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The Best Shoe Recommendations for Runners

Jason Hughes
Published by Jason Hughes
Fact checked by Markus Oliver, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: May 23, 2022

Choosing the right kind of running shoe comes down to how much support and cushion your feet need. It can be overwhelming to choose the right running shoe, since there are numerous brands, styles, and shoe technologies on the market. The best way to go about choosing a shoe is to analyze your arch and footstrike, which will determine the kind of daily running shoe you need.

The Different Types of Running Shoes

Neutral Running Shoes

Neutral running shoes are designed for individuals with medium to high arch support. A neutral foot means your arch doesn’t collapse when running, therefore, your shoe doesn’t need to be as rigid with a medial post for added support. 

Some of the top neutral running shoes for men and women include:

  • Brooks Ghost 
  • Saucony Ride
  • Nike Air Zoom Pegasus
  • HOKA Clifton
  • New Balance Fresh Foam 880
  • Mizuno Wave Rider

Stability Running Shoes

On the opposite end of the spectrum, stability shoes are designed for runners with flat arches. When you walk, you’ll notice your arches collapse close to the ground, rather than staying their natural curved shape. Studies show that individuals with flat feet have an increased risk for injuries, including tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, metatarsal pain, knee pain, and lower-back pain. 

Wearing stability shoes and even adding custom orthotics can greatly reduce pressure on the arch for a more balanced stride, and typically include a sturdy medial post, heel counters, and wedging.  

Top stability running shoes for men and women include:

  • Brooks Adrenaline
  • Saucony Guide
  • On Cloudstratus
  • HOKA One One Arahi
  • Nike Zoom Structure
  • New Balance Fresh Foam 860
  • New Balance FuelCell Prism

High-Cushioned Running Shoes

Most running shoes have a decent amount of cushioning to handle anywhere from 300 to 500 miles, but you can find high-cushioning running shoes that give an added boost of comfort. High-cushioned shoes are recommended for individuals who are doing high-mileage, or dealing with chronic knee or lower-back pain. These shoes provide extra shock absorption to reduce stress on the joints. Some runners don’t want too much cushioning, because they prefer to feel a more responsive, harder impact on the ground. 

Additionally, high-cushioned shoes are recommended for those who underpronate, also called supination. The softer shoe reduces the outward roll of the foot. 

Popular high-cushioned running shoes include:

  • Adidas Supernova
  • Brooks Glycerin
  • Reebok Floatride
  • Nike Zoom Vomero
  • Asics Gel-Nimbus (some of the best Asics for running)
  • HOKA One One Bondi

Trail Running Shoes

Trail running shoes are built for rugged terrain and usually have ridged outsoles for better traction. Many trail shoes double for hiking and walking, so you can easily transition pace to climb rocks or loose gravel. The HOKA One One Anacapa Mid GTX shoes are some of the best tactical boots for running, as they have sturdy ankle support, Vibram outsole, and a lightweight feel to pick up speed. 

The Benefits of Wearing Proper Running Shoes

Wearing proper footwear when running makes a huge difference. While specialty running shoes can be pricey, they’re worth the investment.

Reduce Risk of Injury

Whether you’re a beginner or veteran runner, you’ve likely encountered some sort of nagging pain or injury. Running is tough on the body, which is why choosing a high-quality, supportive shoe is extremely important for reducing your risk of injury. Running shoes from trusted brands such as Brooks, Asics, Nike, New Balance, and Saucony provide motion control and use energy-absorbing materials to help dissipate shock. 

There are varying opinions about how shoes impact your running gait. Some people believe minimalist shoes can improve form and foot strength, while others report injuries from a shoe lacking arch support and cushion. It completely depends on your body, your history of injuries, and your running volume. Regardless, it’s widely accepted that a proper running shoe is far more effective than throwing on an old pair of Converse or lifting shoes. Running shoes are designed to help propel you forward.

Become a More Efficient Runner

Running shoes are typically designed with a heel to toe drop, up to 10mm. This drop encourages a midfoot strike and toe-off as you run forward. Research shows that a midfoot strike pattern can shorten your stride, helping you become a more efficient runner. Runners who heel-strike tend to have longer strides and a higher risk of injury. While your shoe won’t necessarily change your foot strike pattern, it can encourage positive running habits.

Protect Your Feet from the Elements

Shoe technology today is highly advanced. Most shoes on the market are made with waterproof, moisture-wicking materials to help keep your feet dry and clean. Additionally, many running shoes have reflective strips, so you can be visible when running at night. 

Running Shoe FAQs

What are the best cross-training shoes for runners?

The best cross training shoes for runners will have more lateral support, as they are suitable for non-running activities such as HIIT workouts, weightlifting, boxing, and more. Brands more well-known for their cross-trainers include Reebok, Under Armour, and Puma. Runner’s World lists some of the top cross-training shoes for runners, including the Puma Fuse, Reebok Nano X1, and the Under Armour Project Rock 3. 

Which running shoes have the best achilles support?

Achilles tendonitis can spring up due to rapid overloading of the achilles tendon. The best achilles support for running will be found in shoes that do not have as much cushion and have a higher heel lift. It might be counterintuitive, but a softer shoe actually puts more strain on the heel since it’s sinking more into the shoe. A shoe with a higher heel to toe drop also puts more pressure on the midfoot versus the back of the foot.

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