Picking out the right pair of running shoes, whether you’re a daily workout runner or a legendary marathon wrecker, is imperative to your performance and experience. The kicks you pick out will be your feet’s best friends for at least a year or so, making every detail that goes into the shoes matter. There are certain specs you should be looking out for when you choose the perfect pair for your soles, including cushioning, heel support, a comfortable fit and lightweight, durable materials.
Every year, there are a ton of new running shoes out there waiting for you and all of them claim to have the latest technology and the most comfortable, Cinderella glass slipper fit. However what it really comes down to is the unique shape of your feet and your particular stride. In compiling this list of running sneakers, we took into consideration the different types of feet out there, so that we could give you a variety to choose from. Not only that, but we took a look at the tech put into the creation of these shoes to make sure that they will actually help you dominate your daily route, race or full marathon.
Under Armour Charged Bandit 3
Having a nice balance of flexibility and cushioning, these shoes are built to log some lengthy miles with its innovative ‘UA SpeedForm’ construction molds, providing you with an ideal fit. These breathable shoes have a flexible support and a sturdy external heel counter for solid support, keeping the back foot locked to prevent injuries. Also, they have ‘Anti-microbial Ortholite’ sockliners that mold to your feet and ‘Charged Cushioning’ midsoles with compression molded foam for heightened responsiveness. For an even more enhanced performance, they also have properly placed flex grooves in key areas.
Saucony Endorphin 2
Armed with super light removable spikes, these Saucony shoes can claw into the ground for the best traction, so you can take these through a mud run or around your regular urban route. Constructed with a woven upper to lock in the foot for a comfortable fit, holding up even through a full marathon, these breathable shoes made of ‘FlexFilm’ will help you cover ground. Also, these shoes are made with fewer layers, resulting in a seamless, stretchable feel when you run.
New Balance FuelCore Sonic V2
According to New Balance, these shoes are designed for the world’s fastest athletes, as they are made with an ultra-breathable air mesh upper to help vent your feet when the heat gets turned up. It’s also built with ‘The BOA System’ for a snug fit and it utilizes a bootie construction to give you a second-skin feel. Inside the midsole is ‘REVlite’ cushioning for a lightweight, soft feel so that your energy is spent evenly to help you destroy your PR. It also has a mix of foam densities called ‘FuelCore’ that will help to maintain underfoot cushioning, as well as add a swiftness in your step.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18
Perfect for road-running, these highly breathable kicks are super lightweight and have an asymmetrical mid-foot saddle to ensure a secure, personalized fit. It also has ‘BioMoGo DNA,’ providing a supportive, dynamic cushion design and a full-length, sectioned ‘Crash Pad’ for seamless transitions. These shoes also have a tri-density midsole ‘Diagonal Rollbar’ for progressive control when your run. Its rubber forefoot and ‘HPRR Plus’ bring your soles reinforced protection in high-wear areas, so you can keep on running way after you break them in at the gym.
New Balance 890 V6
Sporting a sleek, engineered mesh upper and an arch-hugging bootie structure, these running shoes are both supportive and comfy. Additionally, it has a ‘REVlite’ midsole foam for a super lightweight, responsive cushioning and ‘TPU’ forefoot strips that will help you every stride of the way to the finish line. It even has a blown rubber outsole to give you extra support. Not to mention, these shoes have a classic, somewhat nostalgic look, despite having all the modern features.
Altra Escalante 1.5
Although the previous iteration was a success, Altra has made the Escalante running shoes even better with an updated knit that has 360 degree reflectivity, improved breathability, tongue stay and a sleeker heel cup for a stable stride. The ‘Footshape Toe Box’ allows your toes to relax and spread naturally, keeping the big toe straight and greatly improving your stability and power. It also features a ‘Zero Drop Platform’ that aides with a natural alignment of the heel and forefoot for a low-impact landing, so you’ll decrease your potential for injuries and keep clocking in miles like the Road Runner.
Mizuno Peachtree Waveknit
Taking inspiration from the Betty Ross and the American flag, as if it weren’t obvious, this waveknit runnning shoe will provide you with a genuine, precisely expandable fit with the ability to hold the shape of your feet for excellent support. It’s packed with the fine technical details that your feet will thank you for, including ‘Cloudwave’ technology, a ‘U4ic’ midsole for added comfort, as well as a ‘U4icX’ heel wedge for stability to make your feet less susceptible to injuries out on your route.
Hoka One One Clifton 4
Hoka claims that out of all their shoes, the Clifton 4 has the best cushion, providing you with a smooth ride regardless of the distance you need to cover or the pace your going at. These shoes have been made to be more adaptive than ever, as they mold to your feet for a personalized, form-fitting feel. Using new materials, Hoka engineered a mesh and 3D puff print frame to achieve an ideal fit and superior breathability. They even improved the foam, and together with the ‘Hoka One One’ cushioning full EVA midsole, you’ll get a safe, comfy workout where your body works hard, yet your feet don’t suffer.
361 Strata 2
Supported by a ‘Qu!kfoam’ crash pad that helps in guiding the foot through the gait cycle, these shoes are made to specifically give you an instinctive, balanced toe off, in addition to improved ground contact, which will help to improve your acceleration. Utilizing the ‘Fitz-Rite’ mid-foot, which is a unique overlay pattern, allows the shoes to securely hold your feet to help you satisfy your potential as a runner. There’s also a pressure free tongue that is specifically designed to help you avoid irritation.
