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Best Running Shoes for Men & Women Reviewed

last updated Dec 19, 2018

Whether you’re an experienced runner, or just looking into starting picking running up as your preferred form of daily exercise, a high-quality pair of footwear is definitely going to contribute to your experience. With a wide variety of running shoes available for purchase, it is possible that you are confused in terms of what you need, or that you’re looking for some recommendations for models which will suit your personal preferences better than your current pair.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 19 hrs of research

icon
Mizuno Wave Rider 21
95.5/100 our score
Breathability
97
Weight
96
Comfort
93
Fit
96
Mizuno Wave Rider 21
Why is it better?

Supportive & Breathable Mesh Upper

INTERCOOL System

Wave Plate Shock Absorption

Carbon Rubber Outsole

Affordable Price

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Mizuno Wave Rider 21
Test Winner: Mizuno Wave Rider 21
Researched Sources
18
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1267
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
19
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
20
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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By Mackenzie Jervis:

The latest update to this article reduces the number of items from 15 to 10 in order to give you the best of the best running shoes in 2018. Additionally, 7 models have been replaced with the latest versions, giving you only the newest options for high quality running footwear.

Sorting Options
Breathability Weight Comfort Fit By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.5
Breathability
97%
Weight
96%
Comfort
93%
Fit
96%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.01.19)
$119.95
$119.95
See Deal
2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.3
Breathability
96%
Weight
90%
Comfort
91%
Fit
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.01.19)
$119.49
$119.95
See Deal
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Breathability
92%
Weight
89%
Comfort
91%
Fit
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.01.19)
$164.95
$174.95
See Deal
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.5
Breathability
89%
Weight
90%
Comfort
88%
Fit
91%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.01.19)
$129.95
$129.95
See Deal
5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.3
Breathability
90%
Weight
91%
Comfort
87%
Fit
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.01.19)
$119.95
$159.95
See Deal
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Breathability
89%
Weight
88%
Comfort
90%
Fit
88%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.01.19)
$94.95
$119.95
See Deal
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.5
Breathability
86%
Weight
89%
Comfort
88%
Fit
87%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.01.19)
$42.99
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.3
Breathability
87%
Weight
88%
Comfort
85%
Fit
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.01.19)
$84.95
$119.95
See Deal
9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.5
Breathability
82%
Weight
90%
Comfort
84%
Fit
82%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.01.19)
$99.95
10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82
Breathability
80%
Weight
83%
Comfort
84%
Fit
81%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.01.19)
$139.95
$149.95
See Deal
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Mizuno Wave Rider 21
  • Brooks Ghost 11
  • New Balance 990v4
  • Salomon Speedcross 4
  • ASICS GEL-Nimbus 20
  • Saucony Ride 10
  • Saucony Cohesion 11
  • Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18
  • Nike Free RN 2018
  • Hoka One One Bondi 5
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

10 Best Running Shoes

1. Mizuno Wave Rider 21

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.5
Mizuno Wave Rider 21
Breathability
97
Weight
96
Comfort
93
Fit
96
best offer for today
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$119.95
$119.95
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Pros:

Supportive & Breathable Mesh Upper

INTERCOOL System

Wave Plate Shock Absorption

Carbon Rubber Outsole

Affordable Price

Cons:

Runs ½ Small

Requires Breaking In

The 21st edition of the Mizuno Wave Rider is a model which has been significantly improved in order to provide an anatomically engineered fit that was designed with performance in mind. This neutral daily runner was made for those looking for superior shock absorption without too much bulk, seeing as the midsole uses specially developed Mizuno technology, while the upper is made out of AirMesh that hugs the foot seamlessly, following its every movement, providing lightweight support.
Terrain: Road
Weight: 10.2 oz
Drop: 12 mm

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Cushioning / Shock Absorption
The Wave Rider 21 features a parallel Wave plate in the midsole, combined with a U4ic midsole that absorbs the shock from each landing and disperses it throughout the entire foot, from heel to toe. This ensures less stress on your muscles and joints, and results in less fatigue, even after a long run. This is a model that is just as good of a choice for everyday runs, as it is for recovery sessions.

