As one well-known elite Cape Town trail runner once said, ‘running in bad trail shoes is like surfing in Cape Town in a sub-par wetsuit. You can do it, but you’re going to freeze your b#lls off.’
His suggestion was to stretch your budget as much as possible on your trail running shoes and then rather cut elsewhere. We couldn’t agree more. That being said though, one of the most beautiful things about the sport (and lifestyle) of trail running is that there is not a massive cost-to-entry barrier. Below are a handful of shoe options that will get your out there on the mountain trails without breaking the bank. Most of the models we’ve selected come in men’s and women’s versions.
Hi-Tec Trail Enduro
Hi-Tec has long been a respected name in the hiking and outdoor-lifestyle market. Their trail running shoes offer great value. The Trail Enduro is an outdoor active shoe that was designed for short, technical trail runs as well as other trail activities such as hikes and walks. In keeping with the company’s respected legacy it is durable, lightweight, and comfortable. It features a high-performance upper that supports your feet, while the M-D Traction rubber outsole provides ample grip. A removable, moulded EVA midsole rounds out the package, providing underfoot cushioning.
ASICS GEL-SONOMA 6
The GEL-SONOMA™ 6 from ASICS is a versatile trail running shoe designed for runs, light hiking and other outdoor adventures. They have also used fewer resources to color the sockliner for a more sustainable design approach. The latest model features a completely redesigned upper for extra comfort. In addition, the synthetic stitching on the overlays is designed to improve durability while also helping feet stay secure and reduce slipping. Aside from the range of comfort features (and good aesthetics) the multi-directional grip outsole improves traction on a variety of surfaces.
Adidas Terrex Speed Flow
The Terrex Speed Flow was (as the name suggests) designed to let you run steadily without weighing you down. This lightweight shoe features an outsole created using Continental™ Rubber, for maximum grip while the aggressive 8mm drop in the sole, means you’ll be on your toes for the entire run.
The Alphacross from Salomon is an all-round shoe for trail and park running. The latest version features various updates including an updated fit to lock your foot in place to minimise energy wastage and maximise power transfer. For tread it has the the grippy Contagrip® sole which the French company says will stop you from slipping on uneven or muddy ground.
New Balance T410
The T410s from New Balance are a trusted line and remain a good go-to for entry level runners and those looking for a rugged adventure shoes. It is durable, yet comfortable and lightweight. It features tough overlays on the upper for durability, while the soft midsole cushions your steps. The AT Tread outsole offers grip and traction on wet, dry and loose terrain.
Merrell Nova 2
For many respected trail runner Merrell is the first and last word when it comes to trail shoes. The company offers various options under R2000. The Nova Trail is a great all-round choice. It was built for running on moderately technical trails. It features an Abrasion-resistant textile and TPU upper, breathable mesh lining and compression-moulded EVA midsole for stability and comfort. Underfoot there is the proprietary TrailProtect™ rock plate to protect your feet as well as a Vibram® TC5+ sole.
Inspired to hit the trails, check out some of our favourites here.