Buying a pair of the best running shoes can give your training the extra boost it needs to help you set personal bests and make progress toward your fitness goals. However, with so many different types of running shoes available, it's not always easy figuring out which style is right for you.
To make things even trickier, almost all of the best sportswear and sneaker brands contribute to the running scene. As a result, there are almost too many running shoes on the market to count.
So, to make your search a little simpler, we've picked out a handful of what we believe to be the best trainers on the market right now based on their price, performance, reviews, and features.
What features are we referring to? Well, a good set of running shoes need to be packed with cushioning to absorb the impact of each stride you take. Running shoes should also be lightweight to avoid feeling weighed down while training.
Any features beyond this will depend on the style of running you participate in. For example, trial running will need a pair of durable, perhaps even waterproof shoes, with aggressive traction underneath to provide grip off-road.
However, if you're searching for a pair of the best marathon shoes, then you'll want to pay more attention to comfort and any technology, like carbon fibre plates, designed to reduce fatigue and give greater energy returns.
So, with all this in mind, let's get into our list of the best running shoes available now. Stay tuned to the end as well, because we've answered some of the most commonly asked questions to help you make a purchase. Let's begin...
Best running shoes
- Best all-round running shoes - ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25
- Best budget running shoes - New Balance Arishi v4
- Best running shoes for flat feet - Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22
- Best road running shoes - Nike Alphafly 2
- Best trial running shoes - HOKA Speedgoat 5 GORE-TEX Spike
Best all-round running shoes - ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25
In our opinion, the ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25 is a stellar all-round running shoe that can help you take your training to the next level.
ASICS boasts it has revamped the 25 with new materials to give a softer, smoother running experience. You get an adaptive, stretchy knitted upper to keep the shoe comfortable, secure, and also lightweight.
Perhaps the best part of the shoe though is its bio-based FF BLAST PLUS ECO cushioning, providing 20% more padding underfoot compared to previous models. With PureGEL technology as well, each stride you take should be shock-free and responsive.
You also get an 8mm heel drop, which we feel strikes a nice balance for beginners just starting out and experienced runners used to a much larger, more pronounced drop.
As an overall package, we'd say this ASICS running shoe is one of the best around right now. So, make sure you check it out if you're looking to upgrade or replace your current pair.
Best budget running shoes - New Balance Arishi v4
Although running shoes can be quite expensive at times, the New Balance Arishi v4 falls toward the inexpensive end of the price scale. However, that doesn't mean the shoe lacks in quality or features.
To start with, it's incredibly lightweight as it weighs just 8.7 oz. This is, in part, due to the mesh upper keeping weight to a minimum whilst also adding ventilation.
Moreover, the shoe features New Balance's Fresh Foam cushioning in the midsole. The foam has been engineered to give a lightweight, responsive ride that reduces shock each and every stride.
You also get a grippy rubber outsole to help you stay balanced and in control whilst training. So, despite its low price tag, we feel there's plenty to like about this New Balance trainer, thus making it well worth considering.
Best running shoes for flat feet - Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22
The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 is designed to be the most supportive running shoe possible, hence why we think it makes for a great pick for those with flat feet.
Firstly, the 12mm midsole drop can help keep your momentum heading in the right direction. Plus, it comes packed with DNA LOFT cushioning to absorb the impact of each stride and give a smooth transition alongside the Segmented Crash Pad underneath.
You also get Brooks' bespoke GuideRail technology, which adds support by keeping excess movement in a straight line, thus helping you avoid wasting energy whilst running.
And, to top it all off, the shoe is made primarily from mesh, which means it weighs just 10.2 oz. So, if you're after something lightweight and supportive for flat feet, then the GTS 22 could be the running shoe for you.
Best road running shoes - Nike Alphafly 2
The Nike Alphafly 2 is a running shoe designed to shave valuable milliseconds off your personal bests on the road. As a result, it's perhaps the most advanced running shoe Nike has made to date.
Firstly, the shoe is constructed out of Atomknit, a member of the Flyknit family that's designed to give a contoured fit while being ultra-lightweight (it weighs just 8.7 oz) and breathable.
The shoe also features full-length ZoomX foam placed under the Zoom Air cushioning to add bounce to your steps, while also improving the transition from heel to forefoot.
Adding to this, you get a carbon fibre plate to give more propulsion to your strides with a smooth transition. Ultimately, you'll struggle to find many better shoes for the road than this Nike pick.
Best trial running shoes - HOKA Speedgoat 5 GORE-TEX Spike
Road running is one thing, but when it comes to training off-road, you need a pair of rugged, grippy shoes capable of withstanding the terrain. In this case, we put forward the HOKA Speedgoat 5 GORE-TEX Spike shoes as our top pick.
They're arguably some of the best winter running shoes around as they're built for the harshest of weather conditions. For instance, the shoe is wrapped in a GORE-TEX membrane to keep your foot warm and dry, no matter the weather.
Moreover, and a key reason why we believe this is a great trial running shoe, you get Vibram Megagrip outsoles. This technology employs 12 tungsten carbide spikes underneath to keep you on your feet, even when you encounter uneven terrain.
It's also worth mentioning you get a compression-molded EVA midsole for comfort, and a rubber toe cap for protection. So, overall, we'd say these HOKA trainers are the ideal package for your trail running needs.
Frequently asked questions about running shoes
With so many different kinds of running shoes available, you probably have a number of questions about them, but we're here to clear up some of the most common queries.
What should you look for in a pair of running shoes?
It is no secret that running can be a tough form of exercise on your cardiovascular endurance and on your muscles and joints, which means it's important to know what exactly you should be looking out for when selecting a pair of shoes.
Firstly, you need a pair of shoes that come packed with cushioning. This is to divert the impact from each stride away from your lower body, thus minimising the risk of common leg injuries. Padded midsoles can also help keep you comfortable, particularly over long distances.
Running shoes should also be lightweight to avoid any feelings of being weighed down. One study of note by Rodrigo-Carranza et al. found adding 100g per shoe impaired running economy and performance in trained runners.
To combat this, most trainers are made from a knitted fabric or mesh, which also helps improve ventilation and can help your shoes conform to your feet as they expand during longer and/or warmer sessions.
Other features to look out for include traction, the heel drop, and perhaps even waterproofing, all of which are dependent on the style of running you partake in.
Are running shoes worth it?
Although the price of running shoes does vary, the most technologically advanced trainers on the market tend to come with a premium price tag.
So, to answer this question. you should probably first decide if running is a serious hobby that you look to build on and progress with each week.
If the answer is yes, then in order to keep your body safe and to help you progress, running shoes will be worth the investment. They offer a number of key features tailored specifically for running that normal trainers don't provide, including well-padded midsoles to soften the impact with the ground.
Can you use running shoes in the gym?
For weightlifting, you need a pair of trainers that have flat, thin soles to increase your contact with the ground so you can apply more force during your lifts.
By contrast, running shoes are typically quite curved and padded to absorb impact and help with forward momentum. As a result, your contact with the ground is reduced, thus making them ineffective for weightlifting.
However, for cardiovascular, machine-based activities such as rowing, a pair of running trainers are a great pick as they can keep you comfortable whilst training.
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