The best waterproof trail running shoes
Keep your feet dry with these ten best waterproof trail running shoes.
If you’re a fan of running off-road or, like us, live in the UK, then you may want to invest in a pair of waterproof trail running shoes.
With the endless rain, brutal winters, and slippery trails, an added layer of protection can go a long way.
Not only do waterproof trail running shoes keep the water out – but they generally also have better grip and traction compared to regular road and trail running shoes.
So, this article is a collection of the very best waterproof and GORE-TEX trail running shoes, including shoes from popular brands such as Nike, Hoka One One, and Salomon.
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1. Nike Pegasus trail 3 GORE-TEX trail running shoes
Ultimate waterproof protection
- Secure lacing system
- GORE-TEX Upper and waterproof design
- React foam delivers a lightweight and responsive ride
The Nike Pegasus waterproof trail running shoes are a solid choice – available in five colour-ways.
Unlike other GORE-TEX trail running shoes, the Nikes’ are light, almost behaving like a regular trainer.
The waterproof design is ideal for winter running, paired with the secure lacing system to increase traction, comfort, and confidence when running in the worst of conditions.
Some runners found the sizing to run a little small – so consider wearing a 1/2 size up than usual (or your regular Nike size).
2. Asics Gel-Sonoma 5 women’s waterproof trail running shoes
Best for those on a budget
- GORE-TEX membrane
- Padded tongue and toe-guard for increased comfort
- Multi-directional lugs provide superior grip
Next up, we have a pair of women’s waterproof trail running shoes from Asics.
The Asics Gel-Sonoma 5 contains a GORE-TEX membrane surrounding the upper of the shoe. The result? A dry and comfortable ride, no matter the weather or the number of puddles you so happen to *stomp* through.
While these shoes may look like a regular running trainer, the grips found on the underfoot are designed in a multi-directional fashion, increasing grip on slippery surfaces.
3. Supercross 3 Salomon waterproof trail running shoes for men
Superior grip & traction
- Ortholite technology provides a comfortable underfoot ride
- Signature Salomon secure lacing fit system
- GORE-TEX Membrane improves breathability and keeps your feet dry
Struggling for traction? Well, look no further than the Supercross 3 Salomon waterproof trail running shoes.
The aggressive rubber outsole is designed for uneven, wet, and tricky terrain, allowing you to scale any obstacle with as much style as Kilian Jornet. Well, almost.
You’ll also benefit from the quick lacing system and secure fit, ortholite technology for a comfortable and responsive ride, and, of course, a moisture and water-free experience.
4. Asics GT-2000 9 GORE-TEX trail running shoes
Best for those who overpronate
- Stability shoe – not intended for all runners
- Fully waterproof and highly breathable
- Flex Grooves provide additional traction for tough or wet terrains
Another pair from Asics, this time a stability option: the GT-2000 GORE-TEX waterproof running shoes.
This isn’t your regular running shoe, aside from the waterproof aspect side of things. It’s a shoe for those who overpronate, but it still has waterproof aspects.
Fully breathable and waterproof, not to mention containing flex grooves for added traction on slippery terrain, you’re guaranteed a comfortable and dry ride.
Consider it the classic GT-2000, but made for keeping your feet dry.
5. Hoka One One GORE-TEX Speedgoat 4
A waterproof version of the popular Speedgoat
- GORE-TEX waterproofing features
- Supportive midfoot section
- Responsive toe-off design
The GORE-TEX Speedgoat 4 is a new take on the popular shoe – this time, fully waterproof and designed to endure the elements.
Unlike other waterproof shoes that are bulky, the Speedgoat 4 is responsive, lightweight, and contains the responsive toe-off design we’re all too familiar with.
We also must mention the partnership with Vibram, providing a more natural feel and robust rubber outersole – allowing you to run with confidence in the wet.
The toe box is slightly wider than normal – so if you have narrow feet, then this is likely not the shoe for you.
6. Salomon Alphacross 3 waterproof trail running shoes for women
- Stitch-Free construction provides a more natural fit
- GORE-TEX waterproofing
- Chevron Lugs provide unrivalled traction and improved footing on wet ground
With an updated fit for increased energy and power, you’ll not only keep your feet dry, but you’ll do so in record time.
