When it comes to running, your shoes play a big part in your performance, comfort, and support. Whether you’re a short distance sprinter or a long distance marathon runner, a high-quality pair of running shoes will help enable you to run to the best of your ability.

That’s why, to help you find the best running shoes, we’ve compiled a list of the top 15 running shoes currently on the market. This list was created with different running types in mind. We’ve highlighted important characteristics of each shoe including their weight, shoe class, and terrain type.

So if you’re a runner looking for the best running shoes you can buy, check out the list below to find the right shoe for you.

Before we begin, it should be noted that the best running shoe for one person may not be the best for another. Shoe selection is subjective and therefore it’s important to know yourself as a runner. We’ll tell you what to look out for when making a running shoe purchase so you don’t end up with a shoe you don’t like.

Best Running Shoes 2018

The following shoes were all good enough to make it to our list of the top 15 running shoes in 2018. Whether you’re a man or a woman, you can buy these shoes for either gender.

Be sure to check out the running shoes buyer’s guide at the bottom of this post to learn more about the type of runner you are and what you should be aware of so that you can make an informed decision about which shoe will be the best running shoe for you.

Shoe NameWeight (grams)ClassSurface Type 
Brooks Ghost 9 (Editor's Choice)M: 300 W: 258Neutral/CushioningRoad
ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16M: 337 W: 274CushioningRoad
New Balance Vazee PaceM: 213 W: 184NeutralRoad
Saucony Omni 13M: 318 W: 264Motion ControlRoad
Altra EscalanteM: 232 W: 184Neutral/MinimalistRoad
Salomon Speedcross 3 (Editor's Choice)M: 310 W: 260NeutralTrail
Nike Flex Experience RN 4M: 229 W: 190Neutral/MinimalistRoad
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 16M: 315 W: 261StabilityRoad
Merrell Vapor Glove 2 (Editor's Choice)M: 164 W: 136Neutral/MinimalistTrail
ASICS GEL Venture 5M: 303 W: 247Neutral/CushioningTrail
La Sportiva Mutant BackcountryM: 269 W: 256NeutralTrail
Adidas Performance Ultra BoostM: 303 W: 266StabilityRoad
Under Armour Charged Bandit 2M: 269 W: 230NeutralRoad
Saucony Stabil CS3 (Editor's Choice)W: 289Motion ControlRoad
Nike Men's Free Flyknit 4.0M: 214 W: 178NeutralRoad

1. Brooks Ghost 9 – The Best Neutral Long Distance Running Shoe

The Brooks Ghost 9 is a superb shoe for neutral runners or for those who tend to supinate or “rock-out” slightly at the ankle. It has won a few awards including “Best Buy in the Runner’s World 2016 Fall Shoe Guide“.

The uppers are built to be breathable and provide a wide toe box while the outsole includes a full-length segmented crash pad that accommodates any foot landing and delivers a smooth transition. The outsole also uses flex grooves which help greatly improve the shoe’s overall traction.

As for the heel-to-toe drop, it is rather high at 12mm. This is great for those heel strikers who need additional cushioning but may not be so good for those who want more of a ground feel.

Overall, the Brooks Ghost 9 is a great shoe choice for long distance runners who don’t need a huge amount of arch support but still want a comfortable shoe to run in. It does have a large heel-to-toe drop which may be welcomed featured for some but a turn off for others.

Best For: Long distance running shoe

Shoe Class: Neutral/Cushioning

Weight: Men’s: 300 grams Women’s: 258 grams


  • Perfect for long distance running
  • Great price
  • Extremely comfortable and breathable
  • Built to last and durable


  • A bit on the heavier side
  • Lacks in responsiveness due to high amounts of cushioning

2. ASICS GEL-Nimbus 16 – Expensive but High-Quality

The Asics Gel-Nimbus 16’s all are about providing cushioning to make you feel like your running on a cloud. These shoes offer a dual-layer midsole, a layer of Speva 45 (a midsole material that increases bounce back), and contain the most gel ever used in a Gel-Nimbus series. If you’re a long distance runner, these shoes are a great choice since they help absorb shock very effectively thanks to all the additional cushioning that has been added to them.

