15 Best Running Shoes for Men & Women Reviewed
So you’re a runner, and you want the best shoes, right? Maybe you’re a prospect. Whatever the case, the fact remains that you need a pair that can perform and handle the miles that will inevitably be put on them. But, there are a plethora of options and it can be time-consuming and a headache to pinpoint the perfect pair. This especially true when trying to find a women or mens specific running shoe. What are the differences and what should you look out for in quality and material? Will you be able to figue this out befire your next reace or event?
Fortunately, you don’t need to worry about that, as we’ve done hours of research, wear-testing and comparing to find the highest rating running shoes based on the most important aspects. These aspects include comfort or cushioning, overall support, fit, durability, and breathability. Whether you’re a trail runner, marathoner, ultramarathoner, track runner, jogger, sprinter, pronator, man or women, there’s something here for you, guaranteed.
- Brooks Ghost 9
- BioMoGo DNA midsole
- Asics GT 2000 5
- Impact Guidance System
- Saucony Kinvara 8
- Internal Strap System
If you are serious about running, you should never compromise on quality running footwear. Benefits of an adequate running shoe include but are not limited to blister prevention, shock absorption which prevents impact damage or stress fractures, longevity so you don’t have to constantly replace your shoes and an overall quality running experience. Don’t suffer through your runs with inadequate footwear, or stress about the amount of time it takes to sort through the available options. Put the best on your feet. We’ve made it extremely simple for you to do that!
15 Best Running Shoes for Men & Women
1. Brooks Ghost 9
Weight: 10.6 oz
Drop: 12 mm
For cushioning, the Ghost 9 midsole is made of Brooks' Biomogo DNA material, which is arguably their most adaptable and comfortable midsole material to date. With an extremely plush interior, and underfoot cushioning system, this shoe provides the comfort needed for long runs but is even ideal for short runs such as 5 and 10ks.
Breathability / Air-Flow
The shoe contains an engineered mesh upper that not only conforms to the contours of your foot but allows an incredible amount of air-flow. For this reason, they are perfect for long runs where your feet will certainly overheat. The encouraged air circulation is adequate enough to keep your feet cool for long runs, or hot days.
Cost / Value
These are priced average for running shoes of its type. Considering the full package; extremely smooth ride, adequately flexible, relatively lightweight, pleasantly cushioned with a crash pad and shock absorption capabilities, you see just how much value to runners this shoe has. Retailing in the low 100's, they are a must have.
BioMogo DNA midsole material offers extreme cushioning
Omega Flex Grooves on the outsole allow the flexibility needed
Segmented Crash Pad that spans the length of the sole
Engineered Mesh Upper allows for optimal breathability & fit
Comes in Normal, Narrow & Wide sizes
Extremely plush interior cushioning
Hard rubber is known to restrict movement in the toe-box
2. Asics GT 2000 5
Weight: 11 oz
Drop: 10 mm
Not only is the sole comprised of an extremely responsive material, but it also offers support and gives an additional layer of gender-specific cushioning (less dense material composition for women). Asics also incorporates their Gel-Cushioning system which also provides ample shock absorption, and on top of that, a removable "ComforDry" sock liner. With proper temperature regulation and top of the line cushioning, these are about as comfortable as it gets.
Stability / Support
With the inclusion of Asics Duomax support system, runners are able to benefit from an enhanced, stable platform without the addition of much weight. Those who have issues with over-pronating will find this shoe very fitting. Support is further increased by an external heel counter, and for midfoot structural integrity, their guidance trusstic system.
Cost / Value
Retailing at just over the hundred dollar mark, the GT 2000 5 is a whopper of a deal considering it's quality and performance. Most shoes in this price range tend to cut a bit back on features, but Asics did not hold back or skimp, nor did they over price this model. It's an extremely affordable shoe and falls into the more affordable side of this list despite its high ratings. If you want a perfect shoe with cushioning and support, you want to look into these.
Available in larger than normal sizes + wide
Over-pronation Support via Duomax Support System
Gait Enhancement via Impact Guidance System
Shock Absorption via Rear & Forefoot Gel technology
Enhanced Responsiveness via a Fluidride midsole
Cushioning System that is Gender-Specific
Run a full size small; size up
3. Saucony Ride 10
Weight: 9.5 oz
Drop: 8 mm
With just enough cushioning to soften the impact of each foot strike and keeping the shoe relatively lightweight, the Ride 10 delivers what its name implies, a great ride. The upper boasts engineered mesh which gives an extremely conforming fit, and allows great air-flow, and the sole incorporates Everun technology for enhanced energy return.
