Long distance running shoes are specifically built to hold up under high mileage. These running shoes are lightweight, have responsive cushioning, and offers high energy return and speed. Usually, they are less durable than everyday running shoes. A few examples of popular long distance running shoes include the Adidas Ultra Boost, Brooks Ghost 11 and Asics Kayano 25.
The act of running has been an inherent activity of creatures since evolution caused legs to sprout from torsos. Humans and animals alike have been speeding through nature as a means of chasing or evading various situations. The world and its bevy of living beings have become fast-moving entities, sprinting through history with biomechanical grace, training, and genetic acquisition.
Long-distance running has been described as an activity that requires high physical endurance, extended time-frames, and long paths. Persons who participate in such endeavors are most likely going to need energized bodies, well-kept stamina, and the cerebral acuity to last the entire session, especially since most distance running events take the form of races.
There were no shoes during the early days of long-distance running for enthusiasts. Instead, the runners had to rely on pure leg power and foot-to-ground perception to fully accommodate their own performances. Barefoot running was even a part of the age-old and ever-popular Olympics, one of the most prestigious and defining contests in the world.
But the 20th century became a time of great innovation in the world of athletics and sports. Shoes explicitly designed to help runners in their performances were slowly released, with Adolf Dassler taking the lead in the ‘20s with a spiked foot-suit that served as an early prototype of what would today become the Running Category in Adidas’ website. The year 1960 saw the company, New Balance, churn out the world’s first commercially available sneaker. After that, the rest of the competing athletic companies have also joined the fray in proving the world with their own versions of running shoes.
The running shoe market has always been lucrative. In the year 2015 alone, the industry had generated over $17 billion, and that says a lot about how shoes are continually making an impact on the lives of individuals and groups of people who want to congregate and enjoy the act of running.
Nowadays, most, if not all, running companies have their own sets of long-distance running shoes, many of which embody several series that date back to the early 2000s. Parts and technologies have also evolved. Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) has been a staple component for midsoles, but several brands branched out to other formulas and modules of cushioning. EVA is merely one compound amongst a bevy of shoe-parts that continue to evolve as each product advances as well.
Technologies prominent in the best running shoes for long distances
Since the inception of running shoes, manufacturers and creative teams have crafted some of the most innovative components to grace the feet of their consumers. Underfoot support has become one of the essential aspects of a shoe, as well as surface control through outsole integrity and comfortable coverage via the upper unit.
Here are some of the known features that are in long-distance running shoes:
Rubber outsole – Traction is highly essential when it comes to the performance of a running shoe. Consumers who desire high-adaptability on the ground always appreciate a shoe’s external pad that has been generously layered with rubber. This material acts as a holding mechanism, preventing the shoe from slipping on various surfaces. It also makes sure to protect the rest of the platform from the debilitating effects of surface exposure, continued use, and abrasive elements.
Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) – This compound is one of the industry-standard when it comes to providing underfoot cushioning to the runner. It usually runs the entire length of the running shoe, ensuring that the whole of the foot-pad is given attention. EVA is easy to make as its manufacturing process mostly involves a mold and huge chunks of material that’s sufficient for mass production. It is not expensive, though it also doesn’t quickly lose its structural integrity. Everyone may not notice it, but almost all people have tried a shoe with an EVA sole at least once.
Cushioned sockliner – Many running shoes utilize a lasting process that only involves a lasting board and stitching. Consumers won’t like an underfoot experience that is hard, unresponsive, or isolated from the claims that the midsole is soft against the foot. A sockliner retains the immersion, giving the perception of adequate cushioning, even though the shoe-last is still underneath it. Moreover, this sort of insert would most likely affect the fit as it helps in the snugness of the in-shoe experience.
Mesh upper – A lot of the best shoes for long distance running utilize high-quality uppers to provide a secure fit that is also pleasant on the skin. Innovation in design allowed creators to dole out textiles and façades that are either non-irritating to the skin or highly adaptable to the natural bending capacity of the foot. Most uppers have grid-like designs and an open construction to permit air into the foot-chamber. Ventilation is vital when it comes to long-distance running, and allowing the foot to breathe is always a helpful way to endure long periods on the asphalt.
