There’s over 84 million acres of National Park territory in the United States (Thanks, Google!) Chances are there’s a trail somewhere calling your name. For those of you looking for nimble hiking footwear, give one of these trail trekkers a look.
FREEDOM INDUSTRIES – XTR-AT Shoes
A more rugged version of the bestselling XP1, the XTR-AT is designed for the outdoors. The breathable 3-layer mesh, responsive fit, and lightweight midsole are all here. The heel has been beefed up for extra stability on difficult terrain, and the outsole now has aggressive V-shaped lugs for gripping the trail. The toe box and sidewalls are reinforced with durable TPU protection against debris. Available in two colors. Go get ’em.
XERO SHOES – Men’s Mesa Trail Shoes
Xero specializes in minimalist footwear that won’t weigh you down but still provides plenty of performance. The Mesas are super lightweight trail running shoes especially popular among barefoot runners. The breathable mesh upper ditches extra weight and keeps you cool on hot days, while the moisture-wicking lining helps you to stay dry. The natural motion of the Mesa lets your feet bend, move, and flex the way feet are supposed to, and the XERO-drop design promotes good posture and balance.
UNDER ARMOUR – Men’s Charged Bandit Trail GTX Shoes
Here’s an all-time bestseller. Under Armour’s flagship trail runner is a sturdy powerhouse of terrain tackling. The Charged Cushioning midsole uses compression molded foam for the very best in responsiveness and long-term durability. The strong, grippy outsole features technical trail lugs that perform especially well in inclines, and the molded sockliner forms to your foot, eliminating slippage. Also available in a women’s version.
INOV-8 – Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max
True to their name, Inov-8 brings a revolutionary, game-changing technology to this unique trail runner. Featuring a “world’s first” Graphene-enhanced foam called G-Fly, the shoe promises to deliver 25% greater energy return into the foot than competing shoes, so runners feel faster and fresher over longer distances. Awarded INNOVATION OF THE YEAR by Trail Running magazine, the Trailfly Ultra should have your attention by this point.
UNDER ARMOUR – Men’s Charged Bandit Trek 2 Shoes
While it’s not a true runner, we’re including the Bandit Trek 2 on this list because it’s built with the same kind of lightweight mobility the Bandit Trail GTX is known for. With a higher heel, it’s closer to a boot than a running shoe, but you’d be surprised at the kind of responsiveness you’ll get here. The full-length molded sockliner forms to the foot, preventing slippage and offering plenty of underfoot comfort, and the Charged Cushioning midsole found in the GTX reappears here. Flexible, cushioned, and ready for the trail. Still though, if you’re looking for a true runner designed by Under Armour, go with the Bandit Trail GTX.
ALTRA – Lone Peak 5 Trail Running Shoes
The Lone Peak 5 is the latest version of Altra’s signature trail runner. It features the responsive AtraEGO midsole which is designed to return energy back into the foot in the middle of a stride. The grippy MaxTrac outsole has Trailclaw canted lugs, thoughtfully placed beneath the metatarsals—those would the five long bones in your feet—for added support and traction. And if you’re looking for even more traction, the Lone Peak features a hook-and-loop tab that allows for a strapless gaiter to attach easily to the shoe for added protection against debris.
SALEWA – Ultra Train 3 Shoes
SALEWA is a world-famous outdoor brand, with footwear designed for the lowest valleys to the most treacherous peaks. A go-to shoe for speeding through the trails, the Ultra Train 3 is a thoughtfully engineered creation for those who prefer hiking with purpose. If you’re in it for the cardio, rely on the outstanding grip and traction provided by the POMOCA outsole, which performs equally well on dry rock and wet surfaces.
XERO SHOES – Aqua X Sport Shoes
Sometimes your trail running takes you into aquatic areas. The water-friendly Aqua X takes a lot from the Mesa, with a barefoot friendly, minimalist design, flexible sole that moves just like your feet do, and dual chevron lugs for all terrain traction. One thing we really like about the Aqua X is its packability—it won’t take up too much room in a gym bag or luggage, so if you’re in the mood for a little beach or trail run, you can bring it along wherever your travels take you.
ALTRA – Olympus 4 Trail Shoes
Let’s take a look at another Altra shoe. The Olympus 4 is a good choice especially if you have wider feet. Vibram MegaGrip outsole. GaiterTrap hook-and-loop tab for even more protection and grip. Ventilating, moisture wicking mesh. Breathable, flexible, and built for rough terrain, this trail runner is the total package.
SALEWA – Lite Train K Shoes
We’ll close out with another entry from SALEWA. For anyone interested in getting their training done in mountainous territory, consider the Lite Train K, a super lightweight and responsive low-cut shoe designed for adapting to soft and uneven terrain. The aggressively lugged outsole gets you plenty of traction, so whether you’re doing rapid hiking, trail running, or uphill intervals, this is your fitness ally.
More trail running shoes available at GovX. See you on the trail, you magnificent Americans.
Don’t forget socks! Allow me to recommend American-made DARN TOUGH socks.