Best Road Running Shoes
Every one of us at one time in our lives has put on a pair of shoes for running, tied the laces, and hit the road for a nice long run. There is truly nothing like going for a run through your neighborhood and feeling the breeze of the air hitting your face, and allowing yourself to escape from the stresses of your day and stay fit.
Some of us enjoy this so much that we try to hit the roads every day and if your one of those people than you know how vital a proper pair of shoes for running are. Below we have listed the top ten road running shoes of 2019 and will explain why they are the best of the best on the market.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 12 hrs of research
The sock liner reduces skin irritation
Features terrific shock absorption technology
Has great gait efficiency thanks to the omega flex grooves
Top Ten Road Running Shoes
1. Brooks Ghost 10
The sock liner reduces skin irritation
Features terrific shock absorption technology
Has great gait efficiency thanks to the omega flex grooves
Could offer more ground cushion
Above all the greatness that is present here, the one thing you should know about the Brooks Ghost 10 Running Shoes is that they offer exceptional shock absorption technology when your foot strikes the ground over and over again.Read more
Cushioning is of the forefront here, that is clear. A full-length S-257 Cushsole adds a bit of durable cushioning, the full-length crash pad adds cushioning throughout the midsole and there is cushioning that adapts to high impacts. It is rather unfortunate how low the underfoot platform sits on the ground because it sacrifices some of the fantastic cushioning that is integrated into the design. But, even with that small hindrance, the shoe still superbly combines performance and comfort.
Brooks integrates new 3D fit print overlays into these shoes and the result is a fit with an increased amount of support while maintaining a lighter feel.
While managing to maintain the natural flexibility of the shoe, there is an engineered mesh that is in the upper to provide your feet with breathability and proper ventilation.
To place cushion in the correct places to deliver a smooth and flawless heel to toe transition, there is a Plush Transition Zone design that is integrated to achieve this. The drop of these shoes is 12mm.
Overall, the outsole utilizes blown rubber in the forefoot and HPR rubber. This combination ensures that the outsole will hold up a long time to wear and with the deep grooves, also deliver you with great grip and traction.
2. Nike Winflo 4
The shoe provides excellent cushioning and comfort
Produces a perfectly snug and secure fit
Includes jacquard that adds stability to the midfoot
Feel heavy on your feet
Perhaps an enhanced emphasis on the weight, in terms of lightness, should have been in order here but it does not affect the overall quality of the Winflo 4 Shoes too drastically. After all, it does land in 2nd which should tell you all you need to know.Read more
Every time you press down on the ground, the Zoom Air Unit manages to absorb as much of the impact and shock as possible for a comfortable ride. Plus, the updated crash rail acts as a separate cushioning device for you.
Besides the classic lace-up design that is utilized, there are also Flywire cables present. What these manage to do is provide a secure and snug fit no matter how many miles you run in an afternoon.
Yes, some users have claimed that these are heavy, but in terms of breathability, they still succeed. Because of an engineered mesh upper section, your feet are provided with a means of receiving air.
For a smooth transition, every time your heel comes down and your toe takes the brunt of the force, there is an integrated co-molded crash rail on the side. The drop of this shoe is 10mm.
No matter what type of terrain you want to run on, in terms of either wetness and slipperiness, the Waffle outsole will adequately adapt to it because it enhances the grip and traction.
3. Brooks Glycerin 15
Includes a removable sock liner that reduces irritation
Features full-length Cushsole technology for additional cushioning
The forefoot flex enhances the flexibility
It did not take long for Brooks to make another appearance and their Glycerin 15 shoes, while some reviewers stated not the best for high arches, are loaded with excellence.Read more
Overall, this is an extremely comfortable shoe with ample protection and cushioning. There is an integrated full-length crash pad that absorbs a majority of the impact, premium midsole materials that deliver exceptional cushioning and a removable sock liner that reduces irritation.
Thanks to the dynamic TPU saddle, you can adjust to your arch for a better and completely custom fit. Plus, overall, the synthetic overlays assist in improving the fit. This is truly a shoe that anyone should be proud to wear and run in. While some users have claimed that they do not work well for high arches and may so early signs of wear, they remain simply superb.
These bad boys are constructed to be both lightweight and breathable. As there is a 3D printed mesh upper section, your feet will receive proper ventilation during your runs. But, because these are designed to minimize the amount of rubber, they remain lightweight as well.
All the pressure zones are strategically placed using an outsole shape to ideally disperse the pressure throughout your gait cycle. What results is the smoothest of transitions? The drop of these shoes is 10mm.
