The Best Wide Trail Running Shoes 2020


If you’re like me, the standard width trail running shoes can play havoc on your toes. I have found myself in real pain with great shoes like those made by Salomon because they tend to suit people with a narrow type of foot.

No matter how comfy a shoe might feel when you first try it on, there’s nothing worse than getting into the first few miles of running and realizing that your feet are going to be a mess by the time you finish.

However, we have a solution for you. There are a number of manufacturers who make trail and road shoes with a wider toe box to allow your toes to spread out in a more natural fashion. Some runners absolutely swear by these and I can testify to that as I have owned multiple pairs of shoes made by Altra, the leading wide toe-box shoe manufacturer.

But it doesn’t have to be shoes that have the wide toe box. Some manufacturers just make shoes that are slightly wider and have more room for the toes, so they will also be within the review. I have run many races over 50k with shoes I was surprised to find were really quite wide and comfortable.

Trail Shoe Buying Guide

Shoe Weight

When considering your next pair of shoes, the weight is very important. You really don’t want to be getting tired legs and have shoes that make you feel your carrying dumbells on your feet. That being said, there is always a fine balance to consider. Light shoes are more streamlined which means they are for shorter fast distances. When your running Ultra Marathons you need to consider other factors such as cushioning and comfort – this will obviously add weight to a shoe. Just make sure your happy with what you have – as always it’s a personal choice, but try and stay under the 11oz mark if possible.

Grip

One of the main differences between and road and trail shoe is the outsole. This is for the obvious reason that roads aren’t rocky, wooded, grassy, muddy environments. So the grip on your trail shoe is important. If your looking for a road to trail shoe then the Columbia Variant XSR is a great option. For more varied terrains then the Altras are a better choice. Again, consider your environment, what races you may enter and the possible terrain you will run when you’re looking at purchasing trail shoes.

Cushioning

For any Ultra Marathoner, this is one of the most important aspects. To a degree, it’s the same for trail runners but this really depends on the distances that are going to be covered. Some trail runs are 10k so cushioning might not be top of the list. It’s probably going to be speed so lightweight shoes are required. Our advice for anything Marathon distance and up is to get some very well-cushioned shoes. The Inov-8 Terraultra and the Altra Lone Peak 4.5 are what we would recommend.

Heel to Toe Drop

Honestly, a lot is made of toe drop within the running community but honestly, I think it’s a matter of preference. Yes, it takes a little while to get used to low heel drops because you are stretching muscles and tendons that you wouldn’t normally will standard drop. However, the body soon gets used to it – just don’t go zero-drop for the first time and try and run 20 miles off the bat.

So, the basics of the heel to toe drop are as follows:

4mm – 8mm is a fairly standard drop which is fairly well for both heel and midfoot strikers, whereas the zero drop shoes are more for mid to forefoot strikers. My personal preference is zero-drop because I feel comfortable with them, but I also have shoes at 8mm which I also enjoy running in. As I’m more of a mid-foot striker I’m fairly comfortable in either.

Ability to Breath

This is another option I like for my shoes. The ability to breathe well. There are a number of reasons for this, however, the main ones are that you really don’t want your feet to start sweating – this can and probably will lead to blisters if your foot isn’t staying dry. Always look for a shoe that has breathable yet durable materials like those listed in this review.

Toe Protection

If you have ever been out on the trails and stubbed your toe without protection you will understand the need for something around the toes. Back in 2017 I had a poor pair of shoes on and stubbed my foot on a tree root, breaking my big toe. It put me out of action for a couple of months and wasn’t pleasant at all. So when deciding on your next pair of shoes, just make sure there is decent toe protection on them. The Inov-8 and Altras are pretty good in this department.

