* Altra’s alternative line of footwear for an active lifestyle—under $150
* 5 trail running shoes meant to tackle mud, rocks, and sand
* Designed for the athlete in mind, these are meant to out-last their competition
Shopping for trail running shoes is a labor of love because it is never the case that one style fits all. Often, we have to test out multiple pairs by wearing them during long races, trekking through cities, and climbing steep trailheads, in the hopes that we arrive at our destination both pain and blister-free. As traditional running shoes are usually designed with a pointed toe and an elevated heel, there are proven design problems that can cause us foot pain, which can resonate through the whole body. Another issue is the awful cramped toe predicament that actually stops our running shoes from doing what they were intended to do: support us. If you have ever dealt with these issues and are considering switching up your running shoes, there is a line of shoes out there that could help you find a solution.
When a company steps up to a problem that we didn’t even know we had, we take notice, and the avid runners and athletes behind the U.S.-based shoe company, Altra, have investigated the design flaws of the typical athletic shoe. They have constructed shoes to actually mimic the foot’s natural stance and gait when walking barefoot by using a fully-cushioned ‘zero-drop’ foot support, meaning the shoe has an even surface from heel to toe, which encourages low-impact running to reduce stress on the body. Their biggest difference you may notice from other trail shoes is the spacious toe box that lets your toes wiggle, move, and spread out each time a step is taken. This means more stability when tackling technical trailheads and a more engaged foot during long-distance races.
Great running gear is essential for an enjoyable time out there, you got to have the right Bluetooth earbuds, sweat-wicking attire, and a pair of shoes fit perfectly for you. So, we rounded up five trail running shoes (all under $150) that are recommended to offer an alternative to the typical training shoe.
1. Altra Superior 4 Shoe
The Superior 4 trail shoe is Altra’s lightest trail shoe. It is a sleek and lean design for someone who wants to feel weightless on the path and needs to easily pack these up for weekend trips. They are ideal for shorter day hikes and for runners who prefer a low ankle with medium cushion support for fast runs down the mountain.
2. Altra Escalante 1.5 Shoe
With an approachable design that is less technical than other Altra trail shoes, the Escalante 1.5 can be worn on the streets and up to the peaks. They utilize their AltraEgo cushion design in the midsole for a great bounce with each step taken. It is available in black, neon and neutral colorways.
3. Altra Timp 1.5 Trail Shoe
Worn by American running champion, Jeff Browning, the Altra Timp 1.5 is his go-to for all-terrain races. The cushioned underfoot makes this ideal for lengthy adventures to provide consistent support and comfort despite exhaustion. Although it is a durable and substantial trail runner, it has a nimble feel because of the extra foot support.
4. Altra Lone Peak 4 Trail Shoe
Altra’s best-selling trail shoe is a top-seller among consumers for its variety in design options. We love the four style choices of different heights of the ankle that will make a difference depending on your outdoor adventures, whether your local trails are muddy and uneven or dirt-packed and dry. This is a meatier trail shoe with an aggressive rubber outsole.
5. Altra King MT 1.5 Trail Shoe
The tough-as-nails King MT trail shoe is Altra’s shoe of choice for both marathon races and sandy singletracks. With a lean design that performs well on scree and rocks and a velcro FootStrap over the top of the shoe to hold you down when trekking, the MT is designed to keep mud and debris from loosening your shoe on aggressive hikes.