We may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of our links. The LA Times newsroom or editorial staff was not involved in the creation of this content. Learn more

Review: Best Running Shoes

Trail running provides us with some of our most inspiring running experiences with its off-road sense of adventure and breathtaking, often difficult to achieve views. Those of us who are beckoned by the wild nature of off-road running, know the importance of having the proper gear. The technical side of running away from the city streets has created the need for specialized running equipment which can handle the harshest of terrain.

Tougher, multi-surfaced routes call for more supportive and cushioned sneakers which provide ample protection from ever-changing topography and terrain. The highest quality trail running shoes offer lightweight durability and uniquely adaptive responsiveness. The best running shoe in 2021 on this list are those which exemplify what is needed for ultra-terra running--superior multi-surface traction, firm yet flexible cushioning, and supportive, comfortable, breathable yet weather-resistant uppers.

Best Running Shoe

best barefoot running shoes

Merrell Men's Barefoot Running Shoe

Merrell's Barefoot Train Embark Glove Gore-Tex shoes are a fully waterproof running shoe. The Gore-Tex lining does a good job of keeping your feet dry and warm on cold and wet days. The lining is also anti-bacterial to keep your feet clean and minimize odor. This makes them a good choice for long runs, fast hikes and camping. The leather upper provides a balance between comfort and support that makes for a reliable running shoe in the face of difficult road or trail conditions.

best running shoe

Skora Form Running Shoe

The Skora Form men's running shoe is an elegantly designed barefoot runner with coveted features like a zero drop outsole to encourage more natural mechanics. The tongueless construction allows for a more comfortable and natural fit. The full leather upper is made from Goatskin and the lining is made from genuine sheepskin. The trademarked REALFIT material adheres to the shape of your foot for a snug, comfortable fit. Instead of having your foot conform to the shoe the Skora Form compliments your foot.

best women's running shoes

Nike Women's Running Shoe

Nike HQ has added a Nike Zoom Air unit under the heel of the Pegasus 31 offering responsive, low-profile cushioning with an updated design bringing the air unit closer to your foot from start to finish. The engineered, no-sew overlays of the mesh upper contain fewer layers when compared to previous models, supporting your foot with seamless, non-abrasive comfort and reducing the shoe's weight to 8.6 ounces without sacrificing durability. The upper is made of thin layers with superior breathability to keep feet cool during the toughest of runs. For smoother transitions, a rubber crash rail has been added to the lateral outsole resulting in a wider, stabilizing footprint throughout the gait cycle.

Added reflective elements provide enhanced night running visibility and an environmentally friendly rubber waffle outsole for increased durability and multi-surface traction. With a yard-sale price compared to its peers, the Pegasus 31 offers tremendous bang for your buck.

best running shoe

Nike Air Zoom Men's Running Shoes

The Zoom Structure +17 achieves ultimate support and comfort by implementing Nike Zoom Air units throughout the forefoot, and couples this with Nike's Dynamic Fit technology and Flywire cable. The lightweight yet durable Flywire surrounds the arch, adding support with a glove-like feel. These innovations are supplemented with a highly breathable engineered mesh upper, durable no-sew overlays, not too-tight but secure fit, and high visibility elements for running in low-light conditions. All of these assets make the Nike Air Zoom Structure +17 an ideal shoe for over-pronators who want to run fast without the bulky feel of clunky trainers.

Saucony Men's Guide 7 Running Shoe

In redesigning the upper from the previous model, the Guide 6, Saucony has implemented their FlexFilm technology for a lightweight and seamlessly comfortable ride. By replacing the ProGrid technology in the heel of the Guide 6 with the enhanced Power Grid of the Guide 7, the engineers have created a buttery-smooth ride transition which provides a far superior cushion when compared to other models.

Saucony has returned to their previous outsole configuration from the Guide 5, listening to wear testers who had nothing but negative feedback for the rubber lugs found along the bottom of the Guide 6. This latest outsole provides increased surface area for better traction and longer durability, a necessity for a high mileage daily trainer. The Saucony Guide 7 offers some of the best technologies in stability and support, making it ideal for runners who over-pronate and are injury prone.