Altra Lone Peak

The Altra Lone Peak is the companies flagship Trail running shoe and for very good reason. The shoe is hugely popular among the trail running community due to its ability to keep you comfortable on the longest of runs. Whilst it is a phenomenal Ultra Marathon shoe, it’s also great for shorter distances as well.

altra lone peak 4.5The shoe has a zero-drop platform, which means the heel to toe drop is nothing. This allows you to run far more naturally with a barefoot style feel. But don’t worry, the cushioning underfoot is also excellent, giving you a hugely comfortable ride. The toe shaped forefoot allows the toes to splay out which in turn offers more stability. Personally, it’s something I love as my toes are not jammed together as with standard shoes so I can run for very long distances without any worries at all.

The upper of the shoe is made mainly of a quick-dry mesh plus support from a reinforced toe cap and heel cup. You can be assured that this will protect you from those protruding roots or rocks whilst out on the trail. With the quick-dry mesh you will find that the shoes drain very quickly after those puddles we always seem to find. The midsole of the shoe is made with Altra’s very own foam blend and also has a stone guard to protect you from anything sharp you may encounter on the run.

After 100+ miles of running the shoes still, look new with no scuffs or wear and tear to the soles or grip. This tells me that this is a very durable shoe and should last well. Certainly, the previous versions of the shoe I have owned have lasted very well and I used them in all conditions and terrains.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a solid trail shoe that will keep you protected and comfortable whilst out on the trails then look no further than the Lone Peak 4.0. A solid trail shoe that will keep you comfortable all day long.

Pros

  • Zero Drop is a Stable Platform
  • Very Comfortable
  • Drain Well When Wet
  • Great for All Distances

Cons

  • Wide Fit Not For Everyone
  • Maybe a Little Heavy for Some

Lone Peak Latest Prices

Topo Terraventure 2.0

The Topo Athletic Terraventure 2 is an excellent shoe that is good on both hard-packed dry surfaces as well as wet muddy conditions. This is due to the new Vibram sole for this model that has a fantastic grip and allows for great traction from the lugs. Some have also commented that the shoe is fairly good to use as a Road to Trail shoe – this is good news for those on a tighter budget who would rather not have to buy road and trail shoes for training.

topo terraventure 2.0The shoe is well cushioned and offers a comfortable ride, especially with the wide toes box as per the Altra Lone Peak. The only issue that has been noted is that some people found the shoe a little heavy at 10.8oz and felt like their feet were dragging somewhat. Personally, this isn’t something that I have experienced myself.

The Terraventure has a 3mm heel to toe drop which is still pretty small for today’s standard shoes. Once again, this offers a better running form in my opinion and I have found the lower drop shoes to give me fewer issues over long distances. Over time, your lower legs get stronger, therefore, causing less injury. If you haven’t used low drop shoes before then it’s advisable to build up the distances you run in them. There is an element of calf and Achilles stretching involved with the low drop.

Overall the Terraventure is a very comfortable shoe with plenty of cushioning for a smooth ride. The Vibram outsole really does help this shoe become a bit of an all-rounder when it comes to surfaces. It is as happy on the dry trails as it is on the wet rocky ones. The fact that it is fairly comfortable on the road too, makes it a shoe you should consider as part of your running gear.

Pros

  • Zero Drop
  • Very Comfortable
  • Lot’s of Toe Room
  • Excellent Grip

Cons

  • Interior Padding
  • Cost

Terraventure Latest Prices

Inov8 TerraUltra 260

The Inov-8 TerraUltra is the companies first real venture with a shoe designed to run ultra marathon distances. Whilst I have used it on short runs as well, I can certainly vouch for its ability over the longer distance as well. At a weight of 260g / 9.2oz, it’s a very light shoe considering it’s built for long-distance and comfort.

Inov8 TerraultraThe Terraultra grips the foot very well so you always feel secure and there is plenty of room in the toe box as well. Granted, it’s not an Altra style shape, but none the less it certainly offers plenty of room even for my wide feet.

