Over the past couple of years, the trail market has seen a growing number of off-road shoes with features previously only seen in performance road options.

Along with carbon plates and new foams, these shoes often see an increased price point, making picking up a pair a big investment.

In this guide, Tom, Kieran and Nick discuss these new super trail shoes, from what they’re designed for to whether they’re worth spending your money on.

Check out the monthly podcast for the latest kit news and updates:

00:00​​​​ – Intro
00:31 – What are super trail shoes?
10:31 – What do we look for in super trail shoes?
12:14 – Our top super trail shoe picks
18:49 – Are they worth the money?

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Orion Epping Forest 50-mile Ultra:
Adidas Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra First Run:
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Nike Ultrafly 50K Run Test:
New Balance SC Trail v1 First Run:
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Hey Tomy from the thing that you're Watching in this video we are going to Be talking about super trail shoes so Trail shoes that have quite high Performance teching them like carbon Plates this video is also part of the Podcast so if you're planning on Listening to this month's podcast don't Watch this video cuz it's the same stuff Right let's dive in and have a chat About super trail Shoes Okay guys so we are talking super trail Shoes a type of shoe that's come about Over the past couple of years uh which To be honest I'm not 100% sure on the Classification of it um but hopefully We'll be able to shed some light on it Here uh let's just kick off Nick you you Seem to be the man who talks about these More than anyone else what is a super Trail shoe well I just tested tested a Lot of them this year you're just like Putting super in front of loads of Different words super good word it's a Good word uh I mean it it's the same way Like you know super trainers compare Super Shoes everyone know those are now Like the vaporfly all that carbon plate Shoes soft bouncy mid sulfones for the Road super trainers use a bit of that in Training shoes super trail shoes use Some of that tech for the trail so we're Talking carbon plates mid Su Foams that

Are bouncy High stack unusually soft for Trail shoes and they basically they get Traileri these things so the carbon Plate might be forked it might be a bit More flexible it might be jewel plates Like in the Hocus and the Midol foam Will be bouncy but it will be contained Because you know be bouncing all over The place on even ground and you're Coming down a mountain so it's basically Elements of that become very popular in Road shoes that have been adapted for Trail Racing shoes which also means they Can then stick a massive price tag on Them equivalent to the road shoes which Again is unusual for trail shoes which I Don't know as far as I could ever tell They're always reasonably cheap compared To the Top Road Shoes Okay so with super Road shoes it's Pretty obvious why they came about and What what well originally it was quite Obvious why they came about and and what They what they aiming to do what what Are super trail shoes what is the focus For them is it the same as as Road shoes Are they just for racing and running Fast or is there other benefit or is is There another Focus for them kieren you Want to hit that one yeah I mean for me It's the the benefits are largely kind Of the same you're looking for it's a Similar promise you want shoes that are Going to help you run longer faster more

Efficiently saving energy that's Essentially the promise is essentially The same as the road choose but you're Doing it on the trails and I guess what They're doing with some of the carbon Plates in the in the trail shoes they Might be looking at different ways to Provide sort of that that spring effect But also looking at making them soft and Pliable so they'll move in two planes of Motion basically so you get that kind of Stiffness going from kind of Heel To Toe But there's also more Flex when you want To move side to side so you're not Losing the ground field that comes with Them but overall they're just they're Designed to help you run with efficiency Over the terrain same as a Road okay um and uh do do they work do They have those benefits When when You're using Them now this is a trickier one because The roads use very much so and I think The trail shoes do but in certain Circumstances like we are you know UK Based runners most of my racing is done On soft ground and I struggle to really See the benefit of them there compared To when I have done longer runs on Harder ground then you do start to get That feeling a bit you certainly don't Get the same sinking bounce wow factor You get with a road subo which is Obviously has no real concerns about

Stability it's all about just sink into This bounce off this off you go fast as You can because you're running on flat Tac I think the concessions you make With trail shoes to make them safe and Useful on an even ground mean that you Lose a lot of that impressive benefit But they must be doing something right And then certain terrains I think Certainly think they do something but I Think I it's less obvious to me anyway I Don't know what you guys think it's less Obvious when I'm using them that I'm in A super Shoe I think I mean we'll talk about the Different ones that are out there at the Moment which ones we think are good but Um I have I think that there I've tested Quite a few of the carbon plate trail Shoes now and what I what I noticed About them is that with Road shoes uh Well roaches nowadays that are have Carbon plates in they sort of have Different purposes um and I remember When the first was it the flight vective Uh that came out that was like the first Uh attempt or it wasn't the first one Because we said it was the first one a Lot of people said it was the first one But there was another one for I can't Remember what it was um but that was Really all about speed on the trails but Since then I I find that a lot of Trail Shoe or brands that are making trail

