Crocs is trying to stamp out copycat versions of its signature clogs.
The Colorado-based shoemaker filed a lawsuit on July 12 against 21 retailers, manufacturers, and distributors – including Walmart and Hobby Lobby – alleging trademark infringement of its signature clog shoes.
Crocs’ clogs have exploded in popularity in recent years as customers opt for comfort over anything else. Their distinctive style, swept up in the “ugly fashion” movement, has made them one of the most divisive shoes on the internet.
In the suit, filed in the US District Court of Colorado, Crocs alleged that 21 businesses sold similar versions of its clogs at lower prices.
The company “has suffered and will continue to suffer irreparable harm” to its reputation because of this, it said.
“Given the virtually infinite number of different, non-infringing footwear styles in existence today, and which are available to other footwear companies, Crocs’ competitors do not have any actual competitive need to use the Crocs 3D Marks in commerce,” it added.
The 3D marks are the holes at the top of the Crocs clog – a signature part of its look.
Crocs also pointed to reviews on retailers’ websites, including Walmart’s, where customers had drawn similarities to the Crocs clog.
“If you are in the market for crocks, these are awesome! They are great quality, and very inexpensive,” one reviewer wrote below a listing of a pair of $10 clogs on Walmart’s website.
The Hobby Lobby white clogs listed in the lawsuit were not available on its site as of Thursday. Insider reached out to Walmart and Hobby Lobby for comment but did not immediately hear back.
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Right now, retailers across the internet are having back-to-school sales with major discounts.
We’ve rounded up all of the best sales to shop for clothing, shoes, tech, and more, for when your child starts school
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky
While the official start of the school year is still months away, plenty of retailers are taking the opportunity to host back-to-school sales.
To save you the trouble of having to scour the internet, we rounded up the best sales going on right now. From clothes, Apple products, and school supplies to mattresses and dorm room essentials, you’ll find everything you need for back-to-school. And, even if you’re not a student, you’ll likely find great deals on clothes, tech, and more.
Pottery Barn Teen: Save up to 60% on all dorm essentials, including bedding, furniture, and decorations.
Frequently asked questions
When do back-to-school sales start and end?
Although students head back to school in late summer and into fall, sales usually start in July and run through late August or early September. Many retailers have student and teacher discounts year-round though, so you can find discounts around the clock.
What’s on sale during back-to-school?
Popular items for sale during back-to-school shopping include apparel, technology, school supplies, or dorm supplies for college students. Often, you can find office and school supplies cheaper than $1 during back-to-school shopping. If you are unsure what you or your child may need, take a look at this back-to-school guide for shopping list inspiration.
Like a painter’s brush, a ballerina’s pointe shoe is her most important piece of equipment.
Pointe shoes extend a dancer’s range of movement and allow them to stay suspended in the air and move more quickly across the stage. Since their invention in Italy in the 1800s, they’ve come to define ballet as we know it.
At popular pointe-shoe maker Freed of London – which works with ballerinas at some of the most renowned ballet companies in the world, including the Royal Ballet in London and American Ballet Theater in New York City – there are 24 artisans dedicated to crafting handmade shoes for ballerinas at every level. While there are many different companies that produce shoes, Freed is renowned for its dedication to customization, a tradition that can be traced back to the company’s founding in 1929 by cobbler Frederick Freed and his wife, Dora.
Custom shoes are typically worn by professional dancers and paid for by the companies with whom they dance. Costing about $100 a pair, companies make substantial investments in these essential instruments.
At the Royal Ballet, the annual shoe budget exceeds $350,000, and some dancers can go through up to three pairs a day, the company told Insider. American Ballet Theater reported that each female dancer is allotted 10 pairs of pointe shoes a week, equaling about 3,600 pairs each year.
Central to the Freed’s practices are the 24 shoemakers themselves, specially trained to build a pointe shoe from scratch. Here’s a look at what their jobs are like on a day-to-day basis.
The career of a shoemaker
The makers create both stock and custom shoes, averaging about 30 pairs a day, and are paid per piece.
Many of them are known to the dancers by just a single letter or symbol (a bell or fish, for example) that indicates their handiwork. While a dancer will usually try out several makers at first, they grow attached to one specific maker over time who fulfills their custom orders.
The training for the role is mostly done on the job. Prospective makers apprentice with Freed and are taught the basics of shoemaking.
At first, very little of what they produce is usable, but some take to the job with ease. “It came naturally to me,” Taksim Eratli, who’s known as the “anchor maker” and been with Freed for 18 years, told Insider. “I would say it took me about six to eight months to master the making.”
Still, it’s a while until the new hires are entrusted to fill custom orders. “As they learn, we put them next to other very experienced makers so they can mentor them and are on hand to say what’s good or what’s bad,” Sophie Simpson, a senior manager of sales and pointe-shoe fitter who’s been with Freed since 1998, told Insider.
There are innumerable customizations that a dancer can specify for their shoe. Freed can change the strength of the insole, the sides, the strength of the block – the stiff cup that encases the toes and allows dancers to rise en pointe – the length of the back, and more. As the shoe is meant to support a dancer’s foot, customization isn’t just for fit but also for injury prevention.
