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The Best Running Shoes

We pounded plenty of pavement to find the right running shoes for parkrun PBs and longer training runs, with Nike, Asics, Brooks and New Balance making the sports shoes you should lace up.

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The right running shoes are the key piece of kit whether you’re starting to run for fun, aiming for a parkrun personal best, or looking for new shoes to help you train faster, longer and stronger.

The top sports shoes are now full of innovative features, but research has shown that wearing comfortable shoes that fit properly is the best way to minimise the risk of running injuries.

While different foot shapes, running styles and training goals mean there isn’t a ‘perfect pair’ of shoes, we have our favourites and suggest the standouts in certain categories.

After putting many pairs of shoes through their paces, we found that the Brooks Ghost 13 is the best road running shoe for most people. We also recommend running shoes from New Balance, Asics and Nike.

Choosing the Right Running Shoe

Neutral Running Shoes

These running shoes suit most runners, who tend to have normal arches and a neutral pronation. This is where feet land on the outside of the heel then roll slightly inward (pronate) to distribute impact.

Neutral shoes usually have bouncy cushioning and can be lighter as they don’t have as many added features to support the foot.

Best Neutral Running Shoe: Brooks Ghost 13

+ Read full review below

Cushioned Running Shoes

Many neutral running shoes are also suitable for runners who underpronate – also called supination – though they might want a shoe with extra midsole cushioning for better shock absorption.

Underpronators generally have high arches, and land on the outside of the heel but only roll their foot inward (pronate) a little bit or not at all. This sends more shock up the lower leg that ultra-cushioned running shoes can help reduce.

Best Cushioned Running Shoe: New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10

+ Read full review below

Stability Running Shoes

Runners with low arches or flat feet, or collapsing arches, often need stability running shoes with added arch and ankle support to minimise overpronation.

Overpronation occurs where feet land on the outside of the heel, then collapse or roll (pronate) so far that weight is transferred to the inside edge rather than ball of the foot.

Severe overpronators may need a motion control running shoe, with features like foot bridges and a carbon rubber outer sole as well as structured cushioning.

Best Stability Running Shoe: Asics Gel-Kayano 27

+ Read full review below

Lightweight Running Shoes

Whether you’re looking for an everyday trainer or racing flats, lightweight running shoes can help you speed up or at least feel faster.

With improvements in foam technology and design, even the lightest sports shoes now have comfortable midsoles with soft cushioning and springy rebound to suit 10K runs and even marathons.

Best Lightweight Running Shoe: Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2

+ Read full review below

Reviews and Recommendations

Photo: Brooks

Top Gear: Brooks Ghost 13

The best road running shoe

The Brooks Ghost 13 is the best running shoe for most people, with an ideal balance between cushioned comfort, stable support and rapid rebound.

This neutral running shoe is suitable for all road-runners, from beginners aiming to move from Couch to 5K, to racers training with tempo, intervals and long distances.

The Brooks Ghost 13 isn’t especially light, but its springiness makes it feel fast enough for speedy sessions.

Its versatility should make the Brooks Ghost 13 the go-to shoe if you’re looking to buy your first pair mainly dedicated to running or need a reliable all-rounder for daily training. 

Materials

A mix of Brooks midsole materials offers a soft ride and smooth transitions.

Plush DNA Loft cushioning from the heel to toe absorbs shock for heel strikers as well as runners that land on their midfoot or forefoot. A BioMoGo DNA foam midsole adds bouncy responsiveness.

The midsole has a high 12mm drop, from 24mm at the heel to 12mm at the toe.

The seamless Engineered Air Mesh and 3D Fit Print upper makes your feet and ankles feel secure, while stretchable zones ensure there is enough flexibility. The snug upper can hold heat in warmer conditions though.

The blown rubber outsole is suitably grippy and durable enough to make the Ghost 13 a long-lasting shoe.

The Segmented Crash Pad under the heel adapts to each foot drop, to further reduce the impact from each stride.

Colour and Shape

The men’s Brooks Ghost 13 running shoe comes in 9 different colours, all offered in normal width. Some designs are also available in narrow, wide and extra wide shapes.

There are 10 colours to choose from in the women’s Brooks Ghost 13 range. All of these shoes come in normal width, with narrow and wide shapes also an option in some styles.

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Tech and Specs

Support: Neutral
Arch: Medium, High
Midsole: Brooks DNA Loft foam, BioMoGo DNA foam
Outsole: Blown rubber, Segmented Crash Pad
Upper: Brooks 3D Fit Print, Engineered Air Mesh
Heel-Toe Drop: 12mm (24-12mm)

More Guides to Best Buys
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 blue right
Photo: New Balance

Best Cushioned Running Shoe: New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10

Comfort for neutral and underpronating runners

The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 is a high-cushioned running shoe suited to neutral runners and underpronators / supinators.

This shoe should appeal to road warriors who like a fairly firm ride with their springy strides.

Newer runners will appreciate the balance between dense cushioning, subtle stability and bouncy responsiveness.

The Asics Gel Nimbus 22 is another high-cushioned running shoe that we recommend for runners with high arches or rigid feet.

But the NB Fresh Foam 1080v10 got the nod, as a sturdy and durable road running shoe that feels comfortable and fast, so can be used for daily training, easier runs and long distances.

Materials

New Balance’s full-length Fresh Foam X midsole offers lightweight cushioning and springy rebound, for an ultra-comfortable sports shoe that can be taken on long distances.

The high midsole stack, with the heel at 30mm and the forefoot 22mm, has an 8mm drop. A rocker midsole, with the heels and toes shaped up, also smooths heel-to-toe transitions.

