10 Best Ultra Running Shoes Rated & Tested
Ultramarathons include any race that’s more than the 26.2 miles. For these long distance races, runners need high performance, lightweight, and durable ultra running shoes to perform at their best. Often, a basic pair of running shoes won’t hold up, so ultra running shoes are needed.
There are many different running shoes available for ultra marathon runners. To decide which pair of ultra running shoes would best fit your needs, we have put together this list of the best ultra running shoes you can buy.
- Hoka One One Clayton
- High-Rebound Cushioning & Traction
- Adidas Adizero Adios Boost 2
- Full-length EVA Stable Frame
- Tesla T320
- Shock Absorbant Synthetic Midsole
10 Best Ultra Running Shoes
1. Hoka One One Clayton
The Hoka CLAYTON is known for comfort. With a firmer front and a softer heel, joints are better protected and runners experience better propulsion. The extra cushioning promotes comfort during long endurance races.
Many marathon runners report that they are able to wear these shoes through the training and race day for many races. The mix of synthetic and mesh materials on the exterior increase durability. The rubber sole better protects runner's feet against the elements.
These shoes are among the most expensive shoes featured on this list. However, many serious runners say these are their favorite shoes to run in and how they last a long time. For this, these shoes are worth the price.
- Superior cushioning and support
- Excellent traction and grip
- Lightweight considering the features
- Not available in narrow or wide widths
- More expensive than competitor versions
2. ASICS GEL-Venture 5
The innovative Rearfood GEL Cushioning System promotes great comfort for runners. This is great for everyday training sessions or long endurance races. A removable liner allows space for custom orthotic inserts.
Several components of this shoe promote durability. First, a trail-specific outsole means runners can travel on any terrain. High abrasion rubber means rough surfaces won't damage the shoes. Last, a rugged exterior ensure longevity.
These shoes cost less than most comparable versions, from ASICS and other manufacturers. Depending on the size and color, these shoes may cost roughly half of what shoes with similar features cost.
- Superior arch support
- Affordable and feature-driven
- Highly durable shoes
- Heavier than other ultra running shoes
- Might be narrower than other shoes
3. Adidas Adizero Adios Boost 2
These shoes promote stability and comfort for high performance runners who rely on their mid to forefoot. They carefully balance weight against efficiency and speed. Advanced cushioning promotes added comfort.
Its full length EVA frame promotes both stability and durability. A rubber sole protects the shoes from the elements.
For runners who need more stability from their running shoe, the Adidas Adizero Adios 2 is a solid bet. The full frame and added cushioning are a great value, given the average price.
- Offers tremendous stability and cushioning
- Great breathability
- Limited arch support
- Thin fabric material upper
4. Inov-8 X-Talon 200
The X-Talon 200 has been designed with a 3mm heel-to-toe drop and injected EVA midsole in order to increase performance and comfort by bringing the foot closer to the ground. You don’t have to sacrifice comfort for performance with this shoe. They are very light and highly flexible, encouraging the natural moment of your foot. The rubber studs on the bottom have been designed to prevent slipping even on wet ground. The tough, thick rubber tow dump will help protect your feet from obstacles like rocks.
You may need to take some time to break these shoes in before a truly long run, though many runners have found they work great right out of the box. Like many other extremely lightweight ultra-shoes, they run small and close to your foot. The sizes are all for men, so women should figure out men’s sizes work for them. These shoes can fit people with wider feet very well. If you need inserts or orthotics, you can fit these inside the X-Talon 200s without making the shoes impossible to get on.
The forefoot mesh allows the shoes to drain out faster in order to keep feet drier. They shed mud really well and will look like new after a wash. All the pieces are attached very well and the rubber studs on the bottom are very durable. You don’t need to worry about wearing them down very quickly or finding some of them tearing loose.
These are pretty budget friendly ultra running shoes. Price varies a bit based on sizes, but they’re easy to find online.
Mud doesn't clump in treads
Very light weight
Invest in gaiters, as debris gets in easily.
5. Mizuno Wave Inspire 12
The Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 features a synthetic sole and a breathable upper, so runners don't have to worry about becoming sweaty during long runs. A U4icX stroble board improves underfoot comfort. It's also available in wide widths.
Mizuno, as a company, has made shoes since 1906. Part of their longevity is from building high quality athletic gear. The firmer sole found in these shoes helps to promote durability.
For overpronators or those with flat feet, the Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 is one of the most affordable choices on the market. If you compare its price to competitor versions, it's consistently around 30% or so less in price than the others.
