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As a runner, you’ll agree that finding the best running shoes is a daunting task. There’s no shortage of running shoe brands on the market. However, not all running shoe brands are the same when it comes to the quality of the shoes, performance, comfort, and value for money. Many running shoes on the market are affordable but unreliable. So, you can easily end up making a mistake and losing money on the wrong running shoe. Making a choice can especially be overwhelming for beginners. So, to help you find the best running shoe brands, our athletic shoe gurus put on their thinking caps and spent over 4 weeks to prepare the list.
In the guide to best running shoe brands, we’ll list the top 21 running shoe brands on the market and discuss the pros and cons of each.
- 1 #1 Brooks
- 2 #2 Nike
- 3 #3 Asics
- 4 #4 New Balance
- 5 #5 Saucony
- 6 #6 Adidas
- 7 #7 Under Armour
- 8 #8 Altra
- 9 #9 Hoka
- 10 #10 Merrell
- 11 #11 Skechers
- 12 #13 Newton
- 13 #14 Reebok
- 14 #15 The North Face
- 15 #16 Mizuno
- 16 #17 Salomon
- 17 #18 Topo
- 18 #19 Puma
- 19 #20 La Sportiva
- 20 #21 Inov-8
- 21 Final thoughts on the best running shoe brands
During the market research, our experts found out that Brooks is currently the most trending running shoe brand on the market. Most of the running shoes that have managed to make a place in the list of best running shoes 2019 are masterpieces designed and manufactured by Brooks.
Brooks produces sturdy running shoes for almost every type of foot. Not only this, but they’re also actively involved in community initiatives such as their Run B’Cause Community Grants and Running Responsibly Program.
As a running shoe brand, Brooks has developed several key technologies that can be found in modern running shoes. All in all, Brooks manufactures running shoes which are super-cushioned and excellent for trail running. They can drastically improve your overall effectiveness, endurance, and gait.
Overall pros and cons of Brooks running shoes:
|Excellent ratings across a variety of domains||The shoes may feel a bit heavier for some|
|100% refund guarantee for up to 90 days||Small stones get stuck in the grooves of almost all Brooks running shoes|
|Robust and durable shoes|
|Superior-quality materials used to manufacture the shoes|
|Comfortable and soft cushioning|
|Shoes provide enough support|
|Extremely breathable upper|
|High-performing responsive cushioning|
Top-rated Brooks running shoes
- Brooks Launch 5
- Brooks Beast 16
Nike is and will continue to be one of the best running shoe brands in the world, without a doubt. And, we have reasons to back this claim. While browsing through thousands of customer reviews and round-up lists, our experts discovered that runners are all overall very satisfied with the performance of Nike running shoes.
Nike’s Flyknit Series has emerged as a favorite among serious runners, providing soft cushioning and support that runners desire. What’s even better? The shoes are lightweight. When it comes to innovation and design in the athletic shoe space, Nike cannot be ignored.
Overall pros and cons of Nike running shoes:
|One of the best running shoe manufacturers on the market||No exchange or refund policy|
|Different running shoes available for different types of runners|
|High-quality upper material|
|Minimum size fit issues|
Top-rated Nike running shoes:
Asics is one of the oldest running shoe manufacturers on the list. Over the years, the brand has come out with some of the best running shoe models on the market. Talk about elite runners or other existing customers; everyone’s happy with the performance of Asics running shoes. The brand continues to impress runners with innovative running shoes year after year.
Asics also takes part in community initiatives through programs such as Girls on Run. Through this program, the brand has donated more than 50,000 pairs of running shoes to local charitable institutions since 2016 to support underprivileged girls and motivate them through running as a sport.
Overall pros and cons of Asics running shoes:
|60-day return policy||Some customers have reported issues with sizing|
|Excellent customer reviews and ratings|
|High-level of stability and support|
|Superior quality breathable material|
|Comfortable and stylish shoes|
|Value for money|
Top-rated Asics running shoes:
#4 New Balance
New Balance is one of the leading running shoe manufacturers, and they’ve launched a plethora of innovative, high-performance running shoes into the market including Men’s Fresh Foam Running Shoes.
The company was known as “New Balance Arch Support Company” during the initial days after it was launched in 1906. The brand began their stint in the running shoe market with the “Trackster” running shoe in 1960.
The New Balance Responsible Leadership Report provides an insight into their mission – “We Believe in One Simple Truth: We Were Born to Move.” The company is dedicated to the desire to help people stay physically fit while taking each step in their life and moving forward. New Balance is also a founding member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. They strive for environmental-friendly products and sustainability. All in all, New Balance’s mission goes beyond mere running shoes and apparel.
