Runners are not always going to be running on sidewalks and over gravel paths through the parks, so having a pair of high-quality running shoes with a great outsole grip is very important. This grip will allow you to run over rough and uneven terrain, such as trails, as well as giving you more confidence to run during bad weather.
When looking for running shoes, we often get caught up with the midsole and what type of foam has been used for it, and we actually miss the outsole a lot of the time. Despite this, the outsole is one of the most important parts of your running shoes.
A good outsole will protect the soles of your feet from rocks and debris found on your journey as well as saving you from the embarrassment of slipping and falling over in front of the rest of the runners. To avoid this, we’ve found the top five running shoes with the best outsole grip, so you don’t have to.
In a hurry?
It can be frustrating trying to enjoy your run while slipping all over the place thanks to a poor outsole grip, which is why we’ve taken the time to find the top running shoes with the best outsole grip so that you don’t have to.
While we think that this article is very interesting and you should read the whole thing, we also know that life can be busy and you don’t always have enough time. For this reason, we’ll cut to the chase and tell you that the best option that we found is the ASICS Men's Gel-Venture 7 Trail Running Shoes.
Here are a few reasons why these shoes came out on top:
- The sole absorbs a lot of the shock so you feel minimal impact with every step.
- You can use these shoes for a number of reasons, for example, road running and trail running.
- ASICS has managed to keep these shoes both lightweight and comfortable, making them excellent for longer running sessions.
- The lugs on the outsole are diagonally designed which is beneficial when running up or downhill.
Running Shoes With the Best Outsole Grip
OUR TOP PICK
Next up is the best selling trail running shoes on the market right now, the Gel-Venture 7s by ASICS. Trail running shoes are well known for having great outsole grip as they have to be ready for tricker terrain types. If you’re hoping to go running over lots of different surfaces, the Gel-Venture 7s might be the best option for you.
These shoes are impressively and surprisingly lightweight for trail running shoes, as this kind of shoe is typically considered bulkier than other types. There is padding around the collar and tongue of the shoe for added comfort, and the upper is very breathable for a cooling effect for the duration of your run.
There is a GEL cushioning system at the heel of the sole to prevent you from feeling all the lumps and bumps of the trail underfoot. The lugs on the outsole are diagonally placed which is ideal for traveling up and downhill.
Strong grip for trail running.
These shoes remain comfortable and lightweight.
The laces are quite thin.
- The GEL-Venture® 7 running shoe gives you the edge you want on every run with its lightweight construction, assured support, and easy responsiveness that you will feel mile after mile.
- Predecessor: GEL-Venture 6.
- Support Type: Neutral to underpronation (supination).
Brooks is well known for offering excellent grip on all of their running shoes, so it’s not surprising that the Ghost 12s have found their way onto our list. The outsole is actually broken up into smaller pieces to allow your foot to flex naturally. There is also a crash pad at the heel for shock absorption.
There are many customer testimonies stating that they could feel the Ghost 12s actively gripping the floor while they were running, which is a great sign of impressive outsole grip. We’d suggest using these shoes primarily for road running as the lugs are rather compact and horizontal.
The shoe itself is a neutral model and aims to support your foot with every step. The inner is made of cushioning material for added comfort and the midsole offers great shock absorption along with the crash pad. These shoes also offer reflective properties so you can use them no matter what time of day it is.
Great pair of shoes for road running.
Previous customers were very impressed with the grip.
Comfortable shoes that can be used in low light conditions.
These shoes are neutral which might not fit everyone’s needs.
Some reviewers found that their shoes came small.
- THIS SHOE IS FOR: Neutral runners looking for a lightweight shoe and a smooth ride without sacrificing cushioning. Whether you’re a Ghost loyalist or are lacing one up for the first time, you’ll...
- SUPPORT AND CUSHION: The neutral support type provides high energizing cushioning. Ideal for road running, cross training, the gym or wherever you might want to take them! Predecessor: Ghost 11
- BALANCED, SOFT CUSHIONING: BioMoGo DNA and DNA LOFT cushioning work together to provide a just-right softness underfoot without losing responsiveness and durability - yet it feels lighter than ever.