Breathability / Temperature Regulation
With an AirMesh upper that greatly helps airflow and an INTERCOOL system which removes built-up heat from inside the shoe, leaving you cool and dry, you will find that this is a pair of footwear will be more than comfortable even on a hot summer day.

Cost and Value
Ranking average on this list when it comes to price, the Mizuno Wave Rider 21 is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a good road runner that will minimize fatigue and discomfort and will allow them to achieve their highest performance. Additionally, it will even work well for some gym sessions, if you are someone looking for more than just a pair of footwear for daily running.

2. Brooks Ghost 11

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.3
Brooks Ghost 11
Breathability
96
Weight
90
Comfort
91
Fit
92
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$119.49
$119.95
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Pros:

BioMoGo DNA Midsole

DNA LOFT Heel Pad

Stretchy Mesh Upper

Improved Lacing System

Improved Outsole Grip

Cons:

Slightly Heavy

Heel Too Cushy for Some Users

With a stretchy mesh upper that is both flexible and supportive, you will enjoy the experience of taking the latest edition of Brooks Ghost out for a run. The 2018 model features improved cushioning, especially in the heel area which often receives the most shock during hard landings, but updated parts also include the outsole which allows for more grip than the model's predecessors. What remains the same is the fit as well as the midsole stach and heel to toe drop.
Terrain: Road
Weight: 10.9 oz
Drop: 12 mm

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Cushioning / Support
Made for runners with normal to high arches, the Brooks Ghost 11 is a pair of neutral shoes with some of the best cushioning available. Featuring a BioMoGo DNA midsole with a DNA LOFT addition to the heel, you can expect a soft feeling underfoot that will absorb shock, and that provides a more fluid transition than model 10.

Upper / Toe Bumper
Removing the sewn on toe bumper found in the previous version, the Brooks Ghost 10 has an upper made entirely out of mesh, with inner reinforcements that mold to the foot and stabilize your movement without imposing any constrictions. Furthermore, the lacing system has been improved to put less pressure on the metatarsal area, ensuring that you can lace these up as tight as you need, without feeling discomfort in any part of the foot.

Cost and Value
Ranking average to slightly above average on this list when it comes to price, the Brooks Ghost 11 is a pair of flagship runners that you are bound to love if you’re a fan of the brand. The improved heel crash pad and transitions ensure that the level of cushioning is brought to a higher level, while over the rest of the foot the model remains just as comfortable, if not more, like its predecessors.

3. New Balance 990v4

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
New Balance 990v4
Breathability
92
Weight
89
Comfort
91
Fit
92
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$164.95
$174.95
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Pros:

ENCAP Midsole

Dual Density Foam Collar

Blown Rubber Outsole

Breathable & Durable

Wide Variety of Sizes and Widths

Cons:

Expensive

Heavy Weight

A stability runner, perfect for runners with low arches or slight overpronation issues, the New Balance 990v4 is one of the most popular options when it comes to footwear made for running. Made with a pigskin and mesh upper, produced in the USA, this is a shoe for those looking for quality over all else. In addition to 9 different color schemes, it also comes in 6 different widths to suit all types of feet, making it a common choice for everyday wear as well as for running.
Terrain: Road
Weight: 13.6 oz
Drop: 12 mm

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Upper / Comfort
Using both leather and mesh in the upper, this is a pair of footwear that will adjust to the foot while still providing the wearer with the necessary stability and breathability. One of the best features, however, is the dual density foam collar which cradles the ankle and provides soft cushioning in order to prevent chafing, rubbing and any Achilles tendon issues that may appear with other footwear.

Cushioning / Stability
Users with low arches, flat feet or related issues such as plantar fasciitis can greatly contribute from wearing the New Balance 990v4, seeing that it was made to provide excellent midfoot stability, and to prevent overpronation, ensuring that the foot is properly aligned so as to absorb as much shock as possible.

Cost and Value
Being the most expensive item on this list, the New Balance 990v4 may not fit everyone’s budget. Nonetheless, its a model to consider if you’re in the market for a pair of stability shoes, especially if you value a high quality make - these were entirely made in the USA, which partly explains the high price tag.

