Looking for new trail shoe recommendations

I am looking for a new trail shoe.  I have been wearing the Mizuno Ferus.  It works well for me on shorter runs, but the sole is fairly firm, so on my longer runs my feet get pretty tired.  I am wondering if a softer sole and perhaps a bit thicker might help.
I just tried the NB Minimus 00 v2.  I was very hopeful it would work.  Alas, it did not and has caused my right IT band to act up.  I like the soft ride, wide toe box, and zero drop, but I think the overall stack height of the 00v2 is what has given me problems.
So what I am looking for is a somewhat soft ride (I know that is very subjective), a wide toe box, decent lugs but not too aggressive (Inov8 Bare Grip would be too much for me), thin upper, <5mm drop.
Any recommendations?


  • I am wearing the Skechers Go Run Ultra, and I think that it would tick off all of your boxes:  soft ride, wide toe box, great lugs, 4mm drop w/o insole.  I don't know if I would classify the upper as thin, but I find it quite comfortable.
  • i'll check that out.  thank you.
  • Just commented on a similar forum. Definitely give the La Sportiva Helios trail shoes a try. Light weight, comfortable fit, 4mm drop, some cushion but not too much. I've been running mountain trails in New Mexico with these and find them extremely comfortable and capable. I might even like them a little better than the Merrell MixMaster 2.
  • I am a big fan of the Nike Terra Kiger which I think would meet your criteria.
  • Okay thank y'all

  • I have a pair of Nike Terra Kiger and the would be a good foot for someone who likes a softer ride.  They aren't a perfect shoe though, they don't breath well, and the grip on the heel is fail, but on the forefoot it grips well.  The upper feels great even without socks but it doesn't hold your foot well so doesn't handle lateral of twisting loads at all well, if you are on really technical trails you might want a more trail specific upper. 

    I have pair of New Balance MT1010 that have a firmer ride than the Kiger and the grip is more consistent across the sole.  It doesn't breath well either.  I had hoped the MT1010 but I just don't dial in when wearing it.

    The inov-8 Trailroc series have good all round grip, only weakness is in really deep mud. The upper breaths well and actually holds the foot properly in place, it is very much a thoroughbred trail shoe.  It's firmer than the Kiger though.  The new 2014 model changes the upper which hopefully will make it more robust, the old 235 and 245 model's were prone to tear.

    My personal favourite is the F-Lite 232, it's the lightest of the bunch, zero drop, firm but very flexible and responsive - it totally feels like an extension of your foot. It's the most minimal/least cushioned but far the most fun to go out tear up the trails in.  The breath well and shed water very quickly so can handle hot weather to stream crossing and rain without missing a step.  There is no rock plate and minimal cushioning so all the shoes above you'll get the most ground feel and risk of finding sharp stones uncomfortable to land on.  The grip works extremely well and roads and hard packed trails, but the legs are quite shallow so in muddy conditions they don't do so well.  Use them in the domain they work best and they excel.

    Ten days ago I ran a 53 mile ultra which had lots of technical and rocky and root covered sections, I considered all my trail shoes for the job but ended up running in the F-Lite 232's as they are simply so comfortable.  I swapped in some thicker insoles for added cushioning/protection from rocks and they worked really well.
  • I have tried the Ferus and it was much softer than merrel mix matser tuff and inov-8 trailroc 255.
  • I'm in a similar situation as the OP, and having some issues with getting a decent fit. I've been using the Merrell Trail Glove (original not 2).  I love the fit and it performs well in many environments, but a number of the trails convenient to me are at least partially composed of crushed rock and asphalt and those trails in particular are killing me in the Trail Gloves. 

    As far as fit,  I have a wide forefoot (oddly enough, mostly just my right foot) and for a road shoe I've recently tried and liked the Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit. I had to go up a full size on the Flyknit to avoid forefoot tightness and even then I was a little worried but after a number of runs, it's been fine. With this in mind, I tried out the Nike Terra Kiger hoping that the fit would be similar, but no luck. I also tried the Mix Master Move as I've had good luck with Merrel when it comes to width, but no-go there as well. In fact, it was actually worse than the Terra Kiger. 

    Can anyone recommend something with a little more cush and/or rock protection than the Trail Glove and the also accommodates a wide forefoot?
  • I have wide feet and really struggle with most shoes.  Shoes that have worked for me so far are inov-8 Natural Last, shoes I used regularly are inov-8 F-Lite 232 + 252, and Trailroc 245 + 255.  These shoes are the only ones I've bought so far that I haven't need to modify in some way to handle my wide feet.

    I also have Nike Kiger that are a bit tight around the mid-foot, and are a bit shallow in the toe box but have worked well. I trimmed some of the rubber sideway around the mid-foot to take a bit of pressure off my mid-foot and they have been really comfortable since. I sized up by half a size compared to the inov-8's.

    My guess is that Altra Lone Peak would also fit my wide feet well too, but don't fancy the cost, weight and stiffness compared to shoes that I currently enjoy running in.
  • edited June 2014
    @RobertOsfield, thank you for the suggestions. I'll look into the shoes you mentioned.
  • @Watter I'd second the Trailroc suggestion. If you like Merrell, you might also check out the Ascend Glove or the new Bare Access Trail or Ultra. I should have the latter two soon. Steve Speirs just reviewed the BA Trail: http://www.runbulldogrun.com/running-shoes-2/merrell-bare-access-trail-shoe-review/
  • As mentioned above, I had tried the Mix Master Move (Running Warehouse) but they were way too narrow in the front. I had heard great things about the Mix Master 2 from this site and elsewhere but it was unavailable most places (although I now see a few pairs at Amazon). In any case, I happened to be near a Gander Mountain today and stopped in for a peek at their inventory. To my surprise, they had quite a few Mix Master 2's in stock. Not only that, they fit wonderfully. In fact, the front was so roomy, I was almost able to actually size down for once. I grabbed a pair and headed to the register and got my second surprise: they were only $40! I guess as a discontinued model, they were just trying to get rid of them. I'll be taking them out for a run tomorrow morning, but just wearing them around the house, they feel pretty good. 

    I also picked up a pair of La Sportiva Helios from Running Warehouse when I returned the Mix Master Move's. The Helios fit decently as well, although not as roomy as the Mix Master 2's. I've already taken them out a few times and they were perhaps a little more soft than I was anticipating, but overall not bad. They certainly made short work of the crushed rock trails I mentioned previously. 
  • Sweet! Mix Master 2 was a personal favorite.
  • The Topo MT Trail Shoe

    Hi - earlier I recommended the Merrell Mix Master 2 and La Sportiva Helios trail running shoes (two trail shoes I've run many miles in). After reading some good reviews I picked up a pair of Topo MT trail running shoes and have to say I'm very impressed. They are a touch lighter than the MM2 and Helios, have a 2mm drop (4 - 6mm is my sweet spot, but loved the feel of these), have a wide toe box, are very comfortable and have great traction. I also noticed better ground feel than the Helios without feeling beat up from running longer distances in the MM2.

    I'll be doing a tough 8 - 10 miles near Santa Fe on trail and rock with over 1000 feet of elevation gain tomorrow and will see how they handle on this. Today's run was on a pretty easy trail with some rocky sections and I didn't even notice the shoes on my feet - just the run. This just may be the best trail shoe I've ever run in.
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