Trail running, particularly if you live in the UK, is often a mixed affair. While we all love a sunny trail run where we can skip over the ground in our favourite trail shoes, the reality is that we often have to deal with much wetter conditions. Waterlogged trails can dampen the spirits of a run if you aren’t equipped to deal with wet conditions. A pair of waterproof trail running shoes could mean the difference between a good and a less-than-enjoyable time on the trails. They will help to prevent your feet from getting blistered, cold and numb meaning you are much better armed to deal with any water you encounter. What do you need to know about waterproof trail shoes and what should you be looking for?

We take a look at our top tried and tested waterproof trail shoes, their pros and cons and what you can expect from a pair of GTX shoes. 

There are many different waterproof trail shoes available. It is hard to pick just one pair. We love the comfort and flexibility of the all-around Speedgoat, equally, we like the Speedcross for its ability to cut through less-than-ideal terrain. The Nike Pegasus is another great contender. Essentially, if you are seeking a pair of waterproof trail running shoes, you could do worse than pick the GTX version of your current favourite. This guide is purely our team’s opinion and gives you an insight into these shoes and what you can expect. 

Why Trail Running Waterproof Shoes?

Let’s start by answering this important question.

If you run long miles in all weather, the chances are, during the wet season, you are going to have a lot of water and mud to contend with. Enormous puddles, ditches that have filled up with water, tracks that have become streams and lots of standing water and boggy fields. Not to mention the early morning dew that will see your feet get wet at first light.

Waterproof trail shoes will prevent the following:

  • Cold or numb toes
  • Wet socks
  • Wrinkly feet 
  • Horrible brown toes and toenails 
  • Heavy shoes full of water that make it hard to pick your feet up
  • An uncomfortable run (especially when you have a good few miles to cover)

Positives of GTX trail shoes

They keep your feet dry – The best trail waterproof running shoes keep the water out for the most part so feet stay drier for longer. When you’re heading out on a long run, the last thing you want is wet feet in the first mile. You are then stuck with wet feet and socks for the remainder of your run. 

Waterproof trail running shoes keep your feet warm – The nonbreathable upper means that the heat stays in so on a cold day, your feet will stay warm. We don’t know about you but we have plenty of experience of cold and wet feet on our autumn/winter frosty morning runs. Wet and cold feet can soon numb your toes. Taking your socks off at the end of the run gives your feet that “just out of a long bath” appearance and can lead to some pretty many toes. Waterproof shoes are great for keeping your feet warm (read on to find out why this doesn’t work in warmer climates). 

They keep grit and small stones out – Have you noticed how, when you are wearing normal trail shoes, you always seem to end up with bits of grit, mud, and small stones in your shoe? Well, the absence of mesh means that you don’t get this in waterproof trail running shoes. If they do find their way in though, they won’t find their way out!

The Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 GORE-TEX has a high ankle gaiter to stop water and debris from getting in. You can purchase ankle gaiters to offer greater protection if you are running through small rivers and streams. 

Negatives of GTX Waterproof Trail shoes

Water won’t get out – Waterproof trail running shoes won’t stop the water from getting in all the time. In fact, if you are running through deep puddles that go past your ankles, there is nothing to stop the water from getting into the shoe (unless you wear gaiters). Stands to reason, if the water can’t get in then it can’t get out. The drainage that you get with standard trail shoes won’t be there with GTX shoes. This can lead to blisters. If you do find yourself running through very deep puddles and small streams, you may want to invest in a pair of gaiters too.  

They make your feet sweaty – As we mentioned above, the best waterproof trail running shoes do keep your feet warm however, if you start in the cold early morning and it warms up during a longer run, come to the end you are going to have hot sweaty feet – uncomfortable, like to cause blisters and other issues.

Grit and mud can’t get out – If you do run through a deep and muddy puddle, the chances are you could end up with a shoe full of mud and grit which then can’t work its way out of the shoe again. 

What is GTX?

GTX – let’s discuss this technical trail running term and what it means. Usually, when appearing after the make and model of a shoe, it indicates that the shoes are waterproof. The GTX is short for Gore-Tex and indicates a brand of material that is used to make the shoe waterproof. Most brands choose Gore-Tex, so look for the label to ensure you get the genuine article. 

gore-tex running shoes

Choosing the Right Trail Running Waterproof Shoes

If you are considering a pair of waterproof trail running shoes and want to know which ones are the right ones, the following are examples of shoes suitable for different types of terrain. We take a look at the best waterproof trail shoes for men and the best waterproof trail shoes for women and give our verdict! 

