What Is The Best Running Shoes
Modified: August 22, 2023
Looking for the best running shoes? Discover the featured options that will enhance your performance and provide optimal comfort during your runs.
(Many of the links in this article redirect to a specific reviewed product. Your purchase of these products through affiliate links helps to generate commission for Runningshorts.com, at no extra cost.)
When it comes to running, having the right pair of shoes is essential. The type of running shoes you wear can greatly impact your performance, comfort, and overall running experience. With the wide array of options available in the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the best running shoes for your needs.
In this article, we will explore the factors to consider when selecting running shoes and provide recommendations for specific types of running. Whether you are a seasoned runner or just starting out, this guide will help you make an informed decision and find the perfect pair of running shoes.
Running shoes are designed to provide support, cushioning, and stability to help you move efficiently and reduce the risk of injuries. The right shoes can also address specific foot conditions or running styles. It’s important to understand your own feet and running habits before making a purchase.
Factors such as arch type, pronation (how your foot rolls inward when it lands), running surface, and distance all play a role in determining the type of running shoes that will suit you best.
Additionally, it’s crucial to try on different shoes and consider factors such as fit, comfort, and durability. Remember that everyone’s feet are unique, so what works for someone else may not be the best option for you.
In the following sections, we will explore the different types of running shoes available and provide recommendations based on specific running needs and foot conditions. Whether you are a road runner, trail runner, long-distance enthusiast, or sprinter, there is a pair of running shoes out there that will meet your requirements.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Running Shoes
Choosing the right running shoes goes beyond just selecting a stylish pair. There are several factors to consider to ensure optimal performance and comfort. Here are the key factors to keep in mind:
- Foot Type: Understanding your foot type is crucial in selecting the right running shoes. The three common foot types are:
- Neutral Pronation: Your foot rolls slightly inward upon landing, distributing the impact evenly.
- Overpronation: Your foot rolls excessively inward, putting strain on the arch and ankle.
- Underpronation (Supination): Your foot rolls outward, leading to reduced shock absorption.
Knowing your foot type will help you find shoes with the appropriate level of stability and support.
- Arch Type: Your arch shape can also impact your choice of running shoes. There are three main arch types:
- High arches: You may need shoes with extra cushioning to absorb shock and provide stability.
- Normal/Medium arches: Look for shoes that offer a balance of support and flexibility.
- Flat arches: Opt for shoes with good arch support and motion control to help prevent overpronation.
- Running Surface: Consider the surface you primarily run on, such as road, trail, or track. Different surfaces require different types of outsoles for optimal grip and traction.
- Cushioning: The level of cushioning in the shoes can impact how comfortable your run feels. It’s a personal preference, with some runners preferring a plush cushioning for long-distance running, while others prefer a more responsive and lightweight option for speed workouts.
- Fit: Proper fit is crucial to prevent discomfort and injury. Ensure that there is enough room for your toes to move and that the shoe securely hugs your foot without feeling too tight or loose.
- Durability: Look for shoes made from high-quality materials that can withstand the repetitive impact of running. A durable shoe will last longer and provide better support over time.
By taking these factors into consideration, you can narrow down your options and find the perfect running shoes for your specific needs. It’s important to try on different brands and models to see which ones feel the most comfortable and supportive for your feet. Remember, investing in a good pair of running shoes is investing in your running performance and overall foot health.
Different Types of Running Shoes
Running shoes come in various styles and designs to accommodate different running surfaces, distances, and foot conditions. Understanding the different types of running shoes can help you make an informed decision when selecting the right pair for your needs. Here are the main categories of running shoes:
- Road Running Shoes: These shoes are designed for running on paved surfaces such as roads or sidewalks. They typically have lightweight construction, good cushioning, and a flexible outsole for smooth transitions.
- Trail Running Shoes: If you enjoy running off-road, on trails, or in rugged terrains, trail running shoes are the best choice. They have durable outsoles with aggressive treads for enhanced traction and stability on uneven surfaces. These shoes often offer additional protection features like rock plates and reinforced uppers.
