The Best Running Shoes for Every Type of Runner—From Beginner to Pro

woman running outdoors


Just like it's important to have the right type of leggings or earbuds for running, the type of shoes you wear can make or break your workout, too. Do you need top-of-the-line shoes made for racing and speed? Or do you need shoes built for long-distance runs? Other factors like the type of arches you have (fallen or neutral), or whether you overpronate or supinate are key considerations, too. But no matter how you run, it's crucial to find the best running shoes for you to ensure the necessary support and cushioning.

With more running shoe options available than ever, it can be overwhelming to try to sift through different types. That's why we've rounded up the 11 best running shoes, which include everything from shoes built for trail running to road-racing shoes. Use this guide as a resource (we include key factors to keep in mind below) to help you find the right gear.

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The Best Running Shoes —Our Top Picks

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  • Best Overall Running Shoes: adidas 4D FWD Shoes - Men/Women
  • Best Trail Running Shoes: Salomon Sense Ride 4 - Men/Women
  • Best Nike Running Shoes: Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit - Men/Women
  • Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 - Men/Women
  • Best adidas Running Shoes: adidas Ultraboost 22 - Men/Women
  • Best Stability Running Shoes: New Balance Fresh Foam 860v12 - Men/Women
  • Best Cushioned Running Shoes: HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 7 - Men/Women
  • Best Asics Running Shoes: Asics Gel Nimbus 24 - Men/Women
  • Best Cheap Running Shoes: Asics Jolt 2 - Men/Women
  • Best Road Running Shoes: Salomon Predict 2 - Men/Women
  • Best Race Running Shoes: Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 - Men/Women

What to Consider When Shopping for Running Shoes


Cushioning

You probably recognize cushioning as the soft material that makes your running shoes comfortable. Cushioning comes in a variety of levels: It can be minimal for a more barefoot, lightweight feel, or extra dense for a comfortable stride. Running shoe cushioning can feel foamy, airy, springy, or gel-like. The right level of cushioning for you will depend on your comfort preferences and running type (trail, racing, road, etc).

Heel-to-toe drop

Heel-to-toe drop is the difference in height between the heel of the shoe and the toe box, or where the ball of your foot meets the ground. This factor is significant because a shoe's drop can influence your running stride. Ideally, you'd want a shoe that works with your natural stride. A higher heel-to-toe drop can encourage a heel strike when running, and while a heel strike is usually okay, it's also been associated with an increased risk of knee and hip pain. However, a higher drop typically also provides more heel cushioning, helping to offset the impact of a heel strike.

Support

Every running shoe offers a different level of support for the foot—the right type of support for you will depend on your gait. If you're unsure of what your natural gait is, it may be a good idea to visit a pro-running store or physical therapist's office for an evaluation.

For example, those who overpronate, meaning your foot rotates too far inward when you walk, may want to opt for a stability shoe with motion control features. This type of running shoe has more support for the arches of your feet to keep them from rolling inward when you walk or run. In contrast, if you supinate (when the foot rolls too far outward), look for a shoe with neutral support or one with more cushioning on the outside.

Purpose

What will you be using your running shoes for? Do you need a versatile pair that works for short sprints as well as distance runs? Or are you concerned about speed? Different factors, such as support, cushioning, and outsole, can impact how your shoes perform. To help address these differences in purpose, we've divided our list into categories to make it easier for you to find the right fit.

Durability

Similarly, you'll want to consider the conditions you'll be wearing your shoes in and how long you'd like them to last. If you're most interested in trail running, for example, you should probably choose a pair of trail running-specific shoes that are built with a durable outsole to withstand wet and unpredictable terrain.

Best Overall Running Shoes – adidas 4D FWD Shoes

Adidas 4D FWD Shoes

SPECS

  • Key feature: Balanced blend of comfort and functionality
  • Material: Textile upper; rubber outsole
  • Weight: 11.6 oz.
  • Cushioning: adidas 4D technology
  • Arch support: Neutral
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 11mm
  • Sizes: Men's 5-14, women's 6-15

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Our top recommendation is the adidas 4D FWD running shoe because it ticks nearly every box on our list. It boasts solid support, great cushioning, and durable construction. Its gel-like sole and neutral arch support provide comfortable support to most runners, while an 11 millimeter-drop offers just enough cushion to support a heel striker, but not so much to throw you off if you prefer a midsole or forefoot strike. We also like that adidas uses recycled materials in the 4D textile upper design.

