Best Running Shoes 2021: Top Picks For Beginners, Flat Feet, And More

The best running shoes are designed to cushion your feet whilst on the road or on challenging dirt trails, but it can be difficult to decide how much to spend to get your footwear right.

Fortunately, that's where we come in as we've put together this list based on specs, price, and reviews, to highlight some of the key features that make each one of these shoes stand out.

Whether you're looking for a well-rounded pair of trainers, like these adidas 4DFWD's, or you're after something built for trails, like these SALOMON Speedcross 4's, we've got everything you need right here.

Best Running Shoes

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Best Running Shoes - adidas 4DFWD

Best running shoes adidas product image of a singular green shoe with a black sole and pink details on the heel
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Brand: adidas | Material: Primeknit+ | Closure: Lace-up

When running, you'll need a pair of trainers that are both comfortable and will cushion the impact made with each stride you take.

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adidas 4DFWD's are designed to achieve both of these objectives with their lightweight Primeknit+ outer and their responsive 3D-printed midsole, helping you progress each week in conjunction with other bits of top tech like the best Fitbit's.

The 3D-printed midsole utilises adidas' latest technology to generate three times as much forward motion when compared to its previous 4D midsoles, meaning it should help when running on angled surfaces like hills.

All in all, these shoes are a great all-round option to run with thanks to the vast amount of technology packed into them to help you perform to the best of your ability.

Best Running Shoes For Flat Feet - Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21

Best running shoes Brooks product image of a pair of blue shoes with orange details and a white sole.
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Brand: Brooks | Material: Fabric | Closure: Lace-up

If you're slightly flat-footed and tired of wearing out the soles of your shoes on the inside then the Adrenaline GTS 21's might be your answer.

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These trainers have been designed to support the inner side of the shoe to help keep your feet straight and subsequently reduce the chance of you falling over and injuring yourself.

One of the biggest pros of these shoes is the immense amount of cushioning and support they include which should keep you comfortable and protected across all manner of distances, from 5k's to 10k's and so on.

The Adrenaline GTS 21's are advertised as the go-to-shoe (GTS) for every purpose including long-distance jogs, slow recovery runs, and even just a full day of walking and would therefore be a great item to carry around with you in your top gym bag.

Best Running Shoes For The Road - NIKE Air Zoom Alphafly Next%

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Brand: Nike | Material: AtomKnit.Flyknit | Closure: Lace-up

Designed as the consumer version of the shoe Eliud Kipchoge wore to run a sub-two-hour marathon, the Air Zoom Alphafly's should be the perfect shoe to fulfill your road running needs.

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These trainers come with a lot of ZoomX foam to provide exceptional support and cushioning, but they also come with the uniquely designed Air Zoom pods on the forefoot which are engineered as a firmer block to deliver a bit more punch off the toe.

The Air Zoom Alphafly's also come with the latest Flyknit technology, much like some of Nike's top football boots, helping keep these shoes as light as possible and to provide you with a bit of flexibility for when your feet get hot during your run.

On the whole, these shoes are designed to be the perfect road running trainer and would therefore suit anyone who enjoys running longer distances like half and full marathons.

Best Running Shoes For Trails - SALOMON Speedcross 4

Best running shoes SALOMON product image of a singular black trail shoe with added grip.
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Image Credit: Salomon

Brand: SALOMON | Material: Synthetic/Textile | Closure: Quick Lace-up

Like some of the top gym shoes, running trainers vary massively to cater to all manner of uses and purposes.

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These SALOMON Speedcross 4's, for example, are a great option if you enjoy tackling the tough terrain of trails.

The main difference with these trainers compared to the previous entries is the extremely aggressive grip on the sole which is engineered to be superb at tearing up the soft, technical ground typically found on a trail course.

Moreover, these shoes have a water-resistant upper to keep your feet dry as you run through puddles, snow, and other weather-related obstacles.

Ultimately, these shoes merge the latest in trail running technology from SALOMON to produce a great shoe that should tackle every type of terrain you throw at it.

Best Running Shoes For Beginners - Brooks Revel 5

Best running shoes Brooks product image of a pair of grey shoes with blue midsoles and details.
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Brand: Brooks | Material: Fabric | Closure: Lace-up

If you're just starting your running journey and looking for a versatile trainer that is relatively affordable to help improve your performance, then these Brooks Revel 5's should suit your needs.

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First and foremost, this shoe has been designed to be extremely comfortable by utilising a soft fabric outer and BioMoGo DNA cushioning which adapts to your stride, weight, and speed to divert the shock away from your body.

Moreover, the Revel 5's will likely keep your feet cool during your run, especially on a hot Summer's day, thanks to the knitted design on the outer which has been engineered with breathability in mind.

All in all, these trainers are a solid all-rounder built for all kinds of runs, from mid-distance, longer rides, and to relaxing recovery jogs.

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 Running Shoes?

It is no secret that running can be a tough form of exercise both on your cardiovascular endurance and on your muscles and joints.

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In terms of what you're looking for, we covered some of the basic features needed for running in our guide comparing basketball shoes and running trainers.

In the aforementioned guide, we mentioned that you need to look out for a shoe that has good cushioning to divert the impact made with each stride and a trainer that is flexible to ensure you remain comfortable as your feet expand during longer and/or warmer sessions.

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 probably be worth it as they offer you a number of key features tailored specifically for running that normal trainers don't provide like big foam midsoles to soften the impact with the ground.

How Often Should I Run?

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This is really down to you and how your body feels and recovers after each run you go on.

Running a few days each week will help improve your fitness, particularly your cardio, but be careful as you don't want to overdo it and cause yourself long-term damage.

Make sure you include enough rest days each week to give your body time to recover before you set out on another run because running when you're not fully recovered will greatly impact your performance and increase your chance of injury.

Can You Use Running Shoes For Gym?

We have previously discussed whether basketball shoes are suitable for the gym and in our guide we mention, for weightlifting, you need a pair of trainers that have flat, thin soles to increase your contact with the ground and so you can apply more force during lifts such as squats.

By contrast, running shoes are typically quite curved and padded to absorb the shock from each stride and to help with forward momentum so aren't really the ideal trainers for weightlifting.

However, for cardiovascular, machine-based actives such as rowing, a pair of running trainers should be more than suitable.

Read More: Best Shoes For CrossFit Available Now