Overall pros and cons of New Balance running shoes:
|The only leading brand that can label their running shoes as “Made in the USA”||Some customers have mentioned that the shoes are a little loose at the heel|
|Investors in community work through philanthropy and volunteer work|
|Comfortable soft cushioning|
|Breathable, all-knit upper|
Top-rated New Balance running shoes:
- New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v8
- New Balance 1400v5
Saucony entered the market just 2 years after the first Olympic Marathon was conducted in Athens, Greece in 1898. The brand is a hit among beginner runners as well as professional runners. Till date, Saucony has launched over a dozen best-selling running shoes that have made their way into the wardrobe of all types of running, including elite runners.
Based on the durability and comfort provided by the running shoes, we’ve placed the brand on the fifth position in our list. Saucony also scores extra points for being an American brand.
Overall pros and cons of Saucony running shoes:
|Shoes remain comfortable even after wearing them for extended periods||Some customers have mentioned that the shoes feel heavier than other running shoes on the market|
|Value for money||Some customers found the shoes to be narrow|
|Durable and versatile|
|Optimal support with sufficient heel drop|
Top-rated Saucony running shoes:
Adidas earned a special place in the athletic shoe industry by staying true to what the company’s founded believe in, almost a century back: listen carefully to athletes and create products that best suit their needs. Adidas’ commitment to innovation, comfort, and performance has become a hallmark for the brand, and the reason why runners all over the world simply love them.
Adidas was the first athletic shoe brand to implant a tracking system in a running shoe. And, just recently, Adidas shocked the running world with the launch of its Boost foam. Developed by the German chemical company BASF, this unique cushioning material provides responsive support and better energy return than EVA foam.
Regardless of which running shoe model you pick, you can rest assured that you’re buying a high-quality product.
Overall pros and cons of Adidas running shoes:
|Responsive cushioning||Some running shoe models are very expensive|
|Stylish running shoes||Shoes are slightly on the heavier side|
|Great for uptempo runs and long-distance races|
|Excellent traction on the trail|
|Avant-garde closure system|
|Breathable upper material|
|Suitable for all kinds of runner|
Top-rated Adidas running shoes:
- Adidas Springblade
- Adidas PureBoost Go
#7 Under Armour
Under Armour entered the running shoe space in 2009. The brand started gaining traction after launching the SpeedForm Shoes in 2014. The SpeedForm technology leveraged Under Armour’s apparel expertise and brought inventions from the manufacturing of apparel to running shoes.
The SpeedForm upper provides Under Armour running shoes with great durability and a snug fit. Along with good midsole cushioning, the Speedform Upper has a significant impact on speed and performance.
In 2018, Under Armour introduced a proprietary cushioning platform known as Hovr. The brand modified its Charged formula by increasing the amount of Olefin wax which lead to the development of more durable foam that’s a perfect combination of lightweight, and a cushioned ride.
Overall pros and cons of Under Armour running shoes:
|Breathable upper material||Some customers have mentioned that the sizing runs small|
|Great traction on different types of terrains||Some customers have mentioned that most of the running shoe models are not ideal for wet surfaces|
|Flex grooves for better heel-to-toe transition|
|Embedded sock liner|
Top-rated Under Armour running shoes
- Under Armour Speedform Apollo 2
- Under Armour Speedform Fortis Vent
Altra was founded by two high-school friends, Brian Beckstead, and Golden Harper. The common goal of young minds was to design shoes for the way people naturally run.
The first running shoes released by Altra in 2011 were Instinct for men and Intuition for women. These running shoes, along with all other Altra running shoe model feature 3 core technologies: Fit4Her, FootShape, and ZeroDrop.
The forefoot of Altra running shoes is wider than many other running shoes on the market. This is a result of FootShape technology. ZeroDrop refers to the heel-to-toe drop of the shoe or in simpler words the difference between the height of the heel and forefoot. Unlike other running shoes, Altra shoes have very little or no drop. And, lastly, the Fit4Her technology is custom-made to match the biomechanics of the feminine feet.
The cushioning material used by Altra is known as Altra EGO and holds its shape much longer than the traditional EVA foam. The brand has also developed GuideRail (a wrap designed to retain proper alignment of the feet) and Stabilipod (firmer midsole material) technologies.