While this is a great option for runners looking for an all-around comfortable, reliable shoe, those with weak ankles might want to look for a pair with more firmer ankle support. These shoes also aren't fit for budget shoppers. At $200 for a pair, they run pricier than most other options. Still though, if you can afford the investment, you'll be rewarded with a high-quality pair of running shoes that can last you through many miles.

PROS

  • Textile upper uses recycled materials
  • Supportive comfort
  • Knitted upper for snug fit
  • Gel cushioning in sole boosts your stride

CONS

  • Not a lot of ankle support
  • Might run smaller and narrower for some
  • Expensive

BUY: adidas 4D FWD, Men/Women

Best Trail Running Shoes – Salomon Sense Ride 4

Salomon Sense Ride 4

SPECS

  • Key feature: Lugs for stable trail running
  • Material: Textile upper; rubber outsole
  • Weight: Men's 10.2 oz.; women's 8.3 oz.
  • Cushioning: Standard, responsive cushioning
  • Arch support: Neutral
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 8mm
  • Sizes: Men's 7-14; Women's 5-12

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Do you frequent trails or different types of terrain when running? The Salomon Sense Ride 4 shoes are made with trail running in mind, so you can count on them for the solid grip and the support you need to protect your feet and ankles. Their defined lugs on the rubber outsole help set them apart from other running shoes. We like that these rubber lugs measure four millimeters deep, which provides impressive traction even on wet or muddy surfaces.

The Sense Ride 4 also has a lower drop than most high-quality running shoes, which helps you maintain your balance on unfamiliar terrain. Unlike road running shoes, which often include foam or springy gel support to get the most out of each stride, the Sense Ride 4 has features that absorb impact to make your run smoother. Though these shoes do have a low drop (an 8-millimeter difference in height between heel and toe), which should help runners balance even in tough conditions, this shoe does have a relatively high stack height. The heel height measures 32 millimeters and the toe height 24 millimeters, which can add a bit of instability to what would otherwise be a solid, stable shoe. But if you're looking for a reliable, durable pair of trail running shoes with plenty of grip and don't mind the extra stack height, the Salomon Sense Ride 4 might be the shoe for you.

PROS

  • Low drop
  • 4mm lugs for a stable grip
  • 2-year warranty
  • Reliable in tough conditions
  • Affordable

CONS

  • Squeaky when in use
  • High stack height, might add instability for some

BUY: Salomon Sense Ride 4, Men/Women

Best Nike Running Shoes – Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit

Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit

SPECS

  • Key feature: Stable; breathable flyknit upper
  • Material: Textile upper; rubber outsole
  • Weight: Men's 11.1 oz.; women's 8.9 oz.
  • Cushioning: Soft and supportive
  • Arch support: High
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 9mm
  • Sizes: Men's 6-15; women's 5-12

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There's a reason the ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit shoes are some of the most popular running shoes Nike makes. We've selected them because of their versatility and all-day comfort. The ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit offers that rare combination of solid arch support with lightweight, yet still supportive cushioning. If you need or prefer more arch support in your running shoes, but don't want to feel like your shoes are heavy and clunky, this is the pair for you.

We also like how the Flyknit upper is made to wick away sweat, which keeps your feet cool where you need it most. However, any shoe with a thin rubber outsole and a soft foam cushion underneath runs the risk of being delicate. So, if you're a long-distance runner, you may have to replace these running shoes sooner than you'd like. But if you're not clocking ten miles a day, these should hold up just fine—not to mention the comfortable, smooth run you'll get out of them.

PROS

  • Provides support for fallen arches, helps prevent overpronation
  • Breathable textile upper
  • Comfortable foam cushioning
  • Great for recovery runs

CONS

  • Sole lacks grip
  • Pricey

BUY: Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit, Men/Women

Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet – Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22

SPECS

  • Key feature: Stability; GuideRails
  • Material: Textile upper; rubber outsole
  • Weight: Men's 10.2 oz.; women's 9.1 oz.
  • Cushioning: Soft and firm
  • Arch support: High
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 12mm
  • Sizes: Men's 7-15; women's 5-13

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If you have flat feet, you're familiar with the sometimes-difficult process of finding comfortable, supportive running shoes. As we discussed in our review of several of the best running shoes for flat feet, flat feet (or fallen arches, as it's sometimes called) can have a number of causes. Whether your feet never developed defined arches, or you have fallen arches due to injury, flat feet need solid arch support to normalize your gait and prevent pain. Running shoes for flat feet also need plenty of cushioning. Sound like a difficult combination to fulfill. That's where the Brooks Adrenaline GTS22 comes in.

