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Best Lightweight Running Shoes Reviewed

last updated: Oct 11, 2020
When looking for the best lightweight running shoes you may run into some trouble narrowing down since there are so many different selections to choose from. If you are an avid runner then you may want a pair of lightweight running shoes that you can use to train.

Lightweight shoes can be just as supportive, comfortable, and breathable; and contrary to some popular belief, they don’t have to be minimalistic or barefoot running shoes. Instead, they are just like any other running shoe you have grown to love, just lighter in weight.

So, when looking for the best lightweight running shoes you won’t have to worry about sacrificing a thing. We spent hours researching and reviewing the best of the best for you, so check our list of the top 10 best lightweight running shoes and everything they have to offer!

In a Hurry? The test winner after 10 hrs of research

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New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V4
97.6/100 our score
Stability
98
Comfort
99
Value
96
Durability
97
Weight
98
New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V4
Why is it better?

Slight stability

No-new mesh upper

Fresh Foam midsole

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V4
Test Winner: New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V4
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Researched Sources
2
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
2k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
10
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
15
Products Evaluated
Sorting Options
Stability Comfort Value Durability Weight By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.6
Stability
98 %
Comfort
99 %
Value
96 %
Durability
97 %
Weight
98 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (27.10.20)
Amazon Link
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.4
Stability
96 %
Comfort
97 %
Value
97 %
Durability
96 %
Weight
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (27.10.20)
Amazon Link
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.2
Stability
93 %
Comfort
92 %
Value
94 %
Durability
93 %
Weight
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (27.10.20)
Amazon Link
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.4
Stability
91 %
Comfort
93 %
Value
90 %
Durability
92 %
Weight
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (27.10.20)
Amazon Link
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
Stability
88 %
Comfort
87 %
Value
87 %
Durability
88 %
Weight
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (27.10.20)
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.2
Stability
86 %
Comfort
85 %
Value
84 %
Durability
83 %
Weight
83 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (27.10.20)
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.8
Stability
82 %
Comfort
80 %
Value
80 %
Durability
80 %
Weight
82 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (27.10.20)
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#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.4
Stability
79 %
Comfort
78 %
Value
80 %
Durability
77 %
Weight
78 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (27.10.20)
Amazon Link
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
75
Stability
75 %
Comfort
75 %
Value
75 %
Durability
75 %
Weight
75 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (27.10.20)
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
73.2
Stability
70 %
Comfort
72 %
Value
71 %
Durability
77 %
Weight
76 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (27.10.20)
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10 Best Lightweight Running Shoes

1. New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V4

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.6
New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V4 Running Shoe
New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V4 Running Shoe sole
Amazon Link
Stability
98
Comfort
99
Value
96
Durability
97
Weight
98
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

Slight stability

No-new mesh upper

Fresh Foam midsole

Cons:

Runs small

By utilizing lightweight materials that wrap your foot in a cloud, it’s easy to pick up the pace in the Fresh Foam Zante V4 from New Balance. This isn’t the lightest option on our list, but it is the lightest design that still provides excellent stability features. Plus, it’s lighter than your average trainer which makes it worth checking out.

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The very first thing that we noticed about this updated design is the upper. It has a seamless knit upper that wraps around your foot for excellent and lightweight comfort. The Hyposkin technology used in the materials flex and move right along with you so that you can reach high speeds without an awkward upper causing blisters.

New Balance’s fresh foam cushioning in the midsole is very lightweight and makes your feel like you are running on a cloud. What runners love most about this design is that while it provides cushioning and stability, it is still flexible. This makes it the perfect option for speed, as well as cross-training or weight lifting.

If you are in the market for a pair of versatile trainers to keep you on your toes with just a little bit of extra support, the Fresh Foam Zante V4 is a great option. It weighs in at just 8 ounces, boasts a comfortable no-sew mesh upper that allows your foot to breathe and move and a Fresh Foam midsole for a softer stride.

