Winter trail running shoes reviewed

Our testers pick out some of the best grip on offer for those muddy trails

Inov-8

by Staff |

Inov-8 Mudclaw G260 v2

Inov-8 Mudclaw G260 v2

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I dare you to find a shoe that is more grippy than the latest iteration of the Mudclaw. We imagine the design meetings consisted of thinking of the most gruesome terrain and building a shoe for even worse. The 8mm deep lugs (yes, you read that correctly) use Graphene Grip, Inov-8u2019s rubber compound which provides super traction on any terrain. The ride is smooth thanks to a good amount of flex in the midsole and the 4mm drop, which would lend itself to racing over the fells. The upper is comfy and feels locked in without being restrictive, although some may feel this shoe is a tad narrow. Weight: 260g (UK 8) Verdict: Tears up any terrain u2013 a fun shoe for winter. 8/10

New Balance Summit Kom

New Balance Summit Kom

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Designed in a lower profile silhouette than many of todayu2019s shoes, the Summit KOM is suited to speedier training sessions and shorter races. The Vibram triangular lugs are spaced to offer good grip on most off-road surfaces but are best suited to gravel and loose stones, particularly with the inbuilt rock plate through the midsole. Speaking of the midsole, without New Balanceu2019s Fresh Foam, the Summit KOM offers a stiff and solid ride that some may appreciate for faster running with an 8mm drop. Itu2019s worth noting the upper does fit more narrowly than other shoes u2013 something to consider when thinking of sizing. Weight: 309g (UK 8) Verdict: Not a bad value shoe with a durable life for faster stuff. 6/10

Salomon Wildcross

Salomon Wildrcross

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The Wildcross feels like a classic Salomon model, coming in with a sturdy midsole, supportive upper and 10mm of drop. Contragrip multi-directional lugs provide ample traction for just about anything you can throw at a shoe throughout the winter months. A responsive midsole is complemented well by the upper, where the u2018Dreamtex Wingsu2019 (Salomonu2019s words, not ours!) and quick-lace system lock your foot in to get the pace cranking. While they may not be the most highly cushioned shoe on the market, the Salomon Wildcross do live up to their name as a very reliable option to attack the wilds of winter. Weight: 290g (UK 8) Verdict: Wild by name and nature. A trusty shoe for winter. 7/19

Scott Kinabalu Ultra RC

Scott Kinabalu Ultra RC

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Letu2019s go no further than this review from a satisfied customer at sportsshoes.com. u201cVery pleased,u201d they write. u201cComfortable from the first run, plenty of room in the toe box, good cushioning on firmer ground and the grip has been excellent in the mud. My feet don't overheat but have still been kept dry in soggy conditions." We wholeheartedly agree. This shoe mixes traction with cushioning to give you a road-soft ride on the mud. And its so responsive, thanks to Scottu2019s eRide midsole which creates a more dynamic running position by reducing the impact on heel strikes. This shoe has a 9mm drop. Weight: 321g (UK 11) Verdict: Treat yourself to a dynamic, responsive ride. 9/10

Salming Trail 6

Salming Trail 6

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The T6 is springy, responsive and fun to run in, and packs enough cushioning for longer outings over moderate trails. The Swedish company has made some big changes to an already popular line and this latest offering doesn't disappoint. Working off a 5mm drop, their lively Recoil midsole compound is noticeably forward-propelling but what really stands out is the Vibram outsole that keeps you secure and confident on a variety of trails. The slim and rounded laces are a welcome addition as is the thin two-layer upper, but it can feel a little restricted in the toe box area, so make sure you try before you buy. Weight: 290g (UK 9) Verdict: Sticky Vibram traction at its very best. 8/10

La Sportiva VK Boa

La Sportiva VK Boa

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Light and unbelievably secure, these shoes will have you looking forward to climbs. Using compressed EVA and a thin rock-guard, they won't appreciate a bog-standard cruise around the block. They are built for a purpose: flying up Alpine paths. Yes, they will work on the flat, but itu2019s the Boa Fit system providing a quick, snug fit that makes them stand out. Perhaps, dare we say it, youu2019ll use them for a road race or better, save them for a holiday in Chamonix where youu2019ll be able to post a lifetime best for the Vertical Kilometre. The shoe has a 4mm drop, a FriXion White sole for grip, but minimal tread for speed. Weight: 180g (8 UK) Verdict: A must-have for any budding mountain goat. 8/10

Adidas Terrex Agravic Flow

Adidas Terrex Agravic Flow

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The adidas Boost system is everything that word suggests u2013 a nicely cushioned ride that encourages you to pick up the pace (we did), but more importantly in this instance, makes you feel at home on paths and moderately technical surfaces. These are about mixing and matching what you run on. Warm up on the road, then head to the hills. Thereu2019s all the trail protection you need sitting on a Continental outsole which is grippy enough for the autumn. The fit is great; indeed, the wonderfully wide toe box is definitely worth a mention. They feature a 7mm drop while the rocker shape supports a smooth ride and roll-off feeling. Weight: 383g (UK 11) Verdict: Road-friendly pathfinders; the best of both worlds. 8/10

VJ Irock 3

VJ Irock 3

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Designed with competition in mind, this shoe has a really secure feel to it, perfect for tight turning at speed. It works off a 6mm drop, but itu2019s the Fitlock system thatu2019s the real story. Fitlocku2019s rubber protects the inside of your foot from rocks sticking up. And that teams up really nicely with the solid, inflexible upper. At pace, off-road, you want your foot to stay rock solid still and this close-fitting shoe does exactly that. With that in mind, they are a little narrow, although this updated version has a wider, more accommodating toe box. The longer Butyl rubber studs this shoe uses ensure you'll be staying upright in the mud. Weight: 219g (UK 7) Verdict: Decent choice for extreme weather racing. 7/10

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