4. Salomon Speedcross 4

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.5
Salomon Speedcross 4
Breathability
89
Weight
90
Comfort
88
Fit
91
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$129.95
$129.95
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Pros:

Lace Pocket

One-Pull Tightening

EVA Midsole

Deep Lugs

OrthoLite Sockliner

Cons:

Limited Airflow

Takes Time to Dry

The Speedcross 4 displays a plethora of improvements from its previous version, such as a precise foothold with the combination of Sensifit technology. This also incorporates a quick-lace system that allows for easy fastening and a perfect fit, with a lace pocket for easy storage. This easy-on and easy-off product is sure to get you going when the going gets tough and the trails get rough.
Terrain: Trail
Weight: 11 oz
Drop: 10 mm

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Secure Fit / Lightweight Support
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, adequately 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 and Value
The Salomon Speedcross 4 can be considered a bargain compared with some other similar trail runners that don't even compete with its performance. Coming in at an average price for this list, below the midpoint, with the performance of a Salomon trail runner, you have a steal.

5. ASICS GEL-Nimbus 20

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.3
ASICS GEL-Nimbus 20
Breathability
90
Weight
91
Comfort
87
Fit
89
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$119.95
$159.95
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Pros:

GEL Cushioning

FlyteFoam Midsole

Breathable & Secure Mesh Upper

ASICS Hard Abrasion Rubber Outsole

APMA Seal of Acceptance

Cons:

Runs Narrow

Lacks Arch Support

For those who, like us, appreciate tradition and technological advancement in the pursuit for the best possible performance, the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 20 gives a great combination of tried and tested technologies and innovation. It’s a model that’s been 20 years in the making, and is the brand’s most loved pair of running footwear to date. Offering an unparalleled fit throughout the upper, mostly thanks to the multi-directional stretch mesh FluidFit technology, the GEL-Nimbus will both move with the runner and offer a secure, foot-hugging experience.
Terrain: Road
Weight: 10.7 oz
Drop: 10 mm

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Lightweight / Cushioning
ASICS shoes are well known for their cushioning system, which is mainly comprised of GEL inserts in the forefoot and the rearfoot that have as their main purpose the absorption of shock in the landing and toe-off phases. But, in addition to the Forefoot and Rearfoot GEL, the Nimbus also features a FlyteFoam midsole which is ASICS’ most lightweight midsole yet, which not only prevents flattening, but also provides great energy return with each step.

Fit / Moisture Management
Employing an exoskeletal heel clutching system, the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 20 ensures that the foot is securely locked into the shoe, preventing any unwanted movement, thus ensuring an accident-free run every time. Additionally, the OrthoLite sockliner adapts to the foot and wicks away moisture so as to keep you dry and fresh after every run.

Cost and Value
Although expensive, with a price that is well above average compared to the other models on this list, the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 20 is a great choice of footwear if you are looking for the best possible locked-in fit that doesn’t constrict or weigh you down. Ensuring that you investment is a good one is the AHAR rubber outsole which is known for its durability.

6. Saucony Ride 10

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Saucony Ride 10
Breathability
89
Weight
88
Comfort
90
Fit
88
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$94.95
$119.95
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Pros:

Cushion & Weight Balance

Flexifilm Upper

Tri-Flex Outsole

Woven Heel

8mm Offset

Cons:

Only 3 Color Options

Runs Narrow

The Ride 10 is a moderately cushioned neutral road running shoe that is also a favorite for those who regularly hit extended miles on the track. The 10th version stays true to its line while offering an upgraded engineered mesh upper, and triflex outsole. It is a perfect blend of lightweight cushioning and flexibility. Oh, and wear testers love the ventilation too!
Terrain: Road
Weight: 9.5 oz
Drop: 8 mm

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Weight / Performance
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 and Value
These lightweight runners 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 that they don't cost too much. The Ride 10 is an affordable shoe for all budgets and ranks average for this list.

