BEST RUNNING SHOES

HOKA ONE ONE TORRENT

£100; hokaoneone.eu

‘For established trail runners who like to race, these great-looking, super lightweight shoes (just 211g) pack in all the essentials. You get a good balance of cushioning and agility, thanks to the PROFLY midsole. The soles boast grippy rubber and chunky lugs and do a great job of keeping you upright on muddy terrain. The upper is tough, super breathable and quick drying (but not waterproof) and ‘protective overlays’ help deal with rougher terrain. They have a low 5mm drop which suits forefoot runners more than heel strikers. While I was very impressed with the cushioning, given these are performance shoes, they’re a little less supportive than some, so are best suited for seasoned runners with good technique.’

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BEST FOR: Speedy trail runners

INOV-8 PARCLAW 275 GTX

£140; inov-8.com

‘If you’re thinking of giving frail-running a go, or you run on a mixture of surfaces, these are perfect – a hybrid of road and frail shoes. They’re waterproof, which helps get you out of the door when it’s wet, and Gore Invisible Fit provides a smooth, comfy waterproofing layer. The shoes feel nice and bouncy on, probably thanks to the Powerflow+ layer underfoot, which the brand claims delivers 10 per cent better shock absorption and 25 per cent better energy return than standard midsoles. Trailshoe-style grips work well off road, but the wider surface area of each lug means you can still run pretty smoothly on tarmac, too. You also get heel support and tough upper materials to help deal with rugged terrain. These are light (275g) with an 8mm drop.’

SAUCONY XODUS ISO 3

£140; saucony.co.uk

‘Wowl These are pretty amazing! These latest Xodus trail-running shoes are super bouncy and feel like they want to propel you forwards, thanks to a midsole that’s made entirely from EVERUN (it’s the first of Saucony’s frail shoes to have a full midsole made from this responsive cushioning). Although the shoes felt a touch weightier than some of the others when I picked them up (they’re 366g, with a minimal 4mm drop from heel to toe), once on, they were super comfy and only served to help me run. I was also impressed with the ISOFIT dynamic upper, which is super stretchy – almost sock-like as you put the shoe on, giving a snug, comfy fit – and apparently the material’s now tougher and more breathable than in previous versions. Saucony has also upgraded the soles to the dual compound PWRTRAC + XT-900 to give even better durability and traction, and these shoes are amazingly grippy in tough, off-road conditions. Your heel feels really well supported too, while your forefoot can move comfortably, thanks to the ISOFIT upper. For those who want a solid, hardwearing, off-road shoe that offers plenty of support, you can’t do much better than this. There’s no waterproof version to this one and just one colour.’

BEST FOR: Regular off-road runs

SALOMON SENSE RIDE 2

£115; salomon.com

‘For those of you who enjoy a frail run, the Sense Ride 2 is super comfy, spurring you on to keep running a bit longer. This latest version of the Ride has an even more flexible, comfortable upper and more flex in the toe area than previous models, so you get a good foothold on tricky ground without it being too stiff for the rest of the run. The soles are designed to work well on both wet and dry surfaces, thanks to the material and lug pattern. This streamlined style of lacing means you don’t end up with soggy, muddy laces, and it’s personal preference if you like the feel of them or not – you can certainly slip them on and off easily. These shoes have an 8mm heel drop and weigh a pretty light 230g; there’s also a waterproof version.’

BEST FOR: Improver trail runners

ON CLOUD WATERPROOF

£135; on-running.com

‘Not a huge runner, but lead an active urban life and like to get out there for a leg-stretcher round the park? These are for you. They’re the world’s lightest fully cushioned shoe made waterproof (and windproof, at just 216g with a 6mm drop) and are very comfy to wear, so are likely to become your go-to active shoe around town when it’s wet and cold outside. In fact, it’s like these are gently willing you to get out there when you’re wavering -thanks to the heel loop at the back and the elasticated “speed-lacing system”, you can slip these on in a flash (they do come with laces in the box too, though, if you prefer). They’re not designed for running in mud, though, so you’d be safest on tarmac or well-maintained paths to avoid slipping. They come in sleek black or dark grey.’

BEST FOR: Active urbanites

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