Ready for your daily jogging routine? The beauty of running is that it is a particularly accessible sport. It can be practiced anywhere, anytime, and with minimal equipment. In fact, the only thing that is really important to consider is the pair of shoes that you will be wearing. Finding a good pair is essential, not only to improve your performance but also to avoid injury in the short or long term.
With so many models to choose from, how do you choose just one?
First and foremost, you should know what kind of running you will be using your shoes for road running or trail running? The difference is quite noticeable and will greatly influence your experience. Road running shoes are lightweight and breathable. They allow a fast and smooth stride, suitable for flat terrain. Trail running shoes are designed to support your ankle. Above all, they have a stronger sole to protect your feet against obstacles found on uneven terrain that you may encounter.
Once you’ve identified the type of running you will be doing, start your shopping and check out this list of our top 5 running shoes—three for the road and two for the trails.
Best Road Running Shoes
Best Overall — Brooks Ghost 13
Soft cushion, but not too soft. A mesh upper that breathes but stretches to fit. Details like the padded collar, a crash pad and a 12mm drop. all this combines for one of the most comfortable rides you'll ever take on the road. The Ghost 13 is almost the perfect shoe for everyone, from beginners trying out the sport to hardened vets.
- Balanced cushion
- Air mesh upper
- Not the best for high-level competition
Best Stability Shoe — asics GT 2000 8
It's a whole new outsole and cushion setup for the GT 2000 8, and it shows—or rather, feels. The transition is smooth, partly due to two different impact-absorbing sections. Resulting toe-offs come fluidly. It's a shoe that holds, not grabs, your foot, and seems to move with it through the gait.
- FLYTEFOAM midsole
- Lightweight mesh upper
- TRUSSTIC stability system
- A bit bulky
Best Cushioned — Hoka one one rincon 2
You have to go with the king of cushion Hoka One One when talking plush, soft landings with that marshmallow feel. The Rincon 2 defies expectations by providing ample cushion and being very lightweight. Bringing back Meta-Rocker tech helps with your natural stride and take-off.
- Amazing cushioning
- Innovative design
- Midsole prone to wear
top trail running shoes
Best Overall Trail Running Shoe — saucony peregrine 10
Super steady and as smooth as you cat get on the trails, the Peregrine is an off-road mainstay and the 10 is just so good at everything, we don't hesitate to push it to the top. Going uphill or down is not an issue with aggressive lugs. There's more debris protection, plus a rock plate, and cushion that's just enough to absorb impact but let you feel the ground's contours underfoot.
- Very stable fit and feel
- Great lugs, traction
- New responsive cushion
- Not the thickest cushion
Best Racing Trail Runner — salomon s-lab ultra 2
Built for both men and women, the unisex Ultra 2 extends Salmon's popularity on the less-taken paths. It has all of Salmon's dynamic fit and construction, but it is very lightweight. What makes it really fun is the ample cushion. We feel we could keep running forever in this one...
- Lightweight & fast
- Contagrip MA outsole
- EnergyCell+ midsole
- Fits a bit narrow
- Single colourway
Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO
Customers rave about the entirely vegan Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO shoes with a “barefoot,” design. They wrap around your foot like a glove and are machine washable, which is very practical! The XS Trek rubber sole is perfect for going on the trail or road. Finally, the EVA midsole gives these minimalist running shoes the perfect amount of cushion.
If you suffer from over-pronation, the On Cloud running shoes are an excellent choice. The outsole is made from Zero-Gravity foam and incorporates Cloud Tec technology to give superior protection. Thanks to the moulded heel, the fit is precise, and the stability is exceptional. We also love the efficient lacing system, which goes the extra mile in providing comfort.
what to look for in a running shoe
Choosing a running shoe means considering a myriad of factors like your running gait, the type of shoe you need, and its essential features.
Sizing & Fit
When it comes to sizing and fit, it’s best to read reviews and ask friends about how shoes usually fit. For instance, some running shoes are true to size, while others run a bit larger than average.
When you try on the shoe, ask yourself, is it rubbing on the skin? Does it feel uncomfortable? If you answer yes to these questions, your shoes are most likely too small and will cause blisters and pain.
Keep in mind that lighter running shoes will help you run faster. The average weight for men’s running shoes is around 9.5 ounces, while women’s shoes tend to be smaller and lighter. Conversely, heavier shoes can provide more support and injury prevention. The choice is ultimately up to you.
To choose the right running shoes, you should understand the basic anatomy of any footwear. Here is a breakdown:
Uppers are the top part of the shoe which holds the foot secure. It’s made of different materials for breathability, protection, and stability. The toe box, laces, and tongue are all part of the running shoe’s upper.
The midsole is between the upper and the outsole. It’s made of a spongy or gel material for your foot’s protection. The outsole is the base of the shoe and is made of both carbon rubber and brown rubber. It also serves for protection against the terrain, and has grooves for traction.
There are many different cushioning systems in running shoes with different technologies. The amount of cushioning will largely depend on how you want the shoe to feel as it hits the ground.
The style of the shoe largely depends on where you plan to run and what activities you intend to do. If you are mostly on pavement, go for a road shoe. If you are mostly off-roading, go for a trail shoe for maximum safety and traction.
Luckily, there is a vast array of running shoes on Altitude Sports to fit any budget. Keep in mind more expensive shoes usually feature more “bells and whistles” or advanced technology. On the other hand, more straightforward shoes can be more affordable yet retain their high-quality.
Please read our guide on how to find the ultimate running shoe for more information.
FAQs for Running Shoes
How long do running shoes last?
Various factors affect the longevity of running shoes, but the weight of the runner and running style are two main variables. As a rule of thumb, running shoes should be replaced after 400 to 500 miles. For minimalist or very lightweight shoes, this metric changes to 300 miles.
What are some of the best running shoe brands?
Brooks is a reputable brand that has been around for ages. They are great for beginners as they offer consistent cushioning and support. ASICS is another reliable brand that many runners have come to know and love. Their shoes are also built to last and have innovative technology.
Can a woman wear men's running shoes?
Some women may find men’s shoes more aesthetically pleasing than women’s shoes. It’s fine to wear men’s shoes, but keep in mind that men’s shoes tend to be slightly wider, so you may want to try a size smaller than you usually wear.