Last updated: April 2017.
Instead of releasing a new best list every few months and leaving possibly a trail of old, out-dated lists out there – we will periodically update this article whenever we feel a new running shoe deserves a spot in here. Make sure to check the date of last update to make sure you are reading an updated one!
What are the best running shoes?
Possibly the most asked questions by our readers and any person who knows I run this site, “what are the best running shoes” is not an easy question to answer!
Running shoes are a very personal matter. So personal in fact that a recent medical research established that comfort and fit are the most important matter while selecting a running shoe in terms of minimizing the risk of injury.
For this reason, it is impossible to make a list that will be valid for everyone. Don’t worry though – for each shoe we selected, we will explain why and who we recommend them for.
Best Neutral (Cushioning) Running Shoes
The neutral category is the bread and butter of the running shoe world. If you have never bought a running shoe before, trying one of these three is a good bet.
$120 - The Saucony Ride 9 is a neutral trainer, designed to be durable and perform well while running on road and track surfaces. With the large amount of cushioning and ample use of rubber combined with a relatively low weight, the Ride 9s could be considered a racing shoe for distances over 10km.
$140 - Newest introduction to the Asics family, the DynaFlyte is a premium well cushioned neutral shoe. It is the first Asics shoe to utilize the FlyteFoam derived from the ultra-expensive MetaRun and makes for a fantastic shoe, although on the expensive side compared to the competition.
Best Support (Stability) Running Shoes
Although the effectiveness of Stability shoes has been put to test in the past few years, there is a large part of the running population that does indeed need added support. I am one of them!
Best Maximal Running Shoes
After the minimalist boom that started in 2009 and collapsed a couple of years ago, new brands (I am thinking of Hoka ONE ONE) came with a new proposition.
What if instead of shoes with extremely low stack heights we went the opposite direction and created extremely high, super-soft shoes?
$140 - The combination of a soft midsole and a very comfortable upper with the ability to lock down the fit are what make this shoe really great. It provides great responsiveness and ground feel compared to a lot of shoes in its category. It could easily be used as a multipurpose shoe for training and racing for those preferring cushion over lightweight.
$130 - This for runners looking for maximal cushioning but still needing stability. HOKA ONE ONE has expanded its well-cushioned line by introducing its first stability shoe, the Arahi, which offers a fabulous combination of support and stability fused with lightweight cushion, with an upper fit that is very similar to what I've experienced previously from HOKA.
Best Lightweight Neutral Running Shoes
Although minimalist running shoes have gone as fast as they arrived – they changed running shoe design forever. Runners now expect light weight from every kind of shoe, they appreciate lower drops and value the need for more than one pair of running shoes in their rotation.
Here are a few shoes that weight little and feel fast.
$110 - The Kinvara 8 is substantially similar to the 7 and retains the significant changes in outsole, upper, and midsole that debuted in last year’s shoe. However, updates to version 8 include two key improvements that take the shoe to the next level: a wider toe-box and softer ride. This version undoubtedly lives up to the cult-status of the Kinvara.
Best Lightweight Support Shoes
Support running shoes have historically been the heaviest of the bunch. But we see every year new models added to the “lightweight stability” category.
Best Trail Running Shoes
Trail Running is quite a generic term that includes running over a variety of terrains, inclines and mileage. We believe the shoes listed below offer a good choice for all your trail running needs.
$120 - If you are looking for an introduction to trail running, the Speed Instinct is what we call a road/trail hybrid. Comfortable enough to run on pavement, but rugged enough to take you through some non-technical trails. Combine this with very light weight, low stack height and a stable base and you have found your very first trail running shoe.
Altra Lone Peak 3.0
$120 - The Lone Peak 3.0 improves over already incredibly successful 2.0 and 2.5 - Liked for the zero drop, toebox design that allows for maximum toe spread and a particularly grippy outsole, it is a shoe we recommend to all kind of trail runners, but particularly for ultra runners for 50 milers and up.
New Balance Vazee Summit
$100 - Ready for running on challenging terrains thanks to very aggressive lug pattern and a 3/4 rock plate, the Summit sports a no-sew upper that is quite flexible and quite low weigth. Couple all this with a $100 price-point and we can see this shoe be very successful for NB going forward.
Best Cheap Running Shoes
Although our recommendation is to buy a previous version of a current running shoe (you can easily find last year’s version of a shoe for up to 40% discount, scoring you a $100 shoe for $60), some of the running shoes in the $60-$80 range are actually quite good.
Here are our favorites, and watch this video to let Frank explain to you why you shouldn’t buy EXTREMELY cheap running shoes.
Saucony Cohesion 10
$60 - The Cohesion continues its tradition of being an amazing value for its money. It's a very versatile choice for daily use and our main recommendation if you are looking for a good running shoe on a budget. It also comes in a wide version.
New Balance 560v6
$60 - A very traditional but solid entry-level running shoe from New Balance. Ideal for runners training for their first 5k.
Asics Gel-Contend 4
$60 - The Asics Gel Contend is a budget shoe that offers a cushioned ride in an inexpensive package. This focus on cushioning makes the shoe slightly heavier than similar models, but does not take away from the overall great performance of the shoe.
What do you think? Do you agree with our selection? You don’t ? Leave a comment and let us know why!