Welcome to our best trail running shoes women’s edition, in which we’ve handpicked and summarized our reviews of the best women’s trail running shoes for trail and ultrarunning. All of these women’s trail shoes will get you through pretty much any situation while running off-road, whether on mountains, through rivers, over mud or rocks.
We have intentionally kept this list of the best women’s trail running shoes limited to five options so you know we’ve only included the best and you’re not overwhelmed with too much choice when it comes to picking the best pair of women’s-specific trail shoes.
What do we know about women’s trail running shoes? I’ve run trails over the world, from mountain marathons to muddy ultramarathons, speedy dusty half marathons and mud runs like Tough Mudder and Spartan races. We’re always on a quest to find exciting new and different trails to run on (you can see some of our recent trail runs over on Instagram). So trust me, I know a thing or two about trail running and what to look for in a great pair of all-round women’s trail shoes.
Best Trail Running Shoes Women’s Edition – Table of Contents
- Criteria for the Best Women’s Trail Running Shoes
- The Difference Between a Women’s Trail Running Shoe and the Men’s Version
- The 5 Best Women’s Trail Running Shoes
Must-have criteria for selecting the best women’s trail running shoes
When it comes to choosing a pair of women’s running shoes for running on trails, you need to pay attention to the type of terrain, conditions and climate you’ll mostly be running in, as this will influence the style of women’s trail running shoes that would suit you and your favorite trails the best.
For example, women’s trail running shoes designed for wet, slippery conditions should have great grip in those conditions, and normally have larger lugs for traction in mud and soft ground, compared to women’s trail shoes designed to be more protective and grippy in loose, rocky and dry conditions.
The breathability of the trail shoes is also a key consideration, as you are usually going to want more breathable shoes in hotter, drier weather, and warmer, potentially waterproof trail shoes in wetter conditions. However, for most typical trail runners where you’re looking for that one pair of all-round women’s trail shoes to go the distance, something in the middle with some good grip, breathability and a moderate amount of cushioning is usually a good option.
All of the trail shoes on this list of the best women’s trail running shoes are all-mountain neutral running shoes, capable of carrying you through anything from your local 5k in the park to a 50k ultramarathon and beyond. Their versatility across a range of off-road terrain makes them all great choices if you’re looking for an all-round great pair of women’s trail shoes for running a variety of different trails and weather conditions.
We’ve also included mini trail running shoe reviews for each shoe on this ‘best women’s trail running shoes’ list to summarize the key features and benefits of each pair to help work out which may be the best choice for you.
We update this page regularly, so make sure you check back when you’re ready to buy your next pair of trail running shoes. We also track prices across popular online running stores – check the price comparisons throughout this post to see if there are any offers on your chosen pair of women’s trail running shoes from this buyer’s guide – and if you have any questions about what type of shoe would work best for your type of trail running and style, ask me in the comments section below!
What is the difference between a women’s trail running shoe and a men’s version?
While different brands have different approaches to designing mens vs women’s trail shoes, the main difference between most women’s trail shoes and the mens’ versions is normally the width. Women’s trail shoes tend to be narrower in the toe box area. Having a trail shoe that fits your feet is of paramount importance when it comes to the overall comfort of your trail shoes, which gets even more important when you’re running on technical terrain or for longer distances.
Many women, including me, find that if they wear men’s trail shoes their feet may slide around inside the shoe from side-to-side. So if there is a women’s specific option available, that is usually the best choice for most women.
That said, if you have wider than average feet and struggle to find wide women’s running shoes that fit your feet, then definitely consider wearing men’s trail shoes instead (and in which case, head over to Alastair’s men’s trail running shoes buyer’s guide to see his recommended shoes).
The 5 Best Trail Running Shoes: Women’s Edition
Here’s our list of the best women’s trail shoes available right now. Read down for brief reviews of each trail running shoe option, and links that will take you directly to our recommended online stores to find the best current deal.
1. Best All-Round Women’s Trail Running Shoes
Salomon S-Lab Ultra 3
Designed specifically for trail racing, the unisex Salomon S-Lab Ultra 3 features a reduced weight and improved durability while maintaining comfort over long distances. Salomon’s SensiFit upper construction cradles the foot while the internal sleeve hugs the foot for a secure, comfortable fit.
If you read the section above then you’re probably wondering why a ‘unisex’ trail shoe has made it to this list of the best women’s trail running shoes. Well, Salomon’s S-Lab Ultra 3, like many other Salomon running shoes, is pretty narrow as far as trail shoes go, so because it is unisex (and therefore wider than their women’s trail shoe options) it is actually a great fit for many female trail runners.
I have run in many other women’s Salomon running shoes in the past and some have been too narrow and rubbed my big or little toe on the sides, so the unisex S-Lab shoes end up working out to be a great overall fit as they are wider than the women’s versions of other Salomon shoes.
The midsole on the Ultra 3 delivers great energy return for miles while the grippy outsole offers super reliable traction on wet, dry, hard, and loose surfaces. A true all-rounder for running fast through the mountains and on the trails, this shoe is our top pick and we consider it to be one of the best women’s trail running shoes out there right now, and it’s also my current personal favorite.
