6 Best Competition Running Shoes, 100+ Shoes Tested in 2023

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
6 Best Competition Running Shoes, 100+ Shoes Tested in 2023

With speed written all over them, the best running shoes for racing are light, snappy, and crazy responsive. 

With so many competition running shoes to choose from, it can be a challenge to pick the right pair - let alone, the best pair. 

But don’t fret, we have handpicked our top picks from five different categories to cater to all runners.

How we test running shoes

To stay objective, we always buy the shoes we review with our own money. We also examine them thoroughly in our independent shoe testing lab. 

To further our scrutiny, we also: 

  • Log at least 30 to 50 miles in each race running shoe 
  • Slice them open
  • Assess and measure each part of the shoe
  • Generate their Corescore based on thousands of expert and user reviews

 

Competition running shoes with best cushioning

Saucony Endorphin Pro 2
Saucony Endorphin Pro 2

CoreScore

91
Superb!
4.5 / 5 from 3,529 users
92 / 100 from 24 experts

Pros

  • Roomy fit
  • Lightweight
  • True to size
  • Insanely breathable
  • Fast & efficient
  • Responsive
  • Durable for a race shoe
  • Most comfortable race shoe
  • Price ($200)

Cons

  • Unstable heel
  • Poor midfoot lockdown
  • Learning curve

Verdict

If we can pick a shoe that screams fast, the Endorphin Pro 2 is THE shoe! Made for race day, you can't go wrong with the Endorphin - it's carbon-plated, snappy, rebounding, light, and just everything speed-oriented. It will bolt you forward in your competition, so prepare to take off at lightning speed! If you want to beat or set new PRs, this is the shoe.
Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 full review

Competition running shoes with best comfort

ASICS Noosa Tri 14
ASICS Noosa Tri 14

CoreScore

90
Superb!
4.7 / 5 from 3,380 users
91 / 100 from 2 experts

Pros

  • Do-it-all shoe
  • Superior comfort
  • Light and nimble
  • Responsive and lively
  • Versatile for slow and fast runs
  • No need for socks
  • Great stability
  • Efficient lockdown
  • Eye-catching

Cons

  • Firm at first
  • Not as grippy on wet and dirt

Verdict

The ASICS Noosa Tri 14 is a light, nimble, extremely comfortable shoe that performs great at various paces. Best for short daily workouts, it is a great choice for race day too. It’s really fun to ride in and can be a solid alternative to carbon-plated shoes.
ASICS Noosa Tri 14 full review

Best racing flat

Adidas Adizero Pro
Adidas Adizero Pro

CoreScore

89
Great!
4.5 / 5 from 912 users
88 / 100 from 13 experts

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Excellent outsole grip
  • Super breathable upper

Cons

  • Finicky upper fit
  • Insufficient cushion for marathons
  • Carbon plate is not propulsive

Verdict

The Adidas Adizero Pro is not something we'd consider a super shoe. It's still got a long way to go. But for a marathon racing flat, it does a great job! It gives a fast-feeling toe-off and its carbon plate just gives a very snappy ride. It's not the most cushioned but sure did keep our feet well-protected.
Adidas Adizero Pro full review

Best carbon-plated competition running shoe

ASICS MetaSpeed Sky
ASICS MetaSpeed Sky

CoreScore

90
Superb!
4.4 / 5 from 481 users
94 / 100 from 22 experts

Pros

  • Bouncy and responsive
  • Fast
  • Fantastic grip
  • Ultra breathable
  • Stable even at slower speeds
  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Perfect fit
  • Superb foot lockdown
  • Fits wider feet

Cons

  • Not so durable
  • Expensive
  • Not for cold weather
  • No heel tab

Verdict

The ASICS MetaSpeed Sky must be the BEST racing flat of the year! It's ultralight, responsive, and supportive in all the right places, zooming you forward to your next PB with fun and confidence! Even better, in comparison to all other carbon-plated race shoes, this is by far, the most stable - even at slower speeds!
ASICS MetaSpeed Sky full review

Best value

Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2.0
Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2.0

CoreScore

92
Superb!
4.7 / 5 from 5,285 users
90 / 100 from 13 experts

Pros

  • Breathable
  • Responsive
  • Carbon rods
  • Soft midsole
  • Laces stay tight
  • Price

Cons

  • Runs narrow
  • Unstable at slow speeds

Verdict

Top-tier race shoe from Adidas gets an update. In 2020 V1 won a ton of praise and world records with its carbon rod (and plate) design and Lightstrike Pro midsole. The super shoe category was once owned but just one brand but in 2021 there’s some serious contenders for best in show.
Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2.0 full review
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.