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Best Budget Trail Running Shoes

by BestBudgetAdmin
best budget trail running shoes

If you think your normal running shoes will be suitable for trail running, you could be in for a painful surprise. Trail running often includes different terrains and normal running shoes just aren’t equipped to handle that.

To help you find the best pair, we’ve put together a guide with some advice on what you need to look for and some trail running shoes which we think make an excellent choice.

Best Budget Trail Running Shoes: Our Top 10 Recommendations

1. SALOMON Men’s Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoes

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The SpeedCross 4 Trail Running Shoes work best on soft ground or muddy trails.

They are lightweight, which is just what you need on a long trail, and they are water resistant so your feet will stay dry in any weather.

They have a Quicklace system, meaning you can adjust them without having to pause for too long, as they do not use knots. Salomon have also included their Sensifit system, which is designed to perfectly mould to the foot to give a secure and comfortable fit.

The sole uses a gum rubber which works very well on wet surfaces and grips the surface well.

Key Features
  • Aggressive grip for soft ground and mud
  • Precise foothold
  • Flat heel
  • Outer material: synthetic / textile
  • Inner material: Textile
  • Sole: Gum rubber


Salomon have designed a great pair of trail running shoes which have excellent grip for soft or wet ground, but you can also use them on harder ground. The Quicklace system and Sensifit mean you can get them to fit perfectly with the minimum of effort.

2. ASICS Men’s Trail Scout Running Shoe

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ASICS are a name we all know when it comes to running shoes, and they have used their experience to design these Trail Scout Running Shoes.

If you run on uneven trails, they have rock plates to protect your feet and provide support. They have gel inserts in the heels and fore feet and this helps to minimise the shock of landing and keep you in your stride. The lugs are perfectly designed for rough trails and uneven ground.

They have gusseted tongues so any small stones or debris will stay outside the shoe, and not find its way in to disturb your run. They also have a pocket to tuck the laces in to, so that they won’t snag along the trail.

For comfort and support, these shoes have a supportive cage structure around your feet, which has a soft mesh lining for comfort.

Key Features
  • Rock plates
  • Gusseted tongues
  • Gel inserts
  • Outer material: canvas
  • Inner material: Synthetic
  • Sole: Rubber


Another great pair of trail running shoes which are comfortable and supportive on rough tracks. The design cushions your feet and helps absorb the shock of impact, so you can run with confidence.

3. Karrimor Mens Caracal Trail Running Shoes

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These Caracal Trail Running Shoes are ideal for anyone who likes muddy or unstable ground. The lugs are deep, so they won’t hold mud and become heavy and clogged.

The insole is cushioned and there is also a cushioned ankle collar to absorb some of the impact and for added comfort.

The shoes have mesh panels on the upper to make them breathable and to keep your feet cooler. The design is comfortable and they will support your feet well.

Key Features
  • Deep lugs
  • Mesh panels
  • Cushioned insole
  • Shaped ankle collar
  • Outer material: Synthetic
  • Inner material: Textile
  • Sole: Synthetic


With deep lugs and breathable mesh, these are a good choice for those who like muddier terrain. They are cushioned for comfort and this also helps to absorb the impact so there is less pressure on your body.

4. ASICS Gel-Venture 7 Trail Running Shoes

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Another pair of excellent trail running shoes from ASICS.

Designed for rough terrain, they are waterproof so your feet stay nice and dry, but the toe box has perforations in it to help keep them breathable as well.

To help absorb the shock when you land, the midsole is lightly cushioned and there is also a Rearfoot Gel Cushioning System which is specifically designed to help protect your body on impact on harder surfaces.

When it comes to support, there is a stitched down toe bumper, which protects your feet from any rocks, and it also features abrasion resistant overlays which prevent both the shoe and your feet from any damage from knocks along your route. ASICS have included the Trusstic System, which adds rigidity without adding extra weight.

With a removable sock liner, your feet will stay healthy and supported.

Key Features
  • Waterproof
  • Stitched-down toe bumper
  • Removable sock liner
  • EVA midsole
  • Outer material: Synthetic


These have been designed with the rough trail runner in mind. Extra supports and cushioning provide both protection and comfort as you run, and the shoes themselves are waterproof and designed to withstand any knocks.

5. WHITIN Unisex Trail Running Barefoot Shoes

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These are unisex trail running shoes designed for those who like to experience barefoot running.

Many runners prefer this as it can promote healthy foot muscles and posture. These shoes are unisex and have a wide toe. This gives the toes room to spread and ultimately leads to better balance. The removable sock liner gives your feet space to move too, so you are relying more on your muscles to power you than the running shoes.

They have zero heel to toe drop, keeping your feet flat, which is a more natural position for them to be in. The sole is thin, but it has been designed to provide support for your feet to protect them from rougher terrain.

