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The Best Women’s Trail Running Shoe

Last updated on June 1, 2020

We looked at the top 12 Women's Trail Running Shoes and dug through the reviews from 47 of the most popular review sites including Refinery29, RunRepeat, Adventure Sacks, Runners Equipped, Runner's World, Runner Click and more. The result is a ranking of the best Women's Trail Running Shoes.

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Our Picks For The Top Women's Trail Running Shoes

Show Contents
Our Take
  Top Pick

ASICS Frequent Women’s Trail Running Shoes

ASICS

Frequent Women's Trail Running Shoes

Overall Take

Lightweight and BreathableMade with a mesh upper, this pair of women's trail running shoes is lightweight and breathable.

  Runner Up

New Balance Fresh Foam Arishi Trail V1 Women’s Trail Running Shoes

New Balance

Fresh Foam Women's Trail Running Shoes

Overall Take

Increased ComfortKeep your feet from becoming sore when you run with this women's trail running shoe that's got an EVA foam insert for added comfort.

  We Also Like

Salomon Trailster Women’s Trail Running Shoes

Salomon

Trailster Women's Trail Running Shoes

Overall Take

Best GripNo matter what type of terrain you plan on tackling, this women's trail running shoe with Contagrip sole has you covered.

  Strong Contender

Merrell Bare Access Flex Women’s Trail Running Shoes

Merrell

Flex Women's Trail Running Shoes

Overall Take

Multiple Color OptionsThis set of women's trail running shoes is available in six different color patterns, including black and metallic lilac, Aruba blue and Persian red.

  Also Great

adidas Rockadia Women’s Trail Running Shoes

adidas

Rockadia Women's Trail Running Shoes

Overall Take

Durable ShoesGet the exercise you need while enjoying the surrounding nature using this pair of women's running shoes.

Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, Simplemost analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
19

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the women's trail running shoes available to purchase.
12

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

View All Product Rankings

47

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources.

46,952

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Walmart and 15 others.

The Best Overall

ASICS Frequent Women’s Trail Running Shoes

Our Expert Score
9.3
Our Take

You'll stay light on your feet with this pair of women's trail running shoes. They are made of synthetic leather and feature an upper mesh that offers breathability. The reversed lugs on the outside of the shoes provide uphill and downhill traction no matter what type of terrain you're running across.


The Best Bang For Your Buck

Merrell Bare Access Flex Women’s Trail Running Shoes

Our Expert Score
9.3
Our Take

With this stylish pair of women's trail running shoes, you'll want to spend more time in the great outdoors. The shoes have a mesh upper to allow for proper air flow, so you're feet stay nice and cool while you run. They're also designed for durability, so you won't have to worry about replacing them prematurely.

Our Women's Trail Running Shoe Findings

ASICS Frequent Women’s Trail Running Shoes

What We Liked: You’ll stay light on your feet with this pair of women’s trail running shoes. They are made of synthetic leather and feature an upper mesh that offers breathability. The reversed lugs on the outside of the shoes provide uphill and downhill traction no matter what type of terrain you’re running across.

New Balance Fresh Foam Arishi Trail V1 Women’s Trail Running Shoes

What We Liked: Whether you’re running on the road or on an off-beaten path, this set of women’s trail running shoes has you covered. Not only can they handle multiple terrains, but they also come with an EVA foam insert for extra support and comfort. There are five different styles to choose from in both narrow and wide sizes.

Salomon Trailster Women’s Trail Running Shoes

What We Liked: With this women’s trail running shoe, you’ll get both toe and heel protection. The Contagrip sole offers superior traction, so you can run on a soft surface one day and a hard surface the next. Runners will love the fit and the addition of the popular Ortholite sockliner.

Merrell Bare Access Flex Women’s Trail Running Shoes

What We Liked: With this stylish pair of women’s trail running shoes, you’ll want to spend more time in the great outdoors. The shoes have a mesh upper to allow for proper air flow, so you’re feet stay nice and cool while you run. They’re also designed for durability, so you won’t have to worry about replacing them prematurely.

adidas Rockadia Women’s Trail Running Shoes

What We Liked: With a pillowy midsole, this pair of women’s trail running shoes is able to provide the reliable cushioning you long for in a running shoe. The shoes are also versatile, which means you can use them on a dirt path or a trail with more rocky terrain. The rubber outsole offers durability as well.

Our Expert Consultant

Stephanie Mansour   
Certified Personal Trainer, Health and Wellness Expert

Stephanie Mansour, host of “Step It Up with Steph” on public broadcasting, has been coaching women for over a decade on how to lose weight and make it last. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications with an emphasis on women’s studies and psychology from the University of Michigan. She holds certifications in life coaching, personal training, yoga and Pilates.

Our Women's Trail Running Shoe Buying Guide

Running is a great form of exercise for fitness novices and seasoned experts. When done on a regular basis, running helps to strengthen the heart and cardiovascular system. Runners also typically have strong leg and thigh muscles, in addition to having high bone density in the legs and hips.

Many runners choose to run on even ground, such as on treadmills and sidewalks. While that certainly has its own benefits, trail running can provide additional physical benefits. Trail running involves running on uneven terrain. It also includes running uphill and downhill, often on very steep inclines.

