How Much Support Do You Need
How does your foot hit the ground when you run? Pronation is the natural way your foot rolls inward when it strikes the ground and then propels forward. There are three different types of pronation, and you may want shoes with features that support your pronation level. Brands use different footwear technologies and features that reduce excess movement. The technologies are meant to guide the foot through a smoother transition.
How We Test Shoes
Runners World has the most comprehensive shoe testing process in the industry. We work with more than 250 local runners of all abilities, ages, and sizes for real-world wear-testing on paved roads, dirt paths, and rocky singletrack. After a month of running more than 100 miles in their respective pairs, our testers report back their findings on features like fit, comfort, performance, and ride. While theyre putting miles on the shoes, the same models undergo a battery of mechanical tests in our RW Shoe Lab, where we objectively measure each shoes cushioning, flexibility, sole thickness, and weight. Our test editors combine their own experience in the shoes with data from the lab and feedback from our wear testers to create reliable, useful reviews of every pair we run in.
Standing Behind Our Picks
We picked the best products based on what we think will work for the most people in the most situations. If you buy gear from us and you dont like the way it looks, fits or performs, bring it back within 60 days for a full refund.
Plus, we offer free shipping on all orders over $99 on fleetfeet.com, and well match a lower price from a qualifying retailer. Thats our Happy Fit Guarantee.
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Is It Worth Buying Expensive Running Shoes
Just because a pair of running shoes is expensive, that doesn’t mean they are good. That said, cheap running shoes seldom deliver a running experience you might expect from decent running footwear.
What’s cheap? If you’re taking running training seriously, we would recommend spending around $/£100 on a new pair of running shoes. This might sound quite a lot at first, but running shoes in this category won’t fall apart after a few runs and will support your feet for a few years at least.
How Do You Want Your Shoes To Feel
“Comfort” means something different to everyone. We want to match you with a shoes that feels good to you. So consider which of these categories aligns with your goals and running style.
Our Cushion collection is built to absorb impact for a soft landing and steady push-off. Perfect for runners who want to feel clouds beneath their feet.
Our Energize shoes are designed to give you back the energy you put into each stride. For a springy toe-off and a little more pep in each step, these are a great fit.
Our Speed category features the sports cars of the shoe world. Light and fast, these models are just right if you plan to push the limits of pace and time.
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3 Tips To Strengthen Your Run Game
1. Start with shorter intervals
Ever heard of the term proximal development? Well, it most definitely applies to your running journey.
Good things come in time! Rome wasnt built in a day and your personal bests probably wont be either. If youre new to running, give yourself some time to build your endurance and strengthen new muscles. Instead of planning to run the entire distance full tilt, break up your run into intervals and keep them short in the beginning. A little walking never hurt anyone.
2. Pace yourself
Just like the tortoise and the hareslow and steady wins the race, my friend!
Nobody likes a show off, plus your body needs time and space to get used to the new stresses of running steadily. Too many new runners make the mistake of overexerting at the start of the run, only to pay the price later on. Skip the painful injuries and instead, stick to a pace that feels manageable and steady. Patience pays, so pace yourself!
3. Dont forget to R& R
It happens all too oftenyou get hopped up on your 5 minute km only to injure your Achilles the next time you decide to hit it. It goes without saying your body needs time to recover! It has to adapt to the new demands of your cardiovascular system and prepare your muscles and joints for your next run.
Be sure to build some rest days into your training regime and check out our Youtube channel for some restorative yoga classes you can take on your off days.
Want A More Personalized Recommendation
Now that you’re familiar with our line, check out our Shoe Finder! It’s a great interactive tool that can give you even more detailed results. And it only takes five minutes.
Or, get some in-person help when you stop by a local running store. You can talk to an expert about your specific needs and concerns plus try on different shoes and see what feels best.
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Trail Running Shoes Vs Road Running Shoes
While the distinction might seem obvious, its good to mention some points that differentiate a trail running shoe from a road one.
- Trail-specific outsoles: the bottom of a trail running shoe usually has a layer of very grippy rubber to avoid slipping over ice, rocks or wet pavement. The shoe will often present aggressively designed lugs to maintain traction in grass, mud or gravel.
- Rock plates: some trail shoes ahve rigid inserts that protect the foot from sharp rocks or stone bruises. This makes the shoe stiffer, but this protection is mandatory on certain kind of terrain
- Protective toe bumper: similar to the rock plate, most trail shoes have hardened toe areas to protect your toes from the damage caused by, for example, kicking a rock
- Weather resistant uppers: very often trail running shoes have water resistant upper, higher collars or special lacing systems that help keeping water, mud or small rocks outside of the shoe.
