Spring 2022 Trail Runner Survey Results

Each spring, the American Trail Running Association conducts a survey to measure trail running trends from our national audience. This year we had over 1300 respondents. Complete survey results are made available to corporate members at the Switchback, Steep & Rocky and All-terrain levels.

The following selected outtakes are from our most recent trail running survey conducted in May/June of this year with data comparisons to our 2021 spring survey. This year we added some new questions related to community and safety and the results are reflected below. We will be taking a deeper dive into some of these topics for future surveys.

Trail Runner Participant Profile:

  • Gender of survey participants. [2022] 54% male, 44% female vs [2021] 53% male, 46% female.
  • Age range of survey participants. [2022] 18% ages 20-39, 57% ages 40-59 vs [2021] 20% ages 20-39, 58% ages 40-59
  • Ethnicity (new question in 2022) – 83% White, 4% Hispanic or Latino, 2% two or more race, 2% Asian, 1% American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Income level (new question in 2022) – 51% over $81,000, 5% $30,000 or less
  • How long have you been running on the trails? For [2022] 59% more than 10 years vs [2021] 51% more than 10 years
  • How many days per week do you run on trails? For [2022] 47% run 3-5 days per week vs [2021] 44% run 3-5 days per week
  • How many miles do you run per week? For [2022] 45% run 6-20 miles per week vs [2020 and 2021] 48% run 6-20 miles
  • On what type of trail surface do you typically run? For [2022] 56% mix it up, some days gnarly, some days gentle trail vs [2021] 58% mix it up
  • What is your favorite type of trail? For [2022] 46% list single-track vs [2021] 47% list single-track
  • What kind of trail running do you prefer? For [2022, 2021 and 2020], 83% prefer a mix of ascending and descending.
  • How many races will you run this year? For [2022] 74% will run 1-5 races and 4% will run more than 10 races vs [2021] and [2020], 73% will run 1-5 races and 4% will run more than 10 races this year.
  • What is your favorite trail race distance? For [2022] 42% prefer ultra distance, 4% prefer 5 miles or shorter vs [2021] 38% prefer racing 50K or longer, 5% prefer racing 10K or shorter, 4% don’t race
  • Do you run on trails with a dog? For the past three years, 32% responded “yes”

Photo: Rami Valonen.

Use of Activity Trackers and Training Logs:

  • Do you run with a GPS watch? For [2022] 78% run with a GPS watch vs [2021] 77% run with a GPS watch
  • Do you run with a GPS watch or smartphone app? For [2022 and 2021] 10% don’t use a GPS watch or smartphone app
  • Do you record your running mileage in a journal or calendar? For [2022] 14% responded “yes” vs [2021 and 2020] 13% responded “yes.”

Running shoes, poles, coaches and hydration:

  • Do you run with poles? (new question in 2022) 29% responded sometimes, and 4% only use poles when they race
  • Do you wear trail specific shoes while running on trails? For [2022] 84 % answered “yes” vs [2021] 83% of respondents answered “yes”
  • Do you wear a hydration vest while running on trails? For [2022] 73.5% answered “yes” vs [2021] 71% of respondents answered “yes”
  • If you don’t wear a hydration vest or carry water, do you only hydrate before and after your run? For [2022 and 2021] 8% of respondents answered “yes”
  • Do you have a coach? (new question for 2022) 14% say “yes” and 4% are considering getting a coach
Broken Arrow Skyrace

Photo: Peter Maksimow.

Top Eight Running Shoe Brands 2018 vs 2019 vs 2020 vs 2021 vs 2022:

  • Hoka One One [2018] 14.6% vs. [2019] 18.6% vs. [2020] 19.6% vs. [2021] 22% vs [2022] 25%
  • Altra [2018] 19.9% vs. [2019] 20.9% vs. [2020] 20.8% vs. [2021 and 2022] 22%
  • Brooks [2018] 12.3% vs. [2019] 12.4% vs. [2020] 11.7% vs. [2021 and 2022] 10%
  • Salomon [2018] 11.9% vs. [2019] 10% vs. [2020] 10% vs. [2021] 11% vs [2022] 8.7%
  • Saucony [2018] 8.7% vs. [2019] 8.9% vs. [2020] 7.8% vs. [2021 and 2022] 8.3%
  • La Sportiva [2018] 5.6% vs. [2019] 5.3% vs. [2020] 4.0% vs. [2021 and 2022] 4.3%
  • Topo vs. [2021] 3.5% vs [2022] 3.8%
  • New Balance [2018] 4.7% vs. [2019] 4.9% vs. [2020] 4.0% vs. [2021] 3.5% vs [2022] 2.9%

Community (new questions in 2022):

  • Do you feel safe while running on the trails? 91% responded “yes, most of the time,” 6% responded “sometimes,” 1% responded “no” or “not sure”
  • Do you feel welcomed on the trails? (either by other users, trail signage, the experience … these are a few examples) 95% responded “yes”
  • Do you feel like you are part of a trail running community? Nearly 75% responded “yes,” 25% responded “no” or “not sure”
  • In what ways have you built or expanded your trail running community? Running trail races garnered the top response with 84%, following social media at 55%, reading trail running magazines, articles, or blogs 47%, volunteering at trail races 44%, running with an organized group 40%, listening to podcasts related to trail running 38%, doing trail work/trail maintenance/building trails 34%
  • Have you ever participated in trail building work (either boots on the ground or monetary contribution) or trail maintenance? 60% responded yes and 11% responded that they were considering getting involved
  • Active on social media channels had Facebook leading the way with 63%, followed by Instagram at 56%. No social media was the norm for 19% of the respondents

Photo: Rami Valonen.

Past ATRA Survey Summaries:

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