If you don’t have time to read the entire review and just want to find out what the best trail runners for thru hiking is, then we recommend the Saucony S20483-2 Trail Running Shoes as the best choice.
When you find the best trail runners for thru hiking, you can guarantee you’ll be comfortable and protected. Specifically designed for fans of the outdoors to trek thousands of miles in a calendar year, these shoes are built with high attention to detail as well as longevity. Long-distance hikes have never been easier with the help of these shoes on your feet, though one pair is much better than the rest.
In this post, we’ve reviewed the five best trail runners for thru hiking. These are:
- ASICS Gel-Venture 6 Running Shoes
- Adidas Rockadia Trail Running Shoes
- Saucony S20483-2 Trail Running Shoes
- Brooks Cascadia 13 Running Shoes
- Altra Lone Peak 4 Trail Running Shoes
Best Trail Runners for Thru Hiking Reviews
ASICS is one of the most popular footwear brands in the world since they use high-quality materials to create their shoes and they will easily last over years of wear. The ASICS Gel-Venture 6 Running Shoes is designed with multiple features to protect your feet and keep them comfortable for a mile-long hike.
The key features of the ASICS Gel-Venture 6 Running Shoes include:
● GEL Cushioning System: With the help of the GEL system, you’ll have smoother transitions from your midstance. It also helps to absorb all shocks from impact so that your feet, knees, and legs stay comfortable for the duration of your hike.
● Removable Sockliner: If you’re someone who prefers to wear custom orthotics for your hikes, you’ll be glad to know the sockliner inside of these shoes can be removed easily. Depending on the size of your medical orthotics, you may be able to keep the sockliners inside, as they are relatively low profile.
● Trail-Specific Outsole: You can tell that these shoes are specifically designed for serious hikers, especially with the trail-specific outsole. Crafted with high-abrasion rubber, you’ll have optimal traction in all types of terrain and weather conditions.
- ● Warm enough for winter hikes
- ● All-weather performance
- ● Great for marathons
- ● Gets hot in the summer
- ● Has a small arch
- ● Mesh may tear after consistent wear
These runners capture the true essence of Adidas without compromising their integrity for style. With a bulky outsole obviously designed for high-impact exercises and hikes, you’ll have plenty of support for long-distance treks. There are numerous things to appreciate about the Adidas Rockadia Trail Running Shoes.
The main features of the Adidas Rockadia Trail Running Shoes include:
- Mesh Upper: For optimal ventilation in warm weather, these shoes feature a mesh upper. Breathability is essential for preventing an excessive amount of sweat but also to prevent your shoes from smelling bad.
- Textile and Synthetic Overlays: As an extra way to give your foot additional support, you’ll love the synthetic and textile overlays on the outside of the shoe which seemingly help to keep your feet in place. This is ideal for navigating through tough and rocky terrain without the risk of injury.
- Gripping Rubber Outsole: The outsole is not only designed to give you the perfect level of traction in wet weather but also to make it easier to grip onto different types of terrain, such as loose dirt. Similar to the previous pair of runners, these have a trail-specific outsole.
- Incredibly lightweight
- Comfortably cushioned outsole
- Helps to prevent leg fatigue
- Ideal for icy and wet terrain
- Keeps feet cool
- Runs small
- May require inserts
Available in four different colors, these running shoes are optimized for trail running and hiking since they have highly recommended types of technology for all activities. If you’re looking for an all-inclusive pair of shoes for your upcoming long-distance hike, these are one of the better options to choose.
The best highlights of the Saucony S20483-2 Trail Running Shoes include:
● EVERUN Topsole: As a patented technology only available from Saucony, EVERUN is ideal for giving you optimal cushioning and flexibility while maintaining the durability of the shoes. Your feet will feel like they are walking on actual cushions with every step, which makes them highly recommended for running and hiking alike.
● PWRFOAM Midsole: You’ll appreciate the addition of the PWRFOAM midsole which works along with the EVERUN technology in order to give your feet more cushioning to rely on. It’s also ideal for absorbing shock with every step so that you can prevent exhaustion and injury.
● PWRTRAC Outsole: Crafted using durable rubber which feels tacky to the touch, you’ll have exceptional traction when navigating through difficult terrain. The PWRTRAC outsole also helps add abrasion resistance to the bottom of the shoe. This is also certified to be three times better than regular carbon rubber.
● ISOFIT Dynamic Upper: The final piece of innovative technology added to the Saucony S20483-2 Trail Running Shoes is the ISOFIT dynamic upper. It is an internal sleeve which adds a floating support cage in the shoe so that it fits perfectly based on the specific contours of your feet. The cage will adapt to the motion of your feet automatically, so the shoes move with you.
- Great for 10+ day hikes
- Prevents soreness and pain
- Treads are ideal for hiking
- Easy to keep clean
- Makes climbing easier
- The heel may slip going uphill
- Needs to be broken in
The Brooks Cascadia 13 Running Shoes has a sleek and stylish appearance which makes it perfect for hiking as well as everyday wear. These shoes are designed to ensure your feet do not fall victim to difficult terrain whether you are hiking, running, or walking.
