When it comes to finding the best running shoes for you, it's all about the fit. Like your favorite pair of jeans, some shoe brands will fit your foot better and give you that extra boost to get out the door in the morning when you really don't want to go for a run. But whether you're shopping for shoes online, or heading to your local running store, the choice can be a little overwhelming.
Looking for something more specific? We've found the best women's running shoes here, as well as the best Nike running shoes for fans of the Swoosh. We've also hand-picked the best trail running shoes and the best carbon fiber running shoes for race day.
Do you need a neutral or a support shoe? Should you go for a Brooks running shoe for your first half-marathon, or opt for the Nike shoes your running partner has? To alleviate the confusion and help you find the best running shoe for your needs, we’ve hand-picked the best men’s and women’s running shoes to buy right now.
All of these running shoes have been tested on the run and each pair has covered at least 50 miles on the road, trails, and treadmill. Confused? We've also explained the jargon behind how to buy running shoes here.
The best running shoes you can buy today
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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.
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, we found during testing it was 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.
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.
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.
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
It doesn't get better than the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 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, as the Vaporfly Next% 3 was released in March 2023. We'll be updating this page with our review once we get the shoe in for testing.
Read our full Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 review.
The Cloudmonster sounds, and looks, a little silly, with its thick wedge of CloudTec. Monster by name and monster by nature, this shoe is huge, but it doesn’t feel it underfoot. Designed for easy runs and long training miles, On has gone for big energy return in its maximalist shoe.
The Cloudmonster is designed to feel cushioned underfoot with On’s latest cushioning material, called Helion. Made from a mix of two different foams (EVA and OBC), which still has a good amount of energy return. The midsole contains On’s CloudTech pods and On’s Speedboard, which is a thin, snappy, thermoplastic layer, designed to help for a faster toe-off. It's definitely more of a long-run shoe than a speed shoe, however.
Fit-wise, the shoe does come up pretty short in the foot, so if you're between sizes, you might want to size up to ensure you don't get any uncomfortable pinching at the toes. We also found during testing that the high stack height led to slight overpronation at the end of long runs, on tired legs, so we wouldn't recommend these for runners who usually wear a support shoe.
All in all, a brilliant easy run shoe for those ploddy miles when you want to get lost in the run.
Read our full On Cloudmonster review here.
Another reliable running shoe, the Saucony Ride 15 is similar in feel and price to the Brooks Ghost 14. It’s got a relatively hefty layer of Saucony’s PWRRUN cushioning, a breathable mesh upper and a tweaked fit to ensure it cradles the foot on the run. It’s a comfortable, reliable workhorse, that will get you from A to B comfortably, whatever speed you decide to travel.
Compared to previous iterations of the shoe, the Ride 15 has a lighter, more breathable upper, which stops your feet from feeling too hot and sweaty as the temperature rises. It’s also lighter than previous versions of the shoe, which is always a good thing, as Saucony has made some tweaks to the PWRRUN cushioning, making it lighter, while still being as responsive.
Sure, it’s not the most exciting-looking shoe on the planet, but if you’re looking for a reliable shoe that offers a good amount of comfort on long runs and snap during faster sessions, the Ride 15 is a good choice.
The New Balance SuperComp Trainer is a seriously exciting, max-cushioned running shoe, with a stack height so high, it's illegal by World Athletics standards. (World Athletics banned all shoes with a stack height higher than 40mm in competitions in 2020). During testing, we loved the plush cushioning of this daily trainer, which has a carbon-fiber plate in the midsole to help you pick up the pace as you run.
This shoe is fun to run in — it's bouncy, helping you run quicker on tired legs, and can be used for easy and long runs alike. The shoe has a wide base, designed to increase stability, but due to the whopping stack height (47mm), these shoes can feel a little high when running around corners, and won't be suited to all runners.
The drawback with this super-exciting shoe is its price — at $179, there are much cheaper training shoes on the market. That said, there's no reason why you couldn't train in this shoe and use it for race day, if you're not planning on making the podium, that is.
Read our full New Balance SuperComp Trainer review.
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.
The upper has also been overhauled to more of a mesh — it’s pretty much see-through and during testing I found it to be one of the most breathable uppers on the market. This shoe is fast and comfortable, in a way the Endorphin Pro 2 never really was — it feels bouncy and responsive on the run, yet stable enough to wear for a track session, or a twisty-couse.
We found the shoe does come up a little short in the foot, so it might be worth sizing up half a size. It's also built for race day, so this one won't be as durable as other running shoes on the list, but if you can afford it, it's a great shoe to have on your feet on the start line.
