Best Long Distance Running Shoes – Reviews 2021
There are a lot of thickly soled shoes out there, but many are simply that, thickly soled. For the best-cushioned running shoes, it's a good idea to do a bit of research based on your own foot type, stride, and of course personal preferences regarding comfort and fit. We've put together a list of our favorites to share. Perhaps you might find a pair that works perfectly for you. Check out what we came up with!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 17 hrs of research
Air Zoom midsole
Best Long Distance Running Shoes
1. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37
Air Zoom midsole
What we liked most about this updated design in the Air Zoom Pegasus lineup is that it has slimmed down since it’s previous iterations. This updated version is more lightweight and really contours to the shape of your foot without bulky materials weighing you down. Plus, it still maintains a high level of cushioning and energy feedback that is perfect for those longer runs.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this design is the sleek design of the upper. It is composed of breathable materials that contour to the shape of your foot. What makes this upper ideal for long distances is that it moves hot air up and away from your foot so your feet stay cool and dry as you rack up the miles.
We also like that the midsole is composed of Air Zoom foam that provides excellent energy feedback. This style of foam is slightly thicker and more responsive than other designs in the Nike lineup, which makes it perfect for longer distances. The outsole is also designed with reinforcements in high impact areas for added durability.
What makes the Air Zoom Pegasus 37 the ideal trainer for distance is its perfect blend of lightweight and breathable materials with high energy foam cushioning and a durable outsole. Plus, it comes in a ton of stylish color options that are bound to generate a few envious looks!
2. ASICS Gel-Nimbus 22
Affordable price point
Gel Technology Cushioning System
Smaller than expected
The Gel-Nimbus 22 from ASICS is a great choice for runners that need something that is incredibly durable without draining your bank account. It packs in a ton of supportive features that cradle your foot in place and provide excellent energy feedback as you put miles or road behind you. It also comes in a wide variety of bright and neutral color options to match your personal style.Read more
The most notable feature of this design is that it is composed of incredibly durable materials from top to bottom. The upper is composed of a super soft mesh material that works to lift hot air up and away from your foot. It also boasts additional padding in the heel and tongue for a more comfortable fit on long runs.
Where this design really shines is found in the midsole. It utilizes ASICS Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL Technology Cushioning System. This midsole reacts to all phases of your stride to provide just the right amount of cushioning whether you're a heel-striker or you overpronate. This design wears evenly for extended durability.
The best part of this design is that it comes in at a much more affordable price point when compared to other designs out there on the market. It boasts a frame that is able to withstand hundreds of miles of continued use without breaking down into a pancake.
3. Saucony Kinvara 11
Weighs 7.8 ounces
Minimal arch support
The Kinvara 11 is a great blend of speed, style, and durability. It boasts a unique upper that is super lightweight and breathable, as well as a host of supportive features in the midsole as well as the outsole. While it doesn’t boast as many stability features as some of the other designs that we have seen, the lightweight and responsive is perfect for a wide variety of running styles.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about the Kinvara 11 is that it weighs in at just shy of 8 ounces. This style is one of the lightest long-distance trainers out there on the market, and a favorite for runners that train for speed as well as distance. The upper is composed of FORMFIT materials that contour to the shape of your foot for an easy and comfortable fit.
Saucony's PWRRUN cushioning is both responsive and lightweight. This style of foam found in the midsole makes you feel like you are running on a cloud. It provides excellent energy feedback without a lot of bulky weight that can possibly slow you down. This design also has a good deal of flexibility to it, making transitions snappy and easy.
If you are in the market for something that is a little more lightweight that is able to hold up for hundreds of miles at a snappy pace. This design from Saucony is a great choice. It is composed of lightweight materials that hold up well over hundreds of miles and offers a lightweight feel that is perfect for a wide variety of movements.
4. Mizuno Wave Inspire 16
Short break-in period
Tight toe box
This roadrunner is incredibly lightweight and easy and built to keep your feet supported when training for long distances as well as speed. It boasts a lightweight frame that utilizes ample cushioning that makes you feel like you are running on a cloud. If you need a lightweight stability shoe that can easily rack up the miles, this affordable design from Mizuno is an excellent choice.Read more
What makes the Wave Inspire 16 really shine is the build of the midsole. It is composed of U4ic foam cushioning. This material is incredibly lightweight and durable and reduces shock and strain from longer runs. The X10 outsole provides unmatched durability that some users have found to hold up well over 300 miles of use.
