7 Best Road Running Shoes in 2023

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
7 Best Road Running Shoes in 2023
We earn affiliate commissions at no extra cost to you when you buy through us. Why trust us

The number of road running shoes is three times larger compared to trail running shoes. Thus, buying a pair can be an overwhelming task, especially if you are new to running.

We have tested over 100 road running shoes in our lab and on a variety of wear tests. If you want nothing but the best, see our top picks from different categories of road shoes. From a versatile daily trainer and a budget shoe to a premium speed and racing option, we got the finest option for you.  

This guide dives into the nitty-gritty of road running shoes. Read over our guide to learn about the three primary things to consider in road shoes

Best road running shoes overall

ASICS Novablast 3

What makes it the best?

Miles of pounding the payment and long hours in our lab have sealed the deal. The ASICS Novablast 3—with its unmatched comfort, outstanding versatility, and top-tier durability—is definitely the best road running shoe.

We can't get enough of this shoe and we felt that much-coveted runners' high on short runs and long runs. The Novablast 3 is a star—it made running on the pavement for hours a pleasant experience. In our lab, we checked the midsole foam's softness with a durometer and excitedly discovered that it is 52% softer than average. However, even if the foam was soft, it still had that responsive pop that made us zoom on the roads.

Another thing we love about this shoe is its versatility in different temperatures. The breathability test showed that the Novablast 3 is an extremely breathable road running shoe that provides great ventilation for summer runs. When we pumped smoke inside the shoe, it passed through the upper and the tongue very easily. Then, to simulate the cold weather, we put the Novablast 3 inside the lab freezer for 20 minutes. Even after this, the midsole was still softer than that of most running shoes at room temperature. This makes it the perfect all-rounder for winter, summer, and in-betweens. 

We enjoyed running in these shoes so much, that we racked up a hundred miles on pavement pretty quickly among our team. We were really impressed to see that the outsole had very minor creasing which was purely visual—the comfort, plushness, and pop remained the same.

However, when we measured the shoe's heel-to-toe drop, it stood at 6.8 mm while the advertised is 8 mm. That being said, we do not recommend this for road runners with very specific preferences for heel-to-toe drop.


  • 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

Today's best price

Any color
Black/Island Blue (1011B458004)
Sheet Rock/Black (1011B458021)
Ocean Haze/Black (1011B458404)
Black/Dried Leaf Green (1011B458005)
Cream/Fawn (1012B288101)
White/Deep Ocean (1011B458100)
White Pure Silver (1011B461100)
Electric Red/Midnight (1011B458600)
More colors

Best road running shoes for daily training

Nike Pegasus 40

What makes it the best?

The Nike Pegasus 40 is a force to be reckoned with. It superbly blends outstanding versatility, remarkable comfort, and extraordinary durability. After embarking on multiple runs and taking it apart in the lab, we crown the Nike Pegasus 40 as the best daily trainer among road running shoes.

It is the Goldilocks of running shoes! With a midsole that is 28.6% softer than average, the Pegasus 40 is more than comfortable enough for our daily runs. A real do-it-all shoe, the Pegasus 40 is a daily trainer like no other.

Our runs were insanely comfortable and enjoyable. Its heel area and dual-layer mesh upper are well-padded. Its velvety smooth upper also helped us avoid hotspots or blisters. All of these, coupled with the 8.6 mm gusseted tongue—which is 2.8mm thicker than average—make it perfect for daily runs. 

Durable and grippy—the Pegasus 40 has the perfect combination for a world-class outsole. At the lab, we tested it to be 7.8% firmer than average confirming the outsole durability. We ran on dry and wet roads, and even on light trails—and the Pegasus 40 gripped tremendously well on those surfaces.

It may be a jack-of-all-trades shoe, but it is also a master of none. Runners may look at other shoes for faster racing or more comfortable easy runs.


  • Plush and comfortable upper
  • Breathable
  • Secure lockdown
  • Has enough toe-box space
  • Not overly soft or firm underfoot
  • Good energy return
  • Great grip on most surfaces
  • Incredible durability
  • Perfect for everyday miles and LSDs


  • A generally narrow fit
  • Heavier than the v39
  • Not a very memorable ride
Full review of Nike Pegasus 40

Today's best price

Any color
White (DV3853101)
Black/Light Crimson/White (DV3853003)
Blue (DV7480401)
White/Black/Photon Dust/Wolf Grey (DV3853102)
Midnight Navy/Black/Racer Blue/Pure Platinum (DV3853400)
Black (DV3853001)
White (DV7480100)
White/Chile Red/Coconut Milk/Black (FJ0686100)
More colors

Best road running shoes for race

What makes it the best?

