1. Expert reviews

Top 10 Best Running shoes of 2021

Tobias Jacobsson

Updated July 27, 2021

Which running shoes should I buy? Most runners have asked themselves that same question. So we’ve tested 10 popular models of running shoes from different brands. Two shoes got top scores from our testers: Saucony Kinvara 12: feather-light, comfortable running shoes that also make fast workouts a real pleasure and Hoka One One Mach 4: responsive with impressive cushioning and energy return.

Top 14 Best Running shoes of 2021

How we did the test

We carry out our tests ourselves and test all products as they are intended to be used in reality. In our test of running shoes, we asked normal runners – both joggers and experienced long-distance runners – to test the shoes. They wore the shoes to run on different surfaces and for different distances. In our test of running shoes, we primarily assessed the following characteristics:

  • Cushioning and stability: How well cushioned are the running shoes? How do they perform on different types of surface? Are they stable? What type of running are they best for?

  • Comfort and fit: What’s the size like – small, true to size or large? How do the shoes sit on the feet? What’s the inside of the shoe like – are there seams that can cause blisters? Is the shoe wide or narrow in terms of fit? Weight – is the shoe light or heavier? How do your feet feel after the session? How does running in the shoes feel? Do the shoes return energy on the rebound?

1. Saucony Kinvara 12 – BEST CHOICE RUNNING SHOES

Feather light, neutral running shoes offering high levels of comfort, excellent cushioning and stability – designed for achieving your new personal best

Drop: 4 mm Weight: 219 grams in size 42.5 men and 181 grams in size 39 women

Saucony Kinvara 12 M - Sunset Fade

Saucony Kinvara 12 are even lighter than the previous model, Kinvara 11 (which were named Best in Test in 2020). Despite the lighter weight, Saucony haven’t compromised on either the good basic stability or the responsive shock absorption. These shoes deliver extremely high levels of comfort in combination with an unbeatable running feeling and good quality – no wonder they’re our Best in Test.

Flexible lightweight shoes for fast running

Kinvara is one of Saucony's flagship models when it comes to running shoes. It’s easy to see why so many runners appreciate these shoes. Kinvara 12 shoes make running easy and fun. The low weight in combination with responsive cushioning, a comfortable fit that doesn’t give rise to chafing and the flexible sole make it easy to increase your pace and beat your personal best. The latest model has lost a few grams in weight, has a bit less padding and has increased ventilation in the uppers.

Saucony-Kinvara-12

Sock-like fit

Inside the shoe there are no seams that can lead to chafing. The heel cap is moulded with a soft interior. The uppers are made of a thin and seamless mesh, reinforced with a 3D-printed outer structure. This provides enough space for even a wider front foot to get a natural step but at the same time provides stability where it’s needed. Having the uppers so well ventilated certainly helps when running during hotter weather. The downside of this is that when it rains, the shoes do let in water. However, the sole provides good grip even on slippery streets.

Responsive sole with good energy return

The sole consists of two layers of Saucony's responsive cushioning material, and feels truly flexible under your feet. This in combination with the low drop makes it easy to get an effective push off, whether on flat ground or a steep uphill slope. The combination of light weight plus stability makes these shoes excellent for pace and distance training and also for competitions.

Comfortable and fast

Saucony Kinvara 12 are a pair of comfortable, lightweight running shoes with a low drop, which make it easier to run fast. These shoes deliver both speed and comfort in a stylish package. The only possible downside is that heavier runners may feel the cushioning is slightly too thin.

Fantastic fitwell-ventilateddifficult to beat feel
Too little cushioning for heavier runners

Price Comparison

Compare all prices
Shop4runners Logotype

Saucony Kinvara 12 Schuhe Damen pink 41

£115.43

2. Hoka One One Mach 4

Comfortable and responsive running shoes with impressive cushioning and energy return that make it easy and fun to chase a new personal best

Drop: 5 mm Weight: 226 grams in size 42 2/3 men and 204 grams in size 40 women

Hoka One One Mach 4 W - Blue Fog/Hot Coral

The Hoka One One Mach 4 is a lightweight, comfortable running shoe with good cushioning that works well on many different surfaces and distances. If you’ve previously tried running with Hoka One One's best-selling Clifton model, the biggest difference here is that the Mach 4 provides an easier running step.

