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Running shoes are a staple item in many people’s workout wardrobes. By wearing suitable running footwear for any terrain, a person may improve their performance and reduce the likelihood of injury.

We use “men’s” and “women’s” in this article to align with how companies market their products, but there is no need to stick to one or the other. A person should choose the product with the fit, style, and features that work best for them.

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A quick look at the best running shoes

The most appropriate running shoes will vary among individuals based on their exercise preferences and what they find desirable in footwear. While manufacturers may alter the construction of a running shoe to make it more fitting for males or females, some companies offer a gender-neutral design. People should consider their foot size and width when making a purchase.

This article will examine what to look for in a running shoe, with some top examples to consider.

Medical News Today’s methodology

Medical News Today chooses products that fit the following criteria, where possible:

  • Type of exercise: MNT chooses shoes that are suitable for a range of exercise, such as trail, track, and cross-country running.
  • Features: MNT chooses shoes that have different features, such as spikes for rougher terrains, and extra cushioning to help reduce impact.
  • Comfort: MNT chooses shoes that are lightweight, breathable, and comfortable.
  • Fit: MNT chooses products available for male and female runners.
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The footwear market offers a vast range of running shoes to buy. Below, we provide a list of running shoes appropriate for different terrains.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best for road running: Nike Revolution 6 Next Nature

Nike Revolution 6 Next Nature
  • Type of exercise: This shoe is suitable for road running.
  • Weight: Nike does not list the weight of this shoe.
  • Heel-toe drop: Nike does not list the heel-toe drop of this shoe.
  • Price: $70

The men’s Nike Revolution 6 Next Nature is a road running shoe. It is available in 12 color designs, and Nike describes it as a lightweight and breathable shoe.

People can choose a regular or extra wide fit.

The Nike Revolution 6 Next Nature is also available for women.

Nike claims the shoe is made from 20% recycled materials, including 100% recycled laces. It contains plush mesh for comfort and durability. It also has a foam midsole for comfort, and the outsole provides cushioning and flexibility.


  • lightweight shoe made from 20% recycled materials
  • breathable
  • offers more cushioning than earlier models
  • two width options


  • many reviews mention that the sizes come up a little small
  • Nike does not list the weight or heel-toe drop of the shoe
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Best for cross-country running: Brooks Draft XC Spikeless

Brooks Draft XC Spikeless
  • Type of exercise: This shoe is suitable for track and cross-country running.
  • Weight: The shoe weighs 6 ounces (oz).
  • Heel-toe drop: This shoe has a heel-toe drop of 3 millimeters (mm).
  • Price: $65

Brooks designed this unisex shoe for cross-country running. It is available in one color and one width.

The soles offer optimal traction with raised grips across the majority of the sole and six studs.

It also features a customizable upper that people can draw on, which is a unique design choice that makes this shoe stand out from other brands’ options.

The company says it has also designed the shoe for speed, describing the shoes as racing flats. This means they are lightweight and especially suitable for long-distance runs.


  • specifically designed for cross-country and long-distance running
  • customizable upper
  • soles offer a lot of traction
  • unisex design
  • lightweight


  • reviewers mention that the sizing comes up small and narrow
  • only one color option
  • white material may become dirty quickly
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Best for trail running: Saucony Peregrine 12

Saucony Peregrine 12 against a green background.
  • Type of exercise: This shoe is suitable for trail running.
  • Weight: The women’s model weighs 8.3 oz, and the men’s weighs 9.7 oz.
  • Heel-toe drop: This shoe has a heel-toe drop of 4 mm.
  • Price: $130

The company designed this running shoe for trail running. It has an outsole designed to provide traction on unpredictable terrain. Recycled uppers provide flexible protection from trail elements.

This shoe comes in six colors. The Saucony Peregrine 12 is also available for men.

A new rock plate provides support and protection against rough surfaces as well as moisture resistance. The shoe features cushioning and a contoured sock liner.


  • may provide traction on uneven ground
  • available in several widths
  • contains recycled materials
  • protects against rough surfaces and moisture


  • reviewers claim the shoes are unsuitable for people with wide feet
  • expensive
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Best for asphalt running: On Running Cloudflow

On Running CloudFlow
  • Type of exercise: This shoe is suitable for training and racing.
  • Weight: This shoe weighs 6.98 oz.
  • Heel-toe drop: The shoe has a heel-toe drop of 9 mm.
  • Price: $139.99

This On Running Cloudflow shoe comes in seven colors and weighs 6.98 oz. The company says the shoe features Helion superfoam, making it lightweight and comfortable.

