7 Best Long Distance Running Shoes in 2024

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
7 Best Long Distance Running Shoes in 2024
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Going for anything longer than a 10K calls for the most reliable, comfortable, and durable running shoe. As the stress on your body increases, so do the demands from a pair of running shoes.

We have taken over 100 shoes on a long-haul run to find out which ones will stand the test. They also went through our lab tests before making it to the top selection.

You might be after a faster shoe, or a max-cushioned marathon shoe, or an extra protective trail shoe for a 100K ultra. We’ve got our top picks in various categories to help you choose the one that fits your needs.

How we test running shoes

It is our mission to test every single long-distance shoe on the market and let you know about the best options.

We’ve been in the running shoe game since 2014 and are now equipped with our own shoe testing lab to put every new release through the wringer. Here is our process:

  • Buy a shoe with our own funds to avoid bias
  • Run test each pair
  • Cut the shoe open and take it into pieces (literally)
  • Measure over 30 parameters that contribute to the shoe’s performance
  • Summarise it all into comparable data

Best long distance running shoes overall

What makes it the best?

The Saucony Endorphin Pro 4 stands out as a remarkable supershoe, boasting an exceptionally cushioned, supportive, energetic, and stable midsole. Its blend of comfort and speed allows for effortless miles, accentuated by its durable outsole, a rare feature among elite racers, making it the top choice for long-distance running.

The stellar dual-midsole system left us speechless in our long runs. The comfort comes from the towering 38.1 mm heel and the soft PWRRUN PB foam, which our durometer shows is a plush 18.5 HA that felt bouncy instead of mushy. The bottom PWRRUN HG foam is a firm 22.0 HA to enhance support and stability, especially during the final miles when our legs are fatigued.

The rigid S-carbon plate nestled between the two foams showcases Saucony’s Speedroll technology. True to its name, it gives a smooth rolling and springboard sensation in our runs. Our bend test reveals it’s 137.5% stiffer than average. 

While most racers have softer outsoles for traction, EP4 surprised us with a tougher-than-average yet still grippy 85.3 HC. Not only that, its 2.1 mm XT-900 rubber impressively resisted our Dremel. It’s hard to find a racer with this level of durability, which has room to be used during training as well.

However, the shoe's stacked heel and 9.5 mm drop may favour heel-strikers. We suggest mid-to-forefoot strikers to explore options better suited to their needs.

Pros

  • Durable upper and outsole
  • Spacious upper fit
  • Enhanced midsole comfort
  • Great value at £230 for a supershoe
  • Versatile across all paces
  • Ideal for heel strikers
  • More stable than ever

Cons

  • Slightly heavier than v3
  • Less suited for forefoot strikers
  • Competitors may feel quicker
Full review of Saucony Endorphin Pro 4

Best long distance running shoes for daily training

ASICS Novablast 4
91
Superb!

What makes it the best?

We put the best long-distance running shoes to the test — in and out of the lab — and discovered Novablast 4 to be the ultimate daily trainer. It has the cushion, stability, and durability needed to support the demanding needs of endurance runs. We feel like we can run endlessly with Novablast's immense comfort.

The main star is the FF Blast+ ECO foam, which feels cloud-like and bouncy underfoot. It rises to an above-average 39.2/30.2 mm stack so we never run out of comfort no matter where we land. Our durometer confirms it's 28.7% softer than average. Despite its plushness, the ride feels surprisingly stable as Novablast ensures steady landings with its ultra-wide platform.

As a non-plated shoe, it flows effortlessly with our motions. This is exactly what we’re looking for in a daily trainer. Our bend test confirms that it's 13.5% more flexible than average — another element that highlights comfort.

We noticed the outsole can withstand long hours of impact as the shoe barely had any scratches after double-digit miles. In our Dremel test, this pair showed significantly less wear than average, cementing its position as a durable and long-lasting shoe.

We found that the outsole lacks grip on wet surfaces. Best to stick to dry roads and urban settings while using this pair.

Pros

  • Enhanced outsole offering better grip and durability
  • Improved upper comfort with premium materials
  • Upgraded tongue padding
  • Exceptional value at just £150
  • More cushion than ever before
  • Accommodates a wide range of foot sizes
  • The most stable Novablast yet
  • Retains most of its fun and energetic ride

Cons

  • Not the best for hot summer runs
  • Outsole still lacks grip in wet conditions
  • Minor weight increase compared to v3
Full review of ASICS Novablast 4

Best long distance running shoes for racing

Nike Alphafly 3
88
Great!

