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The Best Women’s Trail Running Shoe

Last updated on May 22, 2020

We looked at the top 12 Women's Trail Running Shoes and dug through the reviews from 47 of the most popular review sites including Refinery29, RunRepeat, Adventure Sacks, Runners Equipped, Runner's World, Runner Click and more. The result is a ranking of the best Women's Trail Running Shoes.

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Our Picks For The Top Women's Trail Running Shoes

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

ASICS Frequent Women’s Trail Running Shoes

ASICS

Frequent Women's Trail Running Shoes

Overall Take

Experts Included
DWYM Fashion Experts plus Best Shoes Reviews, Walks Around Britain. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" The toe cap is reinforced for extra durability and the rubber outsole has Reverse lugs for downhill and uphill traction on all terrains."

New Balance Fresh Foam Arishi Trail V1 Women’s Trail Running Shoes

New Balance

Fresh Foam Women's Trail Running Shoes

Overall Take

Experts Included
DWYM Fashion Experts plus Verywell Fit, Running Shoes for Supination, RunRepeat. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" With a reinforced toe tip and AT tread dual-use outsoles, you’ll get protection from rocks, sticks, and other debris."
Cons
"Most runners said it did not have sufficient arch support and footbed."

Salomon Trailster Women’s Trail Running Shoes

Salomon

Trailster Women's Trail Running Shoes

Overall Take

Experts Included
DWYM Fashion Experts plus Oh So Savvy Mom, RunRepeat, Blister Review. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" These trail running shoes are fantastic! Comfortable, supportive, and sturdy, and I like the look. I ran a total of 20 miles over a period of 2 weeks, during hot humid summer weather reaching 90 degrees F. My feet never..."
Cons
"The shoe's toe box was also noted by several wearers to be narrow and shallow, causing a few serious blisters on their feet."
  The Best Value

Merrell Bare Access Flex Women’s Trail Running Shoes

Merrell

Flex Women's Trail Running Shoes

Overall Take

Experts Included
DWYM Fashion Experts plus Runner’s World, Runner Click, RunRepeat, Women’s Running, Road Trail Run, Run Society. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" The Bare Access Flex delivers a nimble ride with just enough cushioning to handle most terrain."
Cons
"Zero drop is not for everyone"
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
19

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the women's trail running shoes available to purchase.
12

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

View All Product Rankings

47

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Refinery29, RunRepeat, Adventure Sacks, Runners Equipped, Runner's World.

46,952

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Walmart and 15 others.

Our experts reviewed the top 12 Women's Trail Running Shoes and also dug through the reviews from 47 of the most popular review sites including Refinery29, RunRepeat, Adventure Sacks, Runners Equipped, Runner's World, Runner Click and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Women's Trail Running Shoes.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

ASICS Frequent Women’s Trail Running Shoes

Our Expert Score
9.7
2 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.5
582 user reviews
Our Take

What other experts liked
The toe cap is reinforced for extra durability and the rubber outsole has Reverse lugs for downhill and uphill traction on all terrains.
- Best Shoes Reviews
These are trail shoes which are lightweight, breathable and enable you to get outside on the hill without too much expense.
- Walks Around Britain
What other experts didn't like

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Merrell Bare Access Flex Women’s Trail Running Shoes

Our Expert Score
9.2
6 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.1
573 user reviews
Our Take

What other experts liked
The Bare Access Flex delivers a nimble ride with just enough cushioning to handle most terrain.
- Runner's World
Breathable mesh and TPU upper reduce moisture and temperature
- Runner Click
There were some who thought that the toe box was nicely shaped; not too wide but also not restrictive.
- RunRepeat
The zero-drop design will appeal to minimalist runners, and the shoe does offer a fair amount of responsiveness on the road and trail, resulting in an agile feel with good traction on both surfaces.
- Women's Running
It's a good looking and bare bones looking upper that actually conceals some nice extra features. The lining is a neoprene material that's meant to control moisture and odor, as is the anti-microbial footbed (which is not removable).
- Road Trail Run
This footwear is designed for all sorts of terrain yet they're amazingly lightweight.
- Run Society
What other experts didn't like
Testers also reported that the upper fits a little snug.
- Runner's World
Zero drop is not for everyone
- Runner Click
The fabric of the upper has worn out after a brief time, a lot of users observed.
- RunRepeat
Testers noted that the arch was high and the midsole was very firm, resulting in discomfort for some.
- Women's Running
They do run large, so I recommend sizing down from your usual running shoe size by a 1/2 size.
- Road Trail Run
You could have a little issue to get a perfect fit if you need ½-size as there is no availability of ½-sizes.
- Run Society

