Top 5 Ultralight Hiking Trail Runners for Men (2023)

Close-up of a hiker wearing ultralight hiking trail runners, overlooking a scenic mountain range

In this post, we'll take a look at:

When picking ultralight hiking trail runners, remember things like weight, grip, comfort, durability, fit, and any extras.

If you make the wrong choice, you might face discomfort, not enough traction, and the shoes might not last or fit well, making your hiking trip less fun.

But don’t worry, our guide is here to guide you toward the smartest option, so you can have the best hiking experience.

Top Ultralight Hiking Trail Runner Picks

  1. Most Ultralight: Hoka Zinal 2 (7.72oz/219g)
  2. Best Overall: Saucony Ride 15 TR (9.20oz/261g)
  3. Best Value: Salomon Ultra Glide 2 (10.4oz/295g)
  4. Best Grip: Asics Fuji Lite 4 (10.05oz/285g)
  5. Budget Option: Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 SE (9.59oz/272g)

1. Most Ultralight
Hoka Zinal 2

Ultralight Hiking Trail Runners for Men: Hoka Zinal 2

Key Specs

Weight: 7.72 ounces (219 grams) per shoe
Price: $$$


✅ Ultralight

✅ Superior grip


❌ Slippy heel cup

Hoka’s Zinal 2 ultralight hiking trail runners are crafted to enhance agility and energy return on the trails. Featuring a reduced stack height and aggressive lugs for exceptional grip, they excel across various terrains.

Their versatility, lightweight construction, and efficient cushioning render them ideal for extended endeavors. The stretch-knit collar effectively prevents debris intrusion, and the Vibram Megagrip outsole ensures enhanced traction.

While a few users have reported minor issues with foot slipping in the heel cup, these concerns aside, these shoes come highly recommended.

2. Best Overall
Saucony Ride 15 TR

Ultralight Hiking Trail Runners for Men: Saucony Ride 15 TR

Key Specs

Weight: 9.2 ounces (261 grams) per shoe
Price: $$


✅ Comfortable

✅ Good quality


❌ Runs large

The Saucony Ride 15 TR stands out as a top pick for ultralight hikers. Crafted to enhance hiking journeys, it impresses in terms of both comfort and performance.

Featuring advanced cushioning and dependable traction, it guarantees a seamless exploration across various landscapes.

We suggest selecting a half size smaller for an improved fit. These shoes effectively alleviate heel discomfort, highlighting the remarkable worth of the Saucony Ride 15 TR.

Its lightweight construction and dependable qualities make it an enticing partner for your outdoor escapades.

3. Best Value
Salomon Ultra Glide 2

Ultralight Hiking Trail Runners for Men: Salomon Ultra Glide 2

Key Specs

Weight: 10.4 ounces (295 grams) per shoe
Price: $$


✅ Comfortable

✅ Good quality


❌ Not the grippiest option

The Salomon Ultra Glide 2 stands out as a flexible and cozy selection for your outdoor exploits, rendering it an attractive choice for navigating diverse terrains, wherever your path may go.

We can commend these shoes for their remarkable comfort. They maintain a cool feel in warmer climates and ensure a snug fit. During lengthier hikes, they offer dependable support and a lightweight build, particularly appealing to older hikers.

The traction strikes a fine equilibrium for different situations. While they adeptly handle various terrains, a minor issue arises from their elastic upper occasionally collecting debris, which necessitates occasional cleaning.

4. Best Grip
Asics Fuji Lite 4

Ultralight Hiking Trail Runners for Men: Asics Fuji Lite 4

Key Specs

Weight: 10.05 ounces (285 grams) per shoe
Price: $$


✅ Good grip

✅ Great breathability


❌ Fits a bit narrow

❌ Shock absorption could be better

The Asics FUJI LITE™ 4 ultralight hiking trail runners offer advanced grip for fast trail adventures. The shoe is well-designed, featuring FF BLAST™ cushioning for impact absorption and a modified outsole for improved traction on uneven and wet terrain.

Its engineered mesh upper enhances breathability, and the use of recycled materials reflects a commitment to sustainability. Notable attention to detail, such as the gusseted tongue and lace strap, is evident.

While we found the toe box a bit narrow and desired better shock absorption, overall, we highly praise its outsole tread and performance. This makes it a solid choice for ultralight hikers seeking reliable grip and comfort.

5. Budget Option
Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 SE

Ultralight Hiking Trail Runners for Men: Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 SE

Key Specs

Weight: 9.59 ounces (272 grams) per shoe
Price: $$


✅ Affordable

✅ Comfortable


❌ Fits a bit narrow

When considering ultralight hiking trail runners, the Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 emerges as a reliable companion for your outdoor journeys.

Designed to withstand rugged conditions yet provide breathability, they conquer rocky terrains with their underfoot traction while delivering a smooth ride.

With the incorporation of Flywire technology and Nike React foam, these shoes ensure enduring support and invigorated movement. The rubber outsole, crafted using insights from fellow hikers, delivers crucial grip on diverse surfaces.

Keep in mind that the fit might be on the narrow side, but there’s ample space for your toes to indulge in comfort. For ultralight hiking, the Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 offers responsiveness, durability, and support.

How to Buy the Right Hiking Trail Runners

Trail runners are a special kind of shoe that’s distinct from regular running shoes. They stand out by offering a firm grip on uneven terrain with their lugged soles, ensuring stability and traction on surfaces like dirt, mud, gravel, and rocks.

When you’re trying to figure out the best trail runners for your needs, it’s important to think about the type of shoe, its weight, cushioning, heel-to-toe drop, and, most importantly, how well it fits.

Understanding the kind of trails you plan to tackle, whether they’re easy, rugged, or off the beaten path, can guide your shoe selection.

Weight plays a big role because even a small difference, like 4 ounces per shoe, can add up when you’re taking 20,000 to 30,000 steps in a day during your hike.

You’ll also need to choose the right amount of cushioning, which ranges from minimalist to maximum, to match your preferences. The heel-to-toe drop influences how you move, so selecting a drop that aligns with what you’re used to can be helpful.

Above all, finding the perfect fit is the most crucial factor. Keep in mind that your shoe size might change over time, so it’s a good idea to measure your feet regularly.

If you’re on the hunt for waterproof options, don’t forget to check out our TOP 5 guide here.

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