These shoes come with Fluid Fit technology meaning the uppers are created with a multi-directional stretch mesh and reinforcements that naturally adapt to the runner’s foot. The Gel-Nimbus 16’s also provide an exoskeletal heel offering improved support and fit.

Overall, this a great pair of shoes for beginner runners, experienced runners, or anyone in between. If you’re running long distances and want a pair of shoes that will help protect you from injury or premature fatigue, the Asics Gel-Nimbus 16’s are a great choice.

Best For: Long distance road running

Shoe Class: Cushioning – This shoe is best for supinators however also works well for neutral pronators and mild over-pronator

Weight: Men’s: 337 grams Women’s: 274 grams


  • Lots of cushioning, thus providing a very comfortable running experience
  • Uppers are made with multi-directional Fluid Fit material to adapt to your feet
  • Comes with a guidance line which helps improve gait efficiency
  • Has a very high “Fits as expected” score on Amazon of 90%


  • Fairly heavy, not a great choice for those who want to run as fast as possible
  • The cost of these may deter some runners away from purchasing them

3. New Balance Vazee Pace – Great as a Mid-Distance Trainer or Racer

The New Balance Vazee Pace shoes can be used as both a trainer and racing shoe thanks to its light weight. The midsole in these shoes use a REVlite foam to provide a firmer and springier run. The outsoles are made with both carbon rubber under the heel and toe (spots where neutral runners tend to wear out first) and blown rubber under the ball of the foot.

Although this Vazee Pace is the first version within the Vazee Pace series, certain runners say they prefer the first version as opposed to the Vazee Pace V2 since the original is lighter, and has less rubber on the outsole.

This shoe’s uppers also conform and move gently with the foot thanks to an elastic foot-snugging mechanism.

Best For: Mid-distance road running

Shoe Class: Neutral

Weight: Men’s: 213 grams Women’s: 184 grams


  • REVlite midsole offers great responsiveness and cushioning
  • Wide toe box for those with wider feet
  • Lightweight


  • Isn’t built for runners who need additional support or guidance
  • Can be noisy when striking with the mid-foot

4. Saucony Omni 13 – Inexpensive Motion-Control Choice

Moderate to severe overpronators require a running shoe that offers additional cushioning to ensure that shock absorption is handled properly and that the midfoot is protected. The Saucony Omni 13’s do just that.

They provide a dual density EVA foam midsole that optimizes durability and rebound. Furthermore, the outsole is made of a combination of blown and carbon rubber to account for the wear patterns incurred from an overpronator.

This shoe also provides arch-lock and support frame technologies which are great to have for overpronators. It features an 8mm heel to toe drop which is great for heel strikers while also providing a sense of ground contact.

Overall, if you’re an overpronator and need a pair of shoes that not only help with overpronation correction but are also comfortable, provide a supportive fit, and are available at a great price, these are definitely worth checking out.

Best For: Road running

Shoe Class: Motion Control – great for overpronators

Weight: Men’s: 318 grams Women’s: 264 grams


  • Uses carbon rubber along the inner edge of the shoe to provide extra protection for overpronators
  • Great price
  • Lots of cushioning


  • On the heavier side
  • Some say they are a bit narrow in width

5. Altra Escalante – New Minimalist Shoe With Cushioning

The Altra Escalante is a lightweight, stylishly designed, zero-drop running shoe. The zero-drop feature means that there is no difference in the stack height between the heel and the forefoot. In this case, the overall stack height of the Altra Escalante is 25mm.

It provides a moderate amount of cushioning and a responsive Altra Ego midsole and decoupled heel. Therefore, as you’re running with these shoes you’ll feel somewhat of a bounce back in the midsole, allowing you to run for longer distances more comfortably.

