabilizing muscles from straining to keep up with your pace. The comfortable Caldera kept rolling in all conditions, while falling short only on aggressively wet roots.

Jordan Bryden – Professional long distance triathlete, photographer, graphic designer from Calgary.

Instagram @jordanbryden Twitter @jordanbryden

Men's Columbia/Montrail Caldorado II OutDry Extreme

Columbia/Montrail Caldorado II OutDry Extreme – 3/5 Stars

Men’s // 8mm Drop // 297g // www.columbiasportswear.ca – $200

As the name suggests, the Caldorado II OutDry Extreme is designed to help you handle the worst conditions trail running can throw at you. From the frigid cold, to creek crossings and muddy mountainsides, your feet will stay warm and dry in this amphibious off-roader. The seamless waterproof upper is breathable but on hot summer days it might not be the best choice — unless you like your toes extra toasty. However, when the going gets tough, this cushioned and relatively light and nimble trail shoe will keep you moving.

Keith Bradford – Health services PR director and elite masters road racer from Calgary.

Instagram @calgaryrunner

Men's Icebug Orbi RB9X

Icebug Orbi RB9X – 5/5 Stars

Men’s // 7mm Drop // 230g // www.icebugcanada.com – $200

A nimble, fast feeling, grippy slipper of a shoe. Remarkable trail ruggedness and functionality built into the sole, tread and upper given the shoes’ mere weight (230g/8.1 oz). You’ll appreciate this shoe if you’re reasonably light on your feet, like a low heel toe drop (7mm), have a neutral arch and foot strike and average foot width. This shoe was designed to make you feel fast, sure footed and confident on technical, slick, muddy trails on any distance from a fartlek to a half-marathon.

Phil Ukrainetz – Elite runner and emergency medicine physician from Calgary. Ironman and Boston Marathon finisher.

Instagram @philip.ukrainetz

Men's La Sportiva Akyra

La Sportiva Akyra – 4/5 Stars

Men’s // 9mm Drop // 330g // www.sportiva.com – $140

I was 9 miles deep on the Goat Creek trail before I remembered I was reviewing a new shoe. Fresh out of the box and blasting down a disjointed rocky section I caught a toe and rather than rolling over, the toe box deflected a rock, the upper held strong and I skidded to a semblance of control, thanking my lucky stars. Love this well-constructed shoe. The Akyra has what I call a 2 mile wet-to-dry radius, which means two miles after a complete stream submersion the shoe had wicked dry, no rubbing, no chaffing, no squishing. The shoe is an early favourite in my quiver.

Pete Estabrooks – Elite personal trainer and rockin’ trail runner from Calgary.

Instagram @fitguy1959 Twitter @thefitguycanada

Luna Oso 2.0

Luna Oso 2.0 – 3/5 Stars

Men’s // Zero mm Drop // 261g // www.lunasandals.ca – $170

I love the idea more than the experience of Luna’s Oso 2.0. I’ve run comfortably in Vibram 5 Fingers, but these sandals are not an out of the box, onto-the-trails-to-run-your-usual-time, distance and terrain experience. I will grow to love them, but three runs in, I find them inflexible and a little clunky. By run three I could feel some contouring to my foot and was gaining more confidence downhill on rocks and corners so I know I can introduce them to more challenging terrain a run at a time. The open-air design is off-the-hook cool.

Pete Estabrooks – Elite personal trainer and rockin’ trail runner from Calgary.

Instagram @fitguy1959 Twitter @thefitguycanada

Men's Mizuno Wave Daichi 2

Mizuno Wave Daichi 2 – 3/5 Stars

Men’s // 12mm Drop // 284g // www.mizunocda.com – $160

The Mizuno Wave Daichi 2 is a robust mileage trail runner with ridiculously good grip. Mizuno has put together a near bomb-proof trainer that is solid on all terrain of mossy rock, gravel, and wet roots. I rate this shoe 3 stars for its durability and traction. A runner with weak arches or tendencies to pronate might find this shoe not to their liking as it tends to role the forefoot inwards. Note the shoe seems to fit a half size larger.

Graham Cocksedge – 5-time member of the Canadian national cross country running team and high school teacher from Powell River, B.C.