Many of the makers, once trained, stay at Freed for the rest of their careers – sometimes upwards of 30 or 40 years. Because the shoes themselves and the way they’re made are so specific to each dancer, makers become critical to a dancer’s career as well.
“Having a comfortable shoe can make or break a performance,” Brittany Pollack, a soloist with New York City Ballet, told Insider. “When I’m onstage, the last thing I want to worry about is how my shoes are feeling.”
The assembly process
The first essential step in the shoemaking process is a fitting. The fitters work out the length and width of a dancer’s foot and then select a maker that can naturally produce the type of shoe that fits their needs.
“All the makers follow the same system,” Simpson said, “but there is a slight difference because the shoes are made by hand.” Simpson compares this to variations in handwriting – the words can be the same, but the way writing looks on the page will differ from person to person.
If one maker retires, it can be disappointing news for a dancer. Pollack, who had used the same maker since first joining New York City Ballet in 2006, was recently told that Bell, her maker, had retired.
“I probably tried about 10 different makers over a period of a few months to find what pair would work best for me,” she said. Finally, Pollack found a replacement – the “diamond maker.” “When I first put those shoes on, I knew right away that they felt right,” she said.
The day starts early at the company’s London factory. “I get up at 4:30 a.m., and I’m at work by 6:30 a.m.,” Eratli said. “My finishing may vary, but I’m usually done by 2:45 or 3 p.m.”
All of the work is planned often months in advance. The factory is high energy throughout the workday, which Eratli finds enjoyable. “It’s where all the magic happens,” Eratli said.
The makers build the shoes inside-out in layers, beginning with the outer sole. The sole is staple-gunned or tacked together and then covered in the satin fabric and canvas lining. An extra pocket is left at the top where the maker will build the block. The block, according to Eratli, is the most difficult element of the shoemaking process. It can be made in a variety of ways using fabric pieces, papers, sacking, or other materials that determine its strength.
Halfway through the assembly process, the shoe is tied down and sent to the stitching area. Up until this point, the shoe remains inside out. Once the sole is stitched on, the shoe returns to the maker, where it’s turned the right way out. The process is completed by shaping the block with a rounded hammer. Once the shoe is shaped, it’s baked overnight in the factory’s industrial oven.
Changing with the times
While the shoemaking process is steeped in tradition, as the times change, so does Freed. The company often speaks with dance medics, rehabilitation and physical-therapy teams, and other experts to improve upon the safety of the shoe. “We’re renowned for being as healthy for a dancer as a pointe shoe can be,” Simpson said.
The company has begun to make pointe shoes for men, which are typically much bigger and stronger at the toe, as more male dancers gravitate to pointe work.
They also create shoes in a variety of colors for special occasions or for different skin tones. This is a divergence from Freed’s signature peachy pink that famous choreographer George Balanchine first fell in love with (and which no other shoe company can use).
West and Adidas announced the two would partner in 2013, in a deal reportedly worth $10 million at the time. Bloomberg reported Yeezy has a valuation of $3.2 billion to $4.7 billion, per investment bank UBS, due to the lucrative partnerships with Gap and Adidas. The partnership with Adidas, Bloomberg notes, runs through 2026.
Social media users pointed out the Nike shoes, and speculated whether he was in breach of the Adidas contract or announcing an end to the partnership.
West has ownership over the Yeezy brand, but Adidas operates the website his shoes are sold on. Yeezy x Adidas sneaker sales amounted to $1.7 billion in 2020, according to Bloomberg, netting West with $191 million in royalties.
West’s first sneaker, the $245 limited-edition Air Yeezy, was released in collaboration with Nike in 2009. The shoe later sold on the resale market for thousands of dollars, and a prototype of the shoe with a value of more than $1 million could become the priciest sneakers ever sold.
Some analysts and insiders consider Yeezy one of the most influential sneaker brands ever, reportedly inspiring the now-popular shoe brand Allbirds, Insider’s Mary Hanbury reported.
Nike, Adidas, and a representative for Kanye West did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The former chief financial officer of a Massachusetts shoe company pleaded guilty to embezzling $30 million from the business over the course of several years, according to a statement from the Department of Justice.
When 64-year-old Richard Hajjar was the CFO for Alden Shoe Co., he wrote checks to himself from the company and transferred business funds to his personal accounts, the DOJ said.
He used the money to “enrich himself” by buying “gifts and luxury travel for others close to him, including private flights to the Caribbean and diamond jewelry,” the Wednesday statement said.
In a civil lawsuit from Alden, the company said Hajjar spent some of the money on Bianca de la Garza, a Boston-based news anchor whom he’d developed a romantic relationship with at the time.
“They vacationed together often. And Mr. Hajjar purchased gifts for Ms. de la Garza worth hundreds of thousands of dollars,” the lawsuit filed in Suffolk County Superior Court read.
In total, Hajjar transferred about half, or $15 million, of the embezzled funds to de la Garza, and at one point purchased her a million-dollar co-op in New York City.