We also like that the upper is composed of an engineered mesh upper that is lightweight, supportive, and breathable. It boasts very subtle padding in the collar to prevent rubbing and chafing on long runs, but it won’t affect your flexibility or a full range of motion. The addition of a premium sock liner works to keep your foot cool and day, as well as provide a little extra cushioning.
If you are on the lookout for a trainer that is able to take a beating while you put miles behind you, this design from Mizuno is an excellent choice. It is composed of strong yet lightweight materials that not only make it ideal for distance but speed as well. Plus, it comes in at a price point that won’t break the bank.
5. ASICS Gel Kayano 27
Many colors available
If you are in the market for a great stability shoe that is able to go the distance. The Gel Kayano 27 from ASICS is an excellent choice. We love that it is composed of lightweight and easy materials that make you feel like you are running on a cloud. It may cost a little bit more than some of the other designs that we have seen, but the added support makes it an excellent value.Read more
The design boasts a Dynamic DuoMax Support System. This support system has been upgraded from previous models that make this design much more lightweight and easy to wear when training for long-distance. It also utilizes ASICS FlyteFoam Propel Technology, which adds an extra spring to your step.
We love that the upper is made from a super lightweight and breathable mesh that works to lift hot air up and away from your foot. This multi-directional mesh really hugs your foot for a secure fit and excellent lockdown, and also boasts stability features as well.
If you are in the market for something that is built for distance and speed, you can’t go wrong with the updated Gel Kayano from ASICS. It boasts a lightweight frame that makes it easy to pick up the pace, and the durable outsole holds up to hundreds of miles of continued use.
6. Saucony Ride 13
Comfortable mesh upper
If you need a good deal of stability and durability but don’t want to sacrifice flexibility, the Saucony Ride 13 is an excellent choice. It is packed with a host of supportive and stability features that add an extra spring to your step and also helps to protect your joints on those long runs. It may cost a bit more than some of the other designs that we have seen, but the quality of lightweight materials used make it a great value that will hold up well over hundreds of miles.Read more
One of the things that runners love most about the Ride 13 is that it boasts a breathable FORMFIT upper that contours to the shape of your foot. While the materials are stretchy and lightweight, the structure of the fibers provides excellent stability as well as lockdown, which is beneficial when you are putting miles behind you.
The midsole is composed of Saucony’s patented PWRRUN cushioning which is incredibly light but offers excellent energy feedback in all stages of your gait cycle. What makes this option ideal for distance is the construction of the TRI-FLEX outsole. This material is incredibly durable, but still provides excellent flexibility and movement.
While the Ride 13 comes in at a pretty steep price point, runners feel that the unique stability features, as well as heightened durability, make this an incredible trainer for long distances. It also comes in a wide variety of color options and designs, which is bound to generate a few compliments while training.
7. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21
Great for overpronators
3D fit print upper
Brooks is a brand known for its durability, so it’s no surprise they made an appearance on our list. The reason that we selected the Adrenaline GTS 21 for our long-distance running shoe list is that it is the perfect blend of durability, style, and comfort. If you are in the market for a good pair of stability shoes that comfort your feet on long journeys, the Adrenaline GTS 21 from Brooks is an excellent choice.Read more
The midsole is composed of BioMoGo DNA that actively adapts to your specific running style to give you just the right amount of comfort and energy feedback. It also boasts Guide Rails along the sides to guide your foot into a proper form, which is great for those that overpronate.
You can also expect a good deal of support in the upper as well. We love that this design is made from a 3D Fit Print mesh material that contours to the shape of your foot. The breathable mesh panels work to lift hot air up and away from your foot to keep your feet cool and dry on those long hot weather runs.
If you are on the market for a great stability shoe that really comforts your foot in all stages of your gait, this is a great choice. It may cost a little bit more than most, and it is also a little heavier than some of the others, but it offers the same level of support, durability, and stability as the Adrenaline GTS 21 from Brooks.
