Best all-rounder trail shoes

Our pick of the latest footwear for every off-road eventuality

On Cloudsurfer

by Paul Halford |

Allbirds Trail Runner SWT

Allbirds  Trail Runner SWT

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The most remarkable thing about these eco-conscious shoes is the materials used. The sock-like stretch uppers are made from merino wool, recycled polyester and eucalyptus tree fibre, the soles contain natural rubber, castor bean oil and eco-plastic from sugarcane, and the laces are constructed from recycled plastic bottles. Beyond this, they even cut it on moderately technical trails! The sole is particularly grippy, the fit is comfy u2013 especially roomy at the toebox u2013 and there's a fair amount of cushioning on offer. It all operates off a familiar 7mm drop. Well worth a look for the eco-minded runner. Weight: 344g (UK M8) Verdict: Eco-friendly footwear that can cut it on the trails. (7/10)

Montrail Trans Alps FKT III

Montrail Trans Alps FKT III

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These shoes u2013 as you might expect, given the name u2013 are not designed for parkruns. Although there's no reason why you shouldn't use them for this, they excel on long, fast outings where comfort and traction are key. Packing a very aggressive tread pattern of 6mm lugs, integrated arch support, a midfoot torsion bar and a highly breathable mesh upper, they're able companions whether you're setting out to smash an FKT or just getting in some long miles over the weekend. Plus, their 8mm drop is very easy to get on with. The one thing they don't excel at is waterproofing, but we guess you can't have it all... Weight: 332g (UK M8) Verdict: For when you need speed and grip above all else. (8/10)

361u00b0 Camino WP

361u00b0 camino wp

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Another pair of shoes working off an 8mm drop, the 361u00b0 Camino WPs, as you've probably guessed, also have a waterproof upper, which is a massive bonus at this time of the year. Favouring cushioning over responsiveness or stability (these are effectively a fast hiking shoe-cum-trail runner), the Quikfoam/Quikspring+ platform certainly provides that, making these ideal partners for social runs on hard-packed ground. The tread, while grippy enough, isn't particularly aggressive, and these shoes are also pretty hefty. So, while you won't be setting any records in them, you'll at least have dry feet when you finish your run. Weight: 454g (UK M11) Verdict: Very well cushioned shoes for Sunday jogs. (8/10)

Higher State Soil Shaker 2

higher state  soil shaker 2

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If you're heading anywhere hilly, these shoes deserve serious consideration. The ripstop mesh uppers and padded tongue keeping debris out of the shoes, but the heel counter is devoid of hard protection. However, if you're considering dipping a toe in the world of fell running, for example, these are lightweight and grippy enough for the job. The 7mm lugs dig into most surfaces, and there's a real sense of connection with the ground, feeling much lower than their 8mm drop suggests. A flex groove at the forefoot also ensures a natural toe-off. You'll be flying in these, and at the time of writing they were on sale at half the u00a380 RRP! Weight: 286g (UK M8) Verdict: Lightweight, great comfort, and unbeatable value. (9/10)

On Running Cloudsurfer

on running cloudsurfer

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These are tagged as road shoes, but we were keen to get them in as traditionally On provide smooth running mountain path shoes. So, who will like these? Runners looking for a faster paced workout on reliable surfaces. That does include off-road, but itu2019s got to be uniform, if you catch our drift. The grip is minimal, but the cushioning is superb so itu2019s your call. On shoes are always about the ride thanks to the Rebound Rubber Cloud elements. The outsole includes a fast-tuned Speedboard while thereu2019s a Zero-Gravity midsole. Steer clear of stones, though; these shoes love picking them up. These have a 6mm drop. Weight: 335g (UK M9) Verdict: Good for mudless fast paced, mid-distance runs. (7/10)

Merrell Agility Peak 4

Merrell Agility Peak 4

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The instantly noticeable amount of cushioning when slipping your feet into the Merrells is a massive bonus, and a far cry from the brandu2019s previous focus on zero-drop, barefoot footwear. The FloatPro foam in the sole is one of the Agility Peak 4u2019s biggest pulls, allowing you to bound over hard-packed ground with ease. Aggressive tread provides grip where you need it, and the sticky Vibram MegaGrip sole has more than ample traction. The lacing is secure, thereu2019s a rock plate for protection, a decent toe bumper, and a D-ring attachment for gaiters. A 6mm drop puts them just on the right side of u2018race-readyu2019, too. Weight: 295g (UK 8) Verdict: Excellent all-rounder that suits most runs. (8/10)

Inov-8 X Talon Ultra 260

Inov-8  X Talon Ultra 260

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Elements like the ballistic nylon upper,u202fand the PowerFlow compound for cushioning, work in perfect harmony to let you get on with the job in hand safely and securely. These are great for softer conditions although the actual response is anything but soft. Youu2019ll find yourself driving off a stiffer platform thanks in part to the dynamic fascia band. For such a solid feeling shoe, itu2019s surprisingly cushioned, and the grip is amazing. We liked the way the shoe held your foot in place on tricky descents and pretty quickly found it a go-to option for short to mid-distance races. Itu2019s built with pace in mind. Thereu2019s an 8mm drop. Weight: 276g (UK 9) Verdict: Top choice for races and rapid training outings. (9/10)

Adidas Terrex Agravic Ultra

Adidas Terrex Agravic Ultra

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Interesting. Stand still in these shoes and you feel a little clunky. Youu2019re elevated on what appears to be the most unforgiving shoes youu2019ve ever worn. And then you take a stride. The shoes introduce carbon plate road-running technologies to the trail, and it really does propel you and reduces impact forces. It does take a few miles to bed them in, but once you have, oh boy. Stable, breathable, and offering more than enough protection they add one vital element to your running; they actually save you some energy, particularly when descending as they absorb shocks. Fabulous. They work off an 8mm drop. Weight: 299g (UK 8) Verdict: Proof that carbon plates are truly a game-changer. (9/10)

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