7 Best Long Distance Running Shoes in 2023

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
7 Best Long Distance Running Shoes in 2023
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Going for anything longer than a 10K calls for the most reliable, comfortable, and durable running shoe. As the stress on your body increases, so do the demands from a pair of running shoes.

We have taken over 100 shoes on a long-haul run to find out which ones will stand the test. They also went through our lab tests before making it to the top selection.

You might be after a faster shoe, or a max-cushioned marathon shoe, or an extra protective trail shoe for a 100K ultra. We’ve got our top picks in various categories to help you choose the one that fits your needs.

Best long distance running shoes overall

What makes it the best?

The Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 is an amazingly cushioned, superbly energetic, and extremely lightweight super shoe. After subjecting it to long runs and intensive lab tests, we crowned it the Best Long Distance Running Shoe with its perfect blend of comfort and speed.

The Endorphin Pro 3 more than surpasses the stack height and softness of the average road running shoe. We measured its stack height to be 35 mm—a towering 3.2 mm above the average. Our durometer also verified the softness of the midsole that we felt on our runs— a whopping 36.7% softer (on average) than road running shoes. This combination makes the shoe both comfortable and forgiving for long runs.

The shoe's soft and bouncy midsole foam is complemented by a stiff and rigid carbon plate. On our flexibility test, we needed a force of 94.4N to bend it—almost thrice the force needed to bend an average road running shoe (31.8N). The shoe felt like a springboard on our feet and made us feel like we could conquer our long-run PBs.

It was easy to forget we were wearing shoes. At a mere 206g (7.3 oz), the Endorphin Pro 3 is one of the lightest race shoes we’ve ever tested. That’s 61g (2.2 oz) lighter than the average road running shoe, 21g (0.7 oz) lighter than the average of carbon-plated shoes, and even 8g (0.3 oz) lighter than race shoes. 

Unfortunately, the toebox of the Endorphin Pro 3 is 3.3 mm narrower than the average road running shoe. Runners with wide feet may want to look at other shoes for a better fit.


  • Speedier than ever
  • Snappy toe-off
  • More cushioned for long runs
  • Stable for during sharp turns
  • Perfect breathability for hot weather
  • Race-ready fit
  • Gusseted tongue
  • Insanely light
  • Grips on soaked pavements


  • Causes heel rubs
  • Toe box can be roomier
Full review of Saucony Endorphin Pro 3

Best long distance running shoes for daily training

ASICS Novablast 3

What makes it the best?

The ASICS Novablast 3 came out on top as our choice for the best daily trainer for long distances. We’ve cemented our pick after extensive lab tests and various runs. Impressive versatility, significant durability, and superior comfort—the ASICS Novablast 3 is the perfect all-around running shoe.

We were impressed by how versatile this shoe is—for different types of runs and in different temperatures. It has great ventilation for long summer runs, as demonstrated by our breathability test. We pumped smoke inside the shoe and saw how easily it passed through the upper and the tongue.

We also put the shoe in the freezer for 20 minutes to simulate cold weather. Even after this, the midsole remained softer than most running shoes at room temperature (20.9 HA vs 24.9 HA). We ran during both cold days and warm days, and the Novablast 3 remained to be the beast that it is. 

The Novablast 3 is also very durable. Even after running for miles and miles, the outsole only had minimal signs of wear. Lab tests also showed that the outsole is 4% harder than average.

During our runs, the shoes felt like a dream. Using the durometer in our lab, we found that it is 45.8% softer than the average of the road running shoes we tested. This explained why each step felt plush, even after more than an hour of running.

However, the tongue is only 1.3 mm thick. The average for road running shoes is 5.7 mm. Runners who like the tongues very padded should look elsewhere. 


  • Super bouncy
  • Cushy feel for miles
  • Breathable
  • Light AF
  • Ready for cornering
  • Locks you in
  • Tongue stays in place
  • Grippy outsole
  • Mad durable
  • Sets the bar for a do-it-all shoe


  • For narrow-to-medium feet only
  • Stack heights higher than advertised
Full review of ASICS Novablast 3

Best cushioned running shoes for long distance

What makes it the best?

If the word "plush" was a picture, the ASICS Gel Nimbus 25 would definitely take the cake. After dusting off a series of long runs and lab tests, it is our pick for the best cushioned shoe for long-distance running. Its exceptional comfort combined with an above-average stack height and stable platform makes it the ultimate ally for conquering long runs.

The ASICS Gel Nimbus 25 felt like we were wearing gentle hugs on our feet. The recipe for this comfort combines the high stack and a super soft midsole unit. The midsole is 4.8 mm taller than average, and 25% softer than the average of the road running shoes we’ve tested. Even after putting the shoe in the freezer for 20 minutes to simulate cold temperatures, it remained as soft as most running foams at room temperature. 

