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Update: We updated this article in June 2020 to include the latest running shoes for men and women.
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.
Our Top Picks For Men And Women
Let’s take a look at some of the best and most durable running shoes out there.
Adidas Adizero Boston 8
With a classic look and a choice of colors, these are iconic running shoes that are both comfortable and stylish.
One of the things that you will like most about these Adidas shoes is that they are ‘true to size.’ This means that the fit is exact, and you can order your usual size and find a shoe that fits. This is essential for durability, as an exact fit will lengthen the life of the shoe.
The shoe is 100% textile, with a synthetic sole. The synthetic material is lightweight, bringing a lot of spring to your step. The continental rubber on the sole gives you superior traction, lessening slip injuries, and the breathable mesh uppers allow your feet to breathe when you are running.
The Stretchweb outsoles give you a natural and flexible fit, and you will find adaptive cushioning in the sole for a more comfortable run.
The Boost midsole promotes distance training and running, giving you support to the arches of your feet. There are also regular-fit lace closures, adding support to your feet as the laces tighten the fit without being constrictive.
The flexible mesh upper is breathable, letting your feet breathe when you are running those long distances, and the synthetic sole and mesh are extremely durable, letting you run farther for longer.
ASICS Gel-Kayano 26
A more contemporary running shoe from ASICS that is designed to hit the hardest trails. With a great mix of technology and modern design, this is a shoe that will help you to run into the future.
The Impact Guidance System Technology enhances your natural gait, giving you a better heel strike and toe-off.
You also have SpevaFoam 45, which is a long-lasting material that provides a soft platform for improved comfort.
The FlyteFoam Lyte technology gives you one of the lightest midsoles out there, with nanofibers bringing a continuous cushion, giving you consistency.
You also have FlyteFoam Propel technology, adding supreme bounce to every step with the unique elastomer compound.
Add in a DuoMax support system, a dual-density midsole position to enhance support and stability, a runner sole for improved grip, and a flexible upper sole, and you have a shoe with infinite flexibility.
The fabric upper gives you a lot of comfort and versatility, and the breathable mesh ensures that moisture is wicked away, and your feet can breathe. The rubber sole provides excellent traction on almost any surface, and slipping is minimized.
There are so many colors here to choose from (20 in total), but that pales in comparison to the technology and features.
With lots of stability and support, this lightweight shoe brings you everything that you need when you are out for a run.
Adidas Performance 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.
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 flexible Stretchweb outsole gives flexibility when you are moving around, and the continental rubber will stick to the ground, providing excellent traction, even in wet conditions.
The midfoot cage adds some extra comfort to your foot, keeping it in place, helped by the tight lace closures. Your foot is held to prevent injury while still being flexible enough that your foot does not feel restricted.
With over 30 colors to choose from, there are numerous styles for your run.
When it does come time for your run, you can find comfort and grip, going farther than ever before.
Brooks Ghost 12
This running shoe from Brooks is designed for maximum comfort and balance. The style is elegant, and there are a number of colors to choose from.
The shoes are extremely lightweight, improving your step off, while not being so light that they feel flimsy. In fact, they are some of the most durable shoes out there.
This shoe is a great all-rounder. It does not matter what surface you are running on, the shoe will give you a lightweight step and lots of cushioning while remaining slimline.
The neutral support within the shoe gives you high-energy cushioning and is ideally suited for cross-training or switching from road running to the gym.
The BioMoGo DNA and DNA loft cushioning work together to give just the right amount of cushioning underfoot while not detracting from the responsiveness and durability of the shoe.
The segmented crash pad gives shock absorption with every step and the precision-fit 3D mesh moves with your foot.
A shoe with lots of comfort and enhanced balance.
Saucony Freedom ISO 2
A classic slimline shoe from Saucony that is packed with all the features you need for your run. The fact that it comes in a variety of colors does not hurt either.