Good fit without chafing

The Mach 4 is stable without feeling clumsy and has a soft, comfortable fit. You don’t need a breaking-in period to get your feet used to these shoes – they are so comfortable that you can lace them up and go out on the running track immediately. They sit well around the foot, are normal-sized in the toe box and have moulded heel caps without seams.

The uppers are also seamless at the front and perforated for extra coolness. Thanks to the lack of seams and good ventilation, these shoes don’t lead to chafing – not even when you’re running in the heat. So they’re great shoes for the summer months.

Hoka-One-One-Mach-4

Good energy return with every step

The sturdy sole on the Mach 4 delivers really good cushioning. The sole is somewhat flexible under the front of the foot, but overall gives a very stable feel. Despite the thick sole, the shoes aren’t heavy – on the contrary, they feel impressively light.

Light is also the word that best describes the feeling of running with Mach 4 on your feet. It’s noticeable that these shoes are made for fast workouts and competitions, as the cushioning in the sole is incredibly responsive at every step and makes it easy to increase your pace. The cushioning is gentle on the knees and joints without impairing the overall feel. In fact, it’s so effective that these shoes are well suited even for heavier runners who place higher demands on cushioning. After a run, your feet still feel fresh. Mach 4 are well suited for both fast workouts and distance workouts at a slower pace. The patterned sole gives a good grip on asphalt, gravel and track.

Buy a half size larger than usual

Mach 4 has a stylish design and is available in several attractive colour combinations. The logo on the outside of the shoe is a reflector, which helps make you more visible when running in the dark. In some colour combinations the shoelaces are in the same colour as the uppers, while in others they have a contrasting colour. One extra plus about those laces is that they remained done up throughout all our running tests without having to make any double knots. The shoes are “true to size”, but it’s still recommended to buy a half size larger compared to your usual shoe size, to get the right extra space at the toes.

Hoka One One Mach 4 are a pair of lightweight, well-cushioned and comfortable running shoes that make it easy to increase your pace and achieve a new personal best.

Lightweightcomfortablegood fitresponsive cushioning
The sole is soft so quickly looks worn

3. Saucony Kinvara 11

A light, well cushioned and neutral running shoe with excellent energy return

Drop: 4 mm Weight: 233 g in men’s size 43 and 200 g in women’s size 37.5

Saucony Kinvara 11 M - Blue/Black

The Saucony Kinvara 11 doesn’t stand out in terms of its appearance, but as soon as you take the shoes out of the box, you’ll feel it – this is a light shoe. The idea that light shoes must compromise on other characteristics doesn’t hold true for the Saucony Kinvara 11 – in fact quite the opposite. The shoes have good basic stability and incredible cushioning that make it a pleasure to run on tarmac.

Nice fit with good cushioning

The shoes are true to size – in other words you can buy your normal size and they’ll fit perfectly on your feet. They fit closely enough that no gravel will get in, but at the same time there’s enough give that they never feel restrictive on your feet. The heel cap is firm, but with cushioning material that adapts to your feet. It’s worth noting that the shoe can feel rather narrow at the front if you have broad feet.

The material on the uppers breathes really well and even over longer distances no excess warmth builds up. The energy return from the sole is excellent and it really feels like you’re getting maximum power from your rebound. Cushioning is one of the main strengths of the Saucony Kinvara 11, and running on tarmac is no problem. The sole is good and both your feet and knees will thank you after a running session.

A fast shoe that suits most people

This model is often suggested as a good option for tempo training or competitions, but it’s actually an excellent shoe for most occasions. Particularly if you live in a town or run a lot on roads. Everybody from the complete amateur to more experienced runners should give the Saucony Kinvara 11 a chance this summer, because it’s a light shoe without any obvious disadvantages.