Printed overlays – Long-distance running shoes started a few decades ago with uppers that are laden with multiple layers of overlays. These layers consisted of the same textile used for the rest of the upper (just sandwiched on top of each other), faux-leather, or plastic that’s molded into side panels. The factor that connected such overlays was the heavy use of stitching. But then printed overlays became the norm as they didn’t make the shoe bulky-looking nor stiff. The thin prints also blend with the façade, even acting as aesthetic elements to heighten the visuals.
The best long distance running shoes for men and women
The Solar Glide running shoe from Adidas is one of the highly cushioned options from the company. This product makes use of the boost™ technology, a unit born from the amalgamation of several thousand thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) pellets. A Propulsion Rail acts as a wall that prevents the foot from deviating from its neutral position inside the shoe. The underfoot platform, combined with the sock-like and breathable engineered mesh upper, provides a light and excellent performance on the roads.
The Nike Air Zoom Odyssey is one of the company’s stability shoes for long distances. This product makes use of a Flymesh upper for breathable support and Flywire flat strands for added medial and lateral support. Aside from the upper, the midsole also has a pronation correction feature in the form of a medial post to prevent overpronated foot motion. Tri-density foam and rubber make up the rest of the platform, though there are plastic cassettes with compressed air (Zoom Air units) in the heel and forefoot section to heighten rebound capacity and impact attenuation.
The 11th version of the Brooks Ghost is one of the most popular neutral running shoes that feature a substantial midsole thickness. People have expressed their amazement at this seemingly overwhelming piece of technology, initially thinking that it’s heavy or unreasonably stiff. Alas, when they wore it, they were happy that it allowed them to run for long periods without feeling fatigued. BioMoGo DNA is this shoe’s cushioning system, and it’s made using environment-friendly materials, which should sit well with conservationists.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about long distance running shoes
Is it okay for me to purchase multiple long-distance running shoes?
If you are a running shoe enthusiast, then you’re probably going to buy many shoes no matter what. But if you’re thinking about the practicality of it all, then it’s good to know that owning and using multiple shoes for long-distance running would be beneficial. You should remember that using only a single pair of shoes would cause them to be continuously subjected to the expected rigors of running. If they don’t have any time to rest, then they’ll lose their structure much faster than expected. Alternating between pairs or more would surely extend the lifespan of your shoes. The fresh looks per running session won’t hurt, as well.
What should I do if the arches of my feet get sore during or after I run?
Pain and swelling of the arches are hallmarks of a biomechanical disproportion, which means that you are probably a person who has an irregular gait or pronation. The initial determining method for overpronation or underpronation is the water test, an activity that involves wetting the bottom of your feet and making an imprint of them on paper. A flat-arched imprint would mean that you’re overpronating while a wide arch pattern entails an underpronated foot motion. While the latter only needs well-cushioned shoes to correct, the former demands stability shoes that have anti-pronation technologies like medial posts or guide rails.
When is it practical to stop using my running shoes for long distances and buy new ones?
If you are a runner who participates in extended running sessions and other speed-oriented races, then your pairs of shoes are most likely going to be subjected to the various effects of continued use. They are sure to experience stomping impact, constant flexing as the foot transitions to the toe-off, surface abrasion, etc. But even with these factors in mind, you can expect your long-distance running shoe to last for 300 miles or more. Responsible storage and utilization may even cause your go-to shoe to last longer than 500 or 600 miles. Also, having multiple pairs may mean that your time with your favorite shoes should be longer, mainly if you swap between them during each or every other run.
15 best long distance running shoes
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19
Asics Gel Excite 6
New Balance FuelCell Propel
Brooks Ghost 12
Adidas Senseboost Go
Adidas Ultraboost 19
Asics Gel Kayano 25
Brooks Glycerin 17
Brooks Ghost 11
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v9
Hoka One One Clifton 5
Brooks Launch 6
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36
Brooks Levitate 2
Nike Air Zoom Vomero 14
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.
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