2. Adidas Adizero Boston 8

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.4
adidas Men's Adizero Boston 8 Running Shoe
adidas Men's Adizero Boston 8 Running Shoe sole
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Stability
96
Comfort
97
Value
97
Durability
96
Weight
96
best offer for today
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Pros:

Boost midsole

7.4 ounces

Breathable mesh upper

Cons:

Laces are short

Tongue shifts around

While it may not look like it, the Boston 8 is deceptively lightweight. Weighing in at 7.4 ounces, it is one of the lighter non-minimalist designs making our list. While it boasts a frame to keep you snappy on your feet, it also providers runners with a little extra cushioning and support when training on hard surfaces.

Read more

What runners love most about the Boston 8 is that it provides a lot of cushioning, which is great for road running. This neutral trainer boasts a drop of 10 mm, which is slightly higher than your average shoe. A higher drop coupled with Adidas’ Boost midsole provides excellent cushioning and support without a lot of extra weight and bulk.

The upper of this design is composed of mesh materials that are breathable as well as flexible. Flat laces that run along the top of the foot provide excellent lockdown, which is ideal for taking tight corners. This design contours to the shape of your foot which makes it the ideal trainer for speed or distance when working with hard surfaces.

Boston 8 is the perfect marriage between support and flexibility. The lightweight frame keeps you quick on your feet, and the 10 mm drop and Boost midsole provide runners with a good deal of support to protect knees and joints. It may cost a little bit more than most, but we feel that it is worth every penny!

3. Hoka One One Cavu 3

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.2
HOKA ONE ONE Men's Cavu 3
HOKA ONE ONE Men's Cavu 3 sole
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Stability
93
Comfort
92
Value
94
Durability
93
Weight
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

Meta-rocker midsole

Great for overpronators

7.4 ounces

Cons:

Slippery outsole

Slightly expensive

The Cavu 3 from Hoka One One is a neutral roadrunner designed to keep you quick on your feet. It has a slightly lower drop, which makes you more in tune with the ground beneath your feet. Runners love the lightweight and flexible upper that contours to your foot, and is incredibly breathable for those brutal training sessions.

Read more

While Cavu and Cavu 2 were lightweight, Cavu 3 takes it to a whole new level. It boasts a lower profile which enhances flexibility and weighs in at just 7.4 ounces. The breathable mesh upper provides runners with modest padding around the heel cuff and omits the tongue completely for a better overall fit.

What makes Cavu 3 unique is that it hosts a few subtle stability features hidden in the midsole to protect your knees and joints for a smooth ride. The addition of Hoka’s Meta-rocker is great for overpronators because it naturally guides the gait to be more even so you aren’t putting too much pressure on certain areas of the foot. Exposed EVA foam on the outsole creates a more comfortable ride but makes this design a little less grippy than other options out there on the market.

Overpronators are often boxed into heavy and bulky stability shoes, and Cavu 3 works to change all of that. This design has comfortable and helpful features to even out your gait without additional bulk. Runners love that it is lightweight and easy for quick runs, cross-training, or weight lifting.

4. Saucony Kinvara 11

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.4
Saucony Men's Kinvara 11
Saucony Men's Kinvara 11 sole
Amazon Link
Stability
91
Comfort
93
Value
90
Durability
92
Weight
91
best offer for today
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Pros:

6.9 ounces

PWRRUN midsole

Seamless upper

Cons:

Runs narrow

The Kinvara 11 is hailed by runners as being incredibly lightweight and comfortable. This neutral trainer hides some amazing supportive features into the lightweight midsole to protect joints and boasts an easy knit upper that really hugs your foot for unmatched lockdown. Whether you are training for long distances or cross-training, the Kinvara 11 is a great choice.

Read more

Our favorite feature of the Kinvara 11 is that it is one of the lightest neutral trainers out there on the market. It weighs in at just 6.9 ounces and is composed of materials to fit your foot like a glove. The upper is composed of a single piece of mesh that limits the occurrence of hot spots of blisters when training on hot days.

The midsole is composed of Sauconys patented PWRRUN foam material to keep you quick on your feet. This midsole offers a springy foam that you can feel in all stages of your gait, but it isn’t overly bulky or heavy. With a 4 mm drop, it lives somewhere in between a minimalist and neutral trainer.

If you are in the market for something that is light and snappy with cushioning where you need it most, Kinvara 11 is a great choice. We love this design because it is insanely comfortable without being weighed down with stiff and heavy materials. Plus, it is one of the lightest neural trainers currently out there on the market, making it worth checking out.

