In a marathon, you’re not running against time or the other athletes, but distance. Mile after mile, your body is churning out energy to your muscles, as your mind attempts to hold your composure together so you can avoid hitting a mental wall. By the last few miles, your body is depleted of energy and you’re running on guts and the thirst for closure. Whether it’s a half or full marathon, you already have a lot to deal with, so getting the appropriate footwear will take some worry off your plate.
Whether it’s your first marathon or you’re a veteran mile dominator, a reliable pair of running shoes should be at the very top of your gear list. Picking out the perfect type of shoes is crucial to your training and performance in the event. We’ve curated a list of the best shoes for marathon runners so you can focus more on your training. Aware of the commitment it takes to earn a medal for any run, we want you to have a footwear advantage in your next running event.
Picking The Perfect Pair
When it comes to picking out a pair of long-distance running shoes for 26.2 miles (or 13.1 miles) you’ll need to keep a few things in mind. Above all, the footwear you choose needs to be comfortable, which means you need to try them on in a physical store. The worst case scenario is buying them online, trying them on, and returning them if they aren’t ideal. Here are some tips for choosing the right pair of footwear for your training:
- Choose shoes that suit the terrain of your marathon.
- Leave about a thumb space between your longest toe and the shoe box to avoid sore or bruised toes.
- Measure the width of your foot, as some shoes are made to be narrower than others.
- Look for shock-absorption technology along with ample cushioning in the midsoles and outsoles.
- Make sure the uppers are made of tough, synthetic fibers for durability.
- If you’ve run marathons before, stick to what has worked previously.
Asics Gel DS Trainer
Constructed with FlyteFoam technology for incredible bounce back and responsiveness, you’ll find the extra boost you need to get to the finish line with the Asics DS Trainer shoes. To keep your feet feeling fresh every mile, the shoes have a Rearfoot Gel Cushioning System for smooth transitions to mid-stance. They also have Duosole outsoles, which reduce weight and increase flexibility so you can maintain traction throughout the entire run. And they’re designed with Adapt Mesh Technology for an unrestricted fit.
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35
No matter what level you’re at as a runner, the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 are the perfect shoes to assist you in topping your personal record. Protect your soles and knees during every stride with Zoom Air cushioning technology, delivering a springy, responsive feel during your training sessions and the main event. The shoes also feature an out-turned collar for Achilles comfort, breathable mesh uppers, and raised rubber sections on the bottom for excellent traction on the road.
Saucony Kinvara 9
Saucony’s Kinvara 9 running shoes are built for marathon runners who need lightweight protection for their soles. The Kinvara 9 is a staple in Saucony’s lineup, with responsive full EVERUN topsoles, minimal uppers for a lightweight fit, responsive cushioning for smoother landings and takeoffs, and neutral pronation perfect for long-distance running. For a more natural stride, the shoes have 4mm heel-to-toe offsets so you can keep your rhythm.
Under Armour HOVR Velociti 2
Stay digitally connected on your run with Under Armour’s HOVR Velociti 2 shoes. Thanks to Record Sensor technology, you’ll be able to track, analyze, and story nearly every important running metric while you train. The shoes have a neutral design, making them perfect for logging in tons of miles, and they provide a zero gravity feel to help maintain energy return. For extra comfort, these shoes have full-length EVA sock-liners that mold to your feet to reduce slippage.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS
It’s all about preserving the health of your feet when you run marathons, which is why the Brooks Adrenaline GTS is the ideal footwear to wrap your soles in. They’re constructed with GuideRails to prevent excess movement and BioMoGo DNA and DNA LOFT cushioning to protect your feet from the unforgiving roads on your route. They also feature engineered mesh and 3D Fit Print uppers for a natural feel and streamlined aesthetic.
Reebok Floatride Run Fast
Specifically made for long-distance runs, the Floatride Run Fast shoes are lightweight and responsive for the grueling 26.2 miles. The Floatride foam will stay receptive and flexible throughout the entire gait cycle, ensuring your feet stay as comfortable as possible on the way to the finish line. They also have a stabilizing EVA foam rim to center and balances your feet along the way. Reebok focused on engineering every detail of these shoes to reduce friction for a smooth ride.
