What are the best trail running shoes for the worst conditions? We take a look at some of the shoes with the best grip...With winter conditions well and truly set in, where wet, slippery mud is the hard to avoid if you are running of road, you need a pair of trail shoes that have an outsole designed to provide maximum grip so you can concentrate on running as hard as you can or enjoying the surroundings rather than simply battling to stay upright!
Perhaps the most immediately recognisable name in the game of combating muddy conditions the Inov-8 Mudclaw has a long history of providing exceptional grip in the worst conditions. Completely updated this year with a newly designed outsole the Mudclaw is available with or without the highly anticipated Graphene Grip which provides extra durability.
The outsole looks ready to take on the worst you can throw at it thanks to the 8mm lugs that bite into soft ground keeping you moving forward fast and efficiently. Low profile and relatively narrow fitting the Mudclaw is designed for fast paced training and racing to enable you to feel connected with the ground for responsive, confident running.
2. Hoka Jawz
An unsung star of the Hoka range, the Jawz is super lightweight, weighing just over 200g and provides excellent traction off-road thanks to the 6mm lugs positioned across the outsole. Made from a Vibram rubber compound the shoe grips brilliantly when rocks and stones appear and the snug fitting upper is made from tough, durable ripstop that provides protection as well as longevity.
Far from your traditional maximal cushioning associated with Hoka shoes the Jawz has a lower profile with only 21 and 18mm stack heights in the heel and forefoot respectively. Although relatively low, the midsole cushioning provides just the right amount of impact protection on off-road terrain. An ideal fast training and racing shoe.
3. VJ Irock 2
When a shoe is chosen by a world champion you know there must be something good about it and that is certainly the case with the VJ Irock 2. It’s lightweight (240g), close fitting and has a super-aggressive outsole with deep, well spread lugs on the outsole for maximum traction in the wet and mud. It is also extremely grippy on rocky terrain making it ideal for races that take on varied underfoot conditions.
Another high level of performer, if the VJ Irock fits you, you will not be disappointed with its ability during races and training. Grip is up there with the best and the narrow fit, although not suitable for everyone, really does mean you feel close to the ground and in complete control as you traverse the countryside.
To finish the review, we’re throwing in a couple of ‘wildcards’. The Saucony Koa ST and the Inov-8 X-Talon Ultra which provide a little more comfort and cushioning compared to the aforementioned options which are at the faster, racier end of the spectrum.
Best suited to those who are looking for an aggressive grip in combination with more cushioning and a slightly wider fit the Saucony Koa ST provides a brilliant blend of performance and comfort. Outsole-wise the 8mm lugs provide excellent traction in wet and muddy conditions but also feel relatively comfortable on short stretches of harder packed surfaces. This comfort is also enhanced by the shock absorbing midsole and a slightly wider platform that enhances stability too.
All-in-all the Saucony Koa ST is a highly versatile trail running shoe that is not only highly capable on wet and muddy conditions but will also keep you protected and comfortable over longer distances or harder surfaces.
The Inov-8 X-Talon Ultra 260, is a hugely popular choice for anyone looking for a slightly wider, more forgiving fit with a little bit more underfoot protection than your traditional stripped back racer and builds on the success of its predecessor the Inov-8 X-Claw. Grip wise, the X-Talon’s pyramid shaped lugs provide excellent grip and mud shedding capacity to maintain grip.
So there you have it. A quick summary of some of the best performing shoes for wet and muddy conditions. We are sure there is something there to suit everyone and if not then take a look at our full range of trail running shoes here.
As always, if you have any questions - please do just get in touch.