Adidas Solar Boost
Simply put, the ‘Boost’ responsive cushioning, along with a ‘Solar Propulsion Rail,’ will give you as much energy as you put into your run workout. A tailored fiber placement provides stitched-in reinforcement for specific areas to support the mid-foot and the ‘Techfit’ upper is constructed to have a sock-like fit for a very natural feel. Topping it off, these shoes have ‘Fitcounter’ molded heels to give you optimal movement of the Achilles, allowing you to run at your very best.
Asics Gel Kayano 25
Sitting on ‘Flytefoam Propel Technology,’ giving you the ideal mix of bounce back and cushioning, as well as making the shoe super light, a pair of these will definitely give you an edge. To allow for a complete bounce back, these Asics feature a ‘Flytefoam Lyte Technology,’ consisting of reinforced fibers that also make them 55% lighter than the standard EVA. The shoe is also integrated with ‘Guidance Line’ tech to improve gait efficiency, as well as mid-foot structural integrity.
Brooks Ghost 11
These Brooks shoes will allow you to run free thanks to its full-length ’S-257 Cushsole’ technology, providing complete cushioning, and its ‘BioMoGo DNA technology’ that will provide you with reliable impact protection to maximize your energy. For a lighter feel and further support, these running shoes also have overlays, as well as a full-length segmented crash pad throughout the midsole. Furthermore, it has an ‘Omega Flex Groove’ that’s designed to improve your flexibility and maximize your traction to finish your workout strong.
Saucony Liberty ISO
Constructed with a full-length ‘EVERUN’ midsole that will give you extra cushion, along with more responsiveness, to take you past the finish line in the time you’re gunning for, it makes sense that these shoes were awarded the Runner’s World Best Debut for Spring 2018. For a lightweight fit, they’re engineered with a stretch mesh upper, along with ‘ISOFIT,’ so that they can adhere to the shape and motion of your unique feet. In addition, these shoes have a 4mm heel-to-toe offset for a more natural feel in your stride. They even adapt to your feet with a Jacquard mesh upper and a multi-directional stretch mesh that works with reinforcements, allowing the shoes to adapt to the shape of your feet.
Salomon S/Lab Ultra
Francois D’haene, an exceptional athlete who specializes in both ultra and mountain running, helped design these shoes. D’haene and Salomon decided to add compressed EVA, dual density compressed EVA and ‘EnergyCell+’ technology, a high-rebound midsole that gives you fantastic energy return and cushioning. To ensure you get a grip on the gravel, dirt, grass or wherever you run, the outsoles of these shoes are equipped with premium wet traction and ‘Contagrip.’ During toes off, these shoes have ‘Profeel Film’ that engages during transitions to support your feet and improve the comprehensive rolling of the shoes during toe off. These are definitely made for half to full marathon runners and beyond.
APL Techloom Breeze
If you want a more luxurious looking option, without sacrificing performance, the Techloom Breeze shoes are a super light 6.8oz option. Featuring a seamless, highly flexible rebound upper, these kicks will move with your feet, while the internal speed lacing system and exposed eyelets hold your foot in place to give you freedom of mobility. Their proprietary ‘Propelium technology’ in the shoe allows you to maximize energy production, while it helps to maintain structural integrity for a perfect fit. To further improve your running experience, these shoes have an 8mm drop from heel to forefoot, in order to place your feet in a natural position with each stride.
Nike Epic React Flyknit
With a one-piece ‘Flyknit’ upper, hence the name, theses shoes are engineered for flexibility, performance and comfort. Nike’s ‘React’ foam, made from synthetic rubber, makes up the midsole for a cushioned feel and impact protection, keeping your soles energized with a nice return after each stride. For a little extra support, and more traction, there are strategically calculated segments of rubber under the forefroot and heel. After 17,000 miles of testing, these shoes have proven that they are all-around players in the run game, as they’re lightweight, tough, cushioned and responsive.
On Running Cloud Ace
Made for runners that hit the road daily, these shoes come with the company’s most advanced version of ‘CloudTec,’ for sensational cushioning that help the shoes live up to its name. For protection, these shoes have rear ‘Zero-Gravity Clouds’ and a rubber landing zone in the forefoot to conquer the concrete. There’s even an injected TPU heel counter that guarantees a smooth ride while the precise 3D heel pads keep your feet tucked in just right.
Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit 2 iD
These Nike running shoes come with the latest iteration of Max Air cushioning, providing an amazing feel from heel to toe. Always an innovator, Nike eliminated the traditional midsole, swapping it out for ‘Nike Air’ to give you a gravity-defying vibe. For lightweight support, there’s an additional heel overlay to keep your foot comfy and stable with no rocking as you run. And then there’s the Flyknit fabric that conforms to the unique shape of your feet for that familiar sock-like feel. On top of all this cool tech, you can truly make these shoes yours by customizing the color palette, adding accents and text.
Fast Track: 12 Best Running Backpacks
Now that you’ve updated your running shoes to take on your daily workout routine and a few races, it’s time to pick out a running backpack to carry your gear. Take a look at our picks for the best running backpacks available.