Up to 43% Off Right Now: Our Favorite, Editor-Tested Running Shoes (2024)

Up to 43% Off Right Now: Our Favorite, Editor-Tested Running Shoes (1)

Finding the best running shoes for you can be challenging, especially if you're new to running or picking it up again after a long break. When shopping for running shoes, fit and comfort are the most important factors in terms of minimizing your risk of injury. Plus, the more comfortable your sneakers are, the more motivated you’ll be to keep running.

The perfect shoe for you should feel supportive and snug, without being too tight, and have your preferred level of cushioning. You should also consider your foot type and running style, as well as what type of running you’ll be doing. Runners with flat feet or low arches who tend to overpronate, or roll their feet inward when running, will need a more supportive shoe than those with regular or high arches.

To determine the best running shoes, we first sought expert advice from podiatrists, an exercise physiologist, running coach, and ultra-marathoner, on what to look for when selecting running shoes. Next, we compiled a list of the top-performing picks from our recent shoe tests, such as the best running shoes for bad knees and the best trail running shoes for women. Then we laced up and hit the ground (and treadmill) running to test the 24 pairs of running shoes in The Verywell Testing Lab and later in the real-world.

We evaluated each pair for fit, comfort, cushioning, responsiveness, stability, and overall value.We also had an RRCA- and USATF-certified running coach from our Review Board review this story for accuracy and how to shop for running shoes depending on your arch, gait, and more. As we continue to test running shoes, we will update our list of top picks as new models are released to ensure our recommendations include the latest and greatest options.

Our Top Picks

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Best Women's Overall:

Hoka Clifton 9 at Zappos ($145)

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Best for Long Distance Running:

On Women's Cloudrunner at Amazon ($190)

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Best for Overpronation:

Saucony Guide 16 at Amazon ($79)

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Best for Plantar Fasciitis:

Hoka Bondi 8 at Zappos ($165)

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In This Article

  • Our Picks

  • How We Selected and Tested

  • What to Look For

  • FAQ

  • Why Trust Verywell Fit

Best Men's Overall

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22

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Our Ratings

  • Fit

    4.5/5

  • Comfort

    5/5

  • Stability

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • Exceptional cushioning and shock absorption

  • Supportive and stable

  • Good for narrow or wide feet

Cons

  • Drop feels high for some

One of the most well-loved sneakers from Brooks, the Adrenaline GTS 22 takes our best men’s overall spot, thanks to its outstanding comfort, support, and durability. When testing this shoe, we were impressed with its stellar fit and performance. Unlike some stability shoes that are stiff and restrictive, the Adrenaline GTS feels soft and flexible. Our feet could bend comfortably inside of them, making transitions feel smooth and easy.

Plus, the full-length cushioning and segmented crash pad provided soft landings and reliable impact protection. The brand’s Guiderails Holistic Support System keeps your body aligned and promotes a natural stride, helping to reduce excess movement. Fit-wise, this latest version features a molded heel for a locked-in, secure feel. The engineered breathable mesh upper gently hugs the foot, providing structure while still allowing for easy movement.

The shoe’s 12-millimeter drop is well-suited for heel strikers, but may feel a bit high for those with a midfoot strike. We appreciate that the shoe is deep enough to accommodate inserts or custom orthotics, which is an important feature to look for when choosing a running shoe, according to Dr. Castiello. And we also like that the Adrenaline GTS 22 comes in four different widths, so you can get a just-right fit.

Also available in women’s sizes at Amazon, Brooks, and Fleet Feet.

Key Specs:
Sizes:
Men’s 7 to 15, Women’s 5 to 12 | Materials: Mesh upper, foam midsole, rubber outsole | Weight: Men’s 10.2 ounces, Women’s 9.1 ounces | Drop: 12 millimeters

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Best Women's Overall

Hoka Clifton 9

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Our Ratings

  • Fit

    5/5

  • Comfort

    5/5

  • Stability

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • Lightweight and flexible

  • Very versatile

  • Plush but responsive cushioning

Cons

  • Heel tab may be uncomfortable for some

A popular choice among runners of all levels, Hoka’s Clifton 9 is a comfy, dependable shoe that’s suitable for training to run your first 5K, gearing up for your next marathon, or standing all day at work. It earned our top pick for women thanks to its plush yet responsive cushioning and exceptional support.

