When the time comes to replace your trusty running shoes, it's hard to ignore the signs. Your feet are sore, your heels have fresh blisters, the rubber sole treads are worn and losing their grip, and the shoe's foam cushioning has gone flat. But it can be difficult to find a suitable replacement for your go-to pair — buying a new pair of running shoes isn't easy. Which are the best running shoes — whether you're looking for road running shoes, stability shoes, neutral running shoes or trail running shoes?
Any running sneakers worth your money will likely offer an array of features intended to make your running experience better — but it's up to you to decide what a "better" run looks and feels like. Do you want your balance, gait and weight to feel supported, propelled, or simply comfortable when you run? Would you prefer a shoe with a weight on the lighter side or one that's sturdy and durable enough to offer stability for your stride? How much traction do you need? Do you need running shoes for overpronation or a thick midsole for cushioning? On which kinds of surfaces will you be running?
Determining what you want to get out of a running shoe will certainly help you narrow down your options, but even then, there remains a wide variety of brands and models to choose from. It's one thing to know that you want one of the best running shoes, but how do you know which of the best running shoes is right for you?
Using customer reviews and footwear discussions on Reddit's running subreddit, we've chosen the best running shoes currently on the market, for everyone from the diehard trail runner to the Asics devotee. Read on to find the most comfortable sneaker that fits your needs and preferences, then enjoy marathon after marathon.
Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit
Best for: The runner who feels weighed down by other sneakers
This sneaker is designed to mimic the feel of wearing a sock or bootie, in that it's a lightweight running shoe, is snug and has breathable mesh. But despite its seemingly minimalist construction, the Flyknit mesh provides a surprising amount of arch support and structure according to reviewers.
Other reviewers, however, note that the support it offers comes at a price: Namely, a relatively narrow fit, making it a less-than-great choice for customers with wider feet. Fit aside, this shoe's appeal lies in its sole, which allows wearers to spring more lightly off the ball of their foot and land softly on their heel.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19
Best for: The runner who wants to protect their knees
Brooks sneakers, such as the Brooks Ghost, are an enduring favorite among runners. And this iteration of its Adrenaline model is likely to convert any remaining non-initiated. New additions to the shoe's design include supportive "GuideRails," which allow the wearer to maintain a healthy range of motion while reducing the kind of excess movement that leads to knee injuries, and a cushioned shock absorption grid along the sole.
The attention to detail in this shoe's construction, like the engineered mesh upper, makes it one of the best running shoes for anyone looking to protect their gait and extend their longevity as a runner — which will come in handy if you're training for a marathon.
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Mizuno Wave Inspire 15
Best for: The runner who wants to feel propelled down the track
Multiple reviewers on Mizuno's site noted that they were there to order their second pair of Waves, and, for those who want a supportive and springy shoe made to last, this shoe is an apt candidate. One reviewer described their wearing experience as being "propelled," thanks to the responsive sole, while another wrote about how well the shoes prevented their tendency to over-pronate as part of their balance and gait.
It should be noted, however, that this pair of women's shoes is yet another narrower-than-average shoe, particularly through the toe box.
Salomon Speedcross 5 Trail-Running Shoes
Best for: The runner who gets their jog in, rain or shine.
Simply put, if you prefer the woods to the road, these are the running shoes for you. With high arches and a lug sole that offers excellent traction and grip through snow, rain and mud, the Speedcross helps the wearer maintain a steady gait over all varieties of terrain (one reviewer attested to the fact that the shoe's durability doesn't inhibit their performance while running).
The downside of a durable shoe that's made to brave the elements is, unfortunately, a lack of breathability, although its antimicrobial footbed works to offset some foot odor.
Asics GEL-DS Trainer 24
Best for: The runner who wants an update of the classic running shoe
Asics has been the dedicated runner's long-time go-to brand for a reason: The brand remains the standard bearer for a long-lasting pair of running shoes with stability. In the past, wearers' praise for the shoes support always came with the caveat that Asics tended to be clunky. But the GEL-DS Trainer 24 may very well dodge this common critique. It's a great, cushioned neutral shoe for overpronators since the solid midsole provides little to no pronation.
According to online reviews, it appears to have retained the tried-and-true arch support customers expect from Asics while being a somewhat lightweight shoe, breathable and flexible, making it one of the best running shoes available, whether you're looking for men's running shoes or women's running shoes.
Hoke One One Bondi 6
Best for: The runner who wants a shoe with maximum cushion
Hoka One One
With cushioning that's described as "plush" on Hoka's website, the Bondi 6 offers wearers a seriously comfortable fit and ride. Wearing them is "like walking on a trampoline," one reviewer wrote, while several others wrote that, after suffering from chronic foot pain, this shoe made them enjoy running again.
Of course, there are clear drawbacks to this level of cushion in a running shoe, including a lack of sensation of the terrain beneath your feet, a clunky fit and overall lack of stability. But, if you deal with sensitivity or pain when running, these sneakers are one of the best running shoes for you.
Skechers Gorun Ride 7
Best for: The runner who wants cushion and bounce on a budget
Yet another sneaker built for comfort, these Skechers are similar to Hokas in terms of comfort and fit, as several reviewers noted, but at a slightly more appealing price point. In addition to the shoe's cushiness, its sole's wide platform offers stability for the wearer's strides and encourages the foot forward with a propulsive response. But this feature can make for surprising loud landings, some reviewers noted.
This clunkiness is likely a product of the shoe's design, rather than its weight, as reviewers tended to describe the Goruns as "lightweight."
Best for: The runner who wants to go the distance.
This shoe is designed with extended wear in mind, so it makes sense that reviewers praise the Kayenta for its flexibility, secure fit, and arch support — in short, the elements that keep a shoe feeling comfortable for the duration of a long run. The inner sole provides a fit with balance (that isn't excessively cushy) between the ball and heel, which ultimately reduces impact across the entire foot.
One reviewer even noted that this fit helped them avoid developing hot spots or blisters during their runs.
Saucony Kinvara 10
Best for: The runner who wants a tried-and-true pair right out of the box
One reviewer described the Kinvara 10 as a shoe that needs no break-in period, and they likely have the shoe's contoured in-sole and roomy toe box to thank for that near-instant fit. But don't take that to mean that these shoes are nothing but "sink." Their flexible soles offer plenty of bounce as well.
If you aren't totally sure which shoe on this list is right for you, consider starting with the Kinvara 10, as it could very well be a "Goldilocks" style shoe. It's not too much of any one thing — rather, it's just about right.
Originally published last year and updated periodically as we review new products.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.