Well, maybe not quite, but nothing quite beats the reputation of Salomon trail running shoes.
The shoe is entirely waterproof, making it a great option for a soggy parkrun or, equally, a local loop around your favourite fell.
Related: A beginners guide to fell running.
The lacing system is more traditional, but still provides a secure fit. However, if you prefer the quick-tightening system, then the Supercross 3, as seen below, is likely a better option.
7. Merrell Skyrocket GORE-TEX Women’s trail running shoes
Best for breathability
- Complete waterproof protection
- More affordable than other options
- Durable and effective traction & grip on wet terrain
A more stylish and vibrant women’s waterproof trail running shoe, we have the Skyrocket’s from Merrell.
Although a slightly less well-known brand, these shoes certainly do their job.
For example, unlike other running shoes, the midsole material is compression-moulded to support natural running form, reducing impact and improving cushioning and overall comfort.
Similar to other shoes, the treads are also highly durable and provide supreme traction on slippery surfaces. And sure, while it may not be the best option for cross-country running, it’s an excellent choice for an all-around wet weather training shoe.
Related: The best cross country running shoes
8. Inov-8 X-talon G235 trail running shoes
Ol’ reliable choice
- Non-water absorbing upper material
- Metal plate provides excellent underfoot protection
- Signature Inov-8 unrivalled grip
Next up, we have a pair of shoes from the popular trail running company, Inov-8.
A more classic trail running shoe, the G235 is durable, highly breathable, and the perfect companion for those long days on the fells.
However, these shoes are not fully waterproof. But they do contain non-water absorbing materials.
So, if you’re after a fully waterproof trail running shoe, then we’d recommend a pair such as the Nike Pegasus trail 3 (as seen at the number one spot in this post).
But if you’re searching for a shoe you can trust for general trail running with a sprinkle of rain – then this is the shoe for you.
Related: 14 tips for running in the rain.
9. Hoka One One women’s challenger ATR 6
Great for going fast
- Constructed using recycled materials
- Foam midsole for reduced shock absorption
- 4mm lugs for added traction
Another shoe from Hoka One One, this time the women’s challenger ATR 6, is designed for aggressive trail running.
And while it isn’t fully waterproof like others on this list, it is still a great shoe with excellent traction, a beautiful design, and a competitive midsole for maximum energy return.
In total, you have a choice of four colours, including hot coral, paradise pink, and real teal.
There is also a wide sizing option available for those who require a more roomy toe box.
10. Hoka One One Speedgoat 5
Best for wide feet
- Vibram® Megagrip for increased traction
- 5mm lugs
- 4mm drop
Finally, we have the Hoka One One Speedgoat 5.
An upgraded version of the Speedgoat 4, the newer model now includes Vibram® Megagrip technology and updated 5mm lugs for increased grip and traction on tough and wet terrain.
And while they’re not fully waterproof (similar to the above pair from Inov-8), they are very durable, the lightest Speedgoat model yet, and the ultimate workhouse for technical trails.
Unlike other running shoes, you also have a wider option – great for those with wide feet.
And if you’re looking for the same shoe but fully waterproof, then check out the GORE-TEX version, as seen at number five on our list.
What to look for in a pair of waterproof trail running shoes?
Knowing what to look for in a pair of waterproof trail running shoes is more important than simply picking up a shoe with a great reputation.
There are four main items in the criteria that all runners should try to meet when picking up a new shoe:
- Waterproof features
- Tread & traction
- Heel-to-toe drop
The correct solution for each of these will be different for each runner, and although a good “one-shoe-fits-all” approach can be prescribed, finding the perfect shoe will be as much about personal preference as it is the science behind the sneaker.
So, let’s take a look at each of the criteria in a little more detail, opening the floor up to discussion as to what features you should look out for when choosing a brand new pair of waterproof trail running shoes.
The level of cushioning in a running shoe is another area that’s often up for debate, with some runners preferring to “float” whereas others like to “feel.”
There’s no correct answer for the amount of cushion that you should opt for, and personal preference plays the largest part. In general, there are four main cushioning levels that runners can opt for:
As the name suggests, these are running shoes with no padding, allowing the wearer to feel the trail and let your body do the rest.
