Running shoes are the single-most important piece of equipment you need for running. They are designed for different purposes and have different characteristics according to them. Weight is a very crucial factor, especially for the shoes which are used in final races or speed training. These shoes are designed for speed and generally are lightweight, Here, we will look at some of the best lightweight shoes across a wide price range, some absolutely top-spec ones and some budget options.
There are a few factors you need to consider before you go for purchasing a running shoe. Let’s look at them before we start with the list.
An important point before starting, the shoes here are not listed according to any sequence. We have also answered a few faq that you might while buying best lightweight shoes for running. You can find these at the end of the article.
1. NB Fresh Foam Beacon
One of the more versatile shoes, the Beacon is lightweight, soft and fast. The light weight of just 218 grams for Men’s and 188 grams for women is done by use of rubber only in high impact spots. The outsole gets New Balance’s durable, Fresh Foam’s Ground Contact compound for long-lasting performance. A upper, which is breathable and gets a thin engineered mesh gives a roomy fit and is a great change. It gets a new 3D heel counter to perfectly cup your heel and enhances the overall fit of the shoe. The midsole is thickly cushioned but not very squishy. This feature makes it perfect as a lightweight shoe for running, from slow jogs to quick speedwork.
- Lightweight and fast
- Very versatile
- New, breathable, engineered mesh upper
- A roomy toe box and supportive, molded heel counter
- Well cushioned midsole with a firm ride.
- Faces very stiff competition from Nike and Adidas and other running specific brands.
- Traditional lacing system opens up sometimes.
2. Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2
One of the legendary speed trainers from Nike, the Turbo 2 is a huge name. The new version delivers even more cushioning and responsive ride. It gets the light and best-in-class(85% energy return), ZoomX foam featured in Nike’s racing shoes complimented by the lasting React foam midsole. This combo gives these shoes a nice mix of comfort, cushioning and a smooth ride. Along with that, there is overall weight reduction to a meagre 204 grams and 196 grams for men and women, respectively. The upper is a synthetic mesh is which is minimally padded and very breathable. Overall, one of the best lightweight shoes for running in its segment.
- Super soft and responsive, best-in-class ZoomX midsole.
- React Foam midsole for increased life.
- Better energy return than Turbo,
- Good for a serious runner
- Less durable than the first Turbo.
- Not a good daily trainer
3. Skechers GoRun Razor 3
This shoe comes with Skechers’ well-acclaimed HyperBurst foam at an astonishingly light, 181 grams! This soft and lightweight foam makes this a really strong tempo shoe competing against the likes of Pegasus Turbo 2 and Adidas SL20. The shoe’s lightweight construction is due to its really light and breathable upper with minimal reinforcements, which keeps your feet cool and the thin midsole, which gives a really firm feeling and ample protection. The shoes have a firm and racy feel to them but less responsive on slower runs. The outsole has rubber webbing which provides decent traction.
- Very responsive Hyperburst foam
- One of the lightest among lightweights.
- Breathable upper
- Firm ride
- Great for speedwork
- Struggles on slow runs
- Can lack ground contact feel
4. NB Fresh Foam Tempo
New Balance has built a knack of building superior quality of shoes in all categories. Weighing just around 240 grams for men and 193 grams for women, this is the replacement of the NB Zante, which features later in the list. Overall, the shoe adds a new heel counter, redesigned upper and outsole and the new Fresh Foam X midsole.
This new midsole is really soft to touch but has a firm ride, ideal for lightweight shoes for running fast tempo runs. Although, it lacks responsiveness and bounce. The new outsole is a full-contact unit with blown rubber at the heel and toe only, to keep weight in check. A completely redesigned upper, now gets a breathable, double-layer mesh and adequate padding on the heel and tongue area, which give both protection and a premium feel. Overall, the shoe has a snug fit and toebox but your feet won’t feel cramped at all.
- Freshly updated upper and midsole.
- Firm ride, good for quick runs.
- New breathable double mesh upper
- New plastic heel counter gives structure.
- Not as bouncy or responsive
- Feels less connected to the ground
5. Puma Flyer Runner Engineer Knit
A relatively inexpensive shoe from a big sportswear brand like Puma is something anyone will like to have. A Puma Classic shoe with a very clean design, this praised for its fit.
The upper unit is a engineered knit and Puma’s lightweight Softfoam cushioning makes this a great choice for daily running. A well-crafted rubber outsole provides good grip on road and The lacing system is classic lace ups which keeps the tongue properly secured, while the TPU overlay gives stability.