Shoes tend to say different things about What the purposes of them sometimes People are talking about the carbon Plate actually being more of a Protective thing and a stability thing When you're on the trails some of them Talk about it being a speed thing um It's quite difficult to work Out why I I think I think there's a Tendency for a lot of companies just to Put a car plate in trail shoes just Because it's obviously people think Going it's really good on road might as Well have one for the trails but it's Very unclear to people I imagine lot a Lot of people know why they're getting The car plate in there and they're Probably not using it for the purpose That is it's designed to Do so yeah I mean I think that some in Some cases the carbon plate can be used To add stability it can that is part of The properties depending on how they're Tuned and I the weirdest thing I think With this on the trail is it's almost Like with the road you kind of want to Feel it you want to know that it's sort Of pushing you forward in that kind of Straight plan of motion on the trails It's almost like the best I think the Best plated shoes are going to be those That almost feel a bit more natural you Don't necessarily notice it as much you Don't want it to be that really kind of

Pronounced feeling and I you so one of The ones that I think it probably isn't At the top of the kind of Glamour list Of all of this but one that almost feels Very subtle is the tan X2 which I think Does add something over the speed goat It's not a huge difference but it does Add extra but in a way that to me kind Of feels sort of comfortable and natural Without it being overdone if you look at Some of the shoes where they you know The vaves I think are an interesting Where it maybe feels a little bit more Aggressive and in different terrains a Lot of people have you know picked up The fact that the plate feels a little Bit interruptive it causes problems when You're going uphill you can feel it Coming through it's uncomfortable all of Those kind of things so for me it's Going to be a bit of a weird one because You almost don't want to know that it's There on the trails you you have to be Able to feel like everything's still Moving um natur the best ones like you Say disappear on certain Trails but then Come back when you hit like a runable Stretch almost It's like it's not in the way when you Are on those tricky bits and you're Worried about instability but then you Hit a nice flat stretching oh actually Now I do get this bounce or whatever it Is really and I think sorry I was just

Gonna say I think it's I think the Difference as well for TR for the trail Shoe manufacturers it's it's it's Probably a much harder remit to try and Pull this off there's so many different Parts to consider to actually get it Right B I think it's going to be a tough Crowd to please as well but to get it Right I think is quite a difficult piece Of design that's that's needed here yeah Almost some of the ones that have been Most successful have targeted almost Specific races and know the exact Terrain they can work on but to try and Make a generalist Trail shoe is so hard And the Foams I think is the big problem Because the Foams are actually probably One the biggest factor in the road shoes And you simply can't put a really soft Foam like you know some of the softest Ones on the road on the trails but then I think maybe people are starting to Think you maybe just can just some of The recent ones but yeah that maybe We'll talk about in a minute but I feel At some point we're just going to end up With very similar to the road shoes and Just like take your risks and hope for The Best which another it's that's also Interesting because I there's been times When I've been testing these and you Know they're not necessarily described As road to trail shoes but I think a lot

Of these shoes do fit that bill and you You could be running along tarmac and Compare it to a shoe you've a road You've been testing recently you're Thinking actually this Trail shoe is Better than it's better than the road Shoe I've been testing when did the um Brighton tank a in the tect on X and she Loved it thought it was absolutely Fantastic and that's sort of where I Suppose ton tekon X and tekon X2 a good Example of a a shoe that really does Tick a lot of boxes across different Trails but I wouldn't ever use a Tectonics for you know really technical Terrain or anything like that um but It's a tricky one isn't it because I Think a lot of these shoes are very much Focused on those long dry um you know Sort of a mar American Mountain type dry dry valleys And stuff like that where you're really Getting an experience that's like the Road and you're not too worried about Mud and and and stuff like that what I What I found with a lot of them is that I've run across the Downs it's wet it's Muddy it's bogy um and they just have no Benefit whatsoever when you when you're Doing that and it's they're not bad They're not actually like causing a Problem they just don't offer any Benefit and when you're thinking about How much they cost and and and you think