Best For: Road running and training

Shoe Class: Neutral/Minimalist – although there is quite a bit of cushioning in these shoes compared to other minimalist shoe types

Weight: Men’s: 232 grams Women’s: 184 grams


  • Altra Ego responsive midsole
  • Offers a sock-like fit thanks to its flexible construction
  • Relatively light thanks in part to the engineered knit upper


  • Due to its ultra-flexible design, certain runners/trainers may find the shoe slightly lacking in structure.
  • Certain runners may find that their feet slightly slip in the shoe when going around turns, performing fast movements, etc.
  • Doesn’t offer much stability for forefoot strikers

6. Salomon Speedcross 3 – The Best Trail Running Shoe

The Salomon Speedcross 3 is a fantastic trail running shoe. When purchasing a trail shoe you should be looking for something with increased overall durability, strong outsole tread, and a comfortable feel for that uneven terrain. These are all things that the Salomon Speedcross 3 do exceptionally well.

The shoe is still relatively light for a trail running shoe and offers some great features such as descent control, Sensifit to provide a comfortable and secure fit, and lastly, a quicklace system to get your shoes laced up and you out the door fast.

Overall, the Salomon Speedcross 3 is the best trail running shoe currently on the market. It offers a comfortable fit, plenty of tread on the outsole, is reasonably priced, and is fairly lightweight. For those who do lots of long-distance trail running, this shoe is for you.

Best For: Trail running (particularly in wet conditions)

Shoe Class: Neutral

Weight: Men’s: 310 grams Women’s: 260 grams


  • A great shoe for running on trail thanks to its outsole grips and plenty of cushioning
  • Lightweight for a trail shoe considering added durability and cushioning features
  • Winter ready – mud and snow contragrip outsole
  • Has a sleek look and design and is available in many colors


  • Has a very high 12mm heel drop, which some runners may like but others may find they don’t get enough ground contact

7. Nike Flex Experience RN 4 – Lightweight and Breathable

The Nike Flex Experience RN 4 is a lightweight shoe that offers minimal uppers while providing considerably more cushioning than seen in a typical minimalist shoe (similar to the Escalante). In addition to its lightweight, these shoes are also quite flexible and provide a snug, sock-like fit.

The outsoles of the Nike Flex Experience RN 4’s have reinforced rubber pods placed both at the heel and forefoot to increase durability in the wear patterns of neutral runners.

Overall, these are a great shoe for runners who don’t have a huge budget and want to purchase a good quality running shoe. They’re lightweight, provide cushioning and arch support, and lastly contain Flywire technology to provide a locked-down fit so that your foot doesn’t slide.

Best For: Road running

Shoe Class: Neutral/Minimalist

Weight: Men’s: 229 grams Women’s: 190


  • Provide a snug and locked-down fit
  • Great price
  • Lightweight and very breathable


  • Some runners say these shoes run small and are a bit narrow
  • Likely won’t be as durable as other shoes which have reinforced uppers and greater carbon rubber outsole coverage

8. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 16 – The Best Running Shoe For Mild to Moderate Overpronators

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 16 is a great choice for long distance runners who require a stability shoe due to mild overpronation. It offers a dual density foam through the midsole and a 12mm heel-to-toe differential to provide lots of cushioning for heel strikers.

The uppers of these shoes are also breathable, lightweight and moisture managing. As for the outsoles, Brooks uses their HPR Plus which is a high durability rubber meant to provide long-lasting use in high-wear areas.

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 16 also features a full-length segmented crash pad to deliver smooth transitions, an updated V-groove to disperse impact outward, and an adjustable mid-foot saddle to create a more secure fit.

Best For: Long distance road running

Shoe Class: Stability

Weight: Men’s: 315 grams Women’s: 261 grams


  • Great stability shoe for mild to moderate overpronators
  • Offers plenty of cushioning for long distance runs


  • Some runners have experienced the outsole starting to peel before expected
  • On the heavier side

9. Merrell Vapor Glove 2 – The Best Barefoot Trail Running Shoe

If you love the feeling of barefoot running but still want to have that minimal protection against branches, rocks, and shrubs the Merrell Vapor Glove 2 is the shoe for you.

