Whether you’re training for your first race, or just hoping to get more fit, finding the best men’s running shoes can be the difference between a good and a bad run. Of course, the best pair of running shoes for you will be the ones that fit your feet best, but we’ve tested some of the most popular running shoes on the market to help you decide which is best for your training needs.
For a lot of runners, one brand will fit their feet that little bit better than the others, so it’s always a good idea to head along to your local running shop and try as many different pairs as you can. If that's not an option right now, don't panic, we've been running in some of the most popular men's running shoes on the market to help bring you some up-to-date reviews.
Read on to take a look at our top tried and tested picks for the best men’s running shoes.
What are the best men’s running shoes?
The best men’s running shoes on the market for most runners are the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 running shoes. They won our best running shoe title, and for good reason — they’re super versatile and can cope with a range of different sessions, from easy marathon-training miles, to faster, snappier tempo runs.
The best men’s running shoe for race day is the Saucony Endorphin Pro 2. They’re one of the best carbon fiber running shoes on the market — affordable, too! — and have Saucony’s PWRRUN PB foam in the midsole, an S-shaped carbon fiber plate, and ‘Speedroll’ geometry in the outsole, which helps you propel through each stride quickly.
Finally, if you’re after one of the best trail running shoes, the Brooks Catamount is great for heading from your door to the trails. It’s got all the comfort and speed of a road shoe, but with a good enough tread to cope with sandy, muddy, and wet trails.
The best men's running shoes you can buy today
If you’re a fan of the Swoosh, choosing a pair of the best Nike running shoes can be a tricky choice. That said, for a shoe to be on its 38th iteration, it must be doing something right. The Nike Pegasus is a workhorse of a running shoe — it’s durable enough to last hundreds of miles, and the React foam is lightweight and responsive enough to cope with speedier miles when you need to pick up the pace. You can wear it for a marathon, your first 5K, and pretty much everything in between.
Runners return to the Pegasus year after year because it’s reliable, and compared to the Pegasus 37, the 38 fits the foot a little better, thanks to some tweaks to the upper — the toe box is wider, the laces do up slightly differently and there’s cushioning beneath the tongue for a comfier fit. The 10mm drop means that you don't feel the ground underneath your feet too much, but equally, you won't feel like you're bouncing out of the shoe when you’re running around corners.
The downside with the Pegasus is that it’s not the most responsive if you are looking for a shoe to run fast in — we’ve found the best carbon-fiber running shoes for that. Old school Pegasus fans might also find the introduction of the React foam difficult to get on board with, however, if you don’t fall into either category, this is a brilliant everyday running shoe.
Read our full Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 review.
Unlike the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2, and the Nike Alphafly Next%, the Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 isn’t overly bouncy and soft. It’s also a little more affordable than most of the other carbon-fiber running shoes on the market. That said, don’t let the firmer, snappier midsole of the Endorphin Pro 2 put you off — this shoe still flies at faster paces. Saucony has used its PWRRUN PB foam in the midsole, an S-shaped carbon fiber plate, and what it calls the ‘Speedroll’ geometry of the outsole, which helps you propel through each stride quickly.
With the second version of their fastest racing shoe, Saucony made some tweaks to the fit, and they're definitely for the better. The snug heel fit and the anti-slip laces are designed to fix some of the most common problems with the original Endorphin, where runners found their foot slipped towards the sides of the mesh upper. That said, we found that these shoes can still feel a little unstable underfoot, especially in the final miles of a marathon when your form starts to suffer.
This is a great racer for any runner who doesn’t love overly bouncy foam, plus, it’ll save you a few bucks (which you’ll probably end up spending on another race entry fee).
When Brooks released its Catamount trail shoe in January 2020, the running world sat up. Unlike old school trail running shoes with minimal cushioning, the Catamount is designed to help runners go fast over uneven terrain. It’s cushioned and responsive enough to help your PR your next trail race, plus it looks pretty great and has a space on the shoe for you to add the names of your crew, which is a nice touch.
The midsole contains Brooks’ ‘DNA Flash’ foam, which is infused with nitrogen for a lightweight feel with a high energy return. It’s usually reserved for Brooks’ faster shoes, making it a bold and exciting choice for a trail shoe. The Catamount also contains a Ballistic Rock Shield between the midsole and outsole, designed to protect the foot from sharp rocks on the trail.
While the outsole is great on loose gravel paths and light mud, on really technical terrain, the Catamount can get a little slippery, so hard-core trail runners might want to keep browsing the best trail running shoes for other options. That said, for road-to-trail runs or races, the Catamount is fantastic.