The cushioningroad running can become your new favourite sport
The sole has slightly poorer grip on gravel

4. Brooks Ghost 13

Neutral running shoes offering good cushioning and excellent for longer runs

Drop: 11.5 mm Weight: 288 g in size 42 men and 258 g in size 38 women

Brooks Ghost 13 W - Ice Flow/Pink/Pond

Some running shoes are very easy to like. Brooks Ghost 13 are such shoes. They enfold your foot in a comfortable way, providing stability, while at the same time feeling light and fast when running.

Sturdy sole with good cushioning

The soles of these shoes are stable and they offer very good cushioning, but the uppers really stand out and impress in terms of comfort. The shoes have a tight fit, but in a comfortable way. You feel the contact all over your foot but the shoes are padded in all the right places. This comfort, together with the sole’s good grip and cushioning means your feet don’t feel tired even after tougher running sessions.

Good feeling in the sole

The material used for the uppers is great but so is the special material used for the sole. Brooks soft DNA Loft foam is their own cushioning material that gives a very soft feeling. In combination with a harder foam, it gives a pleasant feel without becoming unstable.

Shoe that ventilates

The Ghost 13 is an attractive shoe with a stylish design. The fact they are comfortable and breathe very well helps to make them so popular. They are worth every penny. During testing, they were used during both long and short training sessions, and during recovery. They’re even almost right for tempo workouts, but are a little too heavy to be optimal. Brooks Ghost 13 are suitable for experienced runners who want a pair of shoes that are good in all areas for use during longer runs. They’re also suitable for beginner runners who want a well-fitting pair of shoes with comfortable cushioning that will help you improve condition and speed.

Comfortable fitstablegood cushioning
A little heavy for tempo sessions

Price Comparison

Compare all prices
Illustration - No prices

No prices

5. Asics Gel Nimbus 23

Impressively comfortable running shoes, suitable for runners with neutral and underpronated running steps for longer sessions and for recovery

Drop: Men's 10 mm, women’s 13 mm Weight: 309 grams in size 42.5 men and 261 grams in size 38 women

Asics Gel-Nimbus 23 W - Black/White

Asics Gel Nimbus 23 are a surprise as soon as you put them on. Can a running shoe really be this comfortable? For a running shoe, the Nimbus 23 is incredibly soft. This is a shoe that exudes comfort and is something of the Rolls Royce of running shoes. They may not be the fastest shoes, but they are certainly the most comfortable.

Running shoe with good cushioning

The comfortable feeling is balanced by a firm grip of the back of the foot, which feels both supportive and surprisingly soft. The Nimbus 23 feels like a shoe designed to protect you. The cushioning also seems to have been taken to a new level with this model. No surface is too hard thanks to the extra material under the heel and a midsole, full of small holes, that contributes to a softer and perfectly balanced sole. The pattern on the underside gives a very good grip even on wet surfaces.

Stable running shoes

Unlike many other neutral shoes, the Nimbus 23 offer stability without sacrificing any of the space. The uppers are made from a mesh material, which means the shoe shapes itself to the foot while at the same time breathing very well. This shoe gives you support at the expense of a less flexible feel than some of its competitors, but the comfort definitely outweighs that.

Shoes for everyday running

This shoe is suitable for longer runs and recovery. If you’re going to run intervals, there are faster alternatives, but for those who prioritise comfort and protection, this is a very good choice. Quite simply a shoe for everyday running. Asics Gel Nimbus 23 is an update on previous models in the series and delivers clear improvements on all fronts. If you’ve previously tried this model, you won’t be disappointed.

High comfortstylish designlots of cushioning
Less flexible compared to other neutral shoesnot for fast running

6. Nike Air Zoom Structure 23

Stable, well-cushioned and soft running shoe with a design that even works for everyday wear

Drop: 8 mm Weight: 288 grams in size 42 men and 242 grams in size 38 women

Nike Air Zoom Structure 23 M - Black/Anthracite/White

Nike Air Zoom Structure 23 is a stable running shoe with good cushioning that’s best suited for training on harder surfaces. The attractive, classic design means the shoe works just as well in town or for work as during a run.

