Fitness is one of the priorities of the youth today. Everyone wants to be fit and be in the best shape of their lives. Weight training, mixed martial arts and cardio are among the most popular ways nowadays to shed those extra pounds and tone their muscles. But, despite these new training methods, running still remains one of the most popular ways of staying fit. Running is cheap and much more accessible; you do not need a whole lot of equipment or space to do so. A pair of good running shoes is all you will ever need.
The choice for running shoes can be really different based on the purpose, the wearer’s experience and materials. Here we will take a look at some of the best running shoes available.
In this list, we have classified the shoes into two parts: one, which includes everyday and lightweight trainers for paved roads and indoors and two, trail shoes.
Before we begin, it is important to know some tips about testing and choosing your running shoes. There are some common FAQs about running shoes, which we have answered at the end of the article.
1) Nike Pegasus Turbo 2
One of the best daily trainers from Nike, the Turbo 2 takes and continues every good bit from the Turbo and delivers even more cushioning. It now gets the light and best-in-class(85% energy return), ZoomX foam midsole featured in Nike’s top end shoes, along with the super durable, React foam midsole.
A combination of both, gives this shoe a good mix of comfort, cushioning and great responsiveness. The upper synthetic mesh is padded minimally, dropping the shoe’s weight. If you are a regular runner and desperately want a new pair of trainers, just grab these.
- Super soft and responsive, best-in-class ZoomX midsole
- Durable React Foam midsole for increased life
- Better energy return than Turbo,
- Good for a serious runner
- Less durable than the Turbo
- Beginner runners should not choose this as their daily trainer
2) Asics GT 2000-7
This is an excellent shoe from the house of ASICS. It is ideal for both indoors and also for some outdoor running. The cushioning is top-notch while the heel counter provides great support to the heel. The Midsole is made of EVA and front fits like a sock with its Ortholite Sockliner.
The shoes also have a great shock absorption capability.
- EVA midsole
- Usable for both indoor and outdoor
- Ortholite sockliner ensures great fit
- Noticeable cushioning
- Ankle pain due to metal inserts
- Not very durable
3) Asics Gel DS 24 Trainer
One among Asics’s classic line of running shoes, including the Nimbus and Kayano, the DS 24 is somewhat like a sportier version of the Kayano. Since its inception, the DS 24 has made this lightweight stability shoe its own category.
First of all, it is the best looking DS ever and a very lightweight shoe at just 246 grams for men and 210 for women. This is despite the new thicker, FlyteFoam midsole with three different densities in different locations of the shoes. The upper is a brand new, engineered knit unit with stretch zones and dense knits, which maintain a balance between fit, breathability and structure.. Asics has also loaded the shoe with its “EVA Trusstic” foam in this shoe, on the outsole and gives better traction and ground-contact landings than most other shoes.
The shoes are moderately cushioned, sporting a 8 mm heel drop, but still pretty responsive and excel at their job of speed and uptempo runs.
- Among the best in 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
- Improved transitions
- The tongue sleeve is not the best and slides at times
4) NB Fresh Foam Beacon
By far the most balanced shoes in this list, the Beacon is lightweight, fast and yet is soft. The lightweight is ensured by the minimal use of rubber, only in places which are subjected to high wear. The rest of the outsole is just New Balance’s supremely durable, Fresh Foam’s Ground Contact compound. The upper is a new, breathable and thin engineered mesh with a much roomier fit than before. A new 3D molded heel counter to perfectly cradle your heel is the highlight of the overall fit of the shoe. The midsole is thick and cushioned but not exactly very squishy. This makes it perfectly suitable for doing it all, from light jogs to speedy runs.
- 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
- Nothing we could find
5) UA Micro G Pursuit
The Micro G Pursuit is a serious, inexpensive running shoe from Under Armour. It is versatile and will cover everything from indoor gyms to medium distance runs on tarmac. The light weight, fit and comfortable nature of the shoe make it a really preferable option for someone with a tight budget.
The Micro G midsole is responsive and helps in cushioned landings. On the other hand, the mesh upper is light and breathable while the padding on the ankle and tongue is very comfortable. The only downside of the shoe is that it lacks adequate support and the finishing levels are not top notch. You also get a very thin insole. So, if you are not a hardcore runner and looking for a comfortable, light shoe at a cracker of a price you can go for this.
- Comfortable and lightweight
- Good for beginners and amateurs
- Light and breathable upper
- Extremely Value for money
- Not for a professional athlete/runner
- Below par finishing and quality
6) Skechers GoRun Ride 7
The GoRun Ride 7 is a supremely cushioned, lightweight shoe for neutral runners. It is slightly tapered towards the toe giving a rockered geometry. Among the features, it has Skechers’ FLIGHT GEN foam in the midsole and a midfoot strike zone. The latter is a piece of enhanced rubber landing pad on the lateral side of the midfoot to encourage midfoot landing.
