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Running shoes are a vital component of a person’s workout wardrobe. A suitable pair of running shoes should be comfortable, provide support, and help prevent injury. Manufacturers make men’s running shoes 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.

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 the length of the ball of the foot.

A 2014 study of Taiwanese adults used 3D foot scanning to identify differences between male and female feet. The researchers compared nine foot dimensions in 2,000 males and 1,000 females.

The results revealed significant differences in seven of the nine dimensions. Males had greater foot breadth, girth, and height than females with the same foot length.

A 2019 study also 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
  • hamstring activation, which may affect hamstring flexibility

Due to the differences in male and female foot anatomy and running styles, males may be best 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 suggest 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 height of the heel and the height of the toe, 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) suggest 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

They also recommend that people get their feet measured in a store and buy different shoe sizes if their left and right feet are not the same size.

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

  • “stability” features, such as additional arch support, which stop pronation — the natural inward motion of the foot when running — as this may cause problems with the feet or knees
  • 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
  • too much cushioning, which may worsen running motions and increase the impact on the joints

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 product information is purely research-based.

Brooks Ghost 13

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
  • 286.3 grams (g) weight
  • medium-high arch
  • breathable mesh design
  • secure fit with stretch
  • available in a range of sizes and color options
  • multiple positive customer reviews

Brooks Ghost 13 shoes are available to purchase here.

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 running shoes are lightweight, supportive, and responsive. Nike state that their 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
  • range of sizes and colors, with the option to “design your own”

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 shoes are available to purchase here.

New Balance Fresh Foam 880v10

Suitable for long runs, as well as shorter, everyday runs, the New Balance Fresh Foam 880v10 focuses on cushioning for extra comfort and support.

According to the product website, key features include:

  • weighs 304 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

New Balance Fresh Foam 880v10 shoes are available to purchase here.

Hoka One Rincon

Reviewers rate Hoka One Rincon shoes as one of the best lightweight options for running shoes. The design gives neutral support, along with cushioning and responsiveness.

According to the product website, key features include:

  • a high level of cushioning in a very lightweight shoe
  • mesh upper for breathability
  • pull tab on the heel to make them easy to put on
  • slim tongue to reduce extra weight
  • full compression midsole that provides cushioning
  • high abrasion contact zones
  • weighs 218 g
  • 5 mm heel-to-toe drop
  • featured as “Editor’s Choice” in the Runners World Fall 2019 Shoe Guide
  • available in a range of colors and sizes

Hoka One Rincon shoes are available to purchase here.

Adidas Supernova

Reviews rate the Adidas Supernova running shoes as being among the best running shoes for those with a lower budget. They offer flexible, breathable support when running.

According to the product website, 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

Adidas Supernova shoes are available to purchase here.

Altra Lone Peak 4.5

The Altra Lone Peak 4.5 running shoes may best suit people who run on uneven terrain, such as rocky trails. According to the product website, key features include:

  • weighs 298 g
  • 5-mm footbed
  • moderate cushioning
  • 25-mm stack height
  • quick-drying mesh upper
  • balances heel and forefoot equally from the ground for lower impact
  • toes have room to spread out naturally
  • gaiter prevents debris from collecting under the shoe
  • provides grip and traction for uneven ground
  • available in a range of sizes with two color options

Altra Lone Peak 4.5 shoes are available to purchase here.

People who are new to running or training for 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, in which the person runs on a treadmill so that the staff can determine their running style. This service is often free of charge.

People 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.