Why you should trust us

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.

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.

Best Neutral Running Shoes

Let's start with the best neutral running shoes for most people: these are shoes that received high praise from both our testers, our readers and the running community in general.

Asics Gel Cumulus 21 - Lateral Side
The ASICS Gel-Cumulus 21 is a slightly tweaked continuation of a successful line of neutral everyday workhorse shoes. Ideal for heel-striking runners, it is priced well for the technologies packed into the shoe. Read full review »

Pros

  • Durable Outsole and Upper
  • Premium Technologies
  • Useful for almost any run

Cons

  • Stiff and heavy over longer distances
Saucony Triumph ISO 5 - Lateral Side
The Saucony Triumph ISO 5 is a high-cushion, high-mileage trainer that can work for any neutral runner.Overall, this is again one of my favorite shoes of the year. The combination of technologies and the superior offering that Saucony put out there more than make up for the high price tag. Read full review »

Pros

  • Incredible cushion
  • Good support on the upper
  • Great construction
  • Good traction on multiple surfaces
  • Lots of energy return

Cons

  • A little heavy
The Nike Pegasus 36 is Nike's newest update of the always popular Pegasus shoe line. This budget friendly shoe features some key updates while maintaining the quick feel that has made the Pegasus line so popular. This shoe has the perfect combination of cushioning and responsiveness. Read full review »

Pros

  • Snug and modern fitting upper
  • Great rubber coverage on outsole
  • Simple upper reduces chances of chafing

Cons

  • Similar design and cost to the previous model
  • Fabric folds around the heel in an odd way

Best Support (Stability) Running Shoes

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.

We also have a dedicated stability runnings shoes buying guide that you should absolutely read if you need some support while you run!

Saucony Guide ISO 2 - Lateral Side
If you are looking for a mid stability trainer to take you on your training journey for that next big race, I suggest the Guide Iso 2. They would make the trip enjoyable, from your first step to when you cross the finish line. Read full review »

Pros

  • Incredibly Smooth and Natural Ride
  • ISOFIT upper
  • EVERUN topsple

Cons

  • Lack of Breathability
I loved running in the Mizuno Wave Inspire and I don't plan to stop doing so any time soon. Very comfortable shoe for my flat foot, nicely cushioned but responsive thanks to the wave plate. Feels lighter than it is. 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.
Hoka One One Gaviota 2 - Lateral Side
The Hoka One One Gaviota 2 is a max-cushioned stability shoe built for many miles. The cushioning is plush yet responsive with a smooth ride that is worth the substantial price tag. Read full review »

Pros

  • Max Cushioning that is both lightweight and responsive
  • Stable ride
  • Visual redesign makes it more appealing

Cons

  • Narrow in areas
  • Sluggish on speed work and tempo runs

Best Fast Training Running Shoes

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 shoes.

They are also very popular options for marathon race day.

New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon - Pair
The New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon is a lightweight daily trainer that is softer than other Fresh Foam shoe options. It can be a versatile shoe and is one of the best New Balance releases in years. Read full review »

Pros

  • Very light with a ton of cushioning
  • Soft cushioning that has a touch of responsiveness
  • All-knit comfortable upper

Cons

  • Exposed foam will limit durability, but not by much
Asics Gel DS Trainer 24 - Top
The ASICS Gel DS Trainer combines a snug, supportive upper fit with a no-nonsense midsole that provides support with a stiff midfoot and medium-low internal arch. The outsole is superb: best grip I’ve come across in a road shoe, yet it’s simple and light! Read full review »

Pros

  • Light and Snappy Ride
  • Snug fit: supportive heel through midfoot, soft toebox
  • Responsive and Durable
  • Grip Grip Grip Grip Grip Grip Grip: Clingy-grip outsole

Cons

  • Not very breathable
Saucony Kinvara 10 - Lateral Side
Kinvara is possibly Saucony's most successful shoe, used by many to train and race marathons. A low weight and low heel drop will push you to your toes and increase your tempo. 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

Best Maximal Cushion Running Shoes

Up to a few years ago, shoes with a lot of cushioning were also usually heavy. Luckily technology has made tremendous leap in the past few years and now you can have extremely soft cushioning in shoes that are not much heavier than normal trainer.