When testing a previous version of Hoka’s Clifton, we found it to be light, bouncy, and well-cushioned. The new model features a revamped midsole, with an additional 3 millimeters of stack height, for even more comfort and remarkable shock absorption. Although it’s packed with cushioning, the Clifton 9 remains lightweight and flexible, with a secure fit and a barely-there feel. And we found that the soft, engineered mesh upper increases airflow, keeping feet cool and dry.

The Clifton is ideal for road running because of its secure fit and plush cushioning that protects your feet when landing on hard surfaces, says Kassouf. We also like that the shoe’s rubber outsole offers dependable traction, while boosting its shock absorption and overall durability. Plus, this latest version features a reflective heel panel for more visibility in low-light situations. With a streamlined silhouette, this pick also lends itself to casual wear when you’re not running or working out.

Featuring a convenient heel tab, it’is easy to get on and off. But while this didn’t cause any blisters or discomfort during our wear-testing, we do think the design could lead to slight irritation for some wearers.

Also available in men’s sizes at Hoka, Zappos, and Fleet Feet.

Key Specs:
Sizes:
Women’s 5 to 12, Men’s 7 to 16 | Materials: Mesh upper, molded foam midsole, rubber outsole | Weight: Women’s 7.2 ounces, Men’s 8.7 ounces | Drop: 5 millimeters

Best for Wide Feet

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12

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Our Ratings

  • Fit

    5/5

  • Comfort

    5/5

  • Stability

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • Plush, comfortable cushioning

  • Stable base

  • Stretchy upper

Cons

  • May be too thin for very cold weather

If you’ve ever dealt with foot blisters or bunions, you’ll like the spacious toe box and stretchy upper of New Balance’s Fresh Foam X 1080v12. Its wide base enhances overall stability, while the padded collar adds to the locked-in feel and overall comfort. The popular favorite also comes in wide sizes, for runners who need even more room. And with its sleek, streamlined style, this pick is also great for casual, daily wear.

During testing, we noticed the shoe’s cloud-like comfort right away—with a plush yet responsive feel. We were impressed that the full-length foam midsole provided ample cushioning without feeling bulky or heavy, even during long runs. And we love that the flexible and supportive shoe is versatile enough for runs, walks, and other workouts.

The knit upper stretches and hugs the foot, providing even more room for those with a wider forefoot. And the breathable material also assists with blister protection, but it may be a bit too thin for very cold conditions.

Also available in men’s sizes at Amazon, Zappos, and Fleet Feet.

Key Specs:
Sizes:
Men’s 7 to 15, Women’s 5 to 13 | Materials: Knit and mesh upper, foam midsole, rubber outsole | Weight: Men’s 10.3 ounces. Women’s 8.3 ounces | Drop: 8 millimeters

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Best for Flat Feet

Asics GT-2000 11

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Pros

  • Good support for flat feet

  • Very versatile

  • Made with recycled materials

Cons

  • May feel stiff at first

Runners with flat feet typically overpronate, or land on the outside of the foot when running, which causes the ankle to roll too far inward. To help correct that motion and avoid injury, overpronators need a stability shoe with good arch support, like Asics’ GT-2000 11. The shoe’s midsole is designed to provide support in the arch area, helping to prevent rolling and allowing for a smoother, more efficient stride.

When testing the GT-2000, we liked that the cushioning felt plush, but still lightweight and not bulky— making the shoe a good option for fast-paced speedwork, tempo runs, or longer distances. We were also impressed with the additional gel cushioning in the heel, which provides more shock absorption and protection for heel strikers.

Made of at least 50 percent recycled polyester, the shoe's breathable mesh upper conforms to your foot's natural shape for a snug, supportive fit. Some wearers have noticed that the GT-2000 feels stiff at first, so it may take a few runs to get used to the support. Overall, it’s a solid choice for runners with flat feet or flexible arches who are looking for a bit more stability in an all-in-one training shoe.

Also available in women’s sizes at Amazon, Asics, and Fleet Feet.

Key Specs:
Sizes:
Men’s 7 to 15, Women’s 5 to 12 | Materials: Mesh upper with recycled polyester, foam and gel midsole, rubber and bio-based cellulose nanofiber outsole | Weight: Men’s 9.7 ounces, Women’s 8.3 ounces | Drop: 8 millimeters

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Best for Long Distance Running

On Women's Cloudrunner

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Our Ratings

  • Fit

    5/5

  • Comfort

    5/5

  • Stability

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • Very comfortable and supportive

  • Sleek, lightweight design

  • Very versatile

Cons

  • Limited colors in wide sizes

  • May run small

Soft yet supportive, On Runnings’s Cloudrunner shoe offers light, well-cushioned comfort that’s ideal for long mileage. The shoe’s foam midsole cradles your foot, offering a comfy, secure fit and dependable shock absorption that will keep you running for miles.

When testing, the shoe’s cushioning felt plush yet supportive, providing plenty of stability and joint protection when running, walking, or doing HIIT training. The soft, breathable upper provides good blister protection and the wide toe box helps prevent any irritation or rubbing. Plus, the Cloudrunner felt energetic and bouncy, thanks to the responsive midsole that helped propel us forward. We were also impressed with the shoe’s stability, which worked to prevent knee buckling or ankle rolling.

In addition to its lightweight and snappy underfoot feel, most runners like the On Running shoes' fashion-forward design elements, Bowersock says. The Cloudrunner’s sleek, streamlined style and all-day comfort make it perfect for casual wear or traveling. The versatile shoe comes in wide sizes, although we wish it had more color options for wide feet. You should also know that some wearers report the shoe runs small, so you may want to size up.

Also available in men’s sizes at Zappos, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Fleet Feet.

Key Specs:
Sizes:
Men’s 7 to 14, Women’s 5 to 12 | Materials: Polyester mesh upper, foam midsole, rubber outsole | Weight: Men’s 10.6 ounces, Women’s 8.8 ounces | Drop: 9 millimeters

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Best for Overpronation

Saucony Guide 16

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Pros

  • Comfortable and responsive

  • Very supportive

  • Soft and lightweight

Cons

  • Regular width may be too narrow for some

Saucony’s Guide 16 works well for beginner and experienced runners who overpronate and need a comfortable stability shoe. A medial post on the inside of the shoe provides support for flat feet and flexible arches, without feeling too stiff. When testing a previous version of this shoe, we were impressed with its support as well as its soft, energetic cushioning—which remains consistent in the Guide 16.

The breathable mesh upper felt snug and comfortable, contouring to the shape of our feet for a custom-like fit. Some wearers note that it feels more narrow than previous versions, but it does come in wide sizes if needed. We like that you can string the laces through an extra loop on both sides of the midfoot for added support.

Despite its ample cushioning and support, the Guide 16 doesn’t feel heavy or unresponsive thanks to its sleek, lightweight design. We recommend it as an everyday trainer for overpronators who want a stability shoe that’s soft, lightweight, and responsive.

Also available in men’s sizes at Amazon, Zappos, and Fleet Feet.

Key Specs:
Sizes:
Men’s 7 to 15; Women’s 5 to 12 | Materials: Mesh upper, foam midsole, rubber outsole | Weight: Men 9.5 ounces; Women 8.4 ounces | Drop: 8 millimeters

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Best for Plantar Fasciitis

Hoka Bondi 8

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Our Ratings

  • Fit

    5/5

  • Comfort

    5/5

  • Stability

    5/5

  • Value

    4.5/5

Pros

  • Maximum cushioning

    Roomy toe box

    Comfortable for all-day wear

Cons

  • Bulkier than some other options

  • Not for speed workouts

If you’re a runner who’s prone to plantar fasciitis, you’ll appreciate Hoka’s Bondi 8, which offers plush cushioning and support to protect your feet from hard landings. The shoe’s extended heel also works to provide excellent stability and shock absorption, right where it’s needed most.

When testing the Bondi 8, we were impressed with its roomy toe box, which gave toes plenty of space to spread for optimal comfort and stability. The breathable upper conforms to the shape of the foot, allowing for a supportive, snug fit. We also like the Bondi 8’s pillowy tongue and plush memory foam collar that enhance the shoe’s overall comfort and fit. However, if you’re used to a sleek, streamlined shoe, the Bondi—with its thick heel—might feel a bit bulky and heavy for speedwork.

We love this pick for anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet, whether it be for marathon training runs or long shifts at work, says Caroline Bell, head shoe reviewer at Fleet Feet. The shoe also features Hoka’s classic rocker shape, which helps you transition from heel to toe more quickly and run more efficiently, according to Bell.