Key Features
  • Wide Toe
  • Hook and loop closure
  • Zero heel to toe drop
  • Removable sock liner
  • Outer material: Synthetic
  • Sole: Rubber


Barefoot running shoes are the ideal way to strengthen foot muscles and improve your posture. These running shoes will help you use the muscles you need, while offering you support over harder terrain.

6. New Balance Men’s Mt590v4 Running Shoes

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New Balance Men’s Running Shoes come with an outsole which is suitable for all terrains, so you’re not restricted to where you can run.

There is a mesh upper to help in wet conditions, so your run is more comfortable and your feet feel healthier.

Support is provided by a cushioned insert, which also helps eliminate some of the impact when landing.

Key Features
  • Cushioned insert
  • Mesh upper
  • All terrain outsole
  • Outer material: Synthetic
  • Sole: Synthetic


A simple all round trail running shoe which can be used if you run on a mix of terrains. They are durable and will last you a long time.

7. ASICS Men’s Frequent Trail Running Shoes

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If you enjoy running on flatter terrain, then these running shoes from ASICS are just the thing

They offer plenty of support, with a well designed sole and the heel support has been moulded to fit the shape of the foot. The top cap has been reinforced, so if you do hit any rocks or debris on your run, your toes are fully protected.

The laces are easy to adjust so that you can get even tension, and a heel tab makes it simple to get them on and off.

They have a mesh upper, so they allow air to circulate, and any trapped water can escape, and the rubber sole gives them great grip on wet or icy weather.

Key Features
  • Breathable mesh
  • Reinforced toe cap
  • Heel tab
  • Outer material: Synthetic
  • Inner material: Man made
  • Sole: Rubber


These are ideal if you like terrains which are easier to run. These shoes are supportive, comfortable and they allow your feet to breathe when running so you don’t get fatigued too soon.

8. Columbia Men’s Caldorado III Trail Running Shoe

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Columbia have designed these trail running shoes for comfort, stability and for all terrains.

The lugs are multi directional so they work well on flat, rough or muddy terrain giving you a choice of where you want to run.

The shoes include the TrailShield protection plate which protects your feet on rough terrain, and a reinforced toe cap makes sure your toes are protected too.

A FluidFoam midsole provides you with comfort, support and gives you extra stability. The gusset is fully integrated and the inner is mesh to allow some breathability. The soles are gum rubber to provide extra grip, and these are great shoes for anyone who enjoys a long run.

Key Features
  • TrailShield protection plate
  • Multi directional lugs
  • FluidFoam midsole
  • Outer material: Synthetic
  • Inner material: Mesh
  • Sole: Gum rubber


With multi directional lugs, these trail running shoes are versatile and can be worn on most terrains. Columbia have added their own technology to provide protection, comfort and stability so your feet are safe and have air circulating around them.

9. Merrell Men’s Crusher Trail Running Shoes

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These shoes from Merrell are ideal for rougher hills, wooded tracks and moorland.

They have deeper lugs, so they work well on muddy terrain, and areas with loose surfaces, and the Merrell air cushion helps absorb the shock and provides you with extra stability too. There is also an EVA removable footbed, and they have a protective toe cap to support and protect your whole foot as you run.

The inner is mesh to allow some breathability and help water escape, and the shoes have reflective details to help make you more visible in poor or low light.

Key Features
  • Protective toe cap
  • EVA removable footbed
  • Merrell air cushion
  • Outer material: Synthetic
  • Inner material: Mesh
  • Sole: Synthetic


These trail running shoes are comfortable and supportive, making sure your feet are cushioned and stable everywhere they need to be. They make light work of loose or muddy terrain, and will keep your feet protected at all times.

10. Nike Men’s Free RN 5.0 Competition Running Shoes

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Nike is a name that springs to mind when you think of running shoes, and these competition running shoes are everything you would expect them to be.

They feature a foam midsole to cushion your feet and help absorb some of the impact. The rubber outsole adds an extra layer of protection, and your feet will feel comfortable and supported at all times.

They include breathable mesh, so your feet will benefit from having some air circulating and will be drier in wetter weather.

Key Features
  • Breathable mesh
  • Foam midsole
  • Rubber outsole
  • Outer material: Synthetic
  • Inner material: Unlined
  • Sole: Synthetic


These have been designed for competition, and you’ll see the difference as soon as you try them. With excellent support and great protection, your feet will feel comfortable no matter where you run.

Buyers Guide: What To Look Out For

Running along the road you don’t generally encounter many different types of terrain. As long as your running shoe is supportive, you should be fine. Trail running is totally different so you need to find the right trail running shoe. You will be running over uneven terrain, different terrains and for much longer distances.