Men's Salomon Sense Pro 2

Salomon Sense Pro 2 – 4.5/5 Stars

Men’s // 6mm Drop // 265g // www.salomon.com – $160

The Salomon Sense Pro 2 is one sweet ride geared for the neutral runner. It’s low to the ground and uber responsive. Although it looks like a racing flat, it’s meant for the trail. It comes with some sweet protective features that will keep you safe. I loved its lightweight, responsive feel and it legitimately feels like a racing flat. Its aggressive tread didn’t slow me down as most other trail shoes do. Its lightweight profile means you’ll be encouraged to run fast over the most rugged of terrain.

Bruce Raymer – Ottawa Marathon champion, national 5K champion and run coach from Toronto.

Instagram @runthe7 Twitter @ottawachamp

Men's Saucony Peregrine 7

Saucony Peregrine 7 – 4.5/5 Stars

Men’s // 4mm Drop // 266g // www.saucony.ca – $150

This shoe is designed with speed in mind. Being lightweight and responsive is what Saucony is know for and they’ve certainly nailed it with this shoe. Packing a 4mm drop, a widened toe box and a full length aggressive midsole this shoe is for the trail runner looking to attack moderate distances in full comfort. The seamless upper eliminates potential hotspots. The only negative I found was the fit was a half size small.

Dave Proctor – 24-hour ultrarun world record holder from Okotoks, Alta.

Instagram @RunProctor Twitter @RunProctor

Men's The North Face Endurus TR

The North Face Endurus TR – 4.5/5 Stars

Men’s // 6mm Drop // 317g // www.thenorthface.ca – $170

The Endurus TR is immensely comfortable, immediately. It’s designed for exceptional long-distance. Yet it feels lightweight, breathable, and responsive. The Vibram outsole provides excellent traction on all trails, including rocky, rooty, snowy and muddy ones. The midsole provides a soft feel even after multiple hours on foot. This is one of the most comfortable shoes I’ve worn in recent seasons and one I’d wear for long training days, multi-day expeditions, and ultramarathons.

Ian MacNairn – Professional ultrarunner, two-time ultrarunning National Champion and trail-running researcher from Calgary.

Instagram @ianmacnairn Twitter @imacnairn

Men's Under Armour Horizon RTT

Under Armour Horizon RTT – 3.5/5 Stars

Men’s // 7mm Drop // 310g // www.underarmour.com – $140

My first impression of the Under Armour Horizon RTT was shaped by its nice stealth-like look. The upper had a durable feel to it, perfect for trail running and harsh conditions. The outsole had great traction thanks to the lug-filled bottom design. The shoe fit comfortably around the heel and not too tight around the toe box with ample room for the feet up front. A shoe made to rip it up on the trails.

Shawn (Clear Sky) Davies – Elite road and trail runner with the Black Lungs Toronto running club.

Instagram @blackhoods

Men's Xero Prio

Xero Prio – 5/5 Stars

Men’s // Zero mm Drop // 215g // www.xeroshoes.ca – $118

The Prio is an excellent, minimalist shoe weighing just 215g with a roomy fit and a wide toe box that allows for great natural foot movement. An ingenious interlocking lace and cinch strap system allows you to lock in the mid and hind foot. It’s zero drop with great road feel (5.5mm of sole) and would best match a runner with strong feet needing little arch support. The durable tread would work great on the road or for easier trails.

Phil Ukrainetz – Adult, pediatric and STARS emergency medicine physician and elite runner from Calgary.

Instagram @philip.ukrainetz


Women’s Trail Shoes

Women's Altra Superior

Altra Superior – 4/5 Stars

Women’s // Zero mm Drop // 227g // www.altrarunning.ca – $170

I’m a big fan of the Altra Superior 3.0. It is a super lightweight, flexible trail runner, but still offers great durability. The wide toe box is perfect for letting your foot expand naturally as you run. I did find that the sizing ran a bit small, and I would suggest going up a half size or trying them on before buying them. Overall great shoe, can’t wait to put in more miles with them!

Rachael McIntosh – National level track and field athlete specializing in heptathlon from Bridgewater, N.S.

Twitter @air_canada1

Women's Arc'teryx Norvan VT

Arc’teryx Norvan VT – 3/5 Stars

Women’s // 9mm Drop // 285g // www.arcteryx.com – $200

The Norvan VT is Arc’teryx’s first trail running shoe. It has a narrow fit, with Fixed Adaptive Fit Technology to wrap the foot and seal out debris. However, the Adaptive Fit sleeve made for warm feet on my long trail run. The Durable EVA/Polyolefin blend midsole makes the shoe well suited as a scrambling/approach shoe. I am excited to add this shoe to my mountain shoe collection.

