Whether you’re chasing a fastest 5K or a marathon PB, these are the best running shoes for the kind of running you do.

When it comes to upping the mileage or smashing your PBs as you progress as a runner, donning a pair of the best running shoes can make a huge difference. Alongside keeping your feet comfortable while pounding the pavements or hitting the trails, modern trainers also offer a range of features to enhance your stride, every step of the way.

To help you put your best foot forward, we put a selection of the latest running shoes through their paces – here’s the cream of the crop.

These are the best running shoes you can buy

Running shoes mean different things to different people, but one thing our testers could all agree on was the Nike Vaporfly 3 is a fantastic shoe, and the best for fast runners. That doesn’t necessarily mean racers though; anyone looking to improve their running could benefit from Nike’s carbon super shoe. Whether that’s looking for pacier parkruns or chasing longer distance PBs, you’ll feel a better and faster runner in these shoes.

Other running shoe recommendations

Best running shoes for neutral runnersIf you’re looking for a comfortable cruising shoe, look no further than the Brooks Ghost Max. DNA Loft V2 cushioning and a GlideRoll rocker combine to create a super-comfy ride that still has a spring in its step.
Best running shoes for maximum cushioningThe best max-cushioned shoe we’ve tested is the ASICS Novablast 4, which is a daily trainer that packs an impressive amount of punch. It’s surprisingly responsive for a big shoe.
Best running shoes for overpronatorsBrooks’ Adrenaline line has been going for decades, and the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 takes its stability for overpronators to new heights, with its unique GuardRail to help you keep your form as you tire.
Best running shoes for off-road trailsThe inov-8 Trailfly G 270 V2 shoe is a great off-road all-rounder, with enough cushioning to help you clock up the miles in comfort with good grip and propulsion on most surfaces.

Why you can trust Men’s Fitness

We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test. Our team of reviewers includes experienced product testers, PTs and fitness writers – as well as the core MF team – who know exactly what sets the best products apart from the rest.

1. Nike Vaporfly 3

Product shot of a Nike Vapourfly 3 trainer

Men’s Fitness verdict

We’d have forgiven Nike for making a carbon copy of its excellent v2 super shoe. Instead it’s made refinements that may divide opinion but there’s no doubting the racing pedigree of the Vaporfly 3.
Pros
  • Light, punchy and energetic
  • Softer midsole for more protection
Cons
  • Lost some stiffness
  • Less secure fit
MaterialsZoomX foam; Carbon fibre flyplate
Weight 6.9oz / 195g
ColorsWhite and Particle Grey / Sail and Orange

The Nike Vaporfly 3 maintains its lightweight design, combining a carbon plate with Nike ZoomX foam, but with notable changes. More ZoomX foam in the midsole, along with a redesigned heel and improved midfoot stability, enhance the shoe’s performance. The new Flyknit uppers are lighter and more breathable, while the outsole features a thinner rubber covering with a waffle design for improved grip.

It’s the lightest carbon shoe available, and despite retaining a 40mm/32mm stack height, it offers a more stable platform. In testing over 50 miles, including a marathon, it performed exceptionally well, providing cushioned protection but with a slightly softer ride compared to the Vaporfly 2. While it’s still agile and fun, offering better breathability, it sacrifices some race-focused responsiveness for versatility and comfort. Overall, the Vaporfly 3 is a great option for various distances, offering improved stability and protection.

2. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23

Product shot of a Brooks running shoe

Men’s Fitness verdict

If you’re an overpronator looking for a reliable stability shoe for mixed daily training, we can recommend the GTS 23. It’s not quite light or sprightly enough for regular high tempo efforts though.
Pros
  • Well balanced
  • GuardRail gives support to overpronators
  • Four widths to choose from
Cons
  • A little too heavy for pacey runs
Materials60% recycled materials
Weight10.1oz
ColorsPeacoat / Green Gecko / Black & Hawaiian / Black & Ebony / Blue

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 offers significant updates from its predecessor, focusing on stability and comfort. It replaces the old firm rubber insert with a guide rail around the midsole, promoting proper foot spreading and strengthening. This design aids overpronators by encouraging a more balanced push-off. The shoe’s balanced feel and subtle cushioning, especially under the forefoot, promote correct running form for various paces and distances.

Compared to the GTS 22, it features a slightly softer DNA LOFT v2 midsole and a wider forefoot for a plush yet responsive ride. Weighing just over 10oz, it’s suitable for everyday training, offering comfort and reliability. With approximately 60% recycled materials in the uppers and various width options, it’s a solid choice for stability-seeking runners, especially at its price point.