Cushioning / Comfort
Cushioning comes by way of the Everun sole, and an unmatched comfortable fit due to a woven heel that wraps in a perfect hold. Runners reported long miles felt effortless, almost as if cheating. If that's not a good report, we don't know what is! A wide toe-box, well vented upper and adequate cushioning makes for the perfectly comfortable running experience.
Cost / Value
At just over one hundred dollars, they are priced fairly, and somewhat average for this type of shoe. The fact is, for how well they perform, it's a breath of fresh air they don't cost too much. The Ride 10 is an affordable shoe for all budgets, and ranks average for this list.
Much more flexible than the Ride 9
Perfect balance of cushioning and weight
Lightweight, thin flexible Flexifilm upper layer
Tri-Flex outsole for extreme flexibility
Woven heel piece for structure & added support
Only 3 color options
4. Nike Lunarepic Low Flyknit 2
Weight: 8.8 oz
Drop: 10 mm
This shoe sports Flyknit fabric which wraps around the runner’s foot, giving a snug fit and natural feeling that flexes with every movement. The targeted cushioning is based on focusing on pressure points while the runner is in motion. The outer sole is targeted as well with extra padding.
Cushioning Material / Flywire
The soft cushioning the Nike Lunarepic Low Flyknit 2 has are made of soft and firm foam, helping runners sustain impacts. Flywire intersects the lace loops to give the runner a real nice grip like feel, helping prevent ankle twists.
These shoes are near the higher ranged price for runner shoes. But, with added and old technology, this shoe would be best of both worlds it seems. Nike provides quality, and their Flyknit uppers are arguably one of the highest quality, most breathable material compositions of any shoe.
5. Hoka One One Clifton 3
Weight: 8.6 oz
Drop: 5 mm
As mentioned earlier, the Clifton 3’s are equipped with Speedframe tech, meaning that forefoot irritation is reduced all the while keeping its ultralight weightlessness. The forefoot also promotes wider fitting, which enhances the comfort in the forefoot. Breathable mesh is also intertwined into the shoe, with multiple synthetic overlays giving an overall great fit.
Material / Breathable Fabric Lining
A highly breathable fabric lining is included as well, offering inner-shoe comfort while maintaining ample airflow for temperature regulation and moisture wicking. The materials are synthetic and mesh and the sole is made of EVA foam rubber for cushioning and shock absorption.
The Clifton 3’s are a decent priced, coming in under the mid-hundred dollar range, and quite average for this list. They are dependable, comfortable, extremely cushioned and lightweight, making this an amazing running shoe for the longer distances.
Wider forefoot fitting
Breathable Synthetic mesh overlays
Large, cushioned Eva foam rubber midsole
Outsole is known to wear faster than normal
6. Saucony Kinvara 8
Weight: 7.9 oz
Drop: 4 mm
The Kinvara 8 comes with a strap brace system that offers embracing midfoot support in the critical areas. Their Everun topsole construction enhances returned energy and continuously provides cushion throughout the run. The outer sole is very flexible as well, for greater movement and better contact with the ground.
The Kinvara 8 incorporates Saucony's FLEXFILM technology. This material allows the user enhanced foot support while being lightweight for better movement and performance on the road or track.
These shoes are extremely affordable and for a great running shoe, the price is almost unbeatable. They boast plentiful features and a great price tag, coming in just marginally over the hundred dollar mark. These are one of the most affordable, low-cost options on this list, and do not compromise on quality.
Everun responsive topsoleBrace system
Extremely affordable option
Run a bit small; size up
9. Salomon Speedcross 4
Weight: 11 oz
Drop: 10 mm
Sensifit cradles the foot from the midsole to the lacing system, providing a secure, snug, and virtually customized fit all around the foot and weighs only 10 ounces to decrease fatigue and with an end result of an overall top performance.
Breathability / Air-Flow
The Ortholite foam creates a cooler, drier, healthier, better cushioned environment under the foot. It has an anti-debris mesh liner that proceeds to keep debris out from in between your foot and the footbed, which also helps airflow to stay consistent.
Cost / Value
This shoe actually can be considered a value when compared with some other similar trail runners that don't even compete with its performance. Coming in at an average price for this list, in the low 100 dollar range, below the mid-point, with the performance of a Salomon trail runner, you have a steal. Consider this, they are marked down significantly! Get yourself a pair before there are no more.