The scheme lasted from about 2011 to October 2019, when the company terminated him. Alden, a 137-year-old family-owned luxury men’s shoe-maker, did not respond to Insider’s request for comment on the story.
Before being terminated, Hajjar was Alden’s vice president and corporate secretary, a member of the board of directors, and the CFO.
According to the civil lawsuit, Hajjar worked at Alden for 30 years and became “a trusted advisor to the Tarlow family and a key employee at Alden.”
His lead attorney, Daniel Conley, of the Boston law firm Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, PC, said Hajjar had more than just an employee-employer relationship with the company.
“He’s remorseful, very remorseful, and has accepted full responsibility for his actions,” Conley said to Insider Friday.
In the criminal case against him, Hajjar pleaded guilty to wire fraud, unlawful monetary transactions, and filing a false tax return, in which he didn’t claim the income from the embezzled funds. The charges come with 20-, 10-, and 3-year prison sentences, respectively, along with fines, according to the Justice Department statement.
The court, however, has conditionally accepted a range of 48 to 72 months in federal prison, which the judge will consider at the sentencing hearing on Sept. 15.
Conley said he’s hopeful that in sentencing the judge “considers the fact that Mr. Hajjar accepted full responsibility, is very sorry for his actions, and has returned millions of dollars,” totaling $4.5 million.
In 2008, Kanye West wore high-top black Nike Air Yeezy 1 prototypes on stage at the Grammy Awards, where he performed “Stronger” and “Hey Mama.” Now, those same sneakers have sold for $1.8 million to RARES, a sneaker-investing platform. The shoes are the prototype of West’s Yeezy line, and they’re the most expensive sneaker sale ever recorded.
The pair of Yeezy sneakers was the first recorded shoe sale to top $1 million, according to New York-based auction house Sotheby’s. The sneakers were the first-ever shoe in West’s Yeezy line, which, in the years since, has contributed to West’s becoming a billionaire and a major player in sneaker and streetwear culture.
Ryan Chang, who listed the shoes at Sotheby’s and collects and curates streetwear under the handle of @applied.arts.nyc, worked with Sotheby’s on the sale to RARES.
RARES will launch sales of shares of the sneakers on June 16, according to the platform’s website, which entreats users to “own a piece of the world’s most valuable shoe.”
RARES said that users can “reserve a spot” to buy shares of the valuable sneakers. Users create an account and are notified when shares of the shoe open up for sale. RARES sells these and other sneakers as SEC-approved investments and allows for collective ownership of the shoes.
Shares of shoes sold on the platform usually run between $15 and $25, according to the company. Gerome Sapp, the CEO of RARES, said in a press release that acquiring the Yeezys worn by West would allow “millions of individuals the ability to now invest in the culture.”
The Yeezy prototypes dethroned another Nike Air model for the title of most expensive sneakers sold at auction – the Nike Air Jordan 1s signed and worn during a game by basketball star Michael Jordan. They sold in May of 2020 at Sotheby’s for $560,000.
The shoes that spawned Kanye West’s sneaker empire are going up for sale at the historic Sotheby’s auction house.
The Nike Air Yeezy 1 prototypes are expected to sell for over $1 million, according to Sotheby’s estimates, making them the most expensive sneakers to ever hit the market.
The shoes represent the first Yeezy sneakers ever worn in public by West when he debuted them at the Grammy Awards in 2008 during his performance of “Hey Mama” and “Stronger.” The shoes feature a faded Nike swoosh, alongside West’s signature Yeezy strap.
The sneakers will be sold in a custom wooden box that features a design from the shoe’s designer, Mark Smith.
The size-12 shoes will be on display at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center from April 16 through 21 and will be available for private sale through Sotheby’s site after the exhibition.
West’s 2008 Grammy moment created a buzz among sneakerheads and, ultimately, helped West achieve a billionaire status in 2020. Sneaker collector Ryan Cheng, who is listing the shoes for the private sale, said in a press release that the shoes encapsulate a cultural movement.
“There he was, Kanye West, on stage at the Grammys, winning 4 awards just that evening, and unveiling an incredibly important and iconic design in Nike’s storied history,” Cheng said.
The highest known sneaker sale to date was a pair of autographed Nike Air Jordan’s that were worn by Michael Jordan in 1985, according to CNN. The shoes sold for $615,000 in 2020 on Christie’s site.
Golf shoes have come a long way in the past few decades. For most of the 20th century, golfers wore what were essentially dress shoes with hard metal spikes molded into the soles. Though you likely have an idea of how uncomfortable they were by reading that sentence alone, they managed to be even more painful than you’d imagine.
Thankfully, those days are long gone as today’s golf shoes underwent a significant transformation. Metal spikes gave way to plastic spikes that aren’t as sharp but have more contact points with the ground. The dress shoe style still exists but golf shoes resembling athletic shoes are preferred by PGA Tour golfers and amateurs alike.
Just as the shoes themselves innovated, the number of available styles has multiplied as well. With great variety, however, comes the stress of making sure you’re buying the right pair suited to your game.