The crystallized rubber outsole does an amazing job of providing balance and comfort, and the grooves in the rubber not only add traction when you are running, but they give additional flexibility and reduce the weight of the shoe too.
The shoe lends itself well to all kinds of running, but road and track running are where it really hits its stride. With a 4mm differential, it is precision engineered for neutral pronation and hard-surface running.
These are extremely durable shoes with and ISOFIT lacing system that helps to hold your foot and protect it from injury while still adding comfort.
Reflective elements on the shoe help to keep you safe when you are running in low-light conditions, and the padded tongue and collar add comfort. You even have a removable insole.
Lots of comfort and cushioning in this road running shoe.
New Balance Vazee Pace V2
New Balance is a well-known name in the running world, and these running shoes bring a lot to love. Not only do they look stunning, but they are well-designed.
The shoe is 100% textile and synthetic materials. The rubber sole is textured to add slip-resistance and has some cushioning to protect your feet as you run.
The REVlite midsole adds to that cushioning, adding some spring to your step (literally).
All of the cushioning enhances the comfort of the shoe, and that is only intensified by the no-sew material application.
By removing the stitching, there are no points that can aggravate your foot, and it removes weak points from the shoe.
With bootie construction and FantomFit technology, you have a shoe that will hold your feet and ankles so that you remove the threat of injury.
Mizuno Wave Rider 23
A natural and dynamic running shoe that may just change the way that you run.
This shoe is an update on its predecessor and creates a more natural and comfortable fit with the Mizuno WAVEKNIT technology.
The shoe stretches and moves a lot while holding your foot firm, perfect for trail running. The knit also allows for air circulation, cooling your feet as you run and wicking away any moisture.
The Mizuno Wave technology means that you are less reliant on the comfort of the midsole, though you do have a U4ic midsole that gives optimal shock attenuation, superior comfort, and endless durability.
Add in the Cloudwave technology and you have a shoe that shows you what comfort can really be.
A wonderful knit shoe that benefits from Mizuno technology to bring more comfort than you ever thought possible.
What’s the Difference Between Men’s and Women’s Running Shoes?
Men’s and women’s feet are of different shapes. There are studies that show this.
Women’s feet are generally narrower and smaller than men’s, and there are other subtle differences too. For example, while women’s feet are narrower, they are comparatively wider in the forefoot, when compared to the rest of the foot.
This makes a huge difference when running, and the shape of the running shoe needs to match the shape of the foot. Not only does this affect the way that a running shoe is made, but also the materials that are used.
While there are male and female versions of running shoes, they are often built very differently.
Do Women Run Differently?
Yes, they do.
A lot of this is down to the differences in physiology between men and women. Women usually have wider hips than men and this means that women strike the ground toward the outside of the shoe.
This can result in more rolling and pronation. Many women’s running shoes will be designed with this in mind.
Women run differently, so it makes sense that running shoes are designed differently.
What To Know Before Buying 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.
How to Size Your Running Shoes
Purchasing a stylish and comfortable running shoe is what we all strive for, but don’t forget about the size.
If you do not buy the correct size, you are never going to be completely comfortable or run as far and as fast as you are able.
We recommend having your feet professionally measured before buying new shoes.
How to Read Sizing Labels
It can be difficult to reading sizing labels. If there are multiple numbers and letters in there, it can feel as if you are trying to solve a riddle or a puzzle.
Here is a handy guide to help:
Length: The numerical length of your foot. Usually listed in US, UK, Euro, Japanese, and cm.
Width: Ranges from AA (narrow) to EE (extra wide). The sizes move upward alphabetically, but medium can also be represented by M.
Sex: You should try to match your shoe to your body type. You may find shoes denoting M for men and W for women.
Now, choosing a shoe by yourself will usually result in a comfortable shoe, but a professional can help you find an exact fit.
If you are a man with larger hips, a female running shoe can give you a more comfortable run.
Sizes and widths also vary by brand, so find someone with experience in shoes.