It’s like I just typed that search into Google – I am sure that many have. It’s a common search ‘best place to buy trail running shoes’. What you will get in return is a mind-boggling array of sports shoe shops both with physical premises and online stores as well as eleventy billion product ads from different merchants. It may not necessarily help you find the best place to buy them though. It may just even add to your confusion. So, we are going to do our best to dispel all of this noise and make some sense of it all with our years of experience in buying trail running shoes. 

Let’s start with the factors you want to consider 

  • Convenience and time 
  • Cost and quality 
  • Quality
  • Choice 

All of these things will change in priority from one person to the next. If you are short on time, convenience and time may be top of the list. If you are short on funds then it is more likely to be cost. Let’s examine each one in greater depth: 

Convenience and Time 

You are short of time, you work long hours, you don’t have time to travel to the nearest running shop to get your gait analysis done, and spend an hour trying on different shoes. For us, this involves travelling to the nearest running shop which will take anywhere between 45 mins and 90 mins depending on the time of day and traffic. That’s when we spare time from work to whizz up the M5 to Up and Running which is by far the best local shop for us (in my opinion). But, there are pros and cons to doing this and if it is your first time buying running shoes, we would recommend you try and find the time. 

Trying on your shoes means you will get the right size, if you have wide feet you will be able to ensure that the shoes fit and, when some trail running shoes don’t come up true to size, it saves you the hassle of having to do a return. If you can’t find the time to go to a local running shop, at least make sure you check out the returns policy of the online retailer you make your purchase from.

Choice 

Traveling to a local shop only to find they don’t do half of the shoes that you can find online can be a bit disheartening. Especially if you like the colour of the latest model of Nike for example. If you want the best and biggest choice then it is worth spending time trawling the internet, checking out your options. 

Likewise, we often find that we get better choices when using a different site than the original manufacturer. For example, if Nike don’t have last season’s shoes anymore, a site like Sportsshoes often will (all be it in limited sizes). It is worth shopping around.

Quality 

If it’s quality you are after then you have two choices – a reputable local independent or national running shop or a reputable online website. When we say reputable we mean tried and tested – Nike, Hoka, Amazon (the brands themselves), Sportsshoes.com for example. Ebay, Marketplace, and other cheap discounted sports stores online will not guarantee that you will get your goods in a timely fashion or that they will be authentic. You probably won’t get the returns policy that you get with sites like Nike too. While we are on this, Nike has one of the best returns policies I have ever come across – faulty shoes – return them – get a refund or a replacement. 

Cost

As with quality, you get what you pay for – buy cheap buy twice is worth considering here. Paying £30 for a pair of shoes that you are only going to wear for a social run with friends or a one-off race is OK but don’t expect them to last you hundreds of miles. Invest in the type of running they are intended for. If you are entering your first ultra you want decent shoes that offer support and will last the distance. 

Best Place to Buy Trail Running Shoes 

Here are our favourites go to websites for all running shoes – not just trail running shoes but racing shoes, running shoes, spikes etc. 

Nike – We have ordered many pairs of shoes from Nike – only once have we had an issue – the sole came away on a pair of Vaporfly shoes. We got in touch via their online chat, sent photos, and got a return label and a refund within a week or so. 

HokaI love Hoka – they are one of my favourite brands. Now I ordered two pairs in October 23 – the first pair was from the Hoka website, and the second was from Amazon. But – I bought from the Hoka shop on Amazon and not a reseller 

AmazonHere’s the thing with Amazon – some of the top brands have shops on there. Why? Because they know that people will be searching for products that they can get next-day delivery and that many consumers prefer the site. Garmin is a prime example of a brand with an online store on Amazon which means you are buying directly from them. In the image below you can see the link to the Garmin Store, just below the product title  

brand shops on amazon

SportsshoesI like www.sportsshoes.com and used to order all the time from them however, I am not a fan of their returns policy and I find them to be lacking in sizes a lot of the time. I haven’t bought a pair for a while and only really used to as our local running club offered members a discount 

Other reputable brands include Salomon, Inov-8, Merrell and Asics but there are many to choose from.

Running shopsWhen I want a gait analysis and I have the time, I go to the local running shop – I say local but it’s about an hour away. I love it because you can touch and feel the shoes, try them out, run on the treadmill, and get expert advice from the owners who are runners themselves. Always good to try on the shoes. 

Best to Avoid 

Try and avoid websites that sell stuff cheap ( we won’t  – it can often be knock-off Nikes or products that aren’t the genuine article. Stick with what you know and if in doubt, read the reviews – look for 4 stars or more to avoid being ripped off. 

It is also a good idea to check out the returns policy when ordering online to ensure that you can return them if there is a problem. 

And Finally… A Top Tip

If you find a pair of shoes that you love – consider buying more than one pair and rotating. Recently the inov-8 Mudclaw stopped being sold through the Inov-8 website – gutted as they are an awesome shoe. I am currently hovering over the checkout function on a different website for two pairs to see me through the next couple of muddy winters.

Disclaimer – We are affiliates for many running brands and any of our links may lead to us being paid a small commission if you purchase from them. However, we only recommend brands we trust and that we use regularly and stand by our recommendations.