To help, I’ve rounded up five of our favorite pairs from brands like Adidas, Puma, and Skechers, each with their own benefit for golfers of any skill level. At the end of this guide, I’ve also included a few tips on how to shop for golf shoes and what to keep in mind.
Pros: High level of comfort for a full round of golf, provides strong waterproof capabilities, perfect shoes for those who will walk the course, will give you a nice level of support in the midsole
Cons: Spikeless design doesn’t have quite the traction of a spiked shoe, toe box is a little tight
Regardless of whether you’re walking the golf course or riding in a cart, you’ll be spending plenty of time on your feet. That makes comfort incredibly important in your golf shoes. The Skechers Go Golf Elite 2 spikeless golf shoes nabbed our top spot thanks to being comfortable enough for long days on the greens.
Aside from comfort, the shoes also feature a waterproof and breathable style that makes them great for any weather condition. Skechers designed the Go Golf Elite 2 to have a leather upper segment that’s fused to the sole which provides the waterproofing. This allows them to hold up in the rain but is meant more for those early morning rounds on dewy grass.
The shoe’s midsole provides just the right mix of comfort and support, too, to keep your feet happy as you play all 18 holes. You can buy the Go Golf Elite 2 in multiple color combinations, sizes, and in men’s and women’s designs.
The best spikeless
The Ecco Biom Hybrid 2 golf shoes are comfortable for walking but feature an innovative sole that gives you more traction than most spikeless shoes.
Pros: Impressive spikeless design of the sole creates hundreds of points of contact with the ground for a smooth swing and extra support for walking, highly comfortable shoe, waterproof leather construction
Cons: Price point is a little high for spikeless shoes, sizes tend to run a little small
Spikeless golf shoes certainly feel comfortable when you’re walking on the course but traction is a hit and miss proposition with them. Ecco decided to make traction a priority with its various spikeless golf shoes, culminating in the Biom Hybrid 2.
Ecco spent plenty of time designing the sole of its Biom Hybrid 2 golf shoes to help you with traction on the course. This research culminated in the creation of unique Traction Bars which give you the grip you need to have a sturdy swing.
With the recently released Biom Hybrid 2, Ecco extended the Traction Bars around the heel of the shoe to improve the balance of its spikeless shoes even more, slightly tweaking the design of its original Biom.
The redesigned pattern of the spikeless sole on these golf shoes helps you maintain a better level of traction during your swing while allowing you to walk naturally.
You’ll especially appreciate the shoe’s two-piece sole, which creates a mixture of extra firm support for your golf swing on one side and a softer part comfort while walking. The placement of the two parts matches the different movements you make when swinging the golf club versus walking.
The Biom Hybrid 2 has 800 points of contact with the ground, which gives you a high level of traction. Yet, these shoes are comfortable enough to wear away from the course, too.
The upper portion of the shoe consists of durable yak leather, which is also breathable. Ecco uses Hydromax technology to keep the yak leather pliable and to give it waterproof capabilities.
Pros: Great price point for spiked golf shoes, extra grouping of spikes near the heel helps to deliver good traction for power, waterproof design works especially well in cold and rainy weather
Cons: Low handicap players may want more traction in the toe area, arch support could be better
If you feel more comfortable playing golf with a true spiked golf shoe, the Adidas Adipure Flex golf shoes are your best bet, offering an excellent mixture of performance, comfort, and affordability.
These shoes are also waterproof, which is helpful when playing in wet conditions early in the morning or after a rainstorm. If you’re wearing a spiked golf shoe, you’re probably already concerned about keeping your traction in wet conditions, so the waterproof capabilities in these shoes are important.
With seven spikes on the sole of the Adipure Flex, you’ll receive good traction on the green, in the fairway, while driving, and all over the course. Three of the spikes are tightly bunched in the heel area, giving you extra traction for generating power. These shoes perform especially well in cold and wet conditions.
These shoes give you a nice level of comfort, too, as they each feature a sock liner that molds to your foot. Adidas sells the Adipure in several different colorways, making them suitable to match a variety of personal golf styles.
The best for comfort
When you walk 18 holes, you’re almost traveling as far as you would in a 10K road race, and the New Balance Minimus shoes deliver in keeping you comfortable the entire time.
Pros: Good price point for golf shoes, very comfortable style of golf shoes made for walking the golf course, excellent waterproof capabilities, flexible sole means you don’t need a break-in period
Cons: Spikeless design may not deliver the traction you need, the longevity of these shoes is questionable
If you’ve ever shopped for running gear, you know the name New Balance. This shoe company is popular among runners looking to stay comfortable over long distances. And when you consider the fact a golfer might walk 5 to 6 miles during an 18-hole round of golf, it’s easy to understand the importance of comfort in a golf shoe.
As such, it’s probably a no-brainer to see the New Balance Minimus golf shoes end up on this list as our pick for most comfortable. After all, the company already has proven its ability to create comfortable running shoes that are designed for going the distance in comfort.
The Minimus is a spikeless golf shoe, and New Balance’s designers took advantage of that by creating a flexible sole that further contributes to the comfort of the shoe. The flexible sole means that these shoes don’t require a break-in period.