Well I could could have done this same Run in a you know pair of 60 pound shoes It's it's a bit pointless having the the In for most people or a lot of people It's a tricky one in the UK I did I did An ultra in eping Forest last summer and I was I used the Adidas Nike super trail Shoes during that and really loved them Both but the terrain was pretty friendly Somewhere in the forest and you know a Guy was running in Vapor FL so you know So that's good but I also think how Benefit they are and when you talk about Things like technical terrain a lot of That depends on the runner their level Of experience when I was in sham for the Adidas launch I was doing little Descents you know it's not something I Do a lot of I'm not a very good Descender I am skar of heights so those Shoes are probably not going to be the One I would use there but you see all The pros just gliding down them and There's a photo of is it pet Engle Engle Um his foot essentially at right angles To the floor because the shoe is turning So much it's so soft and he carried on Running it was fine so I guess maybe if You really know what you're doing it's You can use them on those on any kind of Terrain but I don't know as a as a Novice for that kind of thing I would Steer clear of them on really really Tricky

Stuff okay so um if we were if push came To shove and somebody asked us what Makes a good super Trail shoe what's What what do you think would you you Would say the the good things that you Would say you'd need in a super Trail Shoe I mean for me it's like all the Good things that in a regular Trail shoe You're looking for you know that it all Still applies you want control stability Protection you want the ability to be Precise and feel the ground under fo Foot all of that stuff I think it's Still very much here and then I think When you want to let go and you want to Be able to you hit a runnable section This is where you you want to to feel a Bit a little bit of that kind of extra Efficiency um but you I you know you you Need to have all of those first those Sort of former things before the latter Because those are the most important Things when you're moving over the Trails for me so they basically have to Do more than a super Road shoe because a Super Road shoe the purpose unless You're talking about these sort of daily Super Shoes the main purpose for most Super Ru is is speed yeah right and Efficiency they sacrifice stability I Think the other big thing that super Trues have which is much harder is the Range of distances like um you know some Of them have got to they got to be

Comfortable because you're going to be In them for 24 hours something like that You know whereas Road shoes are geared Up towards the marathon and those will Also be useful for road ultramarathons But yeah you know there's there's that Consider as well and then that makes it Really hard to make a trail shoe that is Brilliant for that ultramarathon purpose That I would use as someone who mostly Does short distance Trail Races where The weight just isn't I want if I'm Using a trail rating shoe probably Weight is the biggest factor I think for Me on the trails and these tend to be a Bit geared more towards longer stuff They're a bit heavier actually than the Shoes I race in on the Trails okay well let's dive into the Actual super trail shoes out there what What would what would you guys say are The super trail shoes that exist at the Moment which are the good ones the ones That we rate and we think they're worth Getting are there any yeah I think I Mean we we all quite like the tekon x 2 Right I don't think it's a wow shoe I Actually would say I'd probably get the Tekon X for Less I don't think there's Been much of an upgrade from what I saw But that's a pretty solid all Round but I'd say there are two that Stand out for me this year I've tested Uh and one is the aex Fuji Speed 2 which

Didn't go after I think the profile of a Road supero went more after the profile Of a road of a like a daily trainer Super you know what we what we call them Super trainers it feels a lot like Things like the Endorphin speed and that Kind of thing the Foams I didn't realize It had a plate exactly yeah it's got a Plate and it's the second version of the Fuj as a carbon plate I think originally Had a nylon plate maybe the first Version and it's got a really nice Rocker it's got fairly fun good outs Soole you know re you know wouldn't I Wouldn't use it potentially now in the Forest but it could use it throughout Autumn even it was quite muddy and it's A lot cheaper than that's the thing It'ss priced like a super it's $160 Instead of 160 quids Sor instead of 250 And the one that I do think comes the Closest to feeling like a road Super Shoe I've tested is the Adidas terx Agravic speed Ultra which is still in Prototype form I I think is more or less What they're going to release next year And the reason it feels like a road Super is they've made the fewest Concessions to the trails in that They've got a huge stack of Light Strike Pro foam got the energy rods in there That are plastic so they're a little bit More pliable and a really aggressive Rocker and you know it doesn't look a

