Women’s trail running shoes: best ladies’ running shoes for off-road, from Mizuno, Merrell, Saucony, On

If you love running on all terrain - up hill, over dale - a great pair of comfy, grippy trail running shoes are essential. Here’s what to buy

Trail running shoes for women: the best ladies’ running shoes for off-road, from Mizuno, Merrell, SauconyTrail running shoes for women: the best ladies’ running shoes for off-road, from Mizuno, Merrell, Saucony
Trail running shoes for women: the best ladies’ running shoes for off-road, from Mizuno, Merrell, Saucony

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on items purchased through this article, but that does not affect our editorial judgement.

Trail running shoes may initially seem extravagant if you already own a decent pair of running trainers, but they’re truly transformative. With waterproof, barefoot, lightweight and high grip options, they’re far more tailored to rough terrain than their standard running trainer brethren.

While some running shoes can deal with both road and trail surfaces, if your favourite form of running involves mud, rock and a whole lot of off-road adventuring, or if you’re starting to get into trail running events, it’s definitely worth investing in a pair of women’s trail running shoes specifically designed to take you off tarmac.

What should you look for in a pair of trail running shoes?

The best trail running shoes offer good grip, with deeper lugs (the indentations in the sole of the trainer) than a road shoe, so that they can tackle wet rock and slick muddy surfaces and help you move quickly and confidently.

Some trail shoes are also waterproofed with technology such as Gore-Tex, a waterproof but breathable fabric membrane – waterproofed shoes won’t keep your feet 100% dry if you’re venturing into deep puddles or heavy rain, as water will eventually seep into your socks and the tops of your trainers, but they will keep your feet dryer and warmer for longer, and will protect from surface water, and are a good choice for autumn and winter.

Once you’ve checked your shoes are rugged enough for trail running, make sure they feel comfortable. Cushioned inner soles and tough but bouncy outer soles will keep you running in comfort over long distances.

Can you use trail running shoes for hiking?

In short, yes - they’re suitable for hiking, particularly in fair weather. They won’t, however, be as waterproof as a pair of sturdy hiking boots, nor will they last as long - but they’re safer to take on a hike than a pair of road running trainers.

Do trail running shoes last longer than road running shoes?

No, they last about the same amount of time, depending on the quality, traction, terrain, runner’s weight, running style, and technique. You’ll need to replace them after 500 miles (800 kms) use.

Can I wear trail running shoes on a treadmill?

Yes - they won’t hurt the shoes anywhere as much as a trail run! That said, it’s a strange experiment - more ‘buoyant’ under foot than standard trainers, so be careful if you have pronation or ankle issues.

What should you pay for a pair of trail running shoes?

Expect to pay around the £100 mark for a decent pair of trail running shoes, although we’ve also included good options for tighter budgets in our round-up of the nine best trail running shoes for women.

We also have a round up of the best gym bags here, best weight lifting trainers here, and best women’s hiking boots here.

Related topics: