7 Best Lightweight Running Shoes in 2023

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
7 Best Lightweight Running Shoes in 2023
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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.

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

Because 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 five different categories.

How we test running shoes

Any shoe that’s available on the market and weighs less than 250 grams (8.8 oz) in a men’s US size 9 makes it to our selection of light running shoes. Numbering 500+ models from 30 brands, including Nike, ASICS, Adidas, and more, we take each shoe through a thorough evaluation process:

  • Buy running shoes with our own funds to prevent bias.
  • Run a total distance of 30-50 miles to provide in-depth feedback on each pair’s performance.
  • Take each shoe on a series of runs with a total distance of 30-50 miles to provide in-depth feedback on its performance.
  • Use our RunRepeat lab to measure 30+ data points and evaluate each shoe’s cushioning, flexibility, breathability, and more.
  • Gather ALL available user and expert reviews to summarize the shoe’s strengths and weaknesses.

All things considered, we give each model a CoreScore from 0 to 100. The best-rated ones go to our “best” selection.

Best lightweight running shoes overall

Brooks Revel 5

What makes it the best?

An affordable trainer that's got the makings of advanced running shoes? Hello, Brooks Revel 5! It's a smooth and lively jack-of-all-trades that will keep your feet comfy and bouncing. It can push the pace, eat up half-marathon distances, and breeze through your daily runs!


  • Fits like a dream
  • Accommodating stretchy upper
  • Efficient transitions
  • Surprisingly peppy
  • Laces stay tied tightly
  • Low to the ground
  • Durable construction
  • Great deal
  • Do-it-all shoe
  • Impressive weight
  • Breathable


  • Not for long runs
  • No reflective details
Full review of Brooks Revel 5

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Any color
Black/Grey/Blue (053)
Black/Ebony/Crystal Teal (091)
White/Oyster/India Ink (182)
White/Peacoat/Blue Shadow (153)
titan/peacoat/flame (498)
Pageant Blue/True Blue/White (403)
White/Black (121)
Bluetiful/Navy/Irish Cream (471)
More colors

Best lightweight running shoes for race

What makes it the best?

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.


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


  • Runs narrow
  • Unstable at slow speeds
Full review of Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2.0

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Any color
Legacy Indigo/Turbo/Sky Rush (GX3117)
Pulse Lime/Real Teal/Flash Orange (GX3124)
Sonic Ink Screaming Green Ftwr White (FY4082)

Best lightweight running shoes for speedwork

Hoka Mach 5

What makes it the best?

The Mach 5 from Hoka is a performance trainer that can do a bit of everything. If you want to train with speed, it can be your trusty tempo running shoe. And if you want an easy-day or long-distance trainer, the Mach 5's cushy yet stable ride will serve you just right. Even better, it'll give you all the snappiness and energy return you need.


  • 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


  • Slips on wet pavement
  • Gets easily dirty
Full review of Hoka Mach 5

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Any color
Mountain Spring/Puffin's Bill (MSPBL)
White/Copper (WCPP)
Black/Castlerock (BCSTL)
White/Scuba Blue (WSBB)
Radiant Yellow Evening Primrose (RYEP)
Impala/Vibrant Orange (IVOR)
Ceramic/Evening Primrose (1127894CEPR)
Evening Primrose/Scuba Blue (EPSB)
White/Flame (WFM)

Lightweight running shoes with best cushioning

What makes it the best?

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.


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


  • Unstable heel
  • Poor midfoot lockdown
  • Learning curve
Full review of Saucony Endorphin Pro 2

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Any color
Black/White (S2068710)
Blue (S2068725)
Royal/White (S2068730)
Scarlet/Black (S2068720)
Yellow (S1068716)
Vizi Pro (S2068765)
White Black Vizi (S2068784)
Reverie (S2068740)
Orange (S2068745)

Best lightweight trail running shoes

Hoka Zinal

What makes it the best?

Fast, nimble, and lightweight. Is this really a Hoka? Zinal is a new model from the normally plus-sized shoe manufacturer designed around speed and doing more with less. It’s extremely breathable, comfortable, and capable. Don’t be fooled by its smaller lugs, this shoe rolls quickly through your stride and grips amazingly well.


  • Lightweight
  • Nimble
  • Grippy
  • Fast transitions
  • Gusseted tongue
  • Breathable
  • Ground feel


  • Runs big
  • Lockdown issues
  • Heel slip
  • Spendy
Full review of Hoka Zinal

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Any color
Evening Primrose/Blue Coral (EPBC)
Fiesta/Black Olive (FBOL)
Atlantis/Outer Space (1119399AOSP)
Deep Lake/Ceramic (DLCR)
Orange (BOPO)
Impala/Flame (IFLM)
Scuba Blue/Black (SBBK)
Trellis/Vibrant Orange (TVOR)

Best lightweight running shoes for long distance

What makes it the best?

Soar through the skies with the Metaspeed Sky+ from ASICS. It's a marathon racer that's filled with all the responsiveness and pop you need to reach that finish line fast. And if you're looking for something light, this IS light. Even more, it's not the just perfect pair for race day; you can also lace it up for faster training 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+

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

Best lightweight running shoes with plush cushioning

What makes it the best?

Version number 3 of the New Balance FuelCell Rebel is an all-rounder daily trainer that impresses with its ability to cross the line into a performance shoe when needed. It’s still surprisingly light and provides an amazing experience on the road. Runners are happy that it hasn’t changed that much and the few adjustments are for the better.


  • Fantastic soft and fun ride
  • Versatile for different paces
  • Very lightweight
  • Excellent breathability
  • More stable than version 2
  • Great lockdown
  • Visible at night
  • Not expensive


  • Not great on wet surfaces
  • Durability could be improved
  • Bottoms out easily
Full review of New Balance FuelCell Rebel v3

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Any color
Vibrant Spring/Victory Blue (MFCXMM3)
Black (MFCXMB3)
White (MFCXCW3)
White/Silver (MFCXMW3)
Yellow (MFCXCP3)
Neon Dragonfly/Black (MFCXCD3)

Comparison of the 7 best lightweight running shoes

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

Associated with a slightly higher running economy and speed benefits [sources: 1, 2], 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


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


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

See light race running shoes and flats

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 favor of shedding weight to increase speed.

See lightweight trail running shoes

Barefoot-like running


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.


The black line going through the white midsole is the carbon-fiber 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.


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?


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 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).

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.