Also available in men’s sizes at Zappos, Fleet Feet, and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Key Specs:
Sizes:
Men’s 7 to 16, Women’s 5 to 12 | Materials: Engineered mesh upper, foam midsole, rubber outsole | Weight: Men’s 10.9 ounces, Women’s 8.9 ounces | Drop: 4 millimeters

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Best for Shock Absorption

Brooks Women’s Ariel '20 Running Shoes

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Brooks Ariel 20 is a Stylish and Comfortable Shoe for Overpronators

Pros

  • Excellent cushioning

  • Very supportive and stable

  • No break-in period needed

Cons

  • Heavier than some other options

  • No men’s sizes

If you have a history of knee or joint pain, and need a running shoe with good shock absorption, check out the well-cushioned Brooks’ Ariel 20. The shoe features a thick sole and generous padding in the heel area, delivering protection right where it’s needed.

When testing and reviewing Brooks’ Ariel 20, we noticed the pillow-like feel right away—appreciating that these shoes were comfortable to run or walk in right out of the box. The mesh upper is soft and breathable, which kept our feet cool and comfortable, even in warm weather. And this pick comes with Brooks’ GuideRails technology, which helps to prevent excess side-to-side movement—it also has an external heel counter and a grippy rubber outsole for even more stability.

All of that cushioning and support adds some weight, and the Ariel 20 is definitely heavier compared to competitors, so it’s not the best option for fast-paced workouts. However, it’s a smart pick for runners who want a plush, supportive shoe that helps reduce their injury risk when running. It comes in three different widths, although it’s only available in women’s sizes (a similar Brooks shoe, the Beast 20, comes in men’s sizes).

Key Specs:
Sizes:
Women’s 6 to 13 | Materials: Mesh upper, foam midsole, rubber outsole | Weight: 10.7 ounces | Drop: 12 millimeters

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Best for Trail Running

Saucony Peregrine 13 Hiking Shoe

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Pros

  • Responsive cushioning

  • Excellent traction

  • Lightweight for a trail running shoe

Cons

  • Shallow toe box

Saucony’s Peregrine 13 is grippy and supportive enough for running on uneven terrain, whichever trail you take. When testing the older version of this shoe, the Peregrine 12, we were impressed with its overall versatility. It performed well on moderate and technical trails, as well as for a variety of distances. Fit-wise, the flexible, breathable upper comfortably wraps around the foot for a locked-in feel. But the shoe does have a shallow toe box, so it may not be the best choice for wide feet.

The latest version of the Peregrine has even more cushioning than previous models, offering excellent shock absorption, without increasing the overall weight. Unlike some other trail runners that feel bulky and heavy, the Peregrine is surprisingly lightweight and has a fast, responsive feel.

The tough rubber outsole is studded with strategically-placed, 5-millimeter lugs for reliable stability and traction on uneven terrain. Plus, the shoe’s flexible rock guard provides underfoot protection from roots, debris, and rocks. Overall, the Peregrine 13 is an impressive, go-to shoe for trail running, thanks to its reliable traction, excellent stability and protection, durability, and speed.

Also available in women’s sizes at Amazon, Zappos, and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Key Specs:
Sizes:
Men’s 7 to 14, Women’s 5 to 12 | Materials: Recycled mesh upper, foam midsole, rubber outsole | Weight: Men 9.2 ounces, Women 8.1 ounces | Drop: 4 millimeters

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Best Neutral

Asics Gel-Excite 9

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Our Ratings

  • Fit

    5/5

  • Comfort

    5/5

  • Stability

    3.5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • Comfortable and lightweight

  • Very breathable

  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • May run narrow

Asics’ Gel-Excite 9 is a versatile option for neutral runners that comes equipped with many of the brand’s popular features and technology—despite its affordable price. When testing the shoe, we found its lightweight foam cushioning to be plush and soft, but still responsive. We could definitely feel the rearfoot gel technology, which adds to the pillow-like feel and stellar shock absorption in the heel area.

The breathable mesh upper felt soft and comfortable, while helping to keep feet from overheating. Plus, the shoe’s rubber outsole is sturdy and durable, and features strategically-placed grooves for improved flexibility.