Brooks uses an identical outsole for this version of their running shoes. In the forefoot of the outsole, they use blown rubber and HPR rubber for long-lasting wear of the outsole.
4. ON Cloudsurfer
Great color options
Narrow in toebox
Not much traction on wet ground
"Keep your head in the clouds and your feet on the ground." With these Cloudsurfers from ON running, you'll be doing just the opposite. These shoes will make you feel like you're running on clouds. They fit true to size and have a V-molded heel that adapts to the shape of your foot.Read more
As the name suggests, these shoes make you feel like you are running on a cloud. Depending on the size, of course, they weigh about twelve ounces per pair, making them one of the lightest weight running shoes on our list. The EVA foam midsole, paired with dual-density sock liners and a lightly padded tongue and collar, make these shoes very comfortable.
The V-molded heels of the shoes hug and adapt to the shape of your feet, providing you with a great and comfortable fit. A handful of reviewers claim that the toe box is slightly narrow and that these may not be ideal for runners with wide feet. As far as the lacing system goes, you have two options. You can use the slip-on/off bungee laces or standard lace-up laces; both are included.
Thanks to the 3D Air Mesh upper and interior mesh lining, these shoes breathe very well. Even in the heat, you’ll find comfort with the Cloudsurfer.
With a 6mm drop, your foot sits fairly naturally in this shoe. Many runners have used these shoes to train without injury successfully.
The shape of the shoe when you’re not wearing it is convex. If you place it on a flat surface, you’ll see that the middle of the shoe touches the ground while the heel and toe are raised. The 16 CloudTec elements on the sole of the shoe absorb shock well and help to push you into your next stride. The traction of these running shoes is decent but can be slippery on wet grounds.
5. Adidas Ultraboost 19
Features boost technology which is a highly-responsive cushioning
The Primeknit upper delivers a clean and minimalist feel
Doesn't provide a lot of stability for beginners
Can feel tight
The more energy you give, the more energy you receive. The Ultraboost 19 is highly responsive and features a high energy boost midsole that will provide you with that extra push you need to keep going. These shoes are also very lightweight and available in many different color combinations.Read more
The seamless upper of the Ultraboost 19 provides ultimate comfort and less likelihood of rubbing or blisters. Thanks to the high energy boost midsole technology that has been integrated, the more you strike the more response you get from the cushion. The reason why this works is the midsole returns the energy from your footstrike. You get a bit of support from the torsion spring midsole, however, it may not be enough support for new runners. Overall, these shoes are very lightweight, weighing about 10-ounces.
These running shoes fit like a sock and are made for runners with medium to high arches. The 3D feel frame molds to your foot, providing a great fit without sacrificing the mobility of your Achilles heel. The stretch-web outsole is comfortable and flexible, and the fit is customizable thanks to the traditional lace-up closure. The Ultraboost 19 tends to run true to size with only a few reviews that claim it runs slightly large.
Your feet won’t suffocate in these shoes. Thanks to the Primeknit 360 upper, your feet will be breathing with you with every stride you take.
These shoes feature a 10mm drop. This is a bit high, but it is great for heel strikers who would like to refocus their weight forwards.
These highly responsive shoes function best in urban environments. The rubber outsole is very durable and still holds its traction on a wet road.
6. Hoka Clayton 2
The midsoles balance protection and propulsion
Features a very lightweight design
Has reinforced midfoot support
Not the best for durability as the threads, for some users, frayed quicker than expected
For pure performance, it is difficult to argue with anything that is present here. These Clayton 2 Shoes are very lightweight, deliver an optimal amount of cushion and feature a highly responsive outsole.Read more
Hoka implemented forefoot matrix technology in these shoes to combine responsive cushioning and flexibility to a tee. Besides this, the active foot frame maximizes the stability.
Users with wider feet will appreciate the design at play here. Because these were made with a wider base, it properly adapts for individuals with wider feet, so they do not feel too packed.
What mainly aids in breathability here is the fact that the uppers are made from a no-sew thermoplastic lattice. This is not only breathable in its own right, but it is also very light in weight.
To adapt for adequate and smooth propulsion, which is the act of driving forward, there is soft cushioning in the heel and firm cushioning the forefoot. The drop in this shoe is 4mm.
As opposed to traditional rubber which can add excess weight, the RMAT outsole for this shoe manages to eliminate any excess weight without compromising the traction or rebound cushioning o the outsole.