Sarah Penny – Marathoner and trail running mom with Team MitoCanada from Calgary.

Instagram @Penny_Sarah Twitter @Penny_Sarah

Women's Brooks Pure Grit 6 Trail Runner

Brooks Pure Grit 6 Trail Runner – 4/5 Stars

Women’s // 4mm Drop // 221g // www.brooksrunning.ca – $145

Brooks Pure Grit 6 is a minimal shoe that makes you feel fast and light on your feet. The low-profile shoe wakes up your feet and connects with your running surface. The rugged rubber sole is perfect for technical or rough terrain. Made for a narrow foot, the shoe is very stable and supported by an upper that hugs your foot for a loving feel. A special feature is the pocket on the tongue to tuck away laces. I love that. The lightweight feel with the cushioning makes the Brooks Grit 6 a perfect shoe for a long afternoon hike or a quick fast run through the trails.

Katherine Moore – Elite road and trail runner and yoga instructor from Vancouver.

Instagram @runningintoyoga Twitter @runningintoyoga

Women's Columbia/Montrail Caldorado II OutDry Extreme

Columbia/Montrail Caldorado II OutDry Extreme – 2.5/5 Stars

Women’s // 8mm Drop // 268g // www.columbiasportswear.ca – $200

The Caldorado II Outdry Extreme is a hardcore trail runner, built to withstand the elements. With its fully waterproof exterior, it is built for cold and rainy trail runs. Weighing in at 9 oz., this neutral shoe offers decent traction for wet surfaces, with ample cushioning throughout the midsole. The fit is slightly wide, with a roomy toe box. While breathable for a waterproof shoe, it got quite stuffy on a hot run.

Shauna Gersbach – Lawyer from North Vancouver and podium finisher at the 2015 B.C. Championships 5K, half-marathon and marathon.

Twitter @roseyrunner

Women's Icebug Orbi RB9X

Icebug Orbi RB9X – 4/5 Stars

Women’s // 7mm Drop // 200g // www.icebugcanada.com – $200

I took the Icebug Oribi RB9X right up a local mountain with a lot of steep rock surfaces. This shoe has grip to trust, going up and descending. With a much lighter feel and construction than most rugged trail shoes, including the midsole cushioning, it would work for runners who like a speedy flexible feel. Bubble laces and a seam-free, water-avoiding upper material which doesn’t get soaked through, complete the package.

Lucy Smith – 19-time Canadian running and multisport champion from Victoria, B.C.

Instagram @lucyrunforjoy

Women's La Sportiva Akyra

 

La Sportiva Akyra – 4.5/5

Women’s // 9mm Drop // 278g // www.sportiva.com – $140

Don’t let the pretty aesthetics of La Sportiva Akyra fool you. This shoe is fierce. Its most striking feature is traction with deep multi-angled lugs and sticky rubber that allows aggressive ambulation regardless of the most asperous terrain, including scree, loose dirt, steep and wet. A snug heel, extensive TPU counter, substantial toe bumper and elaborate overlays, this ride suits a runner looking for a plethora of off-road toughness and stability. The Akyra more than holds its own on the trail.

Syl Corbett, DC, PhD (c) – Elite Endurance Athlete, Private Exercise Consultant. Founder: AthleticWise & Rock On Clay from Calgary.

Instagram @rockonclay Twitter @rockonclay

Luna Oso 2.0

Luna Oso 2.0 – 4.5/5 Stars

Women’s // Zero mm Drop // 261g // www.lunasandals.ca – $170

The Luna Oso 2.0 trail sandal was a very different experience, but they sure can take a beating! With a sole nearly ¾ of an inch thick the shoe takes a bit of breaking in, but is extremely durable. Take advantage of the printable sizing chart online as my sandals are a half size larger than my shoes. Once on, they fit wonderfully and stay in place (especially with the extra tech straps). The Luna Sandal is an open top runner with incredible traction and is ready for any surface you take them on.

Rachael McIntosh – National level track and field athlete specializing in heptathlon from Bridgewater, N.S.