- Long Distance Running Shoes: For runners who cover longer distances, such as marathoners or ultra-runners, long distance running shoes are designed to provide maximum comfort and support over extended periods. They often have ample cushioning, strategic midsole technologies, and lightweight yet durable construction.
- Sprinting Shoes: If you’re a sprinter or focus on short-distance sprints, sprinting shoes are built for speed. They are lightweight with minimal cushioning to maximize energy transfer and promote quick turnover. Sprinting shoes usually have spikes or sharp traction patterns for optimal grip on the track.
- Overpronation Running Shoes: Overpronation occurs when the foot excessively rolls inward during the running gait. Overpronation running shoes are designed with supportive features like medial posts or stability technologies to help control the inward motion and provide added stability.
- Underpronation (Supination) Running Shoes: Underpronation, or supination, is characterized by the outward rolling of the foot. Underpronation running shoes focus on providing cushioning and shock absorption to counteract the reduced natural shock absorption of the foot.
- Running Shoes for Specific Foot Conditions: There are running shoes available for various foot conditions such as plantar fasciitis, flat feet, and high arches. These shoes offer specific support and cushioning to address the needs and alleviate symptoms associated with these conditions.
By identifying the type of running you do and any specific foot conditions you have, you can narrow down your options and find the most suitable running shoes for your needs. It’s important to try on different models within each category to ensure the best fit and comfort for your unique feet.
Best Running Shoes for Road Running
Road running shoes are specifically designed for running on paved surfaces like roads and sidewalks. They prioritize lightweight construction, cushioning, and responsiveness to enhance your performance and comfort during road runs. Here are some of the best road running shoes available:
- Nike Air Zoom Pegasus: The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus is a popular choice among road runners for its comfortable fit and versatile performance. It offers a responsive cushioning system and a lightweight design that provides a smooth and stable ride.
- Adidas Ultraboost: The Adidas Ultraboost is known for its exceptional comfort and energy return. With its Boost foam midsole, it offers responsive cushioning and a snug fit, making it ideal for long-distance road running.
- Brooks Ghost: The Brooks Ghost is a reliable and well-cushioned road running shoe. It provides a balanced mix of comfort, responsiveness, and support, making it suitable for runners of all levels.
- New Balance Fresh Foam 1080: The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 is designed for long-distance road running. It features plush cushioning, a comfortable fit, and a smooth heel-to-toe transition, making it a top choice for runners seeking maximum comfort.
- Asics Gel Nimbus: The Asics Gel Nimbus is a highly cushioned and supportive road running shoe. It offers excellent shock absorption and a comfortable fit, making it suitable for runners with high arches or those seeking extra cushioning.
When choosing the best road running shoes, it’s important to consider factors such as cushioning level, fit, stability, and durability. Additionally, remember that every runner’s needs and preferences are different, so trying on different models and brands to find the right fit for you is crucial.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced road runner, investing in a quality pair of road running shoes can significantly enhance your performance and reduce the risk of injuries. Take the time to research and try on different options to find the best fit that will support your running goals.
Best Running Shoes for Trail Running
Trail running requires a different type of shoe compared to road running. It involves running on uneven terrain, dirt paths, and rocky surfaces, which demand rugged outsoles, enhanced traction, and added protection. Here are some of the best trail running shoes available:
- Salomon Speedcross: The Salomon Speedcross is a popular choice among trail runners for its aggressive and durable traction. It offers excellent grip on various terrains, including muddy, rocky, and loose surfaces.
- Brooks Cascadia: The Brooks Cascadia is a versatile trail running shoe that provides excellent traction and stability. It features a protective rock plate and a responsive cushioning system to handle rough terrains.
- Merrell Trail Glove: The Merrell Trail Glove is a minimalist option for trail runners who prefer a barefoot-like experience. It offers a lightweight design, a flexible outsole, and a snug fit for enhanced agility and ground feel.
- New Balance Hierro: The New Balance Hierro is known for its excellent cushioning and protection. It features a durable outsole with multi-directional lugs to provide reliable traction on both wet and dry trails.
- La Sportiva Bushido: The La Sportiva Bushido is a performance-oriented trail running shoe with a grippy outsole and a supportive yet flexible construction. It offers stability, durability, and responsive cushioning for tackling challenging trails.
