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2015 Summer Trail Running Shoe Buyer’s Guide

Competitor magazine tested 12 of the summer’s best new trail shoes on all types of terrain to help you find your perfect match.

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Competitor magazine tested 12 of the summer’s best new trail shoes on all types of terrain to help you find your perfect match.

All trail running shoes are built to handle off-road running. But, like finding the perfect partner, knowing yourself (and your running) will help you hone in on the right match. To find your sole mate, consider the type of trail running you’ll do this summer, the routes you plan to run, and the size, shape and unique characteristics of your feet.

Asics Gel-FujiAttack 4, $110

Weights: 11.4 oz. (men), 9.5 oz. (women)

Heel-toe Offset: 10mm; 20mm (heel), 10mm (forefoot) for men; 19mm (heel) 9mm (forefoot) for women

This shoe is for you if … You have a narrow foot and crave a nimble shoe.

Fit-feel-ride: Despite being billed as a neutral shoe, the Gel-FujiAttack 4 feels stable and supportive. We chalk that up to its torsional rigidity and somewhat firm ride—the first coming from its plastic Trusstic System sandwiched in the midsole, and the latter due to the cushioning that runs more responsive (and a tad hard) than squishy (and thinner in the forefoot). The support is far from overbearing. In fact, combined with the multidirectional lugs on the outsole and secure-fitting upper, this shoe feels fast and nimble even on the wildest terrain.

Plus: A lace “garage” on the tongue lets you tuck away loose ends.

Minus: Lacing system takes some futzing to dial in.

RELATED: Etiquette Rules Of Trail Running

Altra Lone Peak 2.5, $125

Weights: 10.6 oz. (men), 9.2 oz. (women)

Heel-toe Offset: 0mm; 25mm (heel), 25mm (forefoot)

This shoe is for you if … You mostly run semi-technical and rugged mountain trails and seek a zero-drop shoe.

Fit-feel-ride: Our testers agreed that the Lone Peak 2.5 feels energetic. Its EVA midsole with a proprietary A-Bound layer seems to add an inspiring spring in every step. Like all Altras, the forefoot is plenty wide for full toe-splaying and comfort even when feet swell. We liked how the heel cradle secured the narrowest of feet, and although lacing took a bit of cinching to secure around the forefoot, the fit proved snug once dialed in. With lugs that seem to grip and conform to a range of surfaces, the tread-like outsole extending past the heel works like an additional braking system on loose and dicey terrain. Another bonus includes a rockplate sandwiched inside the midsole, which stops underfoot jabs without feeling hard.

Plus: A Velcro tab on the heel works seamlessly with a gaiter.

Minus: The zero-drop profile takes some getting used to.

See the complete reviews of 12 trail running shoes at Competitor.com.