The Best Trail Running Shoes for Women Buying Guide

The Best Trail Running Shoes For Women

If you don’t really find paved roads challenging and enjoyable for your runs, hitting the trails would prove to be an exciting alternative. The uneven surface will demand more from your body. Not only will you need to balance, but you’ll also have to take on inclines that will really do a number of your muscles.

As it also puts you in the great outdoors, your runs can be more enjoyable and relaxing. Due to the differences in surfaces, regular running and trail running require different shoes. You wouldn’t want to run on a rough terrain without shoes with great traction.

That’s just asking for trouble. So, to help you meet the requirements of your chosen activity, this short guide will teach you a thing or two in choosing the best trail running shoes for women.

Buying Guide: The Best Trail Running Shoes for Women

What makes a pair of trail running shoes for women worth the while? Here are a few important things that will help you choose the right pair for your trail running sessions:

#1 It should suit the surface of the trail you intend to do your runs in.

There are three different types of trail running shoes that are designed to match different outdoor surfaces. You can find trainers that will suit light and relatively uniform paths, rugged hiking trails, and completely rough, off-trail surfaces. You should start your search by choosing the right shoe type you need based on the terrain of your chosen trail.

This will not only narrow down your options but will  help ensure your safety and performance. If you’re planning on exploring different hiking trails in your area, your best bet is a pair of rugged trail runners. These are the most versatile of the three and will already provide ample traction for more challenging surfaces.

#2 It should provide ample support, cushioning, and protection to your feet.

No matter which trail running shoe type you choose, however, you should still make sure that it will protect your feet. Your feet are subjected to a lot of beating from running alone but combined with a challenging terrain, you can expect it to face even more challenges.

But as trail running shoes are still considered running shoes, they should still have the basic requirements of a good athletic footwear. All of these requirements will ensure that your feet are kept in top shape no matter how challenging the terrain is.

#3 It should fit you comfortably.

Just like any pair of shoes, trail running shoes for women also have to be comfortable. The toe box should nicely accommodate your feet. It should be in the right size. You also have to look into the heel-to-toe drop that will suit your body’s structure. This may be a bit tricky, but as it can affect your feet’s performance, paying close attention to it is necessary.

#4 Look for other features that will come in handy.

Waterproofing, gusseted tongues, and closures may not exactly be the major components of trail running shoes but they also play huge roles in these shoes’ performance. Knowing what suits your needs and whether to opt for these features or not can help you choose the best pair for you. As they say, the devil’s in the details, so these relatively smaller things can really make or break a product for you.

5 Best Trail Running Shoes for Women

Now that you have an idea what you need in the best trail running shoes for women, let us help you out further with a list of suggestions. These five top rated products might just be the right picks for you. If not, they can, at least, give you a good idea of what’s on the market today. Either way, they can help out, so let’s have a look:

Merrell Women’s Vapor Glove 2 Barefoot Trail Running Shoe

With barefoot running becoming a popular option as of late, minimalist barefoot trail running shoes also became in demand. Merrell’s Women’s Vapor Glove 2 Barefoot Trail Running Shoe is one of the more popular options when it comes to these kinds of footwear.

It’s actually the second iteration of the Vapor Glove line, proving that the shoes have already made many people happy and they want more of it. The best thing about the Vapor Glove 2 is the fact that it’s suitable for all kinds of terrains. This versatility will allow you to get more use out of it. It’s also a good way how to get more bang for your buck. If you’re not a fan of barefoot running, these shoes might convince you to give it a shot.

They’re very lightweight and comfortable. As they ’re designed to fit your feet like gloves, you won’t feel encumbered as you run. They’re also very breathable, so it really won’t bother you as you move. If you’re worried about foot protection, fret not. The Vapor Glove 2 is designed with a few features to keep your feet safe. Its snug fit actually promises stability.

It can keep your feet properly centered, so you won’t have to worry about slip and slides that can injure you. Its outsoles also have lug patterns that will provide traction on both dry and wet surfaces. You won’t find lugs on the midsole, though. This will provide the flexibility you need to move while practically “barefoot.”


  • Mesh and TPU-Blend Upper
  • M Select Fresh Footbed
  • Minimalist, Barefoot Style
  • Lace-up Closure
  • Vibram Rubber Outsole
  • Zero Drop
  • Neutral Arch Support


  • Vegan-friendly construction
  • True to size
  • Highly versatile
  • Very lightweight
  • Odor-wicking elements keep these shoes fresh
  • Very flexible
  • Snug fit ensures stability
  • Great for everyday training
  • Very breathable
  • Looks great
  • Easy to clean


  • Fabric upper isn’t the most durable material
  • Single width availability

Deemed as a great option for regular training, the Merrell Vapor Glove 2 can be a solid pick for folks who want to move outdoors with ease and safety while staying comfortable.