When selecting trail running shoes, consider the terrain you will be running on, the level of cushioning and protection you desire, and the fit and comfort of the shoes. It’s essential to have a durable outsole with aggressive lugs to ensure traction on uneven surfaces and to protect your feet from sharp rocks and roots.
Remember that trail running shoes tend to have a more robust construction compared to road running shoes. They may offer features like reinforced uppers, toe guards, and rock plates to provide additional protection and durability on rough terrains.
Each trail runner has unique preferences, so be sure to try on various models and brands to find the best trail running shoe for your specific needs. Investing in a pair of quality trail running shoes will enhance your performance, agility, and overall enjoyment on the trails.
Best Running Shoes for Long Distance Running
Long distance running requires shoes that provide exceptional cushioning, support, and durability to withstand the repetitive impact and extended periods of running. Here are some of the best running shoes for long distance running:
- Hoka One One Clifton: The Hoka One One Clifton is a top choice for long distance runners. It offers plush cushioning, a lightweight design, and a responsive midsole that provides a comfortable and smooth ride.
- Brooks Glycerin: The Brooks Glycerin is known for its superior cushioning and flexibility. It provides a luxurious and comfortable feel, making it ideal for runners tackling long distances.
- ASICS Gel-Kayano: The ASICS Gel-Kayano is a reliable option for long distance running, offering excellent support and stability. It features a well-cushioned midsole and a durable outsole to handle the demands of extended runs.
- New Balance 1080v11: The New Balance 1080v11 provides plush cushioning and a comfortable fit, making it a popular choice for long distance runners. It offers a breathable upper and a responsive midsole for a smooth and supportive ride.
- Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next%: The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% is known for its high energy return and impressive speed. It features a lightweight design, responsive cushioning, and a carbon fiber plate for enhanced propulsion.
When selecting running shoes for long distances, it’s important to prioritize comfort, cushioning, and support. Look for shoes that provide ample cushioning to absorb shock and reduce the risk of fatigue and discomfort during extended runs.
In addition to cushioning, consider the fit of the shoes. Look for a pair that offers a snug yet breathable fit, ensuring your feet have enough room to expand and preventing uncomfortable rubbing or blisters.
Durability is also crucial for long distance running shoes. Opt for shoes with durable outsoles and high-quality materials that can withstand the rigors of long runs and provide optimal support throughout their lifespan.
Long distance running shoes should be chosen based on your individual preferences and running style. It’s essential to try on different models and brands to find the best fit, comfort, and performance for your specific needs. Remember, investing in high-quality running shoes will greatly enhance your endurance and reduce the risk of injuries during those long miles.
Best Running Shoes for Sprinting
Sprinting requires a specific type of running shoe that prioritizes speed, responsiveness, and traction. These shoes are designed to maximize energy transfer and provide optimal grip on the track. Here are some of the best running shoes for sprinting:
- Nike Zoom Superfly Elite: The Nike Zoom Superfly Elite is a high-performance sprinting shoe designed for maximum speed. It features a lightweight construction, a stiff plate in the forefoot for propulsion, and a snug fit to enhance acceleration.
- Adidas Adizero Prime SP: The Adidas Adizero Prime SP is an elite sprinting shoe known for its lightweight design and exceptional traction. It provides excellent grip on the track and boasts a responsive and supportive midsole.
- PUMA Evospeed Electric: The PUMA Evospeed Electric is a popular choice among sprinters for its lightweight feel and excellent traction. It features a Pebax plate in the forefoot for explosive energy transfer and a snug fit for added stability.
- New Balance Vazee Sigma: The New Balance Vazee Sigma is designed specifically for sprinters, offering a lightweight design, a stiff plate for explosive speed, and a secure fit for optimal performance.
- Saucony Showdown: The Saucony Showdown is a sprinting shoe known for its excellent traction and lightweight feel. It provides a snug fit, responsive cushioning, and a stiff plate for enhanced power during sprints.
When selecting sprinting shoes, consider the specific requirements of your sprinting style. Look for shoes that provide a secure and snug fit to minimize slippage and maximize power transfer. The shoes should have a lightweight construction and a responsive midsole to support quick and explosive movements.
