Ignore the fact that they’re ridiculously comfortable. Or that you can wear them practically everywhere from February through November. (And usually in December and January, too.) Sneakers are, inarguably, the hardest-working soles on your shelves and have their foot in almost every camp imaginable: from the chunky and statement-y to the streamlined and chic. Our epic sneaker edit will ensure that you hit the ground running straight through 2019.
Top 10 Sneakers
- Waterproof slip-on featuring allover perforations, logoed vamp, and contrast toe cap. Rubber rand and toe.
- Hand-Washable and Shock Absorbent. When converting to women's sizes from men's, go up 2 sizes
- Slip-on, low-top sneaker
- Fixed laces. Features medial eyelets and no tie design
- This shoe's sizing is equivalent to street shoe size,wide width.If your feet are thin, you can choose a...
- Boxed toe for toe stands,super lightweight and flexible just like socks,breathable and smooth fabric provide...
- REVlite midsole foam
- NB Memory Sole Comfort insert
- One-piece, synthetic leather strap has jersey lining for a soft feel
- Injected Phylon midsole doubles as an outsole for lightweight cushioning
- Lace-up, high-top sneaker
- OrthoLite insole for cushioning
- Sturdy lace-up sneaker featuring cushioned midsole and two-tone heel pull
- Padded tongue and collar. Soft fabric shoe lining. Contrast colored mesh fabric panels for cooling effect
- Platform measures approximately 1"
- Pull on
- Flexible sole
- OOlala style provides the same proprietary OOfoam technology in a feminine silhouette
- OOfoam Recovery Technology absorbs 37% more impact than traditional footwear foam
We chose the following top models based on extensive feedback from runners as well as test results from the RW Shoe Lab. Each shoe was evaluated on overall performance, as well as three important categories that should help you zero in the best model for you.
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. While most shoes have an elevated heel—typically 8-12 mm taller than the forefoot—Altra’s shoes are built so your foot sits on a flat platform of foam.
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 We Found
Most people buy running and walking shoes at department, discount, specialty-athletic, sporting-goods, and family-footwear stores. You’ll probably pay more at a footwear store that caters to serious runners, but you’re also more likely to find a seasoned sales clerk who can answer your questions and help you find the right model for your gait and type of workout.
Take a Test Run
Buying shoes without trying them out are like buying a car without test-driving it. Jog or walk a little in the store, and ask if you can take the shoes once around the block. Better yet, ask whether you can buy the shoes, walk or run briefly on a treadmill at home or at a gym, and return them if they don’t feel right.
Think Twice About Orthotics
If your feet become sore from running or walking, you might be tempted to try orthotics—custom-made shoe inserts that take the place of insoles. But orthotics can be expensive and might reduce a shoe’s cushioning. Consider whether your problem could be solved with new shoes or a different category of the shoe (cushioning, neutral, or stability).
Sneakers Shoe Features
The cushioning in an athletic shoe comes from the squishy material in the midsole. Your foot’s natural ability to roll inward also provides cushioning and helps to reduce the impact on bones and joints. A shoe that combines cushioning and flexibility, while also providing adequate stability, is a step ahead of shoes that don’t.
Three layers comprise the sole. The bottom layer, or outsole, is generally made of carbon rubber for durability. It’s segmented for flexibility and grooved or patterned for traction. The squishy middle layer, or midsole, provides most of the cushioning. It’s usually made of shock-absorbing foam and might incorporate gel or air sacs and plastic torsion supports. The layer directly underfoot, the insole or sock liner, provides some additional shock absorption and arch support. It’s removable and washable in many running and walking shoes.
This is the body of the shoe, the part above the sole. The toe box—the forward part of the upper—should be roomy enough to let your toes spread and leave a half-inch space ahead of your longest toe. The heel counter at the rear should keep your heel from slipping excessively. These days, the uppers on most running shoes are made of synthetics, though some walking shoes still use leather.
Fabric, plastic, or metal speed-lacing loops make tightening easier. Extra top eyelets provide a snug fit at the ankle. Flat laces are less likely to loosen or come untied than round ones.
If you’re on your feet a lot all day long, you might want shoes that combine the comfort and support of a walking shoe with something dressy enough for the office. Unfortunately, the dressier walking shoes we tested in the past did not perform as well, overall, like the ones that look like sneakers.
If you jog or walk at dawn or dusk, reflective tabs on the uppers can provide extra safety by reflecting cars’ headlights. Most of the reflectors on the shoes we tested were skimpy, but sporting goods stores offer supplementary reflectors and reflective clothing.