Unique lace pocket for quick storage
Minimalistic and strong lace for one-pull tightening
Molded EVA midsole provides lightweight cushioning and stability
Aggressive outsole profile and deep lugs for maximum traction
OrthoLite sock-liner combines a specific Ortholite foam and an EVA heel cup
Anti-debris mesh has been reported to hinder breathability
8. Mizuno Wave Rider 20
Drop: 12 mm
Mizuno incorporates a completely new plate dubbed "cloudwave" that enables a pleasant ride, that some wear-testers say is on point with the 18th version of the WR, which saw a slight change in the 19th, but is back better than ever with the new tech. Compared to its previous versions, it's updated misdole composition is 30% more responsive, and much more durable as they now utilize U4ic foam.
Comfort / Breathability
The WR 20 now features and engineered mesh upper (sigh of relief), which gives Wave Rider fans a breath of fresh air as previous versions have been known to lack in the area of temperature regulation. Engineered mesh is known to fair extremely well in providing adequate breathability and airflow, and users can't say enough good things about the addition. Another upgrade comes by way of a softer heel collar, which was a consistent complaint of the 19. Thanks, Mizuno!
Cost / Value
After 20 version of the shoe, it's as tight as ever in terms of quality and performance but stays true to its price point. Coming in at just over a hundred dollars, and an average price point for this list, we can guarantee this a great pick-up for those who prefer a super responsive ride paired with adequate comfort and lightweight performance.
Great for long runs, half marathons, marathons
New Cloudwave plate for an extremely smooth ride
Engineered mesh upper provides conforming fit & breathability
Plush heel collar gives snug fit & cushioning
True to the 19's, with upgrades to perform better & last longer
Lace panels are stiff as noted by a few wear-testers
7. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17
Weight: 10.7 oz
Drop: 12 mm
This BIOMOGO midsole cushioning located in the midsole allows the user's foot to eventually, over time, mold their foot into the padding, much like putty or a guarded mouthpiece. This is an extremely important for comfortability, basically adapting itself with every step. This shoe sports a Segmented crash pad. The crash pad is fully lengthened across the shoe and can withstand most landings while delivering smooth heel to toe mobility in the process.
Progressive Diagonal Roll Bar / Updated V-Groove
The shoe has a Diagonal Roll Bar, meaning, while running, the shoe guides the user's body back into itself, diminishing any chances of impeding the user's natural rhythm and motion. It also has a comfortable V-Groove, created to naturally release the feeling tension in underfoot, making it soft and smooth.
The Adrenaline GTS 17 are averagely priced and a fantastic shoe with a staggering amount of shoe tech goodies for their price. This shoe deserves a definite spot on the list, not because of what it costs, but because of the value in performance it presents.
Segmented crash pad
Progressive Diagonal Roll Bar
Wear and tear presents itself early on to high mileage runners
10. Flyknit Racer
Weight: 6 oz
Drop: 8 mm
This lightweight shoe is fast due to it only weighing 6 ounces that support fatigue and pace along with maximum movement. A Waffle rubber outsole with a diamond pattern designed specifically for racing delivers durable traction so you'll always meet your best performance in any competition.
Lightweight Support / Adaptive Fit
This unisex runner with a single-layer Flyknit upper that is fit for competition, you will notice the single-layer Flyknit upper wraps your foot in a second-skin fit for incredibly lightweight support, flexibility and breathability all in one layer.
Cost / Value
As is with the Nike brand, this shoe is at a typical price but its specific performance features can not be compared when shown bundled up into this next-generation road runner. They come in on the higher end of the spectrum, but not expensive, just not the most affordable at the mid hundred dollar range.
Ultra-responsive cushioning via a Forefoot Zoom Air unit
Full-length Phylon midsole for lightweight comfort
Flyknit upper; arguably the most breathable upper in any running shoe
Waffle rubber outsole with diamond pattern delivers perfect traction.
Minimal build not good for long distance runs
11. Hoka One One Bondi 5
Weight: 10 oz
Drop: 4 mm
With plush cushion a neutral ride, the Bondi 5 is a considerable road runner for those who want the most cushioning without all the weight. In fact, it's incredible how much cushioning can be added without and extreme amount of weight. When going for long distances, this shoe holds its title with its signature marshmallow midsole for optimum underfoot protection. A slightly beveled heel enables a smooth transition, and its relatively lightweight structure will keep you going mile after mile.
