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Running shoes are not cheap. We should clarify that. High-quality running shoes are not cheap. Running shoes help you to get the best out of your run when you are out there. They protect and comfort your feet, and help to keep you safe and free from injuries.
If you invest in a cheap pair of running shoes, then you are doing your feet a disservice. You are also buying something that will fall apart in a few months. That is not to say that high-quality and durable running shoes cannot be affordable. In fact, they will often save you money in the long run.
A high-quality pair of running shoes will outlast multiple pairs of cheap shoes, all while protecting your feet from harm.
Want to find out how to select the best running shoes?
When it comes to a durable and high-quality running shoe, almost nothing is more important than the material. Not only will high-quality materials comfort and protect your feet, but they will also hold up to rough terrain, help your feet to breath, and flex and conform to the shape of your feet.
So, what materials should you be looking for in a running shoe?
Leather is a classic material which has been used in clothing and shoes for centuries. Leather is naturally thick and durable and holds up to various weather conditions. You can add a spray to the surface of the material to further protect it and make it one of the most durable materials for shoes.
Leather is also natural and breathable. It allows the air to circulate and stops moisture from build-ing up inside of your shoe. Leather is tough but may need a little more attention than the other materials on our list.
Nylon is not used a lot in modern shoes, but you can still find it in some. It is used in a lot of older shoes, and when you see those shoes still being used, you know why. Nylon lasts a long time while being flexible and breathable.
Knit is not so much the actual material, rather the way that the material is put together. Tightly woven fibers mean that you have a strong material which is highly breathable. Breathability is essential in running shoes as moisture can aggravate your feet and damage your shoes.
Knit materials, such as mesh are great for promoting airflow while being light and flexible.
The Three Parts Of Your Running Shoe
There are many parts which make up a complete running shoe, but you can split the shoe into three main components.
The upper is the topmost part of your running shoe. The materials play a large part in determining the lifespan of your running shoe. The key to a durable upper is getting the balance between the thickness and type of material.
Friction plays a part in wearing down the materials in your upper, and one thing to watch out for is where your big toe lies in the shoe. If the big toe is against a part where two materials meet, then this can cause the join to wear down quicker and lead to the shoe coming apart before it should.
Extra reinforcement in the eyelets, where the laces run through, will help with the friction of the laces too. The heel is also a potential weak point, but the main thing which is going to affect this is the sizing of the shoe. A shoe of the wrong size will wear quicker.
The key for your upper is to choose a shoe in the right size. Do not make compromises, and make sure to have your foot professionally measured.
The midsole sits under the sole of your foot and above the sole of the shoe. This is the part which comforts and supports your foot when you are running. When buying a running shoe, you want to look at the density and compound of the midsole.
Polyurethane and EVA are two common materials used in the midsole of a running shoe, with polyurethane being the more durable of the two. Both hold up well to extreme temperatures and do well under pressure, literally holding up well to multiple compressions.
When you are looking at midsoles, feel the density of the sole. Generally, the denser the sole, the more life you will get out of it. Softer materials will lose their cushioning quicker, and that can lead to sore feet.
The final part of the puzzle is the outsole, the part of the shoe which will come into contact with the ground as you take your steps. The rubber outsole is usually the part which you will have to worry about wearing down first. When the outsole begins to wear, it is time to invest in a new pair of running shoes.
An outsole crafted from harder rubber will last longer than a softer model but is that the way to go?
You also need to think about the design of the sole. One which is flatter, on the whole, will last for a long time, with the wear being spread evenly. An outsell with split sections will wear on the split parts quicker.
Look for a shoe which has a flatter and harder outsole but also one which fits your foot comfort-ably and is comfortable to run in.
What Makes A Running Shoe Durable?
The material can be high-quality, but if you do not stitch it together well, then it is going to fall apart and die before its time. A nice stitch also adds to the design of the shoe.
Look for tight stitching, and double-stitching if you can find it. Shoes with no stitching can also be extra-durable with the lack of weak points.
Moisture can wreck fabrics. When looking at running shoes, breathability is a must. You want shoes which sill let the air flow and stop moisture from accumulating, and also those which wick away the moisture when it does accumulate.