Stable and soft shoe with good energy return

The first thing you’ll notice when you put on a pair of Structure 23 shoes is probably the thick, soft sole. When you then try out running in these shoes, you will notice how good the cushioning is. It is stable but still soft and flexible. Structure 23 shoes are best suited for runs on gravel and tarmac. They feel soft when you run and give energy to your stride. And thanks to the cushioning, your feet and calves don’t get tired and sore despite running on a hard surface. This is a slightly heavier shoe than many other running shoes, but they don’t feel heavy when you wear them.

Running shoe that fits wider feet

Structure 23 is comfortable and fits well, even if you have slightly wider feet. The toes have plenty of space and the thick, soft heel cap keeps your foot in place in the shoe. The laces stay put and you can use them to adjust how tightly the shoe fits around your foot. The shoe has ventilating material in the upper, but still feels quite warm. Structure 23 is “true to size” and Nike’s size guide is accurate, so be sure to check it out before you buy your shoes.

Stylish design for everyday use

Nike describe Structure 23 as suitable for runners who want a shoe they can also wear every day, and we can only agree. In addition to being soft and comfortable, they have a very classic design. One nice detail is that the lower part is in two different colours. They also get extra points for having reflectors both back and front. Structure 23 shoes are good value because they can be used both on your run, during indoor training and for everyday use. With the sturdy sole, they also feel like shoes which shouldn’t wear out too quickly.

Well-cushioned and soft shoe

Nike Air Zoom Structure 23 are stable, well-cushioned and comfortable and ideal for regular running on hard surfaces. If you have slightly wider feet or want a running shoe you can also wear everyday – then Structure 23 could be perfect for you.

Good cushioningsoft and comfortablestylish design that also works for everyday use
Too warm despite ventilating uppers

7. Under Armor HOVR Infinite 3

Running shoes offering a soft and stable experience with baked-in smart technology

Drop: 8 mm Weight: 302 grams in size 42 men and 244 grams in size 38.5 women

Under Armour HOVR Infinite 3 W - Black/White/Metallic Silver

The sole of Under Armor Infinite 3 is probably the first thing you’ll notice. On the one hand, it’s visually striking, and on the other hand, it works hard during running sessions. The sole absorbs impacts very well and makes it easy to run on hard surfaces such as tarmac. The midsole, which consists of a foam material, takes the worst of the impact without being too soft and taking energy from the push off. The sole is what mainly distinguishes Infinite 3 from other competitors in the same category. You get a very good grip with these shoes even when it’s slippery.

Shoes that work well on tarmac

These shoes have a good fit and the sizes are true to size. The heel has a lot of padding, is soft and encloses the foot in a comfortable way. Given that these shoes have such a high sole, they are quite narrow, which means they’re not really suitable for cross-country running, but on hard flat surfaces they really come into their own.

Soft with support for your stride

The uppers on Infinite 3 are probably quite a surprise compared to previous shoes from Under Armor. Instead of the usual soft mesh material, these shoes have been given another layer that make the fit a little tighter, in a good way. The material still breathes and is soft, but it now feels more flexible when running.

Measure your results in the app

One fun feature of these shoes is MapMyRun, which, like a running app, measures your run without you having to take your mobile. The technology is built into the shoes and you can easily see the results at home in an app, where you can also get tips and advice on your running. Ideal for those of us who don’t want to carry technology around when we’re running.

Shoes for recovery

Under Armor HOVR Infinite 3 are ideal if you need a comfortable shoe to do a lot of running in. Perfect to pull out on a weekday evening when you want a quiet session, but not really ideal for competing or for interval training. Ideal for sessions where recovery is the focus rather than a new personal best.

