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The SELF 2023 Sneaker Awards

Lululemon Blissfeel Trail Review: These Sneakers Can Help Runners Dip Into New Kinds of Terrain

The sneakers’ versatility means they’re a solid investment for beginners.
Lululemon Blissfeel Trail sneaker
Lululemon / Amanda K Bailey

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  • Great everyday trainer for people who want to try trails
  • Streamlined silhouette that hugs your foot
  • Lets you maintain agility
  • Lacks protection for more intense trails
  • Not as much pop as a racing shoe

There’s nothing quite like a run in nature: trees around you, a fresh breeze in the air, dirt at your feet, and maybe even a stream burbling in the distance. But getting into trail running can feel intimidating—especially if you don’t have the right gear to get started.

Enter: The Lululemon Blissfeel Trail, the brand’s first off-road shoe that was designed to help ease runners onto those peaceful paths. As part of SELF’s 2023 Sneaker Awards, I tested out a pair to see just how well it handles trickier terrain.

Who it’s for

The Blissfeel Trail is an everyday trail running shoe, or more accurately, a “road to trail” sneaker, as the company describes it. That means that it’s rugged enough to protect your feet on uneven ground, but not so bulky that it can’t go on the pavement too. To me, the shoe is for runners who want to give trails a try, but probably aren’t going to jump into really intense ones right off the bat.

Christa Sgobba

Out of the box

The “road to trail” aspect was strong when unboxing these: Aside from the lugged outsole on the bottom (which helps provide traction) and little more hardiness along the upper, the shoes look a lot like a regular running shoe—there’s no high ankle support or laceless fastening that you see with some trail-specific models. I’ve tried trail shoes with both those features in the past, and they bring sort of an…intense feel to them that I think might be a little off-putting to those dipping their feet into a new kind of run.

Fit and feel

Like all Lululemon sneakers, the Blissfeel Trail was designed specifically for a woman’s foot, and that may be why I was able to wear my usual street shoe size instead of going up a half size, like I normally do with running shoes.

When I tried these on, the shoe really hugged the curves of my foot, giving it more of a streamlined look than I expected with a trail shoe. My foot felt cradled and supported, and although I wouldn’t call it cushiony, it definitely felt comfortable. To me, it was a welcome relief from some trail shoes, which can just feel like a lot as soon as you slip them on.

Christa Sgobba

On the run

I really enjoyed running in these shoes. I took them on shorter 20-minute jaunts on steeper terrain and hour-long easy runs on a harder packed (and therefore easier) trail (that had some sections of pavement interspersed). One area where it really stood out was agility: I’ve tried trail shoes before that were so concerned with protecting your feet from the elements that they ended up feeling unwieldy, boxy, and unstable. The Blissfeel Trail, though, really conforms to your foot and lets you maintain your balance: I felt pretty nimble even when scrambling up and down some steeper hills.

These shoes are marketed as an everyday trainer, so it obviously doesn’t have the pop you’d expect with a race-day shoe, but I was pleasantly surprised with the energy return on them. I was able to do a few sections of a speed pickup on the flatter portions of a less-technical trail, and the ride felt really smooth.

I thought the shoe felt better on trails that were heavily packed than they did on those with more technical terrain—say, more jagged rocks or roots—or on the sections that were paved. For the latter, the lugs felt a little jarring on the hard surface.

Lululemon Blissfeel Trail Women’s Running Shoe

Bottom line

I think a lot of people stay away from trails because they believe it’s a big change from the roads—but these shoes help show that it doesn’t have to be. The Blissfeel Trails make the transition a lot less intimidating: If you feel comfortable in a road shoe, you’ll probably feel good in these.

If you’re looking for an everyday shoe that’ll help you acclimate to off-road running—and provide a smooth and fun ride while doing so—the Blissfeel Trails might be a great way to get started. Personally, I’ve been loving these for the days when I just want to log some miles in nature and not think about things like paces, splits, or time. These shoes let you forget about what’s on your feet, so you can just enjoy the ride.