Running shoes are a necessity for athletes looking to hit the track, trail, or pavement. Whether you’re an aspiring beginner, an intermediate pavement-pounder, or an advanced athlete, running shoes provide the support and cushioning you need to endure long miles and speed work that weightlifting shoes and regular sneakers will not provide. There are tons of different kinds of running shoes on the market, so we’ve done some scavenging for you to find the best.
On this list, you’ll find our top picks for men and women, along with those for flat feet, high arches, long distances, and more. When you’re considering which running shoes to buy, it’s important to think about what kind of training you’ll be doing, how many miles you’ll be putting in on a daily basis, your foot type, and if you’ll be competing regularly. As you’re going through this list, consider all of these aspects with the confidence that we’ve done the research to back each of these picks for their respective categories.
Best Running Shoes
- Best Running Shoes: Adidas Ultraboost 21
- Best Running Shoes for Women: Altra Women’s Escalante 2.5
- Best Running Shoes for Men: Altra Men’s Escalante 2.5
- Best Running Shoes for Cross Training: Reebok Speed TR
- Best Running Shoes for Long Runs: Brooks Glycerin 19
- Best Running Shoes for the Money: Asics Gel Nimbus 22
- Best Running Shoes for Competition: Nike ZoomX Pegasus
- Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet: New Balance FreshFoam 860v11
- Best Running Shoes for High Arches: Brooks Ghost 13
Best Overall Running Shoes
Our pick for best running shoes is both durable and well-cushioned, making it a great choice for your average long distance road runs plus a lot more.
Adidas Ultraboost 21
The Adidas Ultraboost 21 not only looks great aesthetically — Kanye West would know as he’s been sighted in them on multiple occasions — but is also a quality running shoe to boot. It features a crystal rubber outsole and a thick midsole. The transitions are smooth, but it is a bit heavy, so consider that if you’re looking for a lighter run. On the whole, if you’re looking for a durable running shoe that offers a substantial amount of comfort, the Adidas Ultraboost 21 may be the perfect fit for you.
The adidas Ultraboost 21 are a solid all-around running shoe, with a mix of comfort, support, and durability. If you're looking for a shoe that checks most boxes and looks great, the Ultraboost 21 might be a great fit for you.
Who Should Buy The Adidas Ultraboost 21
- Runners who like extra heel cushion on long distance runs.
- Athletes who want a shoe that also looks good when they aren’t working out.
- Anyone looking for a durable outsole that will withstand a lot of usage.
Who Shouldn’t Buy The Adidas Ultraboost 21
- Runners who want a light shoe.
- Customers who want a more cost-effective running show — this shoe can run for around $180.
Though expensive, the Adidas Ultraboost 21 is a durable pick and will last through daily distance runs. Plus, you’ll feel well-supported, cushioned, and stylish while you’re at it.
Best Running Shoes for Women
This pick is a longtime favorite for experienced runners and newbies alike, and are great for those who want their feet to have more breathing room and wider toe box while they run.
Altra Women’s Escalante 2.5
The Altra Women’s Escalante 2.5 has long been favored for its light ride. Along with the light weight, it’s also well-cushioned and has a comfortable one-piece knitted upper. Though comfortable, this upper isn’t as stable when changing directions at a fast speed, so this pair is best used at steady paces on a straight course. If you’re not trying to run sprints around tight corners, this shoe feels almost like a slipper, which makes for a great choice when it comes to consistent, comfortable running that’s easy on your feet.
A fantastic running shoe for women, the Altra Escalante 2.5 blends comfort and breathability to a shoe that's forgiving and durable at a very reasonable price point.
Who Should Buy The Altra Women’s Escalante 2.5
- Anyone who wants a lightweight shoe.
- Steady, long distance runners who prioritize comfort.
- Athletes who want a shoe with a lower heel-to-toe ration to strengthen their feet and lower legs.
Who Shouldn’t Buy The Altra Women’s Escalante 2.5
- Trail runners working with unpredictable terrain that may require quick turns at a high speed.
The Altra Women’s Escalate 2.5 is lightweight, comfortable and great for women who run consistently. As long as you aren’t practicing tight turns, this shoe can handle any workout you throw its way.
Best Running Shoes for Men
Similar to our best pick for women, this shoe is light and springy and makes for a breezy, comfortable run.
Altra Men’s Escalante 2.5
The Altra Men’s Escalante 2.5 is lightweight, breathable, and adds a little extra energy boost to every step you take. It has a quick response time for changing speeds and allows for foot mobility inside the shoe as you’re upping your speed. It’s both cushioned and versatile, making it great for everyday use.
