7 Best Marathon Running Shoes in 2024

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
7 Best Marathon Running Shoes in 2024
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Having a distance of 42 kilometres or 26 miles, a marathon is a long-distance road race. You definitely need more than just a comfortable shoe for this effort.

It might be a max-cushioned cruiser that helps you train for a marathon, or a carbon-plated speedster to shave off the minutes from your record, or a supportive shoe that won’t let overpronation stop you from running 42K. 

We have tested marathon-ready running shoes to learn how they feel, fit, and perform, all to make sure you have the best options.

Additionally, since we want to perfectly assist you through the process of choosing the right marathon running shoe, we have created a guide that can get rid of any of your worries.

How we test running shoes

How do we know which running shoes can get you comfortably through 42 km and maybe even set a new record? Here is our review process:

  • We, dedicated testers, run at least 30 miles in each pair before delivering our feedback.
  • Every shoe gets sliced and measured at our RunRepeat testing lab on over 30 different parameters. These help us translate features like durability, flexibility, cushioning, etc. into concrete data.
  • We purchase all the shoes we test with our own money to prevent bias. We only believe in transparent reporting of data and experience - no less, no more.

Best marathon running shoes overall

What makes it the best?

Hours of running and extensive lab tests validate that Alphafly 3 dominates marathon running shoes. It has boundless energy, unmatched comfort, and a stable ride uncommon for supershoes. 

We can confidently say that the Alphafly 3 is among the best—if not the best shoe—when it comes to propulsion. The carbon fiber FlyPlate integrated into the midsole makes it 144.7% stiffer than average—the level of stiffness for smashing records. Adding to the responsiveness is the Air Pods in the forefoot. Truly, a heavenly ride to behold.

A massive stack of soft yet responsive ZoomX foam makes the ride forgiving and enjoyable. The cut-in-half shoe reveals two layers of cushion, each with a specific purpose. Our durometer measured the bottom layer at a plush 18.1 HA for comfort, while the top layer is a firm 29.3 HA for stability. This keeps our feet in check, especially towards the end of a marathon where our strides tend to change.

With the upper scoring a perfect 5/5 on our breathability test, the shoe is suitable for any weather—ready for obliterating PBs in the heat. Another surprising element is its light 7.1 oz (201g) build despite its size.

At £290, Alphafly 3 tips the scale in terms of price. Though we believe it’s worth the investment, budget-conscious runners can explore cheaper, high-performance shoes elsewhere.


  • 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!


  • 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

Marathon running shoes with the best stability

What makes it the best?

AP3 exceeds the standards of a super shoe with its extraordinary stability, which is uncommon for racers. It’s a breath of fresh air that releases consistent and limitless energy. Our lab and run testers wholeheartedly agree that AP3 offers the best stability for marathons.

Equipped with a wider midsole and a grippy Continental rubber outsole, our runs felt steady and secure. We measured the forefoot to be 6.3 mm wider than average, promoting stable landings for forefoot and midfoot strikers. This unique feature becomes more noticeable at high speeds when we corner sharp turns without wobbling.

The midsole seamlessly blends a soft mega-stack with a rigid platform that translates into insane responsiveness without sacrificing comfort. AP3 ranks 50.0% stiffer than average on our flex test, confirming the stream of energy we feel with every stride. The underfoot feels delightful even in endurance runs. Pushing our durometer against the foam, it's 13.6% softer than average.

AP3 makes marathons feel like a breeze, literally! At 7.7 oz (218g), it’s 21.0% lighter than the average of long-distance shoes we tested. Adios to hotspots and sweaty feet! The upper is one of the coolest we tried, scoring the highest possible rating on our breathability test in the lab.

Unfortunately, the 84.0 mm heel is 6.1 mm narrower than average. Heel-strikers may feel some tightness or discomfort in this area.


  • 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


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

Best marathon running shoes with plush cushioning

What makes it the best?

We cut open and ran in marathon running shoes to find the best cushioning — and it’s no other than Fuelcell Supercomp Trainer v2. It perfectly encapsulates the plushest experience, babying our legs through long and hard miles with its beefy cushion. This super shoe allows us to go fast and far with its flexible carbon plate and robust outsole.

This pair combines cloud-like cushioning with the tallest, race-legal stack. It marries softness and height, giving us a zero-pain experience from mile 1 to 13. Its 39.3/30.9 mm stack height ensures a heavenly touch, no matter our footstrike. With a durometer reading of 9.6 HA, it's undoubtedly one of the softest out there.

We’re amazed at how effortless it was to sustain our speed. Thanks to the rocker structure, we roll forward efficiently. Meanwhile, the unique carbon plate features the Energy Arc, a void from the heel to the forefoot, to enhance flexibility.

Lastly, the bottom features a balanced 73.0 HC outsole. This means it’s soft enough for grip and hard enough for durability. Its 2.8-mm rubber is thicker than the usual 2.0-mm outsole of racers, extending the shoe’s life further.

Because this pair remains a high-stacked shoe, it isn't supportive enough for runners who pronate or ankle-roll. We recommend exploring more supportive shoes.