With these, you can run with a zero-drop ground contact so that you’re more in-tune with the terrain while also being protected by the rubber sole and breathable mesh upper.

It’s also extremely lightweight, has built-in technology to prevent sweat and moisture from affecting the freshness of your shoe, and is vegan-friendly meaning it uses no animal products in the manufacturing of the shoe.

Overall, for those barefoot running fanatics who love nature, the Merrell Vapor Glove 2 is a great trail shoe. It’s extremely lightweight, offers a sleek minimalist design, and will help protect your feet from rocks and debris.

Best For: Barefoot trail running

Shoe Class: Neutral/Minimalist

Weight: Men’s: 164 grams Women’s: 136 grams


  • Extremely lightweight, flexible, and breathable
  • Offers a greater combination of ground contact while also protecting the runner’s feet
  • Features odor-wicking technology and is vegan-friendly


  • The durability of the mesh uppers is not the strongest and depending on how much you use them, they may tear prematurely
  • Some runners say that the shoe fits on the larger side (especially in the midfoot)

10. ASICS GEL Venture 5 – Extremely Popular and Inexpensive

Currently one of the most popular trail running shoes on the Amazon marketplace are the Asics Gel Venture 5’s. These shoes feature a durable mesh and synthetic upper materials as well as Asics’s high abrasion rubber outsoles.

The Gel Venture 5’s also offer a rearfoot gel cushioning system to help absorb shock and make for a more comfortable run.

Bottom line, if you’re looking for a trail running shoe but don’t have a huge budget, the Asics Gel Venture 5 are a great choice and definitely worth a try.

Best For: Trail running

Shoe Class: Neutral/Cushioning

Weight: Men’s: 303 grams Women’s: 247 grams


  • Provides great traction and a rugged outsole for trail running
  • Great price
  • Removal sockliner to accomodate medical orthotics


  • Some runners say they don’t provide enough arch support
  • Although the shoes are offered in a wide option, many runners still comment on them being too narrow

11. La Sportiva Mutant Backcountry – The Multi-Terrain Runner’s Choice

The La Sportiva Mutant Backcountry is another relatively light and durable trail running shoe. It’s designed to be a multipurpose shoe in that it can handle technical trail, loose terrain, rock-scattered climbs, and more.

These shoes are fitted with TPU stabilizers to provide you with more security when trails get slick and uses La Sportiva’s stickiest soles as well opposed lugs to enhance your braking ability.

These La Sportiva Mutant Backcountry shoes also use a Spyraltongue technology to provide a snug, locked-in fit that enhances comfort during those high-mileage runs.

Best For: Trail running

Shoe Class: Neutral

Weight: Men’s: 269 grams Women’s: 256 grams


  • Great for trail runners who intend to also be running across rocky terrain
  • Impressively light considering the amount of cushioning and durability they have
  • A great looking shoe available in various colors
  • Compatible with La Sportiva’s Hobnails (spikes that can be attached to the outsole of the shoe for ice running)


  • The shoe has rather deep lugs which increase the platform height
  • The break in time has been said to take a while

12. Adidas Performance Ultra Boost – Superior Heel Support

The Adidas Performance Ultra Boost are a great street running shoe for those stability runners. It comes with an 8mm heel-to-toe differential and offers lots of cushioning for heel strikers.

These shoes also offer great support and stability, notably in the s-curve heel system that it comes with. As you can see in the heel area of the shoe, the support is almost tongue-shaped offering greater support to the Achilles.

The Primeknit uppers are made to be breathable, flexible, and offer a supportive fit that hugs around your midfoot. As for the outsole of the shoe, Adidas uses a durable rubber stretchweb.

Best For: Road running

Shoe Class: Stability

Weight: Men’s: 303 grams Women’s: 266 grams


  • Torsion system for midfoot integrity
  • Durable outsole
  • Great choice for stability runners who are mild overpronators


  • Relatively high price point
  • Heel tab may be a deterrent for some due to its visual appeal.

