Best Lightweight Running Shoes – 2021 Buying Guide
Lightweight shoes can be just as supportive, comfortable, and breathable as regular runners; 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 8 best lightweight running shoes and everything they have to offer!
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
8 Best Lightweight Running Shoes
1. Adidas Adizero Boston 10
While it may not look like it, the Boston 10 is deceptively lightweight. Weighing in at 8.5 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 provides runners with a little extra cushioning and support when training on hard surfaces.Read more
What runners love most about the Boston 10 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 10 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!
2. Saucony Kinvara 12
The Kinvara 12 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 12 is a great choice.Read more
Our favorite feature of the Kinvara 12 is that it is one of the lightest neutral trainers out there on the market. It weighs in at just 7.5 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 12 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.
3. Nike Flyknit Racer
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.Read more
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.
4. New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V4
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.Read more
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.
5. Hoka One One Cavu 3
The Cavu 3 from Hoka One One is a neutral road runner 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 7.2 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.
6. Xero Shoes HFS
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.Read more
The most notable feature of this option is that it weighs in at an impressive 6.8 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.
7. On CloudFlow
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. Its 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.
8. Skechers Go Run Forza 4
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!Read more
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.