Customizable Insole Experience Of On Cloud Shoes
Orthotic insoles are a must for users who have problems with their feet and require extra arch support. In this regard, the On Cloud shoes are suggestable as users can remove the insoles and put whatever they want to however it suits them.
Options are something users like when getting shoes. Hence, On Cloud shoes are good if you have to change insoles now and then.
Then some users like taking their insoles out and wearing their shoes. This is solely a preferential thing, however. But better to be given a choice than none at all, right?
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Nike Air Zoom Winflo 8
Wait where did the Pegasus go? Hasnt the model consistently featured on this guide?
It did until the Pegasus 37 came along. With a softer rear and firmer forefoot, the Pegasus 37 wasnt as versatile as the 36 or 35. The 37s upper went as far as to remove the tongue padding, and some form of upper plushness is preferable for most beginners. Though the Pegasus 38s padded tongue makes amends, it has the same ride quality and thus, the drawbacks as the 37.
Let us suggest something else instead.
The $90 Zoom Winflo 8 has a forefoot Zoom Air bag inside its EVA foam midsole. From a ride viewpoint, that translates into a cushioned and responsive experience.
The pressurized Zoom Air bags contract and expand when loaded, and are vaguely reminiscent of the older Pegasus models namely the 33 and 34. Theres enough padding beneath to make the Winflo a daily beater capable of regular runs and the occasional long-distance session.
That said, its apparent that the Winflo 8 is built to a cost. The smooth-fitting upper is secure, but we cant help but notice the flimsiness of the materials. Even the outsole lacks the robust thickness of the Pegasus.
But if you cant find the older Pegasus models , then the Winflo 8 is a great starter shoe.
Nike Zoomx Vaporfly Next% 2
- Exceptionally lightweight, soft, and springy
- Improved comfort and durability
The fastest shoe you can buy, the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 is equipped with responsive ZoomX foam and a carbon-fiber platethe high-tech combination that allow elite marathoners to race under a five-minute pace. The Vaporweave upper has also been updated to a flexible mesh that stays comfortable late in a race. That being said, the comfort and durability of this shoe also make it great for speedy short distances, whether youre racing or not.
BEST FOR LONG RUNS
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Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next%
Price: £269.95 / $275 | Weight: 210g/7.4oz | Drop: 4mm
The chunkier, pricier stablemate of the Vaporfly, the Alphafly uses the same springy ZoomX foam and a carbon plate, but adds Nikes Air Zoom pods under the forefoot for a punchier toe-off. The Alphafly is more of an acquired taste than the Vaporfly, which seems to work for pretty much everyone, but if you click with the Alphafly its a superb long-distance racer in particular.
Run Tester Nick has it as his go-to half marathon and marathon racing shoe, and ran 2:29 and 2:33 marathons in it this year. The Vaporfly is lighter and nimbler, but the Alphafly helps you lock into a pace and cruise through those long events in more comfort, while still being outrageously fast. The real downside here though is the price. At £270 you might well get more value by sticking with the Vaporfly, or opting for the Metaspeed Sky or Adios Pro 2.
For our third pick, weve got two racing shoes. Both are worthy of a place in the top spot, but for different reasons.
What Other Types Of Shoes Are There
Some retailers refer to motion control and stability shoes as two different types of footwear but from an academic perspective there is no difference. Both types of shoes try to alter the movement of the foot when it strikes the ground .
These shoes contain denser foam in the midsole to prevent the foot from moving too much in a particular direction. Shoes for supinators have denser foam on the edge of the shoe and shoes for overpronators tend to have most support near the big toe, on the inside of the heel and under the ball of the foot. But the type of support and what it is called varies between brands.
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Skechers Gorun Razor Excess
Price: £125/$140 | Weight: 204g/7.2oz | Drop: 4mm
Skecherss lightweight Hyperburst midsole is the star of the show here, providing a ride with plenty of pop thats still pretty comfortable on easy runs. The Razor Excess has a firmer feel than some of our other all-rounder picks, and the low drops might not suit everyone, but its a terrific fast training shoe that we also rate as a good racing option for all distances up to a marathon.
Hoka Clifton : The Best Shoes With Soft Cushioning
Pronation: overpronationOther notable features: vegan, recycled materials
As we often repeat, theres no scientific evidence that proves the effectiveness of stability running shoes to reduce the risk of injury.
Thats why, unlike many stores and brands, we dont recommend taking your gait into account when choosing your running shoes.
However, some runners love them and wouldnt consider running in neutral shoes. We have no problem with that: whatever works as long as you can run injury-free!