8. Newton Motion 9
Newtonian foam midsole
Great for heavier runners
If you find that you are in a world of pain (and not the good kind) after your long runs, you may want to check out Motion 9 from Newton. This trainer is packed with a ton of supportive features that are perfect for those with high arches, heavy strikers, and overpronators as well. If you need a good deal of stability and durability without a lot of extra weight, this design is worth checking out.Read more
One of the first things that we noticed about this design is that the midsole utilities soft Newtonian foam. The Medial Posting along the sides helps to guide your foot to a proper strike, which is ideal for overpronators. It also has active lugs on the outsole that spring back in key areas of your gait for extra support.
Despite its increased stability, this design is surprisingly lightweight. It weighs in at just over 8 ounces, making it one of the lighter long-distance stability trainers out there on the market.
The upper is composed of a breathable engineered mesh material that helps to lift hot air up and away from the foot. It has modes of cushioning on the tongue and collar and provides users with a good range of motion. The lower profile and design of the laces enhance lockdown and are great for speed as well.
If you are in the market for a good pair of lightweight stability trainers that are made for distance, you can’t go wrong with this design from Newton. We love that they are packed with a ton of stability features that are perfect for heavier runners or overpronators without using heavy and bulky materials.
9. Nike Zoom fly
Engages certain leg muscles 4% less
Decreases your long distance time
Zoom X cushioning
Carbon fiber insert
Some users report it could provide more support
These are definitely the most expensive option on our list, so if you aren't looking to spend a pretty penny than these may not be the best shoes for you.Read more
They are made for both long distance and speed, so if you are looking to improve your race time then these are the shoes for you (especially perfect for race day).
The Zoom X cushioning is highly favored by its users--making it one of the most comfortable options available. Nike also features its' carbon fiber insert--which they claim to help you finish your marathon in sub 2.
They allow for minimal muscle usage - they allow you to use quads, calves, and shins 4% less than in other shoes. This makes you to comfortably increase your speed and comfort without sacrificing stability and support.
10. Adidas Adizero 5
At first glance, the Adizero may look like a minimalistic trainer, but it is built like a tank. It boasts supportive features in the midsole to protect your feet and a durable outsole that is up to the task of putting hundreds of miles behind you. Plus, it comes in a wide variety of stylish color options that are sure to match your personal style and put a pep in your step!Read more
The Adizero doesn’t get bogged down in a lot of plush cushioning. This design is slightly stiffer than plush cushioned trainers but offers incredibly snappy energy feedback when running on hard surfaces. Not only is this stiffer midsole providing users with additional support, but it also offers runners heightened durability.
The upper of the Adizero is super lightweight and is composed of a breathable mesh to keep your feet cool. Much like the midsole, the upper of this design is a little on the stiff side. However, the stiffer and more structure materials increase lockdown which helps runners to pick up speed as needed.
If you are on the market for a strong and sturdy pair of trainers that provide a good deal of support and energy feedback without a lot of extra weight, this design is an excellent choice. Runners love that they are not only durable, but they come in a wide variety of stylish color options with a sleek and modern frame.
11. Hoka One One Bondi 7
Great for overpronators
One look at the Bondi 7 from Hoka One One and you know that it is up to the challenge. This design is composed of some pretty tough materials that are able to hold up to hundreds of miles of continued use without breaking down or losing durability from mile 1 to mile 300. It is composed of supportive features to keep your gait comforted and even, and it is offered in unique color and design options.Read more
Runners love the responsive feel of this design. The thick midsole is made from a thick layer of EVA foam that provides users with excellent energy feedback and support. It also has a curved Metal Rocker outsole that guides your gait, which is ideal for heel strikers or overpronators.
It is important to note that while this upper is made from breathable mesh materials, it is slightly heavier than other designs out there on the market. This upper, however, provides users with excellent lockdown which makes it ideal for times when you need to pick up the pace.
If you are in the market for a great stability shoe that is able to go the distance, you can’t go wrong with the Bondi 7 from Hoka One One. It is surprisingly lightweight despite its bulky frame, and the incredibly durable outsole makes this one of the most durable options out there on the market.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
When it comes to athletic apparel, this factor almost always comes first.
