10 Best Competition Running Shoes in 2022
With speed written all over them, the best running shoes for racing are light, snappy, and crazy responsive.
With so many competition running shoes to choose from, it can be a challenge to pick the right pair - let alone, the best pair.
But don’t fret, we have handpicked our top picks from five different categories to cater to all runners.
Overview of this guide
How we test the best race running shoes
To stay objective, we always buy the shoes we review with our own money. We also examine them thoroughly in our independent shoe testing lab.
To further our scrutiny, we also:
- Log at least 30 to 50 miles in each race running shoe
- Slice them open
- Assess and measure each part of the shoe
- Generate their Corescore based on thousands of expert and user reviews
Best competition running shoes overall
We almost never say this, but when we do, it's really something - the Asics MetaSpeed Sky is the BEST racing flat we've ever tried! It's ultralight, responsive, and supportive in all the right places, zooming us forward to our next PB with fun and confidence! Even better, in comparison to all other carbon-plated race shoes we've tested, this is by far, the most stable - even at slower speeds!
If we can pick a shoe that screams fast, the Endorphin Pro 2 is THE shoe! Made for race day, you can't go wrong with the Endorphin - it's carbon-plated, snappy, rebounding, light, and just everything speed-oriented. It will bolt you forward in your competition, so prepare to take off at lightning speed! If you want to beat or set new PRs, we strongly suggest getting this shoe.
Competition running shoes with best cushioning
The Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% is a race shoe that made us zoom through the streets! It's fast, bouncy, and light and - it's everything speed-ready. With its steep price, it's exclusively for runners who only care about beating PBs and nothing else. For a race shoe, it's surprisingly cushy. During landing, our feet felt like they were stepping on marshmallows!
The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2 is probably one of the fastest shoes on the market, but it has some problems that I think the majority of runners will agree with. It’s unstable, a bit too narrow still, looks ridiculous, and hits the pocket book hard. If your job is to run fast, or you’re a sponsored athlete I think these shoes may be the tool to help you win, but for the average joe who wants to drop 2 minutes off their 5K time, it may be too much tech in a shoe designed for the 1% club.
Competition running shoes with best comfort
A luxurious spa-day treat for the feet? We'd take the New Balance FiuelCell RC Elite v2 any day! The midsole is very plush but it has a plate that balances it out, making the ride not only cushy but also very snappy and stable. If you're looking for a mid to long-distance racing shoe that will outthrow the Swoosh, this, along with the MetaSpeed Sky, can do it handsomely!
Top-tier race shoe from Adidas gets an update. In 2020 V1 won a ton of praise and world records with its carbon rod (and plate) design and Lightstrike Pro midsole. The super shoe category was once owned but just one brand but in 2021 there’s some serious contenders for best in show. Let’s see if Adizero Adios Pro 2 has been refined or totally retooled.
Best racing flat
The Adidas Adizero Pro is not something we'd consider a super shoe. It's still got a long way to go. But for a marathon racing flat, it does a great job! It gives a fast-feeling toe-off and its carbon plate just gives a very snappy ride. It's not the most cushioned but sure did keep our feet well-protected.
We just can't agree with how the Altra Escalante 2.5 is billed. It's just not for the serious runners. But if you're searching for a cruiser or a recovery shoe, we can confidently recommend this shoe. It's soft and generously cushioned, it's a couch to the feet! Even better, it's a very light shoe that will let you conserve energy.
Best carbon-plated competition running shoe
I think Hoka has a winner here. I am really impressed with this shoe. For the price, I think they’ve done something amazing here. It feels more like an everyday shoe but sure does perform like a race shoe. It doesn’t look crazy either, and it feels great. There are lots of cushioning and it has a super smooth transition. It’s fast as hell! Hoka, you sold me. It’s probably the best race shoe out there, all things considered. Well done!
If you're new to the world of carbon-plated running shoes, you should give the Asics Magic Speed some serious thought. It's plated tempo-day speedster that we see as a training complement to the MetaSpeed Sky. But if you want a full-on racing shoe, this can fit the bill too! Its ride is just so efficient and peppy, you don't have to put much effort into it to go fast.
What are the most popular competition running shoes in 2022?
- Saucony Endorphin Speed 2
- Asics Noosa Tri 13
- Asics MetaSpeed Sky
- Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2
- Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next%
- Saucony Endorphin Pro 2
- Asics Magic Speed
- Brooks Hyperion Elite 2
- Asics MetaRacer
- Adidas Adizero Pro
- Asics Hyper Speed
- Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen 8
- Hoka One One Rocket X
- New Balance FuelCell RC Elite v2
- New Balance FuelCell TC
What are the cheapest competition running shoes in 2022?
- Puma Speed Sutamina - from $40
- Reebok Floatride Run Fast London Pro - from $47
- Adidas SL20.2 - from $47
- Asics Hyper Speed - from $50
- Skechers GOrun Forza 4 Hyper - from $70
- Adidas Adizero Pro - from $80
- Asics EvoRide 2 - from $100
- Adidas Adizero Adios 6 - from $110
- Newton Fusion - from $120
- Skechers GOrun Speed Elite - from $120
- Asics Noosa Tri 13 - from $130
- Asics Magic Speed - from $150
- Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 - from $151
- Skechers GOrun Speed Freek - from $152
- Asics MetaRacer - from $160