- New Balance
- Helly Hansen
- Hoka One One
- La Sportiva
- Pearl Izumi
- The North Face
- Topo Athletic
- Under Armour
- Vibram FiveFingers
Casual runners and seasoned athletes have spoken. Based on 100, 000+ reviews from online running magazines, web reviews and blog sites, RunRepeat has come up with a complete list of the top performance pairs in the market. Each entry in the list has its own rating and a more detailed look once you click the links provided. This comprehensive list aims to help you choose the best running shoes from a variety of performance footwear brands worldwide.
Discover the best running shoes for you
Choosing the best performance shoes is a crucial decision for every runner. You should be aware that you have a unique body and biomechanics, so having a standard running shoe just won’t do. In picking the proper pair, there are different considerations to factor in. Aside from the pricing and your level of running experience, the best running shoe should also be able to improve your running without sacrificing things like comfort and support.
RunRepeat is here to assist you in narrowing down your running choices. It cannot be denied that dozens of new performance shoes are introduced every season, which makes it confusing for the average runner to finalize a purchase. Not to mention the production of nth versions, as well as the entry of new footwear brands in an already saturated market. Fortunately, RunRepeat has gathered reviews from every corner of the internet to bring you honest-to-goodness snippets of the pros and cons of every model, old or new.
With our comprehensive guides tackling the shoe basics (measurements, price, use) up to advanced information, such as shoe technologies and opinions of experts, our site will certainly get your heart racing. In addition, the RunRepeat team also provided recommendations to make shoe shopping easier, especially if it involves bagging that elusive discount. At RunRepeat, you get all the information you need about the best running shoes with just a few clicks.
Trail shoes versus Road shoes
Trail runners and road runners are very much alike in a lot of ways, but if there is one evident difference between them, it is their choice of footwear. Trail shoes and road shoes are easily recognizable since they represent two opposing points. Here are the following differences that make these two running shoe types further apart:
Road shoes are notably smaller and lighter than trail versions. This type is built to run on flat surfaces with limited debris, which means that responsiveness and speed are prioritized than protection. Road shoes have a more streamlined structure since they deal with a tamed environment and naturally don’t take a beating. Furthermore, only technical road shoes are packed with features and technologies to improve performance. An average road shoe would look normal at best.
On the other hand, trail versions are more aggressive-looking. They deal with uneven terrain and encounter debris, such as rocks, roots and mud regularly. This type of shoe prioritizes protection against debris and shock forces, as well as better landing control. Trail shoes are expected to be bigger and heavier than road shoes, given the technologies incorporated in the structure, like mud guard, waterproof lining and toe cap.
The durability of a shoe is generally based on the materials used by respective brands during manufacturing; however, a shoe could also be toughened according to its category. Since road shoes do not tackle debris on the regular, these are made to have a lower durability threshold in exchange for flexibility and speed. However, trail shoes are designed to have superior durability so these won’t fall apart when taking a beating from nature.
Traction and Grip
The sole structures of road shoes and trail shoes also highlight why these two types are different. Trail shoes commonly have aggressive lug patterns made from sticky rubber, since this sole structure is crucial to keep one’s traction and grip on uneven terrain (think muddy surfaces, loose rocks, and hard-packed rocky paths). The more technical trail shoes often have sharp sole features so digging in on snow and mud would be easier to keep balance and ground stability in check.
In contrast, road shoes have flat undersurfaces made from abrasion-resistant rubber. This type of sole structure would do well on paved walkways, marble floors, treadmills and roads in general. It has adequate traction and grip to handle flat grounds, whether dry or wet.
Arch Support: Do you need it?
Before you go crazy choosing between the best running shoes available, understanding your running style and gait should be a priority in running. There are three types of gait, namely: overpronated, underpronated and neutral. Knowing your biomechanics or pronation is crucial, since running in the wrong pair of shoes already dooms you to injury and discomfort. Arch support is a necessity in running, especially if you want to correct your gait. The following shoe types have varying levels of arch support to encourage the best style of running:
Neutral running shoes
If you have a neutral gait, congratulations! Basically, your body is already aligned and ready for running. In fact, your arches only flex a little, so having a pair of neutral running shoes would work. This type of shoe has lesser cushioning to allow a flexible heel-to-toe transition. Support is still present, but you can already transition to a minimalist pair for a barefoot-like movement.
Runners with supinated foot motion also benefit from wearing neutral shoes, since this type focuses more on cushioning rather than correction. An outward foot rolling motion could be hindered with a lot of cushioning in the sides, resulting in a more fluid gait.
Stability shoes are recommended for those with low arches, resulting in over pronation. An over pronated foot has the tendency to roll inward during the heel-to-toe transition, but a stabilizing platform can easily force it back on track, thanks to its cushioning technologies. Stability shoes often have removable footbeds to accommodate orthotics. Orthotic inserts can be customized to complement your biomechanics, especially if the arch support in your pair is lacking.
