As the workout trends continue to come and go, one thing remains constant – nothing beats a good, old fashioned run. But before you hit the pavement, it’s important to understand just how crucial the right pair of runners is to your regimen. Sure investing in quality gear across the board is important, but when it comes to running, a shoddy pair of shoes can do real damage to your body. Stress fractures in your feet, worn down hips, and painful knees are all things that you can easily avoid as long as you do a little research before you start racking up the miles.
Racking up the miles is exactly what a good pair of shoes will help you do. Instead of worrying about new weird pains, a good pair of runners will let you focus on pushing yourself to the top of what you are capable of. Not only will you be a more capable runner – but you’ll be a happier one, too. Take a scroll through our list of the 20 best men’s running shoes and see for yourself what some of the best of what the running world has to offer in trail, training, casual, and racing shoes.
Puma Speed 300 Ignite
Weight: 8.2 ounces
Designed to be among the fastest running shoes on the market, this shoe boasts a dual layer midsole with a proprietary IGNITE foam that provides serious energy return with each foot-strike. A seamless upper, lace closures, and molded OrthoLite sockliner make this ideal for runners looking for a go-to shoe for that upcoming 5 or 10k. Due to the fact that this is a racing shoe, it doesn’t have quite as much cushioning as other longer distance shoes do, so maybe not the right pick if you are training for a marathon.
Saucony Hurricane ISO2
Weight: 10.8 ounces
Made for the folks who look forward to those early Saturday morning runs that just keep going, these pair of kicks are designed to keep going as long as you want. Named editor’s choice by Runner’s magazine, they offer serious cushioning and stability thanks to the Injection Blown Rubber mid and Tri-Flex outsole that allow for great pressure distribution and propulsion off of the toe. An upper constructed from ISOFIT, makes for a sock-like feel that won’t compress your foot as that early run goes into the late morning.
New Balance Vazee Pace
Weight: 7.5 ounces
Despite all the attention we pay to our shoes, what we really want to do once we throw them on is to totally forget about them and focus on what got us out the door in the first place: the fun and challenge of running. These trainers do just that thanks to their lightweight construction and highly engineered mid and outsole. Like a whole lot of runners out there today – these have an upper that wraps snugly over the top of your foot, while the REVlite foam provides a pop with each footstrike. To top it all off, these look pretty damn nice, which can be a rarity when it comes to running shoes.
Brooks Ghost 8
Weight: 10.3 ounces
Within the past five or so years, seams have just about been abandoned by shoe makers. For some folks it has been an issue of fashion – seamless uppers just look better, but for a brand like Brooks it’s been an issue of fit and performance. That is why their newest model of the Ghost has a snug sock-like upper to go with its full length segmented crash pad that makes running longer distances a no-brainer. Whether you are taking that long run out on the trail or over some asphalt – the BioMoGo midsole will adapt to the terrain to provide you with weapons-grade cushioning.
Under Armour Speedform Apollo 2
Weight: 8.0 ounces
It’s still hard not to be a little amazed at how far this brand has come. Starting in 1996 they were the David to the Goliath that was (and is) brands like Nike and Adidas. Slowly but surely making their way into the athletic market by providing superior tech – an approach they still apply to products like their running shoes. These pair boast a dual layer midsole that uses two pieces of tech – a charged cushioning layer on top of Micro G foam. Together they mitigate shock and provide for small explosions of responsiveness with each foot-strike. That engineering combined with an ultra breathable upper with welded seams makes this a great pair for everyday runs.
New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V2
Weight: 8.6 ounces
If a shoe has the word ‘Foam’ in the title, you can probably infer what the main goal of the manufacturer was when engineering this. Yeah, you guessed it – comfort and cushioning. A welded mesh upper makes for a well ventilated pair of feet on those hot summer runs while the blown rubber outsole can keep you going down streets and up steep hills.
Vasque Pendulum II
Weight: 10.2 ounces
Not everyone is in love with a fully cushioned shoe, and then not everyone is looking for a slim shoe for trying to beat your last 10k time. This pair from Vasque is for the trail runner who falls in both of those camps. With deeper lugs on the outsole for solid footing on loose terrain and a Dual Density EVA midsole for just the right amount of cushion – these are designed for heading out deep into the backwoods. Perfect for summer, the Air Mesh synthetic upper provides for a whole lot of breathability even when the sun giving you all its got.
ASICS Gel Nimbus 17
You gotta hand it to the people who work in the marketing departments at these brands. What runner doesn’t want to slip on a pair shoes that have a ‘Gel’ support system? Of course, the stalwart running brand Asics has much more to offer than well named proprietary tech. If you have any doubt that, just look at these pair of runners. All the components that have been packed into this shoe are intended to allow overpronators to get the most out of their runs. A Fluidride midsole finds that perfect balance between cushioning and bounce-back while the seamless upper makes for a breathable and glove-like fit.
Altra Lone Peak 2.0 Polartec
Weight: 11.8 ounces
If your runs take you through rugged backcountry trails, through tough weather, and muddy patches of road, then you should seriously consider this runner. Equipped with a Polartec Neoshell that protects from water while still allowing for breathability, runners can have the best of both worlds. In addition to the solid protection from weather – the tough lugs on the outsole provide for a non-slip grip and the StoneGuard keeps debris on the trail from making its way into your shoes so you can focus on getting the miles instead of getting twigs out of your kicks.
Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 Running Shoe
Weight: 10.6 ounces
Finding that fine line between the right amount of support and a pair of shoes that are light enough for you to totally forget about them can be hard, but this pair strikes right in the middle. The Wave Inspire employs a whole lot of tech that makes it perfect for the everyday runner looking for a moderately supportive shoe. A U4ic mid makes for supreme shock attenuation, while a thin but snug mesh upper keeps a close fit on your foot without strangling it.
Asics Gel Cumulus 18
Weight: 11.4 ounces
If the name gives you any indication – running with these on is like taking an extended jaunt on some puffy clouds. Designed for use by those with a neutral stride, the shoe employs an Impact Guidance System that helps keep the foot in a natural stride while the FluidRide makes for a smooth but powerful bounce back after each footfall.
Nike Free Run Distance
Weight: 8.8 ounces
Before saying too much else, don’t these runners look great? If there is one thing that Nike will never fall behind on – it is the attractive design on their runners. Much more than just their pretty face, this pair of distance runners boasts some brand new engineering from the athletic apparel giant. A hexagonal cut design in the outsole makes for a naturally responsive feel while the Lunarlon cushioning system keeps you on the road for miles. With a Flyknit upper and Flywire cables for the lace loops – the shoe is not just responsive and cushioned – but incredibly light and breathable.
Merrell All Out Terra Ice
Weight: 12 ounces
Tungsten carbide spikes? Check. Waterproof upper? Check. Removable insole? Yup. Made from one of the best hiking boot manufacturers on the market, these running shoes with rugged Vibram outsoles are more than capable of taking on whatever you may come across on the winter trail. Icy terrain, snowy paths, and loose gravel suddenly become no big deal once you lace these up and start jogging out into the backwoods. Don’t let an harsh weather conditions stop you from doing what you love.
The North Face Ultra MT
Weight: 9.7 ounces
If you are looking for a dry weather trail shoe for conquering the backcountry, it makes sense to look to one of the most well respected outdoor outfitters. Equipped with a Vibram Megagrip outsole for serious traction in even the sketchiest terrain, you’ll be able to jam up steep inclines and truck through muddy patches without worrying. In order to keep your feet well ventilated, the folks at North Face equipped these shoes with a FlashDry collar for moisture wicking and a ripstop mesh upper.
Mizuno Wave Enigma 5
If you are putting in serious miles, then you are going to need serious cushioning. Too little support can mean pain in your hips, feet, and knees – and no, we’re not talking about the good kind of ‘burning’ pain. Mizuno’s Enigma 5 combines two different types of foam in their midsole, their U4ic X for impact protection, and U4ic for a responsive feel while running. In addition to all of the plush cushioning, the ultra light and flexible upper provides a close fit that helps ventilate and keep the shoe snug to your foot. In short, if you want to know what running on clouds feels like pick yourself up a pair of these.
Salomon Sonic Pro
Weight: 8.6 ounces
For the runner who wants to feel the road with every step but wants to avoid jarring their knees and hips with every footstrike, there are only a few pairs of shoes out there for them to choose from. Salomon produces one of those pairs. Their fluid and extremely light Sonic Pro provides what they call a ‘3D ride’ that gives you a live response throughout the footbed while providing serious rebound and strike mitigation with their lightweight Energy Cell midsole. Thanks to Salomon, you won’t have to compromise when it comes to finding a lightweight shoe that’ll keep you on the road for longer.
APL Windchill Energy
Weight: 9.9 ounces
APL got banned from the NBA because their technology was so advanced the league felt that it gave players an unnatural advantage. If that piques your interest at all as a runner, then these shoes may be for you. APL hits all of the usual necessary points on a high quality running shoe, outfitting the Windchill with a lightweight mesh upper for breathability, a compression midsole for comfort and protection, and an outsole for uncompromising grip. That is where the similarities end, however. These shoes also feature a spring-loaded ‘Load ‘N Launch’ pad in the toe to help you go faster while using less energy.
Hoka One ONE Vanquish 2 Running Shoe
Weight: 9.8 ounces
So we have to be honest when we say this may be one of the uglier shoes out there. That being said, any runner knows that a sturdy shoe that can preform well and help you reach a new PR is much more important than looks – so we couldn’t pass this one up. Featuring a crazy amount of cushioning for the athlete looking to put in long miles and a single piece upper with a mesh tongue to keep you cool during those warm summer days, we don’t know what else to ask for.
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus
Weight: 10.8 ounces
Built for the everyday runner, this pair from the PNW giant boast a proprietary Nike Zoom Air heel that provides serious spring with each footstrike, while the crash rail in the midsole cushions and helps distribute your weight as you run on the track, through your town, or on some tame trails. Of course, Nike has also equipped this runner with their ultra breathable mesh upper that, combined with the Flywire cables, is both light and supportive.
Adidas Ultra Boost
Weight: 10.7 ounces
Featuring 20 percent more boost cushioning material in the midsole than its predecessor, a new torsion system for stability throughout the shoe, and a stretchweb outsole that provides both grip and a responsive feel – these shoes offer much more than their good looks. Featuring the brand’s proprietary Primeknit upper and a back heal cap for stability, this shoe is designed from top to bottom to be light weight and fast as hell so you can preform at your peak. Oh yeah, and did we mention how good it looks?