Distance runners may prefer a heavier shoe, but we like the Excite 9 for beginners or casual runners who like shorter distances on the treadmill or roads. You should know that some wearers report that the shoe runs narrow, but it does come in wide sizes. Overall, it’s an excellent value for those looking for a reliable, lightweight daily trainer.

Also available in men’s sizes at Amazon, Zappos, and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Key Specs:
Sizes:
Men’s 7 to 15, Women’s 5 to 12 | Materials: Mesh upper, foam and gel midsole, rubber outsole | Weight: Men’s 9 ounces, Women’s 7.7 ounces | Drop: 10 millimeters

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Best Cushioned

Brooks Ghost 15 Women's Road Running Shoes

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Pros

  • Excellent cushioning

  • Good arch support

  • Very versatile

Cons

  • Heavier than previous version

Brooks’ Ghost 15 is our pick for runners who want a high-quality, well-cushioned shoe that’s versatile for long or short distances. A popular option for neutral runners, the shoe delivers a lightweight, smooth, and soft ride.

During testing, we were impressed with the soft yet responsive foam cushioning, as well as the shoe’s overall versatility. They felt comfortable and supportive for runs, but also performed well during bootcamp workouts at the gym. We also like the engineered mesh upper, which is smooth and breathable, helping to prevent blisters and irritation.

Available in three different widths, the Ghost 15 is an excellent pick for runners with narrow or wide feet who have trouble finding the right fit. And the shoe’s internal heel counter promotes a locked-in feel, while the generously padded tab, collar, and tongue enhance the overall comfort and support around the ankle.

Do note that it’s slightly heavier than its predecessor, so long-time fans of previous versions of Brooks’ Ghost may notice a difference. However, both new and experienced runners will appreciate the versatility and durability of this Brooks favorite.

Also available in men’s sizes at Amazon, Brooks, and Fleet Feet.

Key Specs:
Sizes:
Men’s 7 to 15, Women’s 5 to 12 | Materials: Engineered mesh upper, foam midsole, rubber outsole | Weight: Men’s 9.8 ounces, Women’s 8.8 ounces | Drop: 12 millimeters

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Best for Shin Splints

Hoka Arahi 6

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Our Ratings

  • Fit

    4.5/5

  • Comfort

    4.5/5

  • Stability

    4/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • Plush cushioning

  • Excellent stability

  • APMA Seal of Acceptance

Cons

  • Narrow toe box

  • Traction could be improved

Hoka’s Arahi 6 features the brand’s plush and supportive cushioning, which gives runners who are prone to shin splints the protection they need. The shoe also uses Hoka’s stability technology that’s designed to provide extra support and stability for those with low arches or flat feet. These features helped the Arahi 6 earn the American Podiatric Medical Association’s (APMA) Seal of Acceptance—meaning a committee of podiatrists has determined that this pair helps promote healthy feet.

When testing, the shoes felt comfortable right out of the box, with no irritating seams or tight spots. We were also impressed that they weren’t bulky or heavy, despite their generous support—thanks to the low-profile cushioning and lightweight mesh upper. And we love that this version is even lighter than its predecessor, with a more plush tongue for added comfort.

While the shoe’s cushioning and support make it a versatile option for treadmill or outside running, the outsole’s traction could be improved, so it might not be the best choice for running in wet conditions.

Also available in men’s sizes at Zappos, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Fleet Feet.

Key Specs:
Sizes:
Men’s 7-15, Women’s 5 to 12 | Materials: Mesh upper, EVA foam midsole, rubber outsole | Weight: Men’s 9.3 ounces, Women’s 7.6 ounces | Drop: 5 millimeters

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Best Stability

Brooks Glycerin GTS 20

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Our Ratings

  • Fit

    4.5/5

  • Comfort

    5/5

  • Stability

    4.5/5

  • Value

    4.6/5

Pros

  • Excellent stability for flat feet and overpronators

  • Very versatile

  • APMA Seal of Approval

Cons

  • Limited color options for narrow and wide sizes

  • Too much stability for neutral runners

Providing a remarkable blend of soft, adaptive cushioning and excellent arch support, Brooks’ Glycerin GTS 20 is a popular choice for runners who need extra stability. The shoe uses Brooks’ signature GuideRail technology along the heel and midfoot, helping to promote a natural running stride and prevent overpronation, or excessive rolling of the foot and ankle. It also has a wider midsole and outsole platform than previous versions, offering even more stability.