2) Minimal cushioning
If you’re not fully committed to the barefoot shoe, a minimal cushion might be for you. There’s much of the same benefit, but with a thin layer of the good stuff to reduce discomfort.
Moderate padding is the most common for trail running shoes and allows for enough protection to ensure comfort over rocky and other tough terrains.
4) Maximum cushioning
A shoe with maximum cushioning is ideal for serious trail running with minimal stress on the joints.
Despite this, these are often given negative feedback due to the inefficient “mushy” feel.
Top tip: we recommend choosing a waterproof trail running shoe with at least minimal cushioning, but ideally moderate to maximum. This reduces your risk of injury when hitting the trails, jumping puddles, and dodging the odd fallen tree.
If you’re looking for a pair of waterproof trail running shoes, there’s at least one feature that you’re guaranteed to want to look for – I’ll give you a clue, it’s in the name.
Yes, of course, that feature is the waterproof capabilities of the shoe, and if you’re going to be stomping your way through puddles and streams and rivers (if you’re particularly adventurous), you’re going to want a shoe that keeps your feet nice and dry.
There are countless benefits to keeping your feet dry, both in general and when hitting the trails, but I think we can all agree that it’s never nice to have wet feet.
For example, you’ll be more comfortable, there’s less risk of a build-up of bacteria, and you can run with confidence if you happen to forget to wash a second pair of socks.
Tread & traction
Next up on the list, it’s the tread and the traction that is provided by a trail running shoe that’s vital to take note of when picking up a new pair of kicks.
It’ll come as no surprise that the underside of your shoe is one of the most important considerations when choosing your latest pair.
When you’re moving over tricky terrain with plenty of nooks and crannies, that last thing you want on your feet is a pair of Adidas Sambas.
Instead, you’re going to want the equivalent of a pair of tractor tyres to grip the ground, ensuring that you’ve got the utmost trust in your foot placement.
Again, the amount of tread and traction is a little up for debate in the world of trail running, with some preferring a chunkier tread to others.
The decider of what you should be looking for comes in answer to the question of “where are you going to be running?”
If your go-to trail is nothing more than dirt pavement, you’re not going to need the pinnacle of traction.
However, if you’re planning on scaling mountains, running the hills and turning the adventure up to 11 – you might want to consider focusing on that extra traction and tractor-tyre like grip.
It may sound like a wrestling move or some kind of local barn dance, but the heel-to-toe drop, for the unaware, is the difference in height between the heel and the forefoot in a shoe.
The heel-to-toe drop is usually given in millimetres and can range from 0mm to, well, anything you can dream up, really.
Typically, minimal shoes will have a heel-to-drop of 0mm, minimalist shoes will have a drop of around 0mm to 4mm, and the rest of the pack follow suit between 4mm and around 12mm.
If you’ve not heard of the heel-to-toe drop before, there’s nothing to worry about, although you should keep it in mind when shoe shopping for your new trail running kicks.
If you’re not sure where to begin, a great starting point is by looking at your other running or athletic shoes.
You don’t want to go meddling with your bodies biomechanics, so keeping these constant is always a good idea. Ideally, running in a low heel drop shoe is the best as it encourages a midfoot or forefoot strike, ensuring a strong landing platform with the best balance and muscle engagement, but it’s not for everyone.
To cut a long story short, it’s different strokes for different folks – try out a pair towards the middle of the scale and go from there!
Frequently asked questions
We’ve put together a short FAQ below, answering some of the most popular questions surrounding waterproof trail running shoes.
Yes. You can wear trail running shoes on the road. If you’re going to be running on a mix of terrains, then we’d actually recommend picking up a pair!
Running on softer surfaces and on the trails can actually be good for your knees. This is because less pressure and force goes through your knees and other joints.
Chances are, you’ve heard of “GORE-TEX” before. Well, if you haven’t, this technology is waterproof and windproof – a material designed to keep the elements out.
You’ll find all sorts of GORE-TEX products, including trail running shoes, jackets, gloves, and other warm-weather gear.
If you’re going to be heading off-road in the British summer, then a pair of waterproof shoes is definitely worth the investment. Not only will these keep your feet dry, but there’s less clean-up, you’ll be warmer, more comfortable, and you won’t have to worry about ruining those new socks…
Matthew is an avid runner, freelance writer, Durham University graduate, and the founder of Running101.