You can purchase the Minimus golf shoes from New Balance in multiple colors and sizes, and you can select from men’s or women’s shoes.
Pros: Unique design of the spikes gives you an incredibly solid base, completely waterproof design, extra support and padding in areas where the foot is typically under stress, comfortable shoes
Cons: Can feel the spikes when walking on firm ground, the sole may be too flexible for some golfers
When you’re trying to drop that long 4-iron shot onto the 18th green for bragging rights, you know you’ll need a little extra power in your shot. The last thing you want to do is slip or fall slightly off-balance on your downswing because then you’ll end up in the sand trap.
To gain that extra power, you need solid footing and stability throughout your swing. The newly designed Puma Ignite Pwradapt golf shoes use a unique design in the spikes to give you an impressively stable swing.
Each of the seven spikes built into the sole of the Ignite Pwradapt is attached to a disc that can move independently inside its base, matching the angle of the ground each part of your foot is using. Think of these flexible spikes kind of like the rotating heads in an electric shaver that flex up and down to match the contours of your face.
Even though the sole is the highlight, the rest of the shoe features mesh for breathability, as well as some useful waterproofing throughout. Puma didn’t ignore comfort, either, and built this model with the same Ignite foam cushion found in previous models, giving it additional cushioning in the mid-sole.
Additionally, the Ignite Pwradapt shoes provide support in the areas of the shoe where feet typically are under the most stress, making it more comfortable to walk long distances.
How to shop for golf shoes
In the 1990s, metal spikes gave way to plastic spikes, and around 2010, spikeless shoes began to appear on the golf course. Choosing between spiked and spikeless golf shoes will be your most important choice when buying golf shoes.
Spikes in modern golf shoes often consist of plastic with five or six prongs per spike. You can replace these plastic spikes once they become worn or lost. A spike will help you maintain traction on the ground in wet weather, in tall grass, on hills, or when you have an odd lie.
Spikeless shoes are the more comfortable type of golf shoes, as they most resemble other types of athletic shoes. Rather than a waffle tread like you might find on a basketball or tennis shoe though, a spikeless shoe has nubs and bumps on the sole of the shoe, creating contact with the ground without being uncomfortable for walking. You can wear spikeless golf shoes anywhere, which many people like.
A spikeless golf shoe generally offers more comfort than a spiked golf shoe. However, if you want the most traction when swinging a golf club, especially on a power shot, spiked golf shoes outperform spikeless golf shoes.
When shopping for golf shoes, you’ll also want to think about comfort, style, and waterproofing (especially if you plan to golf in a region that sees a lot of annual rainfall and precipitation).
Adidas revealed its newest shoes that can be customized with Lego blocks on Wednesday.
The Ultraboost DNA shoes, which went on sale Thursday, look like regular Adidas running shoes, but with a Lego twist: they feature plastic strips on the side that can be used to hold Lego plates.
The $200 shoes have three strips on each side and each strip can fit three two-by-two Lego plates.
The running shoes come with a selection of Legos for the shoe, but can also be swapped out for other bricks. They also have a tongue with a Lego design on it, as well as grooves on the toe of the shoe and on the inside of the shoe that emulate the ridges on Lego pieces.
Trail running shoes support and protect your feet from the ever-changing terrain of off-road jogs.
Choosing the right pair depends on if you want to run fast, keep your feet dry, or plan to run on pavement and trails.
Our top pick, Salomon’s Sense Ride 3, is a durable, neutral trail shoe that fits like a glove and has great traction.
Trail running is an amazing upgrade to road running if you’re looking to log miles with better scenery and a more intense challenge to your body. You’re often running uphill and your feet are constantly having to stabilize against imperfections in the trails like tree roots and rocks. This makes it so both your lungs and your muscles work much harder than a road run.
But because your foot tackles more than just smooth pavement, your shoes have to do more than a typical runner would.
You essentially want your trail running shoes to be akin to a hiking boot in that they’ll protect your feet against rocks, mud, and roots while having enough grip to keep you from skidding on loose terrain. Yet, you also need them to be supported and lightweight like a road running shoe, enough to keep your legs moving fast and feet from absorbing too much shock with each step.
Because there are so many more factors to consider, finding a great pair of trail running shoes can be harder than finding road runners. The right pair can take you on a gorgeous path through the woods and you’ll have a running experience like no other. Pick the wrong ones, however, and you could be in for a rough ride.
There’s certainly plenty to consider and to help, I’ve field-tested a range of different trail shoes fit for a variety of running styles – and I’ve included my five favorites below. At the end of this guide, I’ve also provided some tips on how to shop for trail running shoes, as well as the testing methodology I used in deciding which pairs made the cut.
The Salomon Sense Ride 3 has amazing traction on a variety of terrain, holds up on rough trails again and again, yet is still lightweight enough to keep you moving fast.