Salomon Women’s Speedcross 4 W Trail Runner

In all honesty, it shouldn’t be surprising that the Salomon Women’s Speedcross 4 W Trail Runner is on this list. With this brand being one of the biggest names in outdoor gear, you can expect them to whip up great pieces.

And as many experts and runners can prove, you won’t go wrong with the Speedcross 4. Being the fourth update on the brand’s best-selling Speedcross series, the Speedcross 4 is packed with great features. It offers comfort, safety, durability, and performance that are hard to beat. It’s definitely engineered to get you moving in challenging terrains.

But what, exactly, makes the Speedcross 4 so special? In terms of comfort, it employs the brand’s Sensifit and EndoFit Technologies. These special features give the shoes a snug, sock-like fit. It also boosts its comfort, offering a nice ride on runs. Another notable thing about these trail runners is its monster grip. The lugs on its outsole are designed to take on mountains, so they’re crazy grippy. This makes it the perfect pick if you intend to run on the wet, messy, steep, and challenging terrain.


  • Rugged Trail Runners
  • Sensifit and EndoFit Technologies
  • Nylon Mesh and Water-Resistant Textile Upper Material
  • Moderate Cushioning
  • High (11 mm) Heel-to-Toe Drop
  • Single-Pull Laces
  • EVA Midsole and Arch Support Material
  • Contagrip WT Rubber Outsole


  • Can handle more difficult terrains
  • Grippy outsoles that can offer great traction even on wet and soft surfaces
  • Very comfortable
  • Fantastic traction on slush, mud, snow, and other wet conditions
  • Wide variety of color options
  • Anti-debris mesh keeps your runs undisturbed and comfortable
  • Rounded toe box adds more comfort
  • Highly durable construction and materials
  • Easy to secure
  • Very flexible


  • Only comes in normal width variety
  • Can take a while to dry
  • High heel-to-toe drop might not be ideal for everyone

If you want to take your runs to new heights, you can rely on the Salomon Speedcross 4. These trail running shoes will give you the traction and protection you need to take on rugged terrains without sacrificing your comfort.

Altra Women’s Lone Peak 3 Trail Runner

Serious trail runners know that Altras are among the best picks if they want top notch performance, quality, and comfort. The Lone Peak 3 is actually clear proof of this. Being the fifth reincarnation of these top-rated trail running shoes, they’re easily considered one of the best trail runners for women today.

Designed for long distance trail running, the Altra Lone Peak 3 is best loved for its comfort. Its two-layer cushioning combines A-bound foam and EVA which offers a smooth ride. Its foot-shaped toe box is also praised by many owners and users. It makes the trainers roomy, providing space to accommodate the swelling that’s common on long runs. Because the Lone Peak 3 is inspired by the most brutal terrains of the Wasatch Range, you can also count on these trail runners to have great traction.

Its outsoles are actually equipped and designed with the TrailClaw pattern which is composed of geometric lugs in different shapes to provide better grip. Its stiff construction, Sandwiched Stoneguard technology, and solid toe cap also promises to keep your feet safe while you run.

You won’t have to worry about debris getting into your shoe, especially with the Altra Gaiter Trap. The toe cap also comes in really handy, as it can prevent you from nasty stubs, brushes, and other accidents that can happen to your feet.


  • Mesh and Synthetic Material Upper
  • A-bound Foam and EVA Midsole Material
  • Sandwiched Stoneguard Protection
  • TrailClaw Sticky Rubber Outsole
  • 5mm Contour Footbed
  • Zero Drop
  • Rugged Trail Running Shoes
  • Lace-up Closure
  • Gaiter Trap


  • Foot-shaped toe box offers more comfort
  • Excellent stability
  • Roomy fit
  • Smooth and comfortable ride
  • Suitable for long trail runs
  • Can handle just about any kind of surface
  • Fantastic traction
  • Good foot protection
  • Lighter than older versions
  • Very durable
  • Great for marathons
  • Friendly price tag


  • Limited breathability
  • Arch support issues
  • Not the best pick for messy and wet terrains

If your feet are wide or prone to swelling on long runs, the Altra Lone Peak 3 just be the perfect trail runner for you. Despite their weight, they’re very comfortable, so you might still find the right match for you in this pair.