Extremely fast, ultra-lightweight, superbly comfortable, and fast. Yes, the ASICS Metaspeed Sky+ is extraordinarily lively that we had to mention 'fast' twice. After running a fair share of races and conducting lab tests, we hail the ASICS Metaspeed Sky+ as the best road running shoe for races—a must-have for setting new personal bests. 

During speed sessions and races, the Metaspeed Sky+ was remarkably responsive through and through. While the carbon plate contributed to the lively pop, our lab's flexibility test also confirmed the shoe's stiffness. It needed 102.4% more force to bend it compared to the average road running shoe. On our runs, we could feel effortless propulsion with every step.

At only 6.8 oz or 193g, the Metaspeed Sky+ is so much lighter compared to the average race shoe (7.3 oz or 207g). We also tested its breathability by pumping smoke inside the shoe, and we witnessed how quickly and easily the smoke breezed through the shoe's upper. Tremendously light and top-tier breathability—running on clouds is an understatement. Whether it's a 3k race or a marathon, this shoe's almost weightless feel is sure to shine. 

Durability is one area it can improve on. Its rubber outsole is only 2.0 mm, while the average is 3.5 mm. Because of this, we recommend that serious road runners reserve the ASICS Metaspeed Sky+ for A-races only or 10/10 effort-based speed sessions.


  • Fast as hell
  • Buttery smooth transitions
  • Protective cushion
  • Comfy for long miles
  • Stable when cornering
  • Very very breathable
  • Heel lockdown is awesome
  • No more heel rubs
  • Fits just right!
  • Grippy on wet roads


  • Stiffer than before
  • Outsole lacks durability
  • Expensive
Full review of ASICS Metaspeed Sky+

Today's best price

Any color
Orange Pop/Island Blue (1013A115800)
Velvet Pine/Safety Yellow (1013A115300)
Black/New Leaf (1013A115001)
Diva Pink/White (1013A115700)
Hazard Green/Sky (1013A115301)

Best road running shoes for long distance

What makes it the best?

Lab tests—done. Outdoor runs—done and dusted. The Fuelcell Supercomp Trainer is our pick for the best long-distance road running shoe. With an extremely protective and uber-bouncy ride coupled with an out-of-this-world upper, the SC Trainer is a magnificent shoe for covering ground during long runs.

The FuelCell SC Trainer has an above-average high-stack midsole at 40.2mm—21% higher than the average road running shoe. The midsole is also 52.6% softer than average. This midsole and stack height combo made our feet feel comfortable and protected—an absolute necessity for marathon training blocks.

The SC Trainer's midsole unit has a carbon plate. Combined with the thick and soft midsole, this shoe has superb trampoline-like propulsion which made us want to run faster and longer. Numbers from the lab also backed this up, showing that the shoe is 87.6% stiffer than road running shoes on average. 

Every ride with the SC Trainer was a breeze. The comfortable upper is of a totally different caliber—flawless, light, and very breathable. In our breathability test, the smoke pumped inside the shoe passed through very easily. We also felt the wind in our toes, which provided much-needed relief during long runs.

While the SC trainer delivers a fantastic and fast ride, its weight tipped the scales at 10.2 oz (298g), substantially more than the average of 265g for road running shoes. Runners will want to look elsewhere for lighter shoes.


  • Incredibly bouncy and soft
  • Extremely protective underfoot
  • Top-quality upper
  • Stable for a “super-shoe”
  • Versatile for different paces
  • Great lockdown
  • Ready straight out of the box
  • Welcomes wide feet
  • Massive, yet great-looking


  • Heavy
  • Collects some rocks
Full review of New Balance Fuelcell Supercomp Trainer

Today's best price

Any color
Black (WRCXBM2)
White (WRCXLW2)
Green (MRCXLG2)

Best road running shoes with plush cushioning

What makes it the best?

If comfort was a shoe, the ASICS Gel Nimbus 25 is definitely it. On our runs, our feet enjoyed every pillow-like sensation with every step, and the lab numbers only verified what our feet already knew. Thus, the ASICS Gel Nimbus 25 is every bit deserving to be crowned as the road-running shoe with the best plush cushion.

Running on clouds, stepping on marshmallows—the adjectives are endless. The Gel Nimbus 25 was utterly comfortable during all our runs. The secret to this luxurious comfort lies in its super soft midsole unit. In the lab, our durometer readings confirmed this as the numbers showed that the midsole foam is 25% softer than average.

