$160 The Boa lace system, which uses specially designed soft laces on Asics’ Gel Fujirado, ensures you can literally dial in the perfect fit so you get lots of comfortable, lateral support that will get you through even the toughest trails. The mono construction provides a snug fit that keeps out stones, twigs and other debris, while the SPEVA midsole offers lots of protection. The high-density rubber used in the outsole, which has reversed lugs, provides lots of traction and durability. Weighing just 300 g (10.6 oz.), you get a lot of support in this flexible and fast-feeling shoe.
SKECHERS GOTRAIL 2
$140 The Gotrail 2 offers up the best of Skechers’ road technology in a shoe that is designed to hit the trails. This water-resistant shoe uses 5GEN midsole cushioning to ensure you get lots of cushioning, while the midfoot strike zone that we like so much in the Skechers road models remains, ensuring you get a fast-feeling shoe that’s easy to turnover and launch from your heel to toe with ease. There’s a special forefoot pressure dispersion plate for added impact protection, along with a multi-surface traction outsole that offers lots of traction and protection. You can really feel the moulded heel counter that ensures the shoe hugs your foot. The end result is a lightweight, comfortable shoe (272 g or 9.6 oz.) that feels super fast, but also provides excellent cushioning and support.
SALOMON S-LAB XA AMPHIB
$220 Swim/run events are becoming more and more popular these days and the S-lab XA Amphib is designed specifically for those races. Fast and efficient whether your feet are wet or dry, these shoes don’t provide a lot of cushioning (at 215 g or 7.6 oz. there’s not much too them). But for those who can handle a closer-to-barefoot shoe, they are an amazing option when you need to be able to bounce back and forth between swimming and running. Designed so that the midsole cradles your foot, you can use the Quick Fit lacing system to dial in a customized fit. The quick drying mesh upper is extremely comfortable, while the OS Tendon support system built into the shoe provides a surprising amount of support and some cushioning.
HOKA ONE ONE SPEEDGOAT 2
$220 Like Hoka’s road-oriented shoes, the Speedgoat 2 uses an oversized EVA midsole for outstanding support and cushioning in a shoe that still manages to feel light and fast. The Speedgoat 2 is designed for any surface that’s not road, but is really geared for technical and tough trails. A wide base ensures you have a stable platform as you go over rough terrain, while the Vibram Megagrip outsole uses 5 mm lugs to provide lots of grip. The mesh upper is supportive and hugs your foot, but remains very breathable. Like the Hoka One One road shoes, the Speedgoat 2 feels quick from heel to toe but still offers lots of protection and support. (278 g or 9.8 OZ.)—TMC