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- Best overall: Brooks Ghost 14
- Best for cushioning: HOKA One One Clifton 8
- Best for flat feet: Asics Gel-Kayano 28
- Best for high arches: Mizuno Wave Creation 20
- Best for wide feet: New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v12
- Best for long distance running: Saucony Ride 15
- Best for trail running: Salomon Speedcross 5
- Best lightweight shoe: HOKA Rincon 3
- Best for racing: Asics Metaracer
- Best for treadmill running: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38
- Best for runners on a budget: Skechers Max Cushioning Elite
You may have heard that running is one of the cheapest sports. Why exactly? Well, all you need to participate, beyond motivation, is a sturdy pair of running shoes.
Finding the right pair can be difficult.
There are many brands and models to choose from. And even if you’re a seasoned pro, you should be replacing your shoes roughly every 350 to 500 miles. New models and brands come onto the market all the time. Is your head spinning yet?
Women’s feet have a number of differences in size and shape compared to men’s. Shoe brands take these into account when designing running shoes for women.
The heel shape and materials of the shoe are related to the design of the running shoes marketed toward women.
“Women’s running shoes are softer than men’s.”
“You don’t need to stick to a particular shoe style based on how it’s labeled. The product with the fit, style, and features that work best for you.”
The following shoes are of high quality. We included some top picks to fit specific foot structure or training needs.
If you want to address any specific issues, you should consult a podiatrist.
- $ = under $100
- $$ = $100–$150
- $$$ = over $150
Weight: 9 ounces (oz.)
Drop: 12 millimeters (mm)
Key features: The newest version of Brooks Ghost (14) boasts an improved fit and Added support. for enhanced comfort on the run.
The brand says that the experience is softer and smoother than ever. Runners who want added support for longer runs can use this shoe.
The Ghost 14 is the first carbon-neutral shoe.
Considerations: Reviewers note that the Ghost 14 may be slightly bigger — about half a size — than the Ghost 13, so you may want to size down. Others mention that the wide offering isn’t as wide as in previous models.
“If you have worn the Ghost before, you may want to try the 14s on in a store to make sure it’s a good fit.”
- The fit of the previous models was improved.
- Added support.
- It is made with recycled materials.
- It is possible that the size is larger than in previous models.
- It may not have as wide of a offering as previous models.
Best for cushioning
Weight: 7.2 oz.
Drop: 5 mm
Key features: If you’re new to HOKA, the Clifton is a good entry shoe to get familiar with the brand. The Clifton 8 provides supreme, symmetrical cushioning for a soft, neutral ride every day of the week.
The shoe is 15 percent lighter than its predecessor and may feel like it is disappearing underfoot, which is helpful for those longer slogs.
The Clifton is made of all vegan materials and comes with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.. for exchange or full refund.
Considerations: Reviewers say the Clifton 8 in wide width isn’t as wide as previous versions. Some say the shoe’s high arch support is not comfortable for those with flat feet. And several people note that the cushioning deteriorates somewhat quickly. For one reviewer, it was after just 1.5 months of going 20 miles per week.
- lightweight cushion
- “For everyday wear, it’s comfortable.”
- 30-day satisfaction guarantee..
- It may not have as wide of a offering as previous versions.
- It may not be comfortable for flat feet.
- The material may wear out quickly.
Best for flat feet
Weight: 9.1 oz.
Drop: 10 mm
“The company’s FF BLAST cushioning at the midsole is what makes this newest model of Kayano so responsive and stable.”
The new version has a 3D space construction that is gender specific to improve compression and keep the shoe lightweight.
Considerations: Some reviewers note that the colors you see on the screen do not match up well to the colors of the actual shoe.
Other reviewers say that this version is different from previous versions and did not work for them because ofblisters, less stability, and heel discomfort. Some reviewers say the soles started falling off.
- It is suitable for overpronation/flat feet.
- There is a wide variety of colors.
- plush cushion
- There are possible differences between the colors on screen and the actual product.
- It may not fit the same way as before.
- The previous versions may have had The materials are lower quality..
