The Best Overall Running Shoes Reviewed
Searching for the best running shoes on the market? Let us help, with rundowns of our top picks for the best overall running shoes for the Fall of 2016.
Finding The Best Overall Running Shoes
Running, for many, tends to develop into something that is so much more than just a sport, or simply just another fitness activity. Most runners find ways to fit it into almost every aspect of their daily lives. Many ways people do this keeping themselves fit and healthy enough to keep hitting the road, not only competing with others in a lot of circumstances, but also competing with themselves, both mentally and physically. It really becomes more of a lifestyle, as to be able to keep pushing themselves further, runners need to train continuously, maintain healthy diets and living habits and keep a positive attitude. However, one thing that many beginners overlook, is the importance of having the best running shoes possible to allow yourself the comfort and support to finish each run safe and without any unnecessary discomfort.
Although there are so many options for footwear out there, it is important to know if your running shoes are good or bad?. The saying “you get what you pay for” is not always true when it comes to buying the best running shoes. Research indicates that you don’t need to buy the most expensive running shoes but you should research what experience people have with any specific running shoes before you purchase them for yourself!
1. ASICS DynaFlyte
Asics' full length FlyteFoam midsole, used for the first time in one of their models, provides continuous long lasting cushioning throughout your run. The reinforced fibers allow the midsole to bounce back to its proper shape after each run, allowing comfortable ride every time.
Over 50% lighter than the industry standard, with the help of the FlyteFoam cushioning and extremely lightweight uppermaterials, The DynaFlyte has achieved the goal of becoming one of the lightest neutral running shoes currently available.
- FlyteFoam Midsole provides lightweight and responsive cushioning
- ComfortDry Lasting provides great breathability, moisture control and antimicrobial properties
- The materials that go into the FlyteFoam midsole allow bounce back shape return, offering continuous comfort for each run
- Toe box a bit large for some
- A bit pricey
2. Brooks Ghost 9
All of their products are designed with runners in mind, so it’s no wonder why these are so popular with those who get hit the road on a regular basis. Brooks certainly has its band of extremely loyal followers that swear by their shoes.
In general, the reviews from users are, for the most part, positive ones. Many comments even mention that the comfortability lasts through quite a few miles. However, although a small amount, there are some that are critical of the durability and sizing issues. Two key points that we took away from many customer comments is that these have pretty good arch support, which is great if you’re someone who requires that from your footwear. The second is that if you have wider feet, you may have an issue with getting a perfect fit. Although these may seem a bit pricey, they are a great option if you tend to rack up the miles. For that reason, these are absolutely a perfect fit for this list of the very best running shoes in 2016
- Long lasting comfort
- Great breathability
- DNA midsole reduces energy loss
- Good arch support
- Not ideal for wider feet
3. Mizuno Wave Sayonara 4
The combination of the u4ic forefoot cushioning and Mizuno’s Infinity Wave bounce back heel, these provide an unbelievable amount cushioning, Shock absorption, as well as all around continuous comfort. A truly innovative design.
On the bottom, the Smoothride Engineered sole has strategically placed X10 carbon rubber sections under the toe and heel, for increased traction as well as improved durability.
Although the cost of these may vary a bit, they do often run a little high. Also, it may be a good idea to try on a pair at a store, if you are planning to purchase online.
- Optimum bounce back due to the Infinity Wave heel, which also aids with impact
- An upper with obvious breathability
- Increased durability from X10 carbon rubber under heel and toe, also helps with added traction
- Sizing runs a bit small
4. Nike Air Zoom Structure 19
As this one is still a pretty new model, and even more so, a pretty different design, there aren’t a ton of customer reviews yet. However, the few that are out there offer nothing but praise. So, let’s go through some of the features and see what these are all about.
Since these are part of the Lunar series, they have the contoured Lunarlon foam midsole. This feature has proven in other models to provide a really smooth ride, no matter the distance. The Flyknit material in the upper also offers a good amount of breathability. For even more support and enhanced cushioning, there are also laser cut pods on the sole.
Similar to many other products from Nike, the LunarEpic also comes with a fairly high price tag. But, if the unique design paired with the proven performance of their lunar series are what you are looking for, then these are an excellent choice among the best performance shoes.