3. Brooks Ghost Max

Brooks Ghost Max shoes balanced on a yellow beam

Men’s Fitness verdict

The Ghost Max has real comfortable cruiser credentials with a consistent, stable ride, but there’s not quite enough pop when you want to pick up the pace.
Pros
  • Comfortable fit
  • Mild but well rockered ride
  • Good stability
Cons
  • Midsole foam is a little dull
  • Not one for tempo work
  • Could be lighter
MaterialsDNA Loft V2, 56.4% recycled uppers
Weight10oz / 283.5g
ColorsRed orange, crown blue, black, black and atomic blue

The Brooks Ghost Max, similar to the Ghost and Glycerin 20, offers a good blend of comfort and performance. Available in two width options, we found it suits narrow feet well, with ample space in the toe box and no heel slippage issues. Featuring a higher stack of DNA Loft v2 cushioning compared to the Ghost 15, it provides a stable and protective platform, enhanced by the GlideRoll Rocker for smooth transitions.

While we thought the cushioning may feel slightly dull compared to the Glycerin 20’s livelier foam, the Ghost Max excels in easy-paced runs, offering a smooth and consistent ride. However, it may lack responsiveness for faster runs. It offers reliable grip on various terrains, making it suitable for most runner’s needs.

4. ASICS Novablast 4

Men’s Fitness verdict

A big improvement on its predecessors, with more responsiveness despite big cushioning. If you like maximal shoes with a softer edge you’ll likely enjoy this shoe.
Pros
  • Big, cushioned comfort
  • More responsive ride than the Novablast 3
Cons
  • A bit on the bulky side
  • Sometimes a bit too soft
MaterialsUpper made from at least 75% recycled materials; FF BLAST™ PLUS ECO cushioning made with 20% bio-based content
Sizes 6 – 15 (US)
Weight 266g / 9.4oz
Colors7 available

The ASICS Novablast 4 maintains its bulky appearance but introduces significant updates. Featuring FlyteFoam Blast + Eco midsole foam with recycled materials, it enhances stability and transitions with a more aggressive rocker. The engineered woven upper offers improved stretch and durability. The shoe’s design now includes higher side walls, an upward-sweeping toe box, and neoprene-like tongue wings for better foot wrap.

Despite a slightly increased weight from the previous model, it remains lighter than competitors like Gel Nimbus 25 and Brooks Ghost Max. Priced at £135 / $140, it maintains its cushioned comfort but feels firmer and more responsive, suitable for various paces. While still bulky, we felt the wider base enhances its stability. Overall, Novablast 4 is an upgrade, appealing to fans of maximal, cushioned shoes with added responsiveness.

5. New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4

New Balance Fresh Foam X More V4

Men’s Fitness verdict

The ultra-cushioned X More v4 ticks all the boxes as a daily mile-eater, but is too big, if not too heavy, for pacier sessions. A great choice for beginners though.
Pros
  • Surprisingly light feel, despite the midfoot cushioning
  • Ideal for building up distance while minimising impact on joints
Cons
  • Heavy cushioning will divide opinion
  • Narrow fit may cause rubbing
MaterialsFresh Foam X midsole; Engineered mesh upper (made of 50% or more recycled materials)
Sizes 7-15 (US)
Weight 295g / 10.4oz
ColorsBlack with Phantom / Arctic Grey with Natural Indigo / Cobalt with Black

The New Balance Fresh Foam X More v4 offers lightweight yet ample cushioning, ideal for entry-level runners aiming to increase their distances while reducing impact-related injuries. However, potential issues arise with its narrow fit and built-up midsole cushioning, causing discomfort and rubbing on the inside of the foot, especially for pronators.

While that may not affect all runners and provides extra protection for some, it obstructs natural gait for others. If you get the fit right and rubbing isn’t an issue, it excels in providing a comfortable ride for slow and steady miles, making it suitable for training sessions but less so for races due to its maximalist cushioning.

On Cloudsurfer 7 running shoe

6. On Cloudsurfer 7

Men’s Fitness verdict

The Cloudsurfer 7 is one of those rare beasts: a dedicated daily trainer than can handle harder, faster efforts too. It may be a bit pricier than its peers but that gets you great versatility.
Pros
  • Light and lively
  • Great versatility
  • Well balanced cushioning
Cons
  • A bit narrow across the midfoot
  • Squeaks when wet
MaterialsHelion™ superfoam midsole; Rubber outsole
Weight 238g / 8.4oz
ColorsWhite Frost / Black / Flame White / Black Cobalt / White Sand

The On Cloudsurfer 7 is a top-tier daily trainer, offering a lightweight, comfortable and well-balanced ride suitable for various training efforts. A notable update lies in its revamped midsole featuring CloudTec Phase technology, which delivers softer landings and springier toe-offs. The shoe boasts a soft dual-layer mesh upper for excellent step-in comfort, although its narrow fit might pose issues for wider feet.

