The Best Overall Running Shoes Reviewed

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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 them most expensive running shoes but you should research what experience people have with any specific running shoe before you purchase it!

Our Top 3 Picks
Nike Flyknit Racer
  • Nike Flyknit Racer
  • 5 out of 5
  • Forefoot Nike Zoom Air unit
  • Price: See Here
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Mizuno Wave Creation
  • Mizuno Wave Creation
  • 5 out of 5
  • Infinity Wave heel technology
  • Price: See Here
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Brooks Launch 3
  • Brooks Launch 3
  • 5 out of 5
  • BioMoGo DNA foam midsole
  • Price: See Here
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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.

To help you along through your search, we have gone through the top rated running shoes available to put together this list reviewing key features and performance of the best overall running shoes for any level. Let’s go ahead and take a look at what each of these picks, which all have versions available for both women and men, have to offer.

 

10. Hoka One One Valor

10.  Hoka One One Valor
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The tenth choice on our list isn’t in this spot because it’s a bad shoe. The list is made up of the best shoes for running. The Valor from Hoka One One makes the number 10 spot because its overall design may not be one that appeals to everyone, that is until most try a pair on. Hokas can be spotted from a mile away just by looking at their unique sole. Although much different the more low profile designs that other manufacturers go with, Hoka One One offers a degree of comfort and cushioning that those with a thinner sole may not provide.
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Let’s talk about the Valor, beginning with comfort and fit. The first thing that is obvious is the company’s signature cushioned ride. This is achieved by the thicker early stage meta-rocker sole, which contains plenty of cushion.

Hoka’s ComfortFrame upper, 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.
Pros
  • Exceptional cushioning
  • Early stage meta-rocker design
  • Stitchless upper lessens chance of irritation
Cons
  • Sole is quite bulky for those used to lower profile shoes

9. New Balance 1260v5

9.  New Balance 1260v5
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New Balance. A brand that we almost always comes to mind when we think about quality footwear normally offered with a fairly reasonable price tag attached. The 1260v5 is available for both women and men, and offers a premium yet affordable option for comfortable distances on the road. Generally, their 1260 series has done well overall, so let’s take a look at this newest version and see what enhancements New Balance has added to this model.
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Since it’s the most important to most, we’ll start with the shoe’s comfort. They have, of course, built these with their ABZORB cushioning which provides exceptional shock absorption. This is always a good property for a shoe to possess, especially if being used on harder surfaces that can often be a bit more unforgiving on your joints.

Next, we’ll look at the stability that this one provides. They do have a T-Beam stability shank in the midfoot, and the breathable mesh upper is reinforced with stitched overlays. Another aspect that offers stability, as well as confident balance to some is the lower profile design. Although these aren’t part of their Minimus family, they are built with New Balance’s N2 low to the ground response. Really, these have all of the properties that also make them an excellent choice for those over-pronators out there.

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 V4 and earlier. 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 !
Pros
  • Low ground response
  • Good choice for over-pronators
  • ABZORB provides outstanding shock absorption on impact
  • Reasonably priced for the benefits that are offered
Cons
  • There are some complaints that this newer version has sizing issues for both men’s and women’s options

8. Brooks Ghost 8

8.  Brooks Ghost 8
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As a familiar and respectable name in the world of performance running shoes, Brooks continues on with their popular Ghost series. Version 8 builds onto the great features from its predecessors, further enhancing the fit and function of this model.
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Taking a closer look, starting from the top, The upper is constructed of a breathable mesh. For reinforcement as well as a continuously secure fit, there are also no-sew overlays that also help to maintain the upper’s form. For comfort, stability and performance, Brooks has a few of there own additions that contribute to a safe and comfortable run. For starters, these have their BioMoGo DNA midsole. Additionally, you’ll find a segmented crash pad in both the heel and midfoot. Also in the midsole the shoe has Brooks’ Omega Flex Grooves for greater flexibility of movement.