A well-put together design, the shoe is very stylish and can be worn for any casual outfit while being very affordable.
- Great value for money
- SoftFoam in midsole provides lightweight cushioning and instant comfort.
- Really comfortable fit
- Sleek looks
- Affordable price
- Not for pro athletes
- Could have had a more bounce in the midsole
6. Puma NRGY Comet
Looks like the NRGY series is a big bang for your buck option. The Comet is a proper road running shoe, unlike the Neko. It is a sleek, lightweight and functional shoe which can handle any paved terrain with confidence. The Comet gets a full-contact EVA midsole and EVA outsole, which improves cushioning and overall ride quality. The shoes, as told by most users are really comfortable and have a nice, snug fit. A breathable upper unit, which keeps your feet cool and dry compliments the high cushioned TPU-based NRGY midsole. On the other hand, the soft and lightweight EVA in the outsole is supported by toe and heel bumpers which provide better grip and durability. So, if you are on a tight budget and want a decent, light trainer from a renowned brand, the Comet won’t disappoint.
- Soft EVA midsole and outsole for cushioning and responsive ride
- Toe and heel bumpers for increased grip
- Sleek and attractive design
- Fast and light
- Value for money
Not really anything at the price it comes.
7. Adidas Galaxy 4
You can always trust a product, if it has the Adidas “3 stripes” logo. Anything from this top sportswear brand is high quality, goes without saying.
The Galaxy 4 shoes give a lightweight and comfortable feel as you walk or run in them. The upper unit is a breathable, fabric which is light and will keep your feet dry. It additionally gets a midfoot cage for stability and has a fit that suits a majority of people. Along with that, the midsole which is Adidas’s CLOUDFOAM which is very plush and cushioned. The lightweight and low profile of these shoes is what makes them easy to wear long runs.
Above everything, it has a extremely affordable price tag.
- Breathable, lightweight upper
- Fit suits a majority of people
- Large midfoot cage
- Cloudfoam cushioning is great.
- Value for money.
- Lacks waterproofing
- Better support on heel and toe expected.
- Upper wears down quickly
8. Asics Dynaflyte 3
A lightweight shoe from one of the top brands, renowned for making supportive shoes, Asics’ Dynaflyte 3 gives little to complain about. Featuring FlyteFoam tech, a foam material 55% lighter than the industry standard EVA, this shoe is long-lasting and has a good ride. The bouncy midsole and solid rubber grip ensures comfortable runs. It also features a new mesh upper, a thick collar and tongue, a strong heel counter and Asics’ GEL cushioning to provide ample support and easy feet movement while running. a very big advantage, is the small break-in period.
If you are a beginner, looking for a pair of road trainers that will do a good job of easing you into serious running, these are a great choice.
- Thick and bouncy foam
- Small break-in period
- Attractive looks and colours
- Ideal for beginners
- Foam in midsole might feel too thick
- Experienced runners might look at something else.
9. Nike Zoom Pegasus 36
The Pegasus line from Nike is renowned for some of the best trainer shoes. The Pegasus 36 is the latest in the long line of them. A neutral, regular trainer, it is not as lightweight as some of the others in this lineup and quite evidently features lower. It is pretty well constructed and the materials of the engineered mesh upper are excellent and the unit is stretchy and ventilated. This keeps the shoe really cool and dry. It gets Flywire cables on the sides that help in better locking of the foot in place. The midsole is the hero of the shoe. A combo of Cushlon and Zoom Air makes it feel adequately responsive and shock absorbing. It’s outsole has good levels of grip on all surfaces and remains unchanged from the previous version.
Design wise, it is classic Nike; looks sleek and fast but looks are deceptive. Weighing at 283 grams, it is not the fastest and you would love the Nike Pegasus Turbo 2 for a more firm and bouncy run. Despite that, the runs are pretty easy and smooth, if you maintain a moderate pace.
- Engineered mesh upper is ventilated and has a secure fit.
- Cushlon and Zoom Air midsole gives a bouncy feel.
- Classic sleek Nike design
- Grippy outsole
- Has a lot of legacy behind it
- Not really fast. Switch to the Turbo, if you want that.
- Cheaper options like Downshifter and Winflo available from Nike.
