Best Lightweight Running Shoes Reviewed

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Searching for the best lightweight running shoes? Take a look at the top rated jackets of 2017, Pros & Cons and what to be aware of before buying a pair!

When it comes to the best Lightweight running shoes, less is more in this case. Less weight to carry means less oxygen wasted, as well as less fatigue to the legs. Less fabric and coverage means increased flexibility and breathability. And less of a rubber sole means increased proprioception and balance. When it comes to technology, though, the more the better – and there’s been a lot of it.

New Balance Zante v2
  • New Balance Zante v2
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Runner's World Best Buy Award
  • Price: See Here
Mizuno Wave Hitogami
  • Mizuno Wave Hitogami
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Wave cushioning system
  • Price: See Here
Brooks Launch 3
  • Brooks Launch 3
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Full-length DNA midsole
  • Price: See Here

If you’re looking to run your tenth marathon or significantly lower your 5K time or just work on intervals with sprints around the track, take a look at this list that we have compiled of some of the best racing running shoes out there.

Also check out: The Best Overall Running Shoes

10 Best Lightweight Running Shoes


1. New Balance Zante V2

It’s no mystery why the New Balance Zante v2 won Runner’s World Best Buy Award in 2016. According to testers, these incredibly lightweight and sleek running shoes takes the platform to a new level of performance. Featuring New Balance’s Fresh Foam cushioning, nothing is sacrificed in this near-perfect running shoe.
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Comfort / Stability

Although these are low profile, minimalistically built running shoes, they do provide a great amount of comfort. The Zante v2 is a good option for those who want a minimal sole without going to a barefoot type running shoe.

Quality / Durability

The long term durability of these shoes seems to have issues for some. They may not be a great choice for heavier runners.

Cost

They can be a little expensive, depending on where you shop. Amazon has them for a bit less, but they still aren’t cheap shoes.
Pros
  • Testers enjoyed the extremely breathable no-sew upper
  • Removable Molded Footbed Making Room For Custom Insoles
  • Fresh Foam Midsole Scored High Marks For Cushioning And Feedback
  • Great Traction
Cons
  • Expensive


2. Mizuno Wave Hitogami

It is really hard to criticize Mizuno Wave Hitogamis. They’ve got a fantastic and modern design. They’re affordable. Most importantly, they’ve been endorsed by ultra-long distance runners as well as short distance runners as highly effective. The Mizuno brand is respected in the running world, and for good reason. Slip on the Waves for training on the treadmill or race day, and either way, you’ll be comfortable, fast, and satisfied with your results.
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Comfort / Stability

The Hitogami has a really narrow fit, too tight at the top when compared to other Mizuno shoes. However, for those who find that they fit properly, these shoes offer some pretty good comfort after broken in.

Quality / Durability

The quality construction offers a decent amount of durability under consistent use.

Cost

Although the price varies a bit depending on where you look, Amazon usually has these available at an affordable price.
Pros
  • X10 carbon rubber is highly durable
  • Very, very lightweight
  • Minimalist features make for increased flexibility
  • Cool color combinations
Cons
  • Tight fit


3. Brooks Launch 3

These shoes take the number 3 spot for a wide variety of reasons – they’re truly versatile and make great trainers for long and short distance running. Once discontinued, the shoes were re-introduced to the market in 2015 because so many runners demanded for them to come back. They’re beloved because they’re lightweight, but they still provide enough cushion and support. Here’s a little bonus: the insides of the shoes are printed with “Carpe Runem” and “Run Happy.” Cool, right?
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Comfort / Stability

With features like the segmented crash pad in the heel and midsole, BioMoGo DNA midsole, S-257 Cushsole compound and moisture managing seamless upper, these shoe are feature packed to provide a comfortable, lightweight run. However, all of these feature may offer too much cushion for those that are into a much more minimalistic design. Also, they do tend to run about a half size too small.

Quality / Durability

Quality and durability maintain a strong rating with this version of the Brooks Launch running shoe.