The best features of the Brooks Cascadia 13 Running Shoes include:
- 3D Rubber Print Mudguard: When navigating through thick and difficult terrain, the mudguard added to the shoes helps to protect your feet from trail debris.
- Internal Saddle System: In an effort to create a better fit, the internal saddle system causes the shoes to have a close-to-foot fit. Instead of the feeling of heavy hiking shoes, they’ll feel like they are your feet extension.
- Ariaprene Tongue: For added comfort and superior breathability, these runners have an Ariaprene tongue which allows an ample amount of airflow in and out of the shoes.
- Underfoot Softness: If you plan on wearing your runners for long periods, you’ll appreciate that they feature an improved underfoot softness to make every step far more comfortable.
- EVA Ballistic Rock Shield: As another protective measure, the shoes have an EVA ballistic rock shield which prevents injury from sharp objects. It is placed between the outsole and midsole perfectly, so you won’t have to worry about improperly dispersed weight falling on top of sharp rocks.
- Fits perfectly when sized properly
- Offers optimal support
- Doesn’t cause blisters
- Feet may slip in technical terrain
- Doesn’t have as much top support
These shoes have the style you would expect from heavy-duty hiking shoes, which is comforting if you’re dealing with dangerous terrain on your hike. Similar to the other shoes on this list, they have plenty of great features designed to offer optimal support and protection.
The main features of the Altra Lone Peak 4 Trail Running Shoes include:
- Foot Shape Toe Box: At the front of the shoes, you’ll notice your toes will have far more space to move around and be comfortable. This is ideal for giving you optimal stability when you are climbing up and downhill.
- Zero Drop Low-Impact Form: The specialized midsole helps to ensure your feet and heel are dispersed at the same distance from the ground. This helps to prevent heavy impact when walking across different types of terrain.
- Energy-Return Compound: Directly under your foot, you’ll realize that you’ll have more spring in every step and this is a result of the energy-return compound. As a fantastic way to prevent foot fatigue and injury, your long-distance hikes will take less of a toll on your feet and legs.
- Hook-and-Loop Tab: To help debris from building in the tread at the bottom of the shoe, there is a strapless gaiter attachment which can be added easily to the shoe with the help of the hook-and-loop tab.
- Trailclaw Technology: With the perfectly positioned canted lugs, your metatarsals won’t have to worry about trying to grip onto the ground, as they are strategically placed to offer optimal traction at toe-off.
- StoneGuard: Added between the energy-return compound and EVA midsole, the StoneGuard helps to deflect rocks away from the midsole of the shoes so that you have a far more stable hike.
- Comfortable, wide toe box
- Ideal for low and high arches
- Has a natural walking motion
- Not waterproof
- May cause blistering
- No ankle support
The best running shoes for thru hiking will focus primarily on stability and comfort compared to anything else. There is an assortment of features your ideal shoes should have ranging from the technology added to the outsole and the ability to remove the sockliner for orthotics.
1. Rugged Outsole
Most trails you’ll experience on your thru-hike are going to be rugged and as such, the outsole of your shoes should be able to handle various types of terrain. High-quality hiking shoes will have a rugged outsole which works easily against sharp rocks, loose debris, and wet trails without the worry of slippage or injury. As an added benefit, consider outsoles that don’t attract small pebbles and trap them in the grooves.
Having to deal with feeling every step you make will turn a thru-hike into a quick turnaround to head back home. Your shoes should have optimal cushioning in the midsole as well as the toe bed which helps to improve the natural movement of your feet. The best shoes will absorb each impact of every step so that it feels like you are walking on a cloud.
There’s no doubt about it; your feet are going to sweat when you head out on a hike and the last thing you’ll want to deal with is a pair of sweaty and smelly shoes. This not only is unappealing but it can also cause cuts and blisters along the bottom and sides of your feet. Hiking shoes should be equipped with some type of breathable lining, whether it’s mesh added to the sides of the shoes or the tongue.
This is especially important for people who enjoy hiking during the summer, as it’s only going to make your shoes more uncomfortable. You’ll want to find some type of weather moderation, as you’ll also want to make sure they keep your feet warm if you decide to go for a hike on colder days.
4. Toe Box
One of the largest issues hikers have with their shoes is limited movement in the toe box, which can force your toes to sit closer to each other and rub against one another. Instead, you’ll want to consider a pair of shoes that feature a wider toe box so that your feet can move more naturally. This is also a great addition to have to give you optimal traction when you are moving uphill and downhill.
This all depends on personal preference, but having some type of weatherproofing added to your hiking shoes can prepare you for any situation. It’s likely your hiking shoes won’t be entirely waterproof, but it would be more convenient if they were water-resistant. You may also want to consider opting for a pair known to dry quickly.
Our Final Recommendation
The best trail runners for thru hiking are the Saucony S20483-2 Trail Running Shoes, as long as you ensure they are sized properly.
With plenty of patented technology added to the shoes including PWRFOAM, PWRTRAC, and the specialized ISOFIT, you’ll feel as if your new hiking shoes are an extension of your body. Designed for heavy-duty outdoor activities, they will quickly become your favorite pair of thru-hiking shoes.