- Sock-like fitting design
- Very lightweight
- Breathable Flyknit upper
- A bit expensive
5. Saucony Ride 9
This brand has long produced footwear that continuously proves itself, outperforming much of the competition. While there are some manufacturers than go for the flashy approach, Saucony, with products like the Guide, show that sometimes combining a bit of technology with a proven and true design can often be the best bet.
Although the price tag varies, depending on where you look, these are not the cheapest running shoes that this company offers. Like almost anything else, if you weigh the benefits against the cost, the price seem pretty fair. Besides, these can be found for a reasonable amount on sites like Amazon.
- Durable TRI-Flex outsole further enhanced with IBR+ pods
- Breathable woven mesh upper
- Exceptional shock absorption with SRC impact landing zones
- RunDry lining provides great chafe resistance
- Sizing runs smaller than previous version
6. Hoka One One Clifton 3
Hoka’s no-sew SpeedFrame construction, constructed primarily of lycra, maintains a proper fit with a stitchless design. This eliminates areas on the inside of the upper that may cause irritation and rubbing. Furthermore, there are strategically placed overlays to help keep a secure and lasting fit as well as maintain the overall durability.These do have a quite different design, with regards to the mass of their sole. So for that reason, some are reluctant to give these a try.
With that being said, Most who have given these a chance have rarely gone back to running shoes with a more conventional sole. You will have to decide for yourself whether this one is for you or not, but there are plenty of satisfied users out there who are now loyal customers of Hoka One One.
- Exceptional cushioning
- Early stage meta-rocker design
- Stitchless upper construction lessens chance of irritation
- Sole is quite bulky for those used to lower profile shoes
7. Brooks Ravenna 7
These really have it all. Designed for comfort and distance, these easily take number three. The only thing that kept them from getting to second place are the critical reviews which suggest that there may be some sizing issues with this one.
The price may seem a bit steep, especially if the buyer isn’t quite aware of the benefits that the Launch offers. Still, it’s an outstanding choice that will surely get you comfortably through your run, whether it be on the road or even a treadmill.
- Ideal choice for mild overpronators
- Updated Crash Pad offers enhanced shock absorption
- No-sew overlays on upper eliminate inside irritation spots
- Exceptional breathability and moisture control
- Some issues with sizing
8. Adidas Supernova Sequence 9
The midsole, in addition to the energy returning Boost technology, is also built with STABLEFRAME, which runs the full length of the shoe. This is designed to offer proper guidance to the foot all the way through the gait.
Further guidance of the foot's rotation at midfoot is assisted by the Sequence's TORSION System. This technology allows optimum transition trhough the running gait.
- Boost energy returning technology in the shoe's midsole
- STABLFRAME provides proper foot guidance
- Upper design allows supportive and comfortable fit for different types of feet
- Adaptive support yet natural foot movement provided by the FitBand
- The forefoot runs a bit narrow
9. Nike Flyknit Racer
The waffleskin outsole that these have possess a racing-specific diamond shaped tread pattern for improved traction for race type situations.
Nike has done pretty well with this design, producing several different models in the Flyknit line, most of which also have their Lunarlon cushioning. It seems to be the direction that they are going with their running shoes, at least for now. They seem to be overall well received, there aren’t a whole lot of customer reviews to go by due to how new these are. Out of all that we have read on these, the feedback is generally positive.
As far as the cost for this one, it is a new product from Nike… So, they are certainly not going to be cheap. As these are out for a little longer, the price will most likely go down. But for now, you can expect to pay quite a bit for them. Now with that said, if you are in search of the newest lightweight running shoe that has as much technology in its design as it does style, then here’s the one for you.
The simplistic design without a whole lot of external extras doesn’t allow too much to go wrong with, so for that reason we put this one in the first spot on the list.