Overall Product Rankings

ASICS Frequent Women’s Trail Running Shoes

1. ASICS Frequent Women’s Trail Running Shoes

Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 8

Salomon Trailster Women’s Trail Running Shoes

3. Salomon Trailster Women’s Trail Running Shoes

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 7

Merrell Bare Access Flex Women’s Trail Running Shoes

4. Merrell Bare Access Flex Women’s Trail Running Shoes

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 9

adidas Rockadia Women’s Trail Running Shoes

5. adidas Rockadia Women’s Trail Running Shoes

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 9

Adidas Women’s Cloudfoam Pure Running Shoe

6. Adidas Women’s Cloudfoam Pure Running Shoe

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 6

Salomon Women’s X Mission 3 W Trail Running Shoe

7. Salomon Women’s X Mission 3 W Trail Running Shoe

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 6

Saucony Women’s S10483-2 Trail Running Shoe

8. Saucony Women’s S10483-2 Trail Running Shoe

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 3

JOOMRA Women’s Minimalist Trail Running Barefoot Shoes

9. JOOMRA Women’s Minimalist Trail Running Barefoot Shoes

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 4

Salomon Women’s Speedcross 4 W Trail Runner

10. Salomon Women’s Speedcross 4 W Trail Runner

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 11

ASICS Women’s GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe

11. ASICS Women’s GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 10

New Balance Women’s Trail Running Shoe

12. New Balance Women’s Trail Running Shoe

Overall Score: 8.3
Reviews Included: 4

Our Women's Trail Running Shoe Findings

ASICS Women’s GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe

What We Liked: The ASICS Women’s GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe offers a high-abrasion rubber sole with a strong grip. It also has a lightweight cushioning system that keeps the runner comfortable. These were surprisingly lightweight yet sturdy during our testing.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

JOOMRA Women’s Minimalist Trail Running Barefoot Shoes

What We Liked: The JOOMRA Women’s Minimalist Trail Running Barefoot Shoe compliments the anatomy of the foot. The circular lug pattern provides superior grip on rugged terrain. However, the shoe is not waterproof. In our testing, we found these shoes to be comfortable, and we liked the wide toe box. We also liked the bag that came with the shoes.

Stephanie Magrisso/Simplemost Media

Salomon Women’s Speedcross 4 W Trail Runner

What We Liked: The Salomon Women’s Speedcross Trail Runner is a tough shoe with a strong rubber sole. It provides superior cushioning to keep the runner comfortable from 10 to 100 miles. Keep in mind that it does not come in wide sizes. In our testing, we found these shoes to be lightweight and comfortable, and we especially liked the drawstring closure. They were very grippy and good for our posture.

Stephanie Magrisso/Simplemost Media

New Balance Women’s Trail Running Shoe

What We Liked: The New Balance Women’s Trail Running Shoe features a strong outer sole grip designed for all kinds of terrain. It has added durability features that help the shoe last longer. However, keep in mind that it is not a lightweight speed shoe.

Our Expert Consultant

Stephanie Mansour   
Certified Personal Trainer, Health and Wellness Expert

Stephanie Mansour, host of “Step It Up with Steph” on public broadcasting, has been coaching women for over a decade on how to lose weight and make it last. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications with an emphasis on women’s studies and psychology from the University of Michigan. She holds certifications in life coaching, personal training, yoga and Pilates.

Our Women's Trail Running Shoe Buying Guide

Running is a great form of exercise for fitness novices and seasoned experts. When done on a regular basis, running helps to strengthen the heart and cardiovascular system. Runners also typically have strong leg and thigh muscles, in addition having high bone density in the legs and hips.

Stephanie Magrisso/Simplemost Media

Many runners choose to run on even ground, such as on treadmills and sidewalks. While that certainly has its own benefits, trail running can provide additional physical benefits. Trail running involves running on uneven terrain. It also includes running uphill and downhill, often on very steep inclines.

As a result of running uphill and downhill, trail running actually provides better strength training for legs as compared to road running. Trail runners also need to sharpen their balance and agility skills, ensuring they don’t fall on the uneven ground, which is often full of rocks and tree roots. In addition, trail running involves navigating sharp turns and steep slopes, so runners need to be acutely aware of their surroundings.

Stephanie Magrisso/Simplemost Media

In addition to the physical benefits of trail running, there are also numerous benefits to one’s mental health. Running helps to increase vitality and enhance energy. It can also help to reduce stress and tension. Exercising in the outdoors can help people feel more relaxed and build a closer bond with nature. This is known to boost creativity and feelings of positivity.

In order to protect the joints and muscles from the strains of trail running, it’s critical to have the proper shoes. Road shoes and trail shoes are built differently as they are made for two completely unique environments. Road shoes are made of lightweight material to encourage speed. There is not much need for traction in the soles of the shoes, as roads are an even surface.