During testing, we found this pair to be particularly good for distance running, thanks to its exceptional support and responsiveness. The soft, thick foam cushioning offered excellent impact protection and shock absorption when running outside. Additionally, the versatile shoes delivered plush comfort and reliable traction for fitness walking and cardio workouts. We also like the soft collar, which provides some extra ankle protection and support.

The Glycerin GTS 20, another APMA seal of approval recipient, is available in three different widths so that you can get a more accurate fit. However, we’d love to see more color options in the narrow and wide sizes. You should know that the shoe may offer too much stability for neutral runners, but if you're searching for running shoes with superior stability for overpronation and plush yet responsive cushioning, we definitely recommend it.

Also available in women’s sizes at Amazon, Brooks, and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Key Specs:
Sizes:
Men’s 7 to 15, Women’s 5 to 12 | Materials: Mesh upper, foam midsole, rubber outsole | Weight: Women’s: 9.4 ounces, Men’s: 10.1 ounces | Drop: 10 millimeters

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Best for Treadmill Running

Nike Air Pegasus 40

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Pros

  • Responsive

  • Sleek and comfortable

  • Very versatile

Cons

  • Limited color options in wide sizes

  • Not as breathable as other options

A Nike classic that’s been a popular favorite for decades, the Air Zoom Pegasus 40 is a neutral running shoe that’s designed to tackle anything from everyday miles to longer training sessions. Made with runners in mind, it’s perfect for treadmill workouts, thanks to its versatility, support, and responsiveness. When testing these shoes, we found them to be extremely plush yet supportive. And with springy, lightweight foam cushioning, they have good energy return and allow for a bouncy stride and smooth transitions.

We were also impressed with the shoe’s snug yet comfortable fit, which felt perfect from the first wear. The tapered rearfoot and deep heel cup help keep the foot locked-in, while the mesh upper hugs the foot and provides good breathability. Compared to other options, it does run a bit warm, but that’s not a concern for indoor, temperature-controlled runs.

The wide toe box has plenty of space for toes to spread out, helping with stability and blister prevention. Plus, the Pegasus 40 comes in wide sizes, if you need some extra room—but colors are limited in the extended sizes. The Pegasus 40 performs well on the treadmill, but is also a versatile option for strengthening and cross-training workouts.

Also available in women’s sizes at Nike, Fleet Feet, and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Key Specs:
Sizes:
Men’s 6 to 15, Women’s 5 to 12 | Materials: Engineered mesh upper, foam midsole, rubber outsole | Weight: Men’s 9.4 ounces, Women’s 7.7 ounces | Drop: 10 millimeters

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Pros

  • Lightweight, responsive cushioning

  • Budget-friendly

  • Secure, comfy fit

Cons

  • Not ideal for long runs

Brooks’ Launch 9 offers the right amount of support and cushioning to help prevent knee pain, at a budget-friendly price. During testing, it proved to be a springy, lightweight shoe that doesn’t compromise on comfort or impact protection. Plus, it provided the right amount of stability to allow for a smooth, efficient stride.

The shoe’s stretchy mesh upper comfortably hugs the foot for a secure fit, while the sturdy, durable rubber outsole allows for quick transitions from heel to toe. It also has a spacious toe box, and we like that it comes in wide sizes, for those whose feet tend to swell when running. This pair also felt very responsive and propelled us forward with each step, making them an especially good choice for fast-paced short runs. But we do think they’re too lightweight to be suitable for longer distances.

Brooks’ Launch 9 is a great everyday trainer for beginner or experienced runners, especially those who want a less expensive option. And its streamlined, sleek style also makes it a popular option for comfy, casual wear.

Also available in men’s sizes at Amazon, Zappos, and Fleet Feet.

Key Specs:
Sizes:
Men’s 7 to 15, Women’s 5 to 12 | Materials: Mesh upper, foam midsole, rubber outsole | Weight: Men’s 8.2 ounces, Women’s 7.1 ounces | Drop: 10 millimeters

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The 12 Best Brooks Running Shoes of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

How We Rated the Running Shoes

4.8 to 5 stars: These are the best running shoes we tested. We recommend them without reservation.

4.5 to 4.7 stars: These running shoes are excellent—they might have minor flaws, but we still recommend them.