13. Under Armour Charged Bandit 2 – Stylish and Flexible

The Under Armour Charged Bandit 2 are a relatively light and comfortable long distance running shoe. The uppers are constructed with a light and extremely stretchable material giving you plenty of flexibility in the toebox area.

There is a two-piece cushioning midsole in these shoes which is firmer below the heel and softer below the forefoot. This provides both support and comfort as well as a great bounce back.

The internal heel cup is designed to provide runners with a locked-in feel and the external heel counter around the back end of the shoe also adds to the support and helps keep the foot in place.

Best For: Long distance road running

Shoe Class: Neutral

Weight: Men’s: 269 grams Women’s: 230 grams


  • Extremely lightweight and flexible uppers
  • Very comfortable shoe for long distance runners


  • Tends to fit on a small side (many runners say to get an entire size larger)
  • Tongue of the shoe is wider than usual potentially causing discomfort to some runners

14. Saucony Stabil CS3 – The Best Women’s Motion Control Shoe

The Saucony Stabil CS3 provides a full PowerGrid midsole which proves to be great for severe overpronators who need a reliable motion control shoe. With this shoe, you’ll also get additional stabilization support from the Sauc-fit midfoot system, ComfortLite sockliner, and HydraMAX collar lining.

The outsole of this shoe also features a combination of two different types of rubber. Carbon rubber is used in high-wear areas where overpronators tend to strike in order to improve the durability of the shoe. Additionally, IBR (blown rubber) is used in the forefoot of the shoe to provide lightweight and flexible, yet responsive feel.

Overall, if you’re a female and a severe overpronator and are in need of a shoe that is comfortable, relatively lightweight in its category, provides fantastic support and stability, the Saucony Stabil CS3 is a great choice.

Best For: Road running

Shoe Class: Motion Control

Weight: Women’s: 289 grams


  • Great shoe with superior cushioning for severe overpronators
  • One of the lightest motion control shoes
  • Extremely comfortable


  • Looks a bit bulky due to large amounts of cushioning
  • Shoe is a bit stiff and may take more time than usual to break in
  • Only available for women

15. Nike Men’s Free Flyknit 4.0 – The Best Minimalist Combination of Cushioning and Flexibility

The Nike Free Flyknit 4.0 are a road running shoe that was built with a minimalist design for the uppers while maintaining a decent amount of cushioning. This makes for a very lightweight and flexible shoe.

The Flyknit 4.0’s are a hybrid of its predecessor and successor. They offer more cushioning than the 3.0’s and more flexibility than the 5.0’s.

The shoes are rather low-profile with a 6mm heel-to-toe drop and the outsole uses waffle-shaped lugs to help absorb impact and improve responsiveness.

If you’re looking for a shoe that’s lightweight, minimal in design, and great for those shorter distance (5-15km) runs the Flyknit 4.0’s are a great choice. They provide a great combination of flexibility and comfort that your feet will thank you for.

Best For: Road running

Shoe Class: Neutral

Weight: Men’s: 214 grams Women’s: 178 grams


  • Extremely lightweight, flexible, and breathable
  • No need to wear socks thanks to Flyknit technology
  • Provides a barefoot feel while still offering cushioning


  • Doesn’t provide much high-durability rubber on the outsole
  • Durability issues in general, not suitable for longer runs (e.g. marathons)

Running Shoes Buyer’s Guide

For those who don’t know, running shoes aren’t a “one size fits all” kind of purchase. What I mean by this is that one person’s running style may differ from the next person’s, therefore, each runner will require the proper shoe type for their own specific style. Before making your final decision it’s important to know what to look out for and what you should know about your own running style beforehand.

Getting a Gait Analysis

A person’s gait is basically the way they move their body from point A to point B. A gait analysis is the study of how we move our bodies (i.e. walk, run, etc) with the objective to highlight any biomechanical abnormalities. For runners, a gait analysis focusses primarily on their feet to identify which type of runner they are.

Getting a gait analysis is important since once you know the style of runner you are, you can make a better decision regarding which type of shoe you should purchase. Purchasing the right shoe that matches with your gait can help prevent injuries and improve performance.