Best for high arches
Weight: 11.6 oz.
Drop: 15 mm
Key features: The 20th version of Mizuno’s Wave Creation includes a wave plate that helps absorb shock, perhaps better than standard foam. This shoe also features a A fit like that. for added comfort and security.
Reviewers say the arch support in these shoes has helped them address issues such as plantar fasciitis.
Considerations: One longtime Wave Creation wearer shares that this model’s materials might not be up to snuff compared to previous models. It’s also not a very lightweight shoe, coming in at 11.6 ounces. The price is on the higher end as well.
- The arch support is optimal.
- Increased shock absorption.
- A fit like that.
- The shoes weigh more than the running shoes.
- The materials in previous versions were not as good.
- It is It is expensive..
Best for wide feet
Weight: 8.3 oz.
Drop: 8 mm
Key features: Version 12 of the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 is all about comfort, from heel to toe. The company combined premium cushioning with a lightweight ride and added foam in the midsole for wider widths.
The upper is snug and comfortable for a bootie. The upper is made of more than 50 percent recycled materials.
The best part is that you can purchase this shoe in wide and extra wide widths, which is not the case with every brand and model.
Considerations: Some reviewers say the heel of the shoe rides up and causes discomfort and blisters. Others say the sizing is larger than in previous models and that, overall, there were a lot of changes in version 12 that you may notice if you’ve been loyal to the shoe for several years.
- The upper is Hypoknit.
- There are wide, standard, and extra-wide options.
- The previous models may have larger sizes.
- There are reports of heel pain.
- It is possible that some people may not be wide enough.
Best for long distance running
Weight: 7.8 oz.
Drop: 8 mm
Key features: Soft cushioning and a sock-like liner may make the Saucony Ride 15 a shoe that will take you long distances with comfort. The cushioning foam is lightweight and enhanced with a midsole geometry that promotes good motion from heel to toe.
The shoe is most suitable for neutral runners because of its flexibility in the forefoot and its standard width.
Reviewers say this is the “best” version of the Ride yet and that it may be especially good for runners who supinate.
Considerations: A few reviewers note that this version of the Ride may run a half to a full size too big or, alternatively, that it may run small, so you may want to order a few sizes to try. They also say the toe box is pointed and somewhat narrow, which may cramp your toes.
Reviewers say the version is less structured than the one you wore before. If you need that stability, this may be important.
- lightweight, plush cushion
- The liner is soft and sock-like.
- Wide and standard widths are available.
- The previous models may not have the same size.
- The box is narrow.
- The previous models were less stable.
Best for trail running
Weight: 9.87 oz.
Drop: 10 mm
Key features: If you’re looking for superior traction, cushioning, and a lightweight feel on the trails, the Salomon Speedcross 5 may be your shoe. The latest version features even better grip than previous models, with a refined look to boot.
The Speedcrosses are the best shoes ever, and one reviewer says they combine durability with style that works for trail running, hiking, and even casual wear.
Considerations: Some reviewers note that the sizing is a little longer — about a half size up — and wider than in previous versions. One person says they had only run 120 miles in the shoes before the soles broke down.
Some people say they miss the flashier color combinations that were offered in previous models.
- Great traction on the trails.
- It was designed for mud and soft terrain.
- The upper is durable.
- The previous models may have bigger sizes.
- soles that may break down quickly
- There are muted color options.
Best lightweight shoe
Weight: 6.5 oz.
Drop: 5 mm
Key features: The HOKA Rincon 3 is a very lightweight shoe that offers balanced cushioning for neutral runners. This shoe comes in both standard and wide widths for comfort and offers a competitive cushion-to-weight ratio.
HOKA says that the shoe is made of vegan materials and has been modified for enhanced breathability.
Considerations: Reviewers share that the Rincon 3 is indeed lightweight but that it may be lacking in other areas, such as arch support.
Some people think that the shoes may not have as much cushion as the previous version. Reviewers note that the wide width is still quite narrow.
- “It’s very lightweight and has lots of cushion.”
- The technology is called meta-rocker.