On top of that, the Gel Nimbus 25 is a stable shoe. It has an extensive platform–9.3 mm wider than average on the heel and 6.9 mm wider than average on the forefoot. This stable platform provided us with planted landings throughout our LSD runs and marathon training runs. There was absolutely no reason to worry about getting injured, making our long runs so much more enjoyable.

Unfortunately, the Gel Nimbus 25 feels a bit toasty. It scored ⅗ on our breathability test. Runners wanting more breathable shoes may want to look the other way.


  • Sweet marshmallowy ride
  • Feels surprisingly stable underfoot.
  • Great at gobbling up miles
  • Generously padded and extremely comfortable
  • Snug performance-style fit
  • No break-in period needed
  • Sleek and sustainable design


  • Lackluster breathability
  • Not for wide feet
  • Not responsive enough for high speeds
  • Budget buster
Full review of ASICS Gel Nimbus 25

Best long distance running shoes for racing

What makes it the best?

AP3 goes lightning fast at any distance. Characterized by boundless energy, a stable ride and an airy build, our lab and run testers have no doubts about AP3 being our best recommendation for long-distance racers.

This beast is on fire, effortlessly keeping up with our fastest pace. It boasts a mega-stack and a rigid platform that adds power to every stride. Compared to other shoes we put up against our flex test, AP3 ranked 50.0% stiffer than average - confirming the pop of energy we feel every time we land our foot.

While instability is often found in racing models, it doesn’t hold true for this racer. Its firm cushion and wide landing base in the forefoot enhance stability. It’s one of the most stable supershoes we’ve tried with no lateral wobble. This feature comes alive at high speeds, inspiring confidence even in sharp turns. Also assuring our safety is its grippy Continental outsole.

Running a marathon is a breeze with AP3’s lightweight package and ultra-breathable upper. It scored the highest rating on our breathability test and weighs 7.7 oz (218g), which is at par with other racing models.

Adios, heel-strikers! We warn caution about its heel that’s 6.1 mm narrower than average.


  • Supreme stability... in a supershoe!
  • World-class energy return and cushioning
  • Feather-light and agile
  • A dream come true for marathoners
  • Wonderful breathability
  • Top-notch grip, even in wet conditions
  • Outstanding outsole durability
  • Accommodates wide feet


  • Risk of heel slippage
  • Lacing can be tricky
  • Not suited for heel strikers
Full review of Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3

Best stability long distance running shoes

What makes it the best?

Among all the running shoes we tested both outdoors and inside the lab, the ASICS Gel Kayano 29 stands strong as the best stability shoe for long distances. The combination of its unrivaled support features, top-tier comfort, and first-class durability make it the ultimate support shoe for overpronators.

During marathon training, the Gel Kayano 29 really was a worthy companion. The dual-density foam technology, when put together with the midsole material, provides steady and superior stability for overpronators. We really felt how these shoes helped our ankles when it came to excessive rolling inwards. 

On our long weekend runs, our feet felt comfortable even after double-digit miles. Based on our measurements done in the lab, the heel stack height sits at 33.1 mm which is above the average of other running shoes we tested in the lab. We also used our durometer to test the foam's softness and the numbers were nothing short of extraordinary. It is 26% softer than average. No wonder each step felt like velvet.

Even after long training blocks and back-to-back long runs, the Gel Kayano 29's outsole stood strong. Measuring 4.1 mm, the outsole rubber is 15% thicker than average. This definitely seals the deal for the ASICS Gel Kayano 29 as the best stability shoe that will support runners for miles and miles... and more miles!

We did notice that the shoe felt a bit stuffy inside, especially during extra long runs on hot days. Our lab's breathability test also backed up its lack of ventilation, so runners looking for the "wind-in-the-toes" feeling will want to find other options.



  • Exceptionally cushioned
  • Impressively stable with 4D Guidance System
  • Lighter than it seems
  • Top-notch breathability
  • Effective maximalist design
  • Superior durability and comfort
  • Ideal for high-mileage runners
  • Ultra-plush FF Blast+ foam
  • Amazing build quality


  • Actual drop exceeds stated measurement
  • Midsole might require a break-in period
Full review of ASICS Gel Kayano 30

Best long distance running shoes for easy days

Brooks Ghost 15

What makes it the best?

The Brooks Ghost 15 makes easy runs feel even easier. A superbly comfortable, extremely durable, and pleasantly stable shoe, the Brooks Ghost 15 is clearly the best long-distance running shoe for easy days.

With a higher-than-average-stack height of 36.3 mm, the Ghost 15 has enough cushioning that made our feet very comfortable during long and easy runs. Additionally, its midsole which is 35% softer than the average road running shoe, felt almost luxurious.

The Brooks Ghost 15 has a robust outsole which we measured to be 5.76% harder than average. The outsole also did well on our Dremel test, only scraping away 0.4 mm of rubber while the average shoe was stripped of 0.9 mm of rubber. It's clear that the Ghost 15 can easily last until the 1000 km threshold. 

