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12 Fall Trail-Running Shoes Reviewed

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In Pursuit of the Goldilocks Shoe: Fall 2014’s dirty dozen takes its cues from both the minimalist and maximalist trends

There’s no question that the trail-running landscape is changing. As our sport continues to grow up and evolve, more runners are dipping their toes into ultra-distance runs, multi-day adventures and an increasingly varied spectrum of off-road terrain.

Even as some shoes aim to be more specialized than ever (see the Salomon S-Lab Fellcross 3 or The North Face Ultra Equity), the majority of shoes are aiming be a veritable Jack of All Trades—capable of handling every kind of terrain a trail runner is likely to encounter, whether muddy or dry, flat or steep, rocky or smooth.

It’s a tall order, but more and more shoes are hitting the nail on the head, matching rock protection, cushion and ground feel all in one—“just right” across the board. Goldilocks would be psyched.

Here’s the dirt on 12 shoes our wear-testing team took to the trails.

Enter to win a pair of one of our Editors’ Choice shoes—the HOKA ONE ONE Huaka, Inov-8 Race Ultra 290 or Patagonia Tsali 3.0—by commenting on this page by Oct. 28! NOTE: This contest has already passed. Congrats to readers Nathan Ridings, Cindy and Liz for being randomly selected to win a pair of shoes. Thanks to everyone who participated in our contest!

***denotes a Trail Runner Editors’ Choice shoe