- The uppers are breathable.
- 30-day satisfaction guarantee..
- Not much support for the arch.
- It may not be wide enough.
- Less cushion than previous version.
Best for racing
Weight: 5.5 oz.
Drop: 9 mm
Key features: At a feather-light 5.5 oz., the ASICS Metaracer racing flats may help shave a few seconds off your next race time.
Reviewers say the shoe is comfortable. The upper has drainage ports to shed water in wet conditions. The carbon plate is designed to propel you toward the finish line.
Considerations: You won’t find a ton of user reviews for this racing shoe, but it has a solid 4.3 stars out of 5 on the ASICS website.
It is appropriate for runners who want something fast and light for races. It may stretch the budget for something you will wear only now and then.
- The lightest weight.
- There are drainage ports for wet conditions.
- Carbon plate for responsiveness.
- Not for everyday running.
- It is It is expensive..
- Appears to be only standard width.
Best for treadmill running
Weight: 8.2 oz.
Drop: 10 mm
Key features: The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 is designed to put some extra spring in your step, which could be helpful if you log miles on the treadmill. This shoe features a wider toe box than previous versions, along with breathable mesh to help keep your feet cool.
Considerations: Reviewers share that this shoe tends to have slippage at the heels, which could be a recipe for blisters. One reviewer notes that the included shoelaces are slick and prone to coming untied.
One person says that the shoes fixed their knee pain while running, but on the other hand, they used to get it while treadmill running.
- The ride is responsive for added bounce.
- less It is It is expensive.. than many other shoes
- option to design your own color combinations
- It is possible that heel slippage is a problem.
- laces that come untied easily
- It may run small and narrow.
Best for runners on a budget
Weight: 7.5 oz.
Drop: 6 mm
Key features: At just around $100, the Skechers Max Cushioning Elite is one of the least It is It is expensive.. running-specific shoes on the market. Still, it comes in a variety of colors and offers some impressive features, such as a thick layer of Ultra Go midsole foam and machine washability.
The mesh upper is designed to keep feet cool. Reviewers compare the ride to HOKAs.
Reviewers again and again tout the shoe’s comfortable cushioning, good sizing (Wide and standard widths are available.), and quality materials.
Considerations: Some reviewers say the cushioning on the Elite is too stiff. Others say the fit is uncomfortable and that the wide width isn’t wide enough, particularly when compared to older models.
If you have foot issues, some people say you should consider spending more on higher quality shoes.
- thick cushion
- comparable to much more It is It is expensive.. shoes
- Machine is clean.
- Some reviews say that it is stiff.
- It may not be wide enough.
- The materials are lower quality.
You need to think about proper size when choosing a pair.
One of the best ways to find the right shoes is to visit a running specific store and be fitted.
How to read sizing labels
There are a lot of numbers and letters on the inside of shoe tags. Here is how to decode everything so you know what you are buying.
- Length. This is the numerical size based on the length of your foot. You’ll likely see U.S., U.K., European, and Japanese sizes, as well as centimeters.
- Width. Sizes range from narrow (AA) to extra-wide (EE). You’ll likely encounter basic narrow (AA), medium (M or B), or wide (D) in most mainstream brands.
- Sex. Some shoes indicate somewhere whether they’re made for men (M) or women (W). Occasionally, this letter will precede the item number.
It is important to not get stuck on the idea of being a certain size or that you have to wear shoes for a specific sex.
It is good to keep an open mind and go by the feel of the shoe on your foot.
You may want to buy a larger shoe size. Why? Your feet need different things for different activities. If you are on your feet for a long time, they may swell.
“If your feet swell and you continue running in shoes that can’t accommodate it, you may develop blisters or other foot issues.”
Try on later in the day
You might want to consider shopping at the end of the day. This helps make sure you buy the right size.
Bring your socks
You should bring the socks you plan to run in. If they are thicker than your socks, you will want to size your shoes.
Know your arch
“If you don’t know where you are, you can dip your foot in water and then step onto a piece of cardboard. Flat arches are possible if your footprint is completely filled in. If you don’t see much of a footprint, you may have high arches.”