These shoes are for runners who look for the most cushioned, soft ride there is.

Hoka One One Clifton 5_Pair
A shoe that managed to grow a very loyal fan base in just a few years, the Clifton surprises people for its light weight and amazing cushioning. Read full review »

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Smooth Ride
  • Breathability

Cons

Altra Paradigm 4.0 - Lateral Side
If you are not afraid of a zero-drop, the Altra Paradigm 4.0 is an ultra-cushioned daily trainer that is ready to tackle the high miles while providing a zero-drop set up. With lots of top-level technologies, you'll pay for the plush shoe. Read full review »

Pros

  • Tons of cushion
  • Super wide toe box
  • Light weight for the cushion
  • Good energy return
  • Soft, breathable upper

Cons

  • Slightly tight on the midfoot
  • Zero-drop takes getting used to
Saucony Triumph ISO 5 - Lateral Side
The Saucony Triumph is a top-of-the-line trainer that can log tons of miles and just keep going. I put over 100 miles on these shoes prior to finalizing my review, and they were great from mile one. Sacuony has created a truly great shoe, and one I will happily continue wearing past this review. Read full review »

Pros

  • Incredible cushion
  • Good support on the upper
  • Great construction
  • Good traction on multiple surfaces
  • Lots of energy return

Cons

  • A little heavy

Best Running Shoes for Marathon Racing

If you are ready to lace up for race day, here are the shoes we recommend.
Most people will be fine using their training shoe for the race. But if you are a competitor you might want something lighter and more responsive.

Here are a few options, but if you want more choice, please check our marathon-specific selection that goes into detail separating suggestions based on your speed, training shoes vs race-day shoes and more!

New Balance Zante Pursuit - Pair
The Zante returns with a list of improvements from its predecessors. The shoe has a lot of the same attributes that made it a solid daily performance shoe but is definitely more attractive than ever. Read full review »

Pros

  • Outstanding Upper
  • Fresh Foam Cushioning
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • None
Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit - Pair
If you are competing for the podium, the Zoom Fly are amongst the best marathon racing shoes that still will fit most people. The Zoom Fly Flyknit is the more affordable version of the Zoom Vaporfly 4% and is a serious contender for best value for performance marathon shoe ever. Read full review »

Pros

  • Extremely responsive carbon fiber midsole
  • Improved durable upper
  • Optimized racing design

Cons

  • Pricy for what’s supposed to be primarily a racing shoe
  • Thin pull tab for the heel, would like to see something easier to use
Adidas Adizero Adios 4 - Lateral Side
Much like previous versions the Adidas Adios Boost 4 is built for speed and racing. Updates to the fit from previous versions make the shoe more comfortable while maintaining the performance driven Boost midsole. Read full review »

Pros

  • Lightweight and Fast
  • Updated upper from previous version
  • Durability

Cons

  • Tight fitting
  • Limited Colorways

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.

If you want a more in-depth look at trail running shoes, check our dedicated article, where you'll find different options based on the kind of terrain you plan to run on.

Hoka One One Speedgoat 3 - Lateral Side
The Speedgoat 3 is for anyone from beginner to experienced on the trail looking to go the distance. This shoe is great for anyone who is prone to lower body injuries or early fatigue during the long runs. This shoe is not only capable of going the distance it can cruise over all types of terrain. Read full review »

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Goes the distance
  • Legs and feet never felt trashed

Cons

  • Grip on concrete or asphalt makes it impossible to run on
Saucony Peregrine ISO - Lateral Side
The new Saucony Peregrine ISO is the continuation of a trail shoe that performs well for most trail runners. It has been updated to provide more cushioning but retains the same reliable comfort and performance. Read full review »