Getting your gait analyzed for running purposes will reveal what type of pronator you are and the foot strike you have, I’ll explain both below.

Pronation Types

There are 3 possible types of pronation, these include:

  1. overpronationOverpronation – Overpronation is quite common in runners and occurs when the feet “rock in” at the ankle. Therefore, the wear pattern on a shoe of an overpronator will show along the inside edge. Since the arch of the foot is stretched inward too much, it inhibits proper shock absorption, therefore, putting you at risk of pain or injury.
  2. supinationSupination (AKA underpronation) – Supination, also known as underpronation, is the opposite of overpronation. In this case, the feet “rock out” at the ankle. The wear pattern on the shoe of a supinator will appear along the outer edge. Supination is less common than overpronation, however, is just as important to identify since it also inhibits proper shock absorption and can lead to pain or injury.
  3. neutral pronationNeutral Pronation – Neutral pronation is the optimal running style (about 20-30% of runners are neutral pronators). Neutral pronators hit the ground with the heel of their feet then as their foot rolls toward their toes, the arc only slightly collapses with each stride, absorbing the impact. The wear pattern on the shoes of a neutral pronator will appear across the ball of their feet as well as on a small portion of the heel.

Foot Strike Types

There are also 3 possible types of foot strikes. Depending on the type of foot striker you are will help determine the heel-to-toe drop size you should be looking for in a shoe. A heel-to-toe drop represents the difference between the height of the heel and the height of the toe.

heel to toe drop

The 3 different types of foot strikes include:

  1. heel strikerHeel – Most runners tend to be heel strikers meaning that their heel strikes the ground first and as the foot rotates forward, they push off with their forefoot. Heel strikers benefit from using shoes with more cushion on the heel, otherwise known as shoes with a high heel-to-toe drop (e.g. 10mm – 12mm). The more cushioning that exists in the heel section of the shoe, the better the impact absorption will be for the runner.
  2. midfoot strikerMidfoot – Some runners strike the ground with their mid-foot. In this case, you should be looking for shoes that have more cushioning in the forefoot and less on the heel. There should still be some cushioning in the heel for midfoot strikers, however, less than what you would find in shoes for heel strikers. Midfoot strikers tend to be neutral runners so if you strike with your midfoot keep that in mind as you browse through the list of best running shoes above.
  3. forefoot strikerForefoot – Lastly, forefoot runners tend to land on the balls of their feet as well as push off on the balls of their feet. In this case, more cushioning in the forefoot area of the shoe is encouraged to help absorb the impact and make for a less painful run. Forefoot runners should use a low heel-to-toe drop (e.g. 0mm – 8mm).

Choosing the Right Running Shoe Class

As you’ve likely noticed from the above collection of best running shoes, each shoe was associated a particular classification – either motion control, cushioning, neutral, stability, or minimalist. These classes represent how the shoe is shaped so that it meshes with your particular running style.

As mentioned above, getting a gait analysis is an important step to determining what your particular running style is. Once you better understand that, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision on what type of running shoe class is best for you.

Learn more about each of the 5 running shoe class types below.

1) Motion Control (Best For: Severe Overpronation)

Motion control shoes help compensate for moderate to severe overpronation, which as mentioned above, is caused when the feet “rock in” at the ankle. These types of shoes correct pronation by having a stiffer and thicker midsole. Runners with flat feet will typically opt to go for motion control shoes as it helps prevent the foot from excessive rotation.

2) Stability (Best For: Mild to Moderate Overpronation)

Similar to motion control, stability shoes also help correct overpronation but on a mild to medium level. These types of shoes include a firm post to reinforce the midsole however the level of thickness and stiffness is slightly less than motion control shoes.

3) Cushioning (Best For: Supination or Underpronation)

Cushioning shoes help compensate for supination or when the feet “rock out” at the ankle. This types of shoe helps enable shock dispersion to the midsole as supinator runners absorb the majority of shock in the heel and forefoot. The term “cushioning” comes from the fact that many manufacturers of these types of shoes add additional cushioning to the heel and forefoot (e.g. gel, air, etc) of the shoes to compensate for underpronation.