With a wider toe box than some other running shoes and a slightly less pronounced heel-to-toe differential, the Altra Escalante 2.5 is a solid shoe for guys looking for a comfortable run.
Who Should Buy The Altra Men’s Escalante 2.5
- Runners who prefer a lightweight shoe.
- Athletes who want a shoe that can change speeds with ease.
- Anyone who’s looking for something versatile at a good price.
Who Shouldn’t Buy The Altra Men’s Escalante 2.5
- Runners who prefer a thicker sole for added heel cushioning.
Overall, this shoe can pretty much do it all — it’s lightweight, durable, soft, comfortable and has a great response time when changing speeds. If you’re looking for something that will last at a great cost, this is your find.
Best Running Shoes for Cross Training
Reebok Speed TR
The Reebok Speed TR is made of a flexible material that can adjust to whatever workout you’re focusing on that day. It’s lightweight and stretchy, giving you the versatility you need to perform an array of different movements. Along with its cushioning, the outsole is also hard and sturdy, which allows it to hold up through lots of usage—especially when going through crossfit style workouts.
A cost efficient cross training shoe that's designed for both lifting and running workouts, the Reebok Speed TR is super lightweight, has a stable heel, and comes in a ton of color combinations.
Who Should Buy The Reebok Speed TR
- Runners who like to incorporate crossfit training into their workout routine.
- Athletes who need a shoe that flexes with movements like box jumps and burpees.
- Customers who are looking for a steal — this shoe runs for only $90.
Who Shouldn’t Buy The Reebok Speed TR
- Runners who don’t incorporate a lot of cross training into their running workout routine.
- Athletes looking for an arched midsole — this shoe’s midsole is fairly flat to accommodate cross training.
This shoe is definitely best for crossfit or other cross training exercises you may be mixing into your running routine — it’s flexible, lightweight and versatile, making it great for an array of movements.
Read our full review of the Reebok Speed TR.
Best Running Shoes for Long Runs
With the soft foam platform, this pick feels extra bouncy for the boost you need to endure long runs without tearing up your legs.
Brooks Glycerin 19
Though this shoe runs a touch small, it has a light feel and great energy return. The foam midsole not only protects your foot from those extra miles, but it also adds a little spring back into your step to keep you going. The ride is soft, but not the softest on the market — it’s better just to describe it as padded. However, it can withstand lots of miles, so rest assured it will hold up for any marathon training you have on the schedule.
If you're looking for a running shoe that offers a padded feel and can handle high milage, the Brooks Glycerin 19 running shoe is a durable option for runners consistently hitting the pavement for long durations.
Who Should Buy The Brooks Glycerin 19
- Runners who want a shoe that puts some spring back into their step.
- Athletes who are looking for a lightweight shoe.
- Customers who don’t like soft or hard feels — they want something right in the middle.
Who Shouldn’t Buy The Brooks Glycerin 19
- Runners who are looking for a shoe that’s a little more versatile and can handle speed work and cross training.
- Customers who want shoes that don’t give off “dad vibes.”
This pick is durable, made to withstand lots of miles, and will feel light and bouncy as you go. If you’re looking to train for a marathon, this smooth right will do the trick.
Best Running Shoes for the Money
Asics have long been a choice for first-time runners because of their high quality for the price. The Gel Nimbus 22 is no exception, and our pick as the best running shoe for the money.
Asics Gel Nimbus 22
The Asics Gel Nimbus 22 is built to withstand lots of miles with great cushioning that uses foam in the midsole and gel in the heel. It’s pretty neutral, which makes it both versatile and great for beginners. It provides a decent energy return and responds well with speed changes. The shoe is also fairly lightweight and breathable, so it will keep you comfortable as you’re putting in those miles.
The Asics Gel Nimbus 22 running shoe is easy on the foot and the wallet. Coming from a classic line of running shoes, these sneakers are the perfect balance of comfort and support — not too squishy or hard on the foot.
Who Should Buy The Asics Gel Nimbus 22
- Beginners looking for a versatile and high quality starter shoe.
- Customers who want a good deal — this shoe starts at just $79.95
- Runners who want a shoe that can withstand high mileage.
Who Shouldn’t Buy The Asics Gel Nimbus 22
- Advanced runners who are ready to work on their speed and technique a little more intensely.
- Athletes who want something that feels super lightweight and slipper-like.
This pick is comfortable, breathable, versatile and durable, making it a great choice for anyone looking for a good shoe at a low price.
Best Running Shoes for Competition
This pick is ultra light, which is what makes it a great choice for runners who are passionate about racing and running fast.