Before you go out and buy a pair, first consider:

  • What type of terrain will you be running on? There’s no point in getting a pair suitable for hard, rocky terrain if you’re likely to be running on softer surfaces.
  • What distance will you be running? There’s a big difference in how far trail runners run, so think carefully about how far you are likely to go.


The type of grip or tread you need will depend on the type of terrain you will be running on. Different terrains will require a different tread and different support. When looking at trail running shoes, look carefully at where you will be running.

  • Muddy or unstable terrain: You need a pair of trail running shoes which won’t trap the mud. The best are ones with deep, wide spaced lugs. Look for a pair with support on the instep too, as these will help keep you stable.
  • Rocky / gravelly terrain: You don’t need deep lugs, as you are unlikely to trap anything in them. Look instead for the amount of support and stability. A stiff outsole will support you and reinforced uppers will help protect you from stones.
  • Snow / Ice: For this terrain you need deep lugs and ideally metal studs. With the risk of slipping, you need good support and look for a waterproof membrane. This won’t just keep your feet dry, but warm as well.
  • Hard packed terrains: Many paths are packed down hard and for these you only need a shorter lug. A lightweight trail running shoe will be easy to run in, so look for a thinner insole as you will need less support.

Some shoes have multi-directional lugs, so you can use them on all terrains.


How far you run will also make a difference to the type of shoe you get.

  • Less than 15km: Your trail running shoes should be lightweight.
  • 25-50km: Look for an all-round shoe
  • Over 50km: ideally you will need built-in protection and plenty of cushioning.


Trail runners run in all weathers, so consider the type of weather you are likely to encounter, and find a pair of trail running shoes for it.

The pair you choose, will be down to personal choice.

  • Waterproof coating: Some shoes will have a coating which stops water from getting in to the shoe at all.
  • Mesh: Other shoes have an open, weave mesh. This is more breathable and it means any water which does get inside the shoe, can escape.
  • Breathable: This allows air to circulate so your feet don’t get so hot and sweaty.

Your build

You may not have thought of this when you’ve bought running shoes before, but you do need to consider it now.

  • Slight build: As you will not put so much pressure on the shoe, look for a lightweight and responsive pair.
  • Larger build: Look for a pair with cushioning and built-in protection.


Part of the protection in a trail running show comes from a plate, which is either foam or rock. This is designed to protect your foot from any hard edges of the terrain.

  • Rock plate: These give the shoe a more natural feel
  • Foam plate: These absorb more of the shock


You may think this is obvious, and while you will need the same shoe size as you always do, you will need to think about a bit more than just whether they fit if you want good trail running shoes.

With most shoes, if they rub a little, we’ll take them as we know they’ll ‘wear in’. With trail running shoes, if they pinch at all, don’t buy them. Ideally you need a 1cm gap at the front of your toes as this will help prevent blisters.

Other considerations

There are, of course, many other things runners consider, including whether or not there is a pouch to put the laces in after they have been tied.

  • Gusseted Tongue: You need to find one which is comfortable and fits well. If it’s not right, you will get small stones and bits of earth in your shoe.
  • Weight: Most trail running shoes are lightweight, but you don’t want anything too heavy.
  • Heel drop: The heel drop is the height from your heel to the forefront of the shoe. A smaller drop will make it more likely that you’ll land with your mid-foot or forefoot, which means your landing is faster and there is less strain on your body.


Can I use my trail running shoes for road running?

This will depend on which trail running shoes you have. If you have deep lugs, then running on a road may be uncomfortable. Shorter lugs are more suitable, but you also need different support when running on a road.

You may find you can use your trail running shoes for shorter road runs, but they may start to feel uncomfortable after a while.

Why do trail running shoes have added stability?

This is designed to help you with different terrains. On flat surfaces, you tend to have the same pressure on each foot as you run. On trails, the terrain varies and it can be rocky, hilly, or muddy. Added stability means that if you put your foot down and the terrain isn’t flat, you are less likely to stumble.

How long does a pair of trail running shoes last?

This depends largely on how often you run and the type of terrain you prefer.

If you run on flatter trails then your shoes will suffer less wear and tear than they will on tougher terrains, but if you have bought the right pair of running shoes, they should match the terrain.

As a rough guide, you can expect your trail running shoes to cover 300-500 miles. As soon as you start to notice signs of wear, look at replacing them.


Investing in the right pair of trail running shoes will make a big difference to your performance. If you run over different terrains, you may need more than one pair, as each pair will provide you with different support and cushioning.

When you run miles at a time, you need to take good care of your feet and your body, so matching to shoe to the trail is all important. The wrong type of shoe could result in a stumble or fall which could put you our of action for some time.

When you start trail running, it’s worth taking time to try out different pairs for size and to ask around for any particular features you may need. This could save you from making an expensive mistake.

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