Breathability / Air-Flow
It's engineered mesh upper ensures optimized breathability and 3D Puff Print frame gives Lightweight support. The Bondi 5 only weighs 8.5 ounces for a lighter and natural feel.
Cost / Value
The Bondi 5 is an investment to seriously consider if you put all of the key factors together that makes this shoe a great lightweight road runner at an incredible cost. It is not the most affordable shoe, and is up there is price, coming in with a cost in the mid 100's. If max cushioning is what you need, there's no shoe that does it better, period.
Large marshmallow EVA Midsole for extreme cushioning
Curved heel for easy Transition
Zonal Rubber offers etxra durability in the midsole
3D Puff Print Frame for Lightweight Support
Narrow upper reported to feel constrictive despite wide base
12. New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v7
Weight: 10.8 oz
Drop: 8 mm
This runner was designed with a foam padded collar to promote strong ankle support and features a secure fit to guarantee top health and performance. Outsole grooves designed from runner data are flexible and help you move freely and more efficiently.
Cushioning / Comfort
The Fresh foam 1080 v7 was designed for maximum comfortability with a soft Fresh Foam midsole to enhance natural movement.
Cost / Value
This shoe is priced accurately for the value in features which it displays like a blown rubber outsole to support those hard drops and to reduce shock, which is a blessing for faster-paced runners. They are somewhat high in cost, retailing in the mid hundred dollar range.
Outsole flex grooves and engineered mesh allow more free mobility
Bootie construction with external midfoot overlays guarantees a secure fit
A foam collar helps support the ankle
Roomy toe box allows natural movement & toe splay
Stitching on overlay reported to rub consistently
13. La Sportiva Bushido
Weight: 10.5 oz
Drop: 6 mm
The midsole of the Bushido is made of 32A compression molded MEMIex that provides ample cushioning. Additionally, the TPU frame is molded around the foot to provide responsiveness which contributes to the overall cushioning and comfort of the shoe. The inner part of the shoe is lined with highly breathable lateral mesh inserts that offer optimum breathability, helping the feet maintain an optimal temperature and remain dry.
The shoe is constructed with Thermal adhesive microfiber which reduces the overall weight considerably thereby offering a high-performance shoe that is extremely lightweight. This keeps the feet protected from emergent injuries that may be caused by heavy shoes. The outer sole is made with the patented La Sportiva Dual-Density FriXion compound that offers a good grip on uneven surfaces thereby preventing any slipping that may cause injuries. Additionally, the shoe is made of XT V-Groove with Impact Brake System that offers the user the option to halt instantaneously and avoid collisions.
Cost / Value
The shoe is priced average for this list, hovering under the mid 100's. They are quite the bargain considering their versatility and performance on technical, rugged terrain. Many shoes that offer some of the same features as the La Sportiva Bushido cost near the two hundred dollar mark, and as such, this shoe delivers both quality and value. They are perfect for those looking for versatility, performance, durability and stability all in one hardy trail runner, without the extra weight.
Lightweight for a trail runner of its caliber
Offers Sufficient Foot protection
Upper made of Strong but breathable Mesh
Offers adequate cushioning
takes a couple sessions to break in
14. Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3
Weight: 9.5 oz
Drop: 5 mm
Their 3D Puff Print frame reduces the overall weight of the shoe considerably, providing a comfortable ride in conjunction with its oversized EVA midsole. The midsole is not a fashion statement thats for sure. It acts as a cushion, and is designed with their Meta-Rocker technology that guides the foot smoothly for an easy transition from strike to toe-off.
The outsole has a Podular design that provides sufficient traction on uneven terrain, with 4mm Lugs that offer additional grip on trail, but are flat topped and can be used in surfaces that require high friction such as roads. The midfoot is designed with Speed frame Construction technology that offers support and structure.
Cost / Value
The ATR 3's come in with an average price tag for running shoes on this list. The novel technology used on the out and midsole is quite innovative and generally contributes to the overall value of the shoe. At the retail price, this shoe is a worthwhile investment, as they are in the low hundred dollar range.
