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Best Stability Trail Running Shoes in 2022

 

Having shoes to match your feet and your stride is just as important when running off-road as on. Your stride, whether neutral, overpronating, or underpronating, will remain the same, regardless of the terrain.

So, if you use stability road shoes to correct for pronation, then you should also consider stability shoes for trails. We recommend the Salomon XA Pro 3D V8. It has a wider-than-average platform for a Salomon, a stable, 3D chassis, and excellent grip on all surfaces.

The best stability trail running shoes offer both comfort and functionality, so you can get out and enjoy tackling the terrain with the right platform for your feet.

Here are the best shoes for staying fast and responsive while trail running, no matter what stability concerns you might have.

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

Salomon XA Pro 3D V8

 

  • Snug, breathable upper
  • Broad and stable platform
  • Excellent grip
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

 

ASICS GT-2000 9 Trail

 

  • Seamless, reinforced mesh upper
  • EVA and Gel midsole cushioning
  • Two stability features in the midsole
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

 

Salomon Speedcross 5

 

  • Extremely well-padded heel
  • Durable, protective upper
  • Provides an agile ride
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

Best Overall

1. Salomon XA Pro 3D V8

Salomon is probably the most well-known brand when it comes to rugged, off-the-beaten-path adventures. The XA Pro 3D V8 features their classic design on a slightly wider platform, with added stability features for the overpronators.

What We Like

The Salomon XA Pro 3D V8 has the brand’s typical, rugged look, capable of running on a wide variety of trails. Those with less-than-narrow feet will be happy to know that this shoe seems to have a wider platform than usual.

The upper and midsole work together really nicely to stabilize the foot. Sensifit technology and the Quicklace system help the wearer to really get a great lockdown on the foot.

The padded tongue and Ortholite footbed cushion the foot nicely and prevent hotspots from the laces. 3D open mesh on the upper is light anr4n ruin a good run.

A bouncy EnergyCell EVA midsole gives you both the padding and the energy return you need on the trail. Between this and the outsole is the 3D chassis – a dense layer of foam that serves to prevent that rolling of the foot.

It’s less intrusive than the classic medial post and adds stiffness to the shoe that’s ideal when you’re covering uneven ground.

Lastly, the Contagrip MA outsole is extremely durable, grippy, and nicely lugged without being overly aggressive. It adds stability by offering superb traction and safety on all surfaces.

This shoe is also available in a Gore-Tex version if you want superior waterproofing. The only possible downside is that it’s pretty chunky and weighs a fair bit, closer to a hiking boot than a trail running shoe.

Why We Like It

The shoe is a beast! It’s got everything a serious trail runner will want to push them to new heights on rough terrain, it’s super easy to wear, and it looks awesome.

What’s New

The V8 uses lighter, softer materials than the last version. The geometry of the 3D chassis has been tweaked for comfort and added stability. It’s also almost a full ounce lighter than the previous shoe.

PROS:

  • Snug, breathable upper that supports your feet
  • 3D chassis creates support and stability
  • Broad and stable platform
  • Excellent grip in all circumstances

CONS:

  • Somewhat heavy on the feet
 

Top for Road and Trail

2. ASICS GT-2000 9 Trail

Overpronators who need to deal with a couple of normal roads before they hit the trail will find that the ASICS GT-2000 9 Trail can handle both easily.

What We Like

The ASICS GT-2000 9 Trail may have a trail running label on it, but it can handle the road just as well. It’s got decent lugs underneath for rough trails, but they’re not too chunky so they won’t be a problem on road surfaces.

For stability, the shoe uses a combination of two technologies: Dynamic DuoMax, and a Trusstic System.

Dynamic DuoMax technology is a kind of medial post. It’s a firmer, denser piece of material in the midsole, on the inside part of the shoe that doesn’t compress easily. This provides extra support and stops the foot from rolling.

The Trusstic System is a light plastic plate in the middle of the sole, which you can actually see if you turn your shoe upside down. It’s stiff and prevents the shoe from twisting, which is excellent for keeping your feet stable.

