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The best men’s running shoes

a photo of a man tying the laces of a running shoe
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

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 39 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

a photo of the men's Nike Pegasus 39

(Image credit: Nike)
Best all-around running shoe for men

Specifications

Weight: 9.2oz
Type: Road

Reasons to buy

+
A great all-rounder 
+
Durable 
+
Lighter than the Pegasus 38
+
Improved fit 

Reasons to avoid

-
Not many color options available at launch

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 39th 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 Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38, the Pegasus 39 has some big improvements — fit-wise, it's more true to size, and Nike has also added an extra Zoom Air unit in the heel of the foot for a more responsive feel. Whether it's the fact the shoe is lighter than the Pegasus 38, or the fact it has a second Zoom Air unit we're not sure, but the result is a shoe that definitely feels snappier on the run. 

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. This is an excellent running shoe, and our favorite Pegasus in a long time. 

Read our full Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 review

Not sure which to buy? Check out the Nike Pegasus 39 vs Nike Pegasus 38 face-to-face here. 

a photo of the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3

(Image credit: Saucony)

2. Saucony Endorphin Pro 3

Best men’s running shoe for speed

Specifications

Weight: 7.2oz (M)
Type: Race

Reasons to buy

+
Huge improvement on Endorphin Pro 2
+
Lighter than Endorphin Pro 2
+
Responsive
+
Breathable upper

Reasons to avoid

-
Comes up a little short in the foot
-
More expensive than the previous version

Saucony just officially entered the super shoe chat. The Endorphin Pro 3 sees Saucony completely overhaul its most popular carbon fiber road racing shoe. The brand has changed the upper, and added more PWRRUN PB foam underfoot to completely change the ride of the shoe — it’s extremely fast, yet comfortable on the run. 

Saucony has completely overhauled the design of the Endorphin Pro 3, which straight out of the box looks like a different shoe, not an updated version. The stack height has increased to 39.9mm, making it just legal in the World Athletics guidelines, and similar to the stack of the Nike ZoomX Alphafly Next% 2. The upper has also been overhauled to more of a mesh — it’s pretty much see-through and during testing we found it to be one of the most breathable uppers on the market.

This is an excellent running shoe for a fast half marathon or marathon on the road. It’s fast underfoot, has an excellent amount of cushioning and is an enjoyable ride on days where you really want to pick up the pace. It does come up a little short in the foot, so if you're between sizes, go up. 

Read our full Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review.  

Brooks Catamount

(Image credit: Brooks)

3. Brooks Catamount

Best men’s trail running shoe

Specifications

Weight: 264g
Type: Trail

Reasons to buy

+
One of the speediest trail shoes out there  
+
Breathable upper 

Reasons to avoid

-
Outsole isn’t grippy enough for technical trails

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.

a photo of the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v12

(Image credit: New Balance )
The best New Balance running shoe

Specifications

Weight: 10.3 oz
Type: Road

Reasons to buy

+
Well cushioned underfoot
+
Improved heel design 
+
Stretchy upper improved from previous versions
+
Durable

Reasons to avoid

-
Runs large

It goes without saying, you don’t have to own multiple pairs of running shoes to be a runner. While some people might invest in multiple pairs for different sessions, if you’re new to running or are on a budget, you’ll still be able to build fitness and train for races with only one pair in your closet. Plus, if you’re looking for that one pair, the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12 is a brilliant shoe to invest in. 

A seriously versatile shoe, the New Balance 1080v12 is soft and plush enough to keep you comfy on your long runs, but can also pick up the pace when you need it for faster tempo sessions. Fit-wise, it's a huge improvement on the 1080v11, as New Balance has scrapped the molded heel, which was wildly controversial with fans of the shoe. 

The downside here is that the shoe runs big — in fact, we'd recommend going down half a size in these shoes as they are extremely roomy. While this won't bother you when you get the correct size, it's frustrating for runners, especially if shopping online. 

Read our full New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12 review

a photo of the men's Nike ZoomX Invincible run Flyknit 2

(Image credit: Nike)
Best men’s running shoe for recovery runs

Specifications

Weight: 314 g
Type : Road

Reasons to buy

+
Extremely cushioned and comfortable 
+
Brilliant for long training runs 
+
Super plush running shoe
+
More ZoomX foam than the past version

Reasons to avoid

-
Outsole can be slippy

The Nike Zoom X Invincible Run 2 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.

The second iteration of the shoe is extremely similar underfoot to the first, with only a few tweaks to the upper and Nike says a little more foam underfoot. All in all, it’s an extremely comfortable shoe. It looks huge when you get it out of the box - your foot almost feels encased in a thick wodge of foam, but the shoe still feels incredibly lightweight on the run. 

The Invincible Run 2 is a good shoe for easy miles, but the ZoomX foam makes the shoe responsive enough to wear for progression runs or tempo runs. Now is a good time to snap up the original Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit, as not much has changed in the shoe between the first and second versions. 

Read our full Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit 2 review. 

a photo of the Brooks Glycerin 20

(Image credit: Brooks )

Specifications

Weight: 10.1oz (men)
Type : Road

Reasons to buy

+
A super-plush, cushioned running shoe 
+
Improved foam from previous versions 
+
Comes in a neutral or a support version 
+
True to size

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the coolest-looking shoe 
-
Cheaper everyday running shoes on the market 

Known as being Brooks’ ‘softest shoe’, the Glycerin is one of the most popular running shoes around, and for good reason. The Glycerin 20 is our favorite version of the shoe yet — Brooks has replaced the DNA Loft midsole foam with the DNA Loft V3, a lighter, poppier, nitrogen-infused midsole foam that Brooks first brought to market last year in the Aurora-BL. 

While it's definitely best suited for long, easy miles, the Glycerin 20 can still pick up the pace when you need it to. Available in a number of different sizes, the shoe also comes in the three different widths — medium (which is the standard), wide, and narrow, and a support version, which Brooks has named 'GTS'. 

The main downside here is that the Glycerin isn’t the cheapest everyday running shoe on this list, especially when it's not the most versatile. That said, if your goal is to get going, or get around the course, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more comfortable shoe to do this in. 

Read our full Brooks Glycerin 20 review

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.

Jane McGuire
Jane McGuire

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past four years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.