7 Best Lightweight Running Shoes in 2024

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
7 Best Lightweight Running Shoes in 2024
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With lightweight running shoes, you want to feel like you’re not wearing any shoes but still get the needed protection and support. Be it a daily workhorse, a racing flat, or a minimalist trainer, we gathered the best to help you achieve your personal bests.

We have tested over 100 light running shoes, so we know what makes a truly outstanding option.

Since the meaning of ‘lightweight’ varies depending on the category (a light daily trainer could mean a heavy race shoe), we have selected our top picks in different categories.

How we test running shoes

Any shoe that’s available on the market and weighs less than 250 grammes (8.8 oz) in a men’s US size 9 makes it to our selection of light running shoes. Numbering 100+ models from 30 brands, including Nike, ASICS, Adidas, and more, we take each shoe through a thorough serious testing process:

  • We buy running shoes with our own funds to prevent bias.
  • We take each shoe on a series of runs with a total distance of 30-50 miles to provide in-depth feedback on its performance.
  • We use our RunRepeat lab to measure 30+ data points and evaluate each shoe’s cushioning, flexibility, breathability, and more. We even chop up the shoes.

Best lightweight running shoes overall

Hoka Mach 5
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Great!

What makes it the best?

Mach 5 might be a bit of a stretch, but it sure is lightning fast. It gobbles miles with ease, delivering otherworldly comfort for effortless miles at a feather-light 225 grams (7.9 oz). It's a clear favorite, with the average shoe weighing 267 grams (9.4 oz).

Beyond lab accolades, the Mach 5 thrives on the road. Its rockered design felt lovely on our feet, creating silky-smooth transitions and easing out our most intense efforts with an energetic aura. Our landings felt safe and sound, thanks to the widened base, specifically at the heel - in our lab, our caliper measured a midsole width of 96.7 mm at the heel, 6.9 mm wider than the average running shoe.

Not only it can go fast, but it can go far too. A master of all trades of comfort, this Hoka features a lovely downy midsole that emerged as a whooping 39% softer than average, melting our feet and our heart. Remarkably flexible, the Mach 5 gracefully follows the foot's natural movement, as confirmed by its 36.2% below-the-average resistance to our 90º bending test.

However, wintery climates are the nemesis of the Mach 5. Its traction system didn’t stand a chance on wet pavement, feeling quite slippery and hurting our performance.

Pros

  • Super fun and energetic ride
  • Velvety smooth strides
  • Runs and feels light
  • Comfy for easy days
  • Cushioned for long runs
  • Absorbs impact
  • Awesome fit
  • Welcomes wide feet
  • Reflective
  • Worth the money

Cons

  • Really lacks outsole durability
  • Slips on wet pavement
Full review of Hoka Mach 5

Best lightweight running shoes for speed training

What makes it the best?

Our chronometer utterly attested to the Streakfly’s superb performance on track sessions. It makes each gram count, putting together exceptional velocity and delightful comfort on its 171 grams (6.0 oz). We needed nothing more to make it #1 for speed runs.

Quick and nimble, it feels like a vintage racing flat on foot. Tigh corners were no problem, as the Streakfly’s low stack stabilized our every stride. Its bendable build worked on the same goal, seamlessly coupling with our feet to create a safe and freeing ride. Outperforming any expectations, this shoe required 58.3% less effort to bend up to 90º than the average running shoe from our database.

While its engine may be old-fashioned, the Streakfly’s cushioning sure isn’t - pure ZoomX foam underfoot, renowned for its bouncy and silky nature. Further testing with our durometer ranked the midsole as 50.4% softer than average, sweet numbers for a speed-oriented shoe.

We do not recommend this shoe for runners seeking a super-propulsive kick to double as a racer. Without a plate, it can’t seriously compete with the prowess of modern supershoes.

Pros

  • Screams fast and speed-ready
  • Nike’s lightest racing shoe yet
  • Stable and good at cornering
  • Incredible lockdown
  • Splendid track workhorse
  • Roomy toe box
  • Grippy outsole
  • Eye-catching design
  • Not so expensive!

Cons

  • Narrow-footed runners may experience poor lockdown
  • Insanely thin laces
  • Falls short for racing
  • Heavy runners can “bottom out”
Full review of Nike ZoomX Streakfly

Best lightweight running shoes for 5K/10K

What makes it the best?