Cost

These run at a slightly higher price point compared to some of the other shoes on this list. With the features and benefits in mind, they are probably worth it though.
Pros
  • Upper tech keeps feet cool and dry
  • Full-length BioMoGo DNA midsole
  • Mid-foot Transition Zone
  • Segmented Crash Pad
  • HPR plus for high durability in heavy wear zones
  • Come in a variety of aesthetically pleasing, unique designs
Cons
  • Run small
  • Too much cushioning for some

4. Nike LunarEpic Flyknit Low

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. 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.
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Comfort / Stability

Just as we expect from Nike’s Lunarlon Midsole, these are comfortable as well as supportive. Testers enjoyed the unique feeling of this high tech lightweight runner.

Quality / Durability

Nike always delivers with high quality and durability, and these shoes are no different. Testers put these running shoes through the paces with no issues.

Cost

These are not cheap shoes. with some shopping around you can usually find a good deal on sites like Amazon.
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).

5. Under Armour SpeedForm SlingRide Fade

If you’re looking for a shoe that’s backed by technology, the SlingRide is for you. Innovative Under Armour SpeedForm technology and seamless asymmetrical zonal compression allow for flexibility, natural form, and, of course, speed. Dyneema, the strongest fiber in existence, makes these shoes ultra-durable. On top of all of this, Charged Cushioning and Micro G foam result in maximum support as well as remarkable responsiveness and freedom.
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Comfort / Stability

UA’s Two-Piece Charged Cushioning perfectly balances a soft upper layer with a stronger, dense foam layer underneath. Testers ranked these runner very high in the comfort / stability department.

Quality / Durability

Features Dyneema is the world’s strongest fiber. No, it’s not a trademarked phrase. It’s true, and it’s what the upper of UA’s shoe is constructed of.

Cost

These shoes are priced a little higher than you might expect them to be, but you can find them for a decent price online, Amazon frequently has them on sale.
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • According to one runner, they “fit like a second skin”
  • Come in a wide variety of colors
Cons
  • Some Testers Found Them A Bot Narrow

6. Saucony Type A6

Looking to cut off some seconds from your time? Try Saucony out. These shoes are great for experienced runners looking for a pair of the best racing running shoes for short distances. Saucony Type A6s are remarkably lightweight with low drop yet they’re still supportive. The unique rubber outsole provides three times more cushioning than before with 33% less weight. The SSL (Saucony Super Lite) EVA allows for a quicker rebound thanks to its durability and lightness. Because these shoes are so minimal and lightweight, though, they may wear down faster than training shoes or other heavier racing shoes.
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Comfort / Stability

Really pretty similar to the A5 version, the A6 has slightly more cushion. Although, these are still quite minimalistic in terms of overall mass. These have a bit of a narrower fit and have a smaller toe box than the previous version as well. These have all of the properties that allows them to be a responsive, neutral running shoe that is great for fast runs at short distances.

Quality / Durability

There are no major issues regarding the quality and construction of these shoes. Actually, it seems that Saucony looks ahead, building these with drainage ports underneath the shoe, which not only helps with comfort, but also assists in the overall longevity of the shoe.

Cost

These aren’t super expensive. You can find them for a reasonable price on Amazon.
Pros
  • Very lightweight at 5.2 oz.
  • Well-cushioned and comfortable
  • Optimal racing shoes for short distances
Cons
  • Color combinations unappealing to some

7. Adidas Adizero Boston

Not only are these shoes attractive in their minimal design and focus on the bold looks, but they’re flexible and light in their minimal construction. The asymmetrical design fits the foot anatomically and securely while flex design bends with the foot naturally. Many runners also lauded their durability, which can be a rarity when it comes to lightweight racing shoes.
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Comfort / Stability

These feature a EVA insole, soft inner lining, the midsole which offers great lightweight cushioning and great shock absorption.The very obvious flex grooves in the sole give the shoe some excellent flexibility, which in turn allows good responsiveness, helping with the shoe’s overall stability during use.

Quality / Durability

The strong reputation of quality follows through into this product by Adidas. These shoes feature a solid torsion system for integrity, they are simply well constructed functional running shoes that will see you comfortably through your run.