- Lightweight, conforming Flyknit upper provide excellent airflow
- Air Zoom unit located in heel for added comfort
- The diamond treaded outsole offers pretty good traction for the road in different conditions
- Perfect combination of cushion and responsiveness with the Lunarlon foam and Phylon midsole
- Simplistic, non-bulky design that offers the same or better performance as its larger and heavier competitors
10. New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v2
Next, we’ll look at the stability that this one provides. The sole does plane out slightly, giving a little more area of contact. Additionally, the breathable knit upper is reinforced more by the way the material is constructed by design, rather that using an abundance of overlays. Another aspect that offers stability, as well as confident balance to some is how the collar fits a bit higher on the ankle, offering just a bit more support where the lower profile models might not. Really, these are a well built and responsive pair of neutral runners.
The overwhelming majority of the customer feedback on this one is positive, however there are some claims that the sizing has changed a bit with this newer version. Most of those critical of the sizing state that this one seems to run a bit narrow, compared to version one. With that criticism in mind, overall, these rate very well with users of all levels of experience, especially those who were looking for an extremely reliable and affordable option. You really can’t go wrong with these !
- Excellent ground response
- Fresh Foam midsole provides outstanding shock absorption on impact
- Reasonably priced for the benefits that are offered
- Some critical of sizing differences from the first version
Some brands are extremely well known for producing footwear for many different uses, while others tend to stick primarily to producing shoes specifically intended for avid to professional runners. Some models go outside the realm of conventional design, while others simply apply their technology to greatly enhance a traditionally designed shoe. The key is to know your own athletic needs and limits, as well as your own personal foot type. With such a vast amount of options to make your choice from, it definitely helps to have something to go by for reference and suggestions.
The Criteria We Used For Our Evaluation Of The Best Overall Running Shoes
It would be pretty easy to simply rattle off ten different models of running shoes, and put them all on a list. But, since our goal is to provide guidance, to assist you in your search, that would be a bit counterproductive.
Do they provide enough cushion for your run?
How do you typically run? Maybe you’re more of a jogger. Maybe you go for distance. Or, maybe you like to go full out, focusing on speed and endurance. Whatever your style, the shoe has to fit the purpose. By fit, we mean the ability to provide adequate support for the run.
For the runners who like to go and go, aiming for longer distances, then lasting support and adequate cushioning will be at the top of the list of requirements. You’ll also want a pair that will stay together throughout all of the miles you will be putting on them. Long lasting durability will be an important factor there.Finding The Best Overall Running Shoes
If you go for speed, then look for lightweight options. You will probably want something with as little mass as possible. A shoe that is able to provide exceptional response and just enough cushion to support your run, those are some ideal factors to look for.
What if you usually take light, but longer jogs? Footwear such as trainers would most likely be a good fit for that role. Look for a shoe that provide ample cushioning and good stability, all in a package that is lightweight and breathable.
How do they perform in their intended environments?
People run in many different environments. Some are into trail running, Many like the sidewalks in their hometown, some go for light paths through parks and forest areas, and many love the open road.
But aside from the different surfaces, we also take into account the regional and seasonal environments. Starting with the changes of the seasons, that many of us experience where we live.
From the fresh and temperate but often rainy Spring, the sweltering heat of Summer, the brisk air during Autumn, and of course, the often snow covered roads of Winter, the shoes chosen should match and stand up to the different environments that runners experience and maintain their practice in.
It’s quite true that there really isn’t one specific shoe that is absolutely perfect for every type of climate and environment, but some model come close to being a great fit for most. In our list, we included brands and models that rated at the top by users in many different locations, with many different types of climate.
It is really up to each runner to decide what type of environmental needs they need met for there own running or training. The traction of the best choices needed to be well regarded by users, providing a positive grip on the intended surfaces.
For footwear that may be used in multiple weather conditions, some type of protection from the elements is ideal as well.
How well do the shoes breathe?
No matter where you run or what the weather is like, you usually want your footwear to breathe. Well ventilated running shoes are more comfortable for longer amounts of time, but can also prevent issues related to moisture and bacteria.
We looked for models which had uppers constructed with lightweight materials such as mesh or even knitted fabric. The idea is to have as much airflow coming and going, while also maintaining the structure and upper integrity of the shoe.
Most brands have their own name for their breathable upper designs. For example, Nike uses their Flyknit material, which almost looks like that in a sweater, but with lightweight man made materials that are suitable for a running shoe. One of Asics’ designs is FluidFit. The all typically have similar functions, letting air move through and escape the from the shoe, helping to control moisture buildup.