Made with plenty of firm cushioning and an impressive amount of arch support, the GTS 22 should suit most runners with flat feet. We like the Brooks GuideRails technology in this shoe, which supports the shoe in areas where flat-footed runners need extra stability. This helps these runners avoid overpronating. Many stability shoes also have the disadvantage of running heavy due to the additional support in the body of the shoe, but these Brooks shoes are both supportive and relatively lightweight.

In order to be certain that the GTS22's arch support is right for you, be sure to have your feet and gait professionally evaluated at a running store. Some reviewers complain that the arch support and cushion in this shoe is too firm or uncomfortable, but comfortability isn't a big issue among people who truly need this level of support.

PRO

  • GuideRails technology to improve your stride without discomfort
  • Great arch support
  • Comfortable
  • Available in wide range of sizes
  • Provides stability
  • Excellent value; affordable but high-quality

CONS

  • Design not as chic as other running shoes on the market
  • Cushion may be too firm for some

Check out our full list of the best running shoes for flat feet.

BUY: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22, Men/Women

Best adidas Running Shoes – adidas Ultraboost 22 Shoes

Adidas Ultraboost 22 Shoes

SPECS

  • Key feature: Bouncy
  • Material: Textile upper made from recycled materials
  • Weight: Men's 11.7 oz.; women's 10 oz.
  • Cushioning: Soft and bouncy
  • Arch support: Neutral
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 10mm
  • Sizes: Men's 4-14; women's 5-11

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The adidas Ultraboost is now on its 22nd iteration, and with good reason. This is a great running shoe that suits all distances with support and cushioning that suits many different runners. Specifically, they improved the design for the women's model, narrowing the heel of the shoe slightly to prevent slipping since women tend to have narrower heels than men. Durable and comfortable, the Ultraboost 22 is made with solid arch support and plenty of bouncy cushioning to help you make the most of each stride, especially on uncomfortable surfaces like concrete and asphalt. We also love the vast selection of colors and designs—this is one shoe that looks as good as it feels.

Although it can be tough to design a highly cushioned shoe that holds up to hard wear, this shoe is one of those rare numbers that can do both. However, if you're looking for a shoe designed specifically for racing or performance, this isn't the best option out there. But if you're loyal to the adidas brand or you just want a comfortable, durable running shoe that will last you through the long hours of distance training, this might be the shoe for you.

PROS

  • Plastic textile upper uses recycled materials
  • Soft and comfortable cushioning
  • Linear Energy Push system adds bounce
  • Stylish design and plenty of color options
  • Recent improvements to women's design for better fit

CONS

  • Pricey
  • Chunky sole isn't ideal for speed

BUY: adidas Ultraboost 22 Shoes, Men/Women

Best Stability Running Shoes – New Balance Fresh Foam 860v12

New Balance Fresh Foam 860v12

SPECS

  • Key feature: Stability and comfort from Fresh Foam
  • Material: Textile upper; rubber outsole
  • Weight: Men's 11.4 oz.; women's 9 oz.
  • Cushioning: Stable and comfortable
  • Arch support: Neutral to high
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 10mm
  • Sizes: Men's 7-16.5; women's 5-13

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Stability is an essential component of any running shoe, but some of us require more stability than others. Whether you're recovering from an injury, have lingering weakness in one foot, or are dealing with a foot condition like fallen arches, you might want to opt for a stability running shoe. Our pick for best stability running shoe is the New Balance Fresh Foam 860v12. This model is made with NB's Fresh Foam, which provides the kind of comfort and support you need from a stability shoe. For added security, it includes a medial post to gently prevent overpronation, and arch support to normalize your gait.

Runners may choose a stability shoe for many reasons, and fallen arches is just one of them. It's worth noting that though the Fresh Foam 860v12 is a stability shoe, some may find that the arch support doesn't cut it for them. So, if your number one criteria for your next pair is arch support, we'd suggest you look at the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22, which is our pick for best running shoe for flat feet. The Fresh Foam 860v12 also seems to run narrow, but with widths from narrow to extra wide, that shouldn't be a problem for most. All in all, the New Balance Fresh Foam 860v12 is a great option for anyone looking to stabilize and support their feet and ankles during their next run.

