Ah, the Nike Free Run… Calling this a running shoe is a stretch, but there’s still a vestige of folks out there in the minimalist fan group that likes the slipper-like feel of Nike’s long-running “Free” lineup. The 2021 update steers back toward a less bizarre-looking shoe than we saw in 2020 but continues with the ultralight and ultra-flexible design.
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!
At the entry level, there’s usually not a ton to review or write about, but the Nike Quest 4 fills a niche with a trendy-looking shoe at a bargain price. If you desire that Nike swoosh and have less than $80 in your pocket there aren’t many options, but surprisingly this stylish trainer fits the bill and isn’t all that bad!
At an affordable price, the Asics Gel Venture 8 does a fantastic job on the trails! It's extremely grippy even on wet and muddy sections, comfortable, and secure. And all these come in a light and durable package! The Gel Venture is a shoe we'd consider for anything short to mid-distance.
Touted as a light trail running shoe, the Nike Air Max Torch 4 sports quality features ready to beat the competition. Packed with Nike's innovative midsole components, the running shoe offers premium support and lockdown. Because it is engineered with top-notch technologies, the neutral runner does not sacrifice weight. With the Nike Air Torch 4, athletes are geared for comfort, protection, and superior grip on any type of terrain.
The Nike Flex Experience Run 10 is a budget-friendly, entry-level running shoe. Made to run and play, the shoe is a huge win for casual runners because it delivers flexibility and versatility. If you are looking for a lightweight trainer that looks good and feels comfortable, this fits the bill. But for a more athletic function, the Flex Experience Run 10 is not the right shoe for you.
If there's one shoe we could recommend to those new to the running scene, it would be the Brooks Revel 4. It's a no-frills daily trainer that surprised us with its good response, top-notch comfort, and grip (both on wet and dry pavements). And like a true Brooks, it's very durable so expect to run hundreds of miles before retiring them in your closet!
The Nike Juniper Trail is an affordable off-road shoe that seems ideal for beginners and people who want a little more grip for easy trails. With durable materials, trail-specific design features, and an excellent ground feel, this is an excellent choice for compact dirt and gravel trails.
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.