Best Running Shoes 2023

A pair of white running shoes with black stripes down the sides and woven-in blue and orange details.
Credit: adidas

A pair of white running shoes with black stripes down the sides and woven-in blue and orange details.
Credit: adidas

Investing in a pair of the best running shoes on the market can be the key to elevating your training regimen and achieving personal milestones in your fitness journey. However, the market is flooded with options, with the number of running shoes pretty overwhelming to look at on the surface.

In an effort to simplify your search, we've put together a selection of what we consider to be the finest trainers available from some of the best sneaker brands around, taking into account factors such as pricing, performance, reviews, and features. But what exactly are these features we're referring to?

Well, an ideal pair of running shoes must offer ample cushioning to absorb the impact of each step, ensuring your comfort and safety. Moreover, they should be lightweight, preventing you from feeling encumbered during your training sessions.

Beyond these essential characteristics, the specific features you require will depend on your style of running. For instance, trail running demands durability, and possibly waterproofing, as well as aggressive traction to provide stability on off-road terrain. On the other hand, if you're on the hunt for the best marathon shoes, you'll want to prioritise comfort and advanced technologies, such as carbon fibre plates, designed to reduce fatigue and maximise energy return.

With all of this in mind, let's dive into our top picks. Be sure to stay with us until the end too, as we've also addressed some of the most frequently asked questions to help you in making an informed purchase. Let's get started!

Best running shoes

  1. ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25
  2. New Balance Fresh Foam Arishi v4
  3. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23
  4. Nike Vaporfly 3
  5. HOKA Speedgoat 5 GORE-TEX Spike
  6. adidas Adizero Prime X 2.0 STRUNG
ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25 product image of a grey and blue shoe with a white midsole.
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Credit: ASICS

1. ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25

Best running shoes overall

Material: Knit / AHAR Rubber
Weight: 10.5 oz.
Heel Drop: 8mm

The ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25 stands out as an exceptional running shoe, promising to elevate your training experience.

ASICS has revamped this model with new materials, enhancing its capacity for a softer and smoother run. The shoe features an adaptive, stretchy knitted upper, ensuring comfort, security, and a lightweight feel.

The highlight of this shoe lies in its bio-based FF BLAST PLUS ECO cushioning, offering 20% more padding underfoot compared to its predecessors. Coupled with PureGEL technology, each step promises to be both cushioned and responsive, minimising shock impact. Moreover, its 8mm heel drop strikes a balance suitable for beginners entering the running realm and seasoned runners accustomed to larger heel drops.

All in all, the ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25 stands as one of the finest running shoes available. If you're eyeing an upgrade or need a replacement pair, this one definitely merits your consideration.

New Balance Arishi v4 product of a grey sneaker with fluorescent green accents.
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Credit: New Balance

2. New Balance Fresh Foam Arishi v4

Best budget running shoes

Material: Mesh / Rubber
Weight: 8.7 oz.
Heel Drop: Unspecified

Although running shoes can be quite expensive at times, the New Balance Fresh Foam Arishi v4 falls toward the inexpensive end of the price scale. However, that doesn't mean the shoe lacks in quality or features.

To start with, it's incredibly lightweight as it weighs just 8.7 oz. This is, in part, due to the mesh upper keeping weight to a minimum whilst also adding ventilation.

Moreover, the shoe features New Balance's Fresh Foam cushioning in the midsole. The foam has been engineered to give a lightweight, responsive ride that reduces shock each and every stride.

You also get a grippy rubber outsole to help you stay balanced and in control whilst training. So, despite its low price tag, we feel there's plenty to like about this New Balance trainer, thus making it well worth considering.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 product image of a black mesh shoe with blue and green details and a white midsole.
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Credit: Brooks

3. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23

Best running shoes for flat feet

Material: Mesh / Rubber
Weight: 10.2 oz.
Midsole Drop: 12mm

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 is designed to be the most supportive running shoe possible, hence why we think it makes for a great pick for those with flat feet.