7. Nike Lunarepic Flyknit Shield
Has a skin-like overlay for added structure on the heel
For superior durability, there is fused foam on the midsole
Includes two sets of sock liners (4mm and 6mm)
Fit tight on your foot
Comfort and versatility are what this shoe is known for. Perhaps one of the most fantastic features is that you have the option for what size sock liner, 4mm or 6mm, you use for fit as it comes with a set of two.Read more
With the manner in which the Flyknit upper is designed, acting as a natural extension of your leg, all you can feel is the great sensation of the cushioning that is located underneath the feet.
Besides the classic lace-up design that is implemented, which allows for a dynamic fit, the shoes also come with two sets of sock liners. As both are different sizes, 4mm and 6mm, you can customize your fit based on your running preferences.
Thanks to the innovative design, with specific areas being knit to allow an optimal amount of breathability throughout, you receive both a breathable membrane and full support in key areas.
The midsole is specifically designed to tailor towards a smooth and flawless transition because there are precision-laser cuts on the sides that will collapse during your footstrike. The drop of these shoes is 9mm.
Not only is the outsole pressure-mapped it also has Lunarlon pods in key areas and what this provides is targeted cushioning where you need it the most.
8. Under Armour Bandit 3
The upper material is very breathable
Provides a secure fit and great support for your feet
Includes flex grooves that increase durability and flexibility
Could offer more support for your arch
While these shoes can prove problematic on wet terrains thanks to the lack of traction provided by the outsole, everywhere else is pretty much golden. In specific, Under Armour integrated superb comfort and cushioning for optimal performance.Read more
The combination of a high-rebound EVA sock liner for enhanced comfort underneath your foot and a dual-layer cushioned midsole for a high response rate is ideal for comfort and should suffice over long runs.
Not only does the knit upper manage to wrap around your foot for enhanced support, but the SpeedForm technology that is also utilized molds to your foot for a better feel and fit.
Many users praised the makeup of the engineered knit upper design, stating that it not only provides a terrific amount of breathability but also remains exceptionally lightweight.
At the back of your foot, there is a firm external heel counter. When you make the transition from the back of your heel to the front of your toe, this adds additional support. The drop in these shoes is 10mm.
Being crafted from solid rubber, the outsole manages to cover all the high-impact zones of impact. While doing so without adding excess weight, this significantly increases the durability of the shoe. However, it is not the best when running on wet and slippery surfaces.
9. Saucony Zealot ISO 2
Integrated TriFlex technology delivers optimal traction and flexibility
The lightweight material is melded into the upper
Features an excellent cushioning system underneath the feet
The toe box is too narrow
The ISO 2 Running Shoes have great cushioning and adapt to the shape of your feet. While many users have claimed they are a tad heavier, overall, they will perform to many runners' standards.Read more
These specific shoes, as opposed to the original, have been updated with an Everun topsole. What this provides is smoother landings in the heel and a significant reduction of pressure in the forefoot.
Thanks to the innovative and unique design of the Isofit upper section, these shoes will adapt to the shape and motion of your feet to enhance the fit. This creates a highly dynamic fitting system as it can change from person to person.
As a whole, Saucony designed their Iso 2 Running Shoes with lightweight materials and in specific, the FlexFilm as it offers a very lightweight frame.
As this has a 4mm heel-to-toe offset, these do not rely so much on the cushioning and stability features of these shoes and instead, rely more on your feet and body which allows for a more natural transition.
Thanks to the Tri-Flex outsole, which is new as compared to the previous Iso Running Shoes, you are left with an outsole that delivers more contact to the ground and a higher amount of flexibility in the toe.
10. PUMA Ignite Evoknit Fold CF
Has excellent flexibility in the toe box
The upper design is sock-like
Features an Ignite midsole for responsive cushioning
Shoes feel narrow
As a first impression, when viewing these shoes, you would probably assume that this placement was a mistake. While these certainly do not look like a classic pair of running shoes, low and behold, you are in for a surprise.Read more
An integrated Ignite midsole offers a superb amount of cushioning for a high-rebound and energy return. In addition to this, the dual-layer knitted upper adds a bit of form-fitting comfort.
The choice is yours to how you wear these shoes as you can either wear them with the collar up or down. If down, you reveal an inner knitted collar. As such, the overall dynamic fit can adapt to your specific style and preferences.
Speaking of the inner knitted collar, if you choose to do so, it reveals a breathable mesh that is infused into it. When it is exposed, which is great for hotter days, your feet are freely allowed to breathe.
These shoes are unique in the sense that the transition line, which has been redesigned, has been designed to mimic the pattern of your natural gait. In turn, this offers a smoother and more natural ride. The drop in these running shoes is 12mm.
The EverTrack outsole, which is constructed mostly from rubber, is not only built to hold up well to general wear and tear but also delivers exceptional traction in the heel.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
When it comes to analyzing any shoes, the cushioning and comfort they provide will always be at the forefront. No matter if they are walking shoes, sports shoes or shoes for running on long-distance, this will always remain significant.