Overall pros and cons of Altra running shoes:
|Stylish running shoes||Some customers have mentioned that the shoes run narrow|
|Very responsive||Some customers have mentioned that the shoes run smaller in size|
|Designed for speed|
|Excellent cushioning for comfort|
|Durable and versatile|
Top-rated Altra running shoes:
- Altra One 2.5
- Altra Lone Peak 3.5
Hoka was founded in 2009 by French trail runners Jean-Luc Diard and Nicolas Mermoud. The brand launched a running shoe which was completely different from the others on the market. It was a unique running shoe that cushioned and protected runners’ feet from potential injuries.
Back then, Diard and Mermoud had just one vision – to bring the smooth ride provided power skis and mountain bikes to running shoes. They began working on prototypes and eventually launched a new type of EVA form that was extremely lightweight and soft.
Hoka running shoes provide runners with enough cushioning and comfort to get a floating feeling even on rough terrains and enhance momentum. All in all, Hoke running shoes come with improved cushioning, a wider midsole, and lightweight materials. The initial models were meant for trail runners; however, different models are now available for track runners and roadrunners.
Overall pros and cons of Hoka running shoes:
|Extremely plush cushioning||Some customers have mentioned that the shoes are not very durable|
|Breathable and flexible upper material|
|Durable outsole material with reinforced rubber|
|Different models for different types of runners|
|Value for money|
Top-rated Hoka running shoes:
Merrell was founded in 1981 by Clark Matis, John Schweizer, and Randy Merrell. Thanks to the perfect combination of Randy’s craftsmanship and Clark and John’s athletic background, the team was able to develop a pocket-friendly, high-performance hiking boot.
Today, the brand has moved from hiking boots to a plethora of outdoor and running shoes for outdoor enthusiast and runners. Merrell’s mission is to keep athletes motivated. And, there’s no end to ideation and innovation when it comes to their running shoes.
The exceptional comfort, design, durability, and versatility of Merrell running shoes make then ideal for all types of runners.
Overall pros and cons of Merrell running shoes:
|Highly breathable upper material||The sizing is a bit off in some models|
|Great for dry and wet surfaces||Some customers have mentioned that the shoes run narrow|
|Outsole has excellent traction||Some customers have mentioned that the shoes run smaller in size|
|Good toe protection against debris|
|Very durable and versatile|
|Flexible and comfortable cushioning|
|Great responsiveness and feel|
Top-rated Merrell running shoes:
- Merrell Vapor Glove 3
- Merrell All Out Peak
Although Skechers is a relatively new brand, its influence on the running shoe market is making headlines. Since the past few years, Skechers has grown into a leading athletic shoe company in the U.S. The best thing about the brand when compared to other running shoe brands is that runners can find a similar level of performance and support at a much affordable price.
Skechers launched the GoRun series of running shoes in 2011, and a number of successful running shoe models have been developed by the brand ever since. In the same year, renowned runner Meb Keflezighi signed a contract with the brand and helped improve its racing plane design by providing thorough feedback on the shoes. This collaboration resulted in the GOmeb running shoe line.
The latest technology by Skechers is their Ultra Flight Foam that was developed in 2017. You’ll find it in GOrun MaxTrail 5 Ultra and the GOrun MaxRoad 3 Ultra. The foam is bouncier and lighter than the traditional EVA.
Overall pros and cons of Skechers running shoes:
|Upper material provides sock-like comfort and proper fit with enhanced breathability||Less energy return|
|Smooth transition||Some customers have mentioned that the shoes run ½ size smaller|
|Plush cushioning||A little expensive|
|Flexible rubber outsole|
|Durable and versatile|
Top-rated Skechers running shoes:
- Skechers Synergy Power Switch
- Skechers Gorun MaxRoad 3 Ultra
Newton is a brand that is all about running. Their products are only meant for runners and no other sport. The brand’s single-minded dedication is evident in each of their running shoe designs.
Newton running shoes are perfect for 5K, trail running, and Marathons. The best Newton running shoes come with minimal heel counters which makes them a great choice for high-intensity activities such as speed workouts and exhaustive training sessions at the gym. Not only this, but the shoes are also lightweight as their meant for runners. EVA heel and soles ensure sufficient absorption of impact.
The outer sole provides good traction on all kinds of terrains. Some Newton running shoes can be customized with spikes for optimum surface control. So, if you’re a high-performance enthusiast, you can benefit a great deal from such customizations.
Most of the running shoes by Newton are ideal for runners who’re looking for sturdy running shoes for daily use.