4) Neutral (Best For: Neutral Pronation)

As the name implies, neutral shoes are of course, neutral in terms of over-pronation vs supination. This type of shoe has lesser cushioning as your foot is already designed in a way that encourages equal distribution of shock and therefore does not require additional cushioning in any particular area. Runners with slight supination tend to also benefit from neutral shoes as they provide some cushioning and arch support.

5) Minimalist (Best For: No Artificial Support)

Minimalist (or barefoot) shoes have gained considerable popularity in recent years. They offer little to no artifical support in terms of cushioning or pronation correction. The idea with minimalist shoes is to naturally develop better stability, flexibility, as well as a better balanced foot motion by being non-reliant on technical features and being closer to the ground. Minimalist shoes should typically be lightweight, have a low heel to toe drop, and be simplistic.

Road vs Trail Shoes

There are two types of surfaces that runners typically run on: trails and roads. Depending upon which type of surface you plan to be running on will determine which type of shoe you should buy. If you’re going to be doing most of your running on pavement, then a road shoe is the better choice. Alternatively if you’re a nature lover and plan to be running on trails with uneven surfaces, then trail shoes are the preferred choice.

The section below highlights the differences between both types of running shoes

Road Shoes

new vazee road shoes

  • Best on hard surfaces such pavement
  • Light and flexible
  • Prioritizes speed and performance rather than protection from debris or uneven surfaces
  • Offers less traction and grip compared to trail shoes

Trail Shoes

salomon trail shoes

  • Best on uneven terrain such as nature trails with rocks, roots, mud etc
  • Offers better traction, stability, and foot protection than road shoes
  • Bigger and heavier
  • Superior durability due to their intented off-roading use

Training vs Competition

Similar to the differences that exist between road vs terrain shoes, there are also differences between training vs competition running shoes. Depending on whether you’re training to run a 100 meter sprint or competing in a 100 meter spring will determine which type of shoe you should be wearing.

Wearing a training shoe during the training stage and competition shoe during the competition stage will help improve your performance and reduce the risk of injury. A few differences between training vs competition runnning shoes include:

Training Shoes

  • Offers more protection than competitive shoes
  • Provides better correction than competitive shoes (greater cushioning)
  • Can be used for a wider range of activity (e.g. gym workouts, various sports, running, etc)
  • Heavier due to additional cushioning
  • Better for long runs (e.g marathon training)

Competition Shoes

  • Build for speed or up-tempo running
  • Provides less cushioning and support
  • Lighter. Competition shoes should weigh under 200 grams. (Training shoes are typically ~100-150 grams heavier)
  • Can’t be used in as many activities as training shoes due to its lack of protection
  • Very flexible and simulates barefoot running better

Running Shoe Parts and Materials

Although the anatomy of a running shoe can be broken down into various parts, they are primarily comprised of 3 main components, these are the: uppers, midsoles, and outsoles.

running shoe anatomy

Anatomy of a running shoe. Image Source: Huffingtonpost

Each part of the shoe is made with a combination of different materials. Each material serves a different purpose and depending upon which shoe you purchase, it may include all or only some of the materials mentioned in the following sections.

Running Shoe Uppers

Running shoe uppers correspond to the upper part of the shoe. It is the soft part that covers the top and sides of your foot. Running shoe uppers are meant to be light, comfortable, and offer protection from rocks and dirt.

A synthetic type of leather made from a combination of nylon and polyester. It provides durability, breathability, and requires little break-in time.
Materials used to improve breathability and durability. They are also quite lightweight and therefore used in many of the best running shoes to help reduce weight for better performance from the runner.
TPU or thermoplastic urethane overlays help improve durability/stability and are often placed in the arch, heel, or toe cap of a shoe.
Reflective materials are sometimes placed on shoes to increase visibility for night runners as a security measure.

Running Shoe Midsoles

Midsoles are the part of the shoe that sit directly underneath the insole. These are designed to provide stability and disperse the pressure of your foot to provide shock absorption.