4.0 to 4.5 stars: We think these are great running shoes, but others are better.

3.5 to 3.9 stars: These running shoes are just average.

3.4 and below: We don't recommend running shoes with this rating; you won't find any on our list.

How We Selected and Tested the Best Running Shoes

To make our best running shoes list, we compiled a list of the top-performing running shoes from other categories that we’ve researched and tested for other Verywell Fit roundups, such as the best Brooks running shoes and the best running shoes for bad knees. We also sought expert advice from:

  • Michelle Castiello, DPM, a board-certified podiatrist at Scarsdale Medical Group in New York
  • Saylee Tulpule, DPM, a podiatrist at Foot and Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic
  • Allison Bowersock, PhD, CSCS, ACSM-EIM, exercise physiologist, running coach, and co-owner of RunAbout Sports in Roanoke, Va.
  • Molly Kassouf, ultra-marathoner and Race Director for the John Wayne Cancer Foundation Grit Series

Based on our research and expert recommendations, we chose 24 pairs to test in The Verywell Testing Lab. Podiatrist Diana Levin Valencia, DPM, our on-site expert, provided guidance and insights for this test. Our team of testers tried each pair on, paying attention to fit and overall comfort. Then, we ran on the treadmill for 20 minutes, taking note of any movement within the shoe, discomfort, rubbing, or irritation. We also noted the shoe’s cushioning and support.

Some of the shoes also went through real-world testing—we wore them for at least 12 runs over a period of six weeks. We hit the roads, paths, treadmills, and trails, paying particular attention to any pain both during and after running in the shoes. We also kept track of any tingling, numbness, discomfort, or blisters.

Each shoe was rated on a scale of 1 (would not recommend) to 5 (highly recommend) for cushioning, fit, responsiveness, upper comfort, lateral stability and support, blister protection, and overall value. We then compared the running shoes against each other to determine which ones were best for specific running styles, needs, and preferences.

What to Look for in Running Shoes

Type

Determining your foot type and running style is key to making sure you get the right running shoe for you. Most major running shoe brands include stability or motion control, neutral, and cushioned shoes in their line-up, so it’s a matter of finding the best one to fit your foot’s needs..

Stability shoes control mild to moderate pronation, while motion control shoes are better for runners with moderate to severe pronation, says Dr. Castiello. If you have flat feet or low arches, a stability running shoe, such as Saucony’s Guide 16, can offer stiff arch support to lightly control the inward rolling of your feet.

High-arched runners tend to underpronate, or roll outward, so they’ll want a neutral running shoe that’s well-cushioned (especially in the arch area), like Hoka’s Bondi 8, for improved shock absorption. Most runners can benefit from a neutral shoe, such as Brooks’ Ghost 15, that allows for natural motion at the foot and ankle that occurs during the gait cycle, says Bowersock.

If you’re not sure what’s best for you, visit a specialty running store or physical therapist for a gait analysis to determine your foot strike and get shoe recommendations.

Fit

For optimal comfort and performance, it’s essential to find a running shoe that fits properly. Running shoes should feel snug and keep your ankle locked-in, so your feet don’t slip or slide. To avoid issues such as blisters and bruised toenails, be sure your shoe has enough room in the toe box. You should have about a thumb’s width of room from the tip of your big toe to the end of the shoe, says Dr. Castiello.

For the best fit, visit a running specialty store to get your feet measured. Even if you think you know your foot size, it can change over time, due to fallen arches, weight changes, or pregnancy. When trying on shoes, bring any insoles, orthotics, and socks you’ll be wearing when running. And be sure that the shoe feels comfortable right away—if they’re too tight at first, breaking them in won’t help.

If you have very narrow or wide feet and often have a hard time getting the right fit, check out shoes from New Balance and Brooks—both brands offer an extensive range of sizes and widths.

Support

Runners need varying levels of support, depending on their foot type and running style. Runners with flat feet or low arches are more likely to overpronate. Stability or motion control shoes, such as Brooks’ Glycerin GTS 20 and Asics’ GT-2000 11, feature harder foam in the middle of the shoe that lightly controls the inward rolling of their feet, helping to reduce injury risk. They should also have good arch support and some may have guide rails to control side-to-side motion. Plus, a wide base and deep heel cup will provide added support.