The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 is for these runners and provides the right amount of arch support to be effective without being too intrusive. These stability shoes are so comfortable that they are also very popular among neutral runners. The relatively lightweight design is another advantage, and the quality is top-notch. Go for it!
The Mizuno Wave Rider is the favorite shoe of Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami!
Lets pause to appreciate the gritty epitaph the writer is planning to have on his grave.
At least he never walked.
Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
What will be yours?
Anyway, we digressback to the shoes!
The Mizuno Wave Rider 25 is a shoe that has reinvented itself over time to keep its top-tier status.
This version 25 offers just as much high-stack cushioning as in the past, but with more flexibility. In addition, the shoe is lighter and continues to provide great comfort.
An excellent option for daily training!
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How Much Should I Spend
Considering your budget is an important part of making a purchase. Premium running shoes can cost anywhere from about $120 to more than $250. You don’t need to break the bank to buy shoes, but premium trainers are made with better materials and will last longer than cheap ones.
If having the latest model isn’t your top concern, then check out the clearance section for great shoes at a discount.
Know Your Foot Strike
Understanding how your foot strikes the ground while running helps you select the right shoe for your foot. Runners typically fit into three footstrike categories.
To figure out your footstrike, look at your current pair of running shoes. They should show more wear in the area of the shoes sole that strikes the ground first.
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What Type Of Stability Are You Most Comfortable With
Some runners need shoes with additional stability to reduce stress caused by their ankles rolling in.
- Are you new to running or have been running in neutral shoes and have no particular aches or pains? Choose Neutral
- Do you notice slight discomfort during or after a run on the inside of your shin? Choose Light Stability
- While running, are you experiencing aches and pains on the inside of your shin and the side of your knee or hip? Choose Stability
- Do you have joint discomfort during or after your run? Are your old shoes are collapsed to the inside? Choose Motion Control
New Balance Fresh Foam 880v11
In the past, weve often singled out the New Balance 880 as being one of the last conventional trainers.
Well, with the 880V11, we cant label the shoe as such not anymore. Last year, the 880V10 replaced the dual-density midsole of the V9 with a new Fresh Foam stack that was attached to a redesigned knit upper.
However, that doesnt change the 880s beginner-friendly cushioning and fit character.
The 10 mm drop midsole is just right in its cushioning delivery and strikes the optimal balance between ride comfort and stability. The firm feel gives the 880 a versatile ride quality. The engineered mesh upper has a smooth interior with no pressure hot spots.
It helps that the 880s true-to-size upper sells in four different sizing widths. The upper lacks an inner sleeve, so some tongue slide happens during runs.
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So Which Shoes Are Best
Tally your answers for terrain, preferred experience, and support style, then take a look at our suggestions here.
Divide Traction and protection to bridge runners from road to trail
Cascadia Rule the trail with cushioned, durable protection and stability
Cascadia GTX Cushioned, durable protection with a waterproof exterior
Trail | Energize
Caldera Excellent traction and responsive cushion on any terrain
Catamount Lightweight cushioning and top-notch traction for high-speed miles
Low Drop Or Zero Drop Running Shoes
A running shoe drop, or heel-to-toe offset, is the difference, measured in millimiters between the height of the shoe sole in the heel area vs the height of the sole in the toe area. For reference, traditional running shoes usually have an offset of 12mm. Low drop are considered shoes with a drop between zero and 4mm. Everything in between is also possible.
The logic is: shoes with a higher heel will favor heel strike during running, while shoes with a zero or low drop will favor a more forefoot or midfoot running gait. It is largely a matter of preference, but running on your toes requires a completely different set of muscle activation and switching from one kind of shoe to the other without proper conditioning and a very gradual approach might result in injury.
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What Should I Look For In A Running Shoe
First and foremost, pay attention to fit and comfort . In terms of fit, look for a shoe that gives you room to wiggle your toes and a heel that doesnt slip. Look at the reviews on each shoe to make sure its durable. Last but not least, find a shoe with some style. Chances are if you love it, youll be more excited to lace up.
Determining Your Foot Type
Take a look at the bottom of your running shoe. The wear on your shoe will likely reveal your foot type.
- If your shoe shows even wear, you have a neutral arch and are a normal pronator.
- If the inner soles of your shoes are usually worn down, you are an overpronator and probably have a low arch.
- If your shoe wear shows excessive wear on the outer soles, you are an underpronator and probably have a high arch.
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Feel Ready To Run In The Rebel Race Runner
These babies will have you running like your life depends on it seriously, they are just that good. The combination of DUROMAX and the structural mould these runners are built on give them an A+ in ground contact and stability.
They also have reflective features and extra glow in the dark laces to support your late night run obsession.