You can see right off the bat how impressive and innovative the grip is on these shoes. Adidas has combined the features of trail running shoes with those of road running shoes, and created this interesting hybrid. There is a mixture of compact lugs and spaced out lugs to cater for all sorts of terrain.
The upper of the Rockadia running shoes are made primarily of mesh to keep your foot cool and able to breathe. Adidas is known for its comfortable shoes made for exercise and everyday wear, so it’s not surprising that this pair is able to find the perfect balance between comfort and grip.
The outsole is made from hard rubber and many previous customers have stated that the traction on the Rockadia is second to none. Overall, these running shoes can be used for a number of different occasions thanks to the unique grip pattern.
You can wear these for both road and trail running.
Very breathable shoes.
Great traction on the outsoles.
One customer found that they squeaked as they ran.
Not the best at supporting your feet and ankles.
The Superior 4 running shoes from ALTRA have an interesting and unique pattern to the outsole, giving them an advantage over other running shoes with less innovative lugs. ALTRA has designed and created the Superior 4s with trail running shoes in mind, but you can wear these while running over a number of different terrain types.
The lugs are strategically placed beneath the metatarsals in your feet to provide the most amount of traction possible. There are multiple customer reviews raving about how good the grip is for running, whether it be on or off-road.
There is minimal cushioning within these shoes, so they’re ideal for runners who are trying to get more strength in their feet. While this makes the shoe feel less comfortable while you’re running, it can also be very beneficial for improving the natural shape and position of your foot.
Interesting pattern of lugs for optimal traction.
You can use them for both road and trail running.
Helpful for people trying to strengthen their feet while running.
Comes with rather long laces.
Not the best impact resistance.
The Peregrine 8 Running Shoe from Saucony has proven to be an excellent model for an obstacle shoe. The lugs on the outsole are pointed diagonally, making them excellent for uphill and downhill journeys, and the lugs are rather far apart for things like stones, mud, and grass to pass through without getting stuck.
The sole is made from soft rubber, making these shoes ideal for a number of different situations and weather conditions. You can clearly see that the tread on these running shoes is aggressive and impressive.
The shoes themselves are durable and comfortable, and the upper is made from a breathable mesh material. This allows you to run for longer without your feet becoming uncomfortably hot. Overall, these shoes are great for all terrains thanks to the impressive outsole grip.
You can wear them while running up and downhill.
Soft rubber outsole is suitable for all weather conditions.
Breathable and comfortable shoes.
There are not that many size options to choose from.
These shoes don’t offer the best amount of support.
Running Shoes With the Best Outsole Grip - Buying Guide
Now we’ve looked at the top five running shoes with the best outsole grip, let’s remind ourselves of the most important factors to consider when choosing our new running shoes. Having a basic knowledge of running shoes before committing to one pair will reduce the likelihood of you choosing a pair that won’t work for you.
Material of the Outsole
The outsole material on the running shoes that you purchase will make a significant difference in where the particular model will really shine. Almost all outsoles are made from rubber as it’s one of the most durable materials while still allowing flexibility, but there are also foam outsoles on the market.
Soft rubber outsoles
Softer outsoles are generally considered better in terms of their grip because they can adapt to the shape of the terrain and grip onto individual surfaces. They are great in all weather conditions so you can wear them all year round.
Hard rubber outsoles
Hard rubber is not as gripping as softer rubber, but they offer you a much longer lifespan than the latter. These outsoles will be fine for dry, warm days, but you might want to steer clear of them for wetter weather.
Foam outsoles are good for use on roads and rough surfaces, and can even tolerate both dry and wet weather conditions. Having said that, if the terrain becomes smooth and wet so that there is nothing for the foam to grip onto, your foam outsoles will be rendered useless.
