Whether you’re brand new to running or you're a long-time marathon veteran, there’s one thing every runner needs: a good pair of sneakers. After all, running is a rather no-frills sport. Sneakers are really the only piece of equipment necessary for logging those miles, which is why it's vital to find a pair to fit your specific needs.
As an avid runner myself, I understand the importance of a reliable pair of sneakers. After running two marathons — one in old, ratty sneakers and the other in a pair of perfectly broken-in shoes — I know that quality sneakers can make a massive difference in your speed and risk of injury post-run.
After scouring customer reviews, doing extensive market research and testing out many of these running shoes myself, I’ve found the best options for every type of runner below.
Best casual running shoes
With over 41,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, you just know this Adidas running shoe is going to be a good one. The stretchy mesh allows all foot shapes to sit comfortably within the shoe, while the midsole cushioning adds a spring to every step.
An ultra-cushioned and stylish pick, this New Balance sneaker features a heel that’s designed to hug the back of your foot for a more secure feel.
Made for short runs, workout classes and gym sessions, these sneakers are one of the most versatile options on this list. The CloudTec outsole is made for explosive movements and the extra cushioning in the heel offers more stability. As a bonus, they just look really cool, too.
Best distance running shoes
Those who enjoy long-distance running will love this Reebok sneaker — especially since it's one of the more affordable options in this roundup. Featuring extra responsive cushioning, each step feels smooth and supported.
If your goal is to go further rather than faster while running, try out this fast-selling shoe. The midsole foam is very responsive to your movements, meaning you’ll experience a trampoline-like effect as you run. Also, a minimum of 20 percent of the shoe’s upper fabric is made with recycled material, which is a nice perk for those looking to live a lifestyle that reduces waste.
As one of Nike’s most cushioned sneakers, the Flyknit is designed to reduce injury during your workout. The soft and springy material is durable without feeling too heavy, which is a major benefit for someone looking to clock in a ton of miles during their run.
Best running shoes for speed
For the lightning-fast runner, try this option from Brooks Running. Its lightweight sole allows for speedy runs without any extra bulk weighing you down. Plus, it’s available in multiple colors so anyone can find a shade to fit their preference.
Built for the low-mileage runner, this lightweight shoe is great for shorter, faster road runs. A removable Ortholite sockliner provides underfoot support while also managing moisture while on the move. The shoe also includes a gel cushioning system for added comfort on impact.
While these Saucony sneakers are slightly on the pricier side, they’re worth the splurge. The plush layers within the shoe take the stress off the feet while you run, making each mile a little easier on tired toes. The shoe also uses Speedroll Technology to propel you forward and give you the feeling of continuous momentum.
Best running shoes for trails
The secret sauce for this trail-running sneaker is the ultra-durable rubber outsole. It uses deep, sharp lugs that are perfect for maximum grip on loose, uneven surfaces. The protective toe caps ensure you won’t stub your toe on any rough terrain and the quicklace system makes sliding the shoes on and off easier than ever. Consider these the perfect shoe for both beginner and experienced trail runners alike.
Running shoes shoppers love
While Allbirds is known for its walking and hiking shoes, the brand also has a style that will keep runners active. This eco-friendly shoe is extra lightweight and made with a brand new mid-foam innovation called SwiftFoam. Whether you're a daily runner or a walker, this shoe will hold your foot in place.
"This running shoe is great for your everyday 5K run. It also felt great walking around with them and running my errands," added one buyer.
The first-ever sneaker collection has been a hit since its release. Lululemon's Blissfeel running shoe is a fan favorite for its memory foam cushioning and overall support. With a wider toebox and fun design, this is a great shoe to walk around the neighborhood and short runs.
"They’ve been great for every day wear, going for runs on the treadmill or on the pavement, and I feel stable enough in them to lift.
If you need a little bit more bounce, this Adidas pair will keep you moving. The running shoe is made with 50 percent recycled material and a Geofit padded collar that will keep your foot in place. If you're into working out at the gym, this can work perfectly for your strength training days.
Looking for an everyday road shoe that matches comfort and simplicity? This one will take you the extra mile thanks to its lightweight composition. Your feet will feel extremely cozy while running errands around thanks to the EGO midsole paired with InnerFlex technology. Like the 2.5 version, the Escalante 3 is a pair that has wide cushioning for those marathoners that need extra support.
The combination of the breathable mesh and the wider toe box is essential to keeping runners longing for more miles. This shoe will let your toes breathe thanks to the roomy interior.
"Very reliable for any run. They stay comfy on long runs and they work for faster days too," shared one buyer.
For more stories like this, check out:
- 11 budget-friendly exercise bikes to help you reach your fitness goals
- 15 affordable treadmills to get your steps in at home
- Work hard, feel confident in these 15 plus-size activewear pieces
- The best fitness trackers and smartwatches to keep track of your 2022 health goals
- How to level up your workouts with expert-approved resistance gear