In the past, I’d associate Avia with grandmothers walking in shopping malls. The white ubiquitous walking shoes are on every granny’s feet from coast-to-coast. If you’ve had that same association, then it’s time to wipe that away because their recent road and trail running lineup is very impressive.  The technology used in the full Avia running lineup is solid (check out the Avi-Stoltz) and the Avi-Trail shares some of those great features.

I’ve been able to test the new Avia Avi-Trail trail running shoes for the past few weeks and have found them to have their quirks, but overall the vibe is positive and the miles keep on tacking up. After one last solid trail run in mixed trail conditions (dry/rocky to wet/muddy), I finally have enough beta to deliver the verdict.

Avia Avi-Trail Running Shoes Review

About the Avia Avi-Trail

An excellent value in trail running shoes, the $90 MSRP Avi-Trail has a lot to offer for the price. The total package includes the Avia Cantilever® heel and Dura Ryd cushioning for a lightweight package that’s still trail capable. A smart-looking shoe that’s built well with these features:

  • For the off road runner seeking a blend of cushioning and light to medium motion control
  • Lightweight mesh upper with a breathable barrier from outside elements that guards against snags from underbrush
  • Cushioned insole
  • Aggressively lugged solid-rubber outsole for more grip and less slip on soft surfaces
  • Concave design acts like a trampoline to soften impact, stabilize the heel and provide increased energy return
  • Anatomical Cradle® holds the body’s natural cushioning elements firmly in place in the heel to maximize cushioning
  • Cantilever® design centers the heel over the concave sole
  • Dura-Ryd™ in the forefoot and heel provides additional shock absorption at key impact areas
  • Available in Men’s and Women’s designs
  • MSRP: $90

Avia Avi-Trail Running Shoe Review

Avia Avi-Trail Shoe Review

Out of the box, these shoes look stunning. The combination of the materials and overall construction creates a nice-looking pair of shoes that appear super-capable right out the gate. I love the combination of upper materials with three layers of overlay to provide support, comfort and breathability.

The heel strike area is hollowed out but support is provided by the Cantilever system that encompasses the heel and arch–providing outstanding support for flat-footers like me. Dual-density midsole with posted pronation support area just adds to the stability. It’s so solid that these shoes felt like some of the most stable trail shoes I’ve ever worn.

Cushioning is provided by Dura-Ryd (forefoot and heel). The combination of the Cantilever and Dura Ryd heel provided a firm, sportscar-like ride as these shoes were harsh on hardpack and asphalt at regular or slow paces. At a faster pace, I didn’t notice it quite so much, but that’s not where I spend most of my miles (in other words, I’m not pushing 4-minute miles anytime soon).

Another interesting note is the shape of the toebox. These are by far the most pointed toebox of any shoes I’ve worn. It’s fine for narrow-footers like myself, but if you’ve got wide feet, you might want to look elsewhere as it gets pointy pretty quickly.

Traction was as to be expected with the relatively small, rounded center tread pattern. On hardpack and soft, loamy trails, these shoes were very sure-footed both up and down. But, on rocky and loose terrain, they lost uphill traction (though not many shoes excel in those conditions). On the downhill under those same conditions, trail grip was solid due to the use of the full contact patch of the tread.

Avia Avi-Trail Running Shoes Review - Mudfest

The open Cantilever heel system isn’t well-suited for muddy trails as it acts like a mud magnet (see above). After 15 minutes on a wet and sometimes muddy trail, the whole opening was filled with dirt and mud. At one point, my left shoe was filled more than my right and it made for a “one shoe heavier than the other” scenario. Stick to hardpack or dry trails and you’ll be fine.

Good Avi-Trail

  • Super-stable
  • Excellent traction
  • Lightweight feel
  • Smooth stride–especially at faster paces
  • Downhill traction is superb
  • Work well with Spenco Polysorb, Superfeet Green or SOLE footbeds

Bad Avi-Trail

  • Open heel area is a mud-magnet
  • Surprisingly-harsh heel strike on hardpack and asphalt
  • Uphill traction is lacking on loose/rocky terrain
  • Pointed toebox is a bit odd

Bottom Line: Avia Avi-Trail Running Shoes

My first pair of Avia’s is a mixed bag. I really wanted to love these shoes–they look great and the uppers fit phenomenally–but, they are stiff-riding mud-catchers. On the plus side, they offer superb stability and if you wear them with something like the Spenco Polysorb insole, you get that little extra bit of cushioning to offset the natural firmness of the heel cushioning.

Buy Now: Find Trail Running Shoes at REI

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for this. I was in the store and found these 50% off, great deal. Was not sure how they would work since I need some light stability, so I did a search on my phone and found this post. I needed something for doing trails a few times a month, your review was so helpful! Exactly what I wanted.

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