Buyer's Guide Running

Best Budget Trail Running Shoes in 2020

Best budget trail running shoes: There are too many trail running shoes available and choosing the right one for you can be a challenge. Keep in mind that there is no perfect option to do it all. Everyone runs differently and so the shoes should also be used accordingly.

These shoes are designed especially for trail running. And they have a durable outsole with big lugs for traction on dirt, snow, and mud.  and feature a durable outsole with large lugs for traction on mud, dirt, and snow. Also, most budget options offer a rock plate in the midsole that helps absorb shock at the bottom of the foot. Most of these shoes have a waterproof and breathable upper to keep feet dry while running on the trail.

Best Budget Trail Running Shoes

1. ASICS Gel-Venture 7 Trail Running Shoes

best budget trail running shoes

Venture 7 is a trail shoe for beginners and affordable for those who want to get started. The shoe has a simple and solid construction and does the basics without risk. The single shoe weighs about 10 ounces with moderate cushioning and has a 10mm drop. Synthetic leather and a breathable mesh are used in the upper of the shoe. The upper repels sand particles well and also prevents unpleasant things from entering the shoe.

The midsole is the form of EVA was the primary protection comes from. When you run on rocks and sharp roots, the foam feels abundant and provides great protection. The shoe doesn’t come with a built-in rock guard, so for super sharp rocks, you may feel a little pain. The upper of the shoe does a great job wrapping the entire foot with a nice arch and side support. The tongue is relatively stiff, but you won’t have a problem with it while running.

Venture 7 is one of the cheapest shoes available on the market that has decent performance. It is a great option to consider if you are just starting to run and just want a little protection.

Pros
  • Super affordable and durable construction
  • Very stable
  • Good on most trails
Cons
  • Not recommended for super-technical terrain
  • Less aggressive sole
best budget trail running shoes

2. Brooks Caldera 3 Running Shoes

best budget trail running shoes

Brooks Caldera 3 is a medium cushioned trail shoe with a weight of 10 ounces. The drop is 4mm and although the stack height seems quite considerable it doesn’t feel that way. It is a fairly light shoe even though it is padded.

The upper is made of synthetic mesh, which will give you a little more breathability. There’s a BioMoGo DNA midsole, which dynamically adapts to your step. If you run on the variable surface, it will adapt you. And it will also give you extra comfort, support, and stability on any type of terrain.

The outsole is relatively sturdy with the lugs slightly more space. These lugs are slightly larger than some other models, providing good traction support at all times. The level of damping in this thing is impressive. You put it on and it feels so soft, smooth and it doesn’t go away in your career. Sometimes an overly cushioned shoe will feel like you’re working it out a bit after a while, but it doesn’t feel like that.

The fit of the shoe is secure and there is ample room for the toes. You will feel trapped in the instep, without rubbing, without chafing and without abrasions. The heel also feels secure and, as I said before, the toe is nice and roomy. The feel of the ground in any trail shoe is important and this one does not disappoint. Anyone looking for a nice, cushioned trail shoe is going to want this.

Pros
  • Responsive
  • Versatile
  • Ideal for cross-country riding
  • Durable construction
Cons
  • Not ideal for slippery surfaces
best budget trail running shoes

3. La Sportiva Wildcat Trail Running Shoes

best budget trail running shoes

The Sportiva Wildcat is the cheap trail running shoes that have been a favorite of runners for almost a decade. It offers a great balance between quality and build price and also works well as a lightweight hiker. It grips most dry surfaces with ease, has a fairly aggressive outsole, and does a decent job of avoiding mud. When the road becomes technical, the sticky FriXion rubber sticks out as it clings to the granite.

This shoe offers great support while running. One of the main reasons is the rigid plastic stabilizer on the back of the heel cup. When you step on the shoe, the heel slides in here and provides a firm grip on the heel. So when you go downhill, you are not sliding forward or uphill, your heel is not jumping. It is a solid fit and works well to support the heel. When your heel or toe moves, that’s when the blisters start to form.

The grip of these shoes is very nice. I found it extremely sticky when you run up and down rocks, even wet rocks, and roots. La Sportiva doesn’t disappoint in the durability department, but when you put them from 700 to 800 miles, you’ll start to notice that these shoes break a bit, which is much higher than most shoes.

