Getting the right running shoes is essential if you want to keep discomfort and niggles at bay. A great deal of running injuries, such as joint pain in the ankles and knees, are caused by the wrong shoes. These days there are a huge range of running shoes that reduce the shock impacts on your joints on different surfaces and promote better performance.
When it comes to running, you really don’t need to fork out a lot of money on peripheral apparel, so it’s sensible to spend more on optimal running shoes and reduce unwanted pain and discomfort.
Here we take a look at what the running world considers the best running shoes for men and women.
How to choose the best running shoes
When choosing your running shoes, you first need to consider what surface you will be running on. If you are running on treadmills, roads, trails or a mixture of terrain, you will need to choose running shoes designed for that surface. There are also running shoes designed for all-round running surfaces.
You’ll also need to consider your own running style. The next time you go running, check out what category of runner you are. Running styles and pronation can be categorised as follows:
Pronation is how your foot strikes the surface when running. Some people naturally put the main force of the strike on different parts of the foot, so they will need running shoes that are designed for that running style to reduce discomfort and risks of typical injuries associated with that style.
It’s easy to discover what your running style is after a few minutes of running at your natural pace. But if you want to be extra sure, you can usually ask the people working at specialised running shops.
The 3 main pronation running styles are:
- Neutral - you strike the surface centrally, neither favouring the right or left side of the foot and heel
- Underpronation - aka ‘supination’; you strike the surface on the outside of your foot
- Overpronation - you strike the surface on the inner side of your foot
Are you a ‘heel-striker’?
Heel-striking, as you might imagine, is where your heel is striking the surface before the rest of the foot. This is largely frowned upon in running circles as a poor running style because you are effectively hitting the brakes every time you put your foot down and adding extra stress to your body, particularly to your achilles tendon, knee and ankle. If this is your natural running style, you’ll need specially designed running shoes to provide extra support, or you should consider trying to change style – as hard as that can be. A good starting point is to reduce your stride length.
So, now that you know your surface and your running style, it’s time to get the right running shoe.
The best running shoes for roads
+ New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11
Our verdict: An excellent running shoe which offers firm support underfoot. The shoe features a heel to toe rocker (8mm of height difference) which creates more comfort over longer distances, and although there is a springy effect, the shoe feels solid and lightweight. It is also a very durable running shoe with extra rubber support around the heel.
+Asics Gel-Kayano 28
Our verdict: Designed for runners who run with an overpronation strike. The asics gel-kayano 28 is bulky and strong, making it a very durable running shoe, albeit a little heavier. However, it is also really comfortable and gives the runner strong support. A classic road running shoe.
+Under Armour Flow velocity Wind 2
Our verdict: A running shoe which likes pace. The sole has a unique tread which creates both grip and speed. It also has a built-in bluetooth chip which can pinpoint areas in your style to improve. The heel-lock is excellent meaning there is no rubbage at all. Overall, a shoe for those going places fast, but will suit those who are just getting started with its bluetooth app.
The best running shoes for treadmills
+Nike Air Zoom Pegasus
Our verdict: The Nike Pegasus series of running shoes are designed for all surfaces. However, if you’re planning to run on treadmills a few times a week, you can get everything you need from this running shoe at a great price. Super comfortable, lightweight and durable with a really supportive feel.
+Reebok Floatride Energy 3
Our verdict: A running shoe which ticks a lot of boxes. Lightweight, flexible, supportive, comfortable, durable and at a great price. Made for those with a neutral strike.
The best running shoes for trails
Our verdict: This is a quality trail-running shoe which feels fun and springy whilst also having confidence-inspiring grip. Just what you need out on mixed-terrain trails.
+Saucony Peregrine 12
Our verdict: Named after the fastest bird in the world, this running shoe is built for speed over trails. It is very responsive and springy, digs in and jumps off the trail. A favourite with trail runners.
+Topo Athletic MT-4 Trail
Our verdict: A trail running shoe which breathes and has a great drainage system. Excellent grip and ample toe space for natural foot strikes. Solid and firm feel on the trail.
The best all-rounder+Saucony Endorphin Speed 3
Our verdict: Lightweight and fast with excellent spring and cushioning, and improved heel-support from previous models. At home on roads or tracks or treadmills.
+Saucony Ride 15
Our verdict: Saucony is making some really good running shoes, both in terms of fit and feel as well as style. The saucony ride 15 series are really good-looking running shoes. But they are also super-functional and lightweight and have been designed with comfort in mind. These are extremely comfy and supportive running shoes.
+Puma Velocity Nitro
Our verdict: A super-lightweight, responsive and supportive running shoe which is both stylish and decently priced. A good all-rounder for those just starting out.
Having the right running shoes to match your running style and running surface can and will make a lot of difference to your performance. If you’ve been struggling with injuries, or if you want to reduce the chances of getting them, investing in the right running shoes will help. Speak to an expert at a specialised running shop if you want to get the perfect shoe for you. One of the great things about running is that it is an economically friendly form of exercise, so you can afford to spend a little more on a proper pair of running shoes knowing that they are going to last and are going to help your performance.