Best running shoes 2024 tested and rated

There is nothing like lacing up a brand new pair of running shoes and feeling like an absolute champ on your runs. It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned marathon runner or just like heading out for a steady 3km jog, runners of all abilities should be wearing comfortable and supportive shoes on their feet in order to fully enjoy and get the most out of their exercise. 

But finding the perfect pair of running kicks can be tricky when the market is so vast. This is where we are here to help you by whittling down our top picks to a refined list of only the best running shoes and discussing what features each entry has to offer. We’ve also broken down much of the jargon behind how to buy running shoes that you’ll typically come across when running shoe shopping as this can get a little confusing if you are newer to the technicality of it all.

Every runner has different needs. Some will be looking for a great daily trainer that will cater to a variety of types of runs or be looking for a speed shoe. Meanwhile, some will be looking more specifically for a support shoe or neutral shoe. Others will be loyal to certain brands and want to know what the best options are from Nike or New Balance. Whatever you are looking for, our fitness team has spent many miles (at least 50 miles per shoe) testing and reviewing a competitive cohort of trainers to help find something for everyone. Keep reading to reveal our official list of the best running shoes… 

Written by
Staff photo
Written by
Jane McGuire

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness Editor and she's spent years writing about all things health and fitness. She crossed the finish line of her last marathon in 3:38, with the Garmin Forerunner 965 on her wrist, and the New Balance Fuelcell Supercomp Elite V3 on her feet.

The quick list

The best running shoes you can buy today

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Best running shoe overall

a photo of the Nike Pegasus 40

(Image credit: Future)
Best Nike running shoes

Specifications

Weight: 9.2 oz (M), 7.7 oz (W)
Drop: 10 mm
Type: Road

Reasons to buy

+
An affordable, everyday running shoe 
+
Tweaked fit 
+
Cushioned and comfortable

Reasons to avoid

-
Not all that different from the Pegasus 39 

If you’re a fan of the Swoosh, choosing a pair of the best Nike running shoes can be a tricky choice. While we’re a huge fan of the Nike Air Zoom Tempo Next% for race day, we know not every runner wants to race, which is why the Pegasus 40 sneaked into the top spot here. 

It was a close call between this and the Nike Invincible Run 3, which is also a brilliant everyday shoe, but when it comes down to it, the Pegasus was just more versatile during testing. It's got a good amount of React foam in the midsole for a lightweight, snappy feel underfoot, without being overly springy and leaving you feeling unstable on the run. The Pegasus is a workhorse - you can wear it for a marathon,  your first 5K, and pretty much everything in between. 

For a shoe to be on its 40th iteration, it must be doing something right and with the Pegasus, you're buying reliability. The Nike Pegasus 40 feels pretty similar to the Nike Pegasus 39 underfoot, but Nike has made some tweaks to the fit for a more comfortable underfoot feel. Like the Pegasus 39, the shoe has two Zoom Air units, one under the ball of your foot and one in the heel, for a snappy, responsive feel on the run. 

If you're looking for a bargain, now is a good time to buy the Nike Pegasus 39, which is likely to be on sale now the newer shoe has been released. 

Read our full Nike Pegasus 40 review here.

Best New Balance running shoe

a photo of the midsole of the New Balance 1080v13

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

Specifications

Weight: 9.2 (M), 7.3 oz (W)
Drop: 6 mm
Type: Road

Reasons to buy

+
Soft, cushioned everyday running shoe 
+
Lively underfoot experience 
+
Available in different widths 
+
Lighter than other every day, max-cushioned running shoes 

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than the previous versions 
-
Fit can be a little confusing 

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 1080v13 is a brilliant shoe to invest in. 

A seriously versatile shoe, the New Balance 1080v13 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. Compared to the New Balance 1080v12, the New Balance 1080v13 has more of the brand's Fresh Foam X midsole foam, and the stack height is larger, yet the shoe has gotten lighter.

The downside here is that the shoe is slightly more expensive than the previous iteration. That said, during testing we were pleasantly surprised by the 1080v13 — it’s a comfortable running shoe, that could easily be worn for anything from a 5K to a marathon. It’s a brilliant example of what you’d expect from an everyday running shoe and a reminder that you don’t need multiple running shoes in your closet to train well for a race.

Read our full New Balance 1080v13 review

Best Brooks running shoe

a photo of the Brooks Glycerin 20

(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)
Best Brooks running shoe

Specifications

Weight: 9.1oz (women), 10.1oz (men)
Drop : 10mm
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. 

