There’s nothing quite like the high of a good run. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned pro, the bliss experienced after breaking an honest sweat is second-to-none. However, this joy can be quickly interrupted if you don’t have the right shoes. Subpar runners hurt your feet and can cause muscles to tire out quickly. Thebest running shoesoffer comfortable, cushioned support and maximum energy return. You also want a pair that absorbs shock yet still has an outsole with enough traction to keep you safe and performing at your best.
When shopping, the first thing to consider is how much cushioning you prefer, which largely comes down to personal preference. Some runners want to feel light and breezy while others prefer maximum cushion — there are pros and cons to both. Shoes with a minimalist style are lighter and more nimble but don’t offer much support while shoes with thicker cushioning deliver more structure and comfort, yet tend to be rigid and bulky.
Beyond that, you want to consider everything from the types of fabrics and materials used to closure systems, traction, shape, and even your desired style — if you’re going to train regularly, you want to like the way your shoes look. To help, here is a list of the best running shoes for men in every category and style.
Built with Nike’s Flyease technology, the Air Zoom Pegasus 34 allows you to effortlessly slip in and out of your sneakers without any fuss. The lace-free hook-and-loop system involves a simple strap which secures to a wraparound zipper, enabling you to close the sneaker in one fell swoop. It also features a few tiny bungee cords on the top of the foot to give you extra tightening capabilities.
The Pegasus’ ultra-lightweight fabric offers stability and structure while still remaining airy and breathable. Lastly, the foam underfoot is constructed with responsive cushioning that helps you build momentum by returning the energy you put into it. For only $110, it’s a killer combination of value and performance.
For cushion-loving runners who desire a high level of support beneath their feet, Hoka One One is the pioneer of maximalist sneakers. The Mach features a dual-density PROFLY midsole with a firm forefoot and cushy heel that come together to create a veritable springboard in your toes.
Underneath you have an RMAT-blended rubber EVA foam outsole that delivers elastic rebound and tough, durable grip. There’s even extra traction at strategic flex points, along with built-in shock absorption. The shoe is lightweight yet sturdy and flexible yet strong. Overall, this $140 sneaker is a great road runner for serious athletes who prefer thick, well-cushioned sneakers.
Vivobarefoot’s Primus Lite offers a sleek, minimalist option with just enough padding beneath your feet to offer support without an ounce of extra weight. This barefoot-style shoe is expectedly lightweight but what makes the Primus Lite truly unique is how supportive it feels given the lack of thick cushioning. This is largely due to the anatomical design which mimics the shape of your foot, reducing any interference with your natural movement and providing structure whichever way you turn.
It also features a well-ventilated cooling mesh on the upper so you can work hard without your shoes trapping odor or excess sweat. The low-profile sneaker costs $130, which is a solid value if you’re into minimum cushioning.
One of the Mammut’s standout features on its low-profile Sertig Low is its Rolling Concept technology which offers bothprone and supine support when moving your ankles, greatly reducing the chance of twists or sprains — particularly critical at the end of a run when you’re tired and fatigued. Similarly, it boasts a 6-millimeter heel drop which provides average flexibility and agility as your ankle turns.
Its robust gripex TrailCut outsole is embedded with all-around Sonar technology to grip the trail and offer effective traction. Rather than traditional laces, it ‘s constructed with Mammut’sAdvanced MTR Speed Lace System for quick and breezy lace-ups. The $119 shoe is lightweight, durable and versatile on a variety of trails.
With a quick-dial Boa closure system, Under Armour’s Fat Tire 3 offers an easy, secure way to slip on your sneakers. They fit snugly and mold to the contours of your feet without creating any unwanted pressure points and better yet, the L6 version of the dial is meant specifically for mud, water, and other elements you encounter on the trail.
Under Armour outfit the Fat Tire 3 with a textile upper that’s ultra-lightweight and breathable withan Ortholite molded anti-microbial sock liner for extra odor protection. Its Michelin outsole is designed with innovative traction lugs that offer additional traction while you negotiate rocky paths or technical terrain. The high-performance sneaker costs $150 and offers a sensational blend of cushioning and comfort.
Built with ultra-light, energy-retaining FastFoam in the midsole, North Face’s Flight is a trail shoe designed with speed in mind. This running sneaker is perfect for off-road races and other adventure events. It has aTPU-welded geo quarter that provides cushioning and support midfoot while the EVA midsole bottom layer and Ortholite footbed add extra comfort while you move.
The Flight’s breathable mesh tongue keeps you cool while also reducing the build-up of sweat or odor. Multi-directional lugs on the sole grip the ground for extra traction on slick, rocky trails. These $150 trail running shoes are fast, nimble, and ultra-flexible.