Inclusion is one of the main benefits of running. Running can be a great introduction to exercising, regardless of whether you’re well experienced in fitness or just starting out. What about running’s other beautiful benefits? Participation doesn’t require much gear. However, if your gear is tailored to your specific step, your running experience can be enhanced significantly.
The number of runners is so high, so there is an equal number of running shoes. Finding the right running shoe can be challenging for inexperienced athletes due to a variety of designs ranging from the minimalistic to the over-exaggerated. The following guide is designed to help you make sense of the different running shoe categories available in the market today so you will avoid that overwhelming dilemma. Understanding what actually determines which running shoe is best for your footbed comes before quickening the pace and diving into each subsection.
Which Running Shoes Are Right for You?
When you take a step, you strike the ground with your feet and leave the ground with your hips. A running shoe’s ankle support and other attributes are affected by which part of your foot contacts the ground on impact.
Most people fall into one of three gait types.
The most common runner type is a neutral runner, who strikes the ground with both sides of their heels first and then rolls inward.
The overpronation gait affects the ankle’s ability to stabilize and absorb impact, because it causes the foot to roll excessively inward.
In contrast to overpronators, supination runners roll outward after heel strike.
You can find out which one you are at your local sporting goods store, and some even have foot scanners that allow you to analyze your feet in 3D. You can also check the tread on your daily sneakers if you prefer something less scientific. Your kicks will wear out more quickly if you supinate. A more pronated stride may be indicated by a more worn inside tread.
Levels of cushioning
It is important to consider how you want your ride to feel as well as how much support you need underfoot. Running shoes with less cushioning may allow you to feel more connected to the road. You might want to consider max-cushioned silhouettes if you enjoy running in plush, pillow-like comfort.
Looking at the midsole of a running shoe can tell you how much cushioning it contains. Runners who prefer max-cushion sneakers desire sneakers with high stack heights and raised platforms. Despite many brands optimizing their cushioning to be as light as possible underfoot, they might not be the best choice if you’re chasing a new PR.
What is the intended use?
Last but not least, you should consider where you will wear your running shoes.
Run on concrete or paved surfaces with road running shoes with streamlined midsoles. Consider investing in if you are.
Designed to tackle varying terrain and conditions, trail running shoes have a more durable upper and a grippier outsole.
Running on a treadmill is usually comfortable regardless of the shoes you wear.
Running shoes should always be rotated regardless of your metrics. Your running shoes’ outsole and cushioning can be better preserved if you rotate them between different environments and training goals.
Now that we’ve covered all the different running shoe categories, let’s take a closer look at them.
BEST OVERALL NEUTRAL RUNNING SHOE
Neutral running shoes are a great place to start when you’re new to running and are still figuring out your own step. There are a number of neutral running shoes available from many of the top running brands across a variety of disciplines. This silhouette is best suited to those who have a more natural step.
Cushioned Running Shoes
Due to their overemphasis on comfort, cushioned running shoes offer a luxurious feel underfoot. To promote that cozy ride, these silhouettes can feature a midsole stuffed with plush foam. All types of athletes can benefit from maximum-cushioned running shoes, including those who walk and work long distances.
ADVANCED CUSHIONED RUNNING SHOES
Although cushioned running shoes may seem like the best option, they may not be the least corrective. There isn’t much room in the profile for stabilizing features because of the foam underfoot. It’s still possible to have some fun with these options without having to adhere to a more serious silhouette.
A pair of trail running shoes
Designed for the wild, these kicks are built to last. In order to deal with the changing terrain and changing conditions associated with logging miles through the wilderness, trail running shoes often feature more aggressive tread patterns and durable, outdoor-ready uppers. There are plenty of well-cushioned trail running shoes out there which bring the plush to the dirt, as well as shoes with stiffer soles to handle rugged trails.
advanced TRAIL RUNNING SHOE
Since trail running shoes provide more traction underfoot than hiking boots, they can be considered lightweight alternatives to hiking boots. Scaling over an errant root or boulder should never result in you losing your footing. Road running or paved paths can also be a great option for trail runners, especially in areas with poor roads. When it comes to speed, though, wear something more suited for running on roads if you want to avoid all that extra traction.
Running shoes for racing and marathons
In the world of running, these are the supercars. The sole purpose of racing shoes is to achieve the fastest time possible using advanced technology and lightweight textiles. There are numerous race-ready running shoes that come with carbon fiber footplates in order to increase energy return. As a result of this technology breakthrough, brands have been able to reduce weight while maintaining a springy, forward-driven feel.
ADVANCED MARATHON RUNNING SHOE
Men’s Air Zoom Pegasus 39 A.I.R. Hola Lou Shoe
There are many types of racing shoes, just as there are many models of race cars. A few are intended for marathons, while others may be better suited for mile races, i.e., short distances. It is important to bear in mind, however, that speed is not always the best solution. The absence of comfort in many racing shoes makes them less suitable for daily training needs. However, if you’re heading to the finish line soon, these might be exactly what you need.
A pair of winter running shoes
A jog outside is best enjoyed when there are no threats of incoming snowfall, and outdoor running has a season. While some athletes avoid running in normal running shoes due to inclement weather, some still enjoy the rush of facing the elements. You can, however, rely on winter running shoes to stay on track all year long with their durability and traction. With water-resistance and heat-retaining interiors, these sneakers are reminiscent of trail running kicks.
ADVANCED WINTER RUNNING SHOE
Shoes Women’s Air Zoom Pegasus 37 Shoe
The grippy lugs on many winter running shoes provide stability and traction underfoot. In addition to winter running shoes that provide grip on ice, there are also some that have crampon-like fixtures integrated into the sole for ice traverses. Even though these might not be the best choice for summertime running, if you live in a snowy area and are planning your long-term training schedule, it might be worth considering.
Running shoes with stability
Stability running shoes are designed to correct your step to help you achieve the proper landing, whereas neutral running shoes highlight your natural, balanced foot strike. Overpronators with excessive inward roll may benefit from stability running shoes. While stability running shoes are not as common as their supinator counterparts, they have more cushioning on their outer edges to guide each step more inwards.
On the inner half of the foot, most stability running shoes have guide rails. This rigid profile and lack of flexibility make these design elements stand out from the rest of the upper material. How did it turn out? Better aligned with a more natural footpath with a more stabilized step.
It’s still early in this category, but we’ve picked a few favorite picks. Check out our roundup of best overall running shoes for more info, and stay tuned for our final findings as we wrap up our findings.
Running shoes for barefoot runners
Running shoes without midsoles are called barefoot running shoes. Runners that feature a zero drop offer a more traditional running aesthetic and are often designed to run close to the ground. Running barefoot feels more natural than running in cushioned sneakers, which can be cloudlike.
People with neutral gaits who don’t need a lot of correction, or those seeking lightweight shoes, may find barefoot running shoes a viable choice. However, in terms of underfoot comfort, these may not be ideal for those who prefer a more “traditional” running plane. Additionally, barefoot running shoes are not as cushioned as more traditional running shoes. It takes some getting used to.