Lot like a tril it's got you know it's Got a decent content rubber out soole But they've just got you know you can You can run this on the trails like Whereas lots of other brand even Nike Like wrapped the zoomx foam and made it A lot heavier and more stable than their Road racing shoot Adas kind of just went This is a you know this is like our road Choose for the trails and it does have a Really bouncy booming feeling at times But the same time the Rockers crazy There a very narrow pinch point on it That like it looks so like worrying like Um but same time people are running you Know UTMB in these shoes and everything And they're they're fine but yeah that Probably it comes back to that level of Experience Karen yeah I mean i' only recently got The Fuji speed to I've only done one run In them but I we think I quite like the Fact they they're pretty precise they're They're nice and Nimble and I think They've got like a yeah faster Nimble Ride which I I like I think for me when I'm looking at these shoes most of the Times when I'm running on the trails I'm Not really looking for I think this Another really important thing about the Carbon shoes it's like if you think About Road shoes everyone's looking for That little marginal gain to get to a PB Hit certain times I'm never really

Running that way on the trail I'm always Basically I need a shoe that's going to Help me sort of be able to go for longer Hours um sort of Ultras and I'm not Going to be running fast I'm going to be Running fairly slow and for me the best Shoe that I found out of that is is the Tekan x or the tekan X2 it's just a nice Easy rolling shoe that does make a Difference although it still feels quite Natural the effective Pro I was one of The only people who didn't or I don't Know I was one of the people who didn't Have any sort of problems with the plate Coming up through and when I did I did Some sort of really technical Coastal Runs or really technical it's technical For for me anyway really quite Steep and You know cut up and Rocky um Coastal Path runs down in North Devon um Technical enough and I I found them to Be really good for that actually I I Really enjoyed the rideing them so those Were another that I enjoyed I know a lot Of people didn't but I also think that The vective sky you've got a slightly Lower stack maybe gives you a bit more Control that that people have found Maybe a little bit more accessible than The vective pro um not so many problems With the plate and yeah I haven't run in The addes that Nik talked about Nick That Nik talked about I'm calling you Nike now that Nick talked about um or or

In fact the reason I'm saying that is All all the the Nike ones that a lot of People have had but Nike ones are great We talking about we talk about you know They're just good cushion shoes to the Road I do think the Nike ult is the best Cushion shoe in Nike's range for any Terrain um obviously you're not buying It for that price to go and move poodle Around and you're going to buy the Invincible whatever instead but yeah That's a shoe is such a clearly Different approach to to what Nike do With their Road shoes it's a heavier Shoe a much more stable shoe a really Friendly shoe did my first ever ultra Distance runs in it it's really Comfortable loved it uh I found it you Reasonably gripped pretty well on I was In the gal running in it on some fairly Slick like Coastal things but nothing Crazy again like nothing mountainous um And just a really comfortable shoe but Yeah it's a shoe so gear towards Ultras That you know and even then you know it Doesn't feel fast it doesn't is is this A big difference to just a comfortable Cushion shoe for the normal trail Running shoe and so that's that's the Problem with it really I think there's Some really good shoes out there but I Don't know I would the only time I use Really fast Trail Sho would be when I Want to do workouts on the trails

Instead of on the road which case Something like the Fuji speed is great For it as a good workout shoe and then When I'm racing on the trails it's Nearly always pretty muddy so they I Think I think with these C plate trail Shoes with most trail shoes we tend to Review them in a way that you know it's Clear what they they're good at and what They're not good at but it's really hard To Market a a trail super Trail shoe What obviously if you're trying to Market a you know Carle race shoe you Just say it's fast and efficient and Great turnover and all those sorts of Things with a trail shoe if you're Saying it's just a great Trail shoe it's You really need to be specific about What what it's used for don't you it's Because uh the the north a ones are a Good example because uh the vective pro Um I quite like for basically slightly Hard ground I think I think it deliv I Think it's quite nice I think it's a Nice a nice ride on almost road Conditions the sky uh is better on the Trails for me but I don't see any Difference between the sky and a noncom Plate shoe that's that's where the issue Comes in for me it's like i' I'd rather Have the speed goat or something like That because I don't need that plate in It I don't think it serves me any Purpose on it um and obviously makes it

Quite bit more expensive you look at Something like the sakoni and dorphin Edge uh when that came out that was £200 I think when that came out um and I Remember taking out the downs and Thinking I don't notice any difference At all with this and some of the other Trois I've got that are like 1220 um so which actually leads on to my Next Question are they are they worth the Money yeah I I this is I think this is So this is the every every question About are they worth the money is very Personal but this is so much personal You've got to be right in the right You've got to find the shoe for the Right Trails you're running the right Distances and all that and yeah the only One that would be worth it for me Probably will be the Fuji speed as a Really good workout shoe in the forest You know and if I was doing longer RAC If I was going to go and do some of like The Maverick races around the UK in the In the warmer months I think that'd be a Really good shoe for that for me and but Even then it's a push like so not for me But that's you know that that's the Personal thing if you are doing these Wern State style terrain races then I Think there's probably quite a lot to Them that would make potentially start Looking at that price tag but yeah yeah