Cost

Usually the reputation of Adidas' shoes tends to cost quite a bit, however you can find these fairly decently priced, especially on Amazon.
Pros
  • Extremely Lightweight
  • Perfect For Wide Feet
  • High Marks In Breathability
  • Testers Reported High Feedback Levels
Cons
  • Price May Be A Bit High

8. Puma Faas 1000

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. If you’re looking to try out the minimalist route, these are a great starter shoe. With only so much padding, these shoes will aid you in developing muscle tone and a stronger form.
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Comfort / Stability

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. 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 terrain. just stick to the road and track with this one.

Quality / Durability

As these are not cheap shoes, the durability and quality of construction seems to rate really high overall.

Cost

As mentioned above, the cost of these shoes is a little higher that many other shoes by Puma. Although, they seem to be worth it.
Pros
  • Air mesh upper for breathability
  • FaasFoam absorbs shock and provides lift
Cons
  • Too bulky for some

9. ASICS Gel DS Racer 11

The name ASICS stands for “Anima Sana in Corpore Sano,” meaning “A Sound Mind in a Sound Body,” and these shoes stick to the saying with great support and cushioning. Running becomes a meditative, rich experience when you’ve got a high quality pair of shoes on your feet. These shoes are perfect for road running and for long-distance races thanks to their flexibility, breathability, durability, and comfort.
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Comfort / Stability

Normally when we talk about shoes produced by ASICS, we hear how comfortable they are. However, there are some issues with this one regarding the tight fit. More specifically, The complaints are that the shoes are actually too short compared to other models of the same size. With that cover, those who have found the shoes to be comfortable and appropriately fitting say that they will keep buying these again and again. The ultra lightweight of these shoes help add to the overall stability, as they don’t weigh down your feet.

Quality / Durability

The overall quality and durability is just good, especially when compared to other models produced by ASICS. However, a “just good” for ASICS shoes still puts them above a lot of other brands.

Cost

The DS Racer 10 is definitely not the most expensive shoe made by ASICS, but also not the cheapest. they are priced right around the middle. Check out Amazon for current pricing.
Pros
  • Breathable synthetic and mesh upper
  • Rearfoot GEL cushioning
  • Lightweight build
Cons
  • Sizing runs a bit narrow

10. New Balance Fresh Foam Gobi

These shoes have technology on their side. The feature Fresh Foam that puts a spring back in your step, and the unique midsole unit is made with material composed of small polyurethane capsules fused together with high-pressure steam. This construction results in a highly responsive platform which absorbs foot strike energy, helping to effectively propel you forward with each step.
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Comfort / Stability

The Fresh Foam featured in this shoe not only helps provide a god amount of comfort, but also aids in the reaction between strides. The shoe gives some pretty good stability from its decent base support. Plus, the wider toe box allows more room, especially if you tend to have slightly wider feet.

Quality / Durability

Although the overall quality of the Fresh Foam Gobi is really good, they may not last quite as long as some of the more expensive options out there on the market. In all these are pretty sturdy shoes that seem to be well likes by those who have purchased them.

Cost

They aren’t super cheap, but one of the great things about New Balance is that they tend to produce shoes made with decent quality, at a price which will not normally break the bank. Although the price varies in different places, Amazon usually has them at an acceptable price.
Pros
  • Mesh And Synthetic Upper Is Lightweight And Breathable
  • Great For Trail Running
  • Removable EVA Footbed
  • Fresh Foam Tested High In Comfort
Cons
  • Some Testers Found It To Be A Little Narror

Racing shoes are not the simple, lightweight and basic looking clunkers that they once were, now with so much technology, thought, and design put into them. Technology is changing the way we do practically everything, including the way we build our shoes with an increased focus on shock absorption, ease of motion, and flexibility, all with a reduction in weight. The main goal is to allow feet and legs to move the way they  naturally should with a barefoot and weightless feel while still providing support to prevent injury and pain.

Beyond anatomical finesse, design also aids shoes in lasting longer with innovative fabrics, weaving, and sole construction. Hot feet and athlete’s foot are becoming a thing of the past with cooling technology and increased breathability with mesh and synthetic fabrics.