There is no use purchasing a running shoe with a soft rubber outsole if there is no pattern there to actually allow the material to grip onto things. Different brands will create a pattern on the bottom of their shoes with carvings and grooves. A good rule of thumb to follow is that the more lugs that there are on the bottom of your shoe, the better the grip will be.
Lugs simply refer to the gaps in between the outsole material. If the lugs are angled, the shoes may be designed for up- and downhill action. If you’re wanting your running shoes to wear while running over hilly hiking paths, you might want to consider this as an option.
Trail running shoes have longer lugs than regular running shoes with enough room for mud to pass through freely. We’d suggest looking at the outsole thoroughly before committing to a pair of running shoes. Models that have large patches of sole with no spaces or thickness variations should be avoided. Similarly, running shoes with shallow lugs won’t be able to grip much, so keep looking.
Type of Shoe
Choosing your running shoe is not as easy as picking your favorite design, and there are different types of running shoes that you should consider. Each type comes with a varying amount of grip, so choosing the wrong one could interfere with your running trails.
The three different types of running shoes that we’re going to look at below all shine in different situations, so it’s important to determine which is going to be most beneficial to you before looking for your new running shoes.
Trail running shoes
These are for running over trails on mountains and through nature. This type of terrain is often more uneven than running along the side of the road, so the grip should be more impressive on trail shoes.
Trails often consist of gravel and dirt, so the lugs need to be wider to accommodate all of this debris.
Road running shoes
These shoes are better suited for people who enjoy running around the city on sidewalks. As this terrain is much harder than that of trails, these shoes will be much more cushioned and impact resistant.
Road running shoes should be able to handle both wet and dry weather conditions and the lugs will be more compact than trail shoes.
Obstacle running shoes
Obstacles running shoes are less common than the previous two types of running shoes, but they’re designed to take on activities such as mud runs, rope climbing, and circuits. The outsoles on these types of shoes need to be ready for anything, so you could argue that these shoes are the best for outsole grip.
The durability of the outsole is another important factor to consider when purchasing running shoes. Especially if you need the best grip possible, you’re not going to want this to wear down too quickly.
As we’ve mentioned before, soft rubber grips are considered the best but wear down quickly, whereas hard rubber outsoles are much more durable but aren’t as effective for gripping the floor. You need to determine whether the longevity of the shoe is more important than the grip.
Of course, the durability of the rest of the shoe is another big consideration to think about, as there’s no use of the sole being intact when there’s a massive hole exposing your toes. Read the customer reviews and see how other people have found the durability of each pair of shoes.
The Rest of the Shoe
Just because you’re looking for a pair of running shoes with the best outsole grip, doesn’t mean that the rest of the shoe doesn’t come into play. You need a well rounded running shoe before you can start thinking about the grip, so make sure that you consider the breathability of the shoes, as well as how comfortable they are, and the stability and support offered to you.
Choosing a well-known manufacturer may take some of the pressure off of you while trying to find a good running shoe. Brands such as Saucony, Nike, Brooks, Adidas, ASICS, Salomon, and ALTRA are a good place to start as they’ve already got a loyal customer base due to their effective and beneficial running shoes.
The price is always an important factor to consider when purchasing anything, as you don’t want to go over budget on one pair of running shoes. There are plenty of products out there for people on a budget, so don’t ignore your budget after finding one pair of shoes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is traction in a shoe?
The traction of a shoe is its ability to pull against the terrain and remain fixated in place. This differs as opposed to the grip as the grip of your shoe will stick to the terrain as soon as it comes into contact with it, but the hold is not as strong as it is for the traction.
Do running shoes have a good grip?
The majority of running shoe manufacturers give their products a generous amount of grip as runners need to feel more secure when they’re traveling at a faster pace, so yes, generally speaking, running shoes do have a good grip.
That being said, it’s always worth debating this on a shoe to shoe basis as every model is different and offers varying levels of capabilities. Make sure that the running shoes that you’re planning to buy have a good amount of grip by following the advice in our buyers guide.