Pros
  • Good for trail running and hiking too
Cons
  • Traction is remarkably short on wet surfaces
  • Heavy
best budget trail running shoes

4. Brooks Cascadia 14 Trail Running Shoes

best budget trail running shoes

The Cascadia has been a good shoe for Brooks over the years and has sold many of them not only to racers but also to packers. Cascadia 14 has just been remodeled so it has received many new updates. Weight of the shoe if the first big update. The previous shoe weighed quite 23.8 ounces, but the Cascadia 14 weighs 21.4 ounces. Another great change with the Cascadia is the heel height. The 13 used to run a 10mm offset and the 14 runs a slightly lower 8mm offset.

When it comes to the fit of the Cascadia 14, you get a slightly sleeker design, and you also get the built-in Saddle System for a bit more midfoot support. The shoe still uses Brooks’ pivot system, which helps when you run on rough terrain and the midsole is still made from its BioMoGo DNA. Cascadia 14 still wears the Cordura Mud Guard, which is designed to help protect you from debris but still allows water to get in and out of the shoe.

Pros
  • Lighter and more capable new model
Cons
  • Even with the changes
  • It is still not a fast and agile shoe
best budget trail running shoes

5. Salomon Speedcross 4 Running Shoes

best budget trail running shoes

This is a light beast of a shoe destined for mud. The twisted ear pattern just begs to chew on those soft trails around. The upper part of the Speedcross 4 is a nylon mesh with waterproof fabric, giving it greater durability and a better overall fit. This is in line with Salomon’s SensiFit construction, which is all about cradling the foot for an almost custom fit.

The mesh is anti-soiling, so it will avoid all those nasty things that would otherwise make you very uncomfortable and also make your shoes break faster. On the top, there is a quick lace system that provides easiness in on and off. And there is also a small lace pocket so the cable doesn’t get caught in the leg or on the trails.

The midsole is a dual-density EVA. A special compressed foam that balances rebound, shock absorption, and weight.  It is an agile system that feels great underfoot. The outsole has Chevron lugs. This Contagrip WT (wet traction) compound is intended for a serious bite. These shoes point to nothing more than those soft, loose surfaces. Generally, these shoes will stick together. They are sticky, durable, comfortable, and lightweight, the perfect choice for your muddy and loose trails.

Pros
  • Truly excellent traction on soft ground
  • Midsole unit obediently offers underfoot comfort
Cons
  • The upper unit of this shoe is not very breathable
best budget trail running shoes

6. Salomon XA Pro 3D Trail Running Shoes

best budget trail running shoes

This is a versatile adventure shoe that can be worn for lightweight backpacking and trail running on rough terrain. With this shoe, there is an excellent balance of support and comfort. Salomon has built this shoe on its advanced 3D chassis. It has additional cushioning with EVA foam that goes through the midsole and offers greater comfort. It has a removable OrthoLite insole, which provides additional comfort and cushioning. It is easy to remove if you need to replace it with your insole or orthosis.

The mesh upper is mostly breathable, so if it gets wet it will dry much faster compared to a waterproof shoe. Overlays provide additional durability as you adjust laces, cushion, and tighten your foot. Inside, the language is Salomon’s end of it. It is a piece that fits over the top of the foot and provides excellent stability.

The outsole is the Salomon Contagrip. It is very durable and aggressive on the road. The lugs give you extra traction on rough trails and terrain. There is a heel height of 27mm and a forefoot height of 16mm. So you have an 11mm drop, which is pretty typical with trail running shoes. The shoe has a protective toe box along with the rear fender. So if you find yourself in muddy or humid conditions, you will protect a little better.

Pros
  • Lightweight construction makes it ideal for long-distance running
Cons
  • Heel part provides minimal
  • Heavy shock absorption
best budget trail running shoes

7. New Balance Minimus 10 Shoes

best budget trail running shoes

They are incredibly light trail running shoes that can be worn barefoot or with stockings. They are designed for running and hiking in wet or dry conditions. These shoes are super minimal pairs of trail runners and only weigh around 7.4 ounces (alone), which is incredibly lightweight. They are only 4mm drop, so they are very flat and an amazing wide toe box that keeps your foot comfortable exhaled. They have an ultra-fine mesh upper at the front, which is also highly breathable. The shoes work quite well if they get wet and dry very quickly.

