10 Best Running Shoes For Men in 2021

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
10 Best Running Shoes For Men in 2021

There are thousands of running shoes designed for men, and picking one can be quite a struggle. We want to make your selection process a lot easier and thus, have gathered the ten best running shoes for men we’ve tried ourselves. 

They all come from five different categories, and we’ve chosen two top picks for each, catering to all types of runners.

How we review the best running shoes for men

As testament to how dedicated we are in finding the GOATs among all running shoes for men, we’ve invested in our own shoe testing lab. We also buy the shoes we examine with our own money to avoid brand loyalty. 

Before we decide on anything, we also strictly follow these: 

  • Log a minimum of 30-50 miles in each running shoe to assess performance and durability
  • Slice them into bits to assess what’s inside
  • Gather data on breathability, flexibility, softness, etc through our calipers, durometers, scales, and custom-made smoke machine
  • Generate their CoreScore via expert and user feedback to see how they fare against other running shoes for men

Best overall

Out of the 200 Nike models on our roster, the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 remains our personal favorite. It’s not just a workhorse. It’s THE workhorse. 

Whether you’re aiming to have a comfortable ride for your slow runs, some pep for your uptempo sessions, and protection during high mileages, the Peg can do the job. 

And good news for all men, it’s not your typical narrow-fitting Nike. It’s now more accommodating, allowing unrestrained foot motions.

Because it perfects the blend of softness and pop, you won’t feel its weight dragging you down. If anything, the ride is fast and enjoyable, you’ll want to run more miles! 

And the magic behind all this of course is the combination of the shoe’s plush foam (18% softer than the average foam in our lab test) and the Zoom Air pockets. Every step you take, there’s enough cushion and loads of energy return. 

At $120, the Nike Pegasus 38 is more than worth it. It can be your go-to for everything, and on top of that, it’s a durable shoe. Its outsole is 11% firmer than standard soles, we’re expecting it to last 400-500 miles.

See our full review and facts

Like the Peg, the Brooks Ghost series is celebrated by runners. And after pacing it through, we totally get the hype. 

It doesn’t just earn a spot on this list for its accommodating fit, which is a big plus for male runners. It’s here because it’s great at what it’s supposed to do. 

As a daily trainer, it nails the combination of both comfort and support. Its midsole foam is soft, but has some touch of firmness to keep our strides stable and slip-free. Even better, it’s very flexible. 

In our lab, we conducted our flex test, and the results stunned us. The average running shoe requires 40.2N force to bend while the Ghost 14 only needs 19.2N. Its ride has not just been cozy, it’s also been natural-feeling. 

It’s a dedicated all-rounder. If you want to run easy, perform tempos, or gobble up long miles, it delivers with flying colors. Even on light trails, it’s confidence-inspiring. 

Overall, the Brooks Ghost 14 is not the lightest trainer we’ve put on (at 10.1 oz). But with all the comfort and support it provided, it’s not what we’d consider a deal-breaker.

See our full review and facts

Best trail shoe

It was quick and fun. Even the unfriendliest trails were made easy by the Salomon Sense Ride 4. 

Wow, this shoe blew our minds. Typically, trail shoes are dense. And to be quite frank, boring. But not the Sense Ride. It doesn’t cut corners on responsiveness, owing it all to its 31.7% more rigid foam. Seriously, we were blazing through the trails in this bad boy! 

Definitely don’t pass on this if you’re looking for a certified trail bruiser. With its outsole (81.5HC tough), rocks and roots will have a hard time gashing it. 

And what’s great about it is that it never hurts our feet. Yes it’s built rugged, but it definitely gave our feet all the protection we could ask for. 

Taking everything up a notch is the shoe’s outsole. It clung like claws on loose, rocky, and hard-packed terrain. Not once did we lose our step in it. 

At 10.5 oz, the Salomon Sense Ride 4 is heavy on paper. And it tips our scales. But because of the pop and lively ride it delivers, it feels nimble and the weight doesn’t load up on the feet.

See our full review and facts

Fast. Fast. Fast.

That’s exactly how we felt running in the Saucony Peregrine 11. It’s very springy, thanks to its firmness, pushing to the next step is effortless. 

Apart from its speedy ride, what stood out to us were the shoe’s unmatched protection and durability. The outsole is tough, it’s even hard to bend this shoe, requiring 33.6N force (vs. the average 26.2N). 

So, don’t worry about jagged rocks poking your underfoot. And if you want a shoe that’s going to last, consider this trail tank your friend. Even after some excursions on rocky terrain, the outsole remains unscathed. 

Traction is also king in the Peregrine. Be it on slick mud, snow, wet and dry stream crossings, it bites. 

What makes it second best to the Sense Ride is definitely the weight. The Saucony Peregrine 11 weighs 11.2 oz, which is way above other trail shoes we’ve tested. But for all the rewards we reaped on the run, we’re not letting its heft define it.

See our full review and facts

Best budget shoe

If you want a fun shoe that doesn’t dig deep into the pockets, our best recommendation is the Brooks Revel 5. 

Peppy performance aside, it’s a great-value shoe for its do-it-all qualities. It’s very cozy during easy runs. Lively and light during fast sessions. And a helluva protective shoe during long stretches. It eats up all the impact, our feet and legs feel fresh afterwards. 