PROS

  • Stability features to prevent injury
  • Comfortable Fresh Foam cushioning
  • Reflective accents for safety
  • Available in different widths
  • Medial post to prevent overpronation

CONS

  • Not enough arch support for some with fallen arches
  • Runs narrow

BUY: New Balance Fresh Foam 860x12, Men/Women

Best Cushioned Running Shoes – HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 7

HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 7

SPECS

  • Key feature: Soft cushioning
  • Material: Textile upper; EVA foam; rubber outsole
  • Weight: Men's 10.7 oz.; women's 8.9 oz.
  • Cushioning: Top notch
  • Arch support: Neutral
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 4mm
  • Sizes: Men's 7-16; women's 5-12

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If you prefer a running shoe with plenty of cushion in every step, look no further than the HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 7. You'd be hard pressed to find a more cushioned running shoe than this: The Bondi 7 contains a sizable EVA foam midsole that adds serious height to the shoe. It still manages a heel-to-toe drop of about 4mm, so if you're concerned about minimizing your drop, this shoe should still work well for you. Its slight rocker shape also works to offset the negative effects the thick sole might have on your speed. We like how these shoes work well for walking or long-distance runs. It also performs well for a variety of runners, even for those with foot pain and gait problems, and especially for anyone who needs to be on their feet for hours at work.

The Bondi 7 has neutral arch support, but if you need more stability, we direct you to the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 or the New Balance Fresh Foam 860v12 instead. We know some runners won't care for the high stack height that comes with the foam cushioning in the Bondi 7, so if you're looking for a cushioned shoe with a lower stack height, consider the adidas 4D FWD as an alternative.

PROS

  • Impressive cushioning
  • Comfortable
  • Do-anything shoe
  • Midsole cushion for slight rocker momentum

CONS

  • Not the best for racing
  • Huge foam cushion means high stack height

BUY: HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 7, Men/Women

Best Asics Running Shoes – Asics Gel-Nimbus 24

Asics Gel-Nimbus 24

SPECS

  • Key feature: Good for long-distance runners and those with high arches
  • Material: Textile upper; gel and foam midsole; rubber outsole
  • Weight: Men's 10.2 oz.; women's 8.7 oz.
  • Cushioning: Maximum
  • Arch support: Neutral
  • Heel-to-toe drop: Men's 10mm; women's 13mm
  • Sizes: Men's 7-16; women's 5-13

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The Gel-Nimbus 24 represents the best of what Asics has to offer. Unlike many of the shoes on our list, this one is suitable for those with a normal gait or underpronation—a common issue for runners with high arches. These still have neutral arch support, so you won't feel like you're wearing something unsupportive. They just don't have many of the stability features we've seen on the shoes that are more tailored for those with flat feet.

Instead, the Gel-Nimbus 24 has a super-springy midsole that features both gel and foam cushioning. It has one of the lower stack heights of the shoes we've looked at, especially for a highly cushioned and comfortable shoe. It's also incredibly lightweight, which makes it ideal for long distance runs.

PROS

  • Gel-foam combo in midsole
  • Lightweight
  • Nice cushion for comfort during distance runs
  • Low stack height for a cushioned shoe

CONS

  • Not available in different widths
  • Upper lacks breathability

BUY: Asics Gel-Nimbus 24, Men/Women

Best Cheap Running Shoes – Asics Jolt 2

Asics Jolt 2

SPECS

  • Key feature: Affordable
  • Material: Mesh upper; EVA midsole; rubber outsole
  • Weight: Men's 10.4 oz.; women's 8.4 oz.
  • Cushioning: Minimal
  • Arch support: Neutral
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 10 mm
  • Sizes: Men's 3-15; women's 5-12

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Although we truly believe in investing in a high-quality pair of running shoes (which promotes better foot, knee, and hip health), that doesn't mean you need to spend a fortune. If you're on a budget and looking for a solid pair that'll last through many runs, the Asics Jolt 2 are our top pick. These shoes come with a standard set of features like firm cushioning, neutral arch support, and an average heel-to-toe drop. It's available in a huge range of sizes, plus it's well-regarded for its exceptional durability despite its lower price point.