Faster than its shadow, our pick for the 5K/10K events is the ASICS Metaspeed Edge, a cunningly crafted propeller in disguise. Unlike Luke, this kick weighs a miserable 176 grams (6.2 oz), channeling all our energy towards pure speed.

The Edge unveiled its devilish speedster persona on our streets, unleashing infamous bursts of energy in every toe-off. Its power lies in the full-length carbon plate, gifting the shoe with an aggressive and stiff underfoot feel. Turning to our force gauge, we measured a staggering 62.2N resistance to our 90º bending test, being 40% stiffer than the average. Plus, no need to worry about its performance in the wintery season, as it stiffens up only 11.5% after 20 minutes in the freezer, while the average increase is 46.3%.

Our workouts reveled in the enviable harmony between its composed foam and low stack, granting some of that old-school grounded feel and a rather stable ride. Putting our durometer against the midsole ranked it as 14.3% harder than average, while our caliper measured a nostalgic 8.0 mm drop.

For the marathon gang, the Metaspeed Edge might not be the ideal choice, as it doesn’t feel as bouncy and naturally energetic as other premium alternatives out there.

Pros

  • Fast, Fast, Fast!
  • Insanely lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Great lockdown
  • Grippy outsole
  • Grippy laces

Cons

  • Spendy
  • Stiff underfoot
  • Durability
Full review of ASICS Metaspeed Edge

Best lightweight running shoes for marathon

What makes it the best?

Running in the AP3 feels like we’re shoeless! It redefines the meaning of a supershoe because it’s not only lightning-fast and airy, it’s stable and supportive too. This speedster helps us shave off minutes without sacrificing comfort, making it our top lightweight marathon shoe.

AP3’s lab results are outstanding but it’s our actual runs that amaze us more. It releases a consistent supply of energy and comfort with its luscious mega-stack and rigid platform. In our flex test, it ranks 50.0% stiffer than average, validating the insane responsiveness we feel. With every stride, a pop of energy launches us forward. The speed comes with comfort as our durometer confirms the foam to be 13.6% softer than average.

Its airy build keeps things light on our feet — a great relief in endurance runs. At 7.7 oz (218g), it’s 21.0% lighter than the average of lab-tested long-distance running shoes. Its breezy upper — scoring the highest rating on our breathability test — keeps hotspots and sweaty feet away.

While other racers tend to be unstable, AP3 is extremely supportive. Its forefoot measures 6.3 mm wider than average, providing more stable landings for forefoot and midfoot strikers. Even when turning at high speeds, the shoe feels steady with no lateral wobbles.

Adios, heel-strikers! Its heel measures 6.1 mm narrower than average, which may cause discomfort.

Pros

  • Supreme stability... in a supershoe!
  • World-class energy return and cushioning
  • Feather-light and agile
  • A dream come true for marathoners
  • Wonderful breathability
  • Top-notch grip, even in wet conditions
  • Outstanding outsole durability
  • Accommodates wide feet

Cons

  • Risk of heel slippage
  • Lacing can be tricky
  • Not suited for heel strikers
Full review of Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3

Best lightweight running shoes for long runs

What makes it the best?

With its staggering 206 grams (7.3 oz), the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 is our #1 lightweight option for going the distance. It’s delightfully cushioned, keeping the legs fresh and ready as it infuses outlandish tons of energy in each toe-off.

A real star in the long haul game, the Pro 3’s midsole ticks all boxes. It’s light and fresh, overflowing golden retriever energy. It emerged as 36.5% softer than average on our durometer, melting shaped like our feet in each landing. The refreshing feel starts from above, though, with a minimalistic 1.2 mm tongue padding allowing easy airflow throughout the foot.

No matter the direction, the Pro 3 is one of the toughest shoes we’ve ever tried to bend. The guilt goes to the carbon plate, which powerfully ignited our strides with unrivaled grace. Locking the tip of the shoe to attest its resistance to being bent 90º confirmed our manual assessments - it topped the charts with a 94.4N resistance, meaning it’s 193% (!) stiffer than average.

On scorching sunny days, the breathable upper might not be sufficient for wide-footers. Our caliper measured the toebox to be 94.3 mm at the widest part, noticeably below the average of 97.8 mm.

Pros

  • Speedier than ever
  • Snappy toe-off
  • More cushioned for long runs
  • Stable for during sharp turns
  • Perfect breathability for hot weather
  • Race-ready fit
  • Gusseted tongue
  • Insanely light
  • Grips on soaked pavements

Cons

  • Causes heel rubs
  • Toe box can be roomier
Full review of Saucony Endorphin Pro 3

Best budget lightweight running shoes

Brooks Revel 6
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Good!

