There are many factors when it comes to choosing the best running shoe for you. If you are serious about running, it’s important to take these factors into consideration. Fit, height, weight, ground feel, protection, and cushioning are all very important when it comes to the overall feel of a shoe.
The feel of a shoe is important because it can boost comfort and confidence. According to a Canadian study, this can help runners exert less effort resulting in a 2% decrease in oxygen consumption. This means an overall improvement in performance.
What’s more, the proper running shoe can help prevent injury. Important if you want to keep logging miles. If you are injury prone you’ll want to go for a shoe with more cushioning and avoid the minimalist style. That being said most injuries are the result of muscle imbalances in the legs. Even the most expensive shoe can’t fix imbalances. Strengthing up the legs and fixing any imbalances is key to staying injury free.
When it comes to brands, loyalty is not always best. Manufacturers create a wide range of shoes to suit as many different strides and feet shapes as possible. Just because it says “Nike” doesn’t mean it is the right shoe for you. It’s important to know what type of runner you are and find a shoe that fits your style. If you’re a long-time runner it’s important to note, you aren’t the same runner you were 10 years ago. People’s strengths and weaknesses change over time. Just because a shoe worked for you a decade ago doesn’t mean it will work now. Periodically try out new shoes and see if there is something better out there for you.
All the shoes recommended below have links to Amazon.com where you can purchase the pair you like. Fortunately, most of the shoes allow for free returns if they don’t work out.
- 9.3 ounces
- Adidas Boost technology
- PrimeKnit Upper Mesh
- Torsion System for Midfoot Integrity
- Snug fitting heel allows for natural Achilles movement
- StretchWeb outsoles to improve stability on any surface
Awesome comfort and cushioning without sacrificing ground feel. Adidas has implemented their Boost technology into these to improve on energy return with each stride. At only 9.3 oz, you won’t carrying around any extra weight either. If you have wider feet you might want to look for other options. These tend to run a bit narrow and can feel a little tight when they are new. The mesh uppers will adapt once they are broken in but could be problematic before then. Overall Adidas has done a great job with the third version of this shoe. That being said, they’d be better off coming out with a couple versions to cater to various feet widths.
- 8.7 ounces
- ComforDry Removable sock liner
- Impact Guidance System
- Light AHAR Blown rubber outsole for improved abrasion resistance
- SoLyte Midsole for decreased weight
- Rear/Forefoot gel cushioning system
- Propulsion Trusstic mimics connective tissue
- Clutch Counter for improved heel support
This is the 20th edition of this race/trainer hybrid. It certainly steers towards the minimalist style with improved flexibility and decreased weight. This shoe is geared more towards experienced runners looking to break PRs and medal on race day. If you are prone to injuries or do not have a lot of experience running be sure to start slowly with these. Overall they are a great shoe but do not offer a lot of support. This requires more strength in the legs to prevent injury. That being said the improved flexibility and lightweight features can pay dividends on race day.
- 9 ounces
- Ultra lightweight no-sew construction
- Meta-Rocker Geometry
- Hip CMEVA Midsole
- Full ground contact design
- Hi-abrasion rubber soles
This is an excellent choice for those looking for more support and cushioning. It offers a plush ride for those with a neutral stride. This version of the Clifton appears to run a bit narrow compared to the Clifton 1. Luckily if you have issues Amazon offers free returns (see “Details” for more information). Overall this is a fairly lightweight shoe that’s main focus is to help efficient runners log some serious miles. If you’re ready to run the distance than this shoe is for you.
- 7.6 ounces
- Fresh Foam Cushioning
- Molded sock liner for comfort
- No-sew breathable upper mesh
- Lightweight rubber outsole
This is the newest edition to the New Balance running family. The Fresh Foam design offer maximal comfort no matter where your foot strikes the ground. The bootie design wraps snugly around the foot offering a snug sleek feel for a running shoe. The cushioning is discreet but super comfortable. It is a great race day runner or good for speed work. The extra heel cushioning will soften harder blows. Overall a great performer at a good price. That being said if you are not an efficient runner you may want to look for something with more support. This one comes highly recommended from fitprofree.com!
- 7.9 ounces
- Light yet strong FlyKnit construction
- Plush cushioning
- Natural supported stride
- Glove-like fit
The Nike FlyKnit design is a new feature from Nike. It is essentially knitted yarn uppers to create an ultra comfortable stylish look and feel. The overall feedback from users is very good. The shoes take on a “second skin” feel. The cushioning and support put this shoe in the mid-range area. This makes it good for weekend racers and recreational runners. Fitting appears to be true and it offers a good sized toe box. Overall If you’re an average runner and enjoy your cardio sessions this will make a great lightweight companion.
- 10.3 ounces
- Super plush and comfortable
- IsoFit to morph to your foot
- PWRGRD+ offers 20% more cushioning
- IBR+ blown rubber technology
The top of the charts when it comes to comfort and support. The 12th edition of this shoe is Saucony’s flagship runner. Offering patented features only available from Saucony if you are prone to injuries or a heavier runner this is your shoe. Surprisingly light weight this is also a great performer for race day. The only drawback is the lack of ground feel. Ground feel is important to build confidence and ensure proper foot strike. That being said the amount of cushioning available with this shoe will make up for improper foot strike (to an extent).
- 8.5 ounces
- Speedform technology for distraction-free running
- seamless heel for comfort
- Molded 4D Foam conforms to foot’s exact shape
- Cushioned and responsive Midsole
- Incredibly Lightweight blown rubber soles
- Smooth heel-to-toe transition
It appears Under Armour is quickly making a name for themselves in the world of running shoes. A nice balance between support and flexibility these are a great all around performer. They are also becoming known for their comfort as well. The moulded sock liner provides a lot of comfort and support resulting in a distraction-free run. Overall if you are a semi-experienced runner who appreciates comfort and race day performance this is the shoe for you.
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