Footrace: The 10 Best Running Shoes For Men

Aug 13, 2015

Category: Gear

For all the P90x, zumba, hot yoga, and pilates exercises that are out there, few things can really compete with a good old-fashioned run for getting a workout. Once you’ve picked up the habit you’ll find the zen calm and body euphoria that comes with running like a boss. To get the most out of every step you take you’ve got to have the right running shoes or you’ll not only dread each outing, but could end up seriously injured. But choosing from the literally millions of options out there seems an impossible task.

The first thing to note when choosing a running shoe is how your stride works. Do you land on the outside of your foot (under pronate), does your foot roll inward (over pronate), or do you land evenly (neutral pronation)? Once you know this, then you need to decide when and how you want to run. Are you looking to hit the road or are you a trail jockey that goes off the beaten path? Will you be hibernating during the winter and only running when it’s warm or shall you brave the dark and cold to get your fix? Whatever you choose, one of our selections of the 10 best running shoes for men will keep you fleet of foot.

Saucony Peregrine 4

Saucony Peregrine 4

Pro: Treads offer traction at multiple angles
Con: Extremely limited water resistance

Off-Roader: With coloration as subtle as a thunderstorm the Peregrine 4 otherwise lives up to its namesake as a bird of prey. These are built to help you be nimble as a mountain goat for really running along long trails with varying terrain. You can rock hop with these well since the 10 ounce weight (give or take depending on size) won’t weigh you down and the multi-directional treads give you grip at any angle. These aren’t just great on the trail but work with Spartan races, Tough Mudder, or any other OCR (Obstacle Course Race) you can think of. The upper is made of nylon and disparate other synthetics which not only breathe but are easy to clean so that a rough run doesn’t leave them looking like you just trekked through standing sewage. You can put a lot of hard miles on these and even then the uppers will fail before the outsoles so you’ll never be caught without tread when you need it. [Purchase: $62+]

New Balance 1080 v4

New Balance 1080 v4

Pro: Absorbs shock without feeling squishy
Con: Not the best looking shoe

For Underpronators and Heavyweights: Guys who supinate or walk with their ankle rolling out are far less common than their overpronating brethren, but they are also just as subject to injury and pain. If you find that you tend to walk heavily on the outside of your foot, or are carrying a few extra pounds making you land harder with each step, then get yourself into a pair of 1080 v4. We admit, they are not the prettiest shoe on the planet but at least they are easy for cars to see and you’ll never have to worry about waking up next to a stranger (or anyone at all) when you wear them. The heel-to-toe drop is a slightly larger 8mm to accommodate the cushioning against heel pounding. The shock absorption is incredible for the profile and New Balance has included some N-ergy gel in the midsole to help with high arches. A hexagonal hole in the heel, the ABZORB technology, and enhanced forefoot grooves help to distribute impact while adding to flexibility. [Purchase: $69+]

Mizuno Wave Ascend 8

Mizuno Wave Ascend 8

Pro: Capable of working with multiple terrains
Con: Minimal springback can make road running rough

Road and Trail: There are better shoes for the street, as well as better trail running shoes. The problem is that making the transition from one to the other is a challenge for any shoe maker. Mizuno has managed to take home the gold for those who have a mixed path ahead of them that includes both the concrete jungle and the road less traveled. The X-Outsole lugs have a nice pattern for scrambling up grit while getting plenty of speed and traction on dirt. Under the hood is an AP+ cushioned midsole that won’t cause jarring every time you land on concrete but also isn’t so thick and heavy that you can’t feel the terrain beneath you. There isn’t a ton of spring in the step since it is primarily a trail shoe, so if you have a long road before you reach the trailhead, you could find your joints complaining before you even start up the hill. Good protection in the toe box makes these work as lightweight hiking boots so long as you don’t expect any hard-core ascents. [Purchase: $88+]

Asics GEL Nimbus 16

Asics GEL Nimbus 16

Pro: Extremely soft
Con: Limited life span

Newbies and Plantar Fasciitis Sufferers: First off, even if you don’t suffer from PF these are an outstanding shoe for jogging on pavement since they provide a little more cushioning than your average running shoe. The movement from heel to toe is as smooth as your mother’s turkey gravy and helps you keep a proper running motion even after a long day when you’re tired and getting sloppy. Beginners will find these perfect for getting used to taking on the road since they offer support and cushioning to hard heel strikers. In addition to being soft, the base provides bouncy cushioning that rebounds to help you take the next stride, allowing you to use a little less energy. The fit tends to be a little wide and we found that these wore out more quickly than many of their competitors. Real running fiends might want to jump back to the tried-and-true Nimbus 15’s which held up like champs. [Purchase: $98+]

