Updated March 2017
This spring, our top shoe by Pearl iZUMI was discontinued. Expect a new Editor's Choice by early summer after our major tests and review update. Until then, you can still find the EM N2 V3 from some retailers, often at a discount. Also, we confirmed the availability of our other top-scoring shoes. We added new charts to help you find shoes that perform best for the metrics you care about.
Best Overall Trail Running Shoes
Pearl iZUMi Trail EM N2 V3
Good underfoot protection
More expensive than previous years
Runs slightly long
While the Pearl iZUMi Trail EM N2 V3
wins again, it has been discontinued. Luckily there are many other great shoes below. How did the Trail EM N2 V3 win top honors two years in a row? We love the balance of comfort, foot protection, sensitivity, and stability. There is nothing about this shoe that disappoints. We reached for long runs and short jaunts along the local trails and took it scrambling on peak-bagging missions, finding that it climbs wonderfully.
Read full review: Pearl iZUMi Trail EM N2 V3
Best Bang for the Buck
The North Face Ultra Endurance
A bit heavy
Not very sensitive
With its wide and stable platform and fantastic underfoot protection provided by the snakeplate
rock plate, The North Face Ultra Endurance
runs remarkably like our Editors' Choice award winner. The suede overlays on the upper, solid plastic toe bumper and single piece Vibram outsole ensure that durability is upheld. This shoe lasts and keeps your feet healthy and fresh. Not only that, but it costs less than all the other favorites from this year's review, which is why we give it our Best Buy award! This trail running shoe is also available in a waterproof version; check out the The North Face Ultra Endurance GORE-TEX
Read full review: The North Face Ultra Endurance
Top Pick for Maximum Cushioning
HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 2
Superior foot protection
Not very durable outsole
Some people demand lots of cushioning underfoot to protect their bodies from abusive daily running impact. Others aren't aware that they can have extra cushioning without sacrificing weight or performance. For both types of people, we recommend the HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 2
. With a stack height of 29mm, it offers more underfoot protection than any other shoe reviewed, which is reason enough to be interested. This shoe was stable, sensitive, and at only 20.4 ounces for a pair of men's size 11, among the lightest tested. Gone are the days of compromised performance or ankle-breaking instability while wearing HOKAs.
Read full review: HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 2
Top Pick for Light and Fast
Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 3
Upper lacks much abrasion resistance
The Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 3
have a winning combination of low profile, light weight, and underfoot protection that makes them our Top Pick for running light and fast. Where other light, minimal shoes compromise protection for increased sensitivity, this shoe instead sports the hardest and stiffest rock plate tested, ensuring that you can stomp over anything
without feeling a thing. We loved it for pushing our speed through rocky terrain. With such a hard platform, we didn't need to mince steps because we were afraid of damaging our feet. This shoe takes the opposite approach than most, where extra cushioning is added but performs as well if not better.
Read full review: Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 3