A single-piece, reinforced engineered mesh upper offers extra support as it molds to the foot and holds it stable, helped by the lockdown provided by the flat laces.

Flytefoam and Gel in the midsole provide exceptional cushioning, with extra padding in the heel for shock absorption.

Be aware that while the outsole can handle trails, it’s not likely to be super effective on highly technical trails or very muddy ground.

Why We Like It

It’s comfy, supportive, and can deal with trails and roads equally well. Definitely a good choice for those who run on multiple surfaces.

What’s New

Not much has changed since the GT-2000 Trail 8. The most noticeable difference is a new upper, which is lighter and softer than the last one. It’s also received a bit of a revamp around the ankle, being more rounded than before. Flatter laces also provide better stability and a tighter lockdown.

PROS:

  • Seamless, reinforced mesh upper
  • Lightweight EVA and Gel midsole cushioning
  • Two stability features in the midsole
  • More aggressive outsole for traction on a variety of surfaces

CONS:

  • Not great for very technical trails
 

Best for Mud

3. Salomon Speedcross 5

Those who thrive on muddy chaos will love the Speedcross 5’s aggressively lugged outsole and super grippy rubber.

What We Like

The Salomon Speedcross 5 has excellent traction on any surface. Those who run through muddy conditions often should notice that it keeps them steady and safe on their feet in slippery, slushy, and wet conditions.

Multidirectional Chevron lugs are scattered across the outsole, offering claw-like grip in thick mud. They’re made of Contagrip TA rubber. It’s sticky, tacky, grippy, and all the other words you can think of to describe excellent traction.

This makes this shoe great for mud and anything that comes with it, like wet grass, slippery rock, and slushy conditions.

The shoe is rounded off with a protective anti-debris upper with Sensitfit technology for a better fit. It’s also fitted with Salomon’s Quicklace system, which allows you to get a really good lockdown.

For comfort, an EnergyCell midsole and Ortholite insole provide really nice cushion. The midsole foam also delivers more energy return than you might expect.

Why We Like It

Those lugs! You’ll be able to plow through mud, sand, slush, mush, and anything else that might slow you down otherwise. They’re also quite suitable for any wet surface, smooth or otherwise.

It’s a stiff shoe that will help overpronators who are looking for that extra bit of support.

What’s New

The lugs on the outsole are beefier, being slightly longer and wider than on the 4. They’ve also been repositioned for better grip and the rubber is a touch stickier than the previous version’s.

PROS:

  • Unrivaled grip on both wet and dry surfaces
  • Extremely well-padded heel
  • Durable, protective upper
  • Provides an agile ride

CONS:

  • Tread isn’t suitable for anything other than heavy trail work
 

Top for Wide Feet

4. New Balance Fresh Foam More Trail v1

The New Balance Fresh Foam More Trail V1 is great for trail conditions and perfect for those with wide feet. Excellent fit, excellent performance.

What We Like

The wiiiiide platform! It’s wide enough that those with narrow feet won’t be comfy or supported in it, but that makes it ideal for wide-footed trail runners who need a snug, comfortable, and supportive shoe.

Don’t let “snug” put you off, though. The plush upper features a nice, roomy toe box which will give you plenty of space to spread those toes.

Technically, it’s not a stability shoe designed for overpronators. But it does have certain features that offer stability more than your average neutral shoe.

Let’s talk about that platform first. It’s got a 4mm drop, which is lower than average and might actually be uncomfortable for some. But it does provide exceptional stability, between the width, the moderate stack height, and the flatness.

The rear side walls of the shoe come up higher than average, which you can see from the outside. This helps to cup the heel, which surprisingly goes a long way towards preventing rolling of the foot as the walls put the support right where you need it – on the medial side of the shoe.

A light, responsive Fresh Foam X midsole offers the best of both softness and energy return. There’s a touch of a rocker effect, and the uniquely-shaped lugs will grip to anything you throw at them.

