You know what you want from your running shoes: lightweight, cushioning, support, and a comfortable fit. Of course, the most important part of any shoe is your experience over the hundreds of miles you’ll take them on. To help you find your next great pair, and to get a sense of how updates to your favorite road or trail shoe may change how it fits or perform, we review hundreds of men’s and women’s shoes each year. The ones below are all of our award-winning selections from our most recent shoe guides.
Top 10 Running Shoes
- Rearfoot GEL Cushioning System: Attenuates shock during impact phase and allows for a smooth transition to...
- Removable Sockliner: A sockliner which can be removed to accommodate a medical orthotic.
- MEN'S RUNNING SHOES: Molded pods offer multi-surface traction. Pods flatten on impact then spring back at...
- ATHLETIC SHOES: Soft foam midsole delivers lightweight, responsive cushioning. Underlays in the vamp and toe...
- Outdoor-ready runner with mesh and brushstroke-patterned underlays
- Rearfoot GEL cushioning
- Two-tone stretch mesh upper for breathability
- Sock-like construction hugs the foot
- adidas genuine
- Lightweight mesh upper delivers complete breathability
- Foam padding placed around your ankle collar & under the tongue for an incredibly comfortable fit & feel
- Rubber sole
- Rugged neutral runner in mesh with bright overlays
- adidas genuine
- I.G.S (Impact Guidance System) Technology - ASICS design philosophy that employs linked componentry to enhance...
- FlyteFoam Propel Technology - ASICS energetic foam formulation that provides supreme bounce thanks to a unique...
Some runners care a lot about weight, and research shows that you expend more aerobic energy with heavier shoes. Lighter shoes typically have less cushioning, which can make them feel faster. If you’re going long distances, however, the extra cushioning of a heavier shoe might be a better option.
Cushioning provides impact absorption. To test it, our Shoe Lab takes measurements in the heel and forefoot, then averages the scores to give you an idea of the overall experience. The cushioning scores are given on a scale of 1 to 100, with one being the least cushioned.
In addition to those key stats, we also look at the shoe’s stability features, flexibility, and energy return to help you find one you’ll love. To see the data, click to read the men’s review or women’s review on any of the shoes below.
A shoe’s drop is the difference between the heel and the forefoot measurements, or how much your toes drop below your heel. It’s important because a higher drop can lead to more heel striking. Many shoes have a drop between 8 and 12 millimeters, but some shoes have less than 6mm. A few based on minimalist designs have zero drops.
What Are The Best Running Shoes?
It features incredible energy return thanks to Nike’s practically magical ZoomX foam, and though it’s a road shoe, it can be worn on other surfaces too. A challenge to the Adidas Boost foam’s dominance over the past few years, Nike has produced a running shoe that’s a winner for the everyday.
Do Running Shoes Matter?
Yes. A decent pair of running-specific trainers will cushion your feet and legs from the impact of repeatedly hitting the pavement. They’ll also be flexible in all the right places and they’ll help protect against common injuries. But choosing the right shoe isn’t as easy as just picking the one you like the look of.
How To Buy The Right Running Shoes
The difficulty in recommending running shoes is that while some are better than others, the ‘best’ shoe for you also has to suit how you run. We all run different mileage, land differently, weigh different amounts and have different shaped feet, and our shoes should reflect that.
Gait can also be a big factor. If your gait shows an excess of pronation or supination (inward and outward rolling of the foot as it strikes and pushes off from the ground), as you may need a shoe or insole that addresses this.
1. Get Your Gait Tested
Drop into a shop like Sweatshop, Runner’s Need or Vivobarefoot’s stores and you can get a full gait analysis test done. This often means running on a treadmill or along the street so staff can help you identify the type of running shoes and support that’s best for your running style.
2. Try Before You Buy
You may be able to find bargains online but it’s always best to try shoes on before you commit. Sizes can vary significantly from brand to brand, and it’s often worth going a half or full size up to allow for feet swelling as they become hot.
Even a brisk walk around the store, or in a carpeted area if you’re trying on at home, can give you a good idea of comfort and help highlight any niggling spots – that slightly slipping heel may feel minor now but think what it’s going to feel like after an hour or so on the run.
3. Think About Your Terrain
Where you plan to run is important: road, trail, or a mixture of both. In general, trail running requires more support and road requires more impact protection, but again this can also be affected by how you run, and what you find comfortable.
4. Racing Versus Training
In a lot of cases, you might want to choose a training shoe for longer mileage and a race shoe that’s lighter but better used for shorter periods of time, like a four-hour race. Either way, it’s important that you’ve worn your shoes in before you hit race day, or put in the longer runs.
5. Focus On That First Try Feel
When it comes to the crunch, knowing you’ve found the right shoes for you comes down to how you feel when you put them on. A good sign that you’re making the right choice is a pair of shoes that almost melt into the background from the moment you slip them on, to the point that you don’t really notice you’re wearing them.