The FLIGHT GEN cushioning is really responsive and the ride is nice and firm. The upper is a seamless, breathable, knit unit delivering a sock-like fit and thin tongue.
Overall, this is a whole package! A lightweight, cushioned shoe with a nice ride and excellent fit.
- Breathable upper with a sock like fit
- Flight gen foam is very responsive
- The whole shoe is very roomy
- Lots of cushioning but a nice ride
- Excellent value for money
Nothing really stands out
7) Adidas SL20
By every means, a great lightweight shoe for speedwork and uptempos, the SL20 delivers on the fronts its needs to. Weighing in at just above 220 grams, featuring the lightweight, firm TPU-based Lightstrike foam and a breathable upper makes this a great shoe for short and medium runs in hot summer days.
The Lightstrike foam also comes with a midfoot torsional plate to increase stiffness and adds a spring to your stride. The outsole in the forefoot gets Continental rubber which offers superb grip on wet surfaces. Talking of the upper unit, it is thin yet stiff and breathable and has a very thin tongue. That does help in air passage but you might have to tie it more often than you would like. The fit of the upper is pretty good but the thin mesh really is scratchy and you will need socks. About other minor features, the heel counter and ankle cushioning is decent but the shoe feels flat during slow recover runs.
- Lightweight, firm Lightstrike foam with midfoot torsion plate
- Excellent for speed runs, especially during summer
- Fit is decent and comfortable
- Grip of outsole is excellent
- Good Value for money
- Upper unit is very thin and light
- The upper is really rough and scratchy
- Comfort levels are not great for long runs
- Flat feeling in recovery runs
8) Asics Gel Kayano 27
In the running arena, if Nike is for speed, Asics is definitely for stability. Asics’ Kayano 27 is the latest in the legendary stability shoe lineup, Kayano. Firstly, the shoes have a perfect, glove-like fit and a large toebox. The redesigned, flexible mesh upper is very breathable and has a deep flex groove for stability to overpronators. The heel cup which is very rigid yet lightweight, provides a lot of support.
Asics uses the gender-specific SPACE TRUSSTIC system for managing the different levels of pronation in men and women. The comfortable midsole has ample cushioning and the trademark GEL technology in its heel and toe for shock absorption. The strong exoskeleton and SPACE TRUSSTIC system makes it slightly heavy for a trainer. If are someone who overpronates and demands a performance-oriented, durable stability shoe, choose the best.
- Great cushioning and use of Gel in the midsole for comfort and shock absorption
- Breathable, flexible engineered upper
- Attractive design, available in 72 colors
- Good for overpronating runners
- SPACE TRUSSTIC stability management system
- Slightly heavy for a trainer (310 gram for women)
- Shallow heel cup leads to heel slippage in some runners
9) 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
10) 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
11. Puma Emergence Running shoes
Offering a range of top-quality equipment at various prices is a specialty of Puma. The Emergence running shoes are a top-performing pair in a budget from the German sports giant. Sleek looks, a knit mesh upper and full length EVA midsole are what makes these suitable for logging the miles.
A bootie construction collar makes it a comfortable fit too, easing the process of wearing. Puma’s trademark Softfoam sockliner is given too for added comfort. The outsole is made of EVA too and has decent traction.
- Really cool design
- Strong, grippy EVA outsole
- Very comfortable
- Sockliner for added comfort and ease of wearing
- Could have used a more breathable mesh
- Minimal protection and support
12) UA HOVR Infinite
The HOVR Infinite is a serious running shoe from Under Armour. It is versatile and will cover everything from indoor gyms to medium distance runs on tarmac. The light weight, snug fit and grounnd-contact feel of the shoe makes it a really preferable option as running shoes. Some users have really commended about the responsive HOVR foam which gives a lot of ennergy return
The Micro G midsole is responsive and helps in cushioned landings. On the other hand, the mesh upper is light and breathable while the padding on the ankle and tongue is very comfortable. The materials used in this shoe are among the best Under Armour has to offer, so no question on quality. But there are some minor glitches which make it susceptible to running long hours in this. It will comfortably handle a couple of long marathons but running miles everyday can be slightly tough.
- Comfortable and lightweight
- Good for beginners and amateurs
- Light and breathable upper
- Extremely value for money
- Extremely good quality materials
- Not for a professional athlete/runner
- Can’t run everyday; has a long break-in period too.
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 underpronation 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. 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.