Pros: Capable of handling a variety of terrain, outstanding protection and durability, very comfortable with a molded, glove-like fit, superb traction
Cons: Heavier than I expected, unique lacing system takes some getting used to
On one hand, this neutral, everyday trail trainer features some of the best protection and durability of all the shoes I tested. It handled everything I could throw at it during runs that took me over splintery logs, down wet embankments, and through a loose gravel field. After two months of testing the Sense Ride 3, they still looked as good as new and my feet were untouched. Insider’s Health and Fitness Updates Editor Rachael Schultz adds she’s been running in the women’s Sense Ride 3 for two years now and they’re still as reliable underfoot as the first wear.
The shoes performed well on a variety of trails from steep technical inclines to pure slop (it was a rainy spring) with Salomon’s Contragrip MA outsole offering superb traction. The outsole’s diamond-shaped rubber lugs are long enough at 2mm for climbing muddy hills but not so aggressive that they slowed me down or clogged up with dirt afterward.
The Sense Ride 3s were the most comfortable of the shoes I tested, with a smooth contoured fit that seemed to swaddle my feet. There’s an internal sleeve in the shoe, which Salomon calls EndoFit, that’s designed to hug the foot and provide comfort. It delivered as did the molded OrthoLite insole that offered added cushioning.
The Sense Ride 3’s welded, stitch-free upper is deluxe, producing a glove-like feel with no hotspots. It’s also a gorgeous-looking shoe, with a minimalist design that’s not likely to go out of style.
Salmon’s patented Quicklace system took a little getting used to, however. Featuring thin but strong laces that you pull tight via a sliding button, Quicklace lets you fine-tune the fit to get just the right amount of lace pressure. While this is definitely a learning curve, it makes for quick adjustments if you need to loosen a bit mid-run. Also important to note is there is a hidden pocket on the tongue that you’re supposed to tuck the dangling laces into, as outlined in a short video from Salomon. This may be a pain for some, but honestly, so is lacing a shoe period.
The Sense Ride 3s were heavier than I expected, with my size 11.5 pair weighing in at over 12 ounces per shoe. Part of that is because of the thicker midsole compared to previous versions. The added weight is worth it though because Salomon’s plush Optivibe foam offered great energy return and a smooth ride while the shoe’s rock plate added another layer of protection. The shoe has a moderate 8mm drop, which suited most conditions well.
Put plainly, the Sense Ride 3 is a great all-rounder on the trails.
Pros: Light and fast, flashy design with a comfortable and durable fit, thick foam midsole for cushioning on terrain
Cons: Some stability issues on rocky, technical trails; high-stack height reduces ground feel
Hoka’s popular Clifton series of road running shoes was named our best cushioned trainer for men, and the brand’s EVO Speedgoat is a bit like a trail version of that highly-stacked shoe.
The entire Speedgoat line of trail shoes is named after legendary ultramarathoner Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer who has more 100-mile race wins than any other runner. There are quite a few key features that make the EVOs, specifically, ideal for speeding down trails:
For one, the EVO Speedgoat’s upper is stitched with a lightweight but tough material called Matryx that blends stretchy Lycra with tough Kevlar for a durable, water-repellent shell. I loved putting on these shoes, too. Their bucket seat design and stretchy laces fit my feet (which suffer from some bunion issues) perfectly, with ample room in the toebox.
Because this is a Hoka shoe, the EVO’s foam midsole is ample, to say the least. With a stack height of 32mm and a heel (31mm) to toe (27mm) drop of 4mm, these are tall, soft trail shoes designed with Hoka’s slightly curved meta-rocker design. The extra cushioning provides a bigger buffer when running over bumpy terrain and I often felt like I was floating on a cloud in these shoes. There’s almost no ground feel, however, which may not appeal to some runners. I didn’t have an issue, except on more technical trails with large rocks, where I often worried I’d turn an ankle (but didn’t, thankfully).
What I liked most about the EVO Speedgoats is the speed they allow. Weighing around ten ounces, these were one of the lightest shoes I tested and, on less technical trails, I’d flat out fly. Even when I was cruising along, I never felt I’d lose my footing thanks to the Vibram MegaGrip outsole, which features 5mm multidirectional lugs. Traction was superb and because the outsole extends in the back, the EVO Speegoats held their own when running downhill with the rear foam flare providing added stability.
As for the design, they feature a striking bright yellow and black colorway. The EVO Speedgoats are like the splashy sportscar of all the shoes I tested, but one built with the dependable all-wheel drive of a Subaru to help take you off the beaten path.
The best hybrid
The Nike Pegasus Trail 2 borrows design points from its beloved road-warrior brother, but is designed to get down and dirty, making it a unique hybrid shoe you’ll be comfortable using on everything from asphalt to mud.
Pros: A great commuter shoe that can handle both pavement and dirt, Nike’s React foam midsole provided ample cushioning, many highly functional and attractive design elements
Cons: A very heavy shoe, steep heel to toe drop caused some stability issues, couldn’t get a full locked-down fit
The Nike Pegasus Trail 2, as its name suggests, is the trail version of the popular Nike Pegasus road shoe line. The main similarity between the Pegasus Trail 2 and the road Pegasus 37 is the large chunk of Nike’s React foam, which forms the midsole of both models. React is a soft but responsive foam that I’ve liked on Nike’s previous road shoes and it’s a great match for the Trail 2’s city-to-trail design.
