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Running shoes are a vital component of many people’s workout wardrobes. A suitable pair of running shoes should be comfortable, provide support, and help prevent injury. Men’s running shoes are slightly different than women’s, and there are a few factors to consider when buying a pair.

The most suitable running shoe will vary among individuals, depending on their exercise preferences and the structure of their feet. Men will also have specific needs that manufacturers take into account when making running shoes. These include the shape of the foot and the way men typically run.

In this article, we look at what makes a good running shoe for men and list some points to consider when buying a pair. We also suggest some shoes that people may wish to consider trying.

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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.

Male feet are anatomically different than female feet, and a properly designed shoe for males should not just be a larger version of a shoe for females. Research has identified differences between males and females in toe angles and ball and heel width, among other measurements.

A 2019 study notes that male shoes should be wider and higher in the instep than female shoes.

Researchers have also found a difference between male and female running styles, which affects the running movements of the lower body.

In recreational runners, differences between male and female running movements can include:

  • hip movement toward the midline of the body
  • hip internal rotation
  • knee angles when moving away from the midline of the body
  • knee flexion angles
  • quadriceps activation
  • hamstring activation, which may affect hamstring flexibility

Due to the differences in male and female foot anatomy and running styles, males may benefit from choosing running shoes specifically designed for male feet. Most running shoe manufacturers create male and female versions of each model.

The American Podiatric Medical Association suggests that appropriate running footwear should ideally provide shock absorption and match a person’s foot arch type.

A 2020 study notes that important qualities in a running shoe may include shoe mass, material breathability, and stiffness. Another 2020 study also lists important features as including:

  • Heel-to-toe drop: This is the difference between the heights of the heel and the toes, and it primarily affects how the foot strikes the ground.
  • Midsole support: Shoes with thicker midsoles may protect against shock, while softer midsoles can help reduce impact.
  • Heel cup support: This feature may help reduce impact while running, particularly when the heel strikes the ground first.
  • Cushioning: Minimizing shock to the feet and legs may help prevent injury in some cases.

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

  • the terrain they typically run on and whether this means they require shoes with extra grip
  • a comfortable feel, with no pinching or rubbing
  • quality materials for durability
  • regular or wide fit options, depending on foot size

It also recommends that people visit a store to get accurate measurements of their feet and buy different shoe sizes if their left and right feet are not the same size.

According to the ACSM, people may wish to avoid the following when choosing a running shoe:

  • selecting shoes based on their walking gait, as foot motions are different when running
  • using foot shape or arch height to indicate which type of running shoe to buy
  • choosing shoes with too much cushioning, which may worsen running motions and increase the impact on the joints

The organization also advises people to avoid shoes with “stability” features, such as additional arch support. These features stop pronation, which is the natural inward motion of the foot when running, and this may cause problems with the feet or knees.

Many running shoes are available to buy. Below, we list six pairs that people may wish to try.

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

Brooks Ghost 13

For limited edition shoes

Brooks Ghost 13 running shoes provide neutral support and cushioning for road running.

They include the company’s DNA Loft technology to cushion the foot from the heel to the forefoot, along with a segmented base to provide a smoother heel-to-toe transition when running.

According to the product website, key features include:

  • 12-millimeter (mm) midsole drop
  • weighs 286.3 grams (g)
  • medium-high arch
  • breathable mesh design
  • secure fit with stretch
  • available in a range of sizes and color options
  • many positive customer reviews

These shoes cost $130.

A newer model, the Ghost 14, is now available, but a pair of these shoes costs $140.

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37

For a lightweight feel

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 road running shoes are lightweight, supportive, and responsive. Nike states that its durable foam provides cushioning and bounce.

According to the product website, key features include:

  • lightweight, breathable upper with mesh for ventilation
  • midfoot band that adapts to foot size for a comfortable, secure fit
  • Nike React foam in the midsole for cushioning and bounce
  • outer sole that provides grip
  • available in regular or extra wide fit
  • men’s size 9 weighs 285 g
  • the forefoot measures 14 mm, and the heel measures 24 mm
  • available in a range of sizes and colors

The price is $120.

New Balance Fresh Foam 880v11

For a wide range of colors

Suitable for long runs, as well as shorter, everyday runs, the New Balance Fresh Foam 880v11 focuses on cushioning for extra comfort and support.

According to the product website, key features include:

  • weighs 290 g
  • approximately 10-mm heel-to-toe drop
  • rubber outsole to provide a rebound
  • foam midsole for extra cushioning
  • upper that provides strategic stretch and support
  • mesh upper for breathability
  • molded outer heel for heel movement control
  • molded footbed for greater comfort
  • available in a range of sizes and widths
  • suitable for roads, tracks, courts, and fields

These shoes cost $134.99.

Hoka Rincon 3

For 100% vegan materials

Hoka Rincon 3 shoes are made with 100% vegan materials. The design gives neutral support, along with cushioning and responsiveness. The company classifies these shoes as suitable for racing.

According to the product website, key features include:

  • a high level of cushioning in a very lightweight shoe
  • mesh upper for breathability
  • a pull tab on the heel to make them easy to put on
  • asymmetrical tongue for a better fit
  • full compression midsole that provides cushioning
  • high abrasion contact zones
  • weighs 210 g
  • 5 mm heel-to-toe drop
  • available in a range of colors and sizes

The price is $120.

Adidas Supernova

For lower budgets

Adidas Supernova running shoes may be a good option for people looking to spend less money. They offer flexible, breathable support when running.

The company does not specify that the shoes are suitable for any particular surface.

According to the product website, the key features include:

  • flexible cushioning in the forefoot
  • responsive cushioning in the heel
  • uses recycled materials — at least 50% recycled materials in the upper
  • mesh upper for ventilation
  • men’s size 9 weighs 312 g
  • regular fit
  • comes in a range of sizes and colors

These shoes cost $100.

Altra Lone Peak 6

For uneven terrain

The Altra Lone Peak 6 running shoes may best suit people who run on uneven terrain, such as rocky trails. According to the product website, key features include:

  • weighs 300 g
  • moderate cushioning
  • 25-mm stack height
  • quick-drying mesh upper
  • balances heel and forefoot equally from the ground for lower impact
  • hook-and-loop tab for attaching strapless gaiter
  • provides grip and traction for uneven ground
  • available in a range of sizes with five color options

The price is $140.

People who are new to running and those training for their first long distance or speed events may wish to seek advice from an expert. Many running stores will have staff with a good knowledge of running shoes who will be able to recommend suitable options.

Some running stores may also offer gait analysis. The staff may ask the customer to run on a treadmill to help them determine the person’s running style. This service is often free of charge.

A person may need to see a foot expert, called a podiatrist, if they have any injuries or specific requirements.

A good quality pair of running shoes should provide support and comfort during running, and they could help improve performance and reduce injury risk compared with an ill-fitting pair.

People can choose from a wide range of running shoes to meet their budget and running needs. Those who are unsure about which running shoes to choose can consult staff at running stores or fitness experts for help.