Overall pros and cons of Newton running shoes:
|An asymmetrical lacing system that locks the feet securely inside the shoes||Some customers have mentioned that the heel area is very large|
|High-density rubber straps attached to the mid-foot ensure maximum stability and comfort||Some customers have questioned the durability of the product|
|Action/Reaction technology helps in the absorption of impact energy|
|Dynamic running shoes|
|Recyclable materials used to manufacture the shoes|
|Shoes can withstand brakes, impacts, and rough use|
Top-rated Newton running shoes:
- Newton Gravity 7
- Newton Distance 7
Reebok was started in 1895, in the bedroom of a teenager, Joseph William Foster. He developed one of the first running spikes and set up a factory known as “Olympic Works” to meet the increasing demand from athletes for his “running pumps.”
In 1958, Foster’s two grandsons founded Reebok, and constantly to develop ground-breaking running shoes. The Aztek Shoe and the Women’s Aerobic Shoe were the first two models that gained popularity during the step aerobic era.
In the early months of 2000, Reebok received high ratings for its Premier series of running shoes and the Kinetic Fit System. The Kinetic Fit System found in the shoe’s upper body was designed to flex with the movement of the foot. It led to a more stable ride and better fit.
If you explore Reebok’s present line-up of shoes on the market, you’ll come across a plethora of notable innovations and technology updates. The brand launched its Pebax Floatride Foam in 2017. It is lighter than EVA and TPU foams and provides runners with maximum energy return. They also developed the unique Flexweave upper to boost freedom of movement for different types of exercises.
Overall pros and cons of Reebok running shoes:
|Breathable and flexible upper||Some customers have mentioned that the sizing runs a little narrow|
|Durable and versatile|
|Innovative design and construction|
|Lightweight and flexible|
|Midsole foam provides great cushioning|
|Synthetic rubber sole provides optimum traction|
|Suitable for all kinds of terrains|
Top-rated Reebok running shoes:
- Reebok Nano 8
- Reebok Speed Rise
#15 The North Face
The North Face was started in 1960 by a couple, Douglas Tompkins and Susie Tompkins – both mountaineering and hiking enthusiasts. The brand has its roots in California. The Douglas couple started their entrepreneurial journey with hiking shoes, and the brand now has different athletic shoe categories in the collection such as training shoes, climbing shoes, hiking shoes, running shoes, snowboarding shoes, and so on.
Even though the North Face is not typically a running shoe brand that’ll cross your mind when you think of buying running shoes, the brand is reliable, and their running shoes can be a good choice for trail runners.
Talk about design, quality, construction, or long-lasting durability, running shoes by the North Face excel in all areas. Over the years, the brand has made noteworthy contributions to the running shoe industry, especially when it comes to durable and responsive trail running shoes.
The North Face running shoes are made of FlashDry fabric which is water-resistant. It evaporates moistures and keeps the foot dry and cool. The Cradle midsole cushioning which looks like traditional EVA is a dual-density form for absorbing shock and stabilizing the foot. Some of the North Face running shoes also come with Snake Plate underfoot protection for securing the foot against debris, rocks, and other elements on the trail that can cause injury.
Overall pros and cons of The North Face running shoes:
|Dual-density midsole||Some customers have mentioned that the midsole is slippery|
|Welded overlays and tongues to protect the feet|
|Flexible and lightweight|
|Reflective prints, mudguards, and toe-cap for more protection|
|Unique derby-style construction|
|Freedom of movement|
|Provide sufficient comfort and rebound while running|
|Impressive outsole that provides excellent traction|
Top-rated The North Face running shoes:
- The North Face Endurus TR
- The North Face Ultra 109 GTX
Mizuno is a Japanese brand which manufactures a wide range of running shoes. When designing and innovating on the running shoes, the brand’s primary goal is to enhance an athlete’s performance. This implies that each pair of running shoes is crafted with high-quality construction and useful technologies that cater to the needs of different types of runners. Apart from focusing on performance, Mizuno also ensures that the runners get maximum support and comfort.
Whether you’re looking for trail running shoes or training shoes, Mizuno will always have something unique in store for you. The brand also has a broad range of running shoes for women. Over the years, Mizuno has developed a minimalist shoe, many stability running shoes for overpronators, and some models specially designed for running competitions.
Overall pros and cons of Mizuno running shoes:
|Well-constructed and stylish||Some customers have mentioned that the shoes run narrow|
|The right amount of cushioning for a smooth ride||A little expensive|
|Dynamotion fit||Some customers have mentioned that the upper material feels a bit warm while running|
|Suitable for all types of pronation|
|Flexible and softer in the heel area|
Top-rated Mizuno running shoes:
- Mizuno Wave Rider 21
- Mizuno Wave Sky 2
Whether you’re running on trails, mountains, or other difficult terrains, Salomon running shoes will come to your rescue. They provide runners with adequate stability and protection.