Adidas Supernova Sequence Boost

Adidas Supernova Sequence Boost

Pro: Reduces strain on ankles
Con: Too slick for trails

Road Warrior: Despite their relatively humble appearance, these aren’t your average street sneaker. Adidas has crammed an adept energy transference cushioning into the interior that actually makes you faster without adding effort. Rather than the usual spring return from most road running shoes, these seem to incorporate each impact into the flow of your routine. Your legs will work harder and your time will improve, though it won’t feel any different than an average run. An incorporated torsion system helps facilitate moving your stance from landing to push off for a lightning quick transition that is easier on your ankle. Not only can you log a lot of miles on these, you can put a few marathons under your belt before they break down. Limited tread for trail running and a breathable mesh top make these too light for serious winter runs but also keep the weight to a minimum without sacrificing comfort. [Purchase: $100+]

Nike Free 3 Flyknit

Nike Free 3.0 Flyknit

Pro: Ultra lightweight
Con: No solid heel

Bare Minimum: Nike managed to go toe to toe with itself when it came to choosing the best minimalist shoe. The Free 3.0 beat out the 5.0+ merely because it was lighter and better for the true minimalist fan. Anyone new to the minimalist running shoe game should probably start with the enhanced support of the 5.0+. For veterans, the 3.0 is the better call because it is lighter – a men’s size 10 is only 7.2 ounces – and has a lower 4mm offset. The top is a fully breathable polyester yarn that fits more like a sock than a shoe. Perfect for speed and comfort but terrible in inclement weather. For support there are flywire cables stretched across the midfoot to give you pointed support where you need it. The hexagonal flex pads on the sole will let you feel every pebble on the track and give you exceptional traction in the gym for weights or yoga. The entire shape of the outsole is like a boat and helps emulate the natural look of your foot for a stride that is more fluid. [Purchase: $140]

Brooks Beast 12

Brooks Beast ’12

Pro: Intense support
Con: Narrow

For the Flat Footed: Brooks is one of the biggest stand-outs in the running shoe industry with marvelous offerings of all kinds, but the Beast is the best when it comes to overpronators and the flat-footed. At 14 ounces this errs on the side of weightiness, but that is to add support for runners with flat feet who tend to over pronate severely. An integrated diagonal rollbar makes the forefoot rigid and reinforces the middle of the foot to help correct your stride comfortably. The interior cushioning is exemplary and conforms to each foot strike so that you land with the best possible balance and support every time. The midsole is not only comfortable, but biodegradable so should you need to replace it you don’t have to feel like a heel for throwing it away. These tend to run on the narrow end of the spectrum, due partly to their tight support structure, but those with wider feet might want to shop around for some older Beast models. [Purchase: $115+]

Vivo Barefoot One

Vivo Barefoot One

Pro: Comfortable for hours of wear
Con: Limited tread

Zero Sum: Minimalist running shoes are fine for some, but a few people want the absolute least amount of padding between them and their road or trail. They are looking for barefoot shoes that go beyond minimal with zero-drop between heel and toe. These extremists and purists are a growing breed and they should know to bow to Vivo’s Barefoot One as the shoe to rule them all. The sole is only 3mm thick with no change between the back and the front. You’ll feel the trail so well it’s honestly easy to forget you are wearing these until you need them. The puncture resistant sole lets nothing through, even if you hit sharp rocks. Though they are flexible enough and give plenty of feel, the bottoms can be a tad on the flat side for taking on trails or heading into the teeth of a storm and should never be mistaken for rock climbing shoes. Besides that, they are comfortable for extended wear doing just about any urbane activity from working to jogging to lifting to tennis. With a wider toe box than many barefoot shoes you’ll fine plenty of space for wider feet and a better splay as you move. [Purchase: $127+]

Salomon S-Lab Fellcross 3

Salomon S-Lab Fellcross 3

Pro: Reinforced toe cap
Con: Poor in deeper snow and on icy sidewalks

Mud and Muck: Touted as a winter running shoe, we found that this had a much better place as a strong three season trail shoe that can handle muddy springs, crisp falls, and mild winter days. One of the nicest features for those who do their running in the cold is the quick lace feature that doesn’t require pulling off your winter gloves to get them nice and tight. On the end is a TPU toe cap so that you won’t end up with a broken little piggy when you encounter a rock hidden under the snow. Made for fell running through treacherous areas these won’t give you much cushioning for street runs nor the studs for dealing with sheets of ice on pavement. Instead they dig in on trails without damaging the environment thanks to the Non-Marking Contagrip. They work fine in lighter snow, but the minimal design is geared for speed rather than warmth or extensive waterproofing. [Purchase: $128+]

La Sportiva Crossover 2 0 GTX

La Sportiva Crossover 2.0 GTX

Pro: Truly waterproof
Con: Heavy

Snow Hounds: Maybe you live in the frozen north or think snowshoes are for young ladies. All right Yukon commando, here’s the winter running shoe for you. These are meant for deep snow excursions and walk the line between shoes and boots making them ready for whatever elements you come across. When it comes to grip, these are built like you’re going to be walking up the side of a cliff since they have the deep tread AT Grip Zone which is as close as you can get to actually slip-proof. The exterior is Gore-Tex, but that hardly matters because it also has an incorporated gaiter. When they pull you out of the lake because you ignored the “Thin Ice” sign, these will still keep your feet dry. They are more than 13 ounces and climbing for anyone with large feet so expect your quads and calves to be screaming for mercy as you plod along. [Purchase: $170]

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