The shoes are very light. If you wear them especially barefoot, they feel like you’re not wearing anything. The grip of these shoes is crazy. They have a circular pattern, which is a good design feature. The grip is perfect for going down grassy hills, bouldering, and the like. The shoes are very flexible and you can fold and stick them in the mesh pocket of your backpack.

These shoes can also be worn barefoot. But always wear socks with these if you are about to walk many miles. You don’t want to risk rubbing your feet against the materials inside to cause blisters. If you want to go super light and a natural footprint, these are good shoes for that.

Pros
  • Super light
  • Excellent grip
  • Flexible
  • Can be worn barefoot
Cons
  • No cushioning at the bottom
  • The sole is very thin
  • Not recommended for rocky trails
best budget trail running shoes

8. La Sportiva Bushido II Trail Running Shoes

best budget trail running shoes

This is a lightweight, full-featured trail shoe that is ideal for someone who runs with a minimal mindset. It is not a minimal shoe by any means, but La Sportiva has put some characteristics in this trail shoe that makes it very stable and lightweight.

The most interesting feature of this shoe is a TPU frame that starts at the top of the shoe and connects seamlessly to the midsole and wraps around the bottom of the shoe and the other sides. That gives the shoe a lot of stability and just makes a sharp fit. The rest of the upper is lightweight mesh and they’ve put some overlays in key areas where it needs a little more durability.

A good rubber toe cap on the front to protect against an accidental kick to rocks. You also get a well-padded tongue, so if you fasten the laces, it will be comfortable against your foot. The shoe has a kind of asymmetric design in the lace so that it fits anatomically to your foot and you can mark it.

The sole of the shoe has very aggressive lugs. They go up the round and even go up on the midsole of the shoe. At the bottom is the La Sportiva impact brake system. It will give you a lot of traction when ascending and descending.

Pros
  • Excellent balance of weight and stability
  • Excellent traction
Cons
  • Rigid for easy trails
best budget trail running shoes

9. Altra Lone Peak 4.5 Shoes

best budget trail running shoes

Lone Peak is an ideal choice for daily short trail runners for ultralight backpackers. It is a great balance between cushioning and traction. The shoe has a couple of design features that are consistent across the Altra line. It is important to know that Altra shoes use a zero-drop platform, which means that the heel and forefoot height is the same.

Most running shoes have a higher heel than the forefoot, but Altra firmly believes that Zero Drop allows your foot to function exactly as designed. If you have never worn low drop shoes, you may want to reduce the kilometer until you get used to it.

The FootShape foot box is widened so that the big toe is not pinched and the other toes have room to spread. The upper of the shoe is made of breathable, quick-drying mesh, and overlays increase durability in high-wear areas. The integrated tongue is designed to keep dirt out of the shoe and cushion the upper part of the foot. If you have trail gaiters, they will pair perfectly with your shoes, thanks to the integrated gait trap attachment system.

The shoe’s EVA midsole offers moderate cushioning that’s a big step up from minimalist shoes, but it’s not as bulky as some more highly cushioned options. An internal StoneGuard is shaped to reflect the structure of your foot and ease the pain of running on rock or root covered trails. The TrailClaw outsole uses a sticky rubber and lug pattern that provides secure traction on a wide variety of surfaces.

Pros
  • Comfortable and spacious toe-fit
  • Drains water well
  • Sensitive and responsive
Cons
  • Not the strongest rubber sole
best budget trail running shoes

10. The Sportiva Ultra Raptor Running Shoes

best budget trail running shoes

The Sportiva Ultra Raptor can be used in a variety of activities, from bouldering to hiking. While these trail runners are a bit heavy for long distances, they provide some of the best protection aspects of any shoe. They provide extensive protection with elements like full rock protection and adequate cushioning. If you are looking for a protective yet comfortable pair with fantastic traction, stability, and support, Ultra Raptor may be a good choice.

Ultra Raptor is loaded with many features including a full-length stone guard, simple cushioning, super-durable toe cap, and ultra-protective upper. Protects all types of terrain. The thick cushioning provides not only comfort but also protection against road hazards. The integral stone protector protects against rocks and sharp roots. It even distributes force evenly across the shoe.

The upper part of the shoe is ultra-breathable AirMesh. Protects you from fine gritty particles and other annoying debris. There is an interlocking synthetic material within that mesh, which helps remove moisture. This feature makes these shoes a good choice for hot summer days.