As a result of running uphill and downhill, trail running actually provides better strength training for legs as compared to road running. Trail runners also need to sharpen their balance and agility skills, ensuring they don’t fall on the uneven ground, which is often full of rocks and tree roots. In addition, trail running involves navigating sharp turns and steep slopes, so runners need to be acutely aware of their surroundings.

In addition to the physical benefits of trail running, there are also numerous benefits to one’s mental health. Running helps to increase vitality and enhance energy. It can also help to reduce stress and tension. Exercising in the outdoors can help people feel more relaxed and build a closer bond with nature. This is known to boost creativity and feelings of positivity.

In order to protect the joints and muscles from the strains of trail running, it’s critical to have the proper shoes. Road shoes and trail shoes are built differently as they are made for two completely unique environments. Road shoes are made of lightweight material to encourage speed. There is not much need for traction in the soles of the shoes, as roads are an even surface.

Trail shoes, on the other hand, are more heavy-duty. Their job is to protect the foot from the elements of the uneven terrain. The soles of the trail shoes have enhanced tread patters so that the runner doesn’t slip or fall while navigating stones, sticks, roots and other obstacles on the trail.

“You’re looking for that traction on the bottom fo the foot but also durability on the outside of the foot,” Stephanie Mansour, a certified personal trainer and the founder of fitness brand Step It Up Steph, advises. She notes that you want a trail shoe made with materials that will support and protect your foot from rocks, tree roots or anything else you may knock into on the trail

“Unlike a running or a walking shoe, you’re looking for a shoe that is a little bit stiffer,” Mansour says. “This is because it needs to withstand the treacherous environment that you won’t find in a gym or on a sidewalk! These shoes need to be built to last.”

Simplemost Fun Fact

Like all intense sporting activities, trail running comes with its own unique vocabulary. If you hear a trail runner talking about refilling their bladder, it’s unlikely they are referring to a part of their human anatomy. Instead, they are likely talking about their hydration pack with an attachable straw. Many trail runners use a bladder to carry liters of liquid on their backs during their run.

When talking about the race, you may hear the term “vert.” This refers to how much elevation a trail has. If you hear someone say that a race was a “hundo,” this means that it was a hundred-mile race. Is a race labeled ultra? This means that it’s longer than the standard marathon distance of 42.2 kilometers.

When you’re exhausted in the middle of a race, likely as a result of dehydration or a lack of calories, the term you use to describe that is a bonk. It’s similar to hitting the wall, but specifically for trail running.

The Women's Trail Running Shoe Tips and Advice

  • The most important element to consider when purchasing your trail shoes is the sole of the shoe. This is what will protect your feet from the various terrain you’ll encounter on your run. The ASICS Frequent Women’s Trail Running Shoes boasts a strong rubber sole with multi-surface traction. Merrell Flex Women’s Trail Running Shoes, on the other hand, have a rubber outsole that allows the runner to experience a more responsive feel of the terrain. It provides a strong grip on the uneven terrain. The Salomon Trailster Women’s Trail Running Shoes has a rubber sole designed specially to eat up soft terrain. The New Balance Fresh Foam Women’s Trail Running Shoes features a rubber sole with all-terrain tread.
  • In order to have the comfort you need to complete long, intense runs, it’s critical for your trail running shoe to have solid support for your foot. Women’s trail running shoes with a cushioning system are an excellent choice. Some even have a removable foam sock liner that accommodates orthotics. The Merrell Flex Women’s Trail Running Shoes provides removable insoles designed to support the feet’s arches. This helps you to transfer weight over the ball of the feet and not put too much pressure on the arch.
  • When running outdoors, it’s important to choose a shoe that can withstand the elements. You want a women’s trail running shoe that is waterproof, so you can easily run in the rain without soaking your socks. Keep in mind that the Merrell Flex Women’s Trail Running Shoes take a long time to dry when they get wet.
  • If you have a particularly wide or narrow foot, it’s important to choose a shoe that accommodates your size. The ASICS Frequent Women’s Trail Running Shoes is known to have a narrow inside, which can limit the flexing of the feet. The Salomon Trailster Women’s Trail Running Shoes is also designed specifically for narrow feet and does not come in wide sizes. The New Balance Fresh Foam Women’s Trail Running Shoes, on the other hand, is good for those with wider feet.
  • When dealing with rough terrain with lots of loose rocks and dirt, your trail running shoes are bound to get a bit muddy. If you want your shoes to look spic and span after a few wears, it’s important to choose one that can be easily cleaned. It can be difficult to wash the dirt out of the mesh fabric of the ASICS Frequent Women’s Trail Running Shoes. When washing the Merrell Flex Women’s Trail Running Shoes, keep in mind that it will take a long time to dry.
  • For some runners, style is as important as function. It’s nice to have the option to choose a trail running shoe that comes in the color combinations that reflect your unique style. All four trail running shoes come in multiple color combinations. Note that the ASICS Frequent Women’s Trail Running Shoes and the New Balance Fresh Foam Women’s Trail Running Shoes come in fewer colors than the Merrell Flex Women’s Trail Running Shoes and Salomon Trailster Women’s Trail Running Shoes.

About The Author

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Anam Ahmed 

Anam Ahmed is a copywriter and essayist based in Toronto. She has been writing on technology, travel, parenting, and business for over 10 years, and works with a number of high-profile organizations. She values finding the best products to make people's lives easier. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.