Know your other foot quirks
You will want to be familiar with your foot. Keep in mind the length, the overall width, and any extra room you want in the toe box or heel.
Don’t get in a rut
Did you lose or gain weight recently? Has it been a while since you were fitted for shoes? If you have a change to your body or activity level, be sure to update your shoe size.
Consider older models
You can find sales on the previous models of the running shoe. Sometimes you can get a great deal on an older shoe that still has the same features.
Are you still overwhelmed with options? Take a step back and think about your priorities.
If the shoes are intended for a specific use, they will say on the packaging. Stores may sort shoes according to features like stability, or trail running, to aid in your search.
You might be looking to run on roads that are easy to navigate. Maybe you want to run up trails and need stability. Maybe you are looking for a lightweight shoe.
You may want to make a list of what you need and want to bring with you on your shopping trip.
“You can head to a local running shop for help with this information. If you don’t have a trained professional to help, look at the features.”
- Sole thickness (or stack height). Thicker soles mean more cushioning, which can be good for running longer distances. Thinner soles may mean a more minimal or natural running experience.
- Shoe weight. Lighter tends to be good for racing. Heavier may mean a shoe has more stability or cushioning features.
- Material. Are the shoes breathable? Are they waterproof? Do they feel good, or do they rub your foot? You may encounter anything from seamless knit to mesh to thicker materials suited for cold weather.
- Tread. Shoes with more bumpy tread are generally better for rough terrain, such as trails. Flatter treads may work well for road racing. Spikes, on the other hand, may be good if you’re on a weekend warrior cross-country team.
- Heel-to-toe drop. You may notice that shoes list a “drop” or “offset” measurement. This is the difference between the height of the heel and the toe. A larger number means the heel is higher than the toe, which may be good for heel-strikers. A smaller difference, on the other hand, may promote more of a natural forefoot strike.
You will need to try on several different pairs of the shoe. It is a good idea to jog and test-drive them.
You can use a treadmill in a store to take shoes for a spin. Try to find a quiet area and do a few slow strides.
You should note how the shoes feel, whether they provide enough support, and whether you notice any areas of pain.
How long do running shoes last?
The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine recommends wearing shoes for 350 to 500 miles before buying new ones. So, your weekly mileage will play a part in how long it takes you to rack up this distance.
Body size and weight may also affect how quickly or slowly shoes wear out. For example, a shoe’s cushioning may wear out more quickly for heavier runners. As a result, they may need to buy a new pair closer to the 350-mile mark.
Shoes that are more than a year old should also be replaced — no matter how many miles they have on them — as materials can deteriorate over time.
How do I know when to replace my running shoes?
Do you not track your miles? Your shoes may tell a story that indicates whether they need to be replaced.
The hard rubber is on the outsole. It is time for a new pair if it is mostly worn through. The midsole can show signs of compression.
“If you run in shoes that don’t feel like they’re absorbing much shock, that’s another sign that they’re reaching their final days.”
How can I properly break in my running shoes?
If they have worn the same brand before, they may not need to break in running shoes. There are a few ways to ease your way in without blisters if you are trying something new.
The experts at Brooks recommend the following:
- First, take a walk. Walking around your house or the block will get you used to the new shoe.
- Start with one long run and take shorter runs of 20 to 30 minutes at a time.
- If you want to get used to the new feeling, you should wear an older pair of running shoes.
- Quality socks act as a second skin and help you avoid issues such as blisters and trapped heat.
And don’t forget your inserts. If you wear custom orthotics or other special inserts, don’t forget to move them to your new shoes to get all the benefits.
If you regularly experience foot pain — whether in new shoes or old shoes — you may want to make an appointment with a podiatrist to get checked out.
Which shoe is right for you? It may take a few tries to find out.
bells and whistles don\’t matter if they aren\’t on your “need” list A higher price tag doesn\’t mean a shoe is better.
“If you want to run more miles, then you should use the manufacturer’s listed features as a guide, but go with your gut and choose something that feels comfortable and supports you.”