Long distance running can be challenging so there's no need to make it even more so by wearing a pair of uncomfortable shoes. Although every pair of feet is different (and even one foot to another on the same person!) so this can, at times, be a somewhat subjective thing to look at; but there are a few things we can do and research when it comes to a pair of shoes that will help us figure this one out.
First of all, we look at the design and features of a pair of shoes. If it has a high-quality lining, we know from experience that this will help you feel good wearing the shoes. A flexible upper is another thing we look for that we know will add to your experience.
Finally, we consider over a thousand reviews for every category of product that we look at to help us get a well-rounded idea of what a host of different people felt about the shoes. For example, a couple of us here at RunnerClick might wear the shoes and find them agreeable, but that's just a few people. By considering what over 1000 people have to say about a pair of shoes gives us the best possible overview of the shoes and we share this with you to help you make a better buying decision.
Even in cold weather, running long distances = sweaty feet.
This is an especially important thing to look at when it comes to shoes for running long distances because in these situations, even if it's cold outside and especially if it's hot, your feet are going to end up getting sweaty. And as a runner, you know that sweaty feet can lead to chafing, hot spots, and the dreaded blisters that can stop you in your tracks and seriously interrupt your training. Because of this, we made sure to look seriously at this factor when choosing products for this list.
The moisture-wicking factor of a pair of shoes is mainly determined by the design and materials of the upper. Most important is the design; you want something with a wide mesh that will let plenty of moisture escape to the outside air where it can escape naturally. Something a lot of people don't consider is that wearing shoes that have a lot of added support features built into them can mean a sacrifice in wicking moisture. This is because added support in a pair of best rated running shoes comes from overlays, which are usually and basically strips of material that are sewn or otherwise attached to the uppers in ways meant to help support over and under-pronators, etc. But this material also gets in the way of the mesh, meaning more moisture is trapped inside your shoe than is otherwise ideal.
We know we're nitpicking here, and if you need a support shoe, by all means, you should definitely get a pair, we just wanted to help educate you as much as possible.
Running long distances means a lot of pounding for your feet, so do them a favor will ya?
10,500. That's how many strides an 8 minute per mile runner of average height will take over a 10-mile run. That's 10,500 times your foot is hitting the hard ground. That's a lot of abuse!
Especially with long-distance running, it's important to take into consideration the ability of your shoes to absorb some of this impact so that your joints and tendons don't have to. When picking products for this list we made sure to choose running shoes that had plenty of cushioning in both the midsole and outsole, and had gotten a lot of positive reviews from all types of different people about their ability to moderate some of the shocks that naturally come with running long distances.
Especially if you are a larger, heavier runner, you'll definitely want a pair of running shoes that gives you plenty of cushioning otherwise you'll be more likely to be sore and tired after your run, or even develop conditions such as plantar fasciitis.
Shoes that get a lot of miles put on them need to be able to hold up to the abuse.
This may seem obvious and elementary but it bears mentioning; long distance running = lots of miles. ots of miles = lots of wear and tear on your shoes. Now that we've got the math out of the way, let's move forward, shall we?
When choosing products for this list we made sure to prioritize shoes that have features that will make them long-lasting. These features include a durable outsole, good construction quality using high-quality adhesives, an upper made with tough, synthetic fibers, and while it's not a feature exactly, we looked for products that had plenty of reviews from people who had used them over many miles and found they held up well.
A quick side note here is that it can be really nice to have a lightweight pair of shoes for long distance running because every ounce saved means less work for your muscles to do, so even saving an ounce here and there really adds up over thousands of strides over many miles. However, light running shoes are intrinsically less durable than heavier models so this is a compromise that you'll have to think about when you're shopping.
It's not the most important factor, but the price vs. what the shoe offers is always a good thing to consider.
Especially since we're looking at shoes that will be worn while running long distances, we definitely wanted to look at this factor. Regularly running a lot of miles in a pair of shoes can cause them to wear out more quickly and need to be replaced so while things like comfort and breathability are more important than the price, it shouldn't be ignored either.
A good way to help your shoes last as long as possible is to do what a lot of seasoned long-distance runners do and alternate between two pairs of running shoes. By letting each pair fully dry out between uses you'll help keep the midsole from compressing more than is normal which will help you get the most possible use out of the shoes.