What makes it the best?

Can a shoe that's light on the wallet also be light on the foot? For an answer to that rhetorical question, look no further than the Brooks Revel 6, which was just as forgiving on our wallet as it was on our scale! The lean 9.2 oz (261g) shoe delivers a ride that feels more premium than its equally lean £110 price would suggest, thus easily making the Revel 6 our top choice for the best lightweight shoe on a budget. 

Playing a great part in the Revel 6's unburdensome nature is the shoe's light and airy upper, which felt pleasantly ventilated during our test runs. This is corroborated by our smoke test, where the shoe's above-average performance led us to give it a respectable breathability score of 4 out of 5. That's pretty good for a shoe, £30.98 cheaper than the average shoe, and means that the Revel 6 is a great training partner for runs on warm days. 

Like most budget daily trainers, the Revel 6's upper is seriously lacking in durability. With the toebox and heel counter suffering catastrophic damage after tangoing with our Dremel's relentless abrasive element, the Revel 6 is about as flimsy as we expect from a shoe at this price point. 

Pros

  • Light on the foot
  • Can pick up the pace
  • Provides good stability
  • Flexible and comfortable underfoot
  • Above average breathability
  • Durable outsole
  • Budget friendly
  • Doubles as a comfy walking shoe

Cons

  • Not for long runs
  • Lacks traction on certain surfaces
Full review of Brooks Revel 6

Best lightweight running shoes for daily training

What makes it the best?

The Saucony Kinvara 14 shows us that looks can be deceiving. While its chunky midsole gives us a weighty impression of the shoe, it totally defies expectations by tipping our scale at a barely-there weight of only 6.84 oz (194g). What's more, it's a versatile workhorse of a shoe that proved to be more than capable of tackling any of our test runs, so when it comes to the best lightweight daily trainer, the Kinvara 14 is truly a no-brainer. 

Playing a large part in the versatility of the Kinvara 14 is how flexible it is. Requiring only 15.3N of force to bend the shoe 90 degrees in our flex test makes the Kinvara 14 49.8% more flexible than the average road shoe. This greatly factors into the shoe's overall comfort as it is able to bend along with the natural movement of our foot with ease, making the shoe feel extremely forgiving on the foot, whether we take it for mile-gobbling long-distance efforts or pavement-pounding high-paced sessions. 

The main drawback of the Kinvara 14 is its toebox, which is 3.1 mm narrower than average in the area around the big toe, measuring only 74 mm wide. This means that runners with wide feet will likely have to contend with hotspots or even blisters as the shoe constricts the natural splaying of the foot. 

Pros

  • More cushioned and protective than ever
  • Responsive foam
  • The lightest Kinvara yet
  • Offers some mild guidance
  • Good grip even on wet surfaces
  • Smooth, natural-feeling ride
  • Pleasantly airy
  • Works for fast and slow paces
  • Can go the distance
  • Also a worthy racing shoe
  • Fairly priced

Cons

  • A bit on the firm side
  • Less outsole rubber means less mileage
  • Lockdown is so-so
Full review of Saucony Kinvara 14

What makes a lightweight running shoe

How light is “lightweight”? You can’t really put a finger on it as it depends on the category:

  • light racing flat: 3.5 to 5.5 oz (100 to 155 g)
  • light daily trainer: 8 to 9 oz (230 to 250 g)

Rule of thumb: the shorter the distance, the lighter the shoe.

saucony-kinvara-12-weight.jpg

Saucony Kinvara is among the lightest daily running shoes (7.6 oz / 216 g)

Associated with a slightly higher running economy and speed benefits

Sources

, lightweight running shoes do help you feel more nimble.

But lighter may not always mean better. With reduced weight, there may come a trade-off in cushioning, support, durability, or price. In addition, the type of running, terrain, and runner’s body also dictate the appropriate weight range of shoes.

Learn more in our in-depth research on shoe weight and how it affects speed and comfort.

Types of lightweight running shoes for every activity

The primary factors to consider when choosing a pair of running shoes are the speed and distance of your runs.

