For busy, health-conscious men, running is one of the best ways to stay active — just lace up your shoes, head out the door, and go!
Running shoes are like underwear: You either nail the fit and the world is your oyster, or you fail, and you’re pretty much destined to have a bad time. That's why it pays to know about support and cushioning before investing in some new kicks.
Most feet naturally pronate (roll inward) to some extent when you run. A high arch pronates just a little, but no added arch support is needed — for this, a neutral shoe is best. A medium to low arch over pronates, so a shoe with added medial arch support is needed — those are called stability shoes. The third kind of foot mechanics, supination, where the foot rolls slightly outward, is very uncommon.
This is really a personal preference, but it's generally understood that more cushioning provides better impact absorption, which protects your joints better. A shoe with maximum cushioning is ideal for longer distances when your body will take more of a beating. Meanwhile, a sneaker with less cushioning may be lighter and faster, but it won't be quite as supportive.
Knowing what type of support and cushion you want is a good starting point, but we've picked out some of the best shoes on the market to help make your decision easier.
Best Running Shoes for Men
- Best Overall: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38
- Best for Support: Hoka One One Men's Bondi 7
- Most Versatile: New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v11
- Best for Overpronators: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 Running Shoe
- Best for Fashion-Forward Runners: adidas UltraBoost 21 Running Shoe
- Best for Short Runs at the Gym: Reebok Nano X1 Cross Trainer
- Best for Speed: New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2
- Best for Workouts: Puma Deviate Nitro
- Best for Beginners: Brooks Ghost 13 Men's Running Sneaker
- Best for Stability: Asics GT-2000 9 Running Shoe
- Best for Racing: Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%
- Best for Data Nerds: Under Armour UA Velociti Wind
- Best for Minimal Runners: Altra Escalante 2.5
- Best for Mixed Terrain: Nike Pegasus Trail 2
- Best for Easy Runs: Saucony Endorphin Shift
Whether you're squeezing in short, early-morning jogs or crushing long-distance races, check out our in-depth reviews of the best new men's running shoes for 2021.
Nike calls the Pegasus — now in its 38th iteration — a “workhorse with wings,” meaning you can feel comfortable logging speed workouts, tempo runs, easy runs, and long runs all in the same shoe.
Just like with its predecessor, the benefits start with the Nike React midsole, a lightweight, springy midsole you’ll find in the React Infinity Run, a shoe the company designed to keep runners cruisin’ sans injury, and a Zoom Air unit in the forefoot, just like in the record-setting Alphafly.
What’s new is a wider forefoot, which means your toes have more room to breathe. But a “sandwich mesh” material keeps the upper nice and snug around your foot, so there’s no slippage as you pick up the pace. The tongue has been separated from the upper and padded for comfort, and a webbing system connects the laces to a band that adds to that customized feel.
A versatile road sneaker that feels this good no matter the workout was a relatively easy choice for the best men’s running shoe.
Best for Support
If you run long distances on hard surfaces, the Bondi 7, Hoka's most-cushioned road shoe, will reduce the stress of all that impact on your body, so you can keep pushing. Because there's so much cushioning, Hoka cleverly disguised the top portion of the midsole to match the sole, which gives it less of a moon boot look.
The sole of this shoe is moderately rounded — that’s the brand’s signature Meta-Rocker technology — which provides a smoother rolling transition from heel to toe (this is especially useful for guys who strike heel first). The latest update improves upon the 6’s redesigned upper by adding an uber-plush collar around the ankle; it’s made from memory foam (yep, just like the mattress) and will mold to ankles of all sizes, protecting the Achilles so your stride stays smooth.
Versatile is the best way to describe this shoe, which perfectly blends cushion, weight, and support. The 880, now in its 11th iteration, was built for runners who prefer a cushy platform, which means the shoe has better impact absorption and joint protection. You’ll appreciate that when the miles start adding up.
But that extra cushion doesn’t mean this shoe is weighed down — it’s 10.5 ounces, which is decently lightweight for a stability shoe. The responsive Fresh Foam midsole was engineered for a natural feel, with a molded footbed and external heel counter to emphasize comfort and control as you’re propelling yourself forward.
