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<strong>Trail-running participation has increased more than any other outdoor sport</strong> in recent history (for sports starting with participation above one million in 2007).
With an increase of 117 percent since 2007, 9,149,000 trail runners take the time in their day to lace up, get outside and hit the trails. Here at <em>TR</em>, we aim to help keep it up!
Manufacturers have their hands full answering the demand for better and better trail shoes: the VK-climber, the muddy mate, the zero-drop glider, the light-and-fast racer, the all-arounder, the fortified, deep-lugged aggressor. We combed through the latest options, and called on our network of 57 shoe reviewers to test this season’s best new offerings and, amazingly, we think there’s something for everyone.
“With the Torrent, Hoka ONE ONE has managed to create a lower-profile, stable trail runner while still achieving a decent level of cushion in order to stay consistent with their brand. If you’re looking for a trustworthy trail runner that still performs well on road, this is a great shoe.”
—Zachary Leighton, Cameron Park, California
<h2>HOKA ONE ONE
Price: $120 <a href=”http://www.avantlink.com/click.php?tt=cl&merchant_id=b5770911-39dc-46ac-ba0f-b49dbb30c5c7&website_id=194351b7-91f3-440b-a627-cce0793a736d&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.backcountry.com%2Fhoka-one-one-torrent-trail-run-shoe-womens%3Fs%3Da”rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>(On sale for $69)</a>
Weight: 9.0 oz (M), 7.4 oz (W)
Drop: 5 MM
Rock Plate: No</h2>
If you’re not already a HOKA ONE ONE believer, prepare to be born again. Sleek (for HOKA) and super light, this shoe doesn’t have the normal marshmallow-on-clouds ride. HOKA is clearly changing their game to appeal to folks who want a comfortable, sturdy shoe that doesn’t sacrifice agility or resemble a cartoon parody of a running shoe.
The Torrent is airy and light and maintains surprising utility on moderate to technical trails due to multidirectional lugs and a high-traction outsole.
The lack of a rock plate lightens the load, yet means some sharp objects may be felt, especially as the midsole wears down after a few months of heavy use.
The low-to-moderate heel stack (23mm M’s, 21mm W’s) provides surprising comfort, yet adds more technical trails to the Torrent’s repertoire. Banking off squishy singletrack turns and rock hopping up scree are non-issues for the Torrent.
<h3>Fit: True to size/may run long
Best For: Nearly anything with racing distances between 10M and 50M</h3>
<a href=”http://www.avantlink.com/click.php?tt=cl&merchant_id=b5770911-39dc-46ac-ba0f-b49dbb30c5c7&website_id=194351b7-91f3-440b-a627-cce0793a736d&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.backcountry.com%2Faltra-lone-peak-3.0-trail-running-shoe-womens%3Fti%3DU3VnZ2VzdGlvbnN8cGRwX2FsdHJhIGxvbmUgcGVha3wzX290aGVyX2I%3D%26s%3Da” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>LONE PEAK 4.0</a>
Weight: 10.2 oz (M), 8.7 Oz (W)
Drop: 0 MM
Rock Plate: yes</h2>
There are a couple key changes to the Altra Lone Peak 4.0 from its predecessors that give it a place at the table. A new built-in, skeletal rock plate offers more protection, and the outsole is even more sturdy and tacky, elevating the comfortable cruiser to a more advanced trail shoe—this thing can mountain goat with ease.
Testers reported the shoes as effective on a variety of trails from wet grass to steep climbs, with comfort decreasing as surfaces harden (hardpack and pavement).
The mesh upper is incredibly breathable and secure with thin overlays acting as scaffolding.Some of the overlays have been moved, as they were rubbing on toes. The tongue is gusseted halfway with elastic for adjustability and security. And, of course, the wide last allows those toes to spread out and get comfortable.
<h3>Fit: True to size
Best For: Moderate to aggressive terrain and racing distances from 5K to 50M</h3>