Favorite Trail Shoes of 2021

It’s hard to believe it’s already the end of 2021. That’s a post for another day. In 2021, I started trail running in the beautiful Northern California and ended running in the beautiful Southern California. Both have plenty of opportunities for trails, although they are different trails. Down in the Mojave Desert, I find myself running on sand dunes where I needed a trail shoe with more traction.

What most people don’t realize is no two trails are the same. In fact, the same trail on different days is different. Some trail shoes are better for dirt trails whereas others are better for steep rocky climbing. I used to wonder how my west coast friends could “run so fast” on trails but I realized many west coast trails are much more runnable than the east coast trails like the Appalachian TrailFavorite Trail Shoes of 2021.

Anyway, here are some of my favorite trail shoes of 2021:

None are sponsored and just shoes I like.

Hoka Zinal

The Hoka Zinal is a brand new shoe from Hoka and might be my favorite overall. It’s extremely lightweight with plenty of traction. For what I do (13.1 miles and below), the Hoka Zinal makes a great option. When the Hoka One One Torrent 2 came out, I wondered can Hoka ever make a better shoe than this. Spoiler: they did.

Hoka Zinal Shoe Review

The North Face Flight VECTIV

The North Face Flight VECTIV was the first trail shoe I tried with a carbon plate. It has a lot of cushion, and it’s responsive. While carbon plates in trail shoes are only as good as well-groomed terrain, I find it my favorite shoe to run on long dirt paths or terrain with minimum rocks.

Guide to North Face VECTIV Trail Shoes

Speedland SL:PDX

The Speedland SL:PDX has caught a lot of attention for being expensive. At $375, it’s the most expensive shoe I own and maybe the most expensive out there. BUT it provides more customizations than any other shoe period. Do I think it’s worth $375, I actually do and haven’t found anything less than perfect except the price.

Speedland SL:PDX Trail Shoe Review

Altra Superior 5

A newer Altra model to me, but one of my favorite multi-purpose trail shoes. I feel as though I can hike or run in the Alra Superior 5 with no problems.

Altra Superior 5 Shoe Review

Saucony Peregrine 11 ST 

The Saucony Peregrine 11 ST is the “soft terrain” version of the Peregrine. It is designed to plow through mud, and I’ve found it really good for that. Flipping it over, you can see all of the traction on the bottom. I do find it too firm for already hard ground and trails, but if I’m running through mud or sand, it’s one of my top choices.

Saucony Peregrine 11 ST Shoe Review

These are just a few of my favorite trail shoes of 2021. I would love to hear yours and what kind of trails you run on!

You Can See All Current Shoe Reviews Here.

Looking to learn more about running shoes? In my ebook, I talk about why you need a good running shoe, a shoe’s anatomy, neutral vs. stable, and even myths of running shoes.

Questions for you:

What are some of your favorite trail shoes of 2021?

What kind of trails do you currently run on?