When heading off-road, be sure to step into a pair of kicks that will perform on dirt roads, gravel or rocky trails. Supportive and grippy, yet more agile than boots, a good pair of trail shoes will help you walk or run further and faster.

Best all-round trail runner: Saucony Peregrine 11

Saucony Peregine 11, £115

This shoe is a go-to for many trail runners. The outsole is made from a highly grippy rubber, and with 5mm lugs [a deep, grooved rubber sole] you’ll be well planted on any terrain. There’s a generous 27mm of firm foam under your heel and 23mm under the forefoot, plus a “rock plate” to withstand sharp stones, so your feet are superbly protected. They’re not the absolute lightest option at 310g, but are very robust with lots of comfort and support. £115, saucony.com

Most durable and protective hiker: Meindl Ontario GTX

Meindl Ontario GTX, £158, cotswoldoutdoor.com

German shoemaker Meindl draws on more than 300 years of expertise to produce high-specification shoes. These are equipped with less aggressive lugs, so are well suited for more typical countryside walks on moderate terrain, tracks and gravel. The upper is made from suede and Cordura – a highly durable, abrasion-resistant material – with rubber reinforcements around the toe and heel for added protection, yet they feel minimal and light. The shoes also have a waterproof Gore-Tex lining, so you’re all set for a niggle-free day on the trail. £158, cotswoldoutdoor.com

Best long-distance hiker: Danner Trail 2650

Danner Trail 2650, £112.59, global.danner.com

Portland-based Danner has turned out well heeled footwear since 1932 and the Trail 2650 – named after the 2,650 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail – is the lightest hiking shoe in its boot range. It’s a comparable weight to a regular trainer (340g) yet offers fuller protection and support, plus with a leather upper and nice styling these are more attractive too. Nicely breathable for hot walks (there is a Gore-Tex version too), they have a special Vibram sole for grip and longevity, a heel bumper for descents and rubber reinforcements around the toe. £112.59, global.danner.com

Best runner for grip: Inov8 Terraultra G 270

Inov8 Terraultra G 270, £145

Grip, durability and comfort are delivered in spades thanks to a generous 12mm of responsive cushioning as well as graphene (one of the strongest materials known to man) in the rubber outsole. The lug depth is a moderate 4mm, so these shoes are totally adequate for most muddy trails but are not overkill on hard-packed ground. Weighing just 270g, they’re very lightweight for such a full feature list. It’s also worth noting that they are zero-drop, encouraging a more natural mid or forefoot running style – in comparison many regular entry-level trainers have a 10mm drop, so they’ll feel different until you get used to them. £145, inov-8.com

Best for ultra-long trail runs: ON Cloudultra 

ON Cloudultra, £160

This brand-new model has a double layer of “clouds” ensuring the shoes are particularly comfortable and well suited for long days on the trail. Weighing 295g, they’re sufficiently lightweight to let you run unhindered yet aren’t too minimal to sacrifice features. They have a durable and breathable upper, grippy outsole with sufficient lugs and a nifty tool on the laces to help adjust tightness in specific areas. £160, on-running.com

Most comfortable hiking trainer: Columbia FACET 15 OutDry

Columbia FACET 15 OutDry, £115

A running-influenced hiking trainer, these kicks fuse the rugged grippy outsole and protective upper typically seen in hiking shoes with the more generous cushioning and aesthetics of a trainer. It’s a nice hybrid for lighter-going trails, shorter hikes or everyday use, and the quick lace system is neat. Armed with 5mm lugs, they offer great grip on technical terrain and the foot feels well protected with a supportive yet breathable upper – the ride is very comfortable too thanks to its generous trainer-like midsole. £115, columbiasportswear.co.uk

Best ultra-lightweight running trainers: Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2

Arc’teryx Norvan SL 2, £130

This top-end outdoors brand from Canada has updated its lightweight trail running shoe to a mere 170g. It’s barely noticeable, leaving you to perform on race days or to go for a new personal best. With a Vibram Megagrip outsole, it has great traction on wet rocks, modestly-sized lugs for weight saving and a minimal upper of lightweight but robust mesh. £130, arcteryx.com

Most versatile, great for hiking and running: Salomon Sense Ride 4 

Salomon Sense Ride 4, £110

A great all-round off-road trainer adept at running or speed hiking on rocky trails or muddy tracks, yet good for occasional road use too. The “Optivibe” foam underfoot is cushioned and protective while responsive and, combined with a premium rubber grip, you’ll be sure-footed. It’s a pretty lightweight shoe (290g) that fits snugly with a quick lacing system so you can throw them on and off easily. £110, salomon.com

Best hiker for hard terrain: Hoka One One Challenger Low Gore-Tex

Hoka One One Challenger Low Gore-Tex, £130

This hiking trainer draws inspiration from a more traditional hiking shoe with its nubuck leather upper, but that is where the similarities end. These shoes feature the brand’s trademark oversized chunky soles, which brings with them exceptional comfort, and this one has a slight built-in rocker assisting you with a smooth and natural walking motion. They’re Gore-Tex, so waterproof and breathable, and have a comfortable inner lining to help avoid any hotspots. £130, hokaoneone.eu

Easy riders for casual hiking: Merrell Zion Gore-Tex

Merrell Zion Gore-Tex, £130

A very comfortable pair of hiking shoes, they slip on very easily and feel much like a trainer. With a Vibram sole and decent lugs, they’re capable for most trails, plus the highly durable mesh-and-leather upper means your foot is well protected for substantial hikes. The tongue is a contiguous part of the shoe to help keep out any debris, which is a nice touch, and they’re Gore-Tex too so will keep your feet dry. £130, merrell.com