- Solid pair of motion control running shoes
- Perfect for runners with overpronation or flat feet
- Affordable price
- May be tight around upper
- Firmer sole
6. Saucony Peregrine 6
The Peregrine 6 was designed to both protect and stabilize your feet. It’s not so rigid that your foot can’t flex like it should, but the shoe’s EBO rock plate will help prevent injuries from rough terrain. The sticky rubber sole has an incredible amount of traction, which is what makes this shoe so versatile. You can wear it when running on rock, dirt, snow, and more with ease. Every landing is very well cushioned thanks to the structural board, heel pad, and midsole cushioning. The balance between stability and lightness found in this shoe is hard to beat.
These shoes do fit very true to size and many runners find that they run pretty small. The toe box might be small for some with wider feet. The added stability of the structural board can cause problems for those with flat feet. You will likely have to take some time to break them in before you really use them for run.
After a year of use, you may notice that some of the rubber around the toe will start to show signs of peeling. The upper mesh can get holes worn into it if it rubs up against anything while you run. Snags, in general, can cause durability issues.
These shoes can get expensive. Their versatility makes them worth it, especially if you are running year-round, but their durability can be issue.
Solid traction over various types of off-road terrain
Sizing runs a bit small
7. Brooks Ghost 9
The Brooks Ghost was designed to meet the needs of neutral runners and underpronators, so most people can benefit from using this shoe. Its advanced cushioning means that even those with high arches can find the support that they need. Plus, the removable foam insole means that runners can customize their level of support.
The removable insole means runners can replace the existing insole when it wears out. An Element upper design protects the shoe from natural elements so it lasts longer. Many customers report having their Brooks Ghost shoes for many years.
This pair of shoes balances affordability with high performance. Depending upon the color and size, this shoe can cost runners more or less than average. For a shoe that's available in half and wide sizes, it's considerably affordable.
- Available in wide and half sizes
- Design and cushioning reduces foot discomfort
- Soft fabric and mesh components may fray
- Can rub feet and cause blisters if worn without socks, due to design
8. Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 3
You will barely notice the weight of these shoes when you run. Support is provided by the Zoom Air cushioning system, which uses pressurized air pocket. There is a heel crash pad to help mitigate shock. The traction is excellent. You can use these shoes to run on snow and ice without issues. They're very comfortable for various foot sizes. A lot of people say that they fit like a glove. Flat-footed runners will like them, as well.
The exterior side of the tongue is sewn shut. This can be off-putting, but they was a purpose to this design. It keeps out sand, dirt, and other debris as you run, which helps prevent blisters and worse. Don’t worry about breathability, however, because these shoes have been made to keep your feet cool.
The biggest issue with these shoes and a symptom of their lightness is that they offer very little protection. Thorns and rocks can easily poke right through.
Again, because of the ultralight design, these shoes can develop issues under a lot of wear and tear. The lack of protection for your foot is also a lack of protection for the structure of the shoe.
These are priced like many specially designed Nike shoes: pretty expensive. If you're looking for an ultralight shoe with a great traction, however, it's well worth the price. If you're going to be running through rough rock or thorny areas, not so much.
- Extermely lightweight
- Designed to prevent debris from getting in
- Easily pentrated by thorns and rocks
- Design may be off puttign to some
9. Nike Lunaracer+ 3
The Nike Lunaracer+ 3 was designed to promote a comfortable running environment for feet. Its Dynamic Flywire allows the shoe to better adjust to a runner's changing foot shape. An engineered mesh reduces the need for overlays, which helps keep runners more comfortable.
Many runners consider the Nike Lunaracer+ 3 their favorite running shoe. This is in part due to its durability. Plus, Nike is a major industry player known for standing behind the products it sells.
Although the Nike Lunaracer+ 3 is a solid running shoe with great features, its price falls within the middle range for ultra running shoes. Some of the other shoes on this list offer a more comprehensive group of features than this pair.
- Better fit due to dynamic exterior construction
- Spacious area for toes
- All day comfort, even during long races
- Can rub tops of feet if not positioned correctly
- Sizing runs narrow
10. Saucony Fastwitch 6
This ultra running shoes offers breathability and high performance in a lightweight shoes that weigh less than 7 ounces. The FlexFilm technology enhances the fit, so these shoes feel even more premium than they are. These shoes are easy to travel to a race with.