What makes it the best?

The Alphafly 3 seamlessly delivered immense comfort and unmatched energy return in our runs. It brought us to paces beyond our imagination with its cushioned midsole, light build, FlyPlate, and Air Pods. The numbers tell the story, but our feet lived to tell the tale: Alphafly 3 is our top racer for long-distance running.

This pair shines in endurance runs with its consistent responsiveness and unwavering support. We found the rigid FlyPlate and Air Pods integrated into the midsole, working together to propel us forward. Our flex test reveals it boldly exceeds the average stiffness by 147.2%, translating to unmatched energy once properly engaged.

The ZoomX midsole gave us the best of both worlds with its stacked and dual-density set-up. It eases the pain of gruelling distances with its plush 18.1 HA layer, while the foam closer to our foot is a firmer 29.3 HA for a stable ride. This is crucial for support, preventing the early onset of leg fatigue.

This racer gave us the sensation of flying with its top-of-the-line speed and its airy construction. Our scales reveal a mere 7.1 oz (201g), even lighter than other supershoes 7.4 oz (210g). Its perforated upper feels refreshing with its unrestricted airflow.

With its thin 1.9 mm outsole, we recommend reserving this pair for priority races as it may not survive the abuse of training.

Pros

  • Remarkably lightweight despite its broad size
  • Best-in-class breathability
  • Excels in the marathon distance
  • Repositioned Air Pods offer a better ride than the v2
  • ZoomX foam delivers massive energy return
  • Aids in forward momentum, especially when legs begin to fatigue
  • Better than ever for 5K/10K racing
  • Finally smooth transitions!

Cons

  • Heel strikers might wear down the outsole quickly
  • The arch could still be a challenge for some
  • The sock-like tongue might not suit everyone
Full review of Nike Alphafly 3

Best cushioned running shoes for long distance

What makes it the best?

The ASICS Gel Nimbus 26 epitomises cloud-like plushness, earning its place as our top choice for the best-cushioned long-distance running shoe after extensive long runs and rigorous lab evaluations. Its generous stack height and luxuriously padded yet breathable upper take comfort to the next level, making it an ideal companion for endurance runs, where stability is paramount—a characteristic often lacking in maximalist shoes.

Embracing the foot with padding from all angles, the Gel Nimbus 26 features a knit upper that exudes a premium feel and stretches to our foot shape. Contrary to expectations, our lab tests reveal commendable breathability, scoring a solid 4/5 rating.

At the heart of its comfort lies the midsole, ingeniously blending height and softness in its foam construction. It boasts a staggering 40.4 mm heel height, augmented by the PureGEL technology for gentler landings. As confirmed by our durometer, it offers an unmatched cushioned experience as it's 21.6% softer than the average road running shoe.

Surprisingly surefooted despite its size, the shoe's expansive platform—with an extra 5.0/11.4 mm in the forefoot and heel, respectively—promotes stability even during long, fatiguing LSD runs, instilling confidence and mitigating any injury concerns.

However, its undeniable bulkiness, tipping the scales at 10.7 oz (303g), may pose challenges for those seeking to maintain faster paces.

Pros

  • Premium all-around comfort
  • Enhanced toebox design
  • Exceptional durability
  • Best-in-series outsole
  • Ideal for long distances
  • Superb knit upper
  • Surprisingly stable
  • A dream for heel strikers

Cons

  • Increased weight
  • Limited energy return
  • Tongue lacks padding
Full review of ASICS Gel Nimbus 26

Best stability long distance running shoes

What makes it the best?

Among all the running shoes we tested both outdoors and inside the lab, the ASICS Gel Kayano 29 stands strong as the best stability shoe for long distances. The combination of its unrivalled support features, top-tier comfort, and first-class durability make it the ultimate support shoe for overpronators.

During marathon training, the Gel Kayano 29 really was a worthy companion. The dual-density foam technology, when put together with the midsole material, provides steady and superior stability for overpronators. We really felt how these shoes helped our ankles when it came to excessive rolling inwards. 

On our long weekend runs, our feet felt comfortable even after double-digit miles. Based on our measurements done in the lab, the heel stack height sits at 33.1 mm which is above the average of other running shoes we tested in the lab. We also used our durometer to test the foam's softness and the numbers were nothing short of extraordinary. It is 26% softer than average. No wonder each step felt like velvet.