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
Pros
  • Long lasting comfort
  • Great breathability
  • DNA midsole reduces energy loss
  • Good arch support
Cons

 

  • Sizing issues with this version, not ideal for wider feet

 

7. Nike LunarEpic Flyknit

7.  Nike LunarEpic Flyknit
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Nike is always among the top contenders, no matter what the sport. Quality, performance and even style are some of the first things that many think of when it their products. Their LunarEpic has a pretty unique upper design that fits more like a sock, than a more conventional running shoe. There are laces to adjust for a custom, secure fit, but the sock-like ankle is the most noticeable attribute that this model has.
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The upper is constructed of Nike’s Flyknit material, which gives these a conforming, lightweight fit. While there is also a lowtop version of the LunarEpic, we chose to list the high-top because if its interesting and innovative design and style. When it comes to trying new and different designs, this company doesn’t seem to hold back. This model simply more evidence of that.

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.
Pros
  • Sock-like fitting design
  • Very lightweight
  • Breathable Flyknit upper
  • Smooth ride over distances with the Lunarlon foam midsole
Cons
  • A bit expensive
  • Some not ready for the higher ankle sock design

6. Saucony Cohesion 9

6.  Saucony Cohesion 9
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Now we go to the more conventionally designed Cohesion 9 from the running shoe giant, Saucony. Nine versions into this particularly well liked model, and they seem to keep performing better and better with each new edition. This company produces a product that, while not necessarily flashy, speaks for itself in terms of overall performance. Let’s dig a little deeper, and see what make these such a popular choice with runners of different levels.
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We will start where we usually do, with the shoe’s comfort and fit. From top to bottom, The mesh construction of the upper allows pretty decent breathability, while reinforced with Stitched overlays as well as higher toe protection in the front. The collar is a bit higher on these, and is really well cushioned. This also adds an extra bit of ankle support, which is a nice little bonus if that is something that you may be looking for.

For comfort, you’ll find Saucony’s Grid cushioning system in the heel, which is the first sole-based system that provides both stability and cushioning. These are also surprisingly flexible, making them an all around great shoe for more than just running.

On average the Cohesion runs middle of the road as far as their cost is concerned. However, their price does vary a bit, depending on where you choose to shop for them. We have found decent deals for them on Amazon.

As this is a pretty well established model, there are plenty of user reviews to search through. So, that’s what we did. For both the women’s and men’s versions, the large majority of feedback was positive. There were some, however, that were critical of their lasting durability, when compared with previous versions. There were also some who experienced issues with the sizing being a bit different in this newer model. But, given that the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, these certainly deserve their spot on this list.
Pros
  • Grid sole based cushioning also give good stability
  • Goes for a pretty reasonable price, especially if purchased online
  • Upper provides plenty of support and protection
  • Good ankle support
  • Surprisingly more flexible than they appear
Cons
  • Some customer comments suggest issues with durability and longevity of use
  • Possibly some sizing differences with this version, compared to the previous ones

5. Saucony Guide 9

5.  Saucony Guide 9
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Here we have one more great product from Saucony, the Guide 9. With many features from the previous version, plus a few new enhancements, these are an excellent representation of this globally well respected brand. These have so many different features, let’s just get right into it.
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The upper is put together with a very breathable mesh material, reinforced with tech-striped overlays and GLEXFILM technology, which is an exoskeletal support. The optimal comfort comes from a combination of things, including the energy-returning EVERUN topsole and the shoe’s dual density EVA midsole. For impact and shock absorption, these also have Saucony’s SRC impact cushioning landing zones. They work great when running distances over harder surfaces. Added longevity of use is aided by the addition of IBR+ pods to the already durable Tri-Flex XT-900 carbon rubber outsole.

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.
Pros
  • Durable TRI-Flex outsole further enhanced with IBR+ pods
  • Breathable woven mesh upper
  • Exceptional shock absorption with SRC impact landing zones
  • EVERUN topsole helps with energy return
Cons
  • Moderately expensive

4. ASICS Gel Nimbus 18

4.  ASICS Gel Nimbus 18
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Now we have an offering from ASICS, an all-around classic running shoe company. Known all over for consistently putting out good stuff, they have given us yet another version to the Gel Nimbus line. As we move further down the list, you have probably noticed that the number of features grow as we get closer to number one. This is certainly the case with the Nimbus 18.
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There is so much going on with these, it’s hard to know where to start. Let’s begin with ASICS’ FluidRide durable cushioning system which provides incredible bounce-back properties at a noticeably reduced weight. Next we’ll go to the upper where these feature FluidFit. This technology is made up of multi-directional stretch mesh material combined with stretchable reinforcements. This allows the upper to effectively adapt to the wearer’s foot, with a glove-like fit that will not allow unnecessary play inside the shoe. This greatly enhances the user’s performance due to a more confident fit.