Adding to its heavenly comfort is the above-average stack height. At 4.8 mm taller than average, our feet were protected from all the pavement pounding—almost as if we were royalty. The Gel Nimbus 25 is also stable, adding to our confidence as we soared through the roads. Its solid platform is 9.3 mm wider than average on the heel, and 6.9 mm wider than average on the forefoot. This wide platform coupled with a snug fit upper made us worry less about our footstrikes as we munched those miles. 

While it provides next-level comfort that is out-of-this-world, it lacks the energetic pop and responsiveness needed for fast days. The ASICS Gel Nimbus 25 is fantastic for easy, slow, and longer runs, but there are better options for speed sessions and faster days.


  • Beyond comfortable
  • Like running on marshmallows
  • Surprisingly stable
  • Feels light on feet
  • True to size
  • Sustainable materials
  • Looks great as a casual shoe


  • Not a very responsive ride
  • An oven for the feet
  • Pricey
Full review of ASICS Gel Nimbus 25

Today's best price

Any color
Island Blue/Sun Peach (1011B547400)
Black/Lime Zest (1011B547003)
Midnight/Electric Red (1011B547401)
Sheet Rock/Indigo Blue (1011B547021)
Beige (1011B769200)
Spice Latte/Black (1011B547600)
WHITE/BLACK (1011B547103)
Black/Pure Silver (1012B356001)
More colors

Best stability road running shoes

What makes it the best?

Let’s be honest, corrective shoes for pronating strides just aren’t that sexy; but the Adrenaline GTS 23 subverts our expectations with a sleek and comfortable designed daily trainer that even neutral runners will be happy to have in their rotation, making it easily our pick for best stability shoe. 

Stability shoes tend to be quite stiff with the aim of correcting a pronating stride by limiting lateral foot movement. The Adrenaline GTS 23 achieves this when it comes to torsional rigidity, earning a 4 out of 5 in our manual test. In terms of longitudinal stiffness, however, the Adrenaline GTS 23 is remarkably flexible; requiring only 17.7N of force to bend the shoe 90-degrees in our test, making it significantly more flexible than the average shoe. This combination gives us a healthy mix between stability and comfort as the shoe is able to easily bend with our foot while also correcting any excessive foot rolling. 

Further contributing to the shoe’s stable ride is its behemoth of a platform. Using our caliper, we measured the Adrenaline GTS 23’s midsole to be 117.3 mm and 96.9 mm wide at the forefoot and heel respectively. This means that we have a much broader than average platform that keeps us feeling sure-footed during landings and toe offs, while also not feeling overly blocky when taking corners. 

With a high heel drop of 12.6 mm, the Adrenaline GTS 23 is a little too steep for forefoot strikers. This drop will feel even more exaggerated considering how thick the shoe’s stack is at the heel, measuring 34.1 mm according to our caliper, versus the shorter than average forefoot stack of only 21.5 mm. This means that forefoot strikers will only benefit from lots of ground-feel but none of the plush cushioning the midsole has to offer.


  • Excellent stability without being intrusive
  • Ideal for easy miles
  • Specifically designed for heel strikers
  • Outstanding breathability
  • Comfortable and cushioned
  • Availability in narrow and wide sizes
  • Capable of handling tempo paces
  • Not expensive at all


  • The engineered mesh upper lacks durability
  • Lacks cushion for forefoot strikers
Full review of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23

Today's best price

Any color
Peacoat/Orange/Surf the Web (438)
Black (006)
Blue Moroccan Spring Bud (427)
Oyster/Ebony/Alloy (065)
Nine Iron/Folkstone/Sulphur (404)
Crystal Grey/Surf the Web/Grey (248)
Oyster/Black/Red Orange (017)
More colors

Best budget road running shoes

Saucony Axon 2

What makes it the best?

The Saucony Axon 2 is a great all-rounder shoe. Aside from its incredible versatility and impressive durability, it checks all other boxes as a pretty solid shoe that runners can get without breaking the bank. That's why we've picked it as the best budget road running shoe.

At a $100 retail price, the Axon 2 offers great value for what it offers. It undercuts its competitors as the average cost of other daily trainers is $118. With the level of performance it gave us during our runs, we definitely cement this shoe as something that's worth more than its price tag.

The Axon 2 conquered all types of runs. It was comfortable enough for our easy runs, yet light and nimble enough for tempo days when we wanted to pick up the pace. We used a durometer in the lab to confirm our sensations—indeed, the Axon 2 is 10.4% softer than the average, which explained the top-tier comfort we felt. 