Despite its light weight, it maintains durability and reliable grip with a thin rubber outsole. Weighing 238g / 8.4oz, it competes favorably with similar trainers on the market. We tested it over 30-plus miles on various terrains, and were impressed with its responsive, stable and cushioned ride. Priced at £150 / $160, it offers great value for its versatility, making it suitable for both easy runs and faster efforts, ideal for runners seeking a dependable shoe for all types of training sessions.

Product shot of a Hoka Rocket X 2 running shoe

7. Hoka Rocket X 2

Men’s Fitness verdict

Its well-balanced ride makes this a versatile shoe for a range of speeds and distances. That it’s one of the cheapest super shoes going makes the Rocket X 2 even more compelling.
Pros
  • Springy and lively ride
  • Good versatility
  • Relatively stable for a carbon shoe
Cons
  • Very tight fit
  • Not as propulsive as some rivals
MaterialsTechnical synthetic mesh upper; Carbon fibre plate
Weight221g / 7.8oz
ColorsCeramic / Evening Primrose

The Hoka Rocket X 2 features a race-ready design with a synthetic mesh upper, gusseted tongue and internal foot cage ensuring a secure fit. However, its narrow fit and tight entry may pose challenges for those with wide feet or high insteps. Once on, though, we felt it offers a comfortable and locked-in feel, providing excellent stability even during tight turns. The zonal outsole rubber reinforcements enhance grip and durability.

It’s one of the lightest carbon shoes, offering a compact, agile and nimble ride reminiscent of early Nike Vaporfly models. With a stack height of 36mm/31mm and a 5mm drop, it provides a subtle yet stable platform for running. We tested it over 50 miles and reckon it excels as a race shoe, offering a balanced, energetic and versatile performance suitable for various paces and distances.

8. New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v13 

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13

Men’s Fitness verdict

It’s lighter than its predecessor, with more midsole foam, and although it delivers comfort in spades the 1080 v13 may have dug itself a hole in terms of versatility.
Pros
  • Big, cushioned comfort
  • Plush, padded uppers
Cons
  • Lacks a bit of energy
  • Not as versatile as some daily trainers
MaterialsFresh Foam X midsole; Ndurance rubber outsole
Weight260g / 9.2oz
ColorsMarine blue with night sky / black with white / black with blacktop /
grey matter with shadow grey / starlight with marine blue

Taking the trademark comfort of New Balance’s 1080 line and dialling it up even further, the Fresh Foam X 1080 v13 is the perfect choice for long, slow runs, in our opinion.

Naturally, the focus on big cushioning means anyone wanting to run light and fast will be better served elsewhere, but for anything at easy, conversational pace, we reckon you won’t find a more comfortable option than this.

9. Brooks Ghost 16

Men’s Fitness verdict

Brooks’ beginner-friendly, workhorse daily trainer gets new foam that makes it more likeable, yet doesn’t stray too far from that Ghost DNA so loyal fans will still want to lace up for daily runs.
Pros
  • Familiar stable and smooth Ghost ride
  • New foam offers plusher feeling underfoot
  • Can comfortably handle slow to moderate paces
Cons
  • Toe box feels a touch short
  • More versatile alternatives available
  • Isn’t much of a looker
MaterialsEngineered mesh upper, nitrogen-infused DNA Loft V3 foam, rubber and silica outsole
Weight280g / 9.9oz (UK men’s size 8)
Sizes6 – 14
ColorsSix colors available

The Brooks Ghost is now in its 16th iteration and these latest refinements make it more likeable than ever. The new DNA Loft V3 foam gives more bounce and plushness than its predecessor, which helped us go deeper into big-mile runs.

The Ghost has borrowed the RoadTack outsole tech from its stablemate the Glycerin 21, providing extra traction and promising longevity. Brooks has shaved a little weight of v15 too, creating an all-round better daily shoe for moderate-paced training miles.