Daily running / training

lightweight-daily-running-shoes.jpg

speed: easy to moderate

distance: up to a marathon

weight: 6.5 to 9 oz (185 to 255 g)

durability: 5/5

cushioning: 5/5

comfort: 5/5

See a full list of lightweight daily running shoes

Competition / race day

lightweight-race-running-shoes.jpg

speed: moderate to fast

distance: up to a marathon

weight: 3.5 to 9 oz (100 to 250 g)

durability: 3/5

cushioning: 3/5

comfort: 3/5

Trail running

speed: easy to fast

distance: up to a marathon

weight: 6 to 9 oz (185 to 250 g)

durability: 3/5

cushioning: 3/5 

comfort: 3/5

NOTE: Lightweight trail shoes also lack the protection of average-weight trail shoes (i.e. rock plates, durable overlays, gaiters, etc.). This is all in favour of shedding weight to increase speed.

See lightweight trail running shoes

Barefoot-like running

barefoot-minimalist-running-shoe.jpg

speed: easy to moderate

distance: up to a marathon

weight: 4 to 7 oz (115 to 200 g)

durability: 3/5

cushioning: 1/5

comfort: 1/5

See barefoot/minimalist running shoes

Why beginners should think twice before buying lightweight running shoes

Unnecessary bells and whistles. Premium race shoes are equipped with cutting-edge technologies like propulsion plates (made of carbon or nylon), rocker soles, etc. These not only hit hard on the wallet but are also likely to malfunction for entry-level runners. They only work with forefoot striking and faster speeds.

asics-metaspeed-sky-cut-in-half.jpg

The black line going through the white midsole is the carbon-fibre plate on the ASICS MetaSpeed Sky. The upturned forefoot, or rocker, means that the shoe rolls forward like a rocking chair.

Too little support. Paper-thin racing flats and minimalist shoes require an adaptation period especially if you are used to generously cushioned footwear.

lightweight-shoe-upper-support.jpg

Tongue and collar padding on regular trainers (top) vs. on light racing shoes (bottom)

Higher injury risk. Injuries are inevitable and you might come to a point (especially if you read “Born to run”) that you want the lightest shoe out there. Maybe even the minimalist or barefoot one. But runners should keep in mind that while there are some injuries that would benefit from lighter shoes (especially hip injuries), they should not overdo it. And if they decide to move to less supported/cushioned shoes, always start slowly.

Find out if lighter running shoes will work well for your body in the section below.

Lightweight running shoes and your body needs 

It surely feels good to be light and free with nothing dragging your feet down.

But it feels just as good when your feet and body receive the needed amount of comfort and support. Here are a few things to be mindful of:

  • Pronation: do you need additional support and stability?
  • Your weight: how much cushioning and impact protection do you need?
  • Wide feet: is there enough space to accommodate your toes?
  • Plantar fasciitis and other foot conditions: how not to aggravate these?

Pronation

Most lightweight running shoes are designed with the minimum amount of materials and technologies and are suitable for neutral pronation.

But if you’ve ever noticed your ankle rolling inwards more than it feels right or if your shoes wear out faster on the inner side, chances are that you have overpronation. In this case, it’s better to get a light shoe with stability components.

Arch types and recommended shoes.png

You can also learn more about pronation in our in-depth guide on the topic.

neutral-vs-stability-support.jpg

neutral shoe (no added support) vs. stability shoe (comes with arch support on the inner side)

Your weight

Runners over 90 kg (250 lbs) should be careful about choosing lightweight, minimally cushioned running shoes. As the pressure on the feet increases, you want to make sure there is enough underfoot and side support to keep you comfortable.

So, it is advisable to choose footwear with a thicker and firmer midsole or have a look at the more generously cushioned shoes for heavy runners.

Foot width

If you suspect that your toes or feet overall need a little more room to have fun and wiggle, consider lightweight shoes with a more accommodating fit:

Plantar fasciitis and other foot conditions

Lightweight running shoes are typically not recommended for people with severe plantar fasciitis or other painful conditions. These cases require shoes with ample cushioning, stability, and support to prevent aggravation.

Although none of the shoes from this ranking is recommended, you can have a look at our special selection for plantar fasciitis. The lightest shoes in this category start from 9 oz (255 g).

Author
Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic
Whether it's a vertical kilometre or an ultra, climbing in the Alps or exploring local mountains, Jovana uses every opportunity to trade walls and concrete for forests and trails. She logs at least 10h/week on trails, with no off-season, and 4x more on research on running and running shoes. With a background in physics and engineering management, she prefers her running spiced with data.