5. Nike Flyknit Racer

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
Nike Flyknit Racer
Nike Flyknit Racer sole
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Stability
88
Comfort
87
Value
87
Durability
88
Weight
85
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Pros:

Good selection of colors

Springy and nicely responsive

Good durability when used in the right context

Lightweight FlyKnit material

Terrific breathability

Cons:

A bit narrow for a few runners

Some report sizing inaccuracies

A shoe appreciated by neutral runners, you get style, security, and comfort with a one unit-shell upper which is knitted together and offers good breathability, the material has a stretch factor to enable an adaptive FIT combined with nice support.

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The Flyknit Racer shoe remains true to size. A good choice of sizes covering what is wanted by runners. The heel, mid-foot and forefoot areas have medium measurements. The shoe comfortably accommodates those with narrow-to-medium foot dimensions.

Quality comes with a nice choice of colors, a shoe which gives a high-quality sock-style fit; though the shoe is built to be light, the materials used in the construction of the shoe offer a good degree of durability. A lot of innovative design has gone into making this a light shoe: well worth the investment.

The outsole of the shoe has a durable rubber outsole with a waffle-skin surface which has a racing diamond pattern. The Phylon midsole is a sound low profile system, known as very responsive, light in weight with good response, built-in as a full-length feature enabling a nice cushion factor.

The upper of the Nike Flyknit Racer features a one-piece knit upper that gives satisfying breathability. It is stretchable to deliver a seamless, sock-like fit which means less chance for irritating friction problems. With the Dynamic Flywire, this shoe delivers a comfortable fit and added support while reducing the shoe’s weight. The lightweight and low-profile tongue offer additional comfort.

6. On CloudFlow

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.2
On CloudFlow
On CloudFlow sole
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Stability
86
Comfort
85
Value
84
Durability
83
Weight
83
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Pros:

Cloud Pod Cushion Factor

Built-in sockliner

Engineered mesh

Zero-Gravity EVA foam

Additional traction and surface control

Cons:

Outsole and midsole wear out quickly

The On CloudFlow features a pleasant shoe design, lightweight performance, and cushioning with good responsiveness. It's good for fast running and is particularly nice for runners with a natural foot-roll. The name Clouds is surprisingly apt for this shoe because of the sensation it invokes of running on soft clouds. It's cushioning and functional response system works throughout the moment of foot-strike all the way to the toe-off to give you a very light feeling while running. This shoe model is for men and women who run.

Read more

This shoe is specific for runners looking to achieve faster running-outputs, a great shoe for runners with a natural foot-roll and the shoe is constructed from comfortable, protective high-quality materials. For the sole unit, efficiency is achieved through EVA foam made from the Zero-gravity formula which is highly responsive and durable. These are the foam clouds from which its namesake is derived.

Built-in innovation for performance remains consistent with the incorporated SpeedBoard system. This works to facilitate foot motion naturally through the gait cycle and culminates in a burst of energy at the point of toe-off. The end result is a positive reduction by reducing the impact of fatigue on muscles.

With an engineered mesh upper in a feature resembling woven-cloth, the shoe has durability, gives good support, and encompasses a unique system to promote airflow to the foot-chamber in the shoe. Also, the breathability factor is truly impressive. They also have a layer underneath which is made up of durable rubberized material, providing protection from abrasive road surfaces such as asphalt. The bottom of the shoe is finished off with a textured pattern that enables better surface traction.

These are definitely one of the more expensive selections on our list of reviews--if not the most expensive. but they are definitely worth it if you find they fit in your budget and fit your needs.

7. Puma Faas 1000

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.8
Puma Faas 1000 V1.5
Puma Faas 1000 V1.5 sole
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Stability
82
Comfort
80
Value
80
Durability
80
Weight
82
best offer for today
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Pros:

Air mesh upper for breathability

FaasFoam absorbs shock and provides lift

Cons:

Too bulky for some

Feel like running fast? These Pumas are a great pick for those looking for the best racing running shoes when it comes to shorter distances. They’re fairly lightweight and minimal with a light outsole and super flexibility.

Read more

If you need more stability, this is a great pair of shoes. This makes them a heavier option on our list of reviews but they are perfect for those of you who need something that will help keep your feet from rolling.

