Picture the scene: You've got your earbuds in, your favorite playlist queued, and you're headed out the door ready to get your runner's high. But your shoes just aren't as comfortable as they used to be. You try to ignore it like you usually do, but it gets harder and harder.
If that sounds like you, you need a new pair of running shoes. No matter where you run—outside or on a treadmill, in cold weather or warm—a good pair of running shoes makes all the difference for your training. Finding a pair of shoes that is right for your feet can help you avoid injury, feel more comfortable, and sometimes even correct mistakes in your stride that you would not have otherwise noticed.
But there are also hundreds of brands making running shoes, so where do you start? Here's my list of the best running shoe brands to get you started. These are my favorites based on my experience and the quality I know you can expect. There are other good ones out there, but in my opinion, these 10 stand above the rest.
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The Best Running Shoe Brands - Our Top Picks
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Nike has been a juggernaut for basketball shoes and football cleats for quite awhile. It is unlikely that Nike will change their focus completely from those two sports, but as the brand has grown they've expanded and released shoe lines in almost any sport you can think of, including running.
What we love about Nike in general is what makes their running shoes great: they are innovative. Nike puts a lot of effort into designing their shoes' style and construction, always making changes to give you a different experience while promising high performance.
Another brand that has worldwide recognition is adidas, especially for their huge line of soccer shoes. But as a company, adidas is built on partnering with professionals in a given field when they design their shoes. This philosophy extends to their running shoes and makes them an excellent option.
The key thing that sets adidas' running shoes apart from other brands is the BOOST technology. The BOOST tech makes up the midsole of the shoe, absorbing the impact as you stride and giving your foot a springy, supportive surface.
Brooks is a different kind of brand than some of the others on the list because they put all of their focus on making running shoes. This focus has paid off because they are able to compete with the larger brands and stay at the top of the running shoe category.
What you're getting with Brooks shoes is durability. Scan the reviews, good and bad, of the models and you'll see durability as a theme over and over again. Brooks won't wow you with their designs, but they're supportive and comfortable enough to give you years of running before needing a new pair.
If you've been running for a while then you know how important it is to have good support, and for this, Hoka is one of the best. All of their shoes are performance-focused, from shape to materials and construction. If you're a seasoned runner, you'll feel the difference immediately.
Hoka is a bit more expensive on average than some other brands, but I would put their shoes up against most other brands for durability and performance. Personally, I've been using the same pair of Hokas for over 5 years now, and the performance has not dropped at all.
You may not think of New Balance as a running shoe brand, but hear me out. They've found a niche with people who need medium to strong support for their feet, and they're delivering. The Fresh Foam is one of the most comfortable cushions you'll find for running shoes, but it's also supportive.
New Balance also has a naturally wider toe box than other shoes, plus all of their running shoe models are available in wide sizes. If you struggle with foot pain while you run from shoes being too tight or not supportive enough, New Balance is for you.
ASICS is another brand that has shoes in a lot of different categories, but their specialty is running. Where other brands rely on thick foams for cushioning, ASICS uses a gel technology that absorbs shock, especially in the heel. This technology spreads the vibrations and shock around the foot.
In fact, ASICS has been using gel since the 1980s, making it an innovator in the running shoe world. These shoes are well designed, real-world tested, and very well-reviewed almost anywhere you look.
On is a Swiss brand that you may have never heard of, which is a shame because they make excellent running shoes. The first thing you'll notice when you see On running shoes is the look of the sole. It's not the aesthetic for everyone, but the performance impact is big.
What you're seeing is a patented Cloud technology that allows the sole to act more like a spring than a pad. Where other running shoe brands are using thick foam, On's cloud soles are light and absorb more shock than any other shoe. You'll feel a difference.
NOBULL is a brand you may be unfamiliar with if you've never tried CrossFit. Their line of weightlifting and performance gear is very popular because it doubles as athleisure wear when you're done with the workout. But as the name implies, the brand is not focused on any of the extras, just performance.
NOBULL's running shoes are relatively new compared to other brands, but the company is bringing the same philosophy and quality to the running shoe models. The thing to keep in mind with NOBULL is the rubber. The sole and outsole of these shoes are going to be one of the most durable out there.
Saucony is one of the oldest running shoe brands in the world. Its roots go all the way back to the 1800s, and for the last 40-odd years the brand has focused on two things: lightweight material and a whole lot of cushion.
Saucony shoes are some of the most cushioned running shoes you'll be able to find. The mesh on many of Saucony's running shoe models is made of FORMFIT material which feels snug on your foot, and the sole is curved to encourage a good strike pattern as you run.
Many of the brands on our list focus on cushion, and that's because the industry is trending in that direction. But sometimes people prefer a firm shoe, especially if you're running on trails or other uneven terrain.
Salomon delivers a firm support that can be more responsive than other brands on the list because your foot feels the impact. That's not to say there is no cushion on some models, but as a general rule, the thing that Salomon delivers is control.
What to Look for In a Running Shoe Brand
You'll probably notice that almost all running shoes are made of some combination of mesh material with a rubber sole. But what you need to look at in terms of material is what each brand is using that makes it unique.
For example, On uses Cloud technology in the sole, adidas uses BOOST, and so on. If you find the materials that support your running style then you'll be able to narrow your search pretty easily.
We wear shoes to protect our feet, but you have to be comfortable when you're running. And comfort is not just about whether you like the experience of wearing a shoe or not. If you're feeling discomfort, your body is trying to tell you something, and often ignoring discomfort can lead to injury.
One of the best things to consider when you're shopping for a new pair of running shoes is the ratings. Check out what real customers are saying, because the best brands are well reviewed no matter where you look.
FAQs About Running Shoe Brands
What running shoes do the best runners wear?
The best runners in the world wear a variety of shoes, depending on which fits their needs best. However, the most common brands you'll see during races are Nike, adidas, Brooks, and Saucony.
Which running shoe brand is most durable?
Durability is difficult to measure because a lot of factors play into durability. But based on a scan of user reviews, Brooks is one of the most durable running shoe brands.
Do expensive running shoes make a difference?
Expensive running shoes won't magically make you faster, but as a general rule, you get what you pay for with trusted brands. Hoka, for example, is a relatively expensive brand but their shoes are very durable and will give you excellent support.
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