Many things make a great run: an epic playlist, the perfect sports bra, and a great route. But the right running shoes? Well, they have to be at the top of the list. Comfort, of course, is vital (you don't want those dreaded blisters, right?), but without a good pair of running shoes to support your feet, you'll also leave yourself open to all kinds of injuries that could sabotage your training. Whether you're just getting started and finding your stride or are weeks deep in marathon prep, we'd guess things are tough enough already without dodgy trainers tripping you up.
So whether you're partial to Nikes or New Balance, are looking for something with super support, extra cushioning, or prefer a soft shoe that moves with you, we've tapped 15 experts who are putting sneakers through their paces (literally) every day to help you find the best pair of running shoes out there.
Before we move on to our favorite kicks, a note: If you're having pain running, see a physical therapist for a running gait assessment. You can also visit a running store for personalized running shoe recommendations.
From marathons and trail runs to pounding the pavements of city streets, keep scrolling for their picks of the 15 best running shoes that'll give you the boost you need.
Nike Epic React Flyknit
The Runner: Kathryn Kelly, a successful fitness competitor who took first place in the Team USA 2020 Jr. Master's fitness competition
The Verdict: "Nike Epic React Flyknit is my go-to sneaker for cross-training (for when I'm doing a variety of exercises at the gym, like a CrossFit class where you'll be jumping, climbing, running, lunging, burpees, etc.). They achieve function, comfort, form, and a stylish design, all in one. These shoes use a stretchy and flexible FlyKnit material on the upper part of the shoe that gives a glove-like fit. It offers excellent breathability, stability, and overall comfort in even the most vigorous of workouts."
Hoka Challenger ATR
The Verdict: "I love running in Hokas—particularly the Challenger ATR 4—as they have good support and cushioning. They're also a hybrid, so I can use them on both road and summer trails. Great for the long run."
Brooks Revel 4
The Runner: Alex Weissner, RRCA-certified run coach and cofounder of bRUNch Running
The Verdict: "This shoe is lightweight, responsive, and springy and offers so much positive energy that you will truly fall in love with running. If you are looking for a neutral shoe and narrow, this shoe needs to be your go-to. The springy ride will help you hit those PR goals."
The Runner: Adrienne Herbert, personal trainer and cofounder of Get to Know
The Verdict: "I've been running for about five years, and I tried lots of different running shoes until I discovered the Adidas UltraBoost. They are, without a doubt, my favorite running shoe now. The sole is made from the Adidas signature 'Boost technology,' which is super bouncy and cushioned.
"I also love that you can now buy UltraBoost Parley shoes that have been made from recycled plastic marine pollution. So you can lace up for your run and know that you're helping to save the planet, too."
Xero Prio Running and Fitness Shoe
The Runner: Jonathan Frey, fitness expert and CMO of Urban Bikes Direct.
The Verdict: "Many runners swear by minimalist running shoes because they can strengthen your feet and ankles. It takes a bit of training to adapt to the minimalist running style, but these shoes are very comfortable and tend to make the transition a little easier. You might fall in love with the roomy toe box."
361º Spire 4
The Runner: Chris Higgins, an ACSM certified trainer with calisthenics-gear.com
The Verdict: "This one boosts reinforced cushioning perfect for extended running workouts and marathon training. It works best for fartlek, interval, and tempo training and maintains durability even with heavy and intense running workouts. It can take the beatings from heavy runners while allowing the perfect fit for runners even when their feet heats up, which is crucial for avoiding injuries and premature muscle cramps during high-intensity training."
The Runner: Michelle B, fitness blogger at Bliss from Balance.
The Verdict: "One of my favorite pairs of running shoes is Brooks Ghost. They are extremely comfortable, balanced, and perfect for all distances. I've done 5ks, half-marathons, and marathon training in them, and they have never let me down."
The Verdict: "I am a fan of the Altra Escalante for road running. The Escalante is a zero-drop shoe that has a wide toe box. The most important thing to me is that my foot does not feel constricted, and the shoe is very light. These shoes hold up well, and I typically get around 300 miles out of them."
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus
The Runner: Kieran McSorley, avid marathon runner and COO of Brentwood Physiotherapy
The Verdict: "Durable, reliable, and tested. Probably our most popular recommendation by our physiotherapists and for a great reason. This shoe is for everyone, whether you are just getting into running or a seasoned veteran. Nike is great at making a shoe accessible to all, so they introduced a wide version of this shoe for individuals with a wider foot. This shoe offers neutral support with a midsole drop of 10 and a high/medium arch type. Its iconic look is backed by its specifications. There aren't too many lightweight shoes that will be this comfy. I'm actually wearing a pair right now!"
The Runner: Joyce Shulman, CEO of 99 Walks
The Verdict: "I discovered this brand three years ago. I'm a CrossFitter, and these shoes are great for combination workouts that include running but not a lot of heavy lifting—for instance, a workout that integrates running, rowing, pull-ups, and air squats."
ASICS Gel Nimbus 23
The Verdict: "I go for long runs every day, and these shoes provide me the support and cushioning I need for these runs. My legs feel great even after a long run because the shoes do a great job of absorbing the impact. I get the necessary bounce from the midsole because it is soft and feels the way it is. As I’ve been using different shoes, I can say that GEL-Nimbus 23 shoes are great for new and seasoned runners alike."
The Runner: Liam Coultman, certified performance specialist and sprint coach at The Speed Project
The Verdict: "I'm a big fan of Saucony. So much so that all my track spikes are Saucony models due to the cushioning they provide. In this instance, their trainers are no different as the Triumph 17 are extremely soft and well-padded. Great for when performing longer distances."
Altra Torin 4
The Runner: Dr. Jordan Duncan, chiropractor and owner of Silverdale Sport & Spine
The Verdict: "The Altra Torin 4 is a great option for those who like a zero drop shoe with some cushion. It has adequate room in the toe box, so it won’t bind and constrict your feet. Being both lightweight and flexible, the Altra Torin 4 makes for a very comfortable run."
New Balance Fresh Foam 880v10
The Runner: Ridge Davis, NCSF certified personal trainer
The Verdict: "This shoe is perfect for longer runs. The midsole cushioning is great for support, and the shoe is very lightweight and durable."
On Running Shoe
The Verdict: "I'm loving On running shoes right now because the design is so different from a lot of shoes on the market. I'm currently wearing the Cloudflows, which have On's unique 'CloudTec' sole that responds to different runners' gaits. It's seriously bouncy while providing extreme cushioning and protection from impact."