OUR TOP 3

Hoka Speedgoat GTX

hoka speedgoat 5 gtx

Hoka Speedgoat 5 GTX are an extremely popular waterproof trail running shoe. Not only do they wear well off-road, they are also great road-to-trail shoes. These shoes are the perfect solution when you want to race over wet trails and snowy roads however and will certainly keep your feet warm and dry when you want them to be. 

However, do take heed of our warning about wearing them in hot weather. It was a warm May morning. We turned up for hill reps on a grassy hill. He wore his Speedgoat Gore-tex. His exact words: “Great shoes, comfortable, brilliant on trails, I rate them, especially in winter but my goodness don’t they make your feet extremely hot in the warmer weather!” 

Considering a pair of Hoka Speedgoat 5 GTX? You can purchase them directly from the Hoka website (linked below). If you sign up for their newsletter, they offer a discount too for first orders. 

Pros of HOKA Speedgoat 5 GTX

  • Fully waterproof with GORE-TEX technology
  • Comfortable, secure fit
  • Excellent traction on various terrains
  • Plush CMEVA cushioning for long runs
  • Lightweight despite robust features
  • Stable and supportive design
  • Breathable mesh upper
  • Durable construction

Cons of HOKA Speedgoat 5 GTX

  • Limited reflective elements
  • May be too stiff for some users
  • Higher heel-to-toe drop
  • Higher price point


 

Nike Pegasus Trail 4 GTX

pegasus trail 4 gtx

The Nike Pegasus Trail 4 GTX is a shoe designed to keep your feet dry in the wettest conditions. While they aren’t made for speed, they are made for comfort. The bounce will help to negate the rocks and tough terrain underfoot. With a high ankle gaiter, you have the added benefit of keeping more of the water out when running through deeper puddles. GORE-TEX along the upper helps your feet stay dry without sacrificing comfort.

The shoe maintains a true-to-size fit and offers impressive durability. However, it’s worth noting the inherent trade-off – being a
non-breathable waterproof trail shoe, you might experience warmth, a common consideration with this type of footwear. 

Looking to invest in a pair of Nike Pegasus GTX? You can purchase them from Nike who offer an excellent returns policy – trust me, we have known several people to return shoes with no quibble if they aren’t quite what they are looking for. 

Pros of Nike Pegasus 4 GTX

  • Fully waterproof with GORE-TEX technology
  • Comfortable fit with a secure lockdown
  • Good traction on wet surfaces
  • Cushioned for a smooth ride
  • Lightweight and agile
  • Durable construction

Cons of Nike Pegasus 4 GTX

  • Limited reflective elements
  • May be too stiff for some users
  • Higher price point

Salomon Speedcross 6 GTX

mens salomon speedcross 6 gtx

The Salomon Speedcross 6 GTX represents a pinnacle in trail running footwear, catering to the demands of off-road enthusiasts with its cutting-edge design and advanced features. Engineered with the renowned Gore-Tex technology, the shoe provides exceptional waterproofing, shielding the feet from wet and challenging terrains. Its aggressive lug pattern on the outsole ensures superior traction on a variety of surfaces, offering stability and confidence in every stride.

SensiFit™ construction and Quicklace™ system contribute to a snug and secure fit, while the lightweight design enhances agility during dynamic trail runs. With a durable and protective build, the Salomon Speedcross 6 GTX stands as a reliable companion for trail runners seeking performance, comfort, and weather-resistant capabilities in a single, high-performance package

Pros of Speedcross 6 GTX

  • Fully waterproof with GORE-TEX technology
  • Excellent grip on muddy and wet terrain
  • Secure fit with a precise lockdown
  • Lightweight for its category
  • Durable and long-lasting materials
  • Cushioned for comfort on rough trails

Cons of Speedcross 6 GTX

  • Limited reflective elements
  • Narrow fit may not suit all foot types
  • Higher price point

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Other Waterproof Trail Shoes

While the above shoes are our top three tried and tested shoes, you may also want to take a look at any of the following:

Hoka Challenger 7 GTX

HOKA CHALLENGER GTX

The Hoka Challenger 7 GTX has been completely redesigned from the ground up. Featuring a streamlined mesh upper and a new, softer foam, the stack height has been increased for a more cushioned experience. Enhanced with GORE-TEX INVISIBLE FIT incorporating recycled materials, this shoe offers superior protection in adverse weather. Drawing inspiration from gravel tyres, the design includes smaller, closely spaced lugs in the centre and larger, more aggressive lugs around the perimeter, providing improved traction on uneven terrain.

