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Healthline only shows you brands and products that we stand behind.Our team thoroughly researches and evaluates the recommendations we make on our site. To establish that the product manufacturers addressed safety and efficacy standards, we:
- Evaluate ingredients and composition: Do they have the potential to cause harm?
- Fact-check all health claims: Do they align with the current body of scientific evidence?
- Assess the brand: Does it operate with integrity and adhere to industry best practices?
- Best overall running shoe: Brooks Glycerin 20
- Best running shoe for roads: Mizuno Wave Rider 25
- Best budget-friendly: Saucony Axon 2
- Most versatile: Brooks Ghost 14
- Best running shoe for trails: Salomon Speedcross 6
- Best running shoe with cushioning: Hoka Bondi 8
- Best running shoe for wide feet: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22
- Best running shoe for flat feet: ASICS Gel-Kayano 28
- Best zero-drop running shoe: Anything from Altra
- Best sustainable running shoe: Allbirds Tree Dasher 2
You may not think of it this way, but running shoes can be an investment in your feet and your health.
Choosing the right pair of running shoes can encourage more comfortable movement and protect your lower body from impact damage caused by footfalls on hard surfaces.
So, whether you’re looking for form or function, there’s an option for you here.
What’s the deal with ‘drop’?
The difference in height between the heel and forefoot of a shoe is known as the heel-to-toe “drop,” or offset. Many running shoes have a drop of 6 millimeters (mm) or more, so your heel sits up about a quarter of an inch higher than your toes.
A higher drop means your heel is more likely to hit the ground first when you run or walk, while a lower drop can help you get more of a midfoot or forefoot strike.
Depending on your individual stride and preferences, you may find that either a higher or lower drop feels more comfortable.
- Price: Quality running shoes are an investment. Still, we tried to find shoes at a variety of price points to accommodate varying budgets.
- Reviews: We read hundreds of reviews and chose shoes that are highly rated by real runners.
- Brand reputation: Many of these brands have been trusted for years and are known for making quality running shoes that prioritize both comfort and value.
- Versatility: There’s also a little something for every runner on this list — vegan, wide-width options, zero-drop, and more. Plus, each model has a men’s and women’s version (and some children’s versions, too!). This means there are a lot of size options for your feet.
- Vetting: The shoes on our list have been vetted to ensure that they align with Healthline’s brand integrity standards and approach to well-being. You can read more about our vetting process.
A note on price
General price ranges with dollar signs ($–$$$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product is considered rather affordable, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher cost.
Generally, list prices range from $100 to $170, though this may vary depending on available discounts and where you shop.
- $ = $100–$135
- $$ = $135–$150
- $$$ = over $150
We use “men’s” and “women’s” in this article to align with how products are sold on retail sites, but that doesn’t mean you need to stick to one or the other. Choose the product with the fit, style, and features that work best for you.
Best overall running shoe
Brooks Glycerin 20
- Price: $$$
- Weight: 10.1 ounces (286.3 grams) for men, 9.1 ounces (258 grams) for women
- Drop: 10 millimeters
The Brooks Glycerin 20 features thick, cushioned soles that are designed for maximum comfort on hard surfaces like pavement. According to Brooks, the updated DNA LOFT v3 cushioning is their softest, most cushioned option to date.
There are several color options available, and a light 3D-printed mesh upper keeps the shoes from weighing you down. The shoe also incorporates recycled polyester and water bottles as part of Brooks’ sustainability initiatives.
Glycerin models are a fan-favorite of long-distance runners and are available in narrow, medium, and wide widths. Compared with the previous version, the Glycerin 20 is also slightly lighter, softer, and roomier.
Reviews: While some reviewers don’t like the Glycerin 20 as much as previous versions, most appreciate how cushioned this shoe is and say it’s comfortable enough to wear all day long.
- plenty of color options
- comfortable for long-distance runners and casual walkers alike
- designed with recycled materials
Best running shoe for roads
Mizuno Wave Rider 25
- Price: $$
- Weight: 9.6 ounces (272.2 grams) for men, 8.3 ounces (235.3 grams) for women
- Drop: 12 millimeters
Mizuno’s Wave Rider series has been a runner-favorite for years. The 25 combines a cushioned midsole for solid shock reduction and a carbon rubber outsole for long-term durability. Plus, the base plate is made from castor beans, making this a more eco-friendly design.
