What are the best running shoes? This is the question every runner asks at least once a year.

Running shoes are specifically designed for going long. They offer cushioning systems, climate control features, stability features and materials designed to absorb the pounding of increased mileage.

There are hundreds of different models from at least a dozen of running brands. Nike, adidas, New Balance, Asics, Reebok, Brooks… A bit overwhelming.

We divided our best running shoes guide into a few segments to so you have complete knowledge on the topic.

The best running shoes

1. adidas Ultraboost

Ultimate running comfort.

Best running shoes - adidas Ultraboost
Our current “Best running shoes” award holder.

We have to admit, whenever adidas release new running shoes, they perform just as great as they look. They are simply beautiful and incredibly comfortable.

The downside is unfortunately a high price, but with some effort you can find a model from the previous season for a few hundred dollars less.

The Boost technology still amazes with its flexibility, softness and energy return capabilities and adidas Ultraboost is the model that makes the best use of it.

We recommend these running shoes to anyone who needs a comfortable mile-after-mile companion. You will appreciate the cushioning and comfort during your long runs as well as marathon.


2. Brooks Ghost 10

Incredibly soft ride.

Best running shoes - Brooks Ghost 10
Brooks Ghost 10 is currently our second pick in the best running shoes analysis.

Well, they are not the most beautiful running shoes in the world, but when it comes to cushioning and comfort, there are no better picks than Brooks Ghost 10.

Very durable and seamless upper, amazing grip even on the most slippery surfaces and the cushioning that amazes step after step.

Brooks Ghost are excellent running shoes for runners looking for comfortable everyday training shoes.


3. New Balance Vazee Pace v2

For speed lovers.

Best running shoes - New Balance Vazee Pace
Last place on the best running shoes podium goes to New Balance Vazee Pace.

It’s an everyday running shoe but with something extra. They are relatively light, they have a low drop and there is not much fancy technology involved in their construction which suprisingly turns out as an advantage.

Running in them feels just so natural and light, that it leaves you no choice but to speed up.


4. Asics Dynaflyte 2

Fast and light.

Best running shoes - Asics Dynaflyte
Somewhat similar to New Balance Vazee Pace v2 but feels even lighter.

Well-cushioned and comfortable – if you are a heel-striker you will love them. Not the most important running shoe characteristic but we also love the look.


5. Reebok Floatride

Jack of all trades.

Best running shoes - Reebok Floatride

Admittedly, Reebok is not the first brand that comes to mind when choosing running shoes, but Floatride has the potential to change it.

Considering all aspects of a good running shoe, we give good grade to every single one. Lightness, softness, flexibility, cushioning, stability – Reebok Flotride has it all. A true jack of all trades and… master of none.

Because of its versatility, we recommend Reebok Floatride to beginners and intermediate runners.


Best running shoes in categories:

  • for beginners : Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34
  • for advanced: Nike Zoom Fly
  • racers: adidas adizero Boston 6
  • ultra running: Hoka One One Clayton
  • trail running: Saucony Peregrine 8
  • minimalist: Merrell Vapor Glove 3
  • best budget pick: Kalenji Kiprun Long

Four steps to choosing the best running shoes

1. Where do you run? Road vs trail

When choosing a running shoe, first decide whether you’ll be primarily running on or off-road.

Road running shoes are built to withstand the rigors of running on hard surfaces. Miles of pounding the pavement put your knees and ankles under continuous stress which often results in injuries. It’s better to target running shoes with good cushioning.

Trail running shoes take a step further by providing additional under-foot protection against rocks, as well as enlarged outsoles for increased traction on soft or moving surfaces. Trail shoes might also include additional ankle support to prevent debilitating twists.

2. What support do you need?

There are basically three types of shoe features that we should look at based on our needs:

Cushioning

These shoes are primarily used for road-running or light trail. They provide the maximum protection from road surface but little else. They have minimum arch side or “medial” support and are not recommended for prolonged side-to-side movements or for those runners who over-pronate.

Stability

These shoes include harder, more durable mid-sole posts that discourage over-pronation. They also tend to be more durable and a better choice for long-distance road or trail runners.

Motion Control

These shoes can be a better choice for full-time trail runners, as they often include stiffer heels and straighter lasts (a last is the internal molded plastic form around which a shoe is built).

This provides the ultimate in protection against rocks, roots and uneven surfaces that can damage the foot through the bottom of the shoe. These shoes are the best choice for runners who already over-pronate, or for those wishing to ensure that they do not develop the problem.

3. Check for pronation or supination

Running Shoes for Flat Feet and Overpronation

With low arches or flat feet and overpronation, the runner’s arches collapse when the feet hit the ground. The ankles twist inwards and the balls of the feet take most of the body’s weight. With overpronation, the knees overcompensate for the movement, which can lead to injury. Overpronation can range from mild to severe.

