The Best Running Shoes for Men

·11 min read
Photo credit: Staff, Courtesy of New Balance
Photo credit: Staff, Courtesy of New Balance


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Editor’s Note: We reviewed our shoe selections on June 13, 2022 and still stand by our recommendations below, with one exception. We have now included a best option for runners with wide feet.

We’re constantly testing the latest running shoes in our lab and on the feet of our 250-runner-strong wear-test team. About half of those runners are men—and most importantly, they’re an extremely diverse group of guys. Some are seriously speedy dudes hitting sky-high mileage and knocking on the door of the Olympic Trials; others are just getting into running or coming back from injury. We have runners of all shapes, sizes, ages, abilities, and backgrounds—from full-time English teachers and new dads to night-shift nurses and grandfathers. The one thing they’ve all got in common is that they’re passionate about running, and log at least 25 miles per week in their test shoes. Chances are, there’s a shoe here that you’ll love as much as they do, and you can scroll deeper for a variety of shoes that cater to different preferences for stability and cushioning.

Best Running Shoes for Men

Stability

In terms of running shoe design, stability refers to a shoe’s ability to support good running form. Typically, that means an optimal level of pronation (more on that here). If you’re an overpronator—your feet roll inward excessively—and prefer stability, these shoes have features to help counter that movement. These include firmer foams in key areas of the midsole, like a medial post, or additional material on the edge of the sole to prevent the foot from twisting, like the GuideRails on Brooks’s Adrenaline GTS. If you don’t overpronate, you’ll likely prefer a “neutral” shoe, which doesn’t have extra support features and won’t interfere with your stride.

Cushioning

This is an area where opinions vary widely. Runners who focus on speed may prefer a firmer shoe that gives them a good feel for the ground. Others like something plush that absorbs impact forces. In the past, you usually had to sacrifice some cushioning in order to find a shoe that felt lightweight enough to help shave fractions of a second off your finish time. Thanks to newer foam technology, that’s no longer the case. The Skechers GOrun MaxRoad 5, one of the most cushioned shoes we’ve tested, tips the scale at only 8.7 ounces for a men’s size 9. That’s important for longer runs, because the extra cushioning can reduce aches in tired feet and joints.

How We Selected

To select these shoes, we consulted Runner-in-Chief Jeff Dengate for his recommendations on the top running shoes for men, and we also relied on feedback from hundreds of male runners on our wear-test team. After putting countless pairs through the wringer and evaluating the data, we’ve rounded up some of the standouts that have received especially high marks and praise from our male testers. (For an even deeper breakdown of our rigorous testing process, check out how we evaluate shoes.) Seeking tips to get the best fit and price? We’ve got you covered there, too, on how to choose your next favorite pair.

—BEST DAILY TRAINER—

Asics Gel-Cumulus 24

The Cumulus has really come of age in the last couple years. Traditionally, it’s been an affordable tank for daily training—the little brother of the Nimbus appealed with its ability to handle a season of marathon training. That sturdiness, however, made the shoe heavy and stiff. The 24th version is more fun and livelier underfoot but still delivers that protective, daily trainer feeling we’ve always loved. That’s partially because Asics lowered the heel-to-toe drop to 8mm (it was 10mm) and switched to a bouncier FlyteFoam Blast midsole. Testers unanimously praised the shoe’s bouncy, cushioned ride that delivers all the protection they need for long runs but doesn’t feel too soft. And, because FlyteFoam Blast is much more responsive, Asics was able to eliminate its previously-used plastic midfoot bridges. The result? Smoother transitions from touchdown to toe-off.

—BEST FOR LONG RUNS—

New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v12

There’s a lot to love about the 880 series. A new two-layer midsole makes the 12th version softer than ever, the upper is comfortable and accommodating for wide feet, and the generous blown rubber outsole handles high-volume marathon training well (especially if the bulk of your runs are on slick roads and sidewalks). It’s not the lightest shoe, but it’s still nimble enough to keep you cruising without clunkiness through double-digit mileage. Plus, New Balance recently tweaked the durometer (a measurement of firmness) of the Fresh Foam X cushioning, which makes it feel a little softer this time around. If you regularly bounce from your daily run to long hours on your feet, this is a great candidate that can keep up for both. “The 880 takes the prize for being my favorite line of shoes,” one tester said. “I also like the 1080 v12, but I prefer the more traditional upper in the 880 v12, compared to the 1080’s knit material,” added Dengate. You’ll also appreciate the 880’s smaller price tag; you’ll lose some cushioning, but we found it is still plenty plush.

—BEST UPDATE—

Saucony Kinvara 13

The 12th version was a fantastic homecoming for the Kinvara. After the 11 became stiffer and heavier—we got fairly strong “daily trainer” vibes from its super plush tongue and thick upper—the 12 nudged the Kinvara back toward its racer roots. The 13 continues that trend. This version is the lightest weight the Kinvara has ever been. Like the shoe’s fledgling models, it has a snug midfoot lockdown and a more minimalist-feeling ride for flexible toe-offs and good ground feel. Now, Saucony’s new blend of Pwrrun foam in the midsole uses a mix of EVA and polymers to improve energy return. It doesn’t pack the punch of the Endorphin series, but it does feel plenty responsive for tempo runs on dry roads and speed sessions around the oval.