Brooks Glycerin 17
Combine Ortholite sock-liners and DNA LOFT cushioning and you have a pair of plush running shoes to get you to that coveted marathon medal. They’re made with 3D Fit Print technology for an enhanced fit and neutral stride along with internal stretch booties surrounding your feet that move and expand as you run. You’ll benefit from smooth heel-to-toe transitions, making your training sessions for long distance runs a little more manageable.
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v9
Built with full-length Fresh Foam midsoles, you’ll have plenty of protection and cushioning for your feet when you tackle extended routes for marathon training. These shoes have durable blown rubber outsoles with pressure-mapping colors to mark zones of impact, allowing you to further refine your technique. And with Ortholite sock-liners and synthetic mesh uppers, your feet will feel free as you devour each mile. Created using data from real running enthusiasts, these New Balance shoes are meant for those with the drive to succeed.
Adidas Ultraboost 19
With Primeknit uppers that wrap around your feet for an engineered fit, the Adidas Ultraboost 19 Shoes will assist you in crushing your personal marathon record. According to Adidas, Boost is their most responsive cushioning ever and they’re featured in this model to preserve your energy for the long miles ahead. The more energy you put into your run, the more you juice you get back from these shoes. They also have an integrated torsion spring and 3D heel frames for natural movement of the Achilles.
Saucony Liberty ISO 2
Providing you with advanced energy return, the EVERUN Topsole construction of the Saucony Liberty ISO 2 shoes will give you the extra boost you need to conquer your next marathon. For further support, they’re made with an ISOFIBER knit reinforcement for a secure fit without the heavy bulkiness. The shoes will also adapt to the motion and shape of your feet thanks to the ISOFIT dynamic fit system. If you’re dealing with mild to severe pronation, these shoes are made for you.
Hoka One One Carbon X
If you’re a long-distance marathon veteran, the Hoka One One Carbon X should be on your radar. These shoes are made to help runners beat the 100K world record. They’re made with PROFLY X technology for a stable, reactive experience with maximum cushioning and minimal weight. To help you fly through the miles, these shoes house carbon fiber plate curls under the lateral toes for a smooth transition with each stride. Not to mention, the rubber foam outsoles soften the ground contact while allowing you to grip the road.
The On Cloudace shoes will deliver the best cushioning sensation from any pair of shoes you’ve ever felt without slowing your momentum while you run. They feature rear Zero-Gravity Cloud technology for agile push-off, precision-molded 3D heel pads, and injected TPU heel counters to help dilute the harsh miles of any marathon length. The liquid-injected Speedboard support will stabilize your feet through each moment of the rolling motion as you run, giving you a boost with each stride.
Mizuno Wave Prophecy 8
Engineered to be anatomically sound, the Mizuno Wave Prophecy 8 Running Shoes will guide you to your best performance. Its Infinity Wave Plate technology gives you superior cushioning while you claw your way past each mile of your next marathon. They also provide you with excellent shock-dispersion so your knees don’t take the full, jarring impact of the road. The shoes are also comfortable, as they feature maximum cushioning sock-liners and Dynamotion Fit Technology to relieve stress in key areas of your feet.
Preserve your muscle energy with the Asics MetaRide thanks to its GUIDESOLE technology, featuring an ingenious rocker sole design. For comfort, it boasts FLYTEFOAM Late technology and a layer of FLYTEFOAM Propel technology for a bouncy but soft feel as you run. Taking a look at the heels, you’ll find GEL technology to alleviate the impact during each foot-strike. These shoes are also shock-absorbent at crucial landing zones, lessening fatigue overall.
Brooks Transcend 6
If you prefer deluxe cushioning and support, the Brooks Transcend 6 running shoes are meant for your feet. They come with GuideRails for holistic support, DNA LOFT full-length midsoles, and a 10mm offset drop for improved cushioning. The design of the shoes will keep your knees from crumbling, making sure your feet don’t wiggle around while you run while the Double Jacquard Mesh makes the footwear breathable and flexible no matter how hard the miles get toward the end of the race.
How To Train For A Marathon
Whether you’ve done several marathons or you’re training for your first one, going back to the basics is beneficial. Check out our guide on how to train for a marathon to brush up on the fundamentals of training for long-distance running events.