Trail running shoes don’t come cheap so it is worth choosing carefully to suit your feet, your running requirements and the terrain you frequent. With the plethora of choices out there and the many high tech features talked about it can be easy to get mired in the detail. We thought we would try to whittle it down for you and give you the what and the why of our top 3 trail runners. So here they are:


1. Acceleritas8 Men's RB9X

This minimalist trail running shoe appears to have it all and the list of features and attributes is truly mind-blowing. It is agile, light, has extreme mud traction and a low wet weight. All this also makes it ideally suited to the Irish climate and landscape, designed as it is for mud, water, trails and wet rocks. We also liked it for the efforts to produce a sustainable shoe in their use of recycled materials – always a plus for us here at Gaelforce. So here we go for a (brief) list of what it boasts:

  • It is light – like running barefoot or at most wearing a sock
  • It has low water pick-up and excellent drainage, hence a low wet weight
  • A soft heel cup to protect the Achilles
  • A flexible midsole to increase agility
  • A forefoot rock shield to protect the foot
  • The sole has aggressive traction and steers mud away to the outsides, based on the same principle as tractor tyres – we in rural Ireland like that one!
  • There is a high tech sticky rubber on the sole giving super traction on wet and dry surfaces



The VJ IROCK3 from Finland is described by the makers as their most aggressive shoe without metal studs for softer conditions, and let’s face it we know all about softer conditions here in soggy old Ireland. It is best suited for shorter to middle distance events (think 10k trail run) and is in a class of its own on muddy trails. While there is no mention of recycled materials in these particular shoes the company does have a sustainability ethos.

The features that they boast, while not as extensive as our top pick, are still pretty impressive.

  • Its lug configuration (the bumpy bits underneath the sole) allows optimal grip but still sheds loose debris that you would not want to have stick under your shoe
  • They have a signature ‘Butyl’ rubber which gives excellent grip to the sole
  • The upper of the show is durable and protective and their now lighter ‘Fitlock’ system gives a better and more protective fit around the foot arch
  • They have also improved the toe protection and the laces on this model


3. Salomon S/LAB ULTRA 3

For longer distances, these Salomon trail shoes are all about comfort, breathability, resistance as well as grip. It is hard to have a top 3 without a Salomon shoe appearing and for good reason. The S/LAB ULTRA3 is ideal for packing in the kilometres and frequent running. They claim lots of snappy, branded features which overall make them sound like something worth considering for your next trail running shoe. These features include:

  • Their own rubber sole material called ‘Contragrip’ which offers increased confidence on multiple terrains – wet, dry, loose and hard surfaces included
  • They have an integrated gaiter or collar to keep debris out of the shoe as well as a tight mesh which does the same job
  • They have a special lacing system called ‘Quicklace’ which allows easy on and off with one pull
  • There is extra cushioning for superior bounce and for added comfort over long distances
  • Their trade named ‘EnergyCell’ compound gives the midsole added cushioning and exceptional energy return making you more efficient over the distance
  • They are water-repellent in light rain and showers


We hope this information helps you choose and as always we are here to advise if we can so do get in touch or send us your feedback.