On one of my first runs in this shoe, I ran roughly a mile on the roads to a local park and then sped off down a winding, tree-lined path for a few more miles on soft ground before returning to the pavement to head home. This might not seem like a big deal but if you’ve ever tried to bring a serious trail shoe on the road – or a road shoe on the trails, for that matter – it’s not fun. The Trail 2 handled both surfaces well, though its mountain bike-inspired rubber outsole with 2mm lugs thrives in the dirt.
The Trail 2 has a stack height of 31mm in the heel and 21mm in the forefoot for a drop of 10mm. That significant drop did help generate forward momentum and I enjoyed being able to put the pedal to the metal with these shoes, particularly on lower-grade downhills.
As with other highly stacked trail shoes, I experienced some instability on steeper, more treacherous trails, particularly those lined with large rocks. This was particularly true when my legs were tired, which caused the shoes to feel wobbly. On the plus side, the generous amount of foam reduced the stress on my legs during longer runs.
I also liked the Pegasus Trail 2’s functional design elements including a faux gaiter on the heel collar that prevented dirt and debris from getting inside the shoe. The tough but breathable engineered mesh on the Trail 2’s upper was also a nice touch as was the water-repellent coating on the gusseted tongue and collar that prevented moisture from creeping in.
In terms of looks, the Pegasus Trail 2 is an eye-catching shoe. The pair I tested had a brash but appealing color scheme of pale yellow on the upper, neon green around the laces and heel counter, and teal on the neoprene tongue and collar. The shoe’s forefoot includes two toe fangs, which are a pair of rubber nubs that add traction when running uphill and look plain fierce.
The Trail 2’s were the heaviest shoes I tested (over 12 ounces in size 11.5) and while I wasn’t keen on that, a few of my fastest and most enjoyable runs were in them. These shoes perform extremely well both on and off the roads.
The best lightweight
If you want a zero-drop shoe to really feel the trail on your runs, the lightweight but well-cushioned Altra Timp 2.0 will keep you safe and moving fast.
Pros: A sleek and fast zero drop shoe that felt natural to run in, significantly lighter than previous version, Quantic foam midsole provides excellent cushioning
Cons: Narrower fit overall might not appeal to previous Timp fans, shoes require a fair amount of breaking in
Altra’s Timp line is a relatively new but beloved series of shoes, and to say that the 2.0 version has divided Timp devotees would be an understatement. The biggest change between Timp 2.0 and Timp 1.5 is the fit, which on the new version is tighter through the mid- and forefoot. In a word, these shoes feel snug. That’s somewhat unusual for Altra since the company has a reputation for creating shoes with a wide toebox that lets you splay out your toes in a way that mimics barefoot walking. You can still do that with the Timp 2.0, but everywhere else feels narrower.
Altra trimmed the shoe down and shed some of its weight. In my size 11.5s, each Timp 2.0 weighed around 10 ounces, which is equal to the speedy Hoka EVO Speedgoats above. These felt even lighter than the Speedgoats though and, overall, I loved the sleek and fast 2.0, which would make a decent racing shoe.
They do require some breaking in, however. When I initially put them on, my troublesome right foot with its bunion issue, felt squeezed. After loosening the laces a bit and taking them on a few tempo runs, I was hooked.
Most notably, this is a zero-drop shoe, which means both the heel and the forefoot are the same height off the ground. Despite that, the Timp 2.0 does has significant cushioning with a stack height of around 30mm. Altra uses its Quantic foam – a first for the Timp line – on the 2.0 and its plush but lightweight midsole felt fantastic even on bumpy trails.
The Maxtrac outsole provided decent grip and while the rubber lugs are on the small size (2mm), Altra deploys them in its Trailclaw outlay, which positions them beneath your foot’s metatarsals to provide better traction at toe-off. These weren’t my favorite shoes for wet and muddy conditions, but they certainly held their own on just about everything else.
Overall, I enjoyed the sensation of running in the Timp 2.0s. While zero-drop shoes aren’t for everyone, they do provide an experience more akin to running barefoot. When I padded over rocks or went sideways on steep embankments, I never felt unstable. I could just run, which is what it’s all about.
The best waterproof
If the trails you plan to run are wet, muddy, and full of river crossings, the best shoe to go with is the Saucony Peregrine 10 GTX which has a Gore-Tex upper and has the best grip of all the models I tested.
Pros: Gore-Tex upper keeps your feet dry even when crossing streams, excellent traction from an aggressive 6mm lug pattern on the outsole, low-to-the-ground profile provided excellent stability
Cons: Snug fit caused me some heel pain after runs, bottom of shoe retains dirt, quite heavy
The Saucony Peregrine 10 GTX is a low-to-the-ground shoe with a minimal heel (22mm) to forefoot (18mm) drop of 4mm. This is another shoe that helps you feel the trail, minus the jolts since they’re well protected. I had no stability issues with the Peregrine 10 GTX and plowed through a variety of terrain in them with confidence, including ankle-deep muck, piles of slippery wet leaves, and a small stream.