It also uses the company’s CloudTec, which is cushioning technology on the sole of the shoe. It comprises hollow channels across the sole that provide soft landings and extra power when pushing off. On Running writes that CloudTec may also reduce muscle fatigue.

The On Running Cloudflow shoe is also available for men.

This model may be suitable for asphalt running of any distance. The company also offers a 30-day returns policy for those who wish to try the shoes on at home.


  • may provide superior cushioning
  • may reduce muscle fatigue
  • 30-day return policy
  • available in wide fit


  • some reviewers found the shoes unsuitable for wet surfaces
  • expensive
  • may be unsuitable for rough terrain
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Best for most terrains: Inov-8 RocLite G 275

Inov8 Roclite 275
  • Type of exercise: This shoe is suitable for trail running.
  • Weight: The shoe weighs 9.625 oz.
  • Heel-toe drop: This shoe has a heel-toe drop of 8 mm.
  • Price: $150

The men’s inov-8 RocLite 275 is a graphene-enhanced trail running shoe featuring a tough mesh upper portion to protect the foot from trail hazards.

The shoe also comes with a rubber toe cap, padded tongue, and rubber outsole to provide traction against a variety of trails.

It also features some of inov-8 proprietary technologies, including the POWERFLOW midsole for shock absorption and the META-PLATE to protect the foot.

It comes in four colors, and there is also a women’s version of this shoe, which is $5 cheaper than the men’s.


  • breathable
  • suitable for most terrains
  • provides all-round protection for the foot
  • absorbs shock


  • some people report the shoe does not fit securely
  • limited color range
  • expensive
  • limited number of online reviews
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Best for endurance training: Adidas SL20.3

The Adidas SL20.3 against a green background.
  • Type of exercise: This shoe is suitable for endurance training.
  • Weight: Adidas does not state the weight of this shoe.
  • Heel-toe drop: This shoe has a heel-toe drop of 8 mm.
  • Price: $120

This lightweight running shoe features Lightstrike cushioning, which the company claims can help runners run faster.

The flexible upper consists of at least 50% recycled materials. Adidas has used zones of flexibility and support to make the shoe adaptive.

The shoe aims to provide support and security for endurance runs and speed work alike.

There does not seem to be a men’s version of this shoe online.


  • reviewers claim it has good traction
  • buyers say the shoe is durable
  • offers zoned support and flexibility
  • uses recycled materials


  • one color option
  • light color may become dirty quickly
  • expensive
  • some buyers found the sizing too small
  • some reviewers comment the shoes are not cushioned enough
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Best for efficient energy return: Brooks Levitate 6

Brooks Levitate 6
  • Type of exercise: This shoe is suitable for road running.
  • Weight: The men’s shoe weighs 10.5 oz and the women’s shoe weighs 9.5 oz.
  • Heel-toe drop: This shoe has a heel-toe drop of 8 mm.
  • Price: $150

The Brooks Levitate 6 running shoe features the brand’s DNA AMP v2 midsole foam technology. The company claims this allows the foot to spring off the ground with each step for speedy, efficient energy return.

There are 5 colors to choose from, and people can also opt for a Classic or StealthFit. There are also options for neutral or extra support.

There is a women’s version of this shoe available online.

The shoe also features the company’s stretchy and breathable upper design, which Brooks says moves and expands with the foot as the user runs.


  • the wide toe box may increase comfort
  • comes in men’s and women’s sizes
  • upper is very flexible
  • provides energy return
  • several options for support and fit


  • some reviews claim the sizing comes up small
  • other buyers find the extra springy sole uncomfortable
  • a more expensive option
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Best for soft landings: ASICS DYNABLAST 3

  • Type of exercise: This shoe is suitable for road running.
  • Weight: The company does not list the weight.
  • Heel-toe drop: The company does not list the heel-toe drop.
  • Price: $100

ASICS claims the DYNABLAST 3 shoe is suitable for runners looking for a responsive underfoot feeling during their run.

The company also states the running shoe is comfortable and features a lightweight and breathable upper to keep the feet cool and provide support. ASICS emphasizes the cushioning of its FLYTEFOAM BLAST material, which helps generate soft landings.

The shoe contains recycled materials, and the company made it using manufacturing processes that reduce carbon emissions and water usage.

There is also a women’s version of this shoe.

There are 10 colors available.