While we wouldn't recommend relying on the Jolt 2 if you're a long-distance runner, this shoe can suit your needs well if you're just getting into running or only run short distances at a time. And though this firm shoe does provide decent stability, if you have concerns about arch support or correcting your gait, you'll probably want a pair that specializes in these attributes.

PROS

  • Unbeatable price
  • Good size range
  • Stable
  • Comfortable

CONS

  • Too firm for some
  • While comfortable, still doesn't compare to pricier, more cushioned options

BUY: Asics Jolt 2, Men/Women

Best Road Running Shoes – Salomon Predict 2

Salomon Predict 2

SPECS

  • Key feature: Absorbs asphalt impact for comfortable road runs
  • Material: Textile upper; rubber outsole
  • Weight: Men's 9.7 oz.; women's 8.9 oz.
  • Cushioning: High
  • Arch support: Neutral
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 8mm
  • Sizes: Men's 7-13.5; women's 5-12

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Any runner knows that running on asphalt or concrete, especially for long distances, can wreak havoc on your joints. The Salomon Predict 2 is our answer to road runners' frustrations. The Predict 2 is designed with cushioning in all the right places to absorb and divert the impact from running on rough surfaces. The midsole is nice and firm, which is ideal for running on an exceptionally flat or paved surface. The textile upper is breathable for comfort during long runs, and the minimal drop should feel stable for most runners.

As with any specialty shoe, some runners find it doesn't agree with their feet. Some runners might prefer a softer shoe, and the firm midsole doesn't work for everyone, especially if you're accustomed to running in shoes that have a very flexible sole. But if you need a firmer shoe built for road running, the Salomon Predict 2 should suit those who are committed to running on pavement.

PROS

  • Durable sole for road conditions
  • Cushion formulated to reduce joint strain
  • Breathable upper
  • Lightweight

CONS

  • Cushioning might be too firm for some
  • Midsole might feel too rigid to some runners

BUY: Salomon Predict 2, Men/Women

Best Race Running Shoes – Saucony Endorphin Speed 2

Saucony Endorphin Speed 2

SPECS

  • Key feature: Speed and bounce
  • Material: Textile upper; rubber outsole; made with recycled materials
  • Weight: Men's 7.9 oz.; women's 7 oz.
  • Cushioning: Medium
  • Arch support: Neutral
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 8mm
  • Sizes: Men's 7-15; women's 5-12

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It can be a challenge to find a great race day shoe—you need something comfortable, reliable enough to handle any distance, and built for speed. The Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 can do all this and more. At roughly seven ounces, this shoe is incredibly light. We like how it has a rocker sole and nylon plate, ideal for those looking to shave time off your current PR. And yet it still manages to be cushioned, comfortable, and suitable for runs of any distance.

One small safety note: This shoe has a defined rocker shape and a relatively high stack height (35.5 millimeters). If you're a heel striker, this is probably not the shoe for you. Stick with something like the Asics Gel-Nimbus 24, which is also lightweight but has a lower drop and stack height.

PROS

  • Flexible sole
  • Rocker style for speed
  • Comfortable for long distances
  • Works for training as well as race days
  • Lightweight
  • Nylon plate for bounce

CONS

  • Sole lacks traction
  • High heel stack height may feel unstable, especially for heel strikers

BUY: Saucony Endorphin Speed 2, Men/Women

FAQs About Running Shoes


Which brand makes the most comfortable running shoes?

There is no one brand that makes the most comfortable running shoes. The best brand and shoe for you will depend on your personal feet, running habits, and comfort preferences. If you prefer a highly cushioned shoe, check out the HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 7 or the adidas Ultraboost 22. If you need arch support, we recommend the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22. Check out our running shoe superlatives and compare them to your own needs and preferences.

Which running shoes are the best?

Similar to the answer above, there is no one shoe that works the best for everyone. That's why we've chosen the best running shoe for several different types of runners—someone with flat feet will need a different type of shoe than someone in need of stability. However, durability and a comfortable fit are important qualities for any runner to have in a shoe, no matter what purpose they'll need them for.

What running shoes do doctors recommend?

If you have specific concerns about your gait, foot health, or injury recovery, talk to your doctor for a personalized recommendation. Otherwise, use your best judgment and select a pair that fits comfortably and allows you to walk long distances without pain or discomfort. Our running shoe categories can help you find the right running shoe for your specific needs.

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