The MapMy Run technology is coolgood energy recoveryattractive design
Only really work with hard and flat surfaces

8. Adidas Ultraboost 21

Incredibly well-cushioned, neutral running shoe that’s ideal for long runs at slow pace

Drop: 10 mm Weight: 362 g in size 42 2/3 men and 297 g in size 40 women

Adidas UltraBOOST 21 W - Core Black/Core Black/Grey Four

Ultraboost is one of Adidas’ most well known and regularly updated running shoes. With Ultraboost 21, Adidas have added a little more to the Boost material in the sole to provide extra energy recovery. These aren’t the lightest running shoes, but they are excellent for long runs at a slow or medium pace.

Seamless uppers

Ultraboost 21 are very comfortable. The uppers are seamless and knitted. To prevent your feet from moving too much in the shoes, the uppers have been made a little firmer, compared to the earlier version. This means the fit is sock-like, but your feet get all the support they need. One plus is that the uppers are made of 92 percent recycled plastic taken from the sea. The heel cap is also seamless and provides good support for your heels without putting any pressure on the heel tendon.

The laces are attached to a rubber device that makes it easy to tie them. One downside is that the laces do come loose during long running sessions, which is a bit annoying.

The sole provides good grip on tarmac, gravel and rougher terrain and also on rain-soaked streets. This makes you feel secure during your run.

Running shoes with a lot of cushioning

You can see that these running shoes are well cushioned by looking at the wide sole. This makes them suitable for even heavier runners. However, that cushioning does mean the shoes are a bit heavy. They are very comfortable to run with during longer sessions where the focus is on covering a lot of kilometres. Over those distance, the shoes feel as if they become one with your feet and running becomes really enjoyable.

The fact that the sole is slightly rounded at the front and back gives good energy recovery with every step. The extra cushioning is also kind on the heels. Though these shoes aren’t ideal for faster paces, they can still deliver well during short intervals. But these aren’t the shoes you put on to try for a new personal best over 5 km. They’re simply too heavy for fast running over longer distances, generating a stiff feel under your soles.

Running shoes for beginners or experienced runners

If you’ve enjoyed Ultraboost shoes before, you’ll be sure to like Adidas Ultraboost 21. The comfortable fit and the extra cushioning make them a good choice for both beginners and experienced runners. These running shoes are also suitable for anyone with high demands for cushioning who wants a pair of attractive, comfortable shoes for longer sessions.

Fantastic cushioningsock-like fitlargely made of recycled material
Feel heavy

9. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37

Neutral running shoe with moderate cushioning that gives a good running experience on most surfaces

Drop: 10 mm Weight: 255 g in men’s size 43 and 238 g in women’s size 38

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 M - Black/White

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 is a light and neutral running shoe that gives sufficient cushioning for running on all types of surface. A comfortable shoe with a responsive running feel that’s suitable for both longer training and quick tempo sessions.

Go up a size

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 has a stylish design and looks fast. The rear part of the sole sticks out like a little horn and gives you a little extra boost in your stride. The shoes have a low weight and feel light on your feet. The upper is one piece and the heel cap is shaped to minimise the risk of chafing. The fit feels like a sock, and the shoes give extra support around the tops of your feet. The material ventilates well and means your feet don’t feel hot or heavy despite running a long way in warm weather. The laces are a good length and stay in place, even during fast intervals and hill running.

Our testers found the toebox to be on the narrower side. If you have wide feet, you may need to go up a size to get a comfortable fit. Overall, we recommend that you buy the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 in a half to one size larger than your normal shoe size, because they're small in terms of size.

Light and fast, with a pleasant running experience

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 has good cushioning and is suitable for running on all types of surface without making your feet feel tired. There’s less cushioning on the front of the shoes compared to the heels, which gives a responsive running experience with good power in the push off. The sole is quite narrow around the shoe, which doesn’t make them the most stable shoe we tested, but on the other hand the sole gives excellent grip on all types of surface, producing a secure running experience.

The rear part of the sole is thick but manufactured in such a soft material that marks soon developed where the sole had been compressed during runs. Unfortunately, this means the shoes look worn after just a few sessions.

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 is ideal for anyone who’s a very experienced runner with a relatively low bodyweight – someone looking for a pair of good all-round shoes with moderate cushioning and a responsive running experience, for running on all types of surface.

