Home Guides The Best Running Shoes of 2020

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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.

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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.

The Brooks Ghost 12 is reliable as ever as a daily trainer and long-run shoe that will deliver a plush, smooth ride mile after mile. Ghost loyalists will be pleased to discover that the 12th edition is substantially similar to the Ghost 11 with only a couple of updates.Perhaps the most noticeable difference is an aesthetic update to the shoe’s upper which uses 3D printed overlays on an engineered mesh to provide the soft, but secure fit that the Brooks Ghost is known for. 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)
The ASICS Gel Nimbus 22 is hands down my favorite running shoe. The ASICS Gel Nimbus 22 offers a smooth run that offers a great deal of not only comfort but also boasts increased flexibly and comfort over previous models. Read full review »

Pros

  • Comfort of the ASICS Gel Nimbus 22 far exceeds its competitors
  • The responsiveness of the ASICS Gel Nimbus 22 and the overall cushioning leads to comfort
  • The ASICS Gel Nimbus 22 offers a stable and steady feel

Cons

  • The cost is on the high end for a pair of running shoes
The Nike Pegasus 37 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

  • Versatile consistent cushion for long runs, tempos and intervals.
  • Durable midsole and outsole capable of withstanding many miles.
  • Comfortable lightweight upper.

Cons

  • Heel counter lacks support causing heel slippage.
  • Forefoot fit is a bit narrow.

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!

The redesigned and rebuilt Saucony Guide 13 is an exceptional everyday moderate stability trainer. The additions of PWRRUN cushioning and a new upper turned a great stability trainer into one of the best. Read full review »

Pros

  • PWRRUN Midsole
  • FORMFIT Upper
  • Natural Ride

Cons

  • Breathability
  • Longer break in and adjustment period
The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20 offers a supportive yet springy ride as all design components work together to cup the heal with a gentle hug, which transitions smoothly into a solid toe-off.

Minor changes to the base and added medial support strips to an overall slimmed-down upper mean this Go-To-Shoe just keeps getting better! Read full review »

Pros

  • Sturdy shoe with superb heel support
  • Comfortable with springy toe off
  • Appealing design

Cons

  • Fit loosens slightly miles into the run
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.

The Nike Pegasus Turbo 2 is here to rock your workout and push you to long distance racing PRs.

The best in Nike’s foam technology doesn’t come cheap though, so it’s best appreciated by serious runners and by those who are chasing marginal gains. Read full review »

Pros

  • Efficient ZoomX foam
  • Redesigned thin and light upper
  • Highly breathable upper

Cons

  • 50% more expensive than the regular Pegasus model
  • Limited upper durability
The New Balance 890 got a complete makeover for its 8th birthday. The lightweight mid-distance shoe now features a full-length FuelCell midsole and expanded blown-rubber coverage on the outsold for improved traction.
The shoe is firm, but not hard. It performs best on pavement during up-tempo thresholds or fartleks over moderate distance (5-8miles).
As an added bonus, this sleek and stylish shoe can easily transition from a workout to trendy streetwear. Read full review »

Pros

  • Sleek, edgy aesthetics
  • Snug, sock-like fit
  • Lightweight
  • Quick heel-toe transition

Cons

  • Somewhat stiff
  • High arch
  • Narrow toe box
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
  • Cushioned, yet responsive
  • Versatile
  • Smooth heel-to-toe transition
  • Consistent ride to previous models

Cons

  • Lack of traction on wet surfaces
  • Short laces

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.

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

  • Smooth Ride
  • Improved Durability
  • Upgraded Mesh Material

Cons

  • N/A
The New Balance Fresh Foam More v2 is super plush runner that offers a lot of features you want in a daily and high-mileage trainer. The ride is soft and quick. Read full review »

Pros

  • Tons of cushion
  • Responsive ride
  • Supremely comfortable upper
  • Wide toebox design
  • Light for the amount of cushion

Cons

  • Outsole shows wear quickly
  • The price tag
The Hoka One One Rincon quickly became one of my favorite long-run shoes. The combination of lightweight while also providing such over-the-top cushion is truly a joy for the long run. Read full review »

Pros

  • Tons of cushion
  • Responsive
  • Comfortable upper
  • Super lightweight
  • Lots of ventilation through the upper and tongue

Cons

  • Slightly tight on a wide foot
  • A little slippery on slick surfaces

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!

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 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

  • 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
The Saucony Kinvara 11 feels similar to last year’s Kinvara 10 and retains many of the improvements that occurred as part of the shoe’s ten-year overhaul.

The ride and soft responsiveness remain the same with the addition of a new midsole foam and a few premium details to the upper.

Also noticeable, is what Saucony eliminated from this model to continue streamlining the functionality of the Kinvara as a performance shoe.

Updates include removal of the center shoe-lace eyelet closest to the toes, removal of the one-hit wonder “Achilles Pillows,” and slight modification to the mold of the outsole.

All in all, loyal Kinvarans will continue to enjoy the lightweight and highly-responsive ride that make this shoe the perfect daily trainer and marathon race shoe. Read full review »

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Cushioned, yet responsive
  • Versatile
  • Smooth heel-to-toe transition
  • Consistent ride to previous models

Cons

  • Lack of traction on wet surfaces
  • Short laces
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.

The Nike Terra Kiger 6 is a slick, fast trail shoe that offers only mild updates from its predecessor.

That’s not a bad thing, however, as the Kiger 5 is among the best trail shoes that I have tested and reviewed. Read full review »

Pros

  • Fast and quick
  • Comfortable
  • Solid protection
  • No detrimental changes from the Kiger 5

Cons

  • Not a good shoe for running in muddy conditions
  • Does not handle rocky terrain well
The Salomon X Alpine is built for adventure. The shoes provide amazing protection from even the most challenging of escapades on mountains, technical trails or wherever your journey takes you. Read full review »

Pros

  • Superior protection
  • Traction built for any type of trail challenge
  • More flexible than other Salomon shoes

Cons

  • Very firm, takes time to break in
  • Lacks comfort
  • Price point may be an issue to some
The Asics Gel FujiTrabuco 7 has been a great trail shoe considering the heaviness of the shoe. These shoes have held up on various types of terrain from grassy to technical inclines and descents on rocks and roots.

You need to run long, these shoes will get you through. I do some cross over training from road to trail in order to get from one trail to the other and these shoes worked great between the trail transitions. Read full review »

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Great traction
  • Fit of the shoe

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Lack of flexibility

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's a more extensive guide on affordable running shoes. includes video

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
The Nike Revolution 5 is a good all-round shoe that looks good and will see you well through shorter, dry weather runs and a variety of indoor gym classes and workouts. Read full review »

Pros

  • Low Price
  • Stylish Minimalist Design
  • Good for gym workouts and classes

Cons

  • Weak heel counter
  • Thin upper means feet get wet very easily
The Asics GEL-Excite 7 follows in the footsteps of the previous successful six shoes on the Excite line created to bring value and comfort. The use of GEL cushioning with AMPLIFOAM ensures a comfortable fit for most. Read full review »

Pros

  • Inexpensive platform for Asics Gel technology
  • Reliable layout based on successful platform
  • AMPLIFOAM midsole better than regular EVA foam

Cons

  • Somewhat stiff ride
  • Not too different from previous model

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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