Nike ZoomX Pegasus
Though the Nike ZoomX Pegasus can be used as an everyday trainer, its lightweight and thin tongue make it ideal for racing. The foam midsole provides great support — it works like a sponge that pushes you right into your next stride. However, because the upper is so thin, it can be bothersome to some runners. If you can handle loosening the laces and dealing with a looser fit, the spring will still be great and the upper won’t be as bothersome.
The Nike ZoomX Pegasus running shoe is incredibly light and fantastic for runners who compete. Speed is the name of the game with this shoe, offering a lightweight feel and lots of energy transfer through the midsole.
Who Should Buy The Nike ZoomX Pegasus
- Runners who are keen on finding a shoe that will get them that PR in their next race.
- Athletes who enjoy a lighter feel.
- Customers who need a shoe that provides solid energy return.
Who Shouldn’t Buy The Nike ZoomX Pegasus
- Buyers looking for a deal — this shoe goes for $180.
- Runners who tie their laces super tight — the thin upper may dig into your foot a bit.
The Nike ZoomX Pegasus is made for competitors who need a shoe that is lightweight enough to carry them to that PR and keep their feet cushioned in the process. It may go for a hefty cost, but can you really put a price on a gold medal?
Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet
This pick has all of its energy focused on the midfoot, making it great for those with flat feet that need a little extra stability.
New Balance FreshFoam 860v11
The New Balance FreshFoam 860v11 is a stability trainer with a sole that will keep runners with flat feet steady throughout their daily miles. The solid medial post holds the midfoot firm which helps flat footed runners keep stable and avoid pain even in longer distance runs. However, it is worth noting that because of the focus on the stable midsole, it can have a harder feel than other shoes.
For runners with flat feet, the New Balance FreshFoam 860v11 is a supportive running shoe designed to provide a lot of comfort in the mid-foot while you pound the pavement.
Who Should Buy The New Balance FreshFoam 860v11
- Runners with flat feet looking for a shoe that will hold their midfoot stable.
- Athletes who need a shoe that can endure long miles.
Who Shouldn’t Buy The New Balance FreshFoam 860v11
- Customers who don’t like a hard feel after a bit of usage.
- Anyone looking for a shoe under $100 — this shoe goes for $130.
While these shoes are durable for all, their build focuses on midfoot support. The medial post helps flat footed runners stay steady throughout their runs.
Best Running Shoes for High Arches
Our top pick for the best running shoe for people with high arches is a tried-and-true running shoe that has great cushioning and versatility.
Brooks Ghost 13
The Brooks Ghost 13 is both soft and sturdy. Though it may feel as though you’re putting on your comfiest slipper, this shoe can withstand long distances. It has ample heel cushioning, which makes it great for people with high arches whose feet are so stable that they need the extra cushioning to avoid injuries like shin splints. The added cushioning will help reduce impact on the foot and leg that stable high arches don’t do on their own.
Runners with high arches will need a good bit of cushion to help protect them on impact. The Brooks Ghost 13 shoe has a lot of forgiveness in the heel, and should help those with high arches feel more comfort when running.
Who Should Buy The Brooks Ghost 13
- Runners with extremely high arches who need extra cushioning to protect their stride during both indoor and outdoor running.
- Athletes who are putting in a lot of daily mileage.
- Anyone who wants a shoe that feels almost as plush as a pillow.
Who Shouldn’t Buy The Brooks Ghost 13
- Flat-footed runners who need a shoe that focuses on stability instead of heel cushioning.
The Brooks Ghost 13 is comfortable and features added cushioning to protect runners with high arches whose feet are naturally very rigid.
Before Buying Running Shoes Consider
When you’re about to start your hunt, there are a few considerations you need to make before you scour the web or hit the stores.
Sizing, Lacing and Materials
When shopping for a running shoe, it’s important to look at first and foremost the size of your foot and its arch length. It’s also important to look at heel height and type, and what the lacing/strapping situation is like. While these aren’t necessarily every factor that goes into shopping for a running shoe, sizing, lacing, and activity preferences are some of the components to consider.
- Type of Heel — When shopping for a running shoe, it’s important to look at heel support and then general sole of the shoe. Some shoes even have higher outsoles that provide added benefits.
- Lacing/Strapping — Lacing and strapping are key parts of any shoe. Good lacing and strong straps help ensure the foot security. Runners don’t want to ever slip, or feel unstable, so we looked at lacing that was simple, strong, and even picked one shoe that had leather straps to make sure the foot stays intact.
- Activity — Depending on activity level and running style, look for a shoe that is specific to that is crucial. Most running shoes are designed for a certain distance, terrain, and may even be made for a certain foot size/shape.
One of the most important things to consider when thinking about buying a pair of running shoes is your arches. Do you have flat feet, high arches, or something in between?