Pros

  • Fully waterproof and winter-ready
  • Secure fit due to the gusseted tongue
  • Exceptional stability
  • Comfortable for both roads and easy trails
  • Great for long-distance runs
  • Ample CMEVA cushioning underfoot
  • Surprisingly lightweight for its stack height
  • Only £20 more than the standard version

Cons

  • Lacks reflective elements
  • May be too stiff for some users for hiking
  • Higher heel-to-toe drop than expected

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Saucony Peregrine 13 GTX

The Saucony Peregrine 13 GTX is a versatile trail running shoe designed to provide traction, durability, and protection in various outdoor conditions. Featuring a Gore-Tex membrane, it offers waterproofing and breathability to keep your feet dry and comfortable in wet or muddy environments.

The shoe’s aggressive outsole with multi-directional lugs ensures reliable grip on uneven terrain, while the rock plate provides underfoot protection from sharp rocks and debris. With a comfortable yet responsive midsole, the Peregrine 13 GTX delivers a balance of cushioning and responsiveness, making it suitable for long-distance runs or shorter, more technical trails.

Overall, it’s a dependable choice for trail runners seeking performance and protection in challenging conditions

Asics Gel-Trabuco 9 

The Gel-Trabuco 9 is a trail running shoe that is designed for a variety of terrain. It has a cushioned midsole that provides comfort, and a grippy outsole that provides traction on wet and dry surfaces. This shoe features a Gel cushioning system that absorbs shock. It also features an ASICSGRIP outsole that provides traction, and a rock protection plate that protects the foot from rocks and roots. The Gel-Trabuco 9 is a good choice for runners who are looking for a comfortable and versatile trail running shoe. It is also a good choice for runners who want a shoe that is durable and provides good traction.

asics gel-trabuco 9 waterproof trail shoes

For the trail runner who is seeking durability, protection and grip, these Asics Gel-Trabuco 9 GTX can be described as rugged and comfortable.

Salomon Supercross Blast GORE-TEX Trail Running Shoes

The Supercross Blast GTX is a versatile trail running shoe that is designed for a variety of terrain. It has a responsive EnergyCell midsole that provides cushioning and support and a Contagrip TD outsole that provides excellent traction. The shoe features a Gore-Tex membrane that keeps your feet dry, a Sensifit upper that provides a snug and comfortable fit, and a Quicklace system that makes it easy to put on and take off. A good choice for runners who are looking for a versatile and comfortable trail running shoe. It is also a good choice for runners who want a shoe that is waterproof and breathable.

waterproof trail shoes - Salomon

GTX Trail Shoes for Running in Soft Mud 

During the rainy season (which one might argue is all year in the UK), you want something with more grip. In which case check out this pair of waterproof trail running shoes:

La Sportiva Tempesta

Interested in a pair of La Sportiva Tempesta? Check out the link below

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Key Features to Consider

When selecting waterproof trail running shoes, it’s essential to consider key features that will enhance your performance and keep your feet dry. Here, we’ll discuss the important elements that you should prioritize before making a purchase.

Water Resistance – The primary feature to look for in waterproof trail running shoes is their water resistance. Ensure that the shoes have a reliable waterproof membrane or coating that can withstand damp conditions. Look for technologies like Gore-Tex or eVent, known for their exceptional waterproofing capabilities.

Breathability – While keeping your feet dry is crucial, it is equally important to ensure breathability in your waterproof trail running shoes. Look for models that have breathable mesh inserts or ventilation channels to allow for air circulation, preventing excessive moisture buildup and maintaining comfort during long runs.

Traction – Adequate traction is vital when running on wet and slippery trails. Look for shoes that feature deep and multidirectional lugs on the outsole, as they provide excellent grip and traction on various terrains. This feature will help you maintain stability and prevent slips and falls.

Durability – Investing in durable waterproof trail running shoes is essential to ensure they withstand regular use and harsh trail conditions. Look for shoes made from high-quality materials and reinforced with protective overlays in areas prone to wear and tear. Additionally, check for well-constructed seams and sturdy shoe construction to enhance the durability of your shoes.

“The right features in waterproof trail running shoes can significantly improve your performance, comfort, and overall running experience on wet trails.”

Disclaimer: Our posts often contain affiliate links. We may earn commissions if you shop through the links on this page although we only ever recommend products that we genuinely believe will enhance your trail running experience.