BEST RUNNING SHOES FOR MUDDY TRAILS


by Paul Halford |
BEST RUNNING SHOES FOR MUDDY TRAILS

When it comes to tackling muddy trails, grip is king. You need a shoe that can almost stick to the earth, giving you enough confidence to really tackle those mountain trails. Depending on what kind of trails you will be facing, it's best to look at three elements: durability, cushioning and fit. Getting any of these three wrong could make all the difference, but how do you know what shoe is great for what?

By comparing these shoes over a variety of surfaces, both in dry and wet conditions with mixed gradients, experienced runner Dave Taylor is here to get you on the right track.

SCOTT SUPERTRAC RC

Scott Supertrac

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Scott Supertrac

Scott Supertrac RC 250g (men's UK 8) Traction is the name of the game for Scott shoes, and that's definitely the case in the RC. Youu2019ll be impressed with the super-light feel this shoe offers u2013 itu2019s pretty low to the ground, with a 5mm drop and youu2019ll feel like picking the pace up for sure. And this is partly as a result of the multi-directional lugs, which rather than simply dig in, adapt to the rolling nature of off-road running to make you feel pretty secure. In this instance, the lugs arenu2019t as deep as other shoes, so fell runners might not appreciate that but regular trail runners u2013 mixing road, with paths and fields u2013 will enjoy the security and performance on offer. Verdict: Fast and furious; a good shoe for most conditions. 8/10

LA SPORTIVA MUTANT

La Sportiva

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La Sportiva
La Sportiva

The Mutant is straight out of the heavier, wider platform school of trail shoes. Despite its relatively high 10mm drop, it does feel like a responsive, faster shoe. The grip is good, with the Frixion XF outsole working particularly well on muddy paths. Fit is good, holding your foot in place on demanding terrain. Youu2019ll be more than happy to take it out onto muddy, rocky areas as the upper consists of a single breathable, abrasion-resistant mesh and integrated gaiter. The SpyralTongue lacing system is integrated to the uppers through the FusionGate. It's a nice idea, but feels a little bit over-engineered and fiddly. Verdict: A supportive shoe that can cope with every off-road trail. 8/10

INOV-8 X-TALON ULTRA 260

INOV-8 X-TALON ULTRA 260

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INOV-8 X-TALON ULTRA 260
INOV-8 X-TALON ULTRA 260

Inov-8 uses the phrase 'Industry-leading sticky grip' when it comes to the outsole and while we canu2019t vouch precisely for that claim, we can confirm theyu2019ll hold you in place in the muddiest, nastiest conditions you treat them to. Only something very special would be better in this department. For runners who like a bit of depth, consider this: the lugs are a mighty 8mm and positioned in such a way they ensure mud is released quickly from the outsole, so there's no clogging and maximum grip is retained. All good off-road, but you do need to keep them away from anything concrete otherwise they'll wear rapidly. Verdict: Bring on the mud! These are built for the nastiest weather. 9/10

HOKA CHALLENGER ATR 5

Hoka Challenger ATR 5

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Hoka Challenger ATR 5
Hoka Challenger ATR 5

Itu2019s probably fair to say most of us need grip that works superbly in the middle ground. The road-friendly, soft ride Challenger is good for just that. The lug pattern u2013 wider at the front and closer together at the rear u2013 provides a smoother, more consistent feel than the previous model, while the wider spread means more grip. This light shoe copes well with muddy paths and long sections of road. The ATR 5 works off a low drop 5mm, but such is the cushioning and elevated platform, you donu2019t really notice that low profile. Hoka can come up a little narrow in the toe box for some runners, but a wider option is available. Verdict: Great for mixing and matching road and mud. 8/10

INOV-8 MUDCLAW 300

Inov-8 Mudclaw 300

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Inov-8 Mudclaw 300
Inov-8 Mudclaw 300

WEIGHT: 235G Mudclaws have become well established as a fell-runneru2019s shoe, thanks to aggressive 8mm lugs comprised of hard and medium compound rubber, to give both grip and durability. The Mudclaw performed well on muddy ground, allowing fast, confident running in the worst of conditions. It also gripped well on steep grass and rocky terrain. The uppers have a rand and toe bumper to protect against stones, whilst the Precision Fit, flexibility and 6mm drop added to the feeling of control. VERDICT BEST IN TEST A racing and training shoe giving excellent grip in all conditions. Cushioning: 7/10 Precision: 9/10 Grip: 9/10

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