These shoes offer stability with Saucony's innovative grid system that improves traction without adding the weight.
Depending on what size and color is needed, the price of these shoes is in the moderate range. These shoes are in the middle range of what runners should expect to pay for a pair of quality ultra running shoes.
- Available in bright colors
- Lightweight design and construction
- Features more cushion and give than other shoes
- Shoes are sized smaller than average
- Sole is a bit firm
Buying a pair of quality ultra running shoes ensures that runners have the best chance at successfully finishing an endurance race. For runners that love to participate in long races, investing in several pairs of ultra running shoes makes sense for training and actual race day. Just make sure that you don’t wear a new pair you haven’t worn in to a race.
Our Criteria For Evaluating 10 Best Ultra Running Shoes
A Quick Look at Five Very Different and Challenging Trail and Hiking Runs Around The World Which You Might Try.
The SpaceRock, Vasquez Natural Park in California. At number one in our choice of five very different and challenging trail runs, there is a choice here for all runners , new runners or those that prefer a shorter distance can try the 5km trail and enjoy the fantastic scenery and character building challenging which naturally occur in this trail. For more experienced or those that want more challenges while also enjoying breathtaking scenery two more choices are on offer, the 10 km run or the famous 13.1 mile run.
Vasquez Natural Park
What scenery can you expect? Think of Planet of the Apes, Star Trek and many other movies which used this park because of it’s unique features.
You will be running in elevations which vary over 3200 feet and the amazing rock formations may well give you the feeling you are running in a terrain on a far away world in another galaxy. Don’t forget to bring a GPS.
The Kalalau Trail in Hawaii on the remote island of Kauai, a vacation and running experience combined, starting of at a beautiful beach, you make your way along incredible trails into and through a lush valley which runs through the State Park.
The Kalalau Trail
Here you will experience every type of surface you would expect in a remote Hawaiian forest and valley location and you will also encounter parts of trails that you had never imagined.
The scenery is spectacular, the wildlife exotic and spellbinding, this trail run is a once in a lifetime experience which will stay in your memory forever. Take with you a good selection of running gear and essential survival kit and of course a camera because you will want to take many snap shots.
Your route will be 11 miles and a combination of running and a lot of trekking due to challenging terrain, you start at Ke’e beach front and head along the coast to KaLaLau beach but to get here you travel through the national park valley inland, you do not directly follow the coastline. In reality you pass through five valleys within the park system, through lush green awe inspiring valleys, along cliffs which tower as they face the blue ocean till you eventually descend to sea level.
I suggest you bring a reliable GPS.
Huckleberry Mountain, Montana USA
Try six miles in breathtaking spectacular scenery, you get lowland, medium elevations and higher and the actual trail is not too challenging as you make your way through a Glacier regional national park in Montana.
Take a good solid running kit with you including a GPS and watch out for the wild Bears, not your standard brown bear but the Grizzly types. This type of trail is for runners that want the wilderness and all its natural beauty. The condition of the trail will very much depend on which time of year you visit.
Drakensberg Traverse, South Africa.
This trail is tough and its for runners and hikers that want a challenge which they will never forget, we are talking 220 km of amazing landscapes in a South African environment, incredibly steep at times and flat at others, you will do a lot of ascending and descending, at times in conditions you might have not thought possible.
If your up for challenges that will ultimately test your endurance this has to be the one that will work for you, it’s a long way to travel to get to South Africa and then you have the journey to reach the trail run where you can combine running and hiking. This unique challenge is clearly not done in a day so you must go equipped to be there for 3 or possibly 4 days even if it does not take you that long.
Yes it is actually a trail that has been used in competitions and it is not unknown for people to quit. The actual trail is not clearly established so you will want a good GPS system. Without any doubt this is one you will find tests you and stays as one of the most challenging experiences in your life. A country in which the animal population are really wild and at times may well regard you as food.
Aonach Eagach Ridge – Scotland
The trail distances vary in fact you can create your own trail runs, the views in the Scottish highlands are really memorable, it’s wild and untouched and though very beautiful you will need to take care, the terrain can change very quickly from firm to boggy, you will run ridges where if you slip off you will be severely injured and with no other people around to help you.
Beautiful loch’s, (lakes), valleys full of heather, hills, mountains, bog land, forests, everything is here, be ready to tackle steep elevations, descend into stunning valleys littered with herds of red dear, wild grouse and fantastic fauna.
The best time to choose to do trail running in Scotland is during the summer months.