If this is your first time buying running shoes, try also our running shoe finder: answer 5 simple questions and we'll recommend a few shoes that can work for you.
Let's start with the best running shoes for most people: these are shoes that received high praise from both our testers, our readers and the running community in general.
Most people will do very well in a neutral shoe, but if you need some stability (like I do) these shoes are trued and tested.
If you already have a daily, high-mileage training shoe and are looking for a lighter, faster option to add to your rotation we recommend you to try these:
These shoes are for runners who look for the most cushioned, soft ride there is.
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.
If you want a more in-depth look at trail running shoes, check our dedicated article.
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.
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.
We are a team of testers with different running experience, body shapes and sizes, individual bio-mechanics. This always updated list is divided into different sections so that every runner can find the best running shoes for them.
Here are a few pointers and definitions to help you choose correctly.
This is based on the concept (lately less popular) that the height and elasticity of your foot arch determines what your shoe should do for you.
Although there is much more to choosing a pair of running shoes than this, most runners will be find in Netrual (cushioning) running shoes. Some runners though (like me) absolutely do need stability in their shoes in order not to get injured.
A running shoe drop, or heel-to-toe offset, is the difference, measured in millimiters (mm) between the height of the shoe sole in the heel area vs the height of the sole in the toe area.
For reference, traditional running shoes usually have an offset (drop) of 12mm. Low drop are considered shoes with a drop between zero (called zero drop) and 4mm. Everything in between is also possible.
The logic is: shoes with a higher heel will favor heel strike during running, while shoes with a zero or low drop will favor a more forefoot or midfoot running gait. It is largely a matter of preference, but running on your toes requires a completely different set of muscle activation and switching from one kind of shoe to the other without proper conditioning and a very gradual approach might result in injury.
In a nutshell minimal vs maximal refers to the amount of cushioning that the shoe gives to the runners.
Starting in 2009, more and more runners have been promoting a barefoot running idea: shoes are bad for you, you should run barefoot or, if that is not possible, with “as little shoe as possible”. Milions of runners made the switch to minimalism and quite a few got injured. As a result, companies came out with running shoes that are lightweight (one of the principles of minimalism) but with very high, soft soles that really cushion the foot.
There is not a right or wrong type of shoe here – it entirely depends on the runner, their style and preferences.
A high price tag is not a guarantee that a shoe is better than another. This said, we always recommend to shop for running shoes that have a recommended retail price of $100 or more.
This does not mean you need to pay more than $100! New versions of running shoes are released every year and – most often than not – changes versus the previous version are small and incremental in nature. This means that instead of buying this year version of a shoe, you can very often buy last year’s model for a fraction of the price, often as low as 50% less.
While the distinction might seem obvious, it’s good to mention some points that differentiate a trail running shoe from a road one.
The last distinction we want to highlight is the difference between high mileage, every day shoes vs shoes for speedwork and racing.
It has become a common practice for runners all over the world to have at least two separate pair of shoes:
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