Even after long training blocks and back-to-back long runs, the Gel Kayano 29's outsole stood strong. Measuring 4.1 mm, the outsole rubber is 15% thicker than average. This definitely seals the deal for the ASICS Gel Kayano 29 as the best stability shoe that will support runners for miles and miles... and more miles!

We did notice that the shoe felt a bit stuffy inside, especially during extra long runs on hot days. Our lab's breathability test also backed up its lack of ventilation, so runners looking for the "wind-in-the-toes" feeling will want to find other options.

Pros

  • Exceptionally cushioned
  • Impressively stable with 4D Guidance System
  • Lighter than it seems
  • Top-notch breathability
  • Effective maximalist design
  • Superior durability and comfort
  • Ideal for high-mileage runners
  • Ultra-plush FF Blast+ foam
  • Amazing build quality

Cons

  • Actual drop exceeds stated measurement
  • Midsole might require a break-in period
Full review of ASICS Gel Kayano 30

Best long distance running shoes for easy days

Brooks Ghost 15
88
Great!

What makes it the best?

The Brooks Ghost 15 makes easy runs feel even easier. A superbly comfortable, extremely durable, and pleasantly stable shoe, the Brooks Ghost 15 is clearly the best long-distance running shoe for easy days.

With a higher-than-average-stack height of 36.3 mm, the Ghost 15 has enough cushioning that made our feet very comfortable during long and easy runs. Additionally, its midsole which is 35% softer than the average road running shoe, felt almost luxurious.

The Brooks Ghost 15 has a robust outsole which we measured to be 5.76% harder than average. The outsole also did well on our Dremel test, only scraping away 0.4 mm of rubber while the average shoe was stripped of 0.9 mm of rubber. It's clear that the Ghost 15 can easily last until the 1000 km threshold. 

Although not a stability shoe, the Ghost 15 offers substantial stability due to a wider platform, especially the heel which measures 95.8 mm (5.9 mm more than the average).

The Brooks Ghost 15 is not the best shoe for forefoot strikers. With a forefoot stack of 23.1 (1.1 mm lower than average), it is not well protected in that area. It also has a massive 13.2 mm drop which is too steep for forefoot strikers. 

Pros

  • Supreme comfort
  • Plush, stable ride that's a delight
  • Optimised for heel strikers
  • No heel slippage
  • Great grip in wet conditions
  • Built to endure countless miles
  • Impressive value for £150
  • Great for both running and walking
  • Available in up to four different widths

Cons

  • Slightly heavier than its predecessor
  • Could use some improvements in breathability
  • Not a good one for forefoot strikers
Full review of Brooks Ghost 15

Best long distance running shoes for trail

Nike Ultrafly
89
Great!

What makes it the best?

Among long-distance running shoes we analysed in and out of the lab, Nike’s Ultrafly is the ultimate trail winner. It satisfies our need for speed while delivering otherworldly comfort, reliable grip, and exceptional stability, allowing the mile markers to fade away.

Ultrafly rides like the Vaporfly but with extra protective elements for off-the-beaten paths. Underfoot we found the Vibram Megagrip outsole adorned with 3.0-mm lugs to amplify traction. We discovered it performs best on smooth trails and high-speed runs.

Our runs feel far from dull, with the full-length carbon plate promoting fast and efficient strides. Our bend test confirms it's 38.7% stiffer than average. This stiffness drives strong and consistent energy return, which greatly helps us sustain long-haul efforts. Other than its rigidity, Ultrafly maintains a wide base for safe and stable strides. These features offer extra support, especially when our form starts to change as our legs get tired in the final parts of our run.

Prompting us to chase more miles is Ultrafly’s unusual cloud-like yet snappy experience. It has generous cushioning to save us from fatigue and our durometer reveals a rare 9.8 HA reading, 62.7% softer than average! Instead of sinking, the ZoomX midsole sprung us off pleasantly.

Unfortunately, the Vaporweave upper’s focus on comfort led to subpar breathability. We recommend wearing this pair in cooler seasons to fully enjoy its performance.