The Hoka One One Mach 4 was a contender for the best men’s running shoe because, like the Nike Pegasus 38, it’s a brilliant multitasker. It’s probably best suited for runners who don’t want to feel like they’re running on a thick wedge of foam and would comfortably take you from a 10K to a half marathon.
Hoka tweaked the fit of the Mach 4, making the upper slightly more lightweight and flexible, and adding a pull tab on the back of the shoe which makes it easier to pull it on and off (not a big deal, but these little things do matter). It also slightly changed the heel section of the shoe for a better fit, although it’s worth noting that the Mach 4 does still come up pretty narrow.
Underfoot, the Mach 4 is nowhere near as heavy and plush as, say, the Hoka Bondi 7. It’s lightweight and responsive; lighter, faster runners will love the snap it has on faster miles. It’s a brilliant training shoe, although larger runners might want a little more cushioning.
The Nike Zoom X Invincible Run is one of the plushest shoes on the market. When Nike released the shoe, it said it was best suited for easy, marathon training miles, and it wasn't wrong — this is a super plush, super comfortable shoe for days when you just want to relax and not think about your run. The Zoom X foam, which is usually reserved for Nike’s faster running shoes, is lightweight and responsive but also helps take the load off tired legs — something every runner needs during a marathon training cycle.
That said, there’s no reason why a beginner couldn’t pick up these shoes and enjoy them. It’s an extremely comfortable shoe, with a slight rocker geometry and soft cushioning around the collar and tongue to prevent rubbing and hot spots.
The downside here is the outsole, which isn’t very grippy on wet terrain. That said, it’s by no means dangerous, it just won’t give you a lot of grip as you step up onto a wet sidewalk. In my opinion, this isn’t enough of a reason to skim past this shoe — it’s still fantastic, and one of the most comfortable running shoes I’ve ever worn — but if you live somewhere super rainy, it could be an issue.
If you’ve always loved the look of On running shoes, but found them a little too firm underfoot, the Cloudstratus is the shoe you’ve been waiting for. On has designed this to be its ‘most cushioned’ running shoe, but in true On style, there’s no thick wedge of foam. Instead, On has developed its ‘CloudTec’ technology, which is designed to cushion the foot from horizontal and vertical forces on the run and feel like "running on Clouds."
There’s a double layer of this ‘CloudTec’ for extra cushioning in the shoe, which doesn’t feel overly soft underfoot but does have a good amount of responsiveness when running on the road. The shoe has a high energy return, which makes it popular with long-distance runners who want comfort and speed. I’d say it’s well suited for anything up to a half marathon, but for some runners, it could go much further.
This running shoe won’t be for everyone, but for runners looking for a speedy long-distance shoe, it’s a great choice. The CloudTec technology makes the shoe well-suited for heavier runners or those who prefer a cushioned running shoe.
What to look for in the best men’s running shoes
When you’re looking for the best men’s running shoe for you, there are a few things to consider. First, how do you run? It’s always a good idea to head to your local running store to have your gait checked before investing in a pair of running shoes to ensure you’re not overpronating, as you might need a support shoe or insole. Not sure what this means? Check our guide on how to buy running shoes.
Next, you’ll need to think about the kind of miles you plan on running. If you’re looking for a fast shoe for your next road marathon, you’ll probably want to look at something lightweight, which has a responsive foam to propel you to your next PR. That said, if you’re a complete beginner, you’ll probably want to look at a more stable shoe that’ll keep you comfortable as you run and walk.
Finally, have a think about the surfaces you plan on running on. If you’re a trail runner at heart, you’ll need a shoe with a good amount of grip on the outsole to keep you from slipping on uneven terrains. On the other hand, if you do most of your miles on hard concrete, you’ll want a little more cushioning to keep you comfortable.
How we test the best men’s running shoes
We test the best running shoes on the market by running in them. We've run at least 50 miles in each of these shoes, on a number of different terrains, and in different weather conditions.
When testing running shoes, we’re looking for a number of different factors to help us make up our minds. Obviously, how comfortable they are underfoot and how well they fit are primary concerns. However, we also look at how responsive they are at different paces during different sessions, and how well they perform on a wet sidewalk or a muddy path.
Other factors we consider when testing the best men's running shoes include such basics as how easy they are to lace, as well as extras like carbon-fiber plates, or ultra-lightweight midsole foams. Last, we also take the price of the shoe into consideration for our final rating, relative to other shoes in its class.