Reviews: Road runners give these shoes excellent reviews, but many also advise sizing up because they can run small and narrow. Several reviewers also complain about the lack of color options on the Wave Riders and say they wish the overall aesthetic was better.
- cushioned support for road running
- designed to last for miles
- eco-friendly materials
- may run small and narrow
- limited color options (although there are more on Amazon than on the company’s website)
Saucony Axon 2
- Price: $
- Weight: 9.6 ounces (272 grams) for men, 8.5 ounces (240.9 grams) for women
- Drop: 4 millimeters
Saucony’s Axon 2 shoe is a budget-friendly pick for runners of all levels. It’s a bouncy design with a breathable mesh upper and a curved, rocking midsole that encourages the natural transition of your foot mid-stride. While they do have a slightly longer profile than some other shoes on this list, they’re considerably lightweight and cushy.
Reviews: Reviewers say this shoe provides great value for the price and that it’s cushioned without being overly heavy. While some runners say the rocking sole of these shoes made them faster, others don’t like that the shoe slopes upward near the toe box. A few reviewers say these run large.
- great value for the price (and often on sale)
- lightweight and cushioned
- durable carbon outer should extend the life span
- rocking sole isn’t for everyone
- may run large
Brooks Ghost 14
- Price: $$
- Weight: 9.9 ounces (280.7 grams) for men, 9 ounces (255.1 grams) for women
- Drop: 12 millimeters
The Brooks Ghost 14 is a great option for a wide variety of runs and activities. The soles are engineered to provide plenty of cushion for long distances while being responsive enough for short sprints, and the 3D-printed mesh upper helps lighten the shoe’s overall weight.
A variety of colors are available and, like the Glycerin model, the Ghost makes use of recycled water bottles and polyester in the design. This is also Brooks’ first carbon-neutral shoe, so it’s a great option if you’re looking for something eco-friendly.
Reviews: Reviewers love the soft, smooth feel of these neutral running shoes. Some customers report that these shoes can be too tight or narrow for wide feet.
- great reviews from road runners
- neutral shoe with cushioned soles and a flexible upper
- carbon-neutral manufacturing and uses recycled materials
- slightly narrow
- may not be a good fit for wide feet
Best running shoe for trails
Salomon Speedcross 6
- Price: $$
- Weight: 10.5 ounces (298 grams) for men, 9.24 ounces (262 grams) for women
- Drop: 10 millimeters
The Speedcross 6 is the latest version of Salomon’s popular Speedcross trail runner. The rubber soles are designed for maximum traction and grip on unpredictable terrain, and the midsole is designed to be cushioned and responsive. Ripstop fabric in the mesh upper helps protect your feet from rocks and sticks.
Compared with the Speedcross 5, the Speedcross 6 has larger lugs on the outer sole but still offers a lightweight feel for a trail shoe. And, like the 5, it features a taller collar and includes a mesh upper for extra comfort.
Reviews: At the time of publication, there are not a ton of reviews available yet for the Speedcross 6, but most of them are positive. The Speedcross 6 only comes in one width option, which reviewers say is slightly narrow. A few folks recommend going up a half size.
- good grip for technical terrain
- lightweight with cushioned soles that most runners find comfortable over long distances
- features a ripstop mesh upper and recycled materials
- limited color options
- not recommended for wide feet
Best running shoe with cushioning
Hoka One One Bondi 8
- Price: $$$
- Weight: 10.8 ounces (306.1 grams) for men, 8.9 ounces (252.3 grams) for women
- Drop: 4 millimeters
Hoka is known for designing shoes with thick cushioning that’s meant for maximum comfort, and the Bondi 8 is no exception. Available in multiple width options, the Bondi 8 is one of Hoka’s most popular models. It features Hoka’s highest level of cushioning paired with neutral support.
Compared with the Bondi 7, the 8 has an extended heel and a pillowed tongue for a cushier feel.
Reviews: While some reviewers say they still prefer the Bondi 7, there’s no denying these shoes are more cushioned than most. A pair of Bondi 8’s are a little heavier than similar running shoes. Some customers report the larger profile can take a few wears to get used to.
Sizing can be a little different in Hokas as well, so you may want to try these on in a store first.
