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Trail Season: Summer 2024 Trail Shoe Round-Up
By David Salas

In this week's Monday Shakeout David shares a round-up of several trail shoes that have released this year and discuss their pros, cons, and our favorite uses for them. We're excited to share about a few models from companies we don't get to talk about as often!

Trail Running Shoes Reviewed
La Sportiva Prodigio
New Balance Hierro V6
Topo Pursuit 2
La Sportiva Bushido 3
Altra Experience Wild
Merrell Agility Peak 5

La Sportiva Prodigio

Price: $155 at La Sportiva
Stack Height: 34 mm heel, 28 mm forefoot
Drop: 6mm
: 9.5 oz, 270 g (Men's 9)
Purpose: Trail Running, Ultra Running

The La Sportiva Prodigio is an excellent debut trail shoe. The shoe has a very streamlined feel to it and provides just enough cushioning to tackle longer efforts in the trails. The upper locks down really well and does not have too much stretch to it. There is a lot of gentle reinforcement throughout the upper that holds its shape and keeps you on the platform. The heel collar is on the thinner end though, and sometimes the sides of the collar can dig into the ankle a little bit. The width of the upper is normal to slightly narrow through the heel and midfoot. The nitrogen infused midsole provides a firm, but still cushioned experience on the trails. The drop ratio feels accurate. The ride is neutral throughout and the shoe has a pretty nimble feel to it overall. There is a lot of stiffness to the platform, though it is not overly rockered. The traction is good and does help over technical footing for me pretty well. Those wanting a traditional neutral feel that can take a decent beating can look into this model. 

Positives: Durable and secure feeling throughout, decently nimble over technical terrain, firm but structured cushioning
Negatives: The streamlined fit is great, though the heel collar is thin and not padded well, resulting in some biting into the ankle on highly angled trails. 


New Balance Hierro V8

Price: $149.95 at Running Warehouse
Stack Height: 38 mm heel/ 32 mm forefoot
Drop: 6 mm
Weight: 9.9 ounces / 280 grams (Men's 9)
Purpose: Trail Running Shoe

The New Balance Hierro v8 is a pleasant trail running shoe. The Fresh Foam X midsole provides a very soft underfoot experience for a trail shoe. The vibram rubber outsole has relatively shallow lugs, giving this appeal for both trails and road running. I have found to really enjoy this shoe for road to trail runs. The ride is pretty consistent with most cushioned rockered shoes. The upper security is decent for most situations, but does have a little stretch to it when running on angled trails or in technical descents. The upper material is comfortable and soft for a trail running shoe. The width is relatively normal throughout the entirety of the platform. This will make for a really nice easy day shoe for road-to=trail, runnable trail, and even walking/hiking. I am not sure I would greatly recommend it for technical trails. 

Positives: Good cushioning and transitions for the platform, versatility to off trail as well and hiking as well.
Negatives: Upper is a little stretchy and can give a little bit of instability in technical footing or angled trails.


Topo Pursuit 2

Price: $144.95 at Topo Athletics
Stack Height: 31 mm heel/ 31 mm forefoot
Drop: 0 mm
Weight: 10.6 oz, 301 g (Men's 9)
Purpose: Trail Running Shoe, Daily/Long Runs

The Topo Pursuit 2 is a daily trail running shoe that comes in with a very comfortable zero drop platform. The stack height is moderate to high for the category and provides a very gently rockered experience. The upper has the classic Topo anatomic fit with a normal to slightly narrow heel and midfoot that funnels into a wide forefoot. The upper material has good security throughout. The Vibram outsole is very sticky and tackles technical terrain really well. It can be a little aggressive for roads and fire roads, but as a true trail shoe this can hit nearly anything you want it to. There is some forefoot flexibility and this shoe has a very "natural" mechanics feel to it. The balanced platform also feels really nice for walking and hiking. 

Positives: Great traction and upper security, pure trail shoe
Negatives: Feels best in more technical or "traily" situations, can feel a tad aggressive for fire roads and more runnable trails

La Sportiva Bushido III

Price: $145 at La Sportiva
Stack Height: 19 mm heel, 13 mm forefoot
Drop: 6 mm
Lugs: 4 mm
Weight: 10.5 oz; 300g (men's size 9)
Purpose: Trail running, technical footing

The La Sportiva Bushido III is a trail running shoe that comes off very stable on foot. The shoe has a lot of internal and external reinforcement in both the upper and midsole that create a very structured experience. This is mostly through the heel and midfoot, with the shoe having a moderately flexible forefoot. The fit of the shoe is on the narrow end throughout and locks down really well. There is a wide version available for those that need more space (the regular version will definitely not work for everyone, as this is a relatively snug shoe). The 6mm drop feels accurate. The cushioning is moderate and should work for most efforts asked of it. The outsole traction feels similar to the heel and midfoot in that it also feels very structured. The rubber material is harder and almost feels plastic like, though it grips really well on trails. It was a little firm on the roads, though the flexible forefoot makes for a pretty smooth feeling transition regardless of surface. The shoe has a pretty traditional build to it and is not super rockered. Those wanting a shoe with a lot of structure in the heel and midfoot, a relatively narrow fit, and some flexibility have a niche shoe here. 