EVA, otherwise known as ethylene vinyl acetate is a common material used in midsoles. It is a lightweight, foam-based cushioning material.
Certain shoe manufacturer double the density of EVA to increase weight, firmness, and strength. Dual density EVA is commonly found in stability and motion control shoes has it helps correct overpronation by reinforcing the arch side of each midsole. Dual density EVA is also called a "medial post".
Plates are used to stiffen the forefoot of a shoe. These are often made of materials such as nylon or TPU. Trail shoes typically use plates to offer better protection on uneven surfaces (e.g. rocks, and roots)
Shanks are also typically found in trail running shoes. They help stiffen the midsole as well as offer additional protection to the heel and arch.

Running Shoe Outsoles

The last main part of a shoe is the outsole. This is the part of the shoe that makes direct contact with the ground and is usually made of a very strong and durable material. The durability of your shoe’s outsoles will vary based on the type of shoe you use. For example, a minimalist shoe’s outsole will be much less durable than a stability shoe’s outsole. However, for the most part, outsoles are comprised of two basic materials.

Carbon rubber is the most durable of both types of rubber used in a shoe's outsole (same material as car tires). Most running shoes use carbon rubber in the heel and forefoot of the outsole, while most trail running shoes use carbon rubber throughout the entire outsole to account for the rough terrain.
Blown rubber is lighter and more cushioned than carbon rubber. Most running shoes use this type of carbon between the heel and forefoot of the outsole. For certain types of shoes, such as competitive racing shoes, blown rubber is used throughout the entire outsole to reduce weight and offer better flexibility.

Shoe Size Tips

The last part of this running shoes buyer’s guide will provide you with a few tips for finding the right shoe size. Wearing shoes that fit correctly is extremely important not only for comfort reasons but also for stability and injury prevention. Keeping these tips in mind the next time you’re buying a shoe should help you find a shoe that fits right the first time.

  • Check Amazon’s Shoe Fit Responses – If you’re buying your running shoes from Amazon, be sure to check the “fits as expected” section on popular shoes. Although this feature isn’t available for all shoes sold on Amazon, it’s great to gather feedback from other purchasers to see what the general consensus is. amazon shoe fit
  • Foot Size – It’s important to know what size your foot is and reference it against the manufacturer’s size chart. Shoe lasts are wooden or plastic molds upon which shoes are constructed. These can vary in size by manufacturer, therefore affecting the overall size of the shoe. If you’ve ever worn a size 10 for one pair of shoes but needed a size 10.5 for another pair of shoes this is due to the differentiation in each manufacturer’s shoe last size. Knowing the manufacturer’s exact shoe size is quite convenient for Amazon shoppers as size charts are readily available. amazon shoe size chart
  • Leaving a Bit of Extra Space in the Shoebox – Leaving about a thumbnail’s length of space in the shoe box is a good rule of thumb (no pun intended) for when buying a new pair of shoes. This allows for a bit of space for your toes to move around and accounts for slight changes in the size of your feet (e.g. if they swell).
  • Trying Shoes at the End of the Day – This goes hand-in-hand with the aforementioned point that feet can slightly swell based on how much activity you’re doing, the amount of fluids you drink, etc. Trying shoes on at the end of the day helps account for swelling, avoiding the risk that you purchase a pair of shoes that are too small.

Final Words – Wrapping Up

There are a TON of different running shoes out there and shoe companies tend to come out with new models quite often. Therefore it can be a little overwhelming when you’re on the hunt for the best running shoes. That’s where lists like this one come in. This list was carefully crafted to select the best running shoes for a variety of running styles. Whether you’re an overpronator, a supinator, a road runner, or a trail runner, this list has something for you.

Hopefully you’ve found this list of running shoes helpful. If you skipped over the buyer’s guide above, be sure to take a read through it before making a final purchase decision. Knowing the type of runner you are is extremely important before buying a running shoe since it can make all the difference in terms of comfort and performance. If you think we missed a great running shoe in this list, be sure to leave a comment below or contact us.

Categories: Sports

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