7. Saucony Cohesion 11

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.5
Saucony Cohesion 11
Breathability
86
Weight
89
Comfort
88
Fit
87
best offer for today
$42.99
Pros:

Heel Grid System

Mesh Upper

Affordable Price

Supportive Rubber Overlays

Indoor & Outdoor Use

Cons:

Flimsy Laces

Not for Cold or Rainy Weather

If you’re looking for a pair of footwear that will look just as good as it performs, then the Saucony Cohesion 11 is definitely a choice to consider. Following the latest trends both in looks and technology, this neutral shoe is significantly lighter than similar models on this list, which makes it great for anyone looking to log a bigger number of miles. Additionally, it’s got a price that is the lowest on this list, meaning that anyone who is just getting into running as a hobby can afford these without having to pay too big of a price for their first pair of gear.
Terrain: Road
Weight: 9.6 oz
Drop: 12 mm

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Stability / Cushioning
Featuring Saucony’s own Heel Grid system, the Cohesion 11 gives plenty of cushioning, especially for those who tend to land with their heels. The system uses individual parts that compress upon each landing, meaning that it does not compromise on stability, and provides a customized cushioning effect. Even more, it provides excellent energy rebound, allowing you to push harder to achieve your goals.

Comfort / Flexibility
Featuring the same upper as its predecessor, the Cohesion 11 does improve when it comes to one aspect, which is the toe box. The latest model features a toe area that’s neither too narrow or too wide and even comes in a wide variation for those in need of more room. This way, the toes have plenty of room to splay out, giving the runner a better experience during the push-off phase.

Cost and Value
Ranking low on this list when it comes to price, the Saucony Cohesion 11 is the cheapest option among the models listed in this article. For the low price, however, it provides plenty of quality through the cushioning system, upper as well as the durable outsole that works just as well on asphalt as it does on the treadmill.

8. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.3
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18
Breathability
87
Weight
88
Comfort
85
Fit
89
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$84.95
$119.95
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Pros:

Flexible Mesh Upper

Motion Control Support

Lightweight Cushioning

Over 20 Color Options

Great Traction in All Weather Conditions

Cons:

Runs Narrow

Stiff For Some Users

Going a step further than most other models on this list, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18 is the best of the best when it comes to arch support. This motion control shoe will ensure that you are not underpronating, and that no unnecessary stress is put on your joints, especially the knees, hips, and back. With over 20 color variations, it’s a shoe that will please even the most fashion conscious runners.
Terrain: Road
Weight: 9 oz
Drop: 12 mm

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Stability / Motion Control
Considering the fact that it is made with a lot of cushioning and support features, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18 is a lightweight shoe that does a lot with a little. It features a Progressive Diagonal Rollbar in the midsole section, the main function of which is to ensure proper foot placement all throughout the gait cycle, meaning that not only will you land properly, but will also put a smaller amount of pressure on the inside of your foot as your overpronation issues are corrected.

Traction / Flexibility
The Flextra outsole found on the Adrenaline GTS 18 means that you can move your foot without any constraint while still having a firm grip of the asphalt underfoot. Additionally, the upper has also been improved from the previous edition of the Adrenaline in that it is made with seamless mesh that’s more lightweight without compromising heel lockdown and support over the top of the foot.

Cost and Value
With a price that is average compared to other models on this list, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18 is definitely the best choice for those with pronation issues, as well as those who prefer high levels of support in the arch and midfoot. Despite its generous cushioning, this is a shoe which is lightweight, which makes it perfect for long runs.

9. Nike Free RN 2018

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.5
Nike Free RN 2018
Breathability
82
Weight
90
Comfort
84
Fit
82
best offer for today
$99.95
Pros:

Flywire Cables for Internal Support

Flexible Sole Unit

Very Lightweight

Improved Upper Material

Stylish for Everyday Wear

Cons:

Not for Rainy or Snowy Conditions

Outsole May Pick Up Small Rocks

For those looking for the best possible pair of runners for short runs, sprints, and competitions, the Nike Free RN 2018 is a minimalist option that is utterly lightweight, flexible and breathable, with plenty of aesthetic appeals thrown in as well. With a barefoot feel, much thanks to the updated upper that, like most socks, includes spandex, this model will completely mold to your foot shape. The heel fit is comfortable thanks to added padding, and the entire shoe wraps around the foot enabling plenty of support for all directions of movement.
Terrain: Road
Weight: 8.4 oz
Drop: 8 mm

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Sole / Traction
The Nike Free RN 2018 features the most flexible sole on this list, and it moves completely in sync with your foot, contracting and expanding with each step. This means that you get excellent energy return, while the unique pattern on the outsole works well on the asphalt, as well as on light trails.

