When you transition from the road to the trails you experience quite a different running terrain. That’s why you need shoes that perform effectively on both road and trail surfaces. So, which are the best road to trail running shoes?
Well, here are seven running shoes designed to tackle both road and trail surfaces.
Related: Beginner’s Guide to Trail Running
Reviews: 7 Best Road to Trail Running Shoes 2021
Challenger ATR5 features a maximalist midsole cushioning which is ideal for hitting road and trail surfaces. Although lightweight, the EVA foam utilized here provides adequate cushioning all types of runners.
Shock attenuation is provided the CMEVA foam also included in the midsole. The purpose of this is to protect your joints and muscles from the landing impacts on road and trail surfaces. It’s also responsible for stability which in turn enables you to land correctly.
The midsole foam extends as one piece to form part of the outsole. This is meant to heighten the underfoot cushion to enhance your comfort. A grippy and durable rubber covers parts of the outsole that are in acute contact with the ground. Plus the gripping lugs are ideal for the ruggedness encountered on trail surfaces.
On the upper unit is a double-layered mesh designed to offer good support for your feet when running on uneven surfaces. This material also promotes sufficient air and heat circulation to keep the foot compartment cool and dry.
The midfoot overlays together with the heel counter plays the role of locking down your feet to prevent discomfort or rubbing. The toe area is protected with a TPU material in case you stumble on rocks or roots during trail running.
With Superior 4.0 running shoes you can take the roads and break into trails with superb comfort and performance. Both the midsole and outsole are meant to tackle hand surfaces like concrete and soft surfaces like those found on trails.
Covering the entire midsole is Quantic foam, a lightweight yet responsive material that guarantees you ample underfoot comfort. Together with the Zero Drop configuration of the platform, Quantic foam also helps in shock attenuation to mitigate impact shocks.
The midsole also exhibits adequate flexibility, thanks to the InnerFlex grooves which allow your feet to bend without restriction.
MaxTrac rubber is what makes the entire outsole of Superior 4.0. It’s a grippy and durable rubber meant to deliver adequate traction for a prolonged period. In addition, it’s equipped with TrailClaws whose function is to heighten traction on rugged terrain and enhance stability.
The upper of Superior 4.0 features Wraparound material which provides a durable and breathable cover for your feet. Reinforcing the heel and sides are stitched overlays which blend so well with the shoes’s aesthetics. Plus the toe box is also reinforced with printed overlays.
Another notable feature in the Superior 4.0 is the FootShape design of the toe box which allows unrestricted toe movement.
If you have trained on trails, you know that Salomon is an iconic brand in trail running shoes. And with Trailster running shoes, you expect nothing short of quality and performance on the rugged terrains encountered during trail running.
The design of the outsole makes is ideal for other types of surfaces including hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt. It’s made of Contagrip rubber around the high-wear areas and a flexible rubber on the rest of the outsole.
The outsole also comes with lugs that deliver substantial grip on both soft and hard surfaces.
Trailster utilizes EnergyCell cushioning technology which is intended to deliver adequate underfoot comfort and shock attenuation. As its name suggests, the platform also delivers substantial energy return to propel you forward.
The midsole also features an antimicrobial EVA ortholite which is molded to support you underfoot for enhanced comfort.
The upper part is constructed using synthetic mesh which provides a glove-like wrap while allowing air into the foot compartment.
Gel Venture 7 comes with moderate lugs on its outsole which makes it ideal for road and trail running. The material for the outsole is the popular AHAR rubber which offers sufficient resistance to abrasion and offers the means for braking. Since the lugs face in opposite direction, this shoe performs greatly on both uphill and downhill roads or trails.
Underfoot cushioning results from the EVA foam placed at the midsole. This material is also responsible for shock absorption to mitigate impact shocks during landing. There’s also a rearfoot Gel which delivers forward propulsion during toe-off.
Additional underfoot comfort is provided by the removable insole which can also be substituted with custom orthotics.
The top part of your feet is protected from rocks and debris by a combination of synthetic leather and a breathable mesh. Plus the upper unit is lined with a soft fabric on the inside to enhance inshoe comfort.
What’s more, the plush collar and tongue delivers a comfortable fit while preventing irritation.
If you’re are a heel striker, then you need a zero drop trail running shoe like the Timp 1.5 form Altra. This enables you to land with the midfoot rather than the heel which causes compartment syndrome in runners.
DuraTread rubber is what makes the outsole of Timp 1.5. It’s a sturdy rubber meant to withstand rigorous usage and resist abrasion. This rubber also offers adequate grip on both soft and hard surfaces. Plus it’s equipped with TrailClaw treads to provide a means for gripping on rugged surfaces.
The EVA foam cushion featured on its midsole delivers adequate underfoot comfort and responsiveness. Even with the zero drop configuration, the platform delivers substantial shock attenuation to mitigate the landing impacts. The midsole is also equipped with flexibility details to ensure smooth transition.
Beneath the EVA foam is a footbed whose contours mimic the shape of the foot. This heightens your comfort by adding extra cushion and underfoot support.
The mesh on Timp 1.5 can be described as breathable, comfortable and durable. TPU overlays are embedded on strategic areas to enhance the shape of the shoe and increase durability. Plus the mesh does not deny your feet the freedom to bend naturally.
When it comes to road and trail running La Sportiva doesn’t disappoint. The Akasha adds to the La Sportiva’s trend of quality road and trail running shoes. The most notable feature here is the rocker outsole which is intended to deliver smooth transition when running on both soft and hard surfaces.
The outsole is constructed from a trail-ready compound known as FriXion XT. The sticky nature of this material is what enables it to grip on various surfaces. Presence of gripping lugs increases the traction ability especially on jagged surfaces. Plus the lugs are designed for both uphill and downward trails.
The underfoot platform features MEMlex EVA foam technology which is very effective in cushioning and shock attenuation. This helps in relieving your joints and muscles from landing impacts which might otherwise cause injuries.
The top unit is built with a breathable mesh which is reinforced with microfibers to increase its durability and prevent wear and tear. A TPU toe cap covers the toe area to protect your toes from rocks, debris and roots during trail running.
Gecko XT is a good trail running shoe for individuals who exhibit neutral pronation. It makes use of FlyteFoam cushioning technology in its midsole to provide a lightweight and responsive platform. Below the midsole is the rock plate which protects your underfoot against gravel and jagged surfaces.
The outsole is built with GeckoTrac carbon rubber to deliver secure grip on surfaces and protect the midsole from abrasive roads or trails. It’s also equipped with angular lugs to provide accurate grip on jagged surfaces. Plus you can run uphill or downhill without slipping.
Owing to the breathable mesh on the upper, the shoe doesn’t get stuffy because of accumulated moisture or heat. The mesh comes with synthetic reinforcements to maintain its structure and minimise abrasion. The soft lining on the inside of the mesh ensures that your feet are free from blisters.
What’s more, the plush collar, tongue and heel cover promotes inshoe comfort while maintaining a secure fit.
Running on the trails provides a great routine for fitness and endurance building. In this case you need running shoes that will give you adequate comfort and provide secure grip on both surfaces. Plus they should have adequate durability. Alternatively you may opt for road to trail running shoes that allow you to transition from road to trail surfaces.