Pros

  • Good option for most trail runners
  • Grippy when it needs to be
  • Builds on the model's long line of success
  • Decent responsiveness

Cons

  • May struggle with mud and other tough elements
  • A toe guard would add an extra layer of security
Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 5 - Lateral Side
Featuring Nike’s seamless Flymesh/ Flywire upper the Terra Kiger is one of the best fitting shoes on the market. An innovative Mono-Wrap tongue wraps around the midfoot to provide protection from debris and a very secure fit. Read full review »

Pros

  • Fast and quick
  • Comfortable, secure fit
  • More responsive than past models
  • Upgrades from previous model work well

Cons

  • Does not handle mud well
  • Rocky terrain can be a challenge

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.

Here's a more extensive guide on affordable running shoes.

Saucony Cohesion 12 - Lateral Side
The Saucony Cohesion is our favorite low-budget running shoe. It looks great, it has no bells and whistles or the latest Saucony technology but still manages to provide a comfortable, cushioned run weighting less than 10 ounces. Definitely recommended as a no-nonsense running shoe for daily training Read full review »

Pros

  • Plenty of cushion
  • Upper has good support
  • Easy shoe in which to log the miles
  • Incredible value for price

Cons

  • Lacks responsiveness
  • Forefoot slightly narrow
  • Outsole lacked grip on wet/slick surfaces
Asics Gel Flux 5 - Pair
The Asics Gel-Flux 5 brings a total redesign to the Gel-Flux series, including the signature GEL rearfoot cushioning system and guidance systems in the midsole. The shoe competes as a daily trainer in the affordable price point category. Read full review »

Pros

  • Style and material upgrades
  • Solid fit with no hot spots

Cons

  • Odd material choices on sidewall
New Balance FuelCore Coast v4 - Pair
The fourth version of the New Balance Fuelcore Coast features a low-profile, lightweight design that makes it an ideal entry-level trainer for daily use.

This budget-friendly, stylish shoe easily transitions from a workout to casual streetwear. Read full review »

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Soft
  • Responsive
  • Affordable
  • Adequate toe box

Cons

  • Runs one size large
  • Difficult to tighten lacing for a snug fit
  • Smooth outsole is slippery on wet surfaces

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.

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.

Neutral (or cushioning) running shoes vs stability (or support)

Traditionally, all running shoes are divided into Neutral running shoes or Stability running shoes.

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.

  • Runners with high arches don’t amortise the shock of impact with the ground enough, therefore needing shoes with extra cushioning
  • Runners with low or flat arches have their arch collapse under the impact resulting in mis-alignment of the running gait, therefore needing shoes that correct this issue

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.

Low drop or zero drop running shoes

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.

Minimal vs maximal running shoes

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.

Premium running shoes vs cheap running shoes

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.

Trail running shoes vs road running shoes

While the distinction might seem obvious, it’s good to mention some points that differentiate a trail running shoe from a road one.

  • Trail-specific outsoles: the bottom of a trail running shoe usually has a layer of very grippy rubber to avoid slipping over ice, rocks or wet pavement. The shoe will often present aggressively designed lugs to maintain traction in grass, mud or gravel.
  • Rock plates: some trail shoes ahve rigid inserts that protect the foot from sharp rocks or stone bruises. This makes the shoe stiffer, but this protection is mandatory on certain kind of terrain
  • Protective toe bumper: similar to the rock plate, most trail shoes have hardened toe areas to protect your toes from the damage caused by, for example, kicking a rock
  • Weather resistant uppers: very often trail running shoes have water resistant upper, higher collars or special lacing systems that help keeping water, mud or small rocks outside of the shoe.

Daily training running shoes vs racing/speedwork running shoes

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:

  • A pair of traditional, highly cushioned and comfortable running shoes in which they log the majority of their training mileage. These shoes are usually heavier and with a high drop.
  • A pair of lightweight, low drop shoes to be used when they train at slower distances and higher paces. Or on race day.

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