  • Incredibly plush midsole
  • Effective rockered ride
  • Ideal for long-distance training
  • Significant weight reduction from the first version
  • Rare wide-size availability for a supershoe
  • Exceptionally durable outsole
  • Surprisingly stable performance
  • Compliant with World Athletics regulations


  • The upper lacks breathability and durability
  • Energy return falls short compared to other supershoes
  • Noticeable discrepancy from the stated drop
Full review of New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer v2

Marathon running shoes with the best durability

What makes it the best?

Metaspeed Edge+ is a light, powerhouse pair focusing on speed and support. Its performance and grippy outsole are consistent through the miles, making it our most durable marathon shoe.

Its outsole is 18.8% softer than average. This enhances grip as more rubber clings to the ground upon landing. While this tends to be more vulnerable to abrasions, this shoe showed no signs of wear even after testing it against hard miles. Compared to racers with sub-2.0 mm outsoles (Saucony Endorphin Pro and Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3), its 2.1 mm outsole is very durable.

Our runs feel effortlessly faster in this racer. Its rocker design encourages efficient turnover and strong momentum. With every stride forward, the stiff carbon plate springs back up with energy. Our lab results speak for this, emerging 109.3% stiffer than average.

The rigid platform keeps us supported for long miles, providing stable foot placements that pronators and tired legs appreciate. This prevents ankle twists and other injuries. Our torsional rigidity test validates this scoring 4/5, meaning it’s tougher to twist.

This shoe is meant to race with its feathery 7.3 oz (208g) weight and its breezy upper. It scored the highest 5/5 on our breathability test, meaning hotspots and blisters won’t be a problem.

Its foam is 25.7% firmer than average. We recommend other pairs for marathoners who want a more cushioned experience.


  • Speedy all the way!
  • More cushioned for long miles
  • Buttery smooth transitions
  • Protective underfoot
  • Hell of a snappy toe-off
  • Super light
  • Very breathable
  • Nails the race-ready fit
  • Slip-free lockdown
  • More durable than most racers
  • Grips on dirt roads


  • Scratchy upper
  • Not for short runs
  • Expensive
Full review of ASICS Metaspeed Edge+

Best lightweight marathon running shoes

What makes it the best?

After lab and run trials, we’re in awe of how much power and cushion the Metaspeed Sky+ holds. It delivers consistent energy and oozes comfort from miles 1 to 26, all in an airy package. It’s a great companion for chasing PRs, making it our top lightweight marathon running shoe.

At a mere 7.2 oz (205g), it’s much lighter than the average of long-distance shoes we tested (276g) and even other racers (215g)! Together with its well-ventilated upper, scoring 5/5 on our lab breathability test, the marathon feels like a breeze.

With soaring 33.5 / 30.8 mm stack heights in the heel and forefoot, respectively, this pair provides a significant amount of cushion that mutes the impact of landing. This provides immense relief, especially in later miles when the legs feel more fatigued.

Delightful comfort is matched by insane responsiveness thanks to the rigid carbon plate and rocker design. Our toe-offs feel smooth and springy as we launch forward with every stride. Our flex test proves its unwavering resilience with a result that’s 121.1% stiffer than average.

With an outsole that’s only 2.0 mm thin (vs. 3.4 mm average), there’s not a lot of rubber to last many marathons. We recommend saving this pair for priority races.


  • 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+

Best marathon running shoes for heel strikers

What makes it the best?

During our test runs, Saucony Endorphin Pro 4 delivers a forgiving yet stable and responsive ride—making it our ultimate marathon shoe for heel-strikers. It has supreme cushioning, a vibrant midsole, and an airy sensation that makes miles 1 to 26 fast, comfy, and more importantly, enjoyable.

In our lab, EP4's heel stack measures 38.1 mm, offering generous cushioning for impact absorption. With a 9.5 mm drop, it facilitates smooth forward rolls, particularly for heel-strikers. Despite its height, the shoe maintains stability due to its dual-density midsole configuration: a soft and bouncy 18.5 HA top layer, paired with a balanced 22.0 HA bottom layer for added support.

Embedded within the foams is a rigid S-shaped carbon plate, exhibiting 137.5% greater stiffness than average, as revealed by our bend test. This heightened stiffness yields a springboard effect, propelling us forward with massive energy return. Additionally, its high torsional rigidity effectively minimizes lateral shifts.

In long-distance running, a light and well-ventilated shoe is crucial to avoid additional weight and hotspots. Our lab confirms EP4 is a light 7.8 oz (220g) with a super light feel thanks to its breathable upper that scored a flawless 5/5 in our smoke and light tests.

Those with narrow feet may not achieve the preferred race-ready fit in the forefoot area. Our caliper reveals it’s 5.5 mm wider than average.


  • 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


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

Best value marathon running shoes

What makes it the best?

A great marathon shoe doesn't have to be expensive, and the PUMA Deviate Nitro 2 proves just that. As an amazing do-it-all-shoe, it shines even more in the marathon distance. Insane responsiveness, heavenly in terms of comfort, and a tough outsole—this package is definitely worth more than its price tag, earning it the crown for best value marathon running shoe.