When you spend long periods on your feet, they tend to ache quicker than anything else. So, wearing a highly-cushioned pair of shoes can aid to relieve this pain or prevent it from developing altogether. In specific, for sneakers, the cushioning is not only integrated to provide comfort but also impact absorption and response.
When you strike down from your heel to your toe, proper cushioning will give you an enhanced response and less pain. Also, as when you run at high speeds you will strike down with a decent amount of friction, over long periods excess cushioning in certain areas (for best-cushioned running shoes check here) can absorb substantial impacts and shocks. All in all, without enough cushioning in the shoes, your feet will suffer, and your running experience will be negatively affected.
Every single runner needs to be highly aware of this area as sneakers need to fit a certain way because if they do not, you are not getting the most out of your run. As a general rule of thumb, the shoes need to fit snug on your feet.
But, they should not be too tight to the point where you can’t flex your feet. Instead, they should fit snug on your heel and in the midfoot, while having a little bit of wiggle room in the toe box. Say, half of the width of your thumb should be dead space in the toe box.
But how do you get this fit? Well, a lot of times, designers will integrate specific design features that assist in snugness. However, you need to ensure that you order the correct shoe size. If you ever have apprehension, reference the manufacturer’s shoe size chart as that is a surefire way to know if the shoe will adequately fit your feet.
If you have ever researched outdoor garments of any kinds, including shoes, then you have probably stumbled across the word “breathable.” The first time you see the term, you may be thrown off by it and asking yourself, “garments do not have lungs so why do they need to breathe”? While that is looking at it in a literal sense, it has nothing to do with this. Instead, when a garment, or running shoes, is breathable, it means that it has a way to release moisture.
When excess moisture builds up and is not allowed to release, you will quickly feel clammy and overheat. It is enhanced with these shoes because when you run, your feet will release many sweat glands, and this perspiration needs a means of escaping. One way is by choosing a great pair of socks from our top 10 selected Coolmax socks. But, some users will also appreciate shoes that are not excessive in weight. Keeping them as light as possible will also aid in this as heavier shoes will cause your feet to wear out quicker and sweat more.
This is an area that is specific to runners and one that is critically important. The heel-to-toe-drop, which is the difference in height from the heel to the forefoot, is something that will come up time and time again because it is prevalent every single time you take a step when you run. Besides the fact that it is ideal when the cushion is located in specific places to make the transition from heel to toe (as that is how you run) as smooth as possible without being painful. But, the height of the drop is all based on your preferences.
Studies have been conducted in the past, and some have noticed no difference in injury rate based on the height of the shoe drop. Brian Fullem, a published author, states as a general rule of thumb that people with forefoot pain should aim for a lower-drop. Meanwhile, those with an ache in the heel area should aim for a traditional heel drop (he gives the example of 12mm). If you do not experience pain in any areas of your feet, you need not concern yourself with this, and you can choose a heel-drop that aids in your preference. And in case you have blister problems, try some ideas from our guide on the best blister treatment.
The outsole of any shoe, but especially shoes for running, is as important as any portion of it. While you may think that it is only important for traction and durability, even though it is, it also can aid in a soft landing and flexing. But, it does matter in terms of traction, that is for sure. When you are running on any given day, it can be tough to predict the weather or terrain outdoors. If you ever get caught running on slippery surfaces, you need an outsole that features thick and substantial grooves for grip and traction.
If the cushion is placed in certain areas on the outsole, every single time you land on the ground, it can aid in a soft and painless landing. Similarly, with rubber, it can also help in flexibility for the forefoot area. And, finally, the outsole will take the most abuse of any section of the shoe. So, you want the rubber to be as durable as possible and hold up well to general wear and tear.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
When trying on your new running shoes for the first time, you should always try them with a similar sock to the one you will run in. This will give you a better idea of the overall fit and comfort of the shoe. If the shoe isn't quite right, perhaps even changing the socks can make the shoes more comfortable. Some socks are extra breathable, or that also have built-in arch support.
If your goal is to increase your running speed, you'll want to look for a lightweight shoe that won't slow you down. However, when dropping a few ounces, you are most likely giving up a few features of the shoe. Most of the time, the weight is taken out of the foot support. If you are looking to increase your speed, do it slowly. Lack of foot support can easily injure a new runner.
Other Factors to Consider
Whether you see it as a good thing or a bag thing, the pair that you purchase today most likely won't be with you in two years. There's no going around the fact that you will end running these shoes into the ground.