It is recommended to try them on before you order, so you are sure to get the best fit. These are probably not a great choice for off-road running, as they may not do so well over rocks and other rough terrains. Just stick to the road and track with this one.

As far as durability goes, these are perfect for those of you who want a good pair of road running shoes--just make sure to keep them on the road.

Puma tends to be popular as a fashion sneaker, but they do know how to make some pretty good lightweight runners too. Though there are a few reviews that complain about the comfort, largely, people who have bought them while transitioning into lighter running shoes have had great things to say about their comfort and stability.

As these are not cheap shoes, the durability and quality of construction seem to rate really high overall. As mentioned above, the cost of these shoes is a little higher than many other shoes by Puma, although they seem to be worth it.

8. Skechers Go Run Forza 4

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.4
Skechers Go Run Forza 4
Skechers Go Run Forza 4 sole
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Stability
79
Comfort
78
Value
80
Durability
77
Weight
78
best offer for today
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Pros:

Goodyear outsole

Hyper Flight midsole

Breathable

7 ounces

Cons:

Stiffer than expected

Expensive

The Go Run Forza 4 is a great option for those that want something that is lightweight but also provides excellent support when running on hard surfaces. What we loved most about this design is that it boasts a comfortable knit upper that allows for maximum movement for a wide variety of workouts. While the price tag is a bit higher than some of the other options but there on the market, the added durability makes it an excellent value!

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The most notable feature of this design is found in the midsole. It is composed of a dual-density Hyper Flight midsole that has extra support in high impact areas. This foam is incredibly soft and provides users with an excellent range of motion. The outsole is composed of Goodyear rubber, which lasts for hundreds of miles before they need to be retired.

We also like that the upper is made to move. It is made from a seamless mesh knit that contours to the shape of your foot for unmatched flexibility. Simple flat laces help to improve lockdown, and modest cushioning in the heel keeps your foot stay comfortable as you move.

If you are in the market for a lightweight stability trainer designed for sidewalks and tracks, the Go Run Forza 4 from Sketches is a smart choice. While it may cost more than other designs in the Sketchers lineup, added durability in the outsole makes it a fantastic value that makes it worth checking out.

9. Nike LunarEpic Flyknit

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
75
Nike LunarEpic Flyknit
Nike LunarEpic Flyknit sole
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Stability
75
Comfort
75
Value
75
Durability
75
Weight
75
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Pros:

Flyknit upper for comfort and breathability.

Light yet supportive

Recommended for plantar fasciitis

Laser-cut pods gave testers unique cushioning.

Cons:

May not stand up well to the elements (mud, dust, dirt).

Nike delivers with not just a great lightweight running shoe, but an extremely comfortable one as well. Thanks in part to a laser-cut pod design, the amount of cushioning “felt unique” to testers who described a different type of feeling through their strides.

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Although these running shoes don't offer the most stability, you ill find that they offer just the right amount for stability for neutral runners. Just as we expect from Nike’s Lunarlon Midsole, these are comfortable as well as supportive.

We are familiar with all the good qualities of the Lunarlon midsole foam as we have seen many tested models with it. It’s a welcomed addition to this great lightweight runner.

Testers enjoyed the unique feeling of this high tech lightweight runner. Nike always delivers high quality and durability, and these shoes are no different.

Testers put these running shoes through the paces with no issues. Unfortunately, these are not cheap shoes; but with some shopping around, you can usually find a good deal on sites like Amazon.

10. Xero Shoes HFS

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
73.2
Xero Shoes HFS
Xero Shoes HFS sole
Amazon Link
Stability
70
Comfort
72
Value
71
Durability
77
Weight
76
best offer for today
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Pros:

5.8 ounces

Wide toe box

Breathable upper

FeelTrue rubber outsole

Cons:

No cushioning

Expensive

If you want to graduate from neutral trainers and give minimalist trainers a try, this design from Xero is a great place to start! Not only is this design the lightest option to make out a list, but it is also the lightest pair of trainers currently out there on the market. They don’t offer much in terms of support, but if you want to stay light and snappy on your feet, you can’t go wrong with this design.