If the shoe cannot flex, then points on the shoe are going to become stressed. This will lead to excess wear and also discomfort. The shoe should be able to conform to the shape of your foot. The shoe should be able to bend freely when you handle it.
Our Top Picks
Let’s take a look at some of the best and most durable running shoes out there.
Nike Men’s Air Max Torch 4
This shoe is tough. You have a classic rubber sole, which will hold up to most running conditions. You also have carbon-fiber in the outsole to add durability which most running shoes cannot compete with. You get a ton of durability and traction with this material added.
The sole is complimented by the mesh upper, which is light, flexible, and very breathable. The air is allowed to flow and wick away the moisture, which may accumulate in the shoe. The synthetic overlay in this mesh upper also accents the ventilation and provides more support to your feet.
With a variety of colors, this stylishly designed shoe will help you with your runs while giving you a stylish and elegant look.
- Rubber sole
- Carbon-fiber outsole
- Great traction
- Reflective elements
Asics Men’s Gel-Kayano 24 Running Shoes
The amazing thing about these shoes is the number of colors which they come in. There are almost 30 colors and designs to choose from, giving you a shoe which is not only functional but can also be paired with almost any outfit you want to wear.
Don’t let the amazing design and colors fool you; these are an extremely comfortable and functional pair of running shoes. There is an impact guidance system which enhances the gait of your foot to get a better heel strike and toe-off when you are running.
The fluid-fit upper has multi-directional stretch mesh which adapts to your foot for a glove-like fit (with this shoe, they may have to change the phrase to ‘shoe-like’). You also have heel-clutch technology, which has improved support and feel.
This is a great pair of shoes for an experienced runner who wants to enhance their run.
- Variety of colors
- Mesh upper
- Added support
- Great fit
Adidas Performance Men’s Ultra Boost
These shoes look amazing and perform even better. With a big name like Adidas, you expect a lot, and you will not be disappointed with these shoes. There is come custom technology here which will help you to run like never before.
The shoes will naturally expand with your foot as you run to give a comfortable fit for the entire session, and not irritate your foot. The outsole is also light and elastic, adapting with each step to provide stability with each step, which will boost your stride.
The ergonomic heel gives you support which some shoes are lacking, and the outsole has one of the best grips in a running shoe. When you put the two together, you have a shoe which is going to protect you from injury.
This is an accessible shoe which is open to all levels of runners.
- Rubber Sole
- Amazing grip
Inov-8 Men’s Trailtalon 250 Trail Runner
Running takes energy, but these shoes serve to return some of your energy with each step. As you are running, these durable running shoes give 10% better shock absorption than the average running shoe on the market, and 15% better energy return. This gives a shoe which makes it easier to run longer distances and runs which result in fewer injuries.
The light, breathable uppers also help you to use less energy in each step while wicking away any moisture which accumulates. Your feet will appreciate the cooling airflow which will circulate through the shoe.
The integrated gusseted tongue is a nice touch and will stop any dirt and debris from getting into the shoe, which stops any aggravations or the material being broken down by dirt. You also get a great grip with these shoes, an aggressive grip which lets you run fast without slipping.
These are next-level running shoes for when you want to upgrade your current pair.
- Rubber sole
- Superior grip
- Better energy return
- Light and breathable
Nike Men’s Air Monarch IV Cross Trainer
These shoes are great for cross training but also excellent for running in. With cross training, you are moving on your feet at speed, so the shoes need to be comfortable and have lots of traction. These durable running shoes give you both.
The encapsulated air-sole unit in the midsole gives cushioning and comforts your foot with every step you take. This takes the stress and strain from your feet and your legs. The solid rubber outsole provides you with toughness, durability, and traction over varied surfaces. The two together give you strength and comfort.
The upper is crafted for leather, which is going to last, with perforated overlays for airflow. The two combined give you a breathable and tough shoe. The upper is going to last a long time, and the breathability adds to that longevity.
This is a great shoe for anyone but would shine as the first pair of running shoes.
- Great support
- Enhanced traction