10. Saucony Endorphin Pro 4

Men’s Fitness verdict

The Pro 4 is an ideal first carbon marathon shoe. It gives you something few carbon shoes offer – great comfort and speed over a range of distances. Only the Elite model pips it to the post.
Pros
  • Soft and comfortable upper
  • Impressive energy return
  • Good value entry-level carbon shoe
  • Blend of comfort and speed makes an ideal first marathon shoe
Cons
  • There are faster and lighter options available
  • Not ideal for shorter races
MaterialsFull carbon plate, PWRRUN PB/HG foam
ColorsBlack and white, vizi-orange
Sizes6-14
Heel-toe drop8mm (39.5mm/31.5mm)
Weight7.5oz / 212g

While the Saucony Endorphin Elite is an out-and-out long-distance race shoe, the similarly carbon-shod Pro 4 has more all-rounder potential. It hits the sweet spot between comfort and speed, with plenty of spring and energy return from the forefoot encouraging a high turnover.

Ultra-thin uppers give your feet plenty of breathability, adding to a respectable weight of just 212g / 7.5oz. If you’re looking for a shoe to encourage you to train for your first marathon, the Endorphin Pro 4 is a good value option we can easily recommend.

11. Inov-8 TrailFly G270 V2

Men’s Fitness verdict

How do you improve an award-winning trail shoe? Do what Inov-8 has done with its TrailFly G270 V2 and boost fit, comfort and durability while keeping the price competitive.
Pros
  • No-nonsense durability
  • Fantastic grip
  • Good for road-to-trail transitions
Cons
  • May be too form for some runners
  • Zero drop may not suit everyone

Inov-8 has improved an already impressive first-gen G270 by enhancing the fit, comfort and durability for this V2 model. All the things that made the G270 a great trail shoe are still here. Graphene-enhanced G-GRIP lugs, PowerFlow Max foam, Boomerang insole and zero-drop design are rolled over from the original. But we’ll testify to the fact that it’s even more agile and responsive than before.

12. Merrell Agility Peak 5

Product shot of Merrell off-road shoes

Men’s Fitness verdict

With the Agility Peak 5, Merrell has shown it can do much more than just hiking shoes. This impressive daily trail shoe puts it right on the trail running map.
Pros
  • Good versatile all-rounder
  • Excellent grip
  • Plush long-run comfort
Cons
  • Some heel slipping
  • Higher stack limits ground feel

If you think Merrell only produces functional outdoor leisurewear, think again. The Agility Peak 5 trail shoe shows the company is upping its performance footwear game too. Substantial 5mm Vibram lugs, an energetic medium-density FloatPro foam, engineered mesh uppers with TPU overlays and a useful rock plate are just some of the Peak 5’s highlights. We’re also big fans of the gusseted wrap-around tongue, which prevents lace pinch.

13. Altra Outroad 2

Product shot of an Altra Outroad 2 running shoe

Men’s Fitness verdict

It may not be the most nimble or responsive trainer, but the Outroad 2 combines a stable platform, deep cushioning and decent grip for those slower training miles that take you off the beaten track.
Pros
  • Roomy toe box
  • Wide platform to run off
  • Plush uppers
Cons
  • Not very agile
  • Quite firm underfoot
MaterialsAltra EGO™ midsole, MaxTrak™ outsole
Weight10.6oz / 286g
Colors Grey and green, blue and yellow, red and black, neon and blue

A wide platform, zero-drop design and roomy toebox are standout features to us on the Altra Outroad 2. If you’re after a plush road-to-trail runner and aren’t too concerned with out-and-out speed or agility, the Outroad 2 will keep you cruising in comfort.

We found it offered good grip on a range of surfaces, alongside a lightweight feel and balanced cushioning, thanks to that 27mm EGO midsole foam. Overall, it’s a real mile-muncher at a decent price.

14. Salomon S/Lab Genesis

Men’s Fitness verdict

The Salomon S/Lab Genesis is a dependable all-round trail shoe. It’s solid, stable and comfortable, but not suited to the sort of extreme mud you find on some cross-country courses.
Pros
  • Great ground feedback and surface engagement
  • Ideal for long and easy mixed-terrain trail runs
  • Comfortable to wear on and off the trails
  • Hard wearing and durable
Cons
  • Not a PB-setting shoe due to lack of propulsion and bounce
  • 4.5mm lugs struggle in really muddy conditions
  • Not suited to highly technical trails
MaterialsMatryx mesh, EnergyFOAM midsole, Contragrip outsole
Weight9.5oz / 269g
Colors Black, white and blue danube

The Salomon S/Lab Genesis is a trail shoe that can take you miles off the beaten path, with a rugged Kevlar-infused construction that’ll protect your feet on day-long adventures. There’s a lightweight, highly breathable Matryx mesh upper, responsive EnergyFOAM midsole and a lugged Contragrip outsole for coping with the toughest conditions the trail can throw at you.