Excellent grip and tractionHigh-performance shoe
Multi Terrain Outsole profile
Breathable conforming upper fabricAmple room in the toe area
Ample room in the toe areaExcellent Cushioning
Exaggerated sole platform is not for everyone
15. Zoom Vomero 12
Weight: 11.1 oz
Drop: 10 mm
The Vomero 12 is designed with an inner plush, comfort-fit collar that provides ankle support. Additionally, the shoe is made with a thick midsole sock liner that offers a plush and comfortable fit. The Nike Air Units built into the heel and toe area create ultra-responsiveness that contributes to the overall comfort of the shoe. The midsole is designed with a soft Lunar core and firmer Cushlon carrier that offer smooth transitions during mid strikes for distance and cardio runs.
The outsole is designed with lighter and durable traction pattern that are configured on the rubber lugs. These lugs are made from industrial-strength compounds that enhance the durability of the shoe. The upper part of the shoe has Fly wire cables to offer a more supportive and secure fit. The Fly wire cables are quite durable since they are made from malleable metallic compounds. Lastly, the Zoom Air units prolong the shelf and usage life of these shoes because they dissipate the force such as friction that can cause wear and tear thereby increasing their durability.
Cost / Value
The shoes are a bit pricey and may be considered expensive by those looking for normal running shoes but there is nothing normal or average with the Vomero 12. These shoes can be used for many training and causal purposes and still remain functional on the track. Their durability is unsurpassable and their support system commendable. This is an extremely valuable and worthwhile purchase for those looking for a pair of good running shoes that will supplement other sporting and casual needs.
Excellent grip and traction
Exact fit through lacing structure
Offers unique foot propulsion
wear-testers complain of a narrow toe box
Importance of Running Specific Shoes
A critical eye when choosing footwear for running is much more important than being picky with casual shoes. Fashion is a relatively small factor in a running shoes features. They are designed for functionality and the best hold performance as a priority.
What you want in a running shoe ultimately depends on how you will be using them, your foot type, and sometimes it boils down to personal preference. There are road running shoes, trail running shoes, some with arch support, some waterproof, some ultra lightweight, some extra durable and much more.
We cover the absolute best in terms of wear-tester feedback, consistent quality, and improvements in several of the most notable running shoe categories to ensure everyone can find what they need.
Major aspects we looked for include but are not limited to material that is lightweight but durable, overall breathability for temperature regulation, proper traction for specific environments, comfort and cushioning. Shoes that rank high in these areas will go a long way, quite literally.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Running Shoes
Breathability / Temperature Regulation
A shoe that is not adequately breathable will leave a runner susceptible to a number of problems including a build up of heat as it’s not abe to escape easily or efficiently, which then leads to even more issues. Overheating is regulated by air-flow that is allowed through the mesh upper of a running shoe. If there is not adequate airflow, the temperature inside your shoe will build, causing excessive sweating, ultimately lead to blisters and allow bacteria to grow, also leading to unwanted odor.
Traction / Grip / Outsole Profile
The outsole profile will be different between road running shoes and trail running shoes, but no matter what, a respectable running shoe must be able to grip its particular terrain to be taken seriously and ensure the wearer does not slip. A proper trail running shoe should have an outsole profile of either aggressive tread or lugs to bite into the dirt ground. A road running shoes outsole profile will be much different as they will need more flat surface room along with minimal tread in order to build up friction and ultimately allow ample traction for flat, hard surfaces.
Weight / Lightweight
In an endurance run, every ounce counts, and every shed ounce makes a difference. No need to carry around any more weight than needed on your feet. Running shoes nowadays are made of quality materials that are both durable and lightweight, so finding a shoe that weighs close to nothing but still provides ample protection and lasts is completely possible. An example of such advanced materials is the EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) compound that is used in the midsole make-up of most running shoes as it is soft but durable and very light in weight. It’s hard to find a running shoe that can be considered heavy as they are all weigh in relatively low. When looking for lightweight running shoes, our sights were set on those that were lightweight in comparison to most other running shoes. For road running shoes, the average weight would be around 9.5 to 10 ounces for a single shoe with anything under 8 ounces extremely light. For trail running shoes, average weight is around 10.5 to 11.5 ounces as they usually contain more protective features which raise the weight.
Shock Absorption/ Cushioning / Comfort
On a long run, there’s nothing worse than a shoe that your feet do not agree with. Aching feet and general foot pain are a leading cause of calling a marathon off short of the distance, or not going out at all. Shoes with inefficient cushioning can cause a multitude of complications and even lead to bad injuries that can be avoided.