Drop: 8mm / Weight: 10oz (g) / Support Type: Neutral.
Recommended US online stores for the Salomon S-Lab Ultra 3
out of stock
Recommended UK online stores for the Salomon S-Lab Ultra 3
3 new from £152.51
out of stock
NOT IN THE US? If you can’t find these products in your country (e.g. you’re in the UK or Europe) this ‘MY US’ international package service (which we have used) can receive your US shopping and send it to you! You’ll save 20% on shipping on your first shipment – click here to learn more and get the discount.
2. Best Women’s Trail Running Shoe For Long Runs (and Wide Feet)
Women’s Brooks Cascadia 15
We are long-time fans of the Brooks Cascadia range – I have run several ultra marathons (plus the preceding long training runs) very comfortably in several past editions of the Brooks Cascadia women’s trail running shoes and can attest to their excellent comfort for long trail runs – and the new for 2021 Cascadia 15s are no different.
The Brooks Cascadia 15 women’s trail running shoes are a great choice if you’re into long trail runs and need some good comfort underfoot to comfortably run over hard, rocky terrain. They also offer exceptional grip on both loose and slippery surfaces – which gives you a lot of confidence when you’re running on loose rocks and gravel in particular.
Another great thing about the Cascadia 15 trail shoes is that they are also available in a wide width, which is ideal if you normally struggle to find trail running shoes wide enough to wear comfortably when running.
Drop: 8mm / Weight: 10oz (283.5g) / Support Type: Neutral
Recommended US online stores for Women’s Brooks Cascadia 15
Recommended UK online stores for Women’s Brooks Cascadia 15
3. Best Women’s Trail Running Shoe For Running in Wet, Slippery Conditions
Nike Terra Kiger 6
The women’s Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 6 is a lightweight trail running shoe for fast trail runs. Nike has updated the outsole in this latest edition, for improved performance on wet terrain and variable trail conditions. The previous Terra Kigers were known for their grip on dry trail surfaces, but the Terra Kiger 6 features a sticky midfoot rubber compound for improved traction on slick roots and rocks, and as such it is designed for wet and rocky conditions.
The shoe has also been updated with a full React foam midsole, which delivers a smooth and responsive ride on hard trail surfaces, as well as a forefoot rock plate for protection from sharp rocks. This new midsole makes the Terra Kiger 6 a great ‘door to trail’ approach shoe too.
The mesh upper is flexible, breathable, and supportive with a snug lacing system that gives you a much needed comfortable and supportive fit for rocky and technical trail sections. Nike has also added a special Zoom Air unit in the heel that provides added cushioning for long runs.
Drop: 4mm / Weight: 8.5oz (g) / Support Type: Neutral.
Recommended US online stores for the Women’s Nike Terra Kiger 6
Recommended UK online stores for the Women’s Nike Terra Kiger 6
1 new from £104.19
4. Best Women’s Trail Running Shoe for Responsiveness and Protection
La Sportiva Bushido 2
The women’s La Sportiva Bushido 2 is for those looking for a high performing women’s trail running shoe with the combination of responsiveness, stability, comfort, excellent protection and impressive traction.
When this shoe was released, Alastair gave the men’s version the Trail & Kale Editor’s Choice Award, after having a great time wearing his pair out on the trails – a well-deserved victory for La Sportiva.
The Bushido 2 provides enhanced cushioning while offering a stable, lightweight, sticky and aggressive outsole. The performance and protection on technical terrain, is impressive, to say the least! La Sportiva also added their proprietary LaSpEVA to the midsole in this latest version of the Bushido to create a more responsive and springier ride, keeping you running comfortably over long distances.
Drop: 6mm / Weight: 10.5oz (g) / Support Type: Neutral.
Recommended US online stores for the Women’s La Sportiva Bushido 2
1 new from $165.00
out of stock
out of stock
Recommended UK online stores for the Women’s La Sportiva Bushido 2
5 new from £116.99
5. Best Women’s Trail Running Shoe for Cushioning Over Hard Terrain
Hoka One One Speedgoat 4
The women’s HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4 trail running shoes are designed for running on technical terrain. The women’s Speedgoat 4 offer super cushioning support and performance for your longest and toughest trail runs. There’s plush underfoot comfort and support for high-mileage days due to its oversized EVA midsole. This gives you lots of cushioning and a feel that’s not too bulky, ensuring maneuverability on tricky terrain.
The Vibram outsole helps you claw into soft trails and keep your grip on roots and rocks, while the open engineered mesh upper provides good breathability on hot days.
A wider platform also works towards a more stable base, and the MetaRocker design (curve in the shoe from front to back) helps you transition easily and smoothly from heel strike to toe-off.
Drop: 4mm / Weight: 9oz (g) / Support Type: Neutral.
Recommended US online stores for the Women’s Hoka One One Speedgoat 4
5 new from $247.02
out of stock
Recommended UK online stores for the Women’s Hoka One One Speedgoat 4
3 new from £130.43
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