However, it's still a great idea to take a look at the durability of the shoe to ensure you get a quality pair. On average, you can expect about 400-miles out of your shoes. However, while that is the average number, your weight, terrain, and running style make a difference. Paying close attention to the traction of the shoe and the materials used is essential when determining the durability. You can also check our blog post about How to Choose Running Shoes.
Many running shoes feature a mesh upper for excellent ventilation, but the mesh isn't a solid fabric. It is vital to make sure that there are multiple layers of mesh and that it has been intertwined durably with the other fabrics of the shoe. Additionally, the first part of a running shoe to go is usually the outsole. The most durable soles are made from rubber.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Can you wash running shoes in the washing machine?
It should not come as a surprise to know that eventually, you will need to wash your running shoes. If not, you are doing yourself, and everyone who is around you, a disservice because over time, they will succumb to bacteria and start to the stench. But, many people wonder if they can throw their running shoes into the washer? Well, this is not exactly an easy question to answer. For starters, it all matters if your specific shoes are machine-washable and if you are unsure, check with the manufacturer to see.
If they do happen to be safe, then here is how you should wash them. Besides using a gentle cycle, with a sport-specific detergent and cold water, you need to encase the shoes. Whether with a pillowcase or washable laundry bag, encasing them will add a layer of protection for them.
q: What are some other ways to wash road running shoes?
So, let’s say your shoes are not machine washable, or you merely do not want to wash them in this manner. There are other means of washing, and they all do an admirable job. One of the options is explained in detail in our guide on the best sneaker cleaners. If they are giving off a terrible stench, take the insoles out and scrub them to rid the bacteria.
Then, fill your shoes with baking soda and allow them to sit overnight. If you find that the stench is still there, you may need to soak your shoes in a bucket of warm and soapy water. Once they have soaked overnight, rinse them off with cool water.
However, if the outside is what needs a good scrubbing, try using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. This product speaks for itself, and it works tremendously for cleaning the outsole and exterior of the shoes. If need be, abide by all these steps to wash your shoes, and they should be good to go.
q: Do you have to break in road running shoes?
Everyone knows when you invest in a new pair of shoes, the worst timeframe is the first couple of weeks. Unlike other garments, there is a break-in period that you must go through for any types of shoes and road runners are no different.
But, should you morph or adapt your running style for the break-in period? It is not as if you need to revamp your running style, but you should not run as frequently as you usually do until you have broken in your shoes. Your body, in specific your feet, need a few runs to adapt to your new shoes and get comfortable with them.
As such, for your first four or five runs, you should limit the amount of running you do. In general, you should not exceed five or six miles at one time until they have broken in. You should be able to notice when this happens, but if not, wait for around three or four runs.
q: Will road running shoes work as walking shoes?
It is true that walking shoes and running shoes are designed differently. If you use your walking shoes for running, you would not get the benefits of running shoes (cushioning, impact absorption, enhanced support, etc.) and you would be doing yourself a disservice. But, it is sort of ironic that it does work the other way around. In fact, you may find more benefits in using road running shoes for walking and here is why.
Most walking shoes are not designed with the materials and technology of running shoes. For example, running shoes are made with more cushioning for impact, further support for the heel-to-toe-drop and an overall improved range of motion. When walking, this same technology will keep you comfortable and aid in long walks. Indeed, they may even be better than actual walking shoes which is quite shocking, if you think about it.
q: How long will road running shoes last?
No matter what the modern world crafts, running shoes are not meant to last forever. As Claire Wood, the senior product manager for New Balance, mentions, new shoes are like any other chemical compound that is under pressure; they will break down over time.
However, the question is how long will they last, and when will they begin to break down. From person to person and shoe to shoe, this is going to vary. It largely depends on the quality of the shoe, the type of running being performed, and the weight of the runner.
But, Wood does state what he believes is a general rule of thumb for all runners. Wood claims that every 300 to 500 miles, you should consider upgrading your running shoes and ditching your current model.
q: Can you dry your road running shoes in the dryer?
Alright, so you have a good indication of how to wash your road running shoes. But, how should you dry them and in specific, should you do so in a dryer? Even though you can get away with cycling them through a washing machine, you should never place them in a dryer.
If you happen to ignore this advice and place them in the dryer anyway, then your running shoes could very easily be shrunken in the dryer or even compromised in terms of fit. Once this happens, you will never be able to return the shoes to their original shape and form.
Quickly, you could end up regretting it, so it is not worth it. Instead, try placing newspaper inside of the shoes as this will absorb the moisture and water. When the need is, replace the newspaper with fresh, dry paper.