This may not be the shoe for setting trail-running PBs, but it will be one that propels you towards the horizon when other off-road shoes would have you heading for home.

How we test running shoes

Our testers put each shoe through their paces over a mixture of distances and paces to see where they excel, and clocked up significant distances in each one to examine how they wear over time. Each reviewer focused on speed, stability and comfort during test runs, while also assessing the effectiveness of any high-tech features on offer. Their detailed reviews are sure to help you choose the right running shoe for you.

How to find the right running shoe for you

Every runner’s biochemistry is unique, which means certain shoes will be perfect for some and terrible for others. That said, there are three key things everyone needs to consider when trainer shopping.

  • Firstly, the shoe should fit your foot snugly, without having to do the laces up tight.
  • Secondly, the shoe should naturally flow with your stride (and make you want to run faster).
  • Finally, the shoe should fit your running mechanics, meaning if you start to feel irritation in areas that have bothered you in the past, that’s a sign you’re not wearing the right pair.

When is the best time to run?

A new study from sportsshoes.com has revealed that 7pm on a Sunday – in April or October, to be specific – is the most popular time for smashing PBs. The research looked at the time that 35,000 social media users posted PB photos, using over 15 hashtags relating to personal bests, and cross-referenced the posts with the fitness activities they depicted to reveal the most successful times.

What to look for in the best running shoe, according to the experts

We talked to athletes and coaches about what to consider when buying a pair of running shoes. HYROX master trainer and 247 Represent head coach and athlete Jake Dearden and New Balance athlete and online running coach Jonny Mellor give us their opinions:

How do I make sure I get the correct size?

Jake Dearden: I’d recommend buying half a size up when it comes to running trainers. This is to avoid blisters, especially if your feet swell up on longer runs which is due to the increased blood flow.

Jonny Mellor: A properly fitted running shoe should feel snug in the heel and midfoot, with some room for toe movement. To check proper length when standing you should allow a full thumb width of space between the end of your toes and front of the shoe. This is why often runners are recommended to purchase half a size bigger than a normal every-day shoe. However it’s not always the case, depending on the brand, so it is a good idea to get your feet properly measured by a running specialist store.  

What are neutral or supportive shoes? Is more cushioning better? 

JD: Neutral shoes are designed for runners with average sized arches and provide a normal amount of support to your foot. Stability shoes are designed for runners with low arches that cause their feet to excessively roll inward with each stride (called ‘overpronation’). I’d suggest getting assessed by a qualified physio and ask them what type of shoe you need. Most of the time you’ll need a neutral shoe paired up with some lower body mobility and stability exercises to improve your running form. More cushion isn’t always better as for some people it can make your stride more inefficient. 

Getting your gait analysed is a good way to help you find the right type of shoe

JM: In terms of more cushioning, this will depend on the individual runner and what type of running you’re planning on doing. Some runners prefer a faster, more responsive feel underfoot over more cushioning. This is personally why I love the New Balance 1080 v13 as it feels really soft and cushioned but still feels fast and responsive. If you’re doing lots of miles on the roads or pavement, then you may benefit from a more cushioned running trainer.  

Do I need to worry about a shoe’s stack height, drop and weight? 

JD: If you are starting out running I wouldn’t worry too much about those features, and try to focus on how your shoe is allowing you to run and if you’re comfortable when doing so. Finding the right pair of running shoes mainly comes down to what you feel most comfortable running in.

However, if you are struggling to find ones that work for you it can be worth looking into those features. Trainers with a bigger stack height are more cushioned, helping absorb the impact from running and therefore being easier on your joints. With a lower heel drop you are encouraging a more natural running pattern as it is closer to you being barefoot, the most natural gait form, which will promote midfoot landing as opposed to heel striking which is a more inefficient running technique. If you struggle with knee pain, lower heel drop shoes are often more comfortable and vice versa if you struggle with Achilles issues.

The weight of a shoe is important if you are focusing on speed work. I would always focus on technique and your running form and the other elements of a shoe that allow you to be as efficient as possible before looking into shoe weight.

JM: Again, this will come down to personal preference and what you’ve ran in previously and feel most comfortable running in. It will also depend on your running style, history of injuries and what surface you plan on running on. Runners traditionally go for a lighter shoe for race day or interval work to feel faster and more responsive.  

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