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The most notable feature of this option is that it weighs in at an impressive 5.8 ounces! It is insanely flexible, and can even be rolled up into a ball to tuck into your suitcase when out on the road. We love that the upper is composed of stretchy mesh materials that work to wick away water and moisture to keep your feet cool and comfortable.

It also boasts a wide toe box that allows your toes to naturally splay for added stability. The outsole is made from vegan-friendly materials, and it has a warranty that promises these trainers will last for over 5,000 miles of training together! This FeelTrue rubber outsole keeps you in tune with the ground under your feet while also offers a good deal of protection as well.

If you are on the market for something that is insanely lightweight and comfortable, this design from Xero Shoes is an excellent choice. We love that it is made from quality materials that hold up to over 5,000 miles of training, and it is offered in bright and fun color options. It may cost a bit more than some of the other designs that we have seen, but the added durability makes it worth every penny.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Stability

No one wants to dear with a sprain or a lack of stability that adds more protection and comfort.

According to most runners, shoes with higher motion control or stability are perfect for long-distance runners and heavier runners alike. This will help with the durability and ensure the runner that materials that are responsible for cushioning and shock absorption hold up under additional weight or loner runs.

Our guide is sure to mention this when providing additional information on the listed footwear. Lightweight running shoes are more than capable of giving runners the motion control and stability they require. Since stability is critical to staying safe and comfortable while on a run, it is important that you consider your own stability needs when looking for the perfect pair of shoes for you.

If you need extensive stability you will find that the shoe may weigh a little more--but that doesn't mean that the shoes on our list don't offer excellent stability for you during your runs. It is important for every runner knows exactly what they need in a shoe, so take a look at your foot, try several shoes out, and really figure out which one works best for you.

Having the best lightweight running shoe, or the top choice on our list, will do you no good if it doesn't address your specific needs and ensure that you can run to the best of your ability every time you hit the road or trail

Comfort

When it comes to any running shoes, you need to make sure they are nice and comfortable, so make sure to get a pair that fit your comfort needs.

Another myth that exists in the running world is that lightweight running shoes can’t be comfortable and properly cushioned. Nothing could be further from the truth, and our selections are here to prove that point, with an exclamation mark! Our readers will find that running shoe manufacturers have developed smarter ways to cram cushioning in a lighter overall unit.

We will give you all the details on foams, gels, and composites and what they mean for your cushion levels. There are some very highly rated cushioned lightweight runners on our list. No shoe is worth wearing if you are not comfortable while doing so! So, when you are looking for the most comfortable shoe it is also important that you remember to consider your own personal needs.

Do you like a really secure fit? Do you have a wide toe box? Do you hate shoes with too much cushioning? These are just a few questions you need to ask yourself before making your final decision. Comfort is a personal preference and we really want to stress that because it is one of the most important factors to consider when looking for the perfect running shoes.

Value

While value is not the most important thing to consider, it is definitely important to get something that you find is a great long term investment.

Read also about best classic running shoes.

One of the most important factors to consider when you are looking at value is the budget. First of all, you need to make sure you invest in a lightweight running shoe that will fit your budget and that you can afford--and lucky for you we have include lightweight running shoes in all price ranges, so if you are on a budget we have something, everyone!

So, although the price is not the most important factor to consider, it is definitely one to look out for. If you are on a strict budget, make sure you choose your top options based on how well they fit your budget. Once you have done narrowed down those options, you can then take a look at which shoes offer the features you need. Also make sure you see our article on good cheap running shoes.

At the end of the day, one thing you need to remember is that your running shoes need to fit your needs and should be a great long term investment for you. Make sure you keep your needs and preferences at the forefront and make sure you get something you feel was made for you specifically!

Durability

You want your shoes to last and serve you well now and in the future! So, make sure to take a close look at how durable they are and what type of materials they are made of.

All running shoes, no matter what brand, should be replaced after 300-500 miles. However, some lightweight running shoes may have less of a lifespan because of materials with less durability. It’s important to remember that even if the shoes look like they’re in good, the amount of wear on the outsoles and midsole fit can significantly lose their integrity beyond three hundred miles.

Most seasoned runners keep a detailed journal with the approximate mileage and time of ownership of their running shoes. You’re not just making an investment in your footwear, it’s also an investment in your health and safety. While some shoes are more durable than others, you should definitely take a look at actual reviews before making your purchase.