After running around 100 miles in these shoes, we didn't see any visible signs of wear and tear—especially in the outsole. At 4.1 mm, the outsole is only 0.7 mm thicker than the average, yet it is also 6.8% harder, making it a solid trainer that can take the abuse of training blocks.

Runners looking for faster shoes will have to pay a higher price point for other options.


  • Comfy for easy days
  • Seamless heel-to-toe transitions
  • Lighter than it seems
  • Soft, form-fitting upper
  • Breathable in warm weather
  • Tacky on dry and wet surfaces
  • Long-lasting
  • Great-value purchase


  • Firm for long miles and recovery days
  • Squeaky noise on pavement
  • Lacks bounce and energy return
Full review of Saucony Axon 2

Today's best price

Any color
Black (S2073205)
Alloy/Topaz (S2073215)
Blue (S2073225)
Gold (S2073216)
Black (S1073214)

Comparison of the 7 best road running shoes

+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
Users rating
Best price
# of colorways

Are road running shoes necessary?

You might be considering using your gym trainers or your trusty sneakers for road running. This may seem like a good idea at first, but keep in mind that these shoes are not specifically designed for you to run in.

Differences between running and training shoes.png

Road running shoes are structured in such a way that your feet get the needed support and cushioning. These shoes are prepared for repetitive heel-to-toe movements as they provide you underfoot comfort.

On the other hand, training shoes are designed for comfort and stability on the sides of your foot. Because workouts involve a lot of side-to-side movements, these shoes are built with additional support in the lateral sides.


Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 (road running shoe) vs. Nike Metcon (cross-training shoe)

3 factors to consider when choosing a road running shoe

What is your goal?

One simple way of categorizing road running shoes is according to the purpose they serve the runner:








If you want speed, have a look at speed training shoes or competition shoes (for a race day). Being lightweight is their primary advantage in helping you move faster. More premium models are equipped with high-rebound cushioning technologies like Nike ZoomX and Saucony PWRRUN. The elite ones also employ a carbon plate that helps to create a propelling ride.

Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 is one of the best-rated trainers for speed training and even race days.


Meanwhile, long-distance running shoes are packed with features to support longer runs. They are well-cushioned to keep the feet comfortable throughout the run. With a slightly wider forefoot, these shoes accommodate swelling with the prolonged duration of running.

Well-cushioned, maximalist running shoes are your best bet on half-marathon and beyond.


long-distance daily trainer (left) vs. marathon race shoe (right)


One last classification of road shoes according to purpose is frequency. If you see yourself running very often, or using your running shoe a lot, you should get daily running shoes. The more cushioning the shoe has, the greater the comfort level.

Look for a comfortable, tried-and-tested daily cruiser with lasting cushioning and durability.

What is your foot type?

Another factor you need to consider in selecting your road running shoe is the type of gait that you have. Wearing a road running shoe with the correct arch support is also useful when traversing rough and rigid surfaces, like gravel.

If you have high arches, a neutral shoe will provide the right amount of support for you. This kind of road shoe has ample cushioning that adds comfort and prevents pain when running. The cushion also provides shock absorption, which is something your foot might lack.

On the other hand, if your feet are in any way overpronating, a good road running shoe maybe something in between stability or motion control shoe. Both these shoes aid the foot in correcting overpronation by providing varying degrees of arch support.

Arch types and recommended shoes.png

Frequently asked questions

Do I need separate shoes for trail running? Why?

Although there are many running shoes that claim to be versatile and useful for various terrains, it is still recommended to have separate pairs for road running and trail running. Here is our guide for choosing trail shoes.


Road shoe upper (left) is about lightness and breathability. Trail shoes (right) prioritize foot protection and durability.


The outsole rubber on road shoes (left) is only meant for asphalt or consistent hard-packed surface. Trail shoe outsoles (right) are more hard-wearing, grippy and have a special lug pattern for rocks, mud, snow, etc.

The surface you run on can affect the way your shoes wear. Some road running shoes may not be sturdy enough to handle the rough and rocky paths, and they may also not be grippy enough for mud and puddles. 

Conversely, trail shoes may also pose more harm than good when used for road running.

How we test road running shoes

At RunRepeat we know the difference between good and great shoes. 

How? Thanks to our independent shoe testing lab and a meticulous approach to reviewing running shoes:

  • We use durometers, scales, calipers, a custom smoke machine, and even a saw to cut each shoe open and measure every aspect of it, from upper breathability to outsole durability.
  • As a team of dedicated shoe fanatics, we run 30-50 miles a week to test every new release from over 30 brands.
  • We purchase all running shoes with our own money to ensure transparency.

Basically, the best ones end up on this list.

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.