The other great thing about this shoe is that Inov-8 has made it with Zero drop from heel to toe. This is a fantastic addition as this only adds to the overall comfort and ease of running. There is plenty of cushioning for the foot and allows for a comfortable ride over long distances. There is enough there to protect the foot when running over rough ground with sharp stones etc.

The outsole has 4mm lugs which are great for hard-packed trails, wet rocks, and some slightly muddy conditions. The grip overall is very good and the traction is great when going up those hills or rocky areas.

Overall the Inov-8 Terraultra 260 is a fine shoe designed for Ultra Marathons but is equally proficient at smaller distances. Certainly, in the past few months, this has been one of my go-to shoes and I am really enjoying running many distances and terrains in them. Certainly, a big thumbs up for Inov-8 and definitely a shoe you should be considering for your long runs.

Pros

  • Zero Drop
  • Very Comfortable
  • Lot’s of Toe Room
  • Excellent Grip

Cons

  • Interior Padding
  • Cost

TerraUltra Latest Prices

New Balance Hierro Fresh Foam

The New Balance Hierro is a wonderfully cushioned trail running shoe that will keep you comfortable for long periods of time out on the trails. The cushioning has been added to this extent so you can be out on the trails for hours without pounding your feet.

new balance hierro v5The shoe itself has an 8mm heel to toe drop which many will find to be a nice balance when running. The stack itself is 30mm under the heel and 22mm at the forefoot – you can tell straight away that there is a lot of protection between you and the track below. The outsole is a Vibram similar to the Topo we reviewed earlier. There are quite aggressive lugs that allow for a lot of miles with great grip.

The upper is a sock-like upper. It uses two materials to help with breathability while also giving a supportive feeling in areas. New Balance has called this material Hyposkin which is designed to feel like a second skin and make the upper as comfortable as possible. There is a thin rubber layer as a toe guard which may not be as rugged as other shoes on the test but still offers protection against tree roots and the like.

The only other thing of mention is the sock-like upper has what can only be described as a sort of elasticated collar around your ankle – we have seen similar designs of football boots. It definitely helps keep small stones and grit out of your shoes.

Overall the Hierro V4 is a more than an adequate shoe for varied types of trail and will keep you comfortable all day at a very reasonable price. Don’t forget when ordering that you need the Wide version and not the standard if you want plenty of toe room.

Pros

  • Sock-Like Upper
  • Very Comfortable
  • Cheap
  • Excellent Grip

Cons

  • Upper not as Durable as Other Makes

Hierro Latest Prices

Columbia Montrail Variant X.S.R

The Variant X.S.R. is a true door to trails shoe. It can cover endless miles on the roads, yet it can easily handle trail tracks and grass with a little wet and mud thrown in. I’ve been running in a pair of these for the past few months and have covered around 100 miles.

columbia variant xsrThe bottom line is that they are very comfortable and have plenty of cushioning to keep your feet happy on the longer runs. The shoe has an 8mm heel to toe drop with a ride height of 23mm at the heel dropping to 15mm at the toes.

The grip is a mixture of road and trail as you can imagine with a shoe that can handle both. It’s decent on the road and up to now has handled hard-packed and stoned trails with ease offering plenty of foot protection along the way. I’ve stood on some fairly gnarly roots and rocks whilst running in these and my feet have barely felt the impact at all.

The upper is a seamless mesh that is very flexible and durable. I had a similar upper with the Bajada iii shoes I have run nearly 1,000 miles in and the upper is only now starting to show signs of wear. There’s also a nice rubber toe guard that offers plenty of protection should you manage to stub your toes. The shoes aren’t specifically designed or marketed as being a wide shoe, however, I own 3 different pair of Columbia trail shoes and all have a surprising amount of room for the toes, which is why they make this list.

