For speed freaks and competitive runners, whether on the road or the muddy trails, the lighter the shoe, the better it is. We all love that barely-there feel while having that needed support and protection.
With a high-performance lightweight running shoe, you will get a boost in pace and challenge the pros on race day or at least beat your PB.
We've rounded up 200+ of the best men's lightweight running shoes on the market, from Saucony to Nike to Brooks, to make sure that you've the perfect footwear for your speed training sessions or the coming race. But how do you know you’ve the right pair? This guide can help you. Ready? Set, go.
We do our due diligence and handpick all the men’s shoes on the market today that weigh less than 8.8 oz (250 grams) in US size 9. We don’t discriminate when it comes to brands (around 30 of them out there) in this initial selection process. What is most important is how they fare and perform when we put them into our rigorous evaluation process, which involves the following:
We buy all the running shoes from our own pocket to avoid any taint of brand loyalty and bias.
We cut the shoes into essential parts in our testing lab, like we really dismember a shoe into little pieces.
We then measure 30+ parameters of a particular model and closely check their midsole construction, breathability, and durability, among others.
We go outside and run at least 30 or more miles for each pair, in various speed training and racing conditions. We evaluate each model based on our own personal experience.
We collect more information from shoe experts and regular users. We reduce all their feedback in a summary.
To conclude the whole process, we assign each pair of shoes a CoreScore from 0 to 100. The top-rated models go straight to our best picks in different categories.
Among all the shoes we've tested, nothing comes close to how the Saucony Endorphin Speed fits the bill as a speedster that can certainly go the distance! Whether it's a 10K, half marathon, or marathon, you can set PBs in this baby! Might feel weird while walking or jogging, but becomes a perfect fit when you really pick up the pace. It's made for speed, and it sticks to that!
The Endorphin Pro is a shoe that literally pushed us to paces! It's smooth-rolling and explosive - it's easy to set/beat PRs in this shoe. Despite it being speed-oriented, we never had issues with discomfort, even in high-mileage runs. A reminder: this shoe is a race-exclusive speed monster. If you run slow, or if you want it to double as your training shoe, consider something else.
An affordable trainer that's got the makings of advanced running shoes? Hello, Brooks Revel 5! It's a smooth and lively jack-of-all-trades that will keep your feet comfy and bouncing. It can push the pace, eat up half-marathon distances, and breeze through your daily runs!
Easily, the Brooks Hyperion Tempo is a speed training shoe we'd HIGHLY recommend to those who want to run fast! This shoe is everything we could ask for in a speedster - it's light, supportive, and very responsive. It literally pushed us forward! What's even surprising is that it's a comfortable shoe too. Even better, after logging 60 miles, the shoe still looks pristine!
The Nike Juniper Trail is an affordable off-road shoe that seems ideal for beginners and people who want a little more grip for easy trails. With durable materials, trail-specific design features, and an excellent ground feel, this is an excellent choice for compact dirt and gravel trails.
The Trail Glove is a famous Merrell minimalist shoe line that gives runners a barefoot-like experience. The minimal cushioning allows you to feel the trail while encouraging the foot to move naturally. Bear in mind though that it is best suited for light trails. Aside from making the collection better performance-wise, Merrell also follows a better path to sustainability by using recycled and environmentally-friendly materials for the Trail Glove 6.
The Nike Flex Experience Run 10 is an all-round running shoe with a lightweight construction and featherweight price point. With a perfect fit and huge amounts of flexibility, the Flex Experience Run 10 is a perfect shoe for your active days.
Looks fast, can run fast. This aside, the Launch 9 from Brooks is a daily trainer that can handle any speed you put into your run. Whether you're going fast or slow, it performs. On top of this, it can handle any distance. From short runs, 5Ks to 20 miles, it doesn't disappoint. Ultimately, get the Brooks Launch 9 if you're after a solid all-rounder that doesn't hurt the wallet or the feet.
Zoom Fly 4 feels like a Vaporfly but it's more durable and designed for everyday speed training. Finally a shoe that can go fast often! And with a price point way below its carbon-plated competitors, what's not to love!
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.
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.