 

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The Criteria Used When Choosing The Best Lightweight Running Shoes:

 

A Guide That You Can Count On, Not Hype.

We researched through countless user reviews and recommendations to bring our readers a comprehensive list of lightweight shoes that offer a variety of features, and nothing that is superfluous. According to seasoned runners, the lightweight running shoe segment is very heavy (pun intended) on marketing terms and celebrity endorsements that can influence a runner’s selection. We waded through the hype and made sure that we selected the absolute best lightweight runners to take the guesswork out of making a great choice.

 

 Selections For Varied Terrain.

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 for a better overall experience. Our goal was to provide selections for all surfaces and running conditions.

 

No Sacrifice On Cushion Levels.

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 manufactures 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.

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 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 a light and breezy running shoe can make all the difference in the world.

 We Didn’t Forget The Budget.

Be weary of review sites that simply offer a “most expensive” list without taking important factors into consideration, especially for lightweight running shoes. It’s a performance based market segment, and some sites like to capitalize on that fact. We strictly looked at tester feedback and quality materials when making our selections. While lightweight running shoes are typically a little pricier, it’s possible to provide our readers with the most value for their dollar. We will also supply a list of considerations to ensure that our readers don’t “buy more running shoe” than they need for their specific requirements.

 Flexibility.

This is a crucial component of a lightweight running shoe, and although it’s common for lightweight running shoes to be flexible, it’s important to consider how it contributes to the other qualities of the shoe. For example, most runners have seen the image of a person holding a shoe and squeezing the toe segment all the way back to the laces, seemingly indicating that it’s a flexible shoe. Not so fast. We listened to what runners had to say about flexibility in other parts of the footwear such as the midfoot and the vertical. Taking this into consideration will provide for a natural foot movement and less effort through your stride.

 

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Other Important Things to Consider When Selecting Your Brooks Running Shoes.

A great lightweight running shoe will make your short and longer distance runs a much better experience. No matter which model you choose, you are sure to notice a great change if you’re used to bulkier runners. However, before you go, take a look at the wide range of feedback and data we went through when compiling our selections. This will help you choose a lightweight running shoe that’s right for you. It’s important that you make a selection that makes sense for your purposes and what you plan to do with them. Below you will find some personal factors to take into consideration when making your choice.

 

 Know When To Replace You Running Shoes.

All running shoes, no matter that brand name should be replaced after three hundred to five hundred 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 visual condition, the amount of wear on the outsoles and midsole fit can significantly loose 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.

 Make A Selection For Your Run Length And Body Type.

According to most runners, shoes with higher motion control or stability are perfect to longer 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.

Will You Be Trail Running Or Road Running?

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 on running on, our guide has excellent choices for outdoor runners.

We’ve Got Style, But Don’t Buy Running Shoes Because Of Trends.

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.

 

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FAQ

We’re confident that by taking some of these factors into consideration when making your choice, you’ll find a lightweight runner that is perfect for you. Before you get out there, we’ve also compiled some frequently asked questions that commonly arise when searching for a new lightweight running shoe.

 

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 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 mark ups 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 is 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: Wouldn’t recommend that. 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 running for back to back days, consider buy two pairs to allow their cushioning and support materials to “spring back” from prolonged wear.

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This was our approach when selecting the right pair of lightweight running shoes. Remember that selecting the right pair of running shoes is an investment and making a selection that is based on personal use and needs is crucial. We hope this guide provided you with all the information you need when making you choice between form and function. Thanks for following along with us. Now make the perfect selection for you and keep running!


 

Here are some sources we used while conducting our research

It’s important to use a wide variety of sources to ensure quality information. We like to utilize trusted running enthusiasts and manufactures when providing our readers with the most up-to-date statistics found in all our buying guides. We are also very interested in taking what everyday users have to say about specific products, and we perform our due diligence to make sure that quality research goes into every guide. Here are some sources which helped us with this guide:

Sources

  1. Runner’s World, Runner’s World, Running Website,
  2. Weekend Notes, Weekend Notes, Running Blog,
  3. Competitor, Competitor, Running Website,
  4. Amazon, Amazon, Product Reviews,
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