10. UA Micro G Pursuit SE
Spot on product by Under Armour this is. A good-looking, comfortable fitting shoe that is versatile enough for daily running and other casual purposes at a great price.
The breathable mesh upper is lightweight and by far, the best feature of the shoe. Years of apparel making experience shows here! Made for comfort, the shoe gets foam padding around the heel and tongue. A single-piece Micro G foam in the hi-rebound midsole helps in smooth landing and explosive takeoffs. A tire pattern, deep-groove rubber grip gives the outsole great amount of flex and traction.
- Excellent upper design, look and feel
- Ample cushioning and responsiveness from midsole
- Bouncy running characteristics
- Grippy outsole
- Toebox design is fundamentally wrong
- Could have done with more support
11. Asics Gel DS 24 Trainer
Asics’ classic line of running shoes, including the Nimbus and Kayano. The DS 24 is somewhat like a lighter version of the Kayano. Since it came into the market for the first time, the DS 24 has made this lightweight stability shoe its own category.
First of all, this the best looking DS ever! A very light shoe at just 246 grams for men and 210 grams for women is excellent, considering it is for stability. The new thicker, FlyteFoam midsole has different densities in different parts of the shoes and provides a lot of balance. The upper is a new, engineered knit unit with mix of dense and stretchy zones. This implies that the shoe is well-balanced with fit, breathability and structure. Asics has loaded the shoe with its “EVA Trusstic” tech on the outsole, which gives incredible traction and ground-contact landings.
The shoes are moderately cushioned. But they still are very responsive and excel in speedwork and uptempo runs.
- Among the best in the Lightweight Stability shoe category.
- Engineered knit upper with a proper and comfortable fit.
- Adequate cushioning for making speed runs
- New rubber lugs for extra durability
- EVA Trusstic in outsole, gives more ground contact feel.
- The tongue is sliding up always.
- The lacing system could have been better
12. Asics Patriot 10
Asics is always there in best running shoes list! The Patriot 10s are top-quality, value for money lightweight shoes for running, jogging or any other casual purpose. At just, 212 grams it is a featherweight! A lightweight construction and a responsive midsole are its best features. The Amplifoam material does not have great cushioning but provides a good smooth ride. On the looks department, they are clean and sleek. The upper mesh is very well-ventilated and the shoes are very durable. Buying them new, will take some to adjust to your feet due to a slightly long break in period.
Overall, a budget friendly shoe for your regular runs!
- Comfortable design and fit
- Attractive yet simple looks.
- Very long lasting
- Cool in-shoe environment
- Lengthy break-in period
- Better midsole expected
Common FAQs about running shoes
1. What are neutral and stability shoes?
Neutral shoes are for neutral runners, i.e. those who feet do not tend to pronate during running. This is what majority of us are. Stability shoes are specifically for them who undergo overpronation and even under-pronation during running. But, these can alternatively be used by normal runners, who prefer more stability in training.
2. Is a more cushioned shoe better than a lesser cushioned one?
Not necessarily. Cushioning helps in having a soft landing impact, thus reducing the chance of injury and having a smooth running experience. But, excess of cushioning can make your running very slow and tiring. The thicker the cushion, the more amount of downforce is needed to generate speed.
For this reason, energy return is an important factor in a foam. Foams for racing shoes like the ZoomX from Nike or LightStrike for SL20 are very bouncy and have high energy return. On the other hand, foams like New Balance’s FreshFoam X is more cushy, giving a softer ride. Thus, it is important to have lightly layered, responsive foams for racing while you can use thicker cushioned shoes in training.
3. What is uptempo?
Athletes train and race in different shoes for different stages of training. For regular training, they generally use a comfortably cushioned daily trainer, which lasts long. For races, they use the lightweight, fast and bouncy racing cleats. Uptempo is the training they do for increasing their speed. Shoes designed for these are generally lightweight, very responsive but more cushioned and bulkier than racing cleats. Examples of such a shoe is Nike Pegasus Turbo 2 and NB FuelCell Impulse.
4. How to choose your running shoes?
- Decide the purpose for which you are buying.
- Choose a everyday trainer if you are looking for daily jogging. If you are into serious training, have 2-3 pairs of trainers and uptempo shoes.
- Prioritize your comfort while buying a shoe. See if the interiors feel comfortable and the hard parts do not hurt. ALWAYS, wear socks while testing.
- Check the flexibility of the shoe. Do not opt for a stiff shoe as it will hinder your feet’s flex.