The outsole is aggressive and adheres to most surfaces except super smooth slippery rocks. With these shoes, you can maintain traction without slipping or slipping. There are long, three-pointed, multi-directional lugs that allow you to run up and down over steep, loose terrain without slipping back or forth. Also, the shoe has a wide forefoot that allows a better balance when stepping on rocks or roots.

Pros
  • Breathable
  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Super protective
  • Stable
Cons
  • Absorbs water
  • Heavy
best budget trail running shoes

How to choose an inexpensive pair of trail runners?

In the section below, I’m going to talk about how to get the right pair of trail running shoes. The most important thing to remember is that there is no perfect option to do it all. Everyone runs differently, so the shoes should also be wanted accordingly.

best budget trail running shoes

Traction

Let’s say you are the type of person who lives in a city and you go out into the forest and want to run on the forest trails. You don’t need something that gives you a lot of traction. Instead, you want something that’s a good combination of running on hard surfaces and running on soft, fluffy surfaces in the woods.

It does not need deep terminals to give traction. You just want a nice flat sole like the one you would get with ASICS Gel-Venture 7. This is perfect for people who live in the city and do a bit of trail running but spend most of their time running on the road.

If you are someone who is doing technical racing, something like Speedcross 4 would be a good choice for you. It has a good traction and is excellent for soft terrain. It is not so good at difficult things, but it is nice and soft, so you have the feeling of running, but it does not give you great support.

best budget trail running shoes

Support And Protection

If you do long-distance running, Speedcross 4 will not be the best shoe for you because your arch will collapse. It will give you pain, but for the technical race, it is a good option. If you are an experienced runner and have worn a pair of shoes, you want something that will push you forward and something that you can comfortably run from medium to long distance.

I would give you support without stopping. Something like La Sportiva Bushido II would be a good option. This is a nice, lightweight shoe that gives you good traction but also good protection under the forefoot. When you run on your toe for a long time, you will feel nice and comfortable.

If you are the type of person who wants to do a long-distance race or you get tired very quickly or you need a shoe that has good protection because you end up running a lot in difficult terrain. You should go for something safe and supportive. A shoe similar to Salomon Wings Pro will give you support under the arch.

The foam here is much harder, which provides cushioning and support, and also the frame of the shoe is nice and supportive. It keeps your foot in a good position and when you get a little tired, you need that support and control to be able to maintain a good running style without being too tired and feeling like your ankles are going to tip over.

best budget trail running shoes

Heel-To-Toe Drop

Drop or differential height is a height difference between the heel and the forefoot. A shoe with a higher drop height will tilt your foot forward. This type of shoe is ideal for those looking to progress in a high-performance race, as it forces you to land in the middle of the front part of the foot. As you progress, you will want to lower the drop height. It is easier to run downhill in the middle of the foot without feeling yourself being pushed forward. The highest performance shoes for professionals have no drop height, allowing you to move faster.

best budget trail running shoes

Movement Control

Movement control refers to the support and control that the shoe will provide for your arch. A neutral position where the lower leg is in a stable straight line is preferred. It will reduce stress from your knees. Pronation where the arch collapses inward and supination where the foot rolls outward giving an unstable sensation will cause knee and hip problems. These problems must be addressed through motion control. If you think you have any of these problems, I recommend that you consult a podiatrist for more specialized advice, especially if you plan to go longer distances.

best budget trail running shoes

Heavier Runners

The human body is a natural shock absorber in running. But if you weigh more than 175 pounds, then it is worth going for a shoe that provides extra cushioning. This will reduce the impact on the knees and hips.

best budget trail running shoes

Sizing

If your shoes are too small, your toes will touch the end when running downhill. If you are buying technical running shoes, I recommend going one size larger. New technologies always appear. Don’t be too confused with these different technologies because they are constantly evolving. Look at the most important things like support, drop height, or cushioning. If you’re doing a more technical run, you should give it enough grip.

best budget trail running shoes

Conclusion

Choosing the right pair of trail running shoes is not as difficult as it sounds. Know the advantages4 and downsides of different types of footwear and narrow your selection by understanding their requirements. You can compare these shoes for more information. Be sure to check out the recommendations and the pros and cons of each shoe. An ideal shoe provides comfort, support, safety, and durability.

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