Helly Hansen HH W Varde Trail review: Are these the ultimate pair of trainers for wild running?

Helly Hansen HH W Varde Trail are lightweight yet with the sturdiness of a walking boot.

Helly Hansen HH W Varde Trail
(Image credit: Helly Hansen)
Woman & Home Verdict

This versatile pair of running shoes will last a long time.

Reasons to buy
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    Great traction

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Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Can be uncomfortable

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    Water repellent, not waterproof

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Looking for a pair of running shoes to start a new exercise regime or give a boost to your current one? The Helly Hansen HH W Varde Trail – which are designed for both trail running and mountain hiking – could be for you. How to be sure? We’ve put a pair through its paces from the moment we took them out the box, so you can see if you think they are worth the investment.

I tested a wide selection of the best running shoes for women and considered how they fitted, performed and benefited my workout. All trainers were used at least three times for different workouts to see how they fared.

Keep scrolling for the full review to see if these running shoes are the ones for you. 

Helly Hansen HH W Varde Trail specifications

Size range: UK 3.5-8
Offset: 5mm
Terrain: Trail
Waterproof: No, water repellant

Who will the Helly Hansen HH W Varde Trail suit?

These running shoes will suit a woman who likes to run off the beaten track.

What are the Helly Hansen HH W Varde Trail like to wear?

The first thing I noticed when I put on my pair of Helly Hansen HH W Varde Trail running shoes was how lightweight they are. Although they look like they have the sturdiness of a walking boot, these do not weigh you down at all. Yet, thanks to the rubber sole, they still protect joints from impact, even when you are running on pavements or very hard surfaces.

But these running shoes really came into their own when I went off-road, thanks to the multi-directional lug system. This means the traction is above average. The grip was amazing in muddy conditions – I felt very stable and I didn’t have to worry about slipping at all. Just by looking at the sole you can tell these have been built for more treacherous conditions. And, after several runs, the sole was still in a near-perfect condition. Despite the price, these shoes will really last.

Plus, these are very breathable. With a special mesh covering almost the entire top front half, my feet still felt cool even after using them for more than an hour.

Helly Hansen HH W Varde Trail top view

Despite their sturdiness, these are still super sleek.

(Image credit: Helly Hansen)

The Helly Hansen HH W Varde Trail design

The Helly Hansen HH W Varde Trail running shoes come in two different colourways: glacier blue and grey, or black and yellow. I sampled a pair of the glacier blue and grey and they looked attractive. From above, these running shoes do look quite wide and maybe not as sleek as more expensive picks, but if you are on a budget, this shouldn’t put you off.

Despite the Helly Hansen logo on the tongue and outside heel of these shoes, they are not overbranded. They are quite neutral and wouldn’t look out of place worn when not exercising.

The price you’re paying for these shoes does mean you’re missing out on those extra style flourishes that make a pair feel ultra special. For example, reflective detailing would have been a nice touch on these and they are missing out on extra padding around the heel. However, the great price doesn’t mean you are losing out on any quality – these won’t fall apart, even in the toughest conditions.

The versatility of the Helly Hansen HH W Varde Trail

The Helly Hansen HH W Varde Trail is definitely a running shoe suitable for trail running, hence the name. The laces felt secure and not likely to come undone, plus the rubber soles had great traction and didn’t skid over wet concrete or wet grass.

Yet, for a running shoe that’s been designed to keep the elements out, it seems slightly odd that they are not water-resistant, only water-repellent. Despite being so lightweight, they do protect from wind. And they would also be good for hikers who often feel weighed down by traditional walking boots.

These running shoes would also be suitable worn on the treadmill.

Helly Hansen HH W Varde Trail sole

A multi-directional lug system means the traction is above average.

(Image credit: Helly Hansen)

Sizing and comfort of the Helly Hansen HH W Varde Trail

I tried a pair in a size 5 and I felt they were slightly too big for me. I have quite a wide foot and they were definitely spacious.

With a very stable midsole, your feet won’t roll around in them. My feet and ankles felt secure and in place when running, plus there was more than enough room to move my toes. However, despite the back of these running shoes being padded, they did rub against my heels on the first couple of wears and I did feel some pain. I think this is because they come up quite high at the back. For some people, this might not be an issue and shouldn’t put you off – and it may have meant I needed a smaller size. 

If you’re looking for extra arch support, you probably need to try something else or add an insole, as they do feel quite flat inside compared with other options.

How do the Helly Hansen HH W Varde Trail rate online? 

At the time of trialling, there were no other reviews online.

Are the Helly Hansen HH W Varde Trail worth buying?

If you don’t want to spend a fortune and are relatively new to exercise, then the Helly Hansen HH W Varde Trail will make a good investment. They are a quality shoe, well made and won’t fall apart in a hurry. 

And, while they may be slightly lacking in star quality in terms of fashion, these won’t date, meaning you will wear them again and again.

Faye M Smith

Faye M Smith is an award-winning journalist with over 15 years experience in the magazine industry. Her continued work in the area of natural health won her the coveted title of the Health Food Manufacturers’ Association (HFMA) Journalist of the Year Award 2021. Currently Health Editor across several brands including woman&home, Woman and Woman’s Own, Faye specialises in writing about mental health, the menopause, and sex and relationships.