This version of the Nimbus has also improved on the exoskeletal heel counter with an increased heel clutching fit. This provides more secure wear, giving the user even more stability. Stability and long distance comfort are two things that work well for this brand. These certainly keep that tradition going strong.

Finally we come to one attribute that ASICS is well known for, their GEL cushioning system. This rearfoot and forefoot system reduces shock during impact. It also allow optimal movement while the foot transitions through the complete gait cycle. The GEL system really is the key to the overall comfort of their footwear, earning this model the fourth spot on this top ten list.
Pros
  • Heel clutching exoskeletal heel counter
  • GEL cushioning under rear and forefoot
  • FluidFit upper provides decent breathability
  • Good bounce back with their FluidRide technology
Cons
  • Seem to be issues with this version running a bit smaller and tighter in the toe box
  • A bit higher priced for many

3. Brooks Launch 3

3.  Brooks Launch 3
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As mentioned previously, Brooks has a really strong presence in the running world. They have a consistent output of quality, performance geared products that seem to regularly be up to the rigors and challenges that are experienced on the road. This third edition of the Launch is definitely no exception.
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Although they appear to be slightly lower profile, they provide plenty of comfort with Brooks’ BioMoGo DNA midsole. Additionally these have a segmented crash pad under the heel for impact shock absorption. This allows the user to have smoother transitions as well as softer landings. The sparsely ventilated mesh upper offers exceptional breathability that allows your feet to stay cool and comfortable. Reinforced with a no-sew synthetic overlay material, The shoe’s upper is given a little more additional support and durability.

Underneath, the Cushsole which runs full-length adds even more cushion, while giving the Launch an excellent amount of flexibility. 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.
Pros
  • Good flexibility due to the Cushsole
  • Segmented Crash Pad under heel for shock absorption
  • No-sew overlays on upper eliminate inside irritation spots
  • Sparsely ventilated to keep feet cool and dry from sweat
Cons
  • Some issues with sizing, not an ideal choice for wide feet
  • Some minor durability issues, according to customer feedback

2. Mizuno Wave Creation 17

2.  Mizuno Wave Creation 17
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This one is specifically intended as a neutral runner that is meant for high-mileage use. When I mentioned above that the further down the list we go, the more features the shoes tend to have. This remains true with the Wave Creation 17 from Mizuno. One thing that is really great about this company, is that they tend to produce shoes that seem to be targeted for a specific use or goal. Whereas many running show manufacturers make products that are suitable for multiple tasks, it is also nice to have something that is primarily intended to do one thing very well. That is how I would describe the Wave Creation.
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The Dynamotion Fit upper has an additional open-cell material, similar to netting, over top of it. This provides optimal breathablility. In addition, there is a stitched overlay that provides a midfoot wrap, offering added upper support.

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. Some customer reviews suggest that the women’s model may not be ideal for wider feet.
Pros

  • 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
Cons

 

  • Not a good choice for wide feet

 

1. Nike Flyknit Racer

1.  Nike Flyknit Racer
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And, the number one spot goes to another pick from Nike’s Flyknit, the Racer. Leave it to Nike to come up with an outside the box concept, then still package it in a fairly simplistic design that maintains its usefulness in multiple roles.
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The Flyknit Racer combines two of their newest technologies, the Lunarlon cushioning system and their Flyknit lightweight upper design. Put together we get a durable, lightweight running shoe with an outstanding amount of comfort in a simple yet exceptionally responsive design. In addition, these also contain an Air Zoom unit in the forefoot as well as the Phylon midsole for even more comfort and performance.

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.

Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • Expensive
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