Salomon Men's XR Mission Trail Running Shoe

The Mission XR is a very fast, agile, and multidisciplinary trainer which boasts a sensitive trail feel with superior traction. Salomon's Sensiflex and Sensifit technologies promote smooth and responsive transitions from heel-to-toe while maintaining great lateral stability for easy to technical terrains. With extensive small lugs along the sole, the XR has an ideal amount of traction for the muddiest, wet conditions without obtaining a muddy build-up.

The breathable mesh upper keeps moisture away while a 'quick-lace' system offers secure, fast lacing. With all of the latest innovations in place, the Salomon Mission XR makes a great option for runners with high arches who are looking to transition from roads to trails.

Altra Men's Instinct 2 Running Shoe

Weighing in at a sleek 9.5 ounces, the Altra Instinct 2.0 offers moderate cushioning with its advanced NRS Natural Ride System which is a cushioned Zero Drop Platform with FootShape toe box. The Zero Drop Platform creates a plane where your entire foot rests an equal distance above the ground, promoting a low-impact stride technique while correcting your body’s posture and strengthening lower-leg muscles.

The Altra Instinct 2.0 has also been upgraded with a more responsive and flexible overall feel. The FootShape toe box creates an environment for your foot to relax and spread-out naturally. The Altra Instinct 2.0 would make a good option for runners with high arches who are seeking a more minimalist approach to running.

Nike Men's Air Zoom Pegasus 31 Running Shoe

Nike Men's Air Zoom Pegasus 31 Running Shoe

The seamless mesh upper of the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 creates a contoured shape, providing sock-like comfort while maintaining an excellent, secure fit. The engineers have enhanced the design with a dropped heel-to-toe offset of 10 millimeters for a more natural stance and a crash rail in the mid-foot saddle for targeted structure and support. These minor adjustments have resulted in a slightly wider footprint design, which increases stability on a variety of surfaces.

The flexible outsole offers a smooth, cushioned transition from heel to forefoot, eliminating that intolerable "slapping" sensation felt in other models. Weighing in at just 9.7 ounces (size 9), the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 can be utilized for all types of running, from tempo workouts to long runs, while maintaining its high mileage reliability. All of these innovations come together to create the ultimate balance of speed machine and workhorse at a competitive price.

Saucony Men's Ride 7 Running Shoe

The lightweight and flexible heel-to-toe Powergrid of the Ride 7 links shock-dissipating technology with Saucony's well-loved Powerfoam material to create a cushioned and a responsive ride. The engineers have designed the upper with a breathable, lightweight mesh fabric of welded overlays. Equipped with the RUNDRY Collar Lining and Comfortlite Sockliner, this shoe reduces pressures in the forefoot and secures the heel, all while wicking away moisture.

All in all, the Saucony Ride 7 is a versatile daily training shoe designed to handle long and fast runs equally well. Coupled with the fact it weighs in at a very light 9.4 ounces (size 9), it wouldn't be a stretch to call the Saucony Ride 7 one of the lightest, well-cushioned trainers on the market.

Mizuno Men's Wave Rider 17 Running Shoe

At a dainty 8.6 ounces, the Mizuno Wave Rider 17 is lighter, but just as cushioned as the previous model. A breathable upper and soft mesh construction ensures your foot is comfortably cloaked and secured. Maintaining its highly acclaimed blown rubber outsole, this model keeps you feeling nimble with excellent heel-to-forefoot transition and long lasting durability. The only downside to this model is an increased heel-to-toe offset of 13 millimeters, diminishing your natural running stance.

Buyer's Guide

Choosing the best running shoes is important, especially if you are serious about running, hiking, or simply jogging. When selecting the best running shoes, you want the best size, fit, and comfort that will enable you to maximize your workout. Choosing the right running shoes is not like picking shoes for fashion as there are much more factors to consider than just the looks. Some options are more breathable than others and equipped with unique materials that enable the user to run more comfortably.