Pros

  • Optimised for trail races
  • Accommodates wide feet with ease
  • Full-length, responsive Pebax midsole
  • Equipped with a Vibram Megagrip outsole
  • Ideal for long-distance training
  • Offers outstanding comfort
  • Remarkably stable
  • Suitable for 100-mile races

Cons

  • The Vaporweave upper could be more durable and breathable
  • Heavier than expected even for a trail racing shoe
  • The £270 price tag might be steep for some
Full review of Nike Ultrafly

How to choose the best long-distance running shoes

Be it a long weekend run or a marathon race, you must have the right type of footwear to keep you comfortable and determined to keep going.

In this guide, we cover shoes that are suitable for distances of 10 kilometres and longer. We will help you choose the most suitable pair of running shoes considering:

  • the type of terrain you run on
  • your pace and running goals
  • your foot striking pattern
  • your pronation type
  • your foot shape and size, among other factors.

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Long-distance running shoes for roads and trails

Road shoes

About 70% of all long-distance running shoes are meant for surfaces like asphalt, pavement, and tarmac. This is the go-to choice for both casual and competitive runners.

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Trail shoes

If you plan to brave a single track in the mountains, forests, or the countryside, you definitely need a trail shoe. It is also a perfect option for power hiking and speed hiking.

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Here is what makes trail shoes better for the great outdoors than their road counterparts:

  • better reinforced uppers with larger toe bumpers and thicker protective overlays
  • thicker and more hard-hearing outsoles (3.2 mm on average)
  • deep lugs (up to 6.0 mm) and better traction to bite raw ground, mud, slippery roots, rocks, etc.
  • rock plates (in some shoes) to protect the foot from stepping onto sharp rocks

For extra soft and muddy terrain, make sure that you’re getting at least 4.0 mm of lug depth in  your running shoes:

Hybrid shoes

Some models fall in between road and trail shoes. They can be recognised by shallower lugs (3.5 mm or less) which don’t hurt the foot on the road but still offer good grip on the trails.

long-distance-trail-running-shoes-lug-depth.JPG

You should consider a hybrid shoe if:

  • you mostly run on light, hard-packed trails or double tracks with small stones
  • you mix running on both roads and trails

Daily running shoes for long distances

To clock at least 10 km on your long-awaited weekend run, you must have the best cushioning and comfort underfoot to keep you going that far.

Be it your regular running pace or a slow recovery run, you will benefit from softer and thicker cushioning.

The average heel stack of long-distance training shoes hovers around 34 mm, ranging from 30 to 40 mm in most shoes.

Here is the overview of heel stacks in the most popular daily trainers:

Your feet will also thank you for choosing softer cushioning on longer distances as they provide better impact protection, keeping your feet and knees safe.

midsole-softness-in-daily-running-shoes-for-long-distances.webp

We press an HA durometer against the half-cut midsole to measure its softness.

The most acclaimed daily trainers on the market today use softer foams for primary cushioning - between 10 and 20 HA (the lower the number the softer the foam).

Example of a midsole softness of 18 HA

The problem with daily trainers, however, is that they typically put comfort and durability above all else, including weight. We found that 65% of long-distance trainers weigh 270g or more, which is heavier than the average of running shoes.

But if you prefer to pick up the pace on your long runs or simply don’t like to feel dragged down, you might enjoy these lighter daily trainers for long distances:

Race shoes for long distances

When timing and competition are involved, you need to look for more than just comfortable cushioning. Your race shoe becomes the most important piece of equipment for using your energy efficiently over a long distance.

A good long-distance race shoe must have several characteristics to help you succeed:

  • lightweight build
  • sufficient cushioning
  • highly responsive foam
  • propulsive ride (through carbon plates, rockers, air units, etc.)
  • perfectly-fitting, breathable upper

We put every single race shoe through meticulous tests in our lab to find which ones live up to all these parameters.

That involves cutting shoes in half to measure stack, drop, and midsole softness as well as checking the carbon plate placement. We weigh each shoe in the same men’s US size 9 for consistency.

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To measure stack heights, we follow the guidelines set by the World Athletics to make sure that race shoes do not exceed the allowed 40 mm of heel stack.

Based on our tests, measurements, and personal experience, we have come up with the best race shoes for every distance:

10K

We recommend choosing very light shoes (8 oz/230g) or less for this distance. You can even use a speed trainer/tempo shoe for this race but it must have at least 25 mm of heel stack.

Half-marathon/Marathon

To handle such long distances you will need more cushioning (at least 30 mm of heel stack). Even though extra cushioning makes half-marathon/marathon shoes slightly heavier (up to 9.5 oz/270g) it’s a fair trade-off considering the benefits.