Stephanie Magrisso/Simplemost Media

Trail shoes, on the other hand, are more heavy-duty. Their job is to protect the foot from the elements of the uneven terrain. The soles of the trail shoes have enhanced tread patters so that the runner doesn’t slip or fall while navigating stones, sticks, roots and other obstacles on the trail.

Stephanie Magrisso/Simplemost Media

“You’re looking for that traction on the bottom fo the foot but also durability on the outside of the foot,” Stephanie Mansour, a certified personal trainer and the founder of fitness brand Step It Up Steph, advises. She notes that you want a trail shoe made with materials that will support and protect your foot from rocks, tree roots or anything else you may knock into on the trail.

Stephanie Magrisso/Simplemost Media

“Unlike a running or a walking shoe, you’re looking for a shoe that is a little bit stiffer,” Mansour says. “This is because it needs to withstand the treacherous environment that you won’t find in a gym or on a sidewalk! These shoes need to be built to last.”

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

DWYM Fun Fact

Like all intense sporting activities, trail running comes with its own unique vocabulary. If you hear a trail runner talking about refilling their bladder, it’s unlikely they are referring to a part of their human anatomy. Instead, they are likely talking about their hydration pack with an attachable straw. Many trail runners use a bladder to carry liters of liquid on their backs during their run.

When talking about the race, you may hear the term vert. This refers to how much elevation a trail has. If you hear someone say that a race was a hundo, this means that it was a hundred-mile race. Is a race labeled ultra? This means that it’s longer than the standard marathon distance of 42.2 kilometers.

When you’re exhausted in the middle of a race, likely as a result of dehydration or a lack of calories, the term you use to describe that is a bonk. It’s similar to hitting the wall, but specifically for trail running.

The Women's Trail Running Shoe Tips and Advice

  • The most important element to consider when purchasing your trail shoes is the sole of the shoe. This is what will protect your feet from the various terrain you’ll encounter on your run. The ASICS Women’s GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe boasts a strong rubber sole with multi-surface traction. JOOMRA Women’s Minimalist Trail Running Barefoot Shoes, on the other hand, has a rubber outsole that allows the runner to experience a more responsive feel of the terrain. The sole has a circular lug pattern, which provides a strong grip on the uneven terrain. The Salomon Women’s Speedcross Trail Runner has a rubber sole designed specially to eat up soft terrain. The New Balance Women’s Trail Running Shoe features a rubber sole with all-terrain tread.
  • In order to have the comfort you need to complete long, intense runs, it’s critical for your trail running shoe to have solid support for your foot. The ASICS Women’s GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe features a GEL cushioning system, plus a removable foam sockliner that accommodates orthotics. The JOOMRA Women’s Minimalist Trail Running Barefoot Shoes provides removable insoles designed to support the feet’s arches. This helps you to transfer weight over the ball of the feet and not put too much pressure on the arch.
  • When running outdoors, it’s important to choose a shoe that can withstand the elements. The Salomon Women’s Speedcross Trail Runner is waterproof, so you can easily run in the rain without soaking your socks. Keep in mind that the JOOMRA Women’s Minimalist Trail Running Barefoot Shoes take a long time to dry when they get wet.
  • If you have a particularly wide or narrow foot, it’s important to choose a shoe that accommodates your size. The ASICS Women’s GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe is known to have a narrow inside, which can limit the flexing of the feet. The Salomon Women’s Speedcross Trail Runner is also designed specifically for narrow feet and does not come in wide sizes. The New Balance Women’s Trail Running Shoe, on the other hand, is good for those with wider feet.
  • When dealing with rough terrain with lots of loose rocks and dirt, your trail running shoes are bound to get a bit muddy. If you want your shoes to look spic and span after a few wears, it’s important to choose one that can be easily cleaned. It can be difficult to wash the dirt out of the mesh fabric of the ASICS Women’s GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe. When washing the JOOMRA Women’s Minimalist Trail Running Barefoot Shoe, keep in mind that it will take a long time to dry.
  • For some runners, style is as important as function. It’s nice to have the option to choose a trail running shoe that comes in the color combinations that reflect your unique style. All four trail running shoes come in multiple color combinations. Note that the ASICS Women’s GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe and the New Balance Women’s Trail Running Shoe come in fewer colors than the JOOMRA Women’s Minimalist Trail Running Barefoot Shoe and Salomon Women’s Speedcross Trail Runner.

About The Author

Avatar
Anam Ahmed 

Anam Ahmed is a copywriter and essayist based in Toronto. She has been writing on technology, travel, parenting, and business for over 10 years, and works with a number of high-profile organizations. She values finding the best products to make people's lives easier. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.