At £170, it undercuts most carbon-plated shoes that average at around £210. Considering the level at which it is able to perform, this deal is one in a million. 

The Deviate Nitro 2 is equipped with a carbon plate, making it stiff, yet also forgiving. At 43.7N reading on our flexibility test, it is 77.6% stiffer than the average road running shoe. We turned to our durometer and found that the midsole was 33.3% softer than average. This superior combination of both stiffness and softness gives it more than enough pop and comfort to finish the marathon distance strong.

The Deviate Nitro 2’s PumaGrip outsole is outstanding. It provides excellent grip, even in wet conditions, while showing little to no signs of wear even after a series of runs. At the lab, we found it to be 3.5% less dense and 0.3 mm thicker—a small difference, but it all stacks up to a durable and grippy outsole that gave us confidence even in wet conditions.

Unfortunately, at 257g (9.1 oz), it is 11g more than the average of carbon-plated shoes. Weight-weenie runners will find more lightweight options elsewhere.


  • Great all-rounder
  • Super-smooth and responsive ride
  • Plush cushioning
  • Comfy upper
  • Grippy outsole
  • Above average durability
  • Fairly priced


  • Heavier than other similar shoes
  • Not many colours available
Full review of PUMA Deviate Nitro 2

4 things to look for in a marathon shoe 

Many experienced runners are OK with finishing marathons in racing flats. If you’re not an elite runner, light mesh and super thin foam won’t help.



Comfort above everything else. However hard you’ve trained for your marathon, you’ll appreciate the comfort along the way.

The right shoe will feel like an extension of your foot.


Marathon is a long distance, and the pavement is unforgiving. Feet get tired, and after a while, you’ll want shoes that will go easy on you. This means you should look for cushioned marathon shoes.

Some of the advanced foams include Nike ZoomX, ASICS FlyteFoam, Saucony PWRRUN, etc. 

To learn about cushioning technologies in detail, read our guide to best cushioned shoes.

Comfortable toebox

Snug shoes are great when you’re racing, but marathon distance lasts long enough that your toes ask for more space. Plus, the extra space comes in handy when swelling happens. Look for medium or wide-toe-box marathon shoes.

There should be enough space to wiggle your toes freely.

Durable outer sole

If you want your shoes to last for more than a few long-distance runs, look for solid rubber rather than blown rubber. While rougher outsole might mean more weight, it’s good to consider it, especially if running during summer on red-hot concrete or asphalt.


Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 has one of the most robust outsoles among elite marathon shoes.

If, during the preparation period, you feel the extra weight slowing you down, look for lightweight marathon shoes. Keep in mind that beginners tend to choose cushioned over lightweight shoes.

Break-in period for marathon shoes 

You should never run a marathon in brand-new running shoes. A general rule is to log at least 30-50 miles (50-80 kilometres) in them. Allow your feet to get used to the new shoes. This way, you’ll avoid the unnecessary risk of getting blisters, pain, and soreness, or even DNF status.

Are your current shoes good for marathon runs? 

Stick to what already works.

  • Can you run long-distance sessions in them? 
  • Are they comfortable?
  • Are you happy with how they feel and how you perform in them?

If you have 3 yeses here, you’re ready to run a marathon in your current running shoes. 

Feels like for years there’s been more marketing than true innovation when it comes to running shoes. Then these super shoes entered the scene, causing the biggest hype and controversy. The biggest change happened right in the midsole: they became thick and highly cushioned and got a rigid plate that maximises runner’s energy return.

Nike pioneered this movement with Vaporfly 4% and Next%, but soon others followed: Adidas Adizero Pro, Saucony Endorphin Pro, Brooks Hyperion Elite, etc. Even Hoka has seen a rise in popularity with their maximalist approach.


Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 (left), ASICS MetaSpeed Sky (centre), Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 (right)

We even looked at the winners, both women and men, of 6 biggest marathons (Chicago, New York, Berlin, London, Tokyo, Boston) in 2018 and 2019. 78% of them wore Nike marathon running shoes (mostly Vaporfly).


In the end, shoes make the biggest difference. Choose the right size, fit, features. Even if your motivation hits rock bottom, if chosen wisely, shoes will help you cross the finish line uninjured. They might even help you set a new PB. 


Keep in mind that these shoes come with the latest innovative technologies, which come at a price. Literally. Plus, these are all made for elite runners or people chasing a new PB. More important takeaway should be the importance of cushioning: all of these shoes are chunky!


Marathon shoes vs. racing flats 

Some runners tend to run marathons in racing flats. In general, these are intended for more experienced runners. 

Racing flats are best known for minimal or zero heel drop, minimal weight and minimal cushioning. Lowering the values of these features might help, but only up to a limit.


Should you run a marathon in racing flats? Yes, if: 

  • Your current health allows you to give them a try - your feet aren’t flat and your pronation is neutral so you don’t need stability features and you have a good running form
  • This isn’t your first marathon - the longer you run, the longer your body needs to absorb impact forces, which calls for more cushioning
  • You took time to adapt to their features 

Keep in mind that not all elite runners choose racing flats. It’s a matter of personal preference, so do your best to find the perfect marathon running shoe for you.

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.