When choosing a running shoe, runners who have flat feet or overpronate should look for shoes that use the terms support, stability, or motion control in their descriptions. These terms are used across brands to describe running shoe categories. All terms address, to a lesser or greater degree, the excessive movement of the foot.

Runners with flat feet might only require support, or added support, in running shoe specs. Mild to moderate pronators should look for stability running shoes, as do many runners with normal arches. Motion control shoes are stability shoes designed for severe overpronators or heavier runners, offering the benefits of stability shoes for these conditions.

Running Shoes for Supination (Underpronation)

With high arches or supination, also called underprontion, the runner’s feet rotate inwards very minimally and the weight of the body stays on the outside edges. This movement is inefficient and causes extra stress on the feet and lower legs. Shin splints and ankle strains are common injuries for supinators.

Runners with high arches or who supinate should look for the terms cushioning and flexibility in running shoe specs. These shoes tend to have extra materials, especially in the heel and forefoot, to help absorb the impact of movement.

To choose the best running shoes for their particularly needs, runners should also visit a specialty running store for a proper fit and shoe advice. Running shoe stores also often offer free running gait analysis that help identify flat feet, overpronation, and supination issues.

Their expertise, and even more so that of a podiatrist or sports medicine specialist, is especially useful for runners new to running, are prone to injury, or those whose running habits have recently changed.

4. Upper construction

Depending on the type of running you do, you might want a shoe constructed of nylon mesh, which provides maximum breathability while reducing weight. This material makes good road-running shoes, but for trail-running you might want a synthetic leather instead.

Synthetic leather seals the shoe from moisture and is abrasion resistant. Some manufacturers combine the two and add more or less of one or the other in order to create various models that perform best under certain conditions.

Whatever your sport, it’s always a good idea to study your habits and then apply that knowledge to make informed purchasing decisions. This is especially important when it comes to footwear, as the right shoes can make or break an outing and even prevent serious injury.


When to replace running shoes?

Athletic shoes take a lot of pounding and are designed for durability. This is one reason why runners sometimes overlook that it is time to replace a pair of worn shoes. It is often hard to think about replacing an expensive pair of shoes when they may still look almost new.

But replacing worn shoes in a timely fashion is the smartest way of preventing running injuries and avoiding being sidelined from any activity for months.

An online article, at the Cleveland Clinic website, “Preventing Running Injuries,” notes that sixty percent of all runners at some time experience a running related injury that is severe enough to force them to miss training. The article goes on to say that many of those injuries occur due to worn-out or improperly matched shoes.

Let’s look at some key indicators that may be saying it is time for buying running shoes again to replace an existing pair of trainers.

Sole Check

Check the soles (bottoms) of shoes for evidence of excessive wear. Soles wear the most at the point where a runner’s foot first strikes the ground. Once that point has developed considerably wear the stability and cushioning of the shoe becomes compromised.

Table Test

The article, “Marathon Training Tips,”, at the Women’s Sport Foundation site, suggests placing running shoes on a table top to check them for excessive wear. While on a level surface, if the shoes tilt noticeable in or out, that is a good indication that they should be replaced.

Mileage

Running shoes stability breaks down with time and use. The Women’s Sport Foundation article notes that modern running shoes are designed to last from between 250 and 500 miles. The mileage varies based on factors like a specific runner’s weight and the surfaces that a runner runs on.

Mileage then is an excellent indicator, especially for experienced runners who tend to buy the same shoe again and again. If experience has shown that a particular model served them well for 300 miles before having to be replaced, then 300 miles on an existing pair is when they should be thinking about buying running shoes again each time in the future.

Pain

While not the preferred method for making the decision to replace worn shoes, pain can be an indicator, especially unusual foot, ankle or knee pain.

Runners who find themselves experiencing pain that is not normal for them after a run and who know they have been running in a pair of shoes for a significant amount of time should consider that a warning. That it is probably time to get new shoes.

Our recommendation

We believe the best overall method for keeping abreast of when shoes need to be replaced is mileage. Once a good benchmark has been established for a preferred brand and model of running shoes as far as how many miles can be reasonably accumulated on them, that data should dictate shoe replacement.

Get in the habit of recording the date running shoes were purchased and recording each mile of use they receive. Putting the information into a running log is the best place to record it for easy reference and updating.

Those who utilize an online running log like that available at the Runner’s World website will find that fields are provided for this very important information to be entered.

Replacing worn running shoes in a timely fashion is one easy way to minimize the chance of unnecessary running injuries and training down time. Shoes do represent a significant investment for runners but it is definitely not the piece of running gear that should be skimped on.

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