—VERSATILE, FAST, AND AFFORDABLE—

Saucony Endorphin Speed 2

While most of the fastest runners will still reach for pricier racers with carbon fiber, like the Endorphin Pro 2 and Nike Alphafly Next%, the Endorphin Speed 2 is a suitable racing option for most of us. It’s still stiff—though the nylon plate is far more flexible than carbon fiber—and snappy, and the cushioning works well for short, fast races all the way up to the marathon distance. Where the Speed shines, however, is in everyday training. For tempo runs and interval sessions, the Speed delivers all the hustle you need for your workout, while saving you some cash versus those more expensive race-day models. The midsole and outsole are the same as you’ll find on the debut version of this shoe, but Saucony made some changes to the upper to make it fit slightly better and lock you in place when you’re running at fast speeds.

Watch The Cut Up

—BEST MARATHON RACER—

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2

One of the fastest shoes you can buy, the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 is equipped with responsive ZoomX foam and a carbon-fiber plate. This high-tech combination allows elite marathoners to race under a five-minute pace, but it’s not just for the pros. Even at slower speeds, the shoe still feels exceptionally propulsive and energetic, making every stride a little more efficient and less taxing. The Vaporweave upper has also been updated to a flexible mesh that stays comfortable late in a race. That being said, the comfort and durability of this shoe also make it great for speedy short distances, whether you’re racing or not. Overall, it just might be the speediest and bounciest shoes we’ve tested yet.

—BEST FOR WIDE FEET—

Topo Athletic Phantom 2


Preserving the original’s traits, the new Phantom provides an accommodating fit with a generous amount of toe room. Some testers scoffed at the appearance of such a wide toebox but appreciated how its odd shape prevented black toenails and blisters. But the standout feature is the two-piece midsole, which provides firm cushioning and shock absorption—perfect for high mileage and runners with an aggressive cadence. “I found the cushioning to be top-notch from front to back,” said one tester who’s a self-described heel striker. “It was like running in a soft moccasin that held your foot secure without any unwanted motion.”

—BEST FOR WET TRAILS—

VJ Spark

“I ran with a friend up in the Adirondacks one morning in July. He was wearing a shoe not yet released called the Spark. We had 5,000 feet of vert over the first seven miles and a 3,000-foot descent over the final three miles, and he was stuck to the wet rocks on Giant Mountain like a gecko the whole time,” Dengate said, recalling his first encounter with VJ’s Spark. When we got our test samples, we experienced it ourselves. Credit that excellent grip to VJ’s butyl rubber outsole. The 5mm lugs aren’t super-long, and they’re not sharp like a set of YakTrax, but they’re tacky and flexible to grip slick terrain. The Spark is designed to be super-lightweight and fast, so while you won’t get cushioning for an ultra, the foam is ample for trail runs and obstacle races. The fairly standard and dense EVA isn’t on par with the latest bouncy nitrogen-injected TPU offerings out there, but you don’t buy the Spark for its cushioning. You buy it for the grip to dodge roots and rocks at speed, or heck, even hop an OCR fire pit and scale a rope wall.

—BEST LIGHTWEIGHT TRAINER—

Hoka Mach 4

A cushioned road shoe that feels as light and explosive as a race shoe—but still sturdy enough for long training runs—the new Mach 4 just might be our favorite Hoka ever. To build this versatile trainer, Hoka added speedy design features from the brand’s new race-oriented Carbon X and Rocket X, like propulsive energy return and a sportier, more streamlined upper that hugs your foot, while forgoing the carbon plate and instead keeping the brand’s usual generous cushioning. The lightweight, dual-density Profly foam midsole provides plenty of zoom and bounce, while the early-stage Meta-Rocker (a curved sole shape) helps you roll through quick heel-to-toe transitions. We even loved some of the Mach 4’s simplest design features, like an oversize heel tab that makes it easy to get your feet in and out. It’s a shoe that excels at everything from interval track workouts to weekend long runs and recovery jogs—so good that Dengate (who has dozens of available options stacked high in his office) exclusively ran in it for six weeks straight.

Full Review

—BEST CUSHIONED TRAIL SHOE—

Salomon Ultra Glide

Traditionally, Salomon’s speedy kicks earn their reputation for being fast, for sure, but they’re also quite firm, aggressive, and narrow—better suited for elites than midpack runners. The Ultra Glide is Salomon’s softest and most accessible trail shoe, with cushioning that most runners will appreciate. Videographer Pat Heine wore the shoe on day 5 of a 327-mile FKT run in April 2021. After more than 250 miles, the hills, rocks, and hours piled up, and he appreciated the Ultra Glide’s support for the final stretch. “The upper provided enough protection for my tired feet when I inevitably kicked rocks and roots, while the rocker design and extra cushion underfoot took the sting out of pavement and extra-rocky sections, enough for me to make it through the final 75 miles,” he said. The lightweight midsole combines EVA and Olefin for a more forgiving, durable, and springy ride that even impressed the Hoka fanatics of our wear-test squad.

Full Review

—BEST STABILITY SHOE—

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22

The Adrenaline GTS is Brooks’s well-loved stability shoe that has a lighter, less obtrusive GuideRails system, rather than a medial post, to provide support. The 22nd iteration has that same design, which places material along the edges of the sole to keep your feet in alignment. (This makes it accessible for both overpronators and neutral runners, since the extra support engages only if you need it). Overall, the shoe feels slightly softer and smoother than previous models, thanks to the DNA Loft foam that spans the full length of the midsole. The Adrenaline still provides excellent shock absorption, and the rubber outsole delivers great traction and durability for high-mileage runners.

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