Common injuries that can be prevented with adequately cushioned shoes:
- Stress Fractures – Stress fractures are hairline cracks in your bones that occur as a result of the constant impact and shock; as happens when running. Shoes with high cushion can soften the impact of your foot to the ground, thus preventing such issues.
- Runners Knee – This is an injury that occurs with constant running over-training where your knees cartilage deteriorates. There are several ways to contract this issue, but in general, softening the impact of force that your knees are subjected to when running will help prevent it in some cases.
- Shin Splints – Shin splints is another way to sum up intense throbbing of your shins do to swelling or other complications which stem from beating up your legs. They are common when subjecting your legs to the shock of changing running routines without being gradual with it, or training too hard. Of course, you can ease the beatings your legs take by having adequately cushioned shoes, and they will help.
- Achilles tendinitis – As the trend goes, this is another injury that stems from beating up your body. It’s signature is inflammation in the Achilles tendon, which leads to stiffness, extreme pain and a bad running day. Adequately cushioned running shoes will help in preventing this issue.
- Plantar fasciitis – This is perhaps the most well known and common running injury. It’s characterized by the inflammation of the tissue that extends the bottom of your feet and occurs. Although there are many causes to this complication, and many ways to prevent, having worn out shoes, without enough underfoot padding is one of the several known contributors to it.
The inner cushioning of a shoes upper, its foot bed, and other cushioning aspects such as a padded collar are just as important as a soft, shock absorbing midsole. The more cushioning, the better, in general. Your feet take a pounding out there, especially if you constantly run double digit miles. In the case of a shoe with inadequate inner cushioning; long miles will result in brushing of the shoes inner layer, and if too rough, will lead to blisters. The same occurs with the collar. A properly padded collar will ensure constant rubbing does not lead to skin irritation. You want a shoe that your feet will be happy with. Make sure they have adequate cushioning and are comfortable enough to get you through the miles.
Proper Fit / Conforming Upper / Contour
The way a shoes upper is designed has a lot to do with with the overall fit. A well designed upper will have the ability to conform properly to the contours of your foot, and be made of mesh that is durable and breathable, and can stretch to a degree. This is sometimes a hard feat to hit as too much material can make the mesh stiff, not allowing for a proper wrap-around of the foot, but too little can leave the shoe with durability issues. This is especially true for road running shoes, and has less of a priority in trail running shoes, as they are usually made of thicker, layered materials that are naturally stiff, and needed for rougher environments.
The way a shoe fits the foot not only affects the overall comfort level, but it will also provide a much more stable platform in which to run on. A loose or improperly fitting shoe will wiggle, leave room for rubbing, and cause blistering. Some shoes are manufactured bigger or smaller than others, and in which case we will let you know if you need to size up or down to get that perfect fit. The thing is, you will need extra space in the toe-box for when your toes splay, and we’ve considered this as well.
Terrain / Type
The terrain and specific usage of a running shoe is a critical aspect that should be obvious and definitely needs to be emphasized. There are too many types of running shoes, for too many specific purposes to not know exactly what you need according to how you will be using them, and the environment you will be running in. The two main types of running shoes are trail specific and road specific, but under these labels are shoes that vary from those that offer arch support, are neutral in support, extra cushioned, zero drop, minimalistic or barefoot, some made for cross country, some specific for long distances, and some made as trainers or for sprints. There’s that, and everything in between, and we have guides specific for every type, but since we’ve included trail shoes and road running shoes of all types in this list, we will go over the importance of these tow main types and what you dcan expect in differences from the two.
Trail running shoes are made to withstand the bare environment, which includes everything from dirt to mud and everyting in between. On the other hand, you have road running shoes that are made specifically for running on hard paved surfaces or tracks and are typically more light in weight. You won’t be seeing any respectable trail running shoes with such features as a lighweight, breathable flyknit upper as that would hinder performance on rugged ground. On the other hand, you won’t see any road running shoes with deep lugs or aggressive outsoles as a flat profile is needed for flat surfaces, and aggressive outsole profiles on trail running shoes are made to bite the dirt.