The stretchy Hypoknit upper gives a secure, sock-like fit, with a mesh bootie around the rest of the shoe that wraps around your foot.

An Ortholite sockliner adds to the snug, supportive feel, but helps keep your foot cooler than expected. The Ultra Heel cup hugs the back of your foot to further reduce movement and slippage.

The outsole is made from durable blown rubber, with widely-parted grooves in the forefoot giving plenty of flex.

Colour and Shape

The men’s NB Fresh Foam 1080v10 comes in 5 colours, including a light or dark grey, and a more eye-catching blue or red. The high, white midsole stack stands out on all of the styles.

There are 6 colour options for the women’s NB Fresh Foam 1080v10, though even the brightest style isn’t too vibrant.

Each of the men’s and women’s 1080v10s is available in narrow, normal, wide and extra wide shapes. Runners with wider feet might find that it takes a few runs to break in the toe box.

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Tech and Specs

Support: Neutral, Cushioned
Arch: Medium, High
Midsole: NB Fresh Foam X
Outsole: Blown rubber
Upper: NB Hypoknit synthetic and mesh, Ortholite sockliner
Heel-Toe Drop: 8mm (30-22mm)

Asics Gel Kayano 27 grey pink pair
Photo: Asics

Best Stability Running Shoe: Asics Gel-Kayano 27

Springy support for overpronators

The Asics Gel-Kayano 27 is a high-performance stability running shoe made with comfort in mind as much as minimising the inward roll of the foot, known as overpronation.

Runners with low arches or flat feet and a minor-to-moderate overpronation, or collapsing arches, will appreciate the balance between firm cushioning and reliable support.

We also like the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20 stability running shoe, especially for mild overpronators.

But the Asics Gel-Kayano 27 is our top stability shoe, as the high-density shock absorption, responsive ride and gentle guidance for overpronators can also help neutral runners glide over long distances.

Materials

The midsole is made from a mix of materials that help the Kayano 27 cushion and support your feet.

The cushioning comes from two lightweight foams, with Flytefoam Propel in the forefoot putting spring in your step and Flytefoam midsole holding the spongey shape even on long runs. The heel also has a visible pad of Asics’ signature GEL, to improve shock absorption where you need it most.

Midsole support comes from Dynamic Duomax, a dual density foam with a firmer compound through the arch to minimise the inward roll of the foot. The gender-specific Trusstic guidance system, with a thermoplastic piece in the middle of the sole, adds more support to the inside of the arch.

The Asics High Abrasion Rubber (AHAR) outsole gives durable traction even in muddy and off-road conditions. The sponge rubber has guidance lines from heel to toe to further balance each stride.

The plush upper is made from a breathable mesh that allows enough movement in the forefoot, while an external heel counter locks in the rest of your foot and especially around the arch.

Colour and Shape

The men’s Kayano 27 and women’s Kayano 27 are shaped to suit each gender’s typical differences in foot form and biomechanical needs. But both are available in many colours and designs, including reflective detailing to keep runners visible in low light.

This Asics stability running shoe comes in shapes to fit normal, wide and extra wide feet, all with a relatively wide toe box.

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Tech and Specs

Support: Stability
Arch: Low, Medium
Midsole: Asics GEL, FlyteFoam Propel, FlyteFoam, Dynamic DuoMax, Guidance Trusstic
Outsole: Asics High Abrasion Rubber
Upper: Engineered mesh
Heel-Toe Drop: Men’s 10mm (22-12mm); Women’s 13mm (24-11mm)

More Guides to Best Buys
Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 pink and black
Photo: Nike

Best Lightweight Running Shoe: Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2

Soft and speedy all-rounder

The Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 is an ultralight running shoe that is soft and springy enough to be used for daily training sessions like tempo efforts, intervals and long runs.

This sleek running shoe weighs 231g / 8.16oz (men’s, size 9 Aus/UK, 10 US), about 50g / 1.8oz lighter than the other shoes we recommend, and is well-suited to speedwork and even racing.

The midsole includes Nike’s extremely springy ZoomX foam, making the Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 the most cushioned and responsive shoe that we recommend. It also lets you experience the innovative ZoomX midsole without splurging on the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next%.

If you want a firmer ride and similar style at a lower price, and aren’t too concerned with weight and having a ZoomX midsole, try the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37.

But if you want the lightweight, speedy sensation of a race running shoe to push your training and race pace, the Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 is the shoe for you.

Materials

The midsole is made with the best in Nike’s foam technology. The revolutionary ZoomX foam delivers plush cushioning and unmatched energy efficient rebound, while a bottom layer of denser React foam improves durability.

The Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 sole has the heel protruding out the back, as Nike also offers on the ZoomX Vaporfly Next%.

The thin rubber outsole keeps the weight down but provides enough traction for road runners. A hexagon grid pattern underneath helps the foot absorb the impact from each stride.

The upper has minimal padding and is made from light and breathable synthetic mesh, with translucent materials making it a stylish standout. The upper doesn’t stretch much and the tongue can be tricky to get in the right place, so you’ll need to make sure you get the fit right from the start.

Colour and Shape

The high-performance Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 looks as fast and innovative as it is.

The men’s Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 running shoe comes in 7 colours, most with a bright upper and exaggerated Nike swoosh that extends down the midsole.

The women’s Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 is available in 12 different colours, with pink or pastels on most of them but enough choice if you prefer darker shades.

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Tech and Specs

Support: Neutral
Arch: Medium, High
Midsole: Nike ZoomX foam, Nike React foam
Outsole: Rubber
Upper: Engineered mesh
Heel-Toe Drop: 8mm (24-16mm)

First published: 24 April 2020

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