Read our Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 review.
The Brooks Ghost 15 isn't the most exciting, or the best-looking running shoe on the market, but it's popular with beginners because of its firm, steady midsole, and it's plush upper. Fans of the Brooks Ghost line will not be disappointed with the 15th iteration of the shoe - it feels very similar to past versions and is still a durable, everyday running shoe.
That said, it lacks versatility. While the firmer midsole does the job on slow, easier miles, it’s not overly responsive. It feels pretty clunky at anything that isn’t an easy pace — when trying to do tempo sessions in this shoe it felt a bit ‘meh’, and you had to work hard to get your legs moving in this shoe.
If you're new to running and want a solid shoe that'll support you around your first few miles, this is a reliable choice. If you're a faster runner, or you're looking for a max cushioned shoe, there are better options on the market.
Read our Brooks Ghost 15 review here.
The Eliot Runner is named after the Boston bar Eliot Lounge, which was a go-to for Boston Marathon runners before it closed in 1996. Tracksmith’s ethos lies in the everyday amateur, and this rings true with the name and design of this running shoe. It’s not built for elites, or race-day heroes, it’s built for the everyday runner. In a world of carbon-fiber plates and air pockets, it’s a simple shoe.
There's no doubt about it - this is a beautiful looking running shoe. During testing, we found it responsive underfoot, the midsole of the shoe is made from a firmer Pebax, designed to be durable, offer protection, and give you a bit of pop as you run. It feels a bit like the old-school Nike Pegasus Turbo, and is a great shoe for easy miles, or tempo sessions.
Yet it’s price tag is a bit of a stumbling block, and does make this shoe a little unattainable for some runners. Compared to the likes of the Nike Pegasus 39, which is also a great durable shoe at $120, the Tracksmith Eliot is more exciting to run in, but I’m not sure it’s exciting enough to pay $78 more. Either way, a brilliant debut running shoe from a brand famous for it's clothing.
Read our Tracksmith Eliot Runner review here
Designed as New Balance's racing shoe, the Fuelcell SC Elite V3 is a fast, bouncy, carbon fiber running shoe, best suited for the half marathon or marathon distance. During testing, we enjoyed running in the SC Elite V3, and would go as far as to say this is New Balance’s best carbon fiber running shoe to date. It’s definitely got more pop than the RC Elite and feels much more stable around corners. It’s also similar in feel to the Supercomp Trainer, without the massive (illegal) stack height.
The midsole of this shoe is where the magic happens. The carbon fiber plate sits between two layers of foam, designed to feel soft and springy underfoot. The shoe definitely feels firmer than the Fuelcell RC running shoe, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing — the Fuelcell RC always felt a little spongey on the run and a little unstable around the corners.
The 4mm drop feels fast, but if you’re here for a dramatic rocker, you won’t find it here — there’s no aggressive toe spring here, and it feels more relaxed than other carbon fiber racing shoes. That said, it's an excellent shoe if you're hunting a PR this marathon season.
Read our full New Balance Fuelcell SC Elite V3 review.
What to look for in the best running shoes
When it comes to finding the best pair of running shoes for you, there are a few different things to consider. Firstly, how you run. Before investing in a pair of shoes, it's a good idea to head to a running store and have your gait checked. If you overpronate dramatically, you might be better off in a stability shoe to prevent injury.
Secondly, where you plan on running. If you're planning on doing most of your miles on the pavements around your neighbourhood, you'll want a road shoe that's designed to help cope with the impact. If you're hoping to go off exploring in the trails, you'll want a trail shoe with an outsole designed to be grippy on rocky, muddy and wet terrains. If it's a PB you're after, you're likely to want a racing shoe, which will have various features designed to get you a fast finish, for example carbon fibre plates and snappy, reactive midsoles.
Lastly, how often you run. A marathon runner will have different requirements when shopping for running shoes than a runner who clocks the odd 5K. If running isn't really your thing, it's just something you do in the gym now and again, you'll probably want a more affordable shoe.
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How we test the best running shoes
Quite simply, we run in them! While finding the best running shoes for your feet and running style is a personal choice, we've been testing the market's most popular shoes for the past few years, so we know what we're looking for.
When we test shoes, we'll typically run at least 20 miles in them before making our minds up. We're looking at how the shoe performs on different running surfaces, as well as how well it copes with different sessions - some shoes will be great on a long run, but feel heavy during a speed session. We also look at the size and fit of each shoe and anything that makes the shoe particularly impressive, such as carbon fibre plates, or ultra-lightweight midsole foams.