The 3 Best Vegan Trail Running Shoes for Under $100 (Men’s)

Best Vegan Trailing Running Shoes

Looking for a quality pair of vegan trail running shoes that won’t break your budget? You’re in the right place.

I researched dozens of vegan trail running shoes from different brands and narrowed it down to the best three. I bought all three and have been running in each over the past few months. In this article, I’ll break down what I liked, and what I didn’t like about each shoe. Along with specs and links so you can check out each shoe for yourself.

I wanted to do this test and review for vegan trail running shoes because finding a good pair for under $100 is no easy task.

Oftentimes shoes are not labeled vegan. Similar to trying to figure out if a food product has milk in it, now you’re looking up things like, ‘Is Gore-Tex vegan?’ (It is by the way) Once you do find a specifically labeled vegan shoe that you feel good about, it’s $200.

I don’t think it should be that hard to find a good pair of shoes that are also affordable. So, without further ado, here are my opinions after putting about 50 miles on each shoe.

Zenful Hiking is reader supported. There are affiliate links within this article. If you make a purchase through these links we may, at no extra cost to you, earn a small commission. Theses commissions are what allow us to continue to bring you quality, unbiased content like this review.

La Sportiva Wildcat

What I liked about La Sportiva Wildcat:

  • The tread and grip are amazing. Wet conditions, mud, rocks, leaves – the Wildcats took on all types of terrain and never slipped.
  • The support is great. The shoe “hugs” your foot and really keeps it in place and secure inside the shoe.
  • Even with the shoe fitting so snug, it still has good breathability.
  • Cushioning is really good and holds up well. They also protect against rocks and roots on the trail.

What I didn’t like:

  • Shoes are a bit heavy when compared to the other two shoes I tested. I wore these first and didn’t think of them being heavy until I ran in the Merrell. (They’re over 50% heavier than the Merrill’s)
  • The shoes are really snug, which for me, was a positive as it fit my foot tightly and added to the stability. However, if you have a wider foot, they could end up being too tight.

La Sportiva Wildcat Specs

Weight 13.1oz La Sportiva Wildcat Trail Running Shoes
Drop 12mm
Arch Support Neutral
Arch Type High Arch
Cushioning Moderate
Height Ankle
Upper Nylon Mesh
Lining Nylon
Midsole EVA
Support Nylon Shank
Outsole Rubber
Rock Plate No
Price I Paid $77
Available at: Amazon

Final Verdict

The La Sportiva Wildcat was the best of the three when it came to support and grip. If those are your priorities then this is the shoe for you.

This shoe is going to envelope your foot and give you the ultimate feeling of security and support. The aggressive tread was also the ‘grippiest’ of the three.

ASICS Men’s GEL Venture 5

What I liked about the GEL Venture 5’s:

  • Good balance of support and weight.
  • Less aggressive lugs allowed me to also use these shoes for road runs as well.
  • Comfortable.

What I didn’t like:

  • Durability wasn’t quite as good as the other two. Lugs started pulling away after a few months of running.

ASICS GEL Venture 5 Specs

Weight 10.7oz ASICS GEL Venture 5
Drop 10mm
Arch Support Neutral
Arch Type High Arch
Cushioning Reguler
Height Ankle
Upper Synthetic Mesh
Lining Nylon
Midsole EVA Foam
Support GEL Cushioning
Outsole AHAR Outside Rubber
Rock Plate No
Price I Paid $60
Available at: Amazon

Final Verdict

The ASICS GEL Venture 5 was a good middle of the road shoe on most characteristics. It was lighter than the Wildcat, but provided more than the Merrill. They are also a bit more roomy and should accommodate a wider foot.

If what you’re looking for is a balanced shoe that does well across the board, give this ASICS shoe a go.

Merrill MTL Skyfire

What I liked about the Merrill MTL Skyfire:

  • They are super lightweight. I went from wearing the La Sportivas to the Merrills and I was blown away by how light they were.
  • Only shoe of the three with a rock plate for added protection.
  • Breathability was the best out of the three.

What I didn’t like:

  • The cushioning is a bit less than the other two shoes. Having said that, I really hesitate putting it in the ‘didn’t like’ category, because I still felt there was an adequate amount of cushion. For a shoe as light as the Merrill, I feel like you should expect to give up a bit of cushion.

Merrill MTL Skyfire Specs

Weight 8.5oz Merrill MTL Skyfire
Drop 6 mm
Arch Support Neutral
Arch Type High Arch
Cushioning Balanced
Height Ankle
Upper Mesh / TPU
Lining Breathable Mesh
Midsole EVA
Outsole Quantum Grip Rubber
Rock Plate Yes
Price I Paid $60
Available at: Amazon

Final Verdict

Looking for a lightweight trail running shoe to go out and smash your personal best time? This is the shoe for you! This shoe is like running on air, yet somehow is still supportive and durable enough to hold up against the demands of running on the trail.

My Favorite Vegan Trail Running Shoe?

After testing all three I really like the La Sportiva and the Merrill the best, for very different reasons. I loved the support and security of the La Sportiva and I loved the lightweight feel of the Merrill.

If I only had to pick one, it would be the Merrill. If you’re new to trail running, the Merrill is going to feel most like your favorite pair of road running shoes. The only difference being they’re extra grippy and will protect your feet better from the rocks, sticks and roots you’ll come across on the trail.

When I was selecting a shoe for the day, I kept noticing myself gravitating towards the Merrills. The only exception was if I knew the trail was going to be muddy that day. In those cases I was more apt to reach for the La Sportiva’s for the added support and stability.

Final Thoughts

All 3 shoes are great vegan trail running shoes for the price. Ultimately, it will depend on what you’re looking for most in a shoe.

Whichever of the three you choose, you can feel good that you’re running in a vegan shoe.

Finally, if you’re open to paying a little more a vegan trail running shoe you should also check out our Top 7 Vegan Trail Running Shoes.

Ryan H

I love hiking and being outdoors with Jen and our two rescue dogs, Chompers and Mia. I also enjoy a good weekend trail run. I'm also really enjoying sharing some of the knowledge we've learned along the way here on Zenful Hiking!

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