Salomon is a brand which is popular among outdoor sports enthusiasts and one of the best when it comes to running shoes. Over the years, Salomon has built a stellar reputation by only delivering what’s best. Salomon running shoes have been appreciated by hikers and trail runners around the world.
Overall pros and cons of Salomon running shoes:
|Rubber toe-cap for protection||Some customers had a hard time understanding how to use the lacing system|
|Water-resistant and breathable upper material||Some customers have mentioned that the shoes are narrow|
|Lightweight cushioning in the midsole|
|Ortholite sock liner|
|Provide stability and support|
Top-rated Salomon running shoes:
- Salomon Speedcross 4
- Salomon Sense Ride
If you haven’t heard of Topo before, you’re in the right place. The brand was started as an athletic shoe brand in 2013 by Tony Post, an experienced runner. He understood the requirements of runners and consolidated everything to develop the right shoes for runners.
Topo running shoes are lightweight, durable, responsive, and easily affordable. Some are designed for specific foot types. Nevertheless, overall, they cater to the needs of all kinds of runners.
Overall pros and cons of Topo running shoes:
|Wide toe-box||Limited models available in the retail store so you may not be able to try the shoes before buying|
|Highly durable and versatile||Some customers have mentioned that the shoes are not very flexible|
|Properly cushioned in the midsole region|
|Inexpensive compared to many other running shoes on the market|
|Provide adequate support and a secure fit|
Top-rated Topo running shoes:
- Topo Ultraventure
- Topo ST-2
There’s no denying the fact that Puma is one of the most sought-after running shoe brands on the market. They’ve been in the shoe space forever, and have gained success with both, their road and training running shoe series.
The best thing about Puma running shoes is that the brand has launched a variety of designs to appeal both, beginners and professional runners alike. They also have running shoes for an elite runner with excellent responsiveness and cutting-edge technology.
So, if you’re looking for highly durable and versatile running shoes, you can buy Puma running shoes without giving your decision any second thoughts.
Overall pros and cons of Puma running shoes:
|Durable and lightweight||Some customers have mentioned that the sizing runs small|
|Available in a variety of styles and designs|
|Optimum level of cushioning|
|Overlays for a snug fit|
|High-abrasion rubber for rugged surfaces|
|Anti-bacterial sock liner for healthy and sweat-free feet|
Top-rated Puma running shoes:
- Puma Tazon 6
- Puma Super Elevate
#20 La Sportiva
La Sportiva running shoes can be a good option for trail runners. The brand has its roots in Italy and offers different types of running shoes for a variety of terrains.
La Sportiva running shoes come with a traction-ready and protective outsole. Almost all La Sportiva running shoes use outsoles that are highly sturdy. The midsole is well-designed and is able to reduce shock during the foot-strike. Overall, La Sportiva running shoes are best-suited for trail runners.
Overall pros and cons of La Sportiva running shoes:
|Modern construction and design||Expensive|
|Breathable and ultra-light reinforced upper||Some customers have mentioned that the shoes are heavier than many other running shoes on the market|
|Sticky outsole provides excellent stability and traction|
|Angled gripping lugs for trail running|
|Decent amount of cushioning|
|Abrasion-resistant body material|
Top-rated La Sportiva running shoes:
- La Sportiva Mutant
- La Sportiva Akasha
If you’re looking for off-road running shoes, Inov-8 running shoes can be an ideal pick. Since 2013, the brand has become popular among runners who hate running on the pavement.
Inov-8 shoes are lightweight and can help you run fast while maintaining your natural stride. The first shoe released by the brand was Mudroc 290. With their excellent grip and support, Inov-8 running shoes improve the runners’ confidence and help them run faster on rough terrain. In fact, Inov-8 running shoes are being used by various Elite runners pursuing different disciplines. So, if you want to enhance your natural stride with minimalistic shoes, Inov-8 can be your go-to brand for running shoes.
Overall pros and cons of Inov-8 running shoes:
|Shock absorbent||Some customers have mentioned that the size runs small|
|Great traction and freedom of movement||The price can increase if you’re looking for a specific color|
|Ideal for long-distance running||More suitable for runners with narrow feet|
|Durable and versatile|
|Lightweight and comfortable|
Final thoughts on the best running shoe brands
Now that you’ve gone through the pros and cons of almost all the best running shoe brands on the market, do you have a clear favorite on your mind? All running shoe brands listed above are great and come with distinct features. The best way to narrow down on a suitable brand is to assess your requirements and focus on the features of each brand before making up your mind.
We hope you found our guide to the best running shoe brands useful. If you think we’ve missed a running shoe brand that deserves to be on the list, let us know, and we’ll have it covered by our athletic shoe experts.