On the other hand, runners with high arches tend to underpronate, or roll outward, mid-stride. They should choose a neutral running shoe, such as Asics' Gel-Excite 9, that offers supportive cushioning, especially in the arch area, to compensate for the poor shock absorption of high-arched feet. Those with regular arches also find that neutral running shoes have the right amount of support.

Drop

A running shoe’s heel-to-toe drop refers to the difference between the height of the shoe at the heel and at the forefoot. The drop of a shoe can affect things such as your foot strike, stride efficiency, and what part of your body takes on the most impact as you’re running. Shoes with lower heel-to-toe drops place less pressure on knees and hips, which can help to reduce the risk of injury in those areas.

Generally, most running shoes have an 8- to 12-millimeter drop, which promotes landing on the heel first when running, says Dr. Castiello. However, some brands are known for having lower drops: Most Hoka running shoes, such as the Clifton 9, have a heel-to-toe drop of 5 or 6 millimeters. A lower heel-to-drop is often better for runners who want a midfoot or forefoot strike, which encourages more efficient, faster running. Additionally, lower-drop shoes typically offer a more anatomical fit at the toe box, which allows toes to splay and helps prevent painful foot issues such as bunions and neuromas, says Bowersock.

Shoes with a higher drop, such as Brooks' Adrenaline GTS 22, have more cushioning in the heel area, right where heel strikers need it. Keep in mind that a running shoe can have thick cushioning but still have a low drop, since it’s all about the difference in stack height.

Materials

The upper of most running shoes is made with knit, mesh, or leather. Road running shoes tend to be made with knit or mesh, since they’re soft, lightweight, breathable, and flexible. The material expands and gives, allowing your feet to move naturally as you’re running. Some trail running shoes are made with thicker, more durable materials, like leather, for better protection from the elements and trail debris.

Each running shoe brand has its own type of cushioning in the midsole, but they’re usually made with EVA foam or gel. Depending on the material and thickness, the level of shock absorption and responsiveness will vary. You should choose the amount that’s right for your running goals, comfort, and preferences.

Outsoles are typically made with carbon rubber and blown rubber. Carbon rubber, which is harder and darker, is more durable and grippy, so you’ll see more of it on trail running shoes. Blown rubber is usually softer, white, and weighs less than carbon rubber, but it isn’t as abrasion-resistant or durable.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do good running shoes make a difference?

    Yes, wearing a pair of high-quality, sturdy shoes that are designed for running can go a long way in optimizing your overall comfort, performance, and injury prevention. Depending on your foot type, gait, and running style, you can choose a pair that has the right cushioning, flexibility, and stability for you.

    Choosing the right pair can help prevent or alleviate foot, knee, and lower leg injuries that are common among runners. Plus, running shoe companies have options for road running, trail running, and racing, so you should select a pair that’s ideal for the type of running you’ll be doing. For instance, road running shoes will offer plenty of cushioning to protect your joints and muscles from the repeated stress of hitting the pavement.

  • Which shoe brand is best for running?

    All of the brands featured in our list of recommendations—including Brooks, New Balance, Hoka, Nike, On, Asics, and Saucony—feature dozens of high-quality, durable shoes that are comfortable, supportive, and specifically designed for runners.

    Tulpule frequently recommends Brooks, New Balance, Hoka, and Asics shoes to her patients looking for running shoes, because these brands offer good midfoot support, cushioning, and shock absorption. Kaussouf has run in Hoka shoes for the past eight years, but she notes that all the major running shoes brands offer something different for every type of runner.

    Keep in mind that a shoe that works for another runner may not be the best choice for you, so seek help from experts at a specialty running store if you’re not sure of your exact needs.

  • Which running shoes are best for beginners?

    For beginners, as well as most runners, the top goals for selecting running shoes are injury prevention, comfort, and durability, says Bowersock. Fortunately, major running shoe brands, like the ones on our list, all have a number of options that check those boxes and more. The best running shoe for you really depends on your gait, foot type, and running routine. Brooks’ Glycerin 20 is a popular choice of beginner runners with a neutral gait, while Asics’ Gel-Kayano 29 is a favorite among new runners who overpronate.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, has more than 20 years of experience writing and editing health and fitness content and product recommendations. As a certified personal trainer, running coach, and avid runner, she’s always researching and testing running shoes. She’s run many miles in shoes from all of the top brands.

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