Neutral arch support caters to many runners (with mid-to-high arches), and the new HypoKnit upper hugs your foot like a bootie, offering more stretch in the toe-box and less at the mid-foot for flexibility and stability. On the outside, a double jacquard mesh upper guarantees breathability on even the hottest runs, and a blown rubber outsole at the forefoot is durable enough to protect against rougher terrain.
Best for Overpronators
The Adrenaline is in its 21st generation, which should be all the convincing you need that it's a fan favorite. For runners with arches on the flatter side, this is one of the more lightweight (clocking in at 10.4 ounces) options in the stability category.
A large amount of medial arch support reduces overpronation. A heel-to-toe drop of 12 millimeters is on the higher side, which encourages more natural movement, too. And now, the Adrenaline comes with Brooks’ holistic GuideRails support system, which helps runners keep their hips, knees, and joints in the correct alignment to stay efficient on the run; plus, DNA LOFT cushioning (the brand's softest) extends throughout the midsole for an even smoother transition from heel to toe. Add on the streamlined mesh upper, and this is a shoe that won't shy away from 26.2 miles.
Best for Fashion-Forward Runners
Running shoes aren't always the most fashionable, but with the Ultraboost launch in 2015, adidas created a perfectly capable neutral running shoe that flexes some style when worn with joggers around town. In 2019, the brand introduced a totally redesigned version of its best-seller, and the latest iteration continues to improve.
Still key is the Boost cushioning, which softens your landing and offers some pretty great energy return at push-off for an all-around lively feel that'll energize your runs. But now an elastane heel counter allows for optional movement without any stiffness, and a new Torsion System is integrated in the midsole (which also contains six percent more Boost foam than the last version) to provide more responsiveness during toe-off—so you’ll feel like you’re flying forward.
Another feature to love: the Primeknit upper, which features stitched-in reinforcement that hugs your foot and gives you a locked-in feeling, so slippage is rare and comfort is top-notch.
Best for Short Runs at the Gym
These shoes are perfect for gymgoers who lift, cross-train, and mix in some short runs on the track or treadmill. For your run, there’s the same lightweight, bouncy Floatride Energy foam in the forefoot that you’ll find in the brand’s running-specific shoes, which adds cushioning and responsiveness as you stride.
The breathable, durable Flexweave knit upper that provides stability during a run also supports multidirectional movement in HIIT workouts, and the external heel counter will keep you stable when you move from the tread to the floor for some strength-training reps in between intervals.
Best for Speed
It should come as no surprise that this shoe originated from the design process of New Balance's FuelCell racing flat: They use the same foam, FuelCell, and are nearly just as lightweight. Unlike the racing flats, though, these can be worn for everything from sprints to tempo runs on regular pavement instead of the track.
Just like in the racing flats, the FuelCell foam in the forefoot provides extra propulsion on your toe-off; in these, though, it's embedded in a lighter, firmer foam for cushioning for extra springiness. If you flip the shoe over, you'll see a unique traction pattern that helps give mid and forefoot strikers extra grip on the road. If you're ready to hit the gas on your workouts, these will give you the solid base — and extra boost — you need.
Best for Workouts
Puma returned to running in a big way this year with the Deviate Nitro, a shoe that works just as well for speedy workouts as it does for racing. While it can certainly compete with the best racing shoes (see: Nike’s NEXT%), it’s a little more versatile and more affordable.
See how thick that sole is? That means it’s designed to help you stay comfortable for long runs. But it uses a bouncy foam that’s infused with nitrogen (hence the name) to power your stride, keeping you light on your feet during shorter PR efforts. There’s also a carbon fiber INNOPLATE, which allows you to tap into the most propulsive energy at toe-off, and a breezy upper that will keep your feet cool as you head into summer runs.
Best for Beginners
This shoe has been an award winner for some time now, including Runner's World's Editor's Choice of 2018, because it continues to be reliable and high-mileage-ready for runners of all types and abilities. We like to think of this as the “Old Faithful” of running shoes.
A high heel drop (12 millimeters) encourages the heel to strike first, which is typical of newer runners. But don't worry — with its integrated system of shock absorbers on the sole, this shoe features more cushioning underfoot than most others, varying between high and moderate from heel to toe. The newest Ghost features the brand's DNA LOFT cushioning throughout the entire midsole to make transiting from heel to toe even smoother.