Why We Like It

It’s stable in a non-intrusive way. The platform itself offers excellent stability, helped by the high side walls of the midsole and outsole. It’s actually pretty decent for both overpronators and neutral feet that need a bit more security.

PROS:

  • Soft, plush upper with a generous toe box
  • Wide, secure platform with 4mm drop
  • Thick layer of lightweight, responsive foam
  • Substantial lugs offer great traction

CONS:

  • The 4mm drop may put some people off
 

Most Durable

5. La Sportiva Bushido II

Nobody wants their shoes to wear out after just a hundred miles or so. The La Sportiva Bushido II will see you through a lot more than that with little wear and tear.

What We Like

The La Sportiva Bushido II is a rough, rugged, and ready shoe. It’s extremely protective, with a buffed-up mesh upper, TPU inserts around the toe box, a solid rock plate, and a serious outsole.

It’s labeled as a stability shoe, although that comes from its stiffness and bulk and not from specific features. But what really stands out, though, is the TPU midfoot cage, which extends from the upper to the outsole and gets a really solid lockdown on the foot.

This can help to keep your feet stable and prevent that rolling, as it supports the medial side of the foot quite nicely when you’ve laced it up properly.

This shoe has a pretty low stack height compared to others, with just 19mm in the heel and 13mm in the forefoot. It’s still decently padded, but has a better ground feel than most others.

The 6mm drop isn’t too high or too low. Some may not like it, but it will be easier to adjust to if you’re used to something higher.

Also, a rock plate in the sole gives you excellent protection against rocks, thorns, sharp stones, or other hazards underfoot.

Despite the minimal cushion, the FriXion outsole features top-notch lugs that last ages if you use them on the trails only. They’re super sticky, so you’ll be safe on a bunch of different surfaces.

Why We Like It

It does a great job on the trails and should last you a good long time even if it takes a beating on every run!

What’s New

The heel has been widened slightly and the upper has been a little buffed up. A revamped strong toe cap and plus 4mm on the stack height are other small but significant changes.

PROS:

  • TPU reinforces the sides of the toe box
  • Provides great ground feel
  • Very stable underfoot
  • Great for endless miles on rugged terrain

CONS:

  • Not for wide-footed runners
  • Not very breathable
 

Best Traction and Grip

6. La Sportiva Akyra

Like the shoe above, the La Sportiva Akyra is robust and durable. But they also have some serious lugs and grippy rubber on their outsoles, for superior grip on a variety of different surfaces.

What We Like

Two differently-shaped lugs in a super-grippy rubber on the outsole give you confidence on just about any surface.

Looking at the FriXion Red outsole of the shoe, it’s easy to see the different sections of rubber. The forefoot and heel feature a softer rubber with cube-shaped lugs, ideal for absorbing shock on landing and pushing off strongly.

On the rest of the outsole, harder but still sticky rubber features robust, multidirectional, uniquely-shaped lugs that grab hold of anything they’re on and keep you standing.

It’s a fairly stiff shoe, adding to your stability on the trails. That does mean that the MEMlex EVA midsole isn’t extremely soft and cushy, but it offers a good ground feel. There’s no rock plate in this shoe, but it’s great for those who like to feel what’s beneath them as they run.

A midfoot harness allows you to lock it down really securely, keeping the foot from rolling. There’s a slight rocker bottom, helping to propel you forward with minimal foot fatigue.

Why We Like It

It grips to anything! The combo of sticky rubber and thoughtfully-shaped lugs on the outsole provide the best mix for keeping your feet firmly planted to any surface.

PROS:

  • Sticky rubber outsole provides excellent traction
  • Ample cushioning underfoot
  • Slight rocker shape
  • Secure, locked-in feel

CONS:

  • Not a great fit for wide feet
 

Top for Light Stability

7. Salomon Cross Pro 2

Although designed for a neutral foot, the Salomon Cross Pro 2 features just enough stability to keep you confident on the trails.

What We Like

This shoe uses a Matryx exo-skeleton to hold the foot securely in place, providing a nice bit of stability without being intrusive or uncomfortable. The 8mm drop with a mid-range stack height helps to keep the stability throughout your gait.