This will help you get a better gauge on what to expect from the shoe. It is also important to note that the overall durability of the shoe also depends on how you treat your shoes. Make sure to wear your shoes on the terrain they were designed for and clean them as suggested by the manufacturer.

While some shoes may withstand more, lightweight shoes (and all running shoes actually) need to be treated with the proper care if you want them to last as long as possible. And remember, if you want your running shoes to last you need to make sure you take care of them properly to extend their life.

Weight

Since this is a page dedicated to lightweight running shoes, all of the selections on our list are definitely lightweight and not designed to weigh you down.

In this case, you're searching for the most fitting pair of light shoes so weight is obviously a huge factor. With lighter weight comes the need for more attention to detail when putting the product together. Today we see many models that move away from the traditional stitching and show more heat welding and synthetic materials.

As long as you can expect durability from them, you should have no problem finding something that weighs as little as you want, within reason of course. The fact is, even many of the heavier models out there are still much lighter than the lightest shoes were a few years ago. However, given that our list focuses on the best lightweight running shoes, it is safe to say that weight is pretty important here.

We made sure to focus on finding the best options out there--so you can be sure that none of the models on our list our heavy. However, we want to mention that when you are looking for the best lightweight running shoes for yourself, you will want to make sure that they are not just the lightest shoe but also that they offer all the features, support, stability, and breathability that you need.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Thomas Ostré
Runner & Triathlete

Norseman Black

finisher, top 50

Qualified for World Championship Ironman 70.3 Ironman

Ironman 70.3 (Top5 Age group)

SaintéLyon (France) Ultra 72km

Sevilla Marathon 2h51

Next Target 75min half marathon

Running Shoes: probably the most important apparel. When buying new running apparel I consider 5 important things. Firstly, make sure that the drop does not change too much to help avoid injuries. Choose lighter shoes for better performance. Furthermore, buy 2 pairs in order to ensure long-term durability. Make sure to buy new apparel every 6 months since after that point they wear off faster. So far I've tried Asics, Brooks, Hoka, On running for finally decided to stay with Salomon and the Sonic RA Pro. Due to their recognition within the trail world and community I was interested to see what they were up to on road. Since then, I haven’t changed it, which brings to the last point! If you have found your shoe, why do you want a change!

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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#1
Stability
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#2
Comfort
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#3
Value
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#4
Durability
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#5
Weight
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How important is more support for you?

You might find when you start digging into lightweight shoes when the weight goes, so do certain parts of the shoe, in most cases. If you need a lot of support, or cushioning, it will be more difficult to find a perfect choice that is also ultra-lightweight.

A little more about durability.

Just because a shoe is super lightweight, it doesn't mean that long-term quality has to be sacrificed. Pay extra attention to the overall construction of the shoe. Look for signs that the construction is intended to last.

Although the use of heat welding and no-stich overlays has seemingly taken over, still look for the high-stress areas are stictched or well connected.

Other Factors to Consider

Shock Absorption

Most novice runners make the mistake of choosing one pair of “do it all” running shoes. This is a mistake for several reasons, but it’s a bigger mistake when you’re choosing lightweight running shoes. Remember that running shoes that are non-trail rated can be dangerous when encountering loose pebbles or stones, jagged rocks, and muddy puddles.

Trail runners are purposely built to give added traction for outdoor surfaces, foot protection from sharp edges, and waterproofing materials for inevitable puddle splashes. Additionally, road running shoes will not last as long if taken out on technical trails that they are not suited for. Make sure that your selection matches the terrain that you plan to run; our guide has excellent choices for outdoor runners.

At the end of the day, you need to make sure you get the shock absorption you need. For the most part, the shoes on our list are designed to provide enough shock absorption for neutral runners--but if you need a whole lot more, you will need to look for shoes designed to provide more shock absorption than others.

Protection

If you suffer from Plantar Fasciitis or other forms of foot conditions, buying shoes based on looks or trends might make your condition worse. Lightweight running shoes are a good option because they are better for your foot health than their trendy “barefoot” running counterparts. You need a drop off that will absorb shock and provide your heel with protection.

Runners do not get that with flat-soled running shoes. We have provided selections with great style and design that look great while providing runners with the protection and performance they need. So, if you need additional protection, make sure you take a look at all of the shoes on our list.