Overall, the Variant XSR is a great option for the road to trail users and will happily cover plenty of miles. Personally, I would maybe use it up to marathon distance. Anything further and you should be considering the Altras or Inov-8’s.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Great for Road & Trail
  • Soft Upper Material

Cons

  • Upper not as Durable as Other Makes

Variant XSR Latest Prices

Altra Timp

The second Altra offering in the list is the Timp 1.5. It has the same foot shaped style as the Lone Peak but is slightly more cushioned with a stack height of 29mm.

altra timp 2.0The outsole on this shoe has been specifically designed so the shoe can tackle all terrains, which is always a great touch when one shoe can do most. Certainly saves on buying multiple pairs for sure. The upper is a fairly lightweight material that has been introduced to try and keep the shoe’s overall weight as light as possible. At 10.5oz it’s not the lightest or heaviest shoe you will encounter.

Overall the Timp is a very well-cushioned shoe that is highly comfortable that can tackle a multitude of terrains. Along with that, it has been reported that the shoe is quite durable too so it should last for many miles. You should consider this shoe if you want one shoe does all on the trails, however, as a personal preference, I would go for the Lone Peak 4.0 as this is more suited to greater ultra distances in my opinion.

Pros

  • Zero Drop
  • Solid Grip
  • Comfortable and Cushioned
  • Great on All Terrains

Cons

  • Can be a bit bulky

Altra Timp Latest Prices

Conclusion

Whatever type of shoe you are looking for to match the terrain, the shoes outlined above will do it justice. These shoes have been picked not only because of the comfort levels they have for wide feet, but also the quality of the shoe itself. Most of these shoes are at the top of their class for what they do, so they are well worth a look.

Do you have a shoe you use for your wide feet? Is there another shoe you would like to see me review?

Drop us a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Happy trails,

Mark

26 thoughts on “The Best Wide Trail Running Shoes 2020”

  1. Hello Mark, I absolutely love what I read in this insightful article because it is full of great information. This is fascinating and interesting to me.your highlighted shoes for wide trail running are very interesting, but Inov8 TerraUltra 260 is my choice among all. It’s features are very okay for me. I would love to order for this soon. Thanks for the review 

    Reply
  2. Thanks so much for this piece of informative review. It is very insightful and educative. Ive been a constant victim of painful feet as a result of running shoes. I’ve grown accustomed to the pains from my running shoes especially when I’m going for a wide trail running or mountain running. But I’m very glad I came across this post. Now, I can set my mind at rest while looking forward to my next mountain running because I will get the Topo Athletic Terraventure 2. I like your review about it.

    thanks so much

    Reply
  3. Yes, getting the right shoes for one’s feet is of great importance. Exercise is great but without the right equipment along the prices, like the right shoes for example. You can do greater harm to your leg than doing good to your health in general as you age. 

    I can see that you have spoken about some great qualities that shoes must have in order to provide us better comforts while running, such as good weight, grip, cushioning, etc. Thanks for the great review and awareness for people.

    Reply
  4. What trail running means to runners is as varied and unique as the off-road terrain that we cover. To some, 

    trail running is a spiritual, transformative experience that may help develop understanding about the environment and 

    mortality previously unknown to us. But you don’t have to experience a transcendentalist mindset or nirvana to qualify as a trail runner.

    Reply
  5. You always have good humor in your posts that why your article expresses both the positive and negative aspects of this important topic. Nothing is as comfortable as having the perfect shoe that fit in, my husband feet is so wide that sometimes we find it challenging getting a perfect shoe for him. I already bookmark your page because I saw a shoe in your post that I found interesting.
    Thank you for your thorough research

    Reply
  6. Timely post Mark,

    I didn’t know that different tracks require different shoes although I have questioned myself countless times when I see those various types of shoes everywhere. Until last year though, when I was using my jogging shoes for a short half an hour hike to the waterfall and you know what? My shoes broke!

    Out of curiosity, what’s the difference between jogging shoes and trail shoes though? Besides the bottom sole, is there any huge difference?

    Reply
    • Hi Riaz, thanks for your comments and question.