Women's Mizuno Wave Daichi 2

Mizuno Wave Daichi 2 – 4/5

Women’s // 12mm Drop // 258g // www.mizunocda.com – $160

This shoe is rugged, durable, and responsive. For runners who like to feel 100% confident with grip and agility on a variety of surfaces, the Daichi is truly a trail runner’s shoe. Definitely a stiffer ride and fit than a lot of shoes, and built for the long run, this shoe caters to athletes wanting a high degree of cushioning plus protection for their runs: both your sole and upper foot is fully supported in this neutral shoe.

Lucy Smith – 19-time Canadian running and multisport champion, coach and Masters athlete from Victoria, B.C.

Instagram @lucyrunforjoy

Women's Salomon Sense Pro 2

Salomon Sense Pro 2 – 4/5 Stars

Women’s // 6mm Drop // 245g // www.salomon.com – $160

I wouldn’t normally go out for a two hour trail run in a brand new pair of shoes without a backup pair, but that’s exactly what I did with the Salomon Sense Pro 2’s and I had a great experience. They’re super lightweight for a trail shoe and offer nice traction. I have wider feet, but didn’t encounter any friction issues with this model. The inner sleeve is a nice touch too; it hugs your foot and helps to keep dirt and pebbles out. Great for lower mileage runners who want a light shoe versus one with longer-term durability.

Julie Hamulecki – 2016 national 100K champion and fashion/beauty producer at CTV’s The Social, from Toronto.

Instagram @jhamulecki Twitter @jhamulecki

Women's Saucony Xodus ISO 2

Saucony Xodus ISO 2 – 3/5 Stars

Women’s // 4mm Drop // 261g // www.saucony.ca – $170

Within the first few strides in the Xodus ISO 2, I was surprised by their responsiveness on all terrain. Road, rock, loose dirt, grass, you name it, the shoe performed nicely in all conditions and seemed extremely stable The aggressive tread is ideal for mud, rocks and muck. This shoe would work for a neutral or flat-footed runner with a narrow to mid-range foot who is looking for a little extra support. Overall, the Xodus offers excellent traction and durability. I would recommend this shoe to any runner wanting to trail run upwards of 10K in technical terrain.

Brittany Webster – 2-time Olympian in cross-country skiing, triathlon and cycling competitor from Canmore, Alta.

Instagram @BrittanyWebste Twitter @BrittanyWebste

Women's The North Face Endurus TR

The North Face Endurus TR – 4/5 Stars

Women’s // 6mm Drop // 273g // www.thenorthface.ca – $170

The North Face Endurus TR is a well-cushioned, albeit moderately heavy shoe, good for those who like their cushioning to feel the same at the end of the run as it does at the beginning. There is plenty of room in the toe box and mid-foot, yet the heel feels snug if you lace the top eyelets. The upper is light and flexible and the multidirectional lugs grip the ground better running downhill versus up.

Bridget Pyke – Physiotherapist and former varsity track runner from Calgary.

Instagram @bridgetpyke

Women's Under Armour Horizon RTT

Under Armour Horizon RTT – 4.5/5 Stars

Women’s // 7mm Drop // 260g // www.underarmour.com – $140

The Under Armour Horizon RTT (Run The Trail) shoe is a narrow-fitting, neutral shoe designed for ripping up the trails. Design of this shoe ensures stability on ascends/descends, allowing the runner to breeze over technical terrain easily. The ESS rock plate helps to prevent debris from getting stuck on the outsole, while the PV coated upper protects the foot from muck – and makes them easy to keep clean! Finally, the variable lacing system allows for a custom fit of these comfortable, light, fast shoes.

Malindi Elmore – 6 time Canadian champion in track, cross country and road racing, Olympian, triathlete and run coach from Kelowna, B.C.

Instagram @malindielmore Twitter @malindielmore

Women's Xero Prio

Xero Prio – 4/5 Stars

Women’s // Zero mm Drop // 181g // www.xeroshoes.ca – $118

The Xero Prio is a minimalist trail shoe and a great option if you want to try natural running this summer. It offers toe protection, a proper lacing system, and good traction, yet feels like you are running barefoot. You’ll definitely feel the ground under your feet in this fun, lightweight shoe with a distinctively wide toe box. l’ll be using my pair on short trail runs to improve cadence, stride-length and foot strength. And if the Prio is still too much shoe for you, Xero also offer trail running sandals!

Nicki Rehn – Ultra-marathoner and adventure racer based from Calgary.

Instagram @NickiRehn Twitter @NickiRehn

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