This section of the article will show you how to choose the best running shoes and explain the importance of running shoes when working out. You will also learn all the considerations before buying a pair of shoes for running.

What are Running Shoes

Running shoes are usually sneakers made more breathable, comfortable, and durable to withstand daily use. It is equipped with rubber soles and soft inserts so that runners can run more comfortably.

Why Do You Need Running Shoes?

For comfort

Running shoes are very comfortable to wear. Even if you are not running, you can take advantage of its comfortable build and wear them for dressing casually when going out. Whether you are doing your daily errands, going grocery shopping, or walking around the mall, you can wear running shoes. Your feet will feel much more comfortable during long walks in running shoes.

For maximizing your workout

Of course, running shoes are made for working out. Whether you are sprinting, walking, or jogging, you will need the best running shoes for the job. People often wear running shoes when working out—even if it does not involve running. You can wear them for yoga, going to the gym, running on a treadmill, going to spin class, and many more. You name it.

Sometimes for fashion


Running shoes are also worn for fashion. Aside from being very functional, they are also very stylish. Many celebrities and musicians like to wear running shoes on flights, during shows, and other activities because of how comfortable they are.

Things to Consider Before Buying Running Shoes

Size

First of all, you need to make sure that the shoes fit perfectly. Buying something too small or too big will not work if you want to maximize your workout. Plus, it will not look very good if you are just wearing it for fashion purposes.

You can only maximize a shoe if you pick the right size. You should also note that some shoes have different sizes, depending on the brand and the shape of your feet. For example, some people wear a size 9 for dress shoes, but they are size 8.5 when for running shoes. These are just the little things that make a big difference when choosing the right running shoes or other specialized shoe pairs.

Purchasing the right size for your feet can also ensure that the shoes do not wear out too quickly.

Material

The next thing you should consider is the materials used for your shoes. Some options are made with thicker materials, which is more ideal during cold seasons. However, since it is for working out, make sure you thin and more breathable materials, such as mesh.

The soles should have a thicker amount of rubber, especially if you plan on wearing them every day. Running shoes are usually equipped with thicker rubber soles so that people can use them longer—but it is still a good idea to make sure.

Although you can buy therapeutic inserts to make your feet more comfortable when wearing running shoes, but still make sure that it is equipped with breathable, soft, and comfortable inserts so your feet won't hurt as much when running.

Comfort


If the materials are good, then it is probably a comfortable pair. However, it is better if you can try it on or ask someone who had previous experience with the shoes you are planning to buy. Although almost every pair of running shoes are made to be comfortable, your feet' size and shape will still be the judge of that.

Purpose


Will you use the shoes for actual running, walking, or for fashion purposes? No matter what the purpose is, it is still better to make sure you choose the shoes that you will allow you to maximize their use.

Quality

The quality is essential, especially if you will be using the shoes for running on a regular basis. You want the best quality of materials and good construction quality, such as better stitching and gluing. Make sure you choose shoes from brands that you trust to ensure quality.

Style

Lastly, let's talk about style. It might not be as important as some of the other factors to consider, but some people can perform better if they are comfortable with what they look like, and that is why choosing the shoes with the best style is essential. Make sure the style matches your preference so that you can also wear the shoes for more occasions than just working out.

Running Shoes Price Ranges

Running shoes go for around $40 to $200. The best options are usually priced at around $60 to $120. But as long as they are comfortable to wear, you can still get the much cheaper options if you are on a budget.

How we Choose the Best Running Shoes

We choose the best running shoes based on the prices, brands, and customer reviews. We also try the shoes ourselves to ensure that it is good enough to recommend to all of you.

FAQ

Can you play sports in running shoes?

Yes. However, it is better to play sports with specific shoes made for the sport. For example, if you are playing basketball—it is better to wear basketball shoes.

How long do running shoes last?

Running shoes last depending on the quality and frequency of use. For shoes that you use every day for running, we would say it would last for a good six months, depending on the terrain and other underlying factors.

Bestcovery Staff
Our research team searches out the best of everything so that you can confidently pick the perfect products and services for your needs.
Go to top