10 Best Long Distance Running Shoes (Buyer's Guide)

Author: Jens Jakob Andersen. Updated: .

Most running shoes are built for long-distance runs, making the list of options longer. But, this guide will help you narrow down the options and choose the right long-distance running shoes for you. 

How we review our long-distance running shoes

At RunRepeat, we provide up-to-date recommendations for long-distance running shoes, helping you single out the right pair without the need of reading thousands of reviews from hundreds of retailers. 

  • Gather more than 1400 long-distance running shoes in one list
  • Spend 7 hours per shoe doing research and reading reviews around the internet
  • Read and analyze more than 7,000 expert reviews and 800,000 user reviews
  • Give a CoreScore of 0 to 100 to each long-distance running shoe, indicating how liked a shoe is based on the expert reviews and user ratings.

Popular running shoes aren't the better rated ones

80 84 88 92 96 100
High Popularity Low
10 best shoes
100 most popular shoes

Expert tips for buying the right pair of long-distance running shoes

For Competition

Either you are doing a 5K race or ultra-marathon, there is no one perfect shoe that fits everybody’s feet. Depending on the distance, the preferences will change. The shoe you wear for a 5K race will not work efficiently when used for ultra-running. 

Here are some tips that will help you find the best long-distance shoes:

 

5K

10K

Half-Marathon

Marathon

Ultra Running

Lightweight running shoes

A more snug fit is better

For beginners, get a shoe with extra padding

If you are an experienced runner, wear a racing flat as long as you are comfortable in it

Cushioned shoes are preferred

For forefoot striker, look for shoes with added forefoot support

For heel striker, wear a shoe with extra heel padding

For competitive marathoners, consider wearing shoes with innovative technologies like the Nike Vaporfly

If you are running in summer or middle of the day, wear a shoe with durable and thick rubber outsole. It will keep your feet away from the burning heat

If you are running in wet or rainy conditions, consider wearing a shoe with water-repellent or waterproof membrane 

Breathability is very important. However, for heavy rains and wet terrain, GTX and alike membranes will keep your feet dry. These membranes are less breathable, though.

Get a shoe with durable outsole (opt for solid rubber than blown rubber)

For rough, uneven terrain, a good grip is necessary

Cushioned shoes will keep you comfortable

For trail running, wear a shoe with added protection (ex. rock plate, toe cap)

If you plan to swap shoes along the way, get a bigger size (2 sizes up) to accommodate the swelling

See: List of lightweight running shoes

See: List of Marathon Shoes 

See: List Competition shoes

See: List of Ultra Running Shoes

For Training

If you are doing long-distance runs for training purposes, here are some quick tips for you:

  • Get a shoe with a more natural fit - snug in the heel and midfoot, and with wiggle room around the toes.   
  • Pick a durable shoe that will hold up miles after miles. A solid rubber outsole is more durable than blown rubber. 
  • Wear a shoe with thick cushioning especially if you are planning to run 25+ miles per week. Not necessarily you go maximalist, a cushioned shoe should be enough. 

 

Other factors to look for: Comfort and Breathability

Long-distance running shoes are specifically built to hold up under high mileage. In choosing the best long-distance running shoes, make sure you pay attention to comfort and breathability.

Comfort

Wearing comfortable running shoes is very important when it comes to long-distance running because your feet will be exposed to constant ground impact for a long period of time.

A more comfortable running experience is achieved when you wear the right shoe for your arch type. Find out the recommended shoe type for you:

Aside from arch type, you also need to consider foot pain or injuries. Your feet need special attention if you have a foot condition that has been giving you pain during or after running. 

Breathability

Long-distance running is tiresome and hot on your feet. To avoid feet overheat and quick exhaustion, pick a running shoe with a breathable upper. Generally, shoes with mesh fabric upper coverage are breathable. Breathable running shoes have an extra cooling factor and they are fairly lightweight. They are also flexible enough for your feet to move comfortably and safely without sacrificing support. 

The best long distance running shoes in every category

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Now, are you ready to buy long distance running shoes?

Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com