  • comes in men’s and women’s sizes
  • provides cushioning for soft landings
  • contains recycled material
  • manufacturing processes reduce carbon emissions


  • the average rating shows the shoes may be too tight
  • reports of the upper material not being durable
  • the company does not list the weight or heel-toe drop
  • limited online reviews
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Best for mixed training: Hoka Challenger 6

Hoka Challenger 6
  • Type of exercise: This shoe is suitable for trail and road running.
  • Weight: The shoe weighs 9.8 oz.
  • Heel-toe drop: This shoe has a heel-toe drop of 5 mm.
  • Price: $140

The Challenger ATR 6 shoe from Hoka is a hybrid shoe suitable for trail and road running, making it a good option for those who like to mix up their training sessions. Hoka says the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) has recognized this product as beneficial to foot health and awards it a Seal of Acceptance.

The shoe has a thicker midsole, but Hoka writes it is lightweight enough for road running. The midsole may also protect against shock and provide stable footing.

The shoes feature moderate cushioning with dual layers of mesh to keep the feet cool.

People can choose from six colors. There is also a women’s version of this shoe.


  • may be suitable for all terrains
  • holds APMA Seal of Acceptance
  • midsole provides stability and shock protection
  • mesh upper keeps the feet cool


  • some buyers did not find this shoe comfortable
  • expensive
  • some people report issues with durability
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Best for cushioning: Mizuno Wave Rider 25

Mizuno Wave Rider 25
  • Type of exercise: This shoe is suitable for road running.
  • Weight: The company does not list the weight.
  • Heel-toe drop: The company does not list the heel-toe drop.
  • Price: around $140

This shoe features a number of comfort features to cushion the foot. There are top and bottom midsoles to provide soft cushioning and energy return. The plate is made from castor beans and also provides cushioning. The company claims it disperses shock.

The upper is flexible and breathable. There are 11 men’s designs and 18 women’s designs.


  • uses some sustainable materials
  • provides many different comfort features
  • wide range of designs overall


  • high heel-toe drop may not be suitable for everyone
  • fewer styles for men’s sizing
  • expensive
  • the company does not list the heel-toe drop or weight
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Best for a secure fit: Lululemon Blissfeel Running Shoe

Lululemon Blissfeel Running Shoe
  • Type of exercise: This shoe is suitable for road running.
  • Weight: The shoe weighs 9.4 oz.
  • Heel-toe drop: This shoe has a heel-toe drop of 9.5 mm.
  • Price: $148

This shoe from Lululemon is designed specifically for female runners. There are three color options available.

It features a moisture-wicking liner, pressure-mapped outsole for traction and flexibility, and a heel clip for support and a locked-in feeling. There is a midfoot frame that supports the foot, making this shoe a good option for those looking for a very supportive running shoe.

Lululemon offers a 30-day trial.


  • 30-day trial
  • designed specifically for female runners
  • several support features
  • moisture-wicking liner


  • expensive
  • some people found the toe box too narrow
  • buyers often found the shoes uncomfortable around the ankle
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Below is a comparison table featuring all of the above running shoes.

PriceType of exerciseWeightHeel-toe drop
Nike Revolution 6 Next Nature$70road runningno information availableno information available
Brooks Draft XC Spikeless$65track and cross-country6 oz3 mm
Saucony Peregrine 12$130trail running8.3 oz (women’s) and 9.7 oz (men’s)4 mm
On Running Cloudflow$139.99training and racing6.98 oz9 mm
inov-8 RocLite 275$150trail running9.625 oz8 mm
Adidas SL20.3$120endurance trainingno information available8 mm
Brooks Levitate 6$150exercise requiring neutral support9.5 oz (women’s) and 10.5 oz (men’s)8 mm
ASICS DYNABLAST 3$100road runningno information availableno information available
Hoka Challenger 6$140trail and road running9.8 oz5 mm
Mizuno Wave Rider 25around $140trail and road runningno information availableno information available
Lululemon Blissfeel Running Shoe$148road running9.4 oz9.5 mm

The best running shoe for a person can depend upon their feet, running pattern, and type of surface they run on. The footwear industry may also use several terms or definitions to describe running shoes.

The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) notes that running shoes should match a person’s foot arch and provide shock absorption.

A 2020 study notes that other important features include breathability, stiffness, and shoe mass. Another 2020 study also lists other features, such as:

  • Cushioning: This helps minimize the shock to the feet and legs, which in some cases may help prevent injury. This feature may be especially useful for those who run on hard surfaces.
  • Heel-toe drop: This refers to the difference in height between the heel and the toe. This can affect how the foot strikes the ground.
  • Heel cup support: This feature may also reduce impact while running, especially when the heel strikes the ground.
  • Midsole support: This feature may further reduce impact and help protect against shock.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) also adds that people may wish to consider the following factors:

  • whether the shoes pinch or rub against the feet
  • whether the shoes are durable
  • whether people require regular or wide fit options
  • the terrain they run on and whether this affects their need for shoes with extra grip or more cushioning

The ACSM also advises that a person measure their feet in a store and buy different shoe sizes if their left and right foot are not the same size.