Although not a stability shoe, the Ghost 15 offers substantial stability due to a wider platform, especially the heel which measures 95.8 mm (5.9 mm more than the average).

The Brooks Ghost 15 is not the best shoe for forefoot strikers. With a forefoot stack of 23.1 (1.1 mm lower than average), it is not well protected in that area. It also has a massive 13.2 mm drop which is too steep for forefoot strikers. 


  • Supreme comfort
  • Plush, stable ride that's a delight
  • Optimized for heel strikers
  • No heel slippage
  • Great grip in wet conditions
  • Built to endure countless miles
  • Impressive value for $140
  • Great for both running and walking
  • Available in up to four different widths


  • Slightly heavier than its predecessor
  • Could use some improvements in breathability
  • Not a good one for forefoot strikers
Full review of Brooks Ghost 15

Best long distance running shoes for trail

Hoka Tecton X

What makes it the best?

The Hoka Tecton X is our #1 pick for the best trail running shoe for long distances. Its solid grip, comfortable yet lively cushion, undeniable durability, and stability were perfectly made to help us conquer the trails confidently—and the lab tests only backed this up.

The shoe’s grip is a total winner—a true king of the trails. After testing it on snow, frozen ground, and not-too-technical dirt, the lab results also showed that the 3.5 mm lug depth is at par with the average in our database. It is also very durable—the lugs were still not worn down after racking up those miles. 

We used a durometer in our lab to test the softness of the midsole, and we found that it was 27% firmer than the average trail shoe. However, even though it was firm, we actually felt very comfortable on the trails. Plus, its firmness also made it more protective across different terrains. At the same time, the dual-plated design gave it the responsiveness needed to keep going during longer runs.

Lastly, we had no complaints about stability, so we measured the base of the shoe to check the numbers. Sure enough, the upper width of the forefoot was 92.6 mm and the midsole width was 113.5 mm, ensuring a solid base for planted landings.

While the Tecton X performed well during our trail runs, we found that the X design on the outsole reluctantly shed off mud during our runs. Because of this, we recommend that trail runners who specialize in extremely technical and muddy trails check other options.


  • 2 carbon plates: very propulsive ride
  • Insanely stable
  • Looks fast and runs fast
  • Lightweight
  • Very cushioned & responsive
  • Worth the investment
  • Room for feet swelling
  • Grippy
  • No break-in
  • Vegan materials used


  • Not for technical terrains
  • Might accumulate mud
  • Expensive
Full review of Hoka Tecton X

Comparison of the 7 best long distance running shoes

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How to get the right pair of long-distance running shoes

Either you are doing a 10K 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 10K race will not work efficiently when used for ultra-running. 

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



Not as cushioned as marathon shoes. It can even be a race flat for experienced runners.

For beginners, a light speed trainer is the best choice.

Example: Hoka Mach 4 (a lightweight speedster for 5-10K)

Half-Marathon /Marathon


Cushioned shoes are preferred.

For forefoot/midfoot strikers, look for shoes with added forefoot support and lower drop.

For heel strikers, wear a shoe with extra heel padding.

For competitive marathoners, consider high-end shoes with innovative technologies, like a carbon plate (aka “super shoes”).

Example: Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 (an elite carbon-plated racer with a super-light, responsive foam)

Ultra running

ultra running.png

Get a shoe with a 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 rocky off-trail runs, wear shoes with a rock plate.

If you plan to swap shoes along the way, get a bigger size (1.5-2 sizes up) to accommodate the swelling.

Make sure you get a tried-and-tested pair of ultra running shoes.

As you can see, the number of required features grows with the distance. The longer the race, the more equipped you need to be:


Arch support in long-distance running shoes

Having the right kind of support is crucial when you go the distance. Your feet will be exposed to constant ground impact for a long period of time.

Start by checking your arch type and pronation with the chart below:

Recommended road running shoe according to arch type.png

If you are not sure, go with a neutral running shoe (has no added arch support). For mild to moderate overpronation, choose stability shoes.

To learn more about the kind of support that would work best for you, see our guide on pronation.


neutral shoe (left) vs. stability shoe (center) vs. motion control shoe (right)

Breathability or waterproofing?

Unfortunately, a good compromise is rare. Depending on the conditions of your upcoming race, you have to decide which one is the priority. 

For dry and warm weather, always pick a well-ventilated shoe. We made sure to check which long-distance shoes stay breathable on the run.

For wet, rainy, and muddy conditions, consider shoes with a Gore-Tex membrane for full protection. Or slightly more breathable shoes with water-repellent uppers.

How we test running shoes

It is our mission to test every single long-distance shoe on the market and let you know about the best options.

We’ve been in the running shoe game since 2014 and are now equipped with our own shoe testing lab to put every new release through the wringer. Here is our process:

  • Buy a shoe with our own funds to avoid bias
  • Run test each pair
  • Cut the shoe open and take it into pieces (literally)
  • Measure over 30 parameters that contribute to the shoe’s performance
  • Summarize it all into comparable data

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.