But it’s not just any cushioning. The foams used for these race shoes are commonly referred to as “super foams” because they show an incredible energy return of up to 80-95%! Each brand has its own variation of a super foam but what they all have in common is the PEBA compound.

These days, every long-distance race shoe comes with a stiff carbon plate to propel you forward. Multiple studies have shown that carbon-plated shoes improve running economy by up to 4%.

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Example of a shoe with a carbon plate (black piece running through the midsole).

You will also find that long-distance race shoes often have a rockered shape. Research shows that this shape mimics the natural foot curves reducing pressure on the ankles and toes. It also encourages faster heel-to-toe transitions and feels much more fun to run in.

Ultra

Ultra refers to a race where the distance exceeds a marathon (26.2 miles/42.2 kilometres). Official ultramarathons typically begin at the 50 km distance and go up to 200 miles or even more.

Most of the time, these races take place on trails in the forests, mountains, or even deserts and often cover mixed terrain. That’s why lugged and protective trail shoes are often the top choice.

A perfect ultra-running shoe will have:

  • at least 30 mm of heel stack
  • pronounced lugs (2.5 to 5 mm)
  • durable upper and outsole

trail-running-shoes-for-ultra.webp

Some shoes also feature carbon plates for added propulsion on harder and more even terrain. Others will have a rock plate to protect the foot from stepping on sharp rocks, roots, and other debris.

Heel-to-toe drop in long-distance running shoes

Drop refers to the difference in height between the shoe’s heel stack and forefoot stack. It shows how much the heel is elevated above the toes inside the shoe.

Can you see the difference between a low-drop shoe and a high-drop shoe?

heel-to-toe-drop-in-long-distance-running-shoes.jpg

If you are a beginner runner, don’t worry about the heel drop as much. About 90% of runners feel comfortable in a shoe with an 8-12 mm drop. Most long-distance running shoes on the market have a drop of at least 8 mm.

The higher drop (8 mm or more) is more beneficial for the heel-striking pattern (when your heels land first on the ground). It offers more cushioning in the rearfoot and doesn’t put stress on your ankles and Achilles.

It is often the go-to choice for long-distance runs because even runners who strike with their forefoot/midfoot first, tend to fall back on the heels more as they get tired.

Even such an acclaimed long-distance race shoe as the Nike Alphafly increased its heel drop from 4.7 mm (in version 2) up to 8.5 mm (in version 3)! Apparently, to be more versatile for all running styles.

But if you are a dedicated forefoot/midfoot striker who is looking for a low-drop or even a zero-drop shoe, the options are still plenty.

Our guide on the heel-to-toe drop dives deeper into the benefits and precautions of different drops if you’d like to learn more.

Arch support in long-distance running shoes

Running distances beyond 10K can exacerbate health problems which may not be as apparent on shorter runs.

One of the very common foot problems is overpronation or excessive inward rolling of the foot.

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It often goes hand-in-hand with flat feet or low arches.

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If you are not sure about your case, try doing this DIY wet test at home. You might as well check if your old running shoes wear out more on the inner side. That’s usually a sign of overpronation.

If you experience pain or discomfort, please do consult a podiatrist!

Flat feet and/or overpronation mess up the running form because your feet struggle to handle the impact naturally. This not only makes the stride less efficient but can also lead to an injury!

Having the right type of support, especially on a long-distance run, will help you avoid the negative consequences of these conditions.

Can you see the difference between a shoe without arch support and the one that has it?

Neutral shoe (no arch support)

Stability shoe (has arch support)

Stability shoes use additional components like shanks, firmer foams, stabilising sidewalls, and other features to support the arch on the inner side (where it collapses) and keep the gait straight.

Even runners with healthy feet and neutral pronation sometimes reach for supportive shoes to help their feet rest on recovery runs.

arch-support-in-long-distance-running-shoes.jpg

In our lab, we perform several tests to check the level of support in each shoe. The most stable ones have:

  • higher torsional rigidity (hard to twist the shoe sideways and roll the ankle)
  • stiffer and more structured heel counters (hold the heel and ankle firmly in place)
  • wider platforms (lowers the risk of rolling the foot over the edge of the shoe)

Here is the overview of long-distance running shoes with the best arch support, based on our lab tests:

Torsional rigidity and heel counter stiffness are assessed manually on a 1-5 scale, where 5 is the stiffest (most supportive).