According to the ACSM, there are several features people may wish to avoid when purchasing a running shoe:

  • Too much cushioning: While cushioning can be beneficial, too much may worsen running motions and increase the impact on the joints. A 2018 study also suggests that too much padding can increase the risk of injury.
  • Walking gait: People should not choose shoes based on their walking gait, as foot motions differ when running.
  • Stability features: Some shoes may highlight stability features, such as additional arch support, but these may cause problems with the feet or knees.
  • High profile: Shoes with a high heel-toe drop may injure the foot due to the unnatural position of the foot while running.

It is also advisable that a person shopping for running shoes avoid shoes that fit incorrectly or those unsuitable for running, as this can result in injury.

The foot has three arches. Together, they form a strong, flexible base of support for the body. One of the arches, the medial longitudinal arch, can impact how a person walks or runs.

Aches, pains, and conditions such as plantar fasciitis can develop due to overuse or instability in the foot. Running shoes can help provide extra support and flexibility for the arch, which may help prevent injuries.

Heel drop, or heel-toe drop, is a term that refers to the height difference between the forefoot and the heel of the foot.

Larger heel drops, such as 10 mm and higher, may increase the risk of injury due to the way the foot is positioned while running.

Road running involves running along streets and sidewalks, whereas trail running involves going off-road. People who run trails may encounter rocks, roots, and other rough terrains.

Trail running shoes may have spikes to improve traction, whereas road running shoes may have more cushioning to decrease the impact of the foot hitting concrete.

A person can help maximize the life of their running shoes by following these steps:

  • Refrain from leaving shoes in direct sunlight or excess heat, including heat from the dryer.
  • Remove shoes by untying them, instead of kicking them off, to help maintain integrity.
  • Clean the shoes using a brush or soft-bristled toothbrush, mild soap, and warm water to remove exterior dirt.
  • Store shoes on a shelf, stuffed with newspaper or other paper to help the shoes keep their shape.

A person can also consider alternating running shoes daily. Wearing one pair for a run one day and then switching to a different pair the next day gives the protective foam sole time to revert to its original shape.

The APMA suggests that people replace running shoes after 600–800 miles of running or walking, or approximately every 6–8 months. If individuals begin to notice the following, they may need to consider buying new running footwear:

  • The bottom of the shoe appears worn-down, with little tread remaining.
  • The back support of the heel starts to lean inward. This can indicate that this supportive part is breaking down.
  • A person notices that their legs and feet are more tired than usual after a run, even though they have not adjusted their running style.

Replacing running footwear is vital to avoid injury. Even if shoes do not physically appear worn, they may require replacing.

People new to running or training may wish to seek advice from an expert. Many stores specializing in running and athletic wear will have staff who may be able to suggest suitable options.

In some cases, stores may offer gait analysis. This is where a person runs on a treadmill so staff can determine their running style and recommend suitable running shoes. This service is often free.

Some people may also need to seek help from a podiatrist if they have any injuries or specific footwear requirements.

Below are some commonly asked questions about running shoes.

Which brand of running shoes has the highest rating?

Each brand of running shoes has its own advantages and disadvantages. A brand that is suitable for some people may not be suitable for others.

A person may wish to consider brands that offer returns or test run policies when purchasing a new shoe. Testing a shoe before committing to a purchase may help a person choose a brand that meets their requirements.

Which running shoes are best for beginners?

There is no one best running shoe for beginners.

People may wish to consider factors such as the terrain they are going to be running on and how much stability the shoe offers. Many stores that specialize in running shoes will also offer advice and recommend certain shoes.

How often should I buy new running shoes?

The APMA recommends replacing running shoes after 600–800 miles of running or walking, or roughly every 6–8 months.

What is the No. 1 running shoe?

There is no one best running shoe that would suit everyone.

People should consider various factors, such as how often they run, which terrain they intend to run on, and what their budget is, to find the best shoe for their circumstances.

Running shoes are important footwear for those who enjoy running. Shoe manufacturers craft them for a variety of purposes and with different features. Individuals may wish to consider what features are most desirable in a running shoe when shopping for them.

If someone feels they need help with buying suitable running shoes, they can consult a shoe-fitting specialist.