Motion control shoes
If you are looking for the best running shoes that are corrective, search no further than motion control shoes. This type of performance footwear is designed to limit excess motion, which is a result of over pronation. Runners with flat feet will appreciate the stiffer and thicker midsole crafted from premium and hard cushioning, since it stops the foot from excessive rotation during the gait cycle. Motion control shoes can also accommodate orthotics.
Gait analysis is crucial, especially if you are a new runner. It is usually a complimentary service in running stores, but you can do it yourself at home. Having the best running shoes won’t be of any use if they are not complimenting your biomechanics. Remember that ignoring excessive foot rotation may not only result in discomfort, but also lead to ankle and foot injuries, kneecap inflammation, torn ligaments and tendons, shin splints, bunions, Achilles tendonitis and various hip and lower back ailments.
The Different Uses of Running Shoes
Running shoes are not just categorized according to terrain or technologies. It is best to acknowledge early if your pair is strictly for training or racing, so you can use it accordingly.
Training shoes are usually standard running platforms with basic technologies to secure comfort, support, traction and protection. In fact, they are more protective than their racing counterparts, and even more corrective. Training shoes are pretty much in demand among fitness enthusiasts and running beginners, since it’s easy to adapt to their structure. Lighter training shoes are preferred for speed workouts, while heavier ones are usually used for sports and gym work because of their cushioning and supportive features. Cushioned training shoes are also recommended for long distance running and recovery activities.
Competition shoes, (also called racing flats) are built for speed. They are lighter and more minimal than training shoes. In fact, you can expect to see a form-fitting structure, responsive midsole and a unique lug design. Only a few of the best running shoes are dedicated to competition, since the majority of the running audience is not buying to compete. Competition shoes also work great for up-tempo running or speed training, especially if you want to break your speed record on the track or trail. However, its technical features hinder it from being used for casual activities other than sports. Its lack of cushioning (most likely to shave off weight for better speed) makes the foot vulnerable to debris; however, the flexibility is welcomed for those who want to pursue a barefoot-like running movement.
Some of the best running shoes are versatile enough to be used while training and during race day. These platforms are usually preferred by seasoned athletes, since they want to familiar feel of the shoe before using it competitively. However, running amateurs are beginning to appreciate such versatility, even if they don’t have plans to race in the near future. The downside of getting a versatile shoe is that there might be cutbacks in all aspects, like comfort, support, speed and durability.
Special Shoe Technologies in Running Shoes
Technology and innovation are two factors that have catapulted the production of the best running shoes to new heights. In fact, you are bound to see running shoes that have a variety of special features, such as waterproof linings, energy-converting technology, 3D-inspired cleat designs and second-skin fit systems. Every brand may have a different approach in presenting these special running shoes, but it cannot be denied that these are more than the usual shoe fare.
Waterproof shoes are the answers to a runner’s prayer during the rainy season or winter months. Bad weather can truly hinder your running performance and make your foot uncomfortable with the wetness and coldness it brings. Fortunately, some of the best running shoes have waterproof versions, especially the trail-specific ones. Waterproof materials are usually incorporated in the upper and outsole to manage moisture and keep water and other debris from entering the shoe.
Waterproof shoes are essentially bulkier and heavier because of the weather-resistant technologies present in their structure. However, the lug patterns are also enhanced to be more aggressive and grippy, so maneuvering across wet surfaces won’t be a pain.
Triathlon shoes are somewhat unique because these are expected to fare well during the biking and running parts of a triathlon. It should not just prioritize speed, but also debris and impact protection, grip and comfort. Thanks to technology, the best triathlon shoes today exceed expectations in terms of training and racing. They are also incorporated with energy-converting materials so the impact forces absorbed throughout the run will not be wasted. Instead, they are used to push the runner into a forward momentum, resulting in better speed without compromising impact protection.
Triathlon shoes should also be comfortable, given than the athlete would tackle three activities (swimming, running & biking) before reaching the finish line. Triathlon shoes are packed with light cushioning for better underfoot comfort, with a close-skin fit that mimics the foot’s natural movements. This type of shoes also has a stable base and versatile grip to tackle both trails and roads alike.
Barefoot shoes are minimal in nature, with a second-skin contour that mimics your foot’s natural movements. This type of shoe has a bare-bones structure, which would likely appeal to people who want to pursue a natural running movement sans cushioning. However, the miraculous thing about the best barefoot running shoes is that these don’t endanger the foot, even on the trail. We have technology to thank for state-of-the-art sole features, like the Vibram rubber. This compound rubber is popular because it offers a blend of protection and optimal ground contact without scrimping on durability and grip.
Barefoot shoes are not just for running. It is also gaining popularity in terms of beachcombing, swimming, canyoneering and mountain climbing among others. The freedom of movement is technically the shoe’s selling point, as it offers better health benefits and proper posture.