Firstly, the 12mm midsole drop can help keep your momentum heading in the right direction. Plus, it comes packed with DNA LOFT v2 cushioning to absorb the impact of each stride.

You also get Brooks' bespoke GuideRail technology, which adds support by keeping excess movement in a straight line, thus helping you avoid wasting energy whilst running.

And, to top it all off, the shoe is made primarily from mesh, which means it weighs just 10.1 oz. So, if you're after something lightweight and supportive for flat feet, then the GTS 23 could be the running shoe for you.

Nike Vaporfly 3 product image of a grey, white, and black knitted trainer.
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Credit: Nike

4. Nike Vaporfly 3

Best road running shoes

Material: Flyknit
6.98 oz.
Heel Drop: N/A

For experienced runners with a generous budget, the Nike Vaporfly 3s are unrivaled when it comes to road racing. These shoes are equipped with an array of cutting-edge technologies that will propel you toward smashing your personal bests.

One standout feature is the utilisation of Nike ZoomX foam in the midsole, specifically engineered to provide exceptional energy return from heel to toe. Additionally, the full-length carbon fibre flyplate adds stiffness to the shoe while enhancing propulsion.

Remarkably lightweight, the Vaporfly 3s employ a Flyknit yarn upper that minimises weight without compromising breathability. Furthermore, the shoe boasts a thinner outsole rubber compared to its predecessor, reducing overall weight.

Notable additional features include the updated Waffle outsole pattern, incorporating perforations to decrease weight and improve traction. Moreover, an extended midsole around the back ensures added stability. All in all, this shoe is a testament to advanced engineering, specially crafted to endure long distances and road racing with next-level performance.

HOKA Speedgoat 5 GORE-TEX Spike product image of a black shoe with red and orange accents.
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Credit: HOKA

5. HOKA Speedgoat 5 GORE-TEX Spike

Best trial running shoes

Material: GORE-TEX Fabric / Rubber
Weight: 293g
eel Drop: 4mm

Road running is one thing, but when it comes to training off-road, you need a pair of rugged, grippy shoes capable of withstanding the terrain. In this case, we put forward the HOKA Speedgoat 5 GORE-TEX Spike shoes as our top pick.

They're arguably some of the best winter running shoes around as they're built for the harshest of weather conditions. For instance, the shoe is wrapped in a GORE-TEX membrane to keep your foot warm and dry, no matter the weather.

Moreover, and a key reason why we believe this is a great trial running shoe, you get Vibram Megagrip outsoles. This technology employs 12 tungsten carbide spikes underneath to keep you on your feet, even when you encounter uneven terrain.

It's also worth mentioning you get a compression-molded EVA midsole for comfort, and a rubber toe cap for protection. So, overall, we'd say these HOKA trainers are the ideal package for your trail running needs.

adidas Adizero Prime X 2.0 STRUNG product image of a lime green knitted running shoe featuring black details and an off-white midsole.
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Credit: adidas

6. adidas Adizero Prime X 2.0 STRUNG

Best elite running shoes

Material: STRUNG / Continental Rubber
Weight: 295g
Heel Drop: 6.5mm

Finally, we come to the adidas Adizero Prime X 2.0 STRUNG, a shoe that has been designed without the restrictions of race regulations, which constricts shoes to a maximum stack of 40mm and one carbon plate, to create what is ultimately the most elite running shoe around. Okay, this one may be illegal for elite races, but that doesn't mean it can't be used for training, and what a shoe to train in if you do.

To start with, it's made with a unique "STRUNG" upper, a textile developed through athlete data, to keep everything as light and dynamic as possible. Underneath, you get three layers of LIGHTSTRIKE PRO foam, resulting in a 50mm stack height, and a double carbon-infused plate system for the best spring possible each and every stride.

The outsole matches the performance of everything above, being made from a Continental rubber compound to deliver some serious grip, regardless of the surface.

