10 Best Road Running Shoes (Buyer's Guide)

Author: Jens Jakob Andersen. Updated: .

The selection for road running shoes is more extensive when compared to trail running shoes. Thus, buying a pair can be an overwhelming task, especially if you are new to running. This guide dives into the nitty-gritty of road running shoes.

If you are already decided on scoring a pair of road running shoes, head on to our catalog page to view brand options and product pages.

 

How we rank the best road running shoes

RunRepeat provides the user with recommendations for the best road running shoes based on user ratings and expert reviews. These data are aggregated to form the Corescore, which is a numerical value (from 0 to 100) that indicates how well-liked a shoe is.

  • We have 920,000+ user reviews for over 1,600 shoes for road running.
  • Each product page for road running shoes has been done with around 7 hours of research on shoe details and reviews.

Popular running shoes aren't the better rated ones

81 90 100
High Popularity Low
10 best shoes
84 most popular shoes

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.

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.

 

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 it serves the runner.

For instance, if you want speed, competition running shoes are helpful. They are lightweight, moderately cushioned, and flexible, all of which are qualities that let you move faster. Keep in mind that these shoes are meant for races, which might lack the features you need for daily runs.

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.

One last classification of road shoes according to purpose is comfort. If this is what you are after, you should get cushioned running shoes. This type of road shoe provides maximum comfort, which lets you move worry-free no matter how fast or how long you’re running.

If you want to learn more about cushioned running shoes, check out our in-depth buying guide.

 

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

 

What features do you want?

If you have foot injuries or any other discomfort that is related to running, some of our road shoes can help alleviate these issues. For instance, there are road shoes that may be helpful if you have arthritis or bunions.

Other features you might consider in your road shoes are shoe technologies, heel-to-toe drop, or even waterproofing elements. These elements are considered “nice-to-haves” and will not necessarily make or break your run. If you are a beginner, you may want to stick with the basics first and explore further as you log more miles.

 

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.

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.

The best road running shoes in every category

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Now, are you ready to buy road 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