The best women's running shoes are designed to give the feet control, stability and cushioning. Arc'teryx jumped into the trail-running-shoe market a couple years ago with the mountain-ready Best Trail Running Shoes Norvan VT, and last summer they released the updated 2.” The VT (vertical”) maintains the original shoe's aggressive intentions, but does so with a more traditional feature set.
If one shoe receives a poor score, that doesn't mean it is a poor shoe, but simply that it doesn't perform as well as the other excellent shoes we compared it to. Since we aim to test only the best and most innovative trail running shoes, we think all of these shoes are pretty solid.
While trail running shoes are designed to protect your feet from abrasion, direct blows from the pointy sides of rocks, or from repeated impacts inherent in the motion of running itself, they need to balance this protection with the fact that to run effectively, our brains demand feedback from our feet.
Here are some of the best selling and top-rated pairs of shoes in each category so you know how to align your search — you can get any of these through Zappos (which carries thousands of running shoes for men , women , boys , and girls so shipping and possible returns are easy.
These shoes are tested in all seasons, on road trips all over the country, and are continuously compared against the other newest shoes available, as well as against previous versions of the same shoe (you should see all the shoes in Andy's closet!).
For truly rugged trails, we'd recommend a less cushioned and more protective shoe, like the La Sportiva Bushido II or Arc'teryx Norvan VT 2. That said, the MTN Racer holds its own on rocks and roots alike, with deep lugs, sticky Vibram Megagrip rubber (a blend often used in climbing-specific approach shoes), and a relatively stiff build.
Those adventures led him to settle in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, a modern-day mountain running mecca and home to the iconic Hardrock Hundred trail race, where he began reviewing trail running shoes and other running apparel for OutdoorGearLab.