I suppose if you look at the Spectrum of Users across uh Road shoes obviously you If carbon Super Shoes are actually more A lot more applicable to more people Obviously there are people who do Marathons who wear you know Adidas Ultra Boost 22 and stuff like that that that You know they're not bothered about Running the marginal gains but there are A lot more people that are worried about Marginal gains like Kier was saying but When you go to Trails that shifts quite A lot whereas people really focus more On comfort as opposed to those marginal Gains that you're getting and ALS and Also there's like durability issues and Stuff like that as well you want a trail Shoe that's going to be comfy last you a Long time um and just make you know Support you when you're out on the Run Um so yeah there's a there's a they're a Very Niche thing to Market I think it's Probably quite difficult to sell a car Plate Trail people Kier you've done you Know lot of Ultras around the world do There any like dolomites say for example You when you're doing your dolomites run The really long one H you're going I Really want to make sure I have a carbon Shoe on for that or you what are you Thinking about really I I wouldn't Really to be honest I'm almost like the Opposite I I think that for that I just You you know for me obviously I'm not ra

I'm not I'm running it I'm not racing it It's going to take me 27 hours the Winners will finish it in 14 I just need A shoe that's basically GNA help you Know support my feet and comfort and Help me pick my way along the trails I'm I'm not thinking about seconds and and Minutes I'm just thinking about moving In consistent comfort and if you can get Some efficiency excellent can they hope With cope with all the lumps and bumps So for me all of these carbon shoes in a Way the way that I've used them and it Makes me think of you know hard sunbaked Kind of North down South Downs well You're not getting anything particularly Crazy and steep most of it's kind of Runnable if you're a good runner and You're you're pushing on kind of hard Quite compacted ground that's where I Think they would sort of come into their Own but I think it's a really quite hard Sell for most people because it's just Such a different vibe I mean you know Most people don't how last time you did A sort of Trail race people don't go how What's your 10 what's your Trail race 10K PB or whatever it's just like did You finish that you know that 160k Ultra That you did yes great brilliant and it You're not you're not looking to shave It Offside whether you know people when you Get to the road shoes people can kind of

Go well you know I took 5 minutes off my Marathon PB and it was down to these Shoes it probably isn't they probably Just you know slept better for six weeks Or whatever but you know it might be Down to S the shoes but you know what I'm saying it's like when the trails There just not that measure and I think It's quite a hard cell to for people to Say okay did it did it improve me is it Is it the marginal gains and it just Comes back down to that one thing is Comfort but yeah and if you look at the Percentages of people racing Trail runs And the people are you know racing road Races you got Parker and all those sorts Of things it's such very small percent In comparison to the road side of things So it is a it is a much trickier cell And there's probably is an argument for For for there are some people that they Really they work really well for but It's a very minuscule percentage Compared to to to The Wider group of People that are using yeah you got to Really know what you're doing the trails I say like you buy a road superp shoe Any marathon in the world designed for Speed on the road is going to be that sh Will work for it whereas yeah you know The trail one you got to pick and choose Your battles and and like I say yeah I Think it's one of those things where you Know most times I felt really enjoyed

Using those shoes I've been testing them Could I been in a road shoe with a Decent outsa probably so it's uh in my Terrain doesn't work so well but you Know obviously they've had Rock plates Forever so maybe they're doing the job Of rock plates and add and adding some Protection on those really hard Rocky Trails that we don't really get where we Are I think that's probably maybe a Different matter well uh I think that Sums it up quite nicely uh if you're Watching this or listening to the Podcast version of it let us know what Your thoughts are on super trail shoes You're probably probably going to get a Lot of comments on this with people Saying they're amazing we're completely Wrong Um not doing podcasts immediately um but Cool okay well uh I'm sure we'll be Covering a few more Super tra shoes Coming up in the coming months all right Cheers guys Cheers Cheers that's it from Us on this video thanks a lot for Watching don't forget to like subscribe Click the little bell and if you go into The caption blow you can find a link to The podcast version of this where we do Some other chat as well so we talk about New kit coming out as well as training That we're doing and various other Things like that thanks lot for watching Catch you next