You can also help to extend their life by regularly washing them off by hand with warm water and soap, making sure to remove any dirt and mud that has accumulated on the upper as well as in any cracks and crevices. Having dirt in the upper can make the shoe wear down more quickly so this is a good way to help you get your money's worth out of a good pair of running shoes.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
My criteria when looking for running shoes is durability, comfort and fit. I cringe to admit I used to order shoes online solely based on colorway. My shoes have to stand up to major mileage, and having surgery in the past means cushion and comfort are also at the top of my list. Recently I ran a marathon, injuring my toenail. After, I got fitted for a shoe with a bigger toe box, learning the importance of a good fit. No more shopping for shoes based on looks!
Sure, support is good, but the shoe you choose has to have the support that will last. Breathability is another one. Your feet will need to breathe when going longer.
Also, make sure the overall fit and comfort are as good as it gets. After all, if it's a race situation you can't just stop and change shoes.
This is a compromise you're going to have to make when you pick a pair of long distance running shoes. A lightweight pair is great because saving just a couple of ounces adds up big time when multiplied over thousands of strides over lots of miles. But lightweight shoes are inherently less durable than heavier options and will wear out more quickly over all those long runs. So we recommend thinking about your budget and your priorities before you start to shop.
Other Factors to Consider
According to long-distance seasonal runners, it’s only after you’ve put a good amount of mileage into a running shoe that you realize how much cushioning and support level it had. Poor quality shoe padding and cushioning tend to lose their stability within a really short time, that is not the expectation of the runner. Good quality cushioning and padding needs to be strong and able to sustain the runner for a longer period giving support and comfort to the athlete.
Even though it shouldn't be the most important consideration, there's nothing wrong with taking looks into account when you're picking a pair of running shoes. In fact, studies have shown that people who like the way they look when they run actually run farther and more often than people who don't like how they look.
So again, while you shouldn't have this be your main factor, there's nothing wrong with buying a pair of shoes that you will look good in. As a matter of fact, doing so can actually help keep you on track to meeting your training and fitness goals.
When selecting running footwear, it an important consideration to make sure the shoe fits the terrain of the runner, especially if it is a long distance runner. Our list contains the best of the best in trail/road long distance running shoes. Likewise, if you’re going to be on the treadmill belt, or standard road running, make a selection that reflects that.
Athletes who want to concentrate on shock reduction on their feet while they run will definitely opt for running shoes that have very simplified cushion inserts in them. They also come with impressive flexibility and are very lightweight. Shoes with amazing cushioning are able to provide protection to the feet of the runner against minor injuries like poundings and bruces that may affect the runner from doing his or her routines.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Can I use my old tennis shoes in my long distance running rather than purchasing new shoes?
We encounter this type of question time and again. In theory, you can use the pair of shoes you already have or any old shoes. Its less of a requirement issue and more one of priority. If you believe you can deal with the consequences of making that choice then it's a non-issue.
The reason you would want to have a pair of shoes specifically for long distance running is so that your performance would be improved and not negatively impacted by the injuries and irritation you would have to deal with as a result of ill-suited shoes. Not using long distance running shoes if you have the option is simply just a very poor move and doing so goes against the advice of any seasoned runner you could ask.
q: How often should you replace your running shoes?
A long-distance shoe will simply have a much higher level of durability than other shoes. If they don’t then it would be a brand that you should probably avoid in the future. Maintenance will also add to the life of your long distance shoe including resting after big races, airing, and cleaning.
That all said, you are looking to replace your shoe every 200 to 400 miles based on your own personal assessment of its wear. We do not recommend keeping a shoe past 400 total miles of accumulated distance.
q: How do I choose the right size of long distance running shoes?
When you select the shoe think about the type of terrains which you will be on and types of weather in your chosen running locations, then factor in the traction, the breathability, flexibility, level of real protection, support and very importantly, be accurate on the shoe FIT.
While in a sports shop purchasing a shoe, do ask questions about the shoe, is it used for marathons, how good is it?
When buying a good pair of shoes online, use the key factors mentioned here and look at reviews about the shoe, this will point you in the right direction for selecting the best shoe for you.