All of this comes in at a total weight of 295g (Size 8.5) too, making it one of the lightest performance running shoes out there. It's undoubtedly a beast, and it's one you should consider investing in if you're serious about running.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

With so many different kinds of running shoes available, you probably have a number of questions about them, but we're here to clear up some of the most common queries.

What should you look for in a pair of running shoes?

It is no secret that running can be a tough form of exercise on your cardiovascular endurance and on your muscles and joints, which means it's important to know what exactly you should be looking out for when selecting a pair of shoes.

Firstly, you need a pair of shoes that come packed with cushioning. This is to divert the impact from each stride away from your lower body, thus minimising the risk of common leg injuries. Padded midsoles can also help keep you comfortable, particularly over long distances.

Running shoes should also be lightweight to avoid any feelings of being weighed down. One study of note by Rodrigo-Carranza et al. found adding 100g per shoe impaired running economy and performance in trained runners.

To combat this, most trainers are made from a knitted fabric or mesh, which also helps improve ventilation and can help your shoes conform to your feet as they expand during longer and/or warmer sessions.

Other features to look out for include traction, the heel drop, and perhaps even waterproofing, all of which are dependent on the style of running you partake in.

Are running shoes worth it?

Although the price of running shoes does vary, the most technologically advanced trainers on the market tend to come with a premium price tag.

So, to answer this question. you should probably first decide if running is a serious hobby that you look to build on and progress with each week.

If the answer is yes, then in order to keep your body safe and to help you progress, running shoes will be worth the investment. They offer a number of key features tailored specifically for running that normal trainers don't provide, including well-padded midsoles to soften the impact with the ground.

Can you use running shoes in the gym?

For weightlifting, you need a pair of trainers that have flat, thin soles to increase your contact with the ground so you can apply more force during your lifts.

By contrast, running shoes are typically quite curved and padded to absorb impact and help with forward momentum. As a result, your contact with the ground is reduced, thus making them ineffective for weightlifting.

However, for cardiovascular, machine-based activities such as rowing, a pair of running trainers are a great pick as they can keep you comfortable whilst training.

How long do running shoes last?

The lifespan of a pair of running shoes can vary depending on factors such as the brand and model of the shoe, the type of running surface, the runner's weight, and the frequency and intensity of use.

Generally speaking, most running shoes can last anywhere between200-600 miles. However, some shoes may last longer, while others may wear out more quickly depending on the aforementioned factors.

You also need to give your shoes time to rest. Research by Allen et al. found shoes aged with rest periods absorbed more energy than their unrested counterparts for the first 10km of life, suggesting that running shoes are most effective when used for running only.

Ultimately, it's important to pay attention to signs of wear and tear on your running shoes, such as worn-out soles, frayed laces, or loss of cushioning, and replace them when necessary to prevent injury and ensure optimal performance.

Can you wash running shoes in a washing machine?

This is a tricky one to answer as it depends on the shoes. Therefore, it's essential to check the manufacturer's instructions or the label inside the shoes before attempting to wash them.

That said, we'd advise handwashing your trainers if possible to avoid causing any damage from excessive amounts of water, heat, or spin. But, if you are going to wash your running shoes in a washing machine, here are some tips:

  • Take out the laces and insoles from your running shoes. You can wash them separately by hand or in a mesh laundry bag.
  • If there are visible stains on your running shoes, pre-treat them with a mild detergent or stain remover. Follow the instructions on the product label for the best results.
  • Place your running shoes, laces, and insoles in a mesh laundry bag to protect them during the wash. Set your washing machine to a gentle or delicate cycle with cold water. Avoid using hot water as it can damage the shoes.
  • Add a small amount of mild laundry detergent to the washing machine. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals as they can deteriorate the materials of the shoes.
  • Dry them properly: After the washing cycle is complete, remove the shoes from the laundry bag and stuff them with crumpled paper towels or newspaper to help maintain their shape. Avoid using direct heat sources like radiators or dryers, as excessive heat can warp or damage the shoes. Instead, let them air dry at room temperature. It may take several hours or even a day for the shoes to fully dry.
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