If you have flat feet, you’re going to need a shoe that keeps your feet stable while you run — that means you’ll need to look for structure and a snug fit. If you have high arches, you’ll need a shoe that relieves some of the rigidity from your feet in the form of added heel cushioning. While all running shoes provide some form of cushioning, those with high arches should look for extra thick midsoles to cushion your already-steady feet.
You’ll also need to consider what type of training you will be doing in these shoes. Are you walking or running? Are you planning a short jog every week, or something longer? Will you be indoors or on flat ground, or will you be braving outdoor trails and rough terrain? How often will you run? Will you be incorporating cross training?
Based on your answers to these questions, you can choose something with higher durability for lots of running, or more versatility for cross training. If you’re hitting the trails, you’ll need something that has smooth transitions and can handle sharp changes. Either way, you’ll find an option that suits your style on this list — you just need to make sure you know what exactly that style is first.
How We Decide the Best
There are various aspects to consider when picking the best running shoes, including cushioning, fit, durability, price and more. When we selected the best running shoes for this list, we weighed all these traits to find the top shoes for you to consider in the search for your perfect fit.
Oftentimes, when you’re looking for a running shoe, one of the first things you consider is the price. While you don’t want to skimp on quality for a good deal, you also don’t want to overpay. We’ve made sure that every pick on this list is worth its price tag.
Even when you’re considering a higher priced option, you can rest assured we’ve done our due diligence to ensure that these picks will be worth the money in whichever category they are considered “best” in. Just remember that if you want extra features or a rare color combination, you’ll likely pay more, while basic shoes with less features tend to cost less. There’s always a give and take, but the range of picks include here covers the spectrum of options and price points on the market.
When considering the fit, we’ve looked at things like heel slippage, size accuracy, foot mobility and foot shape. None of the shoes on this list have the heel slippage that will hinder a run and the majority of them are true to size — if they aren’t we’ve flagged it for you.
In addition, it’s important that your foot not feel too snug or stiff inside your shoe — you still want to be able to move your foot when running, whether it’s for changing directions suddenly or just for general comfort. The shape of your foot is also key, so we’ve included shoes that are great for both high arches and flat feet on this list to make it all-inclusive.
Obviously comfort is going to be key in choosing your perfect running shoe. When it comes to comfort, we’ve weighed the upper, midsole and outsole thickness and material. Having a quality foam midsole is important and pairing that with a durable rubber or gel outsole is key. The foam midsole will provide comfort and cushioning while the rubber or gel outsole will also provide some cushioning, but mostly durability.
In addition to cushioning, breathability and weight are very important to consider. When you’re running, it’s ideal to run with a shoe that has both a breathable mesh or knit material combined with a weight that’s comfortable for you.
As far as this list goes, know that each pick has one, if not all three of these traits. You definitely won’t find a single shoe on here that doesn’t have some form of cushioning — that is the most important aspect of comfort to consider when running.
When you’re putting any sort of money toward a purchase, you’re going to want to make sure you’re getting the proper bang for your buck. If you buy a running shoe that only lasts two months, then you’re either running as much as an elite marathoner (congrats) or the shoes weren’t worth the money.
On this list, you’ll only find shoes that are durable enough to live up to their price tags. You won’t see any of these picks wearing down until around that six month mark, which is the ideal time a shoe should last for runners who put in about 20 miles per week. Some may even last longer than that — it will just depend on your level of usage and shoe design choice.
Choosing the proper running shoes can feel overwhelming. Afterall, there are a seemingly infinite number of options on the market, and the names don’t tell you anything about the qualities the shoes offer. Before starting your hunt, make sure you have a list of the traits you’re looking for — where you’ll be using the shoes, how often you’ll be using the shoes, what kind of training you’ll be doing and what type of shoe your foot needs. Once you have this checklist, it should be a whole lot easier to sift through reviews, brands, makes and models.
What's the best all-around running shoe?
When you factor in comfort, durability and straight up swag, we think the adidas Ultraboost 21 running shoe is the best all-around running shoe on the market. It should last a long time and is great for wearing out on the town or the track.
How long will my running shoes last?
This depends on how much you use them. If you run about 20 miles a week, your shoes should last you about six months. However, if you’re training for a marathon, or even a half marathon, your mileage will be much higher than this, and your shoes may only last you three or four months. If you only plan to take a few short jogs every week, then your shoes should last longer.
How do I know if I have flat feet or high arches?
We suggest seeking out a professional opinion. You can go to a running shoe store and they will do a complimentary analysis of your foot shape and strike, which will tell you everything you need to know about your individual shape.