Support / Upper
Although made for runners with normal arches, who do not need a stability shoe, the Free RN 2018 does give a lot in terms of support through the upper. First and foremost, the heel is locked into place with a wide strap that prevents movement, while the Flywire cables inside the shoe wrap around the foot, and hold it in place both in the mid as well as the forefoot area.

Cost and Value
Ranking low on this list when it comes to price, the Nike Free RN 2018 is a good choice for those looking for footwear to wear during short runs, competitions or sprints. It does exceptionally well in terms of flexibility and is versatile enough to be worn both for road and trail runs, eliminating the need for several pairs of shoes.

10. Hoka One One Bondi 5

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82
Hoka One One Bondi 5
Breathability
80
Weight
83
Comfort
84
Fit
81
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$139.95
$149.95
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Pros:

EVA Midsole

Curved Heel

Zonal Rubber

3D Puff Print Frame

Durable

Cons:

Narrow Upper

Tongue May Rub

Hoka One One clearly exceeded expectations with the fifth installment of its highly cushioned, high-performance, highly commended Bondi road runners. With updated cushioning and comfort, you will love these if you were a fan of the Bondi 4. They stayed true to the line but listened to user-feedback to enhance an already loved model. If you looking for a lightweight, cushioned and breathable pair of footwear, then the Bondi 5 will win you over hands down.
Terrain: Road
Weight: 10 oz
Drop: 4 mm

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Cushioning / Comfort
With plush cushion for 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 an 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 and Value
The Bondi 5 is an investment you should definitely consider. Taking into account all its features, you will find that this is a pair of lightweight road runners that come at a cost which is completely justified. If max cushioning is what you need, there's no shoe that does it better, period.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Breathability

A shoe that does not allow adequate airflow will leave a runner more susceptible to a number of problems, including a build-up of heat as it’s not able to escape easily or efficiently, which then leads to even more issues. Overheating is regulated by airflow that is allowed through the mesh upper of a running shoe, if there is not proper ventilation the temperature inside your shoe will build causing excessive sweating which will ultimately lead to blisters and allow bacteria to grow, yielding the perfect environment for unwanted odors.

Weight

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. Models 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 a large number of shoes. It is a material that is soft but durable and very light in weight. When looking for lightweight choices, our sights were set on models that were lightweight in comparison to most others. For road, the average weight would be around 9.5 to 10 ounces for a single shoe with anything under 8 ounces extremely light. For trail, average weight is around 10.5 to 11.5 ounces as they usually contain more protective features which raise the weight.

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 run 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. 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 the cartilage in your knees deteriorates. There are several ways to contract this issue, but in general, softening the impact of force that your knees are subjected to will help prevent it in some cases.
Shin Splints – Shin splints is another way, to sum up, the intense throbbing of your shins due to swelling or other complications which stem from beating up your legs. They are common when subjecting your legs to the shock of changing 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. Its signature is inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which leads to stiffness, extreme pain and a bad day. Adequately cushioned options will help in preventing this issue.
Plantar fasciitis This is perhaps the most well known and common injury. It’s characterized by the inflammation of the tissue that extends the bottom of your feet. Although there are many causes of this complication, and many ways to prevent it, having worn out footwear, without enough underfoot padding is one of the several known contributors to it.
The inner cushioning of the upper, the shoes’ footbed, 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 off the 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 something that your feet will be happy with. Make sure they have adequate cushioning and are comfortable enough to get you through the miles.

Fit

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. Uppers are usually 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 stiffen, 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 the road, and has less of a priority in trails, as they are usually made of thicker, layered materials that are naturally stiff, and needed for rougher environments.

The way it 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 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.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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Training Tips

If your new to running, or a more advanced runner, there are a variety of training methods that can help you reach your next goal.
For speed, work in some interval training during the week, where you increase your speed for a quarter to half mile (or, select a timeframe, something like 30-60 seconds), then recovery for a short time. Repeat 4-5 times during the run.
For distance, have a 'long run' day, where you aim to go longer distance wise. Increase this mileage every week by 10% until you hit your goal!

