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Compare the best running shoes in 2021
Go the distance to find the right pair for your skills and budget.
Running shoes are designed for comfort and performance. The perfect pair can help you improve your run times, extend your endurance and prevent injury. Look for the best support, cushion and weight your budget can support.
New Balance isn't trying to compete with the loud, neon sneakers that other brands push. Instead it's focused on creating supportive, flexible running shoes that'll fuel your fitness focus. We also like that some of its running shoes are made in the USA.
Top 7 running shoes in 2021
|Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20||$130||Road running||Runners looking for extra cushion||Shop Now|
|Adidas Ultraboost Uncaged||$180||Road running||Unrestricted movement and a flexible feel||Shop Now|
|Salomon Speedcross 5||$115||Trail running||Running off-road where added traction is needed||Shop Now|
|Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%||$250||Road running||Speed training and runners looking for a lightweight shoe||Shop Now|
|Puma Tazon 6||$70||Cross training||Added support and cushion for both running and weight training||Shop Now|
|Adidas Powerlift 4||$100||Cross training||Weight lifting with a classic style||Shop Now|
|Vibram FiveFingers KSO||$85||Minimalist running||A more natural running style||Shop Now|
Types of running shoes
When shopping for a running shoe, you’ll find several types designed for different environments. Consider where you’ll wearing your new pair.
If you’re a novice and aren’t sure yet how you’ll use your new kicks, read our beginner’s guide to running.
|Road running||Light and flexible with cushion and stability for hard surfaces.||Running on pavement and packed surfaces.|
|Trail running||Additional tread for traction and stability on uneven surfaces.||Off-road running on such uneven surfaces as mud, rocks and gravel.|
|Cross-training||More contact with the ground for added balance.||Balance-based gym or cross-fitness workouts.|
|Barefoot or minimalist running||Makes the midfoot hit the ground first, forgoing the elevated cushion of traditional trainers that causes the heel to strike first.||Those who pronate or prefer a more natural running style.|
What is foot pronation?
Pronation refers to the side-to-side motion of your foot that occurs naturally as you walk or run. Different types of running shoes are designed to correct or complement one of three pronation types:
- Overpronation. An exaggeration of the inward rolling of the foot. Overpronation can lead to knee injury if left uncorrected.
- Neutral pronation. When the foot does not excessively roll inward or outward.
- Underpronation or supination. An exaggerated outward rolling of the foot. Those who underpronate need shoes with additional cushioning, as they land on the outside edge of the foot, causing more pressure on the leg. Underpronation is less common than overpronation.
Knowing how you run or walk, check out the best types of running shoes for your pronation type.
|Maximum support or motion-control shoes|
|Stability or structured-cushion shoes|
|Cushioned shoes or neutral trainers|
How much do running shoes cost?
A good pair of running shoes can range anywhere from around $60 to $250 or more. But a higher price tag doesn’t necessarily indicate a better shoe. Make sure the shoe fits comfortably and doesn’t rub your foot or ankle anywhere and stays on your your foot when you move.
Pro tip: If you’re looking to save on a name brand, check out last year’s version of the shoe you like. There aren’t often huge changes between versions, but older models are often deeply discounted.
When should I replace my running shoes?
Most manufacturers suggest that running shoes last from 300 to 500 miles. Lightweight shoes can wear out at around 250 to 300 miles, while more durable models can last 500 miles or more.
To keep track of your miles logged in your runners, let apps like Strava and Runkeeper do the hard work for you. They’ll even send alerts when it’s time to consider a new pair of shoes.
A pair of properly-fitted running shoes can mean the difference between a good run and a great one. Compare your options based on type of shoe for your running style, the fit on your foot and your budget.
If buying American-made products is important to you, check out our list of over 75 shoe brands that are made in the USA.
How did we choose these products?
We performed independent research to determine some of the most popular running shoes in 2021, choosing our top picks for a number of running styles. We narrowed our search by weighing the quality of the shoe, materials, weight and support against the price. We also factored in our own personal experiences with some of these products.
Frequently asked questions
What are the best running shoes for beginners?
Many of the top footwear brands make midrange models that can be great picks for beginners. Asics, Nike and New Balance are only a few leading brands that offer more affordable options for first-timers.
What are the most popular running shoe brands?
Top-selling sneaker brands include:
- New Balance
How are trail running shoes different from road running shoes?
Trail runners typically offer deeper treads for a better grip on rough terrain. They’re also stiffer than road runners to offer extra protection when running on uneven ground.
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