Common Features to expect on Trail Running Shoes
- Aggressive tread on the outsole
- Deep Lugs
- Waterproofing or Water Resistance
- Goretex Linings (Can be found on a few road runners)
- Heavier in weight, more durable material
- Integrated Gaiters
- More material layers
- Less breathability in the upper’s mesh
- Extra/Thicker overlays
- Thicker, pronounced toe bumpers
Common Features to expect on Road Running Shoes
- Lightweight, breathable mesh uppers
- Outsole profiles with more surface room/flat profile
- A lot less in weight
- Much more flexibility
Flexibility / Energy Return
There’s nothing worse than a stiff shoe, especially one that’s supposed to help you perform better through intense exercise. Pair that with a shoe that does not provide adequate responsiveness or return of energy and you will have yourself one heck of a time enjoying your runs, and your performance is sure to suffer greatly. Running shoes are generally made of fairly responsive EVA foam-like rubber that acts as a spring, and bounces back when force is put onto it. Not only is EVA provide a nice bounce to each step, it is fairly soft and flexible. To add more flexibility to the articulation areas of the toes and forefoot, shoe companies now include segmented outsoles, or “Flex grooves” to promote more of a bend with a breakthrough in the generally “stiffer” outsole material.
Trail running shoes are generally more stiff, and rank lower in flexibility, while some road running shoes such as seen in the flyknit series can literally be rolled up they are so flexible. Then, there’s everything in between. Just weigh out your options because a shoe that flexes extremely easy naturally won’t generate much force in return.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Running Shoe Brands/Companies: Who makes the best, highest quality running shoes?
A: There are several running shoe brands that have been around a long time, that provide extremely high quality shoes. It’s difficult to pinpoint the best as that’s a relative question, but the highest rated, biggest, and most well-known companies are Adidas, and Brooks for a running specific brand. Unfortunately for 2017, Adidas didn’t have a shoe that made the list, but they have plenty on great running shoes out of later years that are still amongst the best. There are also brands such as Hoka One One, Salomon and many others that have set a permanent foothold in the running industry, so there isn’t one best, just a best according to your preferences.
Q: Running Shoe types: Who are Stability Running shoes for?
A: Stability running shoes are made specifically for runners who have pronation issues. Typically, they correct issues that revolve around a foot that lies naturally in an awkward angle, causing it to roll inward. Stability or support running shoes provide cushioning that corrects the awkward angle and compensates for it allowing the runner to experience a natural run.
Q: Running Shoe Types: Who are Neutral Shoes for?
A: Simple, Neutral running shoes are for those who don’t need any extra arch support, or pronation support. If your foot angle in normal, and you don’t have issues with supination, or over-pronation, then a Neutral shoe is all you need.
Q: What’s the best way to wash running shoes?
A: Let’s face it, despite the breathability of a running shoe, the long miles will inevitably lead to odors that you will want to wash out. The fact is, putting them into a washing machine will only ruin the shoes. There’s no easy way to clean a running shoe, but there are plenty of products available to remove odor. Since bacteria growth is a leading cause of odor, putting them in the freezer may help somewhat, as the extreme cold will kill bacteria. But, If your shoes are on borrowed time, it’s probably best to just replace them.
Q: How will rain and moisture affect my running shoes?
A: Fortunately, most shoes nowadays are stitched and glued to be able to withstand water, and prevent water damage, unlike shoes of the old days that would suffer and fall apart due to moisture. Most running shoes are made to combat the accumulation of moisture as it happens when your feet perspire during runs, so typically integrate materials that are quick drying. Although, you need to make sure not to take it as a hint to run in the rain with inadequate shoes, as not all are made with the ability to grab traction on wet surfaces.
Q: What are the best running shoes for women?
A: Although women’s feet will have slight anatomical differences than that of men’s, the important aspects that a shoe needs to provide to be effective remain the same, and companies generally do a good job in compensating for the differences in feet structure from women’s or men’s versions of their shoes. The best running shoes for men, and for women will generally be the same shoe, just get the women’s version and you will be blessed with all the great features and a perfect fit specific to your foot’s structure.
Q: Can I use my regular shoes for running even though they’re not made for it?
A: You can, but it’s not the smartest thing to do, and we do not recommend it. Running shoes are made for the high intensity running, long miles and to combat the constant slapping that your feet will be doing to the floor. These factors combined, and with regular everyday shoes, your feet will end up with aches and pains. In the long run, you may just end up with permanent injuries that could be avoided by using the correct gear. We don’t recommend taking chances with your health. Get a pair of running shoes if you plan to run.
Q: How many miles can a running shoe last?
A: A good running shoe should last from 300 to 500 miles. If your running shoes call it quits coming up around 200 miles, they are not quality. A great running shoe will hold up all the way until you get bored of them. They are out there.