Whether you are running in colder climates or under the sweltering sun, breathability is a huge deal. it not only affects your performance, but proper airflow and ventilation can also help cut down on issues like the build up of bacteria as well as other smelly and problematic issues caused by lingering moisture.
Do they provide enough stabilty?
Who wants to go for a long run in an uncomfortable pair of shoes? Nobody that I know is jumping with joy at the chance to do that!
Comfort is obviously a huge factor when shopping around for any type of footwear. They have to feel as on your feet after a run as they did before it. Sounds pretty straight forward, but we had to take into consideration that all feet are different. What works well for one person, may not be so great for another.
In our list we included some options that provide the fit and support needed for issues such as pronation, wide feet, flat feet and plantar fasciitis. Those who over or underpronate will typically need appropriately directed support to correct the foot’s position inside the footwear.
Whereas those with plantar fasciitis will need that support plus adequate cushioning to allow a less painful running experience.
Runners with flat feet will need the necessary mid support to keep the center of their foot from dropping. And, those who have higher arches will need the much needed support in the center to eliminate the weight stress that would be put on the the arch if left unsupported.
The fit of the upper to the shock absorption and cushioning of the midsole all play a huge part in the overall comfort of a particular running shoe. We researched specs product information and a lot of customer feedback pertaining to different brands and their models, narrowing our list down to ten of the top rated options out there on the market now.
Are they flexible?
The appropriate amount of flexibility means that the feet can function as naturally as possible, even while inside a running shoe.
A pair that are stiff and don’t give way for the natural movement of the feet will, first off, be very uncomfortable after only a short while. Second, the chance of foot fatigue will occur a whole lot sooner, as your feet will be fighting against the resistance of the shoes to move more freely. And third, without that ability of more naturally functioning feet, your performance and speed will be hampered quite a bit.
On the other hand, too flexible isn’t always the most appropriate choice either. A sole that is extremely flimsy, with almost zero resistance, will probably be a good sign that the shoe also doesn’t offer much in the way of needed support.
Are they durable enough?
Your purchase has to last, and has to be worth the money you paid. We looked at, not only user complaints, but the amount and frequency of them. We do realize that, since everyone’s feet are different, not all footwear will fit or work the same for everybody.
So, if we found a particular complaint regarding the construction or material quality, we searched for more similar suggestions. If there weren’t anymore or the like complaints were limited to only a few out of hundreds or (in some cases) more than a thousand reviews, we accepted it as an isolated issue, or even something caused by the conditions that the particular shoes were possibly being used in.
However, we did look at the quality of materials and construction in terms of how well each model was put together, and how well it seemed to last under continuous use. If a certain model seemed to have a ton of reported concerning quality and length of of use in typical or intended conditions, then it didn’t make our list.
What about style?
Who wants to wear ugly runners? It’s probably safe to say, none of us do. While we mainly focused on the performance of our choices, we did keep style in mind.
With so many advances with technology in producing new materials, manufacturers are now able to implement necessary features to their products, all while making the shoe look haw ever they want. Models that are designed to provide extra support no longer have to be big and bulky like they used to.
We made sure that our choices reflected what runners were looking for when it come to how they look going down the road. Everybody likes to look good, especially when they’re crossing the finish line!
Other Important Factors To Consider When Selecting The Best Running Shoes
To help you along through your search, we have gone through the top rated running shoes available to put together a few points that you may want to consider before making your choice. Some of the things that should be taken into consideration include purpose, environment, personal level, style, but more importantly, you should consider your foot type or any particular conditions. Let’s break it down a little more…
What kind of running are you into?
Think about what you’re going to do in you running shoes. If you primarily run races and train for longer distances, you’ll probably want a lightweight and flexible shoe that offers enough cushioning to last the duration of the run. Also, it’s wise to think about getting something that is really breathable, enough to maintain comfort throughout those longer sessions.
Maybe you are more into to cross training. If that’s the case, then a minimalistic design is probably not what you’ll want to go with. Since your routines will most likely consist of multiple forms of exercise, and not so much with the long distance runs, you are probably going to want something that provides more multi-use support. You certainly won’t want a heavy shoe, but you shouldn’t have to worry as much about finding an ultra-lightweight model either. Think flexible, protective and supportive.