The spikes on the bottom of sprinting shoes play a crucial role in traction. Different tracks may require different spike lengths, so consider the surface you’ll be sprinting on when choosing your shoes.
It’s important to note that sprinting shoes are typically designed for short distances and may not provide the same level of cushioning and support as shoes intended for long-distance running. Therefore, they may not be suitable for longer runs or endurance events.
As sprinting shoes are often highly specialized, it’s recommended to try on different models and brands to find the best fit and feel for your unique feet and running style. Investing in quality sprinting shoes will provide you with the support and speed you need to excel in your sprinting endeavors.
Best Running Shoes for Overpronation
Overpronation is a common foot condition where the foot rolls excessively inward during the running gait. It can lead to instability and potentially increase the risk of injuries. Choosing the right running shoes with proper support and stability is crucial for individuals with overpronation. Here are some of the best running shoes for overpronation:
- Brooks Adrenaline GTS: The Brooks Adrenaline GTS is a top choice for overpronators. It offers a stable yet cushioned ride with a supportive midsole and a denser foam on the inner side to control pronation.
- Saucony Guide ISO: The Saucony Guide ISO is designed to provide stability and support without compromising comfort. It features a medial post and a cushioned midsole to help correct overpronation.
- ASICS Gel-Kayano: The ASICS Gel-Kayano is a long-standing favorite among overpronators. It offers excellent stability, cushioning, and support through its Dynamic DuoMax system and gel cushioning in the heel and forefoot.
- Mizuno Wave Inspire: The Mizuno Wave Inspire is a versatile running shoe designed for moderate overpronation. It features a Wave Plate technology that provides stability and a responsive cushioning to control pronation.
- New Balance 860: The New Balance 860 is a reliable running shoe for overpronators. It offers adequate stability, cushioning, and support to help align the foot and reduce overpronation.
When selecting running shoes for overpronation, prioritize stability and support features. Look for shoes that have built-in support structures such as medial posts or stability technologies. These features help control excessive inward rolling and promote proper alignment during the running gait.
Additionally, consider the level of cushioning that the shoes provide. Overpronators may benefit from shoes with additional cushioning to absorb shock and reduce the impact on the joints.
As everyone’s feet and running mechanics are different, it’s crucial to visit a specialty running store and try on different models to find the best fit and support for your specific needs. A professional fitting can help ensure that you find the right running shoe to address your overpronation and support your running goals.
Best Running Shoes for Underpronation
Underpronation, also known as supination, is a foot condition where the foot rolls outward during the running gait. It can lead to limited shock absorption and increased stress on certain areas of the foot. Choosing the proper running shoes with cushioning and flexibility is crucial for individuals with underpronation. Here are some of the best running shoes for underpronation:
- Brooks Ghost: The Brooks Ghost is a popular choice for underpronators due to its cushioning and flexibility. It offers a neutral design with ample cushioning to provide comfort and shock absorption for those with limited inward rolling.
- ASICS Gel-Nimbus: The ASICS Gel-Nimbus is known for its responsive cushioning and shock absorption. It provides a comfortable and flexible ride to enhance the gait of underpronators.
- Mizuno Wave Rider: The Mizuno Wave Rider offers a combination of cushioning, flexibility, and responsiveness. It has a wave plate technology that provides shock absorption and assists with transitions for runners with underpronation.
- New Balance Fresh Foam 880: The New Balance Fresh Foam 880 is designed to deliver a plush and cushioned ride for underpronators. It offers a neutral platform and a soft yet supportive midsole to enhance comfort and reduce the risk of injuries.
- Nike Air Zoom Vomero: The Nike Air Zoom Vomero is a versatile running shoe that provides a well-cushioned and flexible ride for underpronators. It offers a mix of comfort and responsiveness to help runners with limited inward rolling.
When selecting running shoes for underpronation, it’s important to focus on cushioning and flexibility. Look for shoes with a neutral design and generous cushioning to provide shock absorption and reduce the impact on the foot. Shoes with a flexible and responsive midsole can also help improve the natural foot motion and gait of underpronators.