Lightsit nicely on your feetgive extra power in the push off
Narrow in the forefootsmall in sizequickly look worn

10. New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10

Neutral running shoe with good cushioning that challenges your running step

Drop: 8 mm Weight: 262 g in men’s size 43 and 225 g in women’s size 38

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 M - Black with Steel

The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 is a running shoe that stands out amongst others both in terms of appearance and the running experience it generates. This is a pair of running shoes that puts the experienced runner’s technique to the test.

Attractive design and large in size

The fact that the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 is well cushioned is obvious from the thick sole. We like the design – they look fast but can also be used as a pair of stylish trainers if you're going for a long walk. Even though you should buy running shoes on the basis of their characteristics rather than their appearance, we have to praise this shoe model’s details, which give our testers a good running experience. The size is on the larger side, which means that you can buy your normal size and still have a bit of extra space in the toebox. The shoe is soft and comfortable in every way. The fit easily adapts to your foot. They’re easy to put on and take off. Despite the fact that there are only a few hard parts on the shoe, they feel stable.

Challenge the running step

The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 puts your running step to the test, even if you’re an experienced runner who’s used to running in different types of shoe. If you have a neutral running step, or often land on the forefoot, you’ll feel like you’re falling forward in this shoe. It takes a while to get used to it and also makes the shoe a bit “bouncy”, at the same time that it’s easy to pick up your heel during the step. It’s clear that the idea behind the shoe is to help with the push off, but we experience them as feeling a bit wobbly. If you're an experienced runner, you’ll need to do a few runs in them to get used to the sensation – which should be good for your legs!

The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 is a running show suitable if you’re a beginner looking for a pair of shoes that give a good energy return, or anyone who’s an experienced runner and wants to challenge their running step by adding some variation from their normal running shoes.

Lightwell cushionedfun to running
Too “bouncy”

All about running shoes

Frequently asked questions – and answers – about running shoes

Why should I wear running shoes when I'm running?

Different shoes are designed for different activities. This makes it easier when you’re doing a particular sport or type of workout. Running shoes are manufactured to promote forward movement – in other words they’re intended to make it easier for you to move forwards as you run. If you look at the soles of different running shoes, you’ll see that they’re often a little rounded, particularly at the front. This is to give your step a better transition from heel to toe. When you run you move forwards, so the upper of the running shoe is also designed to take this into account. This means that a running shoe isn’t designed to stabilise your feet in the case of quick lateral movements.

If you’re going to jog or run regularly, it’s a good idea to buy a pair of running shoes. Because the soles often have softer cushioning, unlike trainers, your feet, knees and other joints will thank you. It will also be more enjoyable to run when you feel that your shoes are giving you a bit of extra energy with every step!

Which running shoes should I buy?

The running shoes you should buy depends on several factors. There are lots of models in different price classes to choose between. Ignore the brand and what the running shoes look like, and focus on whether they suit your needs – and your feet. A good pair of running shoes will make you want to run more often, while a pair of uncomfortable running shoes can make your run into a torment.

Ask yourself: How often will I use the shoes? This can give you an idea of how much money you should spend on your new pair. What type of surface will I mostly be running on? Do I have any injuries or sensitive knees and joints? Running puts a lot of stress on your body compared to walking, because your whole body weight is on your foot and leg during the contact phase of your stride. So choose the cushioning of your shoes based on how much you weigh and whether you have problems with areas like your knees.

Tips for buying running shoes

If you’ve never bought a pair of running shoes ever, it can feel like an overwhelming prospect when you look at the many different models. Lots of physical shops that sell running shoes help customers to find running shoes that suit their running style. If you aren’t sure what type of shoe you should buy, or you have sensitive knees and joints, it can be a good idea to get help from an expert in a shop.

Many brands update their most popular running shoes every year. This is why some models have numbers after the name. The numbers indicate which year model the shoe is. If you’ve had a running shoe of a particular brand previously and were happy with it, you can Google it to see if an updated model of the same shoe has been released.