This way you can compare and figure out which one will cover your protection needs appropriately--after all, all of our feet are made differently. If you know that you need any additional insoles or inserts for your shoes, make sure that you take this into consideration when searching for your shoes.

Terrain

It is important to us that you enjoy your runs every time you go out, so we want to make sure you put your needs at the frontlines. Most people associate this category of running shoes with choices that limit you to the treadmill. It’s easy to forget that lightweight running shoes are available for all terrains, and with such a wide selection to pick from, there’s no need to settle.

For outdoor enthusiasts and trail runners, we’ve selected some great options with tough uppers and rugged outsoles that can handle anything that Mother Nature throws their way. Tester feedback demonstrated that lightweight footwear can make quick work of outdoor running and provide a better overall experience.

Our goal was to provide selections for all surfaces and running conditions. So, if you are an outdoor enthusiast, don't worry because we made sure to include options for you as well. Remember that it is important to get the right shoe for the right terrain so you get the most out of all your runs and prevent any injuries from occurring.

Breathability

It’s important to keep in mind that the breathability of running shoes isn’t just an important factor for runners in hotter climates. Most runners report that they “run hot” on longer runs and that it starts to cause significant discomfort for them. This is why it’s crucial for all runners in terms of comfort and moisture control.

Nothing will take the wind out of your sails faster than a wet, sweaty running shoe during the last mile of your run. We listened to what testers had to say about the ability of the footwear to wick away moisture and control temperatures to eliminate hotspots. Runners agree that light and breezy running shoes can make all the difference in the world.

This is why you will find that all of the shoes on our list are breathable--even though some are more breathable than others. If you have excessively sweaty feet you will definitely want to stick with the most breathable and moisture-wicking shoes out there. Fortunately, this is a feature most lightweight running shoes have to offer but it is still important to consider this factor when choosing your next pair of shoes.

The right amount of breathability will help you get the most out of your shoes and ensures that your feet stay cool and dry--which also prevents blisters from forming.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: I’ve got a “lucky” pair of running shoes that I use on all marathons, can’t I just keep using those?

a:

Not a great idea. In fact, the only thing “lucky” about them is that they haven’t caused you an injury yet. Lightweight running shoes are great for marathons and long-distance running, but they need to be replaced. If you’ve passed the three hundred mile mark, take a look at the outsoles for excessive wear.

Also, listen to your body. If you no longer feel the same cushioning and support and your impact is hard, it’s time to replace.

q: How do I know if I have a good fit?

a:

First, know this: department store fit is NOT a great running fit. Quite simply, you need to run. As you run you should be checking for stability, cushioning, and comfort. Remember that seasoned runners never buy their running shoes from a department store for good reasons. Higher markups and no help with authentic running needs.

With today’s online buying and returning convenience, you have the ability to test out footwear in the real world.

q: How do I know if I need more stable footwear?

a:

Try standing on one foot while you have no shoes on. Do you feel that your foot is moving a lot and struggling to keep your body balanced? If so, make a running shoe selection that offers higher stability. This will help keep your gait consistent.

q: I’m planning on going out on a non-technical trail; what should I look for in my running shoes?

a:

Grip and protection. What’s offered on our trail-rated selections are more than adequate for some uneven terrain with minimal debris. Some things to consider: they will get dirty, especially the breathable upper fabric. Another consideration: if you’re going to encounter hazardous debris (such as jagged rocks), you may want to go with a trail runner for safety’s sake.

Look for selections with rock barriers and toe protection.

q: Lightweight racers feel great, can I use them all the time?

a:

That is not recommended. The best lightweight running shoes are great for competitions and interval training. They are also the shoe of choice for gym workouts and short training sessions. However, they should be an individual tool in your toolbox of specific running shoes. Putting too many miles too often on lightweight runners will decrease their lifespan and cushioning levels.

If you plan on hitting the road for back to back days, consider buying two pairs to allow their cushioning and support materials to “spring back” from prolonged wear.

q: Are any of these good for children?

a:

We have a great selection of best running shoes for kids you can check out.

Sources

  1. Lionel, Weekend Notes, Running Blog
  2. Mario Fraioli, Competitor, Running Website