Great traction and structure for those that need heel and midfoot stability, nice balance of forefoot flexibility
Negatives: Can certainly be too narrow for some, may feel aggressive on the outsole pattern for some

Altra Experience Wild

Price: $145 at Running Warehouse
Stack Height: 32 mm heel/ 28 mm forefoot (men's), 30mm heel/ 26mm forefoot (women's)
Drop: 4 mm
Weight: 10 oz; 283g (men's size 9), 8.7 oz; 246g (women's size 8)
Purpose: Hybrid trail running, hiking

The Altra Experience Wild is a trail running shoe that adds to the Experience lineup. The Experience line is a series of shoes built off of a 4mm rockered platform, and breaking the mold from the traditional 0mm drop platforms of Altra. The Experience wild takes that daily training platform and adds a MaxTrac outsole and a more trail focused upper onto it. The shoe feels as advertised. It does feel like a rockered neutral shoe for the trails, though I'd argue it works really well on the roads as well. The MaxTrac outsole doesn't have super deep lugs. The rubber works really well for packed dirt, runnable trails, and even road conditions. I did find in technical footing the shoe had a little bit of translation to it. The last is built of off the "normal" foot shape (Altra uses different foot shape lasts). The fit of the shoe is definitely on the snug side when you are getting your foot in, though once it is in, the dimensions are actually pretty good and comfortable. The tongue is very padded and you can lock things down without much irritation.

To me, the Altra Experience Wild feels like a very nice all terrain shoe versus a trail only shoe. The 32mm heel platform gives a good balance of cushioning for longer efforts, though still having some grounding for trail footing. I could definitely see this being someone's daily trainer if they are running a large variety of different footings on a daily basis. 

Very versatile as a training shoe for both road and trail, outsole traction good on large variety of footing
Negatives: Volume is a little low..., but breaks in, the upper does have some lateral translation in more cambered and technical footing

Merrell Agility Peak 5

Price: $140 at Merrell
Stack Height: 31 mm heel/ 25 mm forefoot
Drop: 6 mm
Lugs: 5 mm
Weight: 10.58 oz (men's size 9), 8.29 oz (women's size 8)
Purpose: Trail Running, Rugged Terrain

The Merrell Agility Peak 5 is a trail running shoe that aims to give good comfort in rugged situations. The shoe has a good amount of cushioning for the trail market, and decently aggressive Vibram Megagrip lug pattern. The foam is certainly on the softer end and gives good cushioning for long efforts. There is a rock plate that did its job well, though I could barely feel that the plate was in there. The upper is pretty spacious through the the heel and midfoot, with a normal fitting forefoot. The tongue is gusseted and though on the thinner end, provides enough protection from the laces where I did not notice any biting. I did have a little bit of heel movement, so I did have to tighten down the laces a good amount. The shoe transitions with a gentle rocker and mild flexibility through the forefoot. The foam has decent responsivenss for being on the plush end, though this will serve better for controlled efforts. Those wanting a decently spacious fitting, high cushioned, and grippy trail shoe have it here. 

Pretty spacious for those that need it, great traction, cushioning not bad for road to trail
Negatives: Heel can move around some, a tad heavy


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*Using the link to purchase helps support Doctors of Running. Thanks so much!

Check out Gear We Love
Ultraspire Fitted Race Belt: The best way to carry your phone and goods on the run. No bounce and various sizes for waist. (Also recommend the Naked belt)
Saysky Running Gear: We were really taken aback by this Scandinavian company's ultra-thin, durable performance clothing
Skratch Recovery, Coffee Flavor: Mental and physical boost post run. Coffee flavor is excellent and goes great straight into a fresh brewed cup
goodr Sunglases: Run in style with goodr's super fun sunglasses.
Feetures Socks: Massively grippy socks that will make you feel more one with the shoe
Amphipod Hydraform Handheld Water Bottle: Perfect for long runs when you need hydration in the summer
Trigger Point Foam Roller: Help get those knots out post-run and feel better for tomorrow
Theragun Massager: This small version is great on the go for working tired legs
Ciele Hat: Our team's favorite running hat of choice!
Fractel Hats: Our team's wider fitting running hat of choice!


Nike Vaporfly Next% 3 A better fit and new geometry make the Vaporfly 3 the best yet
Spring Sustainable Apparel Review - We look at some new stylings from adidas and Saucony
Hoka Tecton X 2 - Subtle changes keep this trail racer a fun and fast ride
Nike Invincible 3 - Updated to improve stability, this max cushion trainer evolves for v3
ASICS Hyper Speed 2 - A lightweight racing shoe for an incredible price
Brooks Catamount 2 - A redesign adds a SkyVault plate to the trail shoe

Find all Shoe Reviews at Doctors of Running here.

Thanks for reading!


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Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at all of these companies for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions!
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Andrea's Top Shoes of 2024 So Far

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