Another good tip is to read reviews of different running shoes. But remember that your running step won’t be the same as that of the person who’s written the review. A shoe that fits you perfectly isn’t necessarily the right shoe for somebody else. But reviews can give you an idea about a running shoe’s characteristics and feel.

When you find a pair of running shoes you want to buy, it’s a good idea for your budget to look for them on PriceRunner. This allows you to see which shops are offering the best price on those shoes at that particular time.

How many pairs of running shoes do I need?

In the same way that your body needs to recover between your running sessions, so do your running shoes. When you run, the cushioning material in the sole is compressed, and it can take up to a day before the cushioning has recovered its full function. That’s the first reason why it’s a good idea to have at least two pairs of running shoes if you run regularly. The other reason is that different models of shoe are developed for different types of running. For shorter and faster sessions of around 5 km, it’s a good idea to have a pair of lightweight shoes that make it easier for you to maintain a higher tempo. When you’re doing a longer run at a calmer tempo, it's sensible to have a shoe suitable for longer distances.

The third reason to invest in different running shoes is to challenge your feet. When you run in a pair of shoes, your feet quickly get used to the construction of the shoes and you get the same type of load with each stride. So it's a good idea to alternate between two different types of shoe that are constructed in different ways, with different sizes of drop and different amounts of pronation support. By varying your shoes, you give your body a challenge – and become a more versatile runner. If you’re used to running in a well cushioned shoe and vary your running by wearing shoes with less support, it’s a good idea to start by running shorter distances in the less cushioned shoe. This allows your feet, calves and tendons to get used to the reduced amount of cushioning and reduces the risk of discomfort.

And by alternating two different pairs of running shoes, you don’t wear them out as quickly as when you only run in the same shoes the entire time.

What size running shoes should I buy?

When you run, you get hot and this leads to your feet swelling. So it’s a good idea to buy running shoes that are half or a whole size larger than your normal shoe size. You want the extra space at the front, around your toes. When you try out running shoes they should be tight but comfortable around the heel. There shouldn’t be a gap at the heel when you run – if there is, they’re too big and would be comfortable to run in. When you've laced up your running shoes, your feet should be held firmly and shouldn’t slide forwards or backwards in the shoe when you move. A good pair of running shoes should feel comfortable immediately and you shouldn’t need to “run them in”.

How much toe space do I need in running shoes?

Going for a run and feeling your toes rubbing on the front of the shoes all the time isn’t comfortable. So it’s a good idea to have a little extra space at the front of the running shoes in the toebox. How much space is a matter of taste. 0.5-1 cm between your toes and the front of the shoes is usually about right. When you have your running shoes on you should be able to bend the toes a little. If the shoes are too big at the front, it can result in the shoes bending when you run, or rubbing your feet. So it’s important to buy shoes that are the right width. If your running shoes are too wide, it can lead to you tensing your feet as you run, which may result in you getting cramp. Put your shoes on and feel the material around the front of the foot. If there’s a lot of air between the front of the foot and the side of the shoe, the shoes are probably too broad for your feet. If instead the material around the front of the shoe feels very tight and you can see the contours of the toes through the material, the shoes are too narrow.

What does “drop” mean when it comes to running shoes?

Product descriptions of running shoes often talk about drop in millimetres. Drop is a description of the height difference between the front and heel of a running shoe. If the heel of a running shoe is 15 mm high and the sole under the front end of the shoe is 5 mm thick, the drop of the shoe is 10 mm. Manufacturers have reduced the drop in their running shoes – in other words reduced the difference between the thickness of the sole under the forefoot and the heel. The idea behind this is that you get a more natural running step and an improved running experience. But it’s worth remembering that shoes with a lower drop represent a bigger challenge for your tendons and calves. If you have a problem with your tendons or calves, or if you tend to land heavily on your heels when you run, it may be a good idea to get shoes with a bigger drop. The drop that suits you best is a matter of taste. If you’re unsure, you can get help from an expert in a running shoe shop, or try out a few shoes with different drops and feel which one is best for your feet.