The one knock against Gore-Tex on any shoe is that it can cause a shoe’s upper to feel stiff and confining. However, I had no such problem with the Peregrine 10 GTX, which fit my feet like a comfortable glove. The Gore-Tex upper was less supple than some of the other shoes I tested and didn’t breathe as well – you’ll definitely want to air these out after your runs – but I barely noticed it once I hit the trails.
What I did notice was the superior traction from Saucony’s PWRTRAC outsole, which uses a sticky rubber compound and an aggressive, 6mm hexagonal lug pattern that kept me from slipping even on a rainy run through a field. On the downside, this is definitely not a shoe you’d want to use on the roads and the grippy outsole tended to retain some dirt after trail runs.
The Peregrine 10 GTX is well-cushioned and there’s a rock plate to protect your feet from sharp objects on the trail. Saucony’s FORMFIT design with its reinforced upper cradled my feet snugly if a bit too tightly on my slightly longer right foot. In the past, I’ve had issues with stiff heel cups causing me pain in my right heel after runs and this was the case with the Peregrine 10 GTX. After doing some research, I noticed at least one other reviewer had the same problem with the Peregrine 10, so you might want to consider going up half a size if this is an issue for you.
Other than that, my only other issue was weight. In size 11.5, the Peregrine 10 GTX tipped the scales at over 12 ounces, putting it amongst the heavier shoes I tested. When you consider what you’re getting with this fully featured trail shoe, however, including the waterproof benefits of Gore-Tex, those extra few ounces are worth it.
A note on fit
The main difference between a men’s and a women’s running shoe regards the exact shape of the foot. Men’s feet are often wider, and their heels tend to be a little bigger, thus the design of a running shoe needs to accommodate for this.
A variation in body mass also impacts the shape of the midsole, and the difference in Q-angles (the angle of incidence between a person’s knee cap and their quad muscle) means cushioning needs will vary, as well.
However, just because these shoes carry the “men’s” label, anyone can (and should) wear any piece of gear that fits them best, above all.
How to shop for trail running shoes
There are many things to look for in trail shoes but the first question you should ask yourself is, where do you plan on using them? If your runs are on a combination of roads and trails, you’ll want a hybrid shoe that won’t slow you down on concrete while giving you enough grip on dirt to prevent you from slipping.
If you see yourself regularly running on wet, muddy trails, you’ll want shoes with longer rubber lugs on their outsoles for better traction. You may even consider getting waterproof shoes fortified with Gore-Tex if you plan on running in the rain or if your trails have any shallow streams to cross.
If your local trails are rocky or you favor moving fast through difficult terrain, you may want a shoe with a reinforced toe cap to prevent sharp objects, such as sticks or branches, from piercing the front of your shoe. Also handy are shoes with rock plates, which are slabs of plastic or carbon fiber sandwiched between the midsole and the outsole of the shoe that shield your foot when running over jagged rocks.
Other features are more of a matter of taste: Do you want your trail shoes to have a pronounced drop? This means that the midsole is tilted forward with the heel higher than the toe portion of the shoe. Some runners feel having a heel-to-toe drop of 10 millimeters or more helps their running form by propelling them forward while the added rear foam protects their heels on bumpy trails.
Other runners, however, prefer zero-drop shoes where the heel and ball of your foot are the same height off the ground. Shoes without drops are typically better for more technical trails and less likely to cause you to turn your ankle on steep, uneven terrain. Some runners even say zero drop shoes help them feel the trail better.
How we test trail running shoes
Each trail running shoe in this guide went through a series of on-foot and on-trail tests to see how they across these four categories: Fit and comfort, performance, versatility, and value. Specifically, here’s how each category factored into what pairs of trail running shoes ultimately made this guide:
Fit and comfort: Though fit and comfort could be two separate categories, it was easy to lump the two together while testing for this guide. The right pair of trail running shoes should fit snugly across your foot while still leaving a small amount of space between the end of the shoe and your toes. If the shoe fits in this way, you’re likely to also enjoy as much comfort as possible — which is vital for longer runs over uneven and rocky terrain.
Performance: First and foremost, a trail running shoe should be designed for the trail (however vague the word “trail” might actually be). This means that a shoe built for rocky terrain should have lugs designed to absorb and grip jagged rocks. If it’s a pair meant for mud or other slick surfaces, the grip on the bottom should allow you to avoid taking a spill. And since they’re all running shoes at their core, they should function as a proper runner, too.
Versatility: There may not be a jack-of-all-trades-type trail running shoe that’s built to handle it all, but some do come extremely close. When testing for this, we wanted to see how well the shoes held up transitioning from pavement to trail, or when it went from mud to dirt to sand. We also judged how well the waterproof designation held up not just in rain but when fully submerged, as well.
Value: Value is essentially the combination of the previous three categories, along with the runner’s sticker price. Proper trail running shoes aren’t often inexpensive but investing in the right pair means you’ll spend less over time (as opposed to buying a budget pair more often and ultimately spending more money).