During testing, we found that 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 we found 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

Best max-cushioned running shoe

a side-on view of the Nike Invincible 3 in a women's colorway

(Image credit: Nike)

4. Nike Invincible 3

The best max-cushioned running shoe

Specifications

Weight: 10.9 oz (M), 9.1 oz (W)
Drop: 9mm
Type: Support

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable, plush everyday running shoe 
+
ZoomX midsole foam is bouncy and responsive 
+
A bit more stable than previous versions

Reasons to avoid

-
Similar underfoot experience to past versions 
-
Heel clip won’t be for everyone

Nike has made some changes to it’s maximum cushion running shoe and the Invincible 3 feels a little more grown-up with it’s new upper and heel clip. That said, this is still one of the best max-cushioned running shoes on the market, with a taller foam stack than previous versions to give you more bounce underfoot.  

When it comes to the running performance, this shoe is still super plush and super cushioned. Compared to the Nike ZoomX Invincible 2, it has a little more support - the upper is thicker, holding the foot in place, there's a little more support around the arch, and the heel clip is narrower, designed to keep the foot secure. 

There's also more ZoomX foam, as the stack height has increased by 1mm. Underfoot, the support is great in the final miles of your long run as your legs tire and your form suffers. That said, if you're a neutral runner and you don't need the support, now is a good time to stock up on the older version of the shoe, which is likely to be on discount. 

Read our full Nike Invincible 3 review 

Best Adidas running shoe

a side-on view of the adidas ultraboost light

(Image credit: Future)
Best Adidas running shoe

Specifications

Weight: 9.7 oz (W), 10.3 oz (M)
Drop : 10mm

Reasons to buy

+
Sock-like fit
+
Stylish design
+
Lighter than Ultraboost 22

Reasons to avoid

-
Firm midsole foam
-
More expensive than other everyday running shoes on the market 

When Adidas released its first Ultraboost in February 2015, the running world went mad for the bouncy ‘Boost’ foam, which really did feel exciting underfoot. Eight years later, the Ultraboost is still one of Adidas’ most popular running shoes and it’s easy to see why: it’s a wonderfully comfortable shoe, that looks great and feels great underfoot. 

The Ultraboost 22 saw the shoe undergo some huge changes.  Adidas used scans from 1.2 million female feet to re-design its Ultraboost 21, giving the Ultraboost 22 a narrower heel, a lower instep, and an S-curve heel to allow the Achilles tendon to move more freely. The Ultraboost Light (or the Ultraboost 23) sees Adidas make another tweak - a new midsole foam named Boost Light that is 30% lighter. 

On the run, this lighter shoe does feel different - it's a little more responsive, and a little snappier. That said, it's by no means a lightweight shoe just yet. It's still a decent everyday running shoe for beginners and experienced runners alike, however.

Read our full Adidas Ultraboost Light review

Best race-day running shoe

a photo of the Nike Vaporfly Next% 3

(Image credit: Nike)
The best race-day shoe

Specifications

Weight : 6.5 oz (M), 5.3 oz (W)
Drop: 8mm
Type : Race

Reasons to buy

+
More ZoomX foam
+
Slightly lighter
+
Slightly more stable
+
Incredible energy return

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive to buy (in the UK)
-
Outsole is thinner

It doesn't get better than the Nike Vaporfly Next% 3 on race day. There's a reason why you'll see this shoe a LOT at every major road marathon — they are one of the most popular racing shoes around, and it's easy to see why. The ZoomX foam — the lightest and most responsive midsole Nike makes, plus there’s a full-length carbon fibre plate which helps for a faster toe-off. The shoe feels fast, it’s incredibly lightweight and fits true to size.

The drawback here, of course, is the price — these shoes are definitely an investment and one that might not actually last you for too many miles. While Nike doesn't give an exact figure, as a race day shoe, it's often thought that you won't get all that many miles out of these, so we wouldn't recommend them for your training miles. That said, if you can afford them and you're looking for a PR, you won't be disappointed. 

If you're looking for a bargain, now might be a good time to buy the Vaporfly Next% 2, which is likely to be on sale now the newer shoe, with a slightly tweaked design, has been released. Read our Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 vs Nike Vaporfly Next% 3 face-off here.

Read our Nike Vaporfly Next% 3 review

Best On running shoe

a side on view of the On Cloudmonster

(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)