Of all the daily trainers we’ve tried, this is among the lightest. At 8.7 oz, it’s barely noticeable. We never had issues with dragging.

For a budget shoe, the Brooks Revel packs a lot in the sturdiness department. Its outsole is solid at 79 HC (vs. the 79.2HC average in our lab tests). And when we put it through the wringer, it proved itself extremely durable. It remained free from any wear and tear. 

Ultimately the Brooks Revel 5 is a superb wallet-friendly trainer that will prove quality performance doesn’t always have to be expensive.

See our full review and facts

The Saucony Axon is so darn good at being a speedster, it’s even better than all the expensive tempo shoes we’ve tested. Its transitions are velvety smooth, getting from one step to another is seamless. 

When you lace it up, prepare for takeoff because the Axon will keep you up on your toes. 

At 9.75 oz, it’s heavier than the average 9.4 oz shoes. We were skeptical at first. But on the run, its weight is barely there. We were just pacing through the blocks, we even forgot we had it on. 

Contrary to other speed trainers, it’s a touch more stable. It’s a tad firm, keeping our strides balanced and steady. Even when cornering, we never felt tippy. 

Even better, it’s not uncomfortable at all. You can run in it straight from the box, there’s no need for break-in. 

And to top it all off, it’s a sturdy shoe. We hammered it thoroughly to see how long it’ll last. And some miles later, it still runs and looks fresh. We are confident it can last 400-500 miles.

See our full review and facts

Best for overpronation

With nearly 300 stability shoes in our arsenal, nothing beats the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21. It puts a dent on support shoe stereotypes, giving runners a fresh take on stability models.

Simply, it’s not your typical rigid support running shoe. Its stability elements are only there when your knees and feet veer too far from their natural range of motions. 

They stay in the back seat until needed. So, neutral runners in need of extra support can also enjoy the Adrenaline GTS 21. 

Complementing the midsole is the snug-fitting upper. It locked our feet so well, they never slipped nor slid around. 

And if you’re looking for a shoe that can last miles on the road, it can meet the bill. True to its Brooks roots, it kills it in the durability arena. Expect to get 400-500 miles before putting it down in your closet. 

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 is plain and simple. It’s a no-frills stability trainer that will keep your strides surefooted and steady. And if you’re suffering from overpronation, this will help prevent or alleviate the pain.

See our full review and facts

The Asics Gel Kayano series has made so much buzz over the years, it needs no introduction to new and old runners alike. 

Having scrutinized and run in past versions of the Kayano, we can confirm this is the best Kayano yet. 

Unlike its precursors, it’s a touch more flexible, creating a more peppy ride. It’s no longer the rock-solid Kayano. From boring to fun, it aged like a fine wine. 

Apart from its fantastic blend of both support and bounce, it’s also a Kayano that sheds off weight. At 10.6 oz, it may not be as light as other running shoes, but in contrast to its Kayano siblings, it’s definitely a plus. 

With all the stability and spring it delivers, the weight is more than justified. 

Generally, the Asics Gel Kayano 28 remains as runners’ trusty long-distance stability trainer. But this time around, it’s more enjoyable.

See our full review and facts

Best for race

We’re not saying this lightly, the Asics MetaSpeed Sky is king among all carbon-plated racing shoes. It’s the closest we got to running like one of the elites. 

Of course, the mastermind behind its explosive ride is its carbon plate and insanely responsive foam. Upon lace up down to our first step, it was ready to launch us forward. When it was time to pace it, we found ourselves zooming through the blocks without even putting in much effort. 

If you’re aiming to set PBs, the MetaSpeed Sky is your best friend. 

When we ran through sharp turns, the upper was there to keep our feet supported and locked in place. It’s snug from the heel to the midfoot, you don’t have to worry about missteps. 

Marathoners, don’t fret. It’s unlike other racing flats. It’s roomy up front, there’s enough space for the feet to swell. 

Lightweight? This IS the definition of lightweight. It’s only 6.7 oz, and it’s by far, the lightest racer we’ve ever laced up. 

In our flex test, the MetaSpeed Sky aced it. It’s 22.5HA stiff, which means it's got a great blend of support and bounce. You’ll be more than confident to bolt through the streets. 

Even better, it remains stable during slow runs, which is a first for a race-day shoe on our roster. 

The Asics MetaSpeed Sky is more than ready to beat the competition. Asics designed it so well, we couldn’t even find one thing that we don’t like about it.

See our full review and facts

We loved every shoe in Saucony’s first edition of their Endorphin line. Most especially the race-day version - the Endorphin Pro. Fast forward to the release of the Endorphin Pro 2, we’re even more in love. 

What won us over was the Endorphin’s terrific comfort. For a racer, we weren’t expecting it to be cozy. It mixes both plushness and snappiness so well, you can set/beat PBs while keeping your feet pampered. 

Of course, earning its spot on this list is the shoe’s propulsive ride. Its plate made us bounce from one step to another.

Complementing it is the shoe’s extremely light weight (7.6 oz). It might not be as light as its racing counterparts - Vaporfly (6.9 oz) and MetaSpeed Sky (6.7 oz) - but with its generous rubber outsole, we don’t mind one bit. 

If you want to set records and smash the competition, the Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 can do the job.

See our full review and facts
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.