What are neutral running shoes?

One particular type of running shoe is the neutral shoe. Neutral running shoes have little stability and are developed to allow the foot to adopt its natural movement as you run.

It’s common to have what’s known as a neutral running step, which means that when you run your arches hold up your bodyweight so you can “roll” forwards over the sole of your foot. If you have a neutral running step, wearing a pair of very stable shoes can feel clumsy, so a pair of neutral running shoes would be preferable.

What are barefoot running shoes?

Barefoot running shoes are created to give a feeling of running barefoot. The appearance of these shoes can vary – there are barefoot shoes that look like gloves with compartments for each toe, and barefoot shoes that are more like socks. Barefoot shoes all have minimal stability and rigidity, and the drop is at most just a few millimetres. Unlike running completely barefoot, barefoot shoes give you some protection against sharp stones and so on.

If you’re going to start running in barefoot shoes, it’s recommended that you start with short runs and then gradually increase your distance. When you spring in shoes with a lot of cushioning, you automatically land further back on the heel. With barefoot shoes you instead land more on the front part of the foot. If you running barefoot shoes and land heel first it will hurt or even cause injury. So when you start using barefoot shoes you should count on a period of acclimation during which you adapt your running step.

What are running shoes with pronation support?

Pronation is a common expression when we talk about running. It’s about as common to have a neutral running step as it is to overpronate. Overpronating means that when you run your feet roll inwards with each step. This is often because your arches are on the flat side, and aren’t able to hold up your bodyweight. So if you overpronate it's a good idea to give your feet the support they need by buying a pair of stable shoes that reduce the inwards movement.

What does supination mean when we talk about running shoes?

Supination, or underpronation, is the opposite to overpronation. If you have a supinated running step, it means that when you run you push off with the outside of the foot. And when you put your foot down, you do so with the outside of the heel first. If you supinate, you can try out a pair of shoes with a lot of cushioning that can make things easier for you when you’re running.

How can I tell if my running shoes are old and worn?

How often you need to buy new running shoes depends on how often you run, how far you run, how you run and how much you weigh. Every time you put your foot down as you run, you put a load on the shoe equal to several times your own bodyweight. This puts a lot of stress on your shoes. The general recommendation is to replace your running shoes every year or every other year – or when you've run 1200-1500 km in them. If you aren’t sure whether it’s time to get new running shoes, you can put them on a table, for example and look closely at them. Is the sole worn and sloping inwards or outwards? If so, it can be time to invest in a new pair.

Where should I buy running shoes – online or in a shop?

There are lots of places you can buy running shoes. In a physical shop you can get help trying out running shoes that are suited to your feet and your running step. This can be good if you’re a beginner and you want to start out right with running. If you’re a more experienced runner and you know what type of running shoes you prefer, you can easily buy them online and try them out at home in peace and quiet. PriceRunner’s price comparison service also allows you to see which e-retailers currently have the best price for your running shoes.

Where can I buy running shoes cheaply?

If you want cheap running shoes, you can keep an eye out for sales. These often offer the opportunity to buy running shoes for a better price. You can also set up a price watch on PriceRunner and we’ll tell you when the running shoes you want are available for the price you've set.

Can I buy running shoes online from the USA or elsewhere?

You can buy running shoes from the USA or elsewhere, but it’s a good idea to check whether the shop delivers to your country. It’s also sensible to check how much the delivery will cost and whether you need to pay customs duties for your running shoes. Otherwise your new running shoes may be more expensive than you expected.

Can I buy running shoes for children?

Yes, there are special running shoes for children. Just like running shoes for adults, running shoes for children are available for a neutral or pronated running step. Most manufacturers and resellers of running shoes have kids’ models. Running with your child is a fun way to spend time outdoors together!

Post a comment

Stick to the topic and maintain a respectful attitude toward others. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts.

Illustration - No questions and answers

Be the first to write a comment!

Welcome to PriceRunner UK

– Compare prices and products from your favourite online stores. Learn more about our services