      The differences between road and trail shoes are as you say the outsole in the first instance. They need to be more rugged in the first instance to cope with tough terrains. Then there is the toe guard – nothing worse than kicking a tree root or rock, so the guard is important. You also tend to find the material for the upper is more breathable, quick drying and durable as the shoes will get very dusty, muddy and wet depending on the environment. There is also the element of support. Normally there is more support around the heel area and protection of the overall foot. Stability plays a big part in these shoes because you are constantly standing on things that can quite easily turn an ankle, so support and stability are very important. This is why trail shoes are generally a little heavier than road shoes.

      Hope this helps,

      Mark

      Reply
  7. Great! Nice reading this practical article. It really practical as considerating the possibility of  standard width trail running shoes can play havoc on our toes. I personally support this fact 100% that matter how comfy a shoe might feel when you first try it on, there’s nothing worse than getting into the first few miles of running and realising that your feet are going to be a mess by the time you finish, because I have once be in this situation before as I have bigger toes. I really love the list of wide toe-box shoe provided and I find  Topo Athletic Terraventure 2 helping my situation. Hope is not available and not costly on online stores?

    Reply
  8. My husband defiantly likes the lighter and more breathable shoe. Although he has not been huge on the trail but is looking to start.  Do you think the Altra Lone peak 4.0 would be a good fit for someone like him? or do you think I should get him something more lightweight starting out? 

    His birthday is coming up and I am wanting to get him a pair of shoes. I just need a little guidance. haha.  Thanks for your reviews they are extremely helpful.  

    Reply
    • Hi Mattie, thanks for the feedback and question. There are a couple of considerations when picking the right shoe for your husband. The first question I would ask is would he be comfortable with a zero drop shoe? If so then I would recommend both the Lone Peak 4 and the Inov-8. Both are extremely comfortable to wear.

      If your husband is thinking about doing trails but not sure yet then the Columbia Variant XSR would be an excellent choice – it has the 8mm drop but is great on both trails and roads which may be more suited to your husband’s needs.

      Hope this helps,

      Mark

      Reply
  9. I personally love the Topo Athletic Terraventure 2. One of the standout features of the Terraventure 2 is the new Vibram outsole, which provides more grip and durability. This trainer performs well in sloppy conditions; runs are steady over slush, snow, and mud. Another bonus is having spread out lugs that makes them easier to clean.

    Infact, I love these whole exquisite, lovely trainers in this review. They are quite affordable too. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your feedback. Your right about the Vibram soles, these are a great feature of the Terraventures. All the trainers in the review have that little bit of something that’s makes them stand out and be very worthwhile considering as your next pair of trail shoes.

      Reply
  10. You discussed about that” The Best Wide Trail Running Shoes 2019″ in your article. I chose “Altra Timp 1.5” for me because, this shoe has been specifically designed and the shoe can tackle all terrains. This shoe is Comfortable and Cushioned and Great for Long Runs. Thank you so much for sharing the information.

    Reply
  11. Actually I have been thinking of getting a new running shoe because I really had a bad experience the last time whereby at the end of the run only to discover my feet are really in a big mess, I had to walk away on foot without shoes. This shoes are really cool and I think I will be making purchase of one of them anytime from now. Thanks for bringing this to my notice.

    Reply
  12. I can fully understand how important the right fit is for trail shoes, I am not a runner but would guess that you would need a good amount of room in your shoes as trails I think are more stoney, rugged and hard than running on a track or tarmac, therefore your foot moves more in different directions, at the same time good strong support is paramount.

    My only experience which is sort of connected is that I work in gardens all day, I am on my feet all the time and I know I appreciate good, solid, supportive footwear.

    This is a great review for anyone looking for quality trail running shoes.

    Reply
    • Hi Louise, thanks for your great comments. You are absolutely right, running on the trails is so much different than the tarmac, therefore it is so important that you have a shoe that is going to protect your feet when you are running. I have run a few times with shoes that were not really suitable for the trails and I have learned the hard way by injuring myself. Once by standing on a sharp rock that damaged my foot arch and the other breaking my toe when I kicked a tree root – not a pleasant experience.