Saucony Women’s Grid Excursion Tr10 Trail Running Shoe

Lots of runners turn to Saucony for the best pairs of running shoes. But are their trail runners on par with their traditional products? The Excursion Tr10 proves that it does. Being the tenth edition of this popular trail runner line, it’s safe to say that lots of people are very happy with its performance – enough that it warranted a tenth reincarnation.

True to the Saucony tradition, the Excursion Tr10 is very comfortable. It’s a well-cushioned trail running shoe. This makes it very stable, snug, and comfortable. With a Heel GRID system, it provides great support in case of heel strike. Its uppers are also heavily cushioned so it fits your feet like a glove and effectively keeps out debris. The Saucony Excursion Tr10 is also known for its versatility.

True to its classification, it’s suitable for just about any surface. Its multi-directional lugs provide ample grip on uneven terrains but they’re not too overwhelming for paved roads. So even if you don’t have the time to drive out to the nearby hiking trail, you can still use these trainers to clock in some miles at the gym or around your neighborhood. This also makes it a practical choice. If you’ve been a Saucony fan from the get go, you’ll know that their designs are a bit burly. This is true with the Excursion Tr10 so may put some ladies off.

However, its bulky appearance is actually a result of its excellent cushioning. This pair’s uppers offer top notch cushioning from its heels to its forefoot. Your feet will be snug and held in place as you run, ensuring stability and great control.


  • Rugged Trail Running Shoe
  • Nylon Mesh and Synthetic Material Upper
  • High (12mm) Heel-to-Toe Drop
  • Heel Grid System
  • High and Mid Arch Support
  • IMEVA Midsole
  • XT-600 Carbon Rubber Outsoles
  • Lace-up Closure


  • Excellent breathability
  • Available in normal and wide varieties
  • Stitched and welded overlays in its upper provides excellent support and security
  • Highly breathable
  • Durability is guaranteed
  • Quite versatile
  • Superb traction
  • Available in different attractive colors
  • Fantastic price
  • Quite versatile as it can be comfortably used for other activities
  • Good arch support


  • Requires breaking in

Any trail running enthusiast would appreciate all the great features the Saucony Excursion Tr10 has. You’ll be hard pressed to find another durable, versatile, and comfortable trail runner at this price point.

New Balance Women’s WT690v2 Trail Running Sneaker

Best known for creating running shoes that fit really well, it’s impossible not to include a New Balance pair in a list like this. Their WT690V2 offers practical comfort which makes it a perfect pick for the best trail running shoes for women.

As New Balance kicks are podiatrist-recommended, you won’t really have to worry about the 690V2’s comfort and support. It has a medium arch support that is good for a lot of people with specific feet conditions. This helps make it very comfortable but with the additional NB Response 2.0 insole, its comfort is further boosted. You won’t mind running for miles in these shoes as it has a very responsive and smooth ride.

Its IMEVA midsole also provides extra cushioning which further dampens the impact of your activities on your feet. Touted as a rugged, all-terrain trail runner, you can expect that you can rough it out with the 690V2. However, its lug pattern isn’t exactly suitable for wet and messy terrains, so you might want to stick with drier and more uniform surfaces. It can perfectly handle pavements and paths, though, so you can still get a lot of use out of this pair. 


  • Rugged Trail Running Shoe
  • Moderate (8 mm) Heel-to-Toe Drop
  • Mesh and Synthetic Material Upper
  • IMEVA Midsole
  • AT Tread Outsole
  • NB Response 2.0
  • Lace-up Closure
  • Speed Ride Technology


  • Versatile
  • Highly durable
  • Responsive performance
  • Smooth ride
  • Lightweight
  • Great price
  • Podiatrist-recommended
  • Excellent fit and support


  • Durability issues

Trail runners aren’t the cheapest athletic footwear in the market, so budget friendly options are always welcome. With the New Balance WT690’s great fit, performance, and comfort, though, you’ll be getting more than your money’s worth.

Final Verdict

The best trail running shoes for women can definitely take your runs to the next level. Getting a pair or two will significantly help your performance. But before you can actually wade through mud, slush, and even bodies of water, you will have to take the time to wade through all of your options.

We hope our quick guide helps you out and give you an idea how to choose the right pair for your needs. These five are among the finest choices based on their performance and comfort so they are the perfect jump-off points for your search. Check them out and you might just instantly find the right match for you.