It’s safe to say that running has seen a huge increase in popularity over the last year and change. In fact, according to a recent survey by RunRepeat, an athletic shoe review company, close to 29 percent of current runners took up running during the pandemic.
Whether you’re a new runner or you’ve been at it for years, it’s important to invest in a quality pair of sneakers. Of course, what’s right for one runner might not necessarily be right for you.
It really comes down to a few important factors, including your foot shape, gait pattern, preferred running surface, and your goal as a runner, whether that’s increasing your speed, going for long distances, or ensuring comfort. Based on all of this, you can figure out if neutral, cushioned, or stability sneakers are the best running shoes for you.
To help make your search easier, we put together a list of the best running shoes to buy right now. These recently released, highly-rated picks are must-haves for novices and experienced runners alike.
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 ($120, nike.com): Long known as one of the best running shoes for runners craving a neutral shoe, the latest iteration of this sneaker features breathable mesh in the upper part of the shoe. There’s also a wider forefoot for maximum comfort while you run. Nike’s React foam is lightweight and durable, offering just the right amount of cushioning without feeling bulky. You can even buy the black version of this shoe in a wide width.
Brooks Launch 8 ($100, nordstrom.com): This lightweight running shoe offers neutral support and is ideal for speed runners. Extra blown rubber in the forefoot of the sneaker allows for faster transitions and ensures you’ll get the most life out of the shoe. There’s also air mesh in the upper part of the shoe for better fit and breathability. Plus, you get to choose from fun patterns, like tie-dye and cheetah print.
New Balance Fresh Foam 880v11 ($129.99, newbalance.com): If comfort is what you crave in a running shoe, then look no further than this version. This sneaker is super-plush, with a soft midsole featuring the brand’s Fresh Foam cushioning. The mesh upper ensures breathability, while the blown rubber outsole at the forefoot of the shoe is great for durability. There are also reflective details on the sneaker to catch the light, a must if you’re a night runner.
Adidas Ultraboost 21 Shoes ($180, adidas.com): The latest iteration of this running shoe, which was first released in 2015, is the best one yet. Not only is it available in the most on-trend colors and patterns, but it adapts to the changing shape of your foot as you drive forward. The shoe is lightweight but still offers plenty of cushioning in the midsole. It’s also good for the environment, as it’s made from Primeblue, a recycled polyester derived from ocean plastic.
Asics Gel-Keyano 28 ($160, asics.com): This running shoe is ideal for road running and provides stability as you move, with a low-profile heel and excellent rear foot support. Cushioning in the midsole gives you stability and responsiveness so you always have a spring in your step, plus the brand’s Gel technology ensures a soft landing without slowing you down. If you’re someone who overpronates (i.e., your foot lands on your heel and rolls in excessively when your foot lands on the ground), then this is the shoe for you.
Reebok Floatride Energy Daily ($90, reebok.com): Looking for a running shoe under $100? Turn your attention to this one made with at least 30% recycled materials in the upper part of the shoe. This lightweight sneaker has responsive foam heel cushioning, with breathable mesh in the upper. The shoe feels lightweight while still providing plenty of support.
Saucony Women’s Endorphin Speed 2 ($160, zappos.com): This ultra-lightweight, neutral running shoe is great for races of all lengths, from 5Ks to marathons. That’s thanks to Saucony’s signature SPEEDROLL technology, which combines a stiff forefoot with cushioning. The shoe also has a snug heel fit and anti-slip laces. Plus, the outsole has reinforced high-abrasion zones for traction and durability.
HOKA Women’s Clifton 8 ($130, zappos.com): With a breathable mesh upper, responsive midsole, and soft heel, this lightweight running shoe is a solid everyday option. It comes in plenty of colors to suit your style, and you can choose from regular and wide widths to ensure a perfect fit.