      Kind regards,

      Mark

      Reply
  13. Hi Mark, I must say that this article is very helpful and informative. I like to run and I do that regularly with my best friends but choosing the right shoes can be challenging. What I like about Altra Lone is that they can drain wet which is very important. Thanks a lot for sharing such great shoes, I will definitely take a closer look.

    Reply
    • Hi Daniel, thanks for the great feedback. You are absolutely right that having a shoe that can drain water well is important. If you run the trails, you are definitely going to encounter water at some stage. Its always good to know that the shoes you are wearing will drain that water quickly and therefore allow you to continue running comfortably.

      Many thanks,

      Mark

      Reply
  14. This is an awesome post with a great run down of shoe possibilities! I have a really wide foot, that also widens to a greater percentage when it is fully loaded with my weight, so buying good quality running shoes that are a decent price versus the quality I want, has been a challenge. Thanks for making it easier for me!

    Reply
    • Hi Josie, thanks for the great feedback. Having a wide foot really can be a challenge when it comes to running shoes in general. I had struggled for a long time until I found companies like Altra and Inov-8 which make great wider shoes. It certainly pays, in the long run, to find the right shoe for your feet – both in money and health.

      Many thanks,

      Mark

      Reply
  15. Thank you very much for the very informative site. It’s far very insightful and educative. Ive been a constant victim of painful feet due to running shoes. There is nothing worse than entering into the first few miles of jogging and realising that your feet are going to be a multitude by the time you end. Thank a lot for sharing this wonderful article. Keep up the good work.

    Thank you so much

    Reply
  16. Hey, Mark! I just wanted to drop you a quick note to appreciate all the work and effort that you have put forth to make this list happen. It helped me a lot, furthermore, I feel the buyer’s guide is so spot on.

    Yeah, I guess, needless to say, that I decided to go with your No. 1 recommendation – the Altra Lone Peak (I really like how that name of theirs sounds). 🙂

    The fact that those shoes are phenomenal ones for Ultra Marathons, speaks volumes to me. Moreover, the fact that these make it so that the toes won’t be jammed together also is huge. I usually struggle with this in the sense that the kinds are very hard to buy at my local shops. In the past, for a while, I have even given up running. Just because of how uncomfortable and unpleasant it was for my feet.

    So many might not get me but to me, that matters a whole lot.

    Cheers, and again, thank you for all the guidance.

    Matiss

    Reply
    • Hi Matiss, thanks very much for your comments. A great choice with the Altra Lone Peaks. I have used 3 versions of this shoe now and found it to be very very comfortable, especially around the toes. It also helps to have the right socks as well. You are right about the local shops with some of these shoes. A lot of the smaller towns won’t supply these type of shoes and you either need to go to the city or buy online. However, I do find online better as you generally get a better deal on the price.

      Many thanks,

      Mark

      Reply
  17. I really enjoyed your article, Mark. 🙂

    It must have taken ages to write. That I absolutely appreciate.

    Overall, I really fancied how mindful you were. Especially when it came to Toe Protection. I have this happened to me too. It’s the stupidest thing. At the time, I didn’t break it but it sure hurt like hell and swoll up quite a bit. It didn’t put me out for months yet I totally get your pain.

    It seems that the Inov8 might be the perfect fit for me – they’re both light and have proper toe protection. And as far as I can tell have few other features I will most definitely enjoy! 🙂

    Have a Wonderful Day, Mark!

    Rasa

    Reply
    • Hi Rasa,  many thanks for your comments. Toe protection certainly is important for trail shoes and I guess you found out why. It’s very painful when something like that happens and it can certainly change your run.

      You are right about the Inov-8, it’s a great shoe for both men and women. I have run about 100 miles so far with mine and they have been a fantastic shoe up to now. Very comfortable to wear.

      Many thanks,

      Mark.

      Reply

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