Trail Shoe Guide

The thrill of trail running, nothing quite beats it and a good pair of shoes suited to your trail is alway handy!

To choose the right shoe for the job Team Trail Hunter have created a Trail Shoe Guide to help.

Trail running shoes provide several key things that road shoes do not;

  • Rugged terrain grip - the grip usually comes from what are known as lugs. They provide the sole of the shoe with grip over dirt, mud, roots and gravel.
  • Foot protection - trail shoes have added protection to help shield your feet from impacts.
  • Stiff construction - trail shoes are geared towards preventing excessive foot rotation.

Types of shoe

We have split types of trail shoe into three categories.

Light Trail

Topo Athletic - MTN Racer & Hoka One One - Speedgoat 3

Lightweight in design and protection these are suited to more well trodden and clearer trails. Their lightweight nature is focused on getting you across the terrain fast. Often these are minimalist in lugs and cushioning so you feel more of the trail, however brands like Hoke One One offer the option to have maximum cushioning in a light trail shoe.   

Rugged Trail

Topo Athletic - Terraveture 2 & Altra Lone Peak 4.0

Rugged trail shoes are made to run on hiking trails. These shoes cover the widest range of trails. They are made to take on specially designed running trails to more challenging hiking routes. Rugged trail shoes generally have toe guards and additional plates to protect your feet, with mid-sole cushioning. Lugs vary, some have deep lugs for mud while others are shallower, but all are focused on grip.

Off Trail

These shoes are for paths less traveled. Pushing through off piste climbs up rocks and into rivers, they are for when getting a steady pace is substituted to getting through the grind. They are heavy and surrounded by cushioning with aggressive out-soles. Generally most shoes in this group are water resistant. 

These are broad groups and some shoes can cover many trail options, why not chat with our Team Trail Hunter specialists now to see what shoe you need Whatsapp +9889 9505 or email


Today there are shoes offering a minimalist, close to being barefoot, feel through to maximum cushioning. We have summarized the key groups below;

Barefoot - no padding shoes, just your feet, some material and the ground.

Minimalist - provide you with some mid-sole padding. Altra are the leading shoe in the group.

Moderate - where most trail shoes are found, they have the cushioning to handle most terrain. 

Maximum - these have lots of cushioning throughout the shoe. Hoka One One took maximum cushioning to the very top when they went against the grain with their leading trail shoes. 

Heel-to-Toe Drop

Heel-to-toe drop is a measurement that’s closely related to cushioning height. Ranging from 0mm to more than 12mm, heel-to-toe drop is the difference between the height at the heel and the height at the forefoot.

Barefoot - 0mm drop

Minimalist - 0mm - 4mm drop

Moderate & Maximum - vary but are generally around 5mm drop but can go up to as much as 16mm

The importance of Heel-to-Toe Drop was raised in Chris McDougall's Born to Run, 2009. Since then the drop has become an interesting talking point between trail and road runners. The argument being that having a barefoot or minimalist drop minimizes the risks of some injuries and in fact running with high drop can lead to knee injury. Generally it is down to person preference, if you want to see what the difference is why not try a minimalist and maximum shoe to see. Note however that transitioning from one to the other will take some time to adjust.


People all run slightly differently;

  • Under-pronators whose outer edge of their shoe heel gets the most wear and who notice a minor outward tilt when putting shoes on a flat surface.
  • Neutral runners who will tilt either inward or outward if they place the shoe on a level area and create an S-shape pattern running from the big toe to the outer heel of the treads.
  • Over-pronators who get more wear on the inside of the heel and under the ball of their foot and have shoes which will have an inward tilt viewed from an even surface.

Depending on which group you fall into you can try a running shoe which caters best for your running style, have a look below to see what type works best for you;

Moderate - Works for Under-pronators, make sure that there is excellent cushioning with the stability.

Neutral - Allows the foot to adopt its natural placement. Best for Neutral runners.

Stable (also known as a stability shoe) - Generally suited best for Over-pronators.

These are guidelines and are aimed at offering a brief explanation to the terms, we always suggest you drop by your doctor or physician for more details! If you have questions feel free to ask our team about recommended sport medical doctors or physical therapistsWhatsapp +9889 9505 or email    


Overall is comes down to how the shoe fits. Every runner has different feet, some wider than others or that have a high arch. We recommend getting in touch with our experienced team who have been through the same as you over many years of testing and trialing shoes. We are keen to help you pick the best trail shoe for you! Whatsapp +852 9889 9505 or email