Multi-Fit technology also helps to provide a solid fit. Salomon’s Twinskin knit fabric creates a sock-like tube that’s extremely comfortable and feels natural on the foot. It’s double-layered, and there’s a sneak TPU toe cap and heel cap held in between the layers inside the shoe for protection.

This design makes it pretty impenetrable, so dust, debris, and even snow stay out. It’s also quite decently water-repellent but stays breathable in warmer weather. Their traditional Quicklace system finishes it off.

An EnergyCell midsole gives you the best of both energy return and comfy padding, doing a great job of absorbing shock as you hit the trails.

Underneath, 6mm lugs on the Contagrip outsole give you outstanding grip no matter where your foot strike lands.

Why We Like It

It’s stable, grippy, and responsive. A great combo to stay light on your feet on the trails while being safe at the same time!

What’s New

The heel counter has been redesigned to improve the fit and feel. Other than that, it’s the same Cross/Pro!

PROS:

  • Protective TPU toe cap
  • Breathable, anti-debris mesh upper
  • 6mm lugs for continuous grip on a variety of terrain
  • Delivers excellent energy return

CONS:

  • Not comfortable for wide feet
 

Best Lightweight Shoes

8. Salomon XA Wild

At 12.5 ounces for an average-sized men’s shoe, the Salomon XA Wild is a fairly lightweight trail shoe. Feels easy on the feet, keeps you safe on the trails!

What We Like

This is a rugged-looking shoe, but it’s fairly lightweight for what you’re getting. It keeps your feet safe on trail terrain, but also won’t feel heavy or clunky on your feet, making it an excellent option for long hikes or trail runs.

This is partly due to the slim design that Salomon naturally uses and partly due to the lightweight material they’ve chosen on this shoe. Be aware, though, that it’s not likely to be a comfortable fit on those with wide feet.

Open-weave 3D mesh makes up the upper, breathable, and yet supportive. SensiFit overlays add to the stability and supportiveness of the shoe, and the Quicklace system allows you to get a tight lockdown too.

The EnergyCell midsole gives you a really fun bounce while absorbing shock at the same time. One of the best stability features of this shoe is the Advanced 3D Chassis, which sits between the midsole and outsole and prevents the shoe from twisting, keeping the foot stable and stopping overpronation.

Contagrip MA material on the outsole gives you exceptional grip on wet and dry ground. Semi-aggressive lugs underfoot provide reliable traction along with the grippy rubber.

Why We Like It

The Salomon XA Wild is light but supportive. It won’t weigh you down, and it provides excellent protection for your feet on the wild trail terrain.

PROS:

  • Super supportive and comfortable shoes
  • Great for long endurance hikes
  • Advanced 3D Chassis for support
  • Reliable, grippy traction

CONS:

  • Not suitable for runners with wide feet
 

Buyers Guide – Stability Trail Running Shoes

How Stability Works

Stability shoes are built for overpronators, which are runners whose feet roll inwards when they walk or run. This often happens because they have a low arch that falls inward naturally.

These kinds of shoes incorporate stability features to prevent their feet from falling inwards. This is important because that constant inward rolling movement can place unnecessary stress on your ankles and knees, leading to pain or injury.

Extra stability is usually achieved by using a stiffer sole and a firmer-than-average foam or plastic insert (often called a medial post) in the midsole, on the inner side of the shoe.

It’s important to note that there’s a difference between stability shoes and motion control shoes. Motion control shoes can be considered to be light stability shoes, as they offer some protection against unnecessary movement but don’t explicitly support the rolling arch of an overpronator’s foot.

For trail shoes, you don’t often find a medial post. Instead, a stability trail shoe achieves support by a stiff, stocky midsole that prevents your feet from rolling in.

Other Features to Look For

Traction

Traction is important, especially for the trails. You may encounter mud, smooth rocks, gravel, or other unpredictable terrain. You need to have confidence that your shoes will be able to keep you safe on all of them.

