Of course you could run some of your local trails in your favorite road shoe but, why would you? You could also read a gazillion reviews on the seemingly endless number of trail shoes designed to address certain nuances of certain terrain in certain places in the country where you may or may not ever run. We took a more simplified approach and found different types of trail shoes you need to know about before starting your search for the perfect shoe. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if your perfect shoe was one of the three we feature here.

New Balance 910v4 Trail

Be your own guide in the New Balance 910v4 trail running shoe. The bottom unit is fully equipped for whatever outdoor elements it happens upon with ultra-lightweight REVlite midsole cushioning, Rockstop plate between the midsole and outsole for extra protection against roots and rocks, and Hydrohesion rubber outsole designed to provide grip in adventurous environments. Meanwhile, the updated upper restores the Toe Protect technology and features a new synthetic saddle and aggressive bootie construction. Plus, cool bright color combinations stand out in nature and make a cool modern statement when you take them back to the city streets or valley cafe.

Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3

A versatile performer, this shoe excels in the mountains, on the roads and everywhere in between. Dubbed the Clifton for trail running, this updated Challenger is cushy, fast and very surefooted. The now well established HOKA midsole geometry and early stage mid-sole rocker promise a smooth ride, and the supportive fit through the mid-foot makes for an even more comfortable experience on road or trail. The breathable upper with reinforcing overlays, and rubber-tipped 4mm lugs for all-terrain traction, complete the offering.

Altra Timp

Designed to fit in the sweet spot between the moderate cushioning of the Lone Peak and max cushioning of the Olympus, the Timp is another great Zero Drop offering from Altra. This versatile trail shoe has a 29 mm stack height and 4mm outsole lugs for a comfortable ride that is ready to tackle any distance or trail condition. And Altra’s PFS performance last and lower volume fit give you reduced lateral movement and a secure fit while aiding in natural foot positioning and tie splay. Breathability and durability are combined in the upper with laser cutout TPU overlays and extra coverage in higher abrasion areas, like the toe box and heel cap. Serious trail runners will love the 4-point Gaiter Trap technology.