The Ghost is categorized as neutral for those with higher arches, but it works well for runners who mildly overpronate, thanks to a generally stiffer construction and more medial stability than is typically seen in neutral shoes. This will help beginners and experts alike maintain proper form and avoid injury when your muscles start to fatigue.
Best for Stability
If you have a low arch, overpronation can cause undue stress on your body. To protect your muscles and joints, you'll need stability shoes, which have added medial support to prevent overpronation and promote a more neutral motion. The Asics GT-2000 9 is a solid choice for keeping your body comfortable and stress-free.
The latest model of this shoe still has Rearfoot Gel technology to cushion heel impact and a bouncy FlyteFoam midsole, but it’s been updated with a one-piece mesh upper that not only provides a better fit, but it’s reinforced in key areas for added support as your foot rolls through the gait cycle — a feature that goes hand in hand with with Guidance Line technology that enhances your gait efficiency.
Best for Racing
If you're looking to shave seconds off a PR, it's worth investing in the Alphafly — even with the hefty price tag. Remember when Eliud Kipchoge ran a marathon in under 2 hours last year? He did that in a prototype of this shoe. Wearing these kicks can increase your running economy by more than 4%. (Translation: You run more efficiently, and — more importantly — faster.)
What makes these sneakers so speedy? For starters, there are two Zoom Air pods in the forefoot that deliver maximum energy return to propel you forward. There’s also even more lightweight ZoomX foam underfoot for extra responsiveness — a fact you can’t miss when you look at that chunky sole. In the midsole, there’s a more flexible curved carbon fiber plate that creates a springy feel with every step. Finally, Nike debuted a new upper called AtomKnit, which makes these super light. You’ll feel like you’re literally running on air.
Best for Data Nerds
The UA Velociti Wind is a was built for speed, but there are two unique elements that set it apart from even the fastest sneakers: For one, there's a Bluetooth sensor embedded inside the shoe that syncs with the MapMyRun mobile app to track all your running metrics. Now, it also comes with Form Coaching via the app, which can help you run more efficiently in real time.
More important, these kicks were designed without a traditional rubber outsole, AKA the heaviest part of the shoe. Instead, it features a UA Flow midsole — a singular-foam compound that originated in the brand’s basketball shoes — that’s responsive, supportive, and grippy, minus the 2 to 3 extra ounces durable rubber would add. On top, there’s a lightweight upper that molds to your foot, keeping you locked in and adding tension where you need it most to maximize your stride. You’ll see the benefits in the app post-run.
Best for Minimal Runners
No matter how comfortable a pair of standard running shoes may be, there’s one issue they all have in common: The torpedo-shaped front does no favors for your toes. All of Altra’s sneakers feature a much wider toe box with an outsole that’s mapped to the bones and tendons of your foot to encourage natural movement. The popular Escalante also has zero heel-to-toe drop — another Altra feature that makes it easier to run with a more natural, efficient form.
Overall, the shoe weighs in at less than 9 ounces. With responsive EGO foam in the midsole, grid-like grooves that provide flexibility, and a sock-like upper, it’s the kind of speedy ride that still feels good in the long run — so you can rock it during everything from sprint intervals to marathons.
Best for Mixed Terrain
Road shoes are designed to provide cushioning and support on the flat pavement; trail shoes emphasize features that give you traction and stability on uneven surfaces like dirt, mud, and rock. The newest Peg does both, making it a great shoe if you go back and forth between terrain.
Nike React foam stretches the full length of the foot in these sneaks, which gives you the cushioning and responsiveness you’ll want on the road. But the rubber outsole, with thick nubs for traction (and extra ones at the heel and toe for added security on inclines or declines), is all trail. Durable mesh on the upper keeps everything light enough that you won’t feel like you’re being weighed down when you want to speed up on the road.
Best for Easy Runs
Saucony’s new Endorphin Collection was designed with world-class athletes (like Molly Seidel, who just qualified for the U.S. Olympic team while running her first marathon ever). The Endorphin Shift was designed for those active recovery runs where you’re just putting miles on your legs and not stressing over pace.
There’s lots of PWRRUN cushioning underfoot to give your feet a break from more the repetitive impact of high-intensity runs. The shoe also features the company’s brand-new Speedroll technology, which tips your foot slightly forward to maximize that heel-toe transition (and that makes doing the work feel just a liiiittle bit easier).