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We purchase all the shoes we review at retail with our own money, then we run in them for at least 50 miles. We don't receive free samples from companies and provide only expert, unbiased opinions.

While the marathon racing distance is the same for everybody (26.2 miles), rarely we see a sporting event where the levels and expectations are so varied among its participants.

For this reason, there is not a single best marathon shoes that will work for everyone.

We split our recommendation in three main sections:

  • First time marathoners
  • Runners trying to improve their PB
  • Competitors

First Time Marathon Runners - Neutral Shoes

If this is your first Marathon, it’s possible that your race day will be the day where you run the most miles. For this reason, we recommend to use a shoe with enough cushioning to take you comfortably to the finish line. Your objective is not to run fast, but to run long.

One recommendation is to race with the same shoe you used for your long training runs . You’ll be familiar with a shoe that served you well while racking up miles and you’ll have no surprises on race day.

The Brooks Ghost represents a “Go-To” shoe for many runners. It is a reliable neutral runner with ample cushion for most distances while staying lighter weight and responsive enough to pick up the pace. Read full review »

Pros

  • Supremely cushioned and soft ride.
  • Highly durable shoe that will easily last 400+ miles.
  • Secure upper flexes flawlessly with the movement of the foot.
  • Excellent outsole grip.

Cons

  • Unstable on uneven surfaces due to high stack height.
  • Pricey (but durable)
Another staple shoe of Marathon training is the Asics Nimbus. Offering a very comfortable upper and soft, reliable cushioning, the Nimbus surely has taken many thousands of marathon runners to their first finish line. Read full review »

Pros

  • The cushion is soft yet springy
  • They can log a lot of miles and stay comfortable
  • The upper has been redesigned and is much roomier
  • The traction is surprisingly grippy

Cons

  • The upper is a little porous in wet conditions
  • The cushion can sometimes be too much (especially on hard heel landings)
New Balance 1080v9 - Lateral Side
The New Balance 1080v9 is a high cushioned trainer that offers a lot technologies. You'll pay for them, but this cushioned shoe will also let you up the pace and get going in your training and racing. Read full review »

Pros

  • Lots of cushion
  • Very responsive
  • Upturned toebox helps stride transition
  • Upper is supremely comfortable
  • Breathable upper without openings for dirt

Cons

  • Heel a little loose
  • Foam firms up in cold weather

First Time Marathon Runners - Support Shoes

These are our favorite long-distance support shoes that can double for marathon training and racing.

Asics Gel Kayano 26 - Lateral Side
The Kayano is Asics' premium support shoe. Similar to the Nimubs, if offers soft cushioning and a premium, comfortable upper while providing a lot of stability. Read full review »

Pros

  • Exoskeletal Heel Counter
  • FlyteFoam Propel Cushioning
  • Smooth Heel/Midsole strike to toe off

Cons

  • Price Tag
  • Cushioning is unforgiving the longer the distance
The Mizuno Wave Inspire has enough cushioning to take you through your training and your race. It's a snappy, responsive shoe even though it provides a lot of cushioning - especially under the heel. With a very breathable and comfortable upper, it will be on your feet for hours without annoying you. Read full review »

Pros

  • Incredibly comfortable and versatile ride.
  • Remarkably durable.
  • Wave plate and midsole compounds give a nice amount of stability and support.

Cons

  • Long break-in period.
  • Looks and feels bulky.

Runners trying to beat their PR - Neutral Shoes

These shoes are (generally) lighter, lower to the ground and with a lower heel drop. They could be your daily training shoes if you are particularly light or efficient, but work great as a race day shoe for runners who usually run in “more” shoe.

Saucony Kinvara 10 - Lateral Side
These shoes are (generally) lighter, lower to the ground and with a lower heel drop. They could be your daily training shoes if you are particularly light or efficient, but work great as a race day shoe for runners who usually run in “more” shoe. Read full review »

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Highly responsive ride
  • Supremely comfortable
  • Versatile
  • Smooth heel-to-toe transition

Cons

  • Unnecessary addition of Achilles “pillows” that don’t improve the feel or fit of the upper
  • Lack of forefoot traction on wet surfaces
New Balance 890v6 - Pair
The 890 continues to be the perfect blend of breathable and pliable upper materials, lightweight and responsive midsole foams, and a simple yet effective fit and construction. Read full review »

Pros

  • Engineered mesh upper that has excellent, comfort, breathability, and durability.
  • New last improves the fit from previous versions.
  • RevLite foam midsole material

Cons

  • Heavier than previous version.

Runners trying to beat their PR - Support Shoes

Here are fast options for runners who need support.

Adidas Adizero Tempo 9 - Medial Side
The adidas Adizero Tempo 9 is a shoe that was meant for support during fast days and race day. Read full review »

Pros

  • Lightweight with stability features
  • Streamlined design
  • Durable, responsive sole unit
  • Excellent cushion with maintained road feel
  • Breathable

Cons

  • Upper fit could be more secure (but that's being picky, and its lack aids the light ride)
Saucony Liberty ISO 2 - Lateral Side
The Saucony LIberty ISO 2 packs a punch with a dash of support. While pricey, it is built for the long run with a sturdy construction. Read full review »

Pros

  • Fast ride with a dash of support.
  • Redone comfortable knit upper.
  • Sturdy outsole that complements an explosive midsole.

Cons

  • Weak insole construction.
  • Price.

Competitors

Are you trying to break under 3 hours or are you trying to get as close as 2 hours as possible? These are the shoes that can help you get there.

Nike Zoom Fly 3 - Lateral Side
Nike took the world by surprise recently with their near miss breaking 2:00:00 in the marathon with their Breaking2 project. The Zoom Fly is the more affordable version of the Zoom Vaporfly 4% that came out of the Breaking2 research and the Zoom Fly is a serious contender for best value for perform Read full review »

Pros

  • Carbon Fiber Plate Midsole is Responsive and Fast
  • Improved Outsole Durability and Traction from Zoom Fly Flyknit
  • VaporWeave Upper Material
  • Cheaper and More Durable than Higher-End Options

Cons

  • Internal Bootie on Upper Seems Unnecessary
  • Expensive for an Affordable Option
Adidas Adizero Boston 7 - Pair
The Boston 7 is a solid racing or up-tempo training shoe with a superb fit and faster transition, smooth for those runners needing a little extra stability during races especially marathons. Read full review »

Pros

  • Lightweight trainer racer
  • Comfortable and breathable mesh upper
  • Smooth ride and transition

Cons

  • Lack some responsiveness.
New Balance 1400v6 - Pair
A return to racing form for New Balance, the 1400 is one of the best marathon day shoes out there and a great companion for the NB 890. Read full review »

Pros

  • Lightweight and nimble.
  • Revlite midsole foam provides a responsive smooth ride.
  • Newly constructed upper is highly breathable and comfortable.
  • Simple and effective traction
  • Great price point.

Cons

  • Not available in wider widths.

So, here they are, our favourite Marathon shoes.

Have you run or plan to race your Marathon in one of those? Let us know what you think! Are there shoes that we forgot? Let us know!

Enjoy your marathon training!


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