Torsional rigidity test

Get the right size and fit

Even if you get a shoe with the best cushioning and support imaginable, it can all be ruined by a poorly fitting upper.

Getting the right size in a running shoe is tricky enough as is. But it gets even more complicated on a long-distance run where your foot volume increases and requires more in-shoe space. Especially if you run in warmer temperatures.

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An ill-fitting shoe will not accommodate these changes which can result in hot spots, blisters, and can even impact your finish time in a race!

Here are a few guidelines to help you get the right size in a long-distance running shoe:

Trying the shoe in, make sure that:

  • there is a thumbnail’s width gap between the longest toe and the front edge of the shoe (especially important for long-distance runs)
  • there should be no pressure at all (check the rearfoot, the midfoot, and the toebox)
  • there should be no bunching or loose sections
  • the upper fabric should feel soft against the foot (no pinching)

foot-shapes-and-toeboxes-in-long-distance-running-shoes.png

Your foot shape and width are equally important to consider. Bunions or any other foot deformities must be taken into account as well.

These days, runners are lucky to have a huge choice when it comes to shoe toeboxes. Even within one brand, you can find models with a narrower fit and shoes with a more spacious fit.

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Some brands offer their running shoes in multiple widths, from narrow to 4E wide (Brooks, New Balance, ASICS, Hoka). Others are known for their extra spacious toeboxes even in the medium width (Altra, Topo Athletics).

In our lab, we carefully measure the toebox dimensions of every single shoe. We use a calliper to measure both the widest part of the forefoot as well as the area where the big toe ends.

Greek and Egyptian types of feet might appreciate a more tapered (pointy) profile, whereas Celtic, German, and Roman feet may benefit from a more rounded toebox shape.

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Here is the overview of long-distance running shoes with the widest toeboxes:

Nothing is more annoying than having to stop and readjust your shoe tongue or laces. Especially if you’re running a race and it compromises your finish time.

To avoid this nuisance, you may want to consider shoes with fully- or semi-gusseted tongues.

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Attached to the upper on both sides, a gusseted tongue doesn’t shift around and makes the lockdown more secure as well.

Consider breathability

Another potential disruptor of your long-distance runs is the lack of airflow inside your running shoes. Especially if you run in a warm and humid climate.

The shoe’s upper must have plenty of ventilation holes that allow the heat to escape and fresh air to come in. Aside from keeping you comfortable, aerated uppers will prevent nasty things like hot spots, blisters, fungi, etc.

It is especially critical for distances that take several hours to complete and you don’t have the option to change shoes.

We perform several breathability tests on every long-distance shoe in our lab. In one of these tests, we pump smoke through the shoe’s upper to check how well it passes through the material. Each shoe then gets a score on a 1-5 scale where 5 is the most breathable.

This is what a 5/5 breathability looks like (shoe on the left) compared to 1/5 (shoe on the right).

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Race running shoes tend to have exceptionally thin and well-ventilated uppers. There is little-to-no padding inside these shoes which makes them even lighter and airier.

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The good news is that 60% of long-distance running shoes have a high breathability score of 4 or 5, based on our lab findings.

Here are the most breathable long-distance running shoes for daily runs and races:

On a 1-5 scale, 5 stands for the most breathable in our lab.

Durability of long-distance running shoes

Long-distance running takes a huge toll on running shoes. So much so that some race shoes can only handle one single marathon (i.e. Adidas Adios Pro Evo 1).

That’s why daily trainers for long-distance runs are equipped with exceptionally hard-wearing rubber outsoles and sometimes even reinforced uppers. We use a Dremel with a sandpaper tip to check the durability of each one.

Here are the most durable daily trainers for long-distance runs, based on our lab tests:

Toebox durability is assessed on a 1-5 scale based on the damage caused by the Dremel: 5 is the most durable. Outsole durability shows how deep is the damage according to a tread gauge: the lower the number the smaller the damage.

Trail running shoes tend to be even more rugged than their road counterparts due to harsher conditions:

As for the race shoes, traditionally, they have been made with papery uppers and very thin rubber outsoles that didn’t even cover the entire midsole foam. This design helped to keep them as light as possible. But this setup has been changing as the brands come up with new fabrics and rubber compounds that are just as light but much more wear-resistant.

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The race shoe in this photo has an outsole damage of 0.8 mm. Can you spot where we drilled it with a Dremel? Bonus: Can you guess which shoe it is?

We were amazed by the durability of some recent competition 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.