It’s recommended to visit a specialty running store and perform a gait analysis to determine the extent of your underpronation and find the best-fitting shoe for your needs. Trying on different models and brands will help you identify the shoe that provides the right amount of cushioning and support for your underpronation.
Remember that proper fit and comfort are crucial to prevent discomfort and reduce the risk of injuries. Take the time to find the running shoes that best suit your unique feet and running mechanics, providing the necessary cushioning and flexibility to support you throughout your runs.
Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in the heel and bottom of the foot. Choosing the appropriate running shoes can help alleviate discomfort and provide necessary support. Here are some of the best running shoes for plantar fasciitis:
- Brooks Addiction Walker: The Brooks Addiction Walker is a popular choice for individuals with plantar fasciitis. It offers excellent arch support, a cushioned midsole, and a durable outsole for optimal comfort and stability.
- New Balance 990v4: The New Balance 990v4 is known for its superior cushioning and stability, making it suitable for runners with plantar fasciitis. It features a supportive midsole and a comfortable fit to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.
- ASICS Gel-Kayano: The ASICS Gel-Kayano provides reliable stability and cushioning, which is beneficial for individuals with plantar fasciitis. It offers a supportive midsole and gel cushioning in the heel to provide comfort and reduce stress on the plantar fascia.
- Saucony Guide ISO: The Saucony Guide ISO is designed to provide support and stability while offering a comfortable and cushioned ride. It features a medial post and a responsive midsole to alleviate pain and reduce the impact on the plantar fascia.
- Hoka One One Bondi: The Hoka One One Bondi is known for its maximum cushioning, making it a suitable choice for individuals with plantar fasciitis. It provides a plush and supportive platform to reduce strain on the plantar fascia.
When selecting running shoes for plantar fasciitis, it’s important to prioritize cushioning, arch support, and stability. Look for shoes that offer ample cushioning to absorb shock and reduce the impact on the plantar fascia. Additionally, choose shoes with proper arch support to help alleviate the strain on the plantar fascia.
It’s recommended to try on different models and brands to find the best fit and support for your plantar fasciitis. Additionally, consider using shoe inserts or orthotics to provide additional support and customization for your running shoes.
Remember to consult with a healthcare professional or podiatrist if you have severe or persistent plantar fasciitis symptoms. They can provide personalized recommendations and treatment options to help alleviate pain and support your running routine.
Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet
Having flat feet, or low arches, can lead to overpronation and potential discomfort while running. Selecting the right running shoes with proper support and stability is essential for individuals with flat feet. Here are some of the best running shoes for flat feet:
- Brooks Beast: The Brooks Beast is a highly supportive and stable running shoe designed for individuals with flat feet. It features a strong medial post and ample cushioning to control overpronation and provide a comfortable and supportive ride.
- ASICS GT-2000: The ASICS GT-2000 is known for its stability and support features, making it a suitable choice for flat-footed runners. It offers a supportive midsole, excellent arch support, and cushioning to promote proper foot alignment and reduce overpronation.
- New Balance 860: The New Balance 860 provides reliable stability and arch support for flat-footed runners. It features a dual-density midsole and a medial post to correct overpronation and maintain proper foot alignment throughout the run.
- Saucony Omni ISO: The Saucony Omni ISO offers excellent stability and support for individuals with flat feet. It provides a comfortable and cushioned ride with a supportive midsole and a durable outsole to accommodate overpronation.
- Asics Gel Foundation: The Asics Gel Foundation is a stability shoe designed to provide support for flat feet. It features a supportive midsole and cushioning in the heel and forefoot, offering comfort and stability throughout the run.
When selecting running shoes for flat feet, it’s crucial to prioritize stability features and proper arch support. Look for shoes with a strong medial post or stability technologies to control overpronation and promote proper foot alignment.
A comfortable and secure fit is important for individuals with flat feet. Look for running shoes with a wider base and a roomier toe box to accommodate your foot shape and prevent discomfort or rubbing.
Remember to have your feet properly measured and analyzed for any abnormalities in gait or foot structure. Consulting with a podiatrist or a specialist at a running store can provide valuable insights and personalized recommendations for the best running shoes for your flat feet.