Sticky or grippy rubber helps get a hold on smooth surfaces. Aggressive lugs on the outsole help to grip to less friendly ground including mud. A good combination of these two is necessary for safety on the trails.

Durable Upper

When you run on the road, your shoe really only comes into contact with pavement, fumes, and possibly the occasional hazard. But on the trail, there’s abrasive sand, sneaky branches, large rocks, and all manner of other natural hazards that your shoes are likely to be exposed to.

The upper needs to be strong and durable to withstand all of them. Not only does a durable upper help your shoes to last longer, but it also protects your feet from those same hazards.

Rock Plate

A rock plate is an invaluable tool in a trail running shoe. It’s a thin piece of plastic in the midsole of the shoe, which does a great job of protecting the underside of the foot from stones and thorns on the path.

It’s also a great feature for stability shoes, as it gives the shoe a stiffer, more supportive feeling underfoot.

FAQs

Wondering about the best stability trail running shoes vs any other type of running shoe? Here’s some info you may find helpful.

What Are the Differences Between Trail Running Shoes and Road Running Shoes?

The differences between trail running shoes and road running shoes aren’t necessarily huge, but they’re significant. They span the entire shoe, from upper to outsole.

Outsoles

Road running shoes are much flatter and smoother underneath. Some of them may have small, light lugs, but they’re typically fairly smooth.

Trail running shoes, on the other hand, are less smooth al-around. They’ve got shaped lugs underneath to provide grip and security on rough ground. It’s also highly likely that they use a stickier rubber to prevent slipping.

But you can spot the difference between road and trail shoes immediately by the way the outsole looks. Noticeable lugs mean that it’s definitely a trail running shoe.

Midsoles

Road running shoes come in a bunch of different types of cushioning. Some are super soft, others are a little more firm. Because there aren’t too many hazards on the road, you can almost hand-pick your preferred softness.

But trail running shoes often feel firmer in the midsole cushioning. There’s a good reason for this, though – it’s to provide better stability on uneven ground. Shoes that are too soft make it easier to turn an ankle or injure yourself on rough terrain.

Trail running shoes often also use a rock plate, which adds an inherent stiffness to the midsole, making the shoe feel much firmer underfoot.

Uppers

Trail running shoes usually have a reinforced upper to protect the feet from roots, rocks, branches, thorns, and other things on the trail that could be dangerous. A hardier upper also usually helps the shoe to last longer.

Waterproof shoes usually use a Gore-Tex layer, which is built into the upper as a thin membrane. This also makes the upper feel a little more stiff.

Road running shoes often have lighter, less robust upper that provides more flexibility as you run.

Why Are Stability Features Important in Trail Running Shoes?

Running on the trail and running on the road are vastly different. The road is generally smooth and fairly even, without too many hazards. The trail, on the other hand, is uneven, unpredictable, and filled with hazardous things.

On the road, you can typically see what’s coming and avoid hazards. On the trail, you could step on a stone hidden under a bit of sand and turn your ankle. And this is why trail running shoes need to be more stable than road running shoes.

If you have a neutral foot, then you don’t need a dedicated stability shoe. It’s important to note that trail running shoes are generally stiffer and more supportive even if they aren’t specific stability shoes.

However, if you’re an overpronator, you need a shoe with specific stability features to prevent your foot rolling inward.

Who Needs a Stability Running Shoe?

Runners who overpronate definitely need a stability shoe, regardless of what kind of surface you usually run on. If you don’t overpronate but you feel the need for extra support to prevent injury, you can also wear a stability shoe.

Is It Ok to Use Trail Running Shoes on the Road?

As long as your trail running shoes provide the right amount of support and comfort for your feet, you can use them to run on the road too.

However, you should understand that they’ll wear out much faster on the road, because the softer, stickier rubber isn’t designed to handle hard surfaces.

Shanna Powell

Shanna Powell

Shanna is a writer who runs... And cycles, jumps rope, and lifts weights. She lives in beautiful South Africa and enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience with other avid athletes.

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