Arch Types

Different people have different shaped arches, which can determine the level of support you need from your sneakers.
Place some paper on the ground, and dampen the bottoms of your bare feet. Step onto the paper to make an imprint of your foot. If you see a sharp 'S' shape, you likely have high arches. If you see little to no 'S' shape, it's likely you have fallen, or flat arches. Check with your local running shop to see which kinds of support you need to perform your best, based on your arch type.

Other Factors to Consider

Style

The terrain and specific usage of a pair of runners is a critical aspect that should be obvious and needs to be emphasized. There are too many types, for too many specific purposes to not know exactly what you need. The two main types of shoes for running are trail specific and road specific, but there is a large number of other categories, including shoes that offer arch support, are neutral in support, extra cushioned, zero drops, minimalistic or barefoot, some made for cross country, some specific for long distances, and some made as trainers or for sprints. There are several differences that you can expect from the different types of runners, and those about road and trail shoes are described below.

Trail models are made to withstand the bare environment, which includes terrain from dirt to mud and everything in between. On the other hand, road footwear is made specifically for use on hard paved surfaces or tracks, and these types of shoes are typically more light in weight. Trail models will seldom feature lightweight, breathable Flyknit uppers, unlike road shoes, as their main purpose is to perform in rough conditions. Similarly, you won’t see any road options 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 Models

  • Aggressive tread on the outsole
  • Deep Lugs
  • Waterproofing or Water Resistance
  • Gore-Tex Linings (Can be found on a few road runners)
  • Heavier in weight, more durable material
  • Integrated Gaiters
  • More material layers
  • Quick-laces
  • Less breathability in the upper’s mesh
  • Extra/Thicker overlays
  • Thicker, pronounced toe bumpers
  • Stiff
  • Common Features to expect on Road Models

  • Lightweight, breathable mesh uppers
  • Outsole profiles with more surface room/flat profile
  • A lot less in weight
  • Much more flexibility
  • Flexibility

    There’s nothing worse than a stiff shoe, especially one that’s supposed to help you perform better through intense exercise. Pair that with something 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 does EVA provide a nice bounce to each step, but it is also fairly soft and flexible. To add more flexibility to the articulation areas of the toes and forefoot, companies now include segmented outsoles, or “Flex grooves” to promote more of a bend with a breakthrough in the generally “stiffer” outsole material.

    Trail models are generally stiffer, and rank lower in flexibility, while some road models such as seen in the Flyknit series can 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: Brands/Companies: Who makes the best, highest quality model?
    a:

    There are several brands that have been around a long time, that provide extremely high-quality models. 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 2018, Adidas didn’t have an option that made the list, but they have plenty of options 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: Types: Who are Stability Running shoes for?
    a:

    Stability models are made specifically for runners who have pronation issues. Typically, they correct issues that revolve around a foot that lies naturally at an awkward angle, causing it to roll inward. Stability or support products provide cushioning that corrects the awkward angle and compensates for it allowing the runner to experience a natural run.

    q: Types: Who are Neutral models for?
    a:

    Simple, they 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 is all you need.

    q: What’s the best way to wash my pair?
    a:

    Let’s face it, despite the breathability, 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 them. There’s no easy way to clean them, 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 they are on borrowed time, it’s probably best to just replace them.

    q: How will rain and moisture affect them?
    a:

    Fortunately, most models nowadays are stitched and glued to be able to withstand water, and prevent water damage, unlike models of the old days that would suffer and fall apart due to moisture. Most 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 options 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 version. The best option for men, and for women will generally be the same, 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. They are made for the high intensity, 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.

    q: How many miles can they last?
    a:

    A good product should last from 300 to 500 miles. If they call it quits coming up around 200 miles, they are not quality. A great model will hold up all the way until you get bored of them. They are out there.

    Sources

    1. Matt Allyn, How to buy the Right Running Shoes, RunnersWorld,
    2. REI Staff, Running Shoes: How to Choose, REI,
    3. Zap Staff, Running Shoe fit Guide, Zappos,
    4. Asics Staff, Types of Running Shoes Explained, Asics,
    5. RC, Running Trends, Reviews & News, RunnerClick,