Additionally, consider using orthotic inserts or customized insoles to provide extra support and enhance the fit of your running shoes. These inserts can help address any specific biomechanical issues associated with your flat feet.
Investing in the right running shoes for flat feet can greatly improve your running experience by minimizing overpronation and providing the necessary support and stability. It’s important to find the right balance of comfort, stability, and proper fit to keep you running smoothly and pain-free.
Best Running Shoes for High Arches
Having high arches can lead to underpronation, also known as supination. Selecting the right running shoes with proper cushioning and flexibility is crucial for individuals with high arches. Here are some of the best running shoes for high arches:
- Brooks Ghost: The Brooks Ghost is a versatile running shoe that provides a combination of comfort and support for runners with high arches. It offers plush cushioning and a neutral platform to accommodate the natural foot motion associated with high arches.
- New Balance Fresh Foam 1080: The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 is known for its exceptional cushioning and a plush ride, making it suitable for individuals with high arches. It offers a neutral platform and a comfortable fit to enhance the running experience.
- ASICS Gel-Nimbus: The ASICS Gel-Nimbus provides excellent cushioning and support for high-arched runners. It features gel cushioning in the heel and forefoot to absorb shock and alleviate pressure on the arches.
- Saucony Triumph ISO: The Saucony Triumph ISO offers a plush and cushioned ride for high-arched runners. It combines comfort, flexibility, and a supportive midsole to promote a smooth and enjoyable running experience.
- Hoka One One Clifton: The Hoka One One Clifton is a highly cushioned running shoe that provides excellent arch support for high-arched runners. It offers a balanced combination of cushioning, stability, and a lightweight design.
When selecting running shoes for high arches, prioritize cushioning and flexibility. Look for shoes that offer extra cushioning in the midsole to provide shock absorption and reduce the impact on the high arches.
A neutral or slightly supportive shoe design is typically suitable for high-arched runners, as it allows for the foot’s natural motion. Look for shoes with a flexible and responsive midsole to enhance the foot’s ability to adapt to the ground.
It’s recommended to visit a specialty running store and try on different models to find the best fit and support for your high arches. Additionally, consider using arch support inserts or custom orthotics to provide additional support and customization to your running shoes.
Keep in mind that the level of arch support and the specific features required may vary from person to person. Consulting with a healthcare professional or podiatrist can provide valuable insights and personalized recommendations for the best running shoes for your high arches.
Investing in the right running shoes for high arches can make a significant difference in your running experience by providing the necessary cushioning and support. Look for the perfect combination of comfort, flexibility, and proper fit to support your high arches and enhance your overall running performance.
Choosing the right running shoes is crucial for a comfortable and enjoyable running experience. Whether you are a road runner, trail runner, long-distance enthusiast, or sprinter, finding the best running shoes that suit your individual needs and foot conditions can greatly improve your performance and reduce the risk of injuries.
When selecting running shoes, consider factors such as foot type, arch type, running surface, cushioning, fit, and durability. Understanding your foot mechanics and running preferences will help you determine the specific features and support you require from your running shoes.
For road running, lightweight and cushioned shoes like the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus or the Brooks Ghost are great options. If you prefer trail running, look for shoes with durable outsoles and excellent traction, such as the Salomon Speedcross or the Brooks Cascadia.
Long distance runners will benefit from shoes that offer maximum comfort and support, such as the Hoka One One Clifton or the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080. Sprinters should prioritize lightweight and responsive shoes like the Nike Zoom Superfly Elite or the Adidas Adizero Prime SP.
If you have conditions like overpronation, underpronation, plantar fasciitis, flat feet, or high arches, there are specialized running shoes available to cater to your needs. Shoes like the Brooks Adrenaline GTS or the ASICS Gel-Kayano are excellent choices for overpronators, while the Brooks Beast or the New Balance 990v4 offer great support for flat feet.
Remember to try on different models and brands, and consult with professionals if needed, to ensure the best fit and support for your feet. Investing in high-quality running shoes that meet your specific needs will not only enhance your running performance but also contribute to your long-term foot health.
So, lace up your shoes and hit the road or trail with confidence, knowing that you have the best running shoes to support you every step of the way.