Where do you typically run?
This one isn’t exactly about buying from a company who practices good stewardship of Earth’s environment, but that’s important also. We really mean, where do you run? Is the climate wet, cold, dry or hot? In the winter months, do you experience actual winter climate? Do you typically run on a paved road, or do you take it to the trails or off-road?
If you see a lot of rain or cold and wet weather, then a running shoe which is so well ventilated that you can almost see through it is probably not the best choice. On the other hand, if you are in a arid or consistently hotter environment, then you may actually want to consider something that well ventilated.
If you want to try and keep up your running year round and you live where all of the seasons are experienced in full, then you’ll need to take that into consideration as well. Maybe that could even mean buying two different pairs, to suit each current climate.
What is your level as a runner right now?
What is your current running frequency, and what is your nearest goal? If you are running long distances at consistently higher speeds, the a model which is made more for racing would be a good choice. If you are just getting started, and getting in a few miles per week, then the more expensive and long distance racing shoes aren’t really necessary for you yet.
Know your foot type
This is the most important part to consider. In order to run comfortably, efficiently, and most of all safely, you have got to know what works best for your feet. If you over-pronate, under-pronate, have flat feet or high arches, if your feet are wide or narrow, these are the things that you have to understand and know how to take care of.
For the different levels of pronation, you’ll need the right kind of support. Sometimes the model with the right support may not meet your style expectations, but that when you have to think about whether it is better to wear the hottest styles, or support and possibly correct a condition that can potentially become a problem.
And, the same thought should go into picking shoes for high arches or flat feet (Pes Planus), also referred to as fallen arches. you don’t want something that doesn’t offer enough support, or something that has too much.
If you’re not sure whether you have flat feet or not, there is a really easy way you can test yourself to find out. Simply soak your feet in water, then put your feet on concrete or any other surface where you can easily see your footprints. Next, carefully take your foot away. If you can see the entire print of your foot, including the center, you most likely have a flat foot.
What if you happen to have wide or even narrow feet? You will want to choose a brand and model which has sizing that works for you. These are all things which are important to think about, especially if you intend to put some miles on them.
To further help in your search for the best pair of running shoes, we have also put together some frequently asked questions that may help you spark some considerations of your own.
Q: I am a heavier guy and have recently started running for exercise. Are there shoes that will support heavier runners better than others?
A: There are certainly brands and models which do better with support for heavier runners and some that don’t. Some of those ideal choices, which happen to be on this list include models from Mizuno, Saucony and some others that you can see here.
Q: I cross train, but also tend to work longer distance runs, at a good pace, into my routine as well. Are there any concerns with minimalistic running shoes and typical cross training or crossfit routines?
A: If your routine usually involves weight lifting or anything else that requires some protection, then that is something which should be considered. There are model which serve better for cross training than others, and are also available in a low profile design.
Q: Does the higher price tag on a particular shoe represent higher quality?
A: It is safe to say that many of us have bought a product at one time, which may have been lower priced than a competitor. Then after using the product, or having a chance to compare, finding out that the lower priced option worked just as good. Obviously this is not always the case, so it is really important to do some homework before making your purchase. Read reviews, ask questions online and compare between different products. The option that works best for you doesn’t always have to be the most expensive one.
Q: Will I experience durability issues with a more minimalistic style or racing specific shoe, if I use them for just about all of my out door activities?
A: Here’s the thing about that. Shoes which are designed to be extremely light with minimal mass, really aren’t meant to be used for activities such as hiking or anything else that the particular shoe was not intended for. Therefore they really can’t be expected to hold up as well as a model with the appropriate design. For running shoes that are quality made products, users can still affect how long the shoes will actually last, based on how they are used.
We really hope that this buying guide was helpful to your search. Remember, there are many different types of running shoes out there. The trick is to weigh your needs and practical uses to find the best possible pair for you.
Here are some sources we used while conducting our research for this guide:
We try to bring you the most accurate and helpful information we can, hoping to provide you with a little bit of assistance in making an informed decision that works best for your feet.
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