- regular and wide options available
- added cushion in tongue for a comfortable fit
- lining is made from recycled materials
- larger profile
- sizing may require a try-on
Best running shoe for wide feet
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22
- Price: $$
- Weight: 10.2 ounces (298.2 grams) for men, 9.0 ounces (255.1 grams) for women
- Drop: 12 millimeters
Designed specifically for runners with wide feet and engineered for arch support, these shoes use a GuideRails support system that may help stabilize your gait and prevent injury. They’re available in four widths and feature a roomy toe box.
The cushioning is touted to protect your feet while also providing responsiveness to your running environment. Compared with the Adrenaline GTS 21, the GTS 22 has a firmer midsole and updated cushioning.
Keep in mind that this shoe has a higher drop than some other options, which may not be suitable for all runners.
Reviews: This shoe provides more arch support than some other Brooks models, and reviewers agree that the support is sturdy and still comfortable.
- highly rated by long-distance runners
- wider toe box for a comfier ride
- available in four widths
- higher drop may not suit all runners
Best running shoe for flat feet
ASICS Gel-Kayano 28
- Price: $$$
- Weight: 10.9 ounces (309 grams) for men, 9.1 ounces (257.9 grams) for women
- Drop: 10 millimeters
These running shoes are specifically designed for runners with flat feet. They’re designed to help with overpronation (when your foot rolls inward), which can be more common for people with flat feet.
The Gel-Kayano 28 features new, lightweight midsole foam that’s designed to be more responsive. It also has improved ventilation in the mesh upper and weighs less than the Gel-Kayano 27.
Reviews: Most reviewers agree that this shoe is comfortable and high quality. That said, others say they’ve experienced quality issues. And a few folks warn that they may seem tight if you add orthotics for further support or correction.
- good arch support for flat feet
- extra cushion and wide toe box
- variety of width and color options
- may feel tight with custom orthotics
- some quality discrepancies among reviewers
Best zero-drop running shoe
Anything from Altra
- Price: $–$$$
- Shoe weight: 6.8–11.6 ounces (192.8–328.9 grams) for men, 5.7–10.4 ounces (161.6–294.8 grams) for women
- Drop: 0 millimeters
Altra’s shoe line is entirely zero-drop. Their “Balanced Cushioning” technology positions your heel and forefoot at an equal distance from the ground, which Altra says helps provide better alignment and running form.
A variety of styles are available for city, trail, competitive, and long-distance running. Wide toe boxes are said to comfortably fit most feet. Altra also labels shoes as Original, Standard, or Slim depending on how wide they are.
A few of the most popular models include the Lone Peak, Escalante Racer, and Paradigm.
Reviewers: Altras have a specific feel, but a lot of runners love them. Some customers report that the mesh and soles begin to wear down after vigorous use. Some folks find the laces to be awkwardly long.
- zero-drop in all models
- variety of fit options for different foot shapes
- great reviews from people with back and knee pain
- some customers complain about quick wear and tear
- longer laces than some other brands
Best sustainable running shoe
Allbirds Tree Dasher 2
- Price: $
- Weight: 10.23 ounces (290 grams) for men, 8.56 ounces (242.7 grams) for women
- Drop: 7 millimeters
If sustainability is a priority for you, you may want to consider Allbirds. Their Tree Dasher 2 model is a versatile and comfortable shoe that’s perfect for all types of runners, walkers, and gym-goers. It’s available in several consistent color options and quite a few seasonal ones.
The seamless upper is made from Forest Stewardship Council-certified Tencel lyocell (which is sourced from eucalyptus fibers), and the laces are made from recycled water bottles. Plus, Allbirds is a carbon-neutral company, which means they offset their emissions from production and shipping.
Reviews: The Tree Dasher 2 gets heavy praise for its lightweight feel and cushioned soles. While the majority of rave reviews are from high mileage walkers, there are several from runners.
These are a more lightweight model, so they may not be the best fit for marathon training or for folks with high arches. Also, reviews are mixed about whether these work well for wide feet or not.
- from a climate-neutral business, uses sustainably sourced materials
- lightweight, supportive, and comfortable for a variety of activities
- great reviews from walkers, runners, hikers, and more
- only one width option
- support is better for shorter runs and walking versus long distance
|Brooks Glycerin 20||$$$||• 10.1 oz (286.3 g) for men|
• 9.1 oz (258 g) for women
|10 mm||all types of runners|
|Mizuno Wave Rider 25||$$||• 9.6 oz (272.2 g) for men|
• 8.3 oz (235.3 g) for women
|12 mm||road runners|
|Saucony Axon 2||$||• 9.6 oz (272.2 g) for men|
• 8.5 oz (240.9 g) for women
|Brooks Ghost 14||$$||• 9.9 oz (280.7 g) for men|
• 9 oz (255.1 g) for women
|Salomon Speedcross 6||$$||• 10.5 oz (298 g) for men|
• 9.24 oz (262 g) for women
|10 mm||trail running|
|Hoka Bondi 8||$$$||• 10.8 oz (306.1 g) for men|
• 8.9 oz (252.3 g) for women
|Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22||$$||• 10.2 oz (298.2 g) for men|
• 9.0 oz (255.1 g) for women
|12 mm||wide feet|
|Asics Gel-Kayano 28||$$$||• 10.9 oz (309 g) for men|
• 9.1 oz (257.9 g) for women
|10 mm||flat feet|
|Altra||$–$$$||• 6.8–11.6 oz (192.8–328.9 g) for men|
• 5.7–10.4 oz (161.6–294.8 g) for women
|Allbirds Tree Dasher 2||$||• 10.23 oz (290 g) for men|
• 8.56 oz (242.7 g) for women
|7 mm||the environment|
It’s not a surprise that even the most exhaustive list of features can’t compare to how a shoe feels on your own foot.
Many shoes have a lot of research, development, and engineering put into them, from the materials used to the design and style. But it always comes down to what fits you and your feet.
Here are some questions and things to keep in mind as you forage for footwear:
- What’s the return policy? Can you return the shoes if you don’t like them after you’ve worn them? How long do you have for a return, and what condition does the store or manufacturer accept shoes in? Do the shoes have a warranty?
- How thick are the soles? Sole thickness can tell you a lot about how long the shoe will last before the soles wear down. But thick can also mean heavy, so it’s crucial to find resilient soles that don’t add too much weight, especially if you’re a frequent or competitive runner.
- How much does the shoe weigh? Shoe weight does have an impact on how much energy you’re expending to run — or even walk and hike. You may not realize how much a shoe weighs you down until you switch to a pair made with lighter materials.
- What’s it made of? If you need your shoes to be breathable for hot climates, you might want a pair that has more mesh. For shoes that are waterproof for use in rain or through wet, muddy terrain, Gore-Tex finishes may be your best bet.
- What’s the heel-to-toe drop? What’s the difference in how much material supports your toes versus how much supports your heel? Is there no difference (zero-drop) or a few millimeters? What feels good when you run?
- What kind of tread do you need? Is the tread made for specific terrain, like gripping pavement or preventing slips in the mud? Is it made for hard or flat surfaces? What about soft or uneven surfaces?
- What socks will you wear with these? Knowing the general thickness of the socks you’ll wear with your running shoes can help with picking the right size, so try on shoes wearing socks of the same thickness.
Here’s a quick guide to sizing specifications found in most shoes:
- Length: This depends on how long your foot is. You’ll see numbers in both inches (United States) and other national standards, like those from the United Kingdom, Japan, and Europe.
- Width: Your foot size can be anywhere from narrow (AA) to as wide as possible (EE). The most common sizes you’ll find are narrow, medium (M or B), and wide (D).
- Marketing and design: Shoes will usually say whether they’re designed specifically for the male or female foot. But regardless of how they’re marketed, fit is what matters most. You may find wider shoe designs marketed to men and more variety in smaller and narrower sizes in shoes marketed to women.
What’s the difference between a running shoe and a regular shoe?
Running shoes vary by brand and model, but they’re typically designed to provide additional support and cushion to help protect your feet and joints while you run. They may also feature more arch support and a higher heel-to-toe drop than regular shoes (some may feature less).
The materials used in the soles of running shoes are intended to be responsive and absorb shock, while the upper typically includes cooling, breathable mesh and knit materials.
Which shoe brand is best for running?
There are several great running shoe brands. What’s best for one runner may not work for another. Some popular brands among dedicated runners are Brooks, ASICS, Saucony, Mizuno, and Hoka.
What’s the difference between a running shoe and a training shoe?
Running shoes and training shoes may be more similar than they are different, depending on the shoe. However, training sneakers are typically flatter and may provide less support for running.
If you’re focused on strength training, running shoes may be too cushioned or structured for some movements.
There’s no avoiding trying shoes on, whether you can do it in-store or in the comfort of your own home, so make sure the store or manufacturer has a return policy that works for you.
Try to take your shoes out for a spin for a true test.