17 Best Running Shoes for All Kinds of Terrain Hoka Nike Brooks and More

17 Running Shoes Worth Packing—Whether You're a Casual Runner or a Marathoner

The best running shoes from Nike, Adidas, Brooks and more. 

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Finding the right running shoe can be harder than the workout itself. Running shoes come with different criteria than your normal walking shoes: It's important to consider the type of running you'll be doing, your arch, and the overall weight of the shoe.  As for finding the proper fit for your foot, Fleet Foot Hoboken Owner, Shawn Marlovits says this: “A great fitting running shoe should have a snug fit in the heel and mid-foot with a roomy toe box. This gives the foot some good support in the heel and around the arch while allowing the toes to breathe. It should lace up the foot evenly and not put pressure on the instep of the foot.”

Marlovits suggested going up a full shoe size, and the tip can be used to help find the right fit across all brands of running shoes. “You should have about the width of a thumb from your longest toe to the end of the toe box when you are standing in your running shoes,” he says. This ‘rule of thumb’ takes into account that running shoes tend to run small and that feet may swell while running.

Dr. William Spielfogel, a podiatrist and medical advisor to The Good Feet Store, echoes that advice, and suggests trying on shoes at the end of the day when your feet are most swollen. And if you don’t find the exact right shoe match, there are other ways to customize your sneakers. “Many times, off-the-shelf athletic footwear will not provide enough support, which you should consider adding for additional comfort, shock absorption, and stability,” he says. “Adding a quality pair of arch supports to your footwear of choice can prevent unnecessary pain and alleviate the discomfort associated with increased activity.”

To help kickstart your search, we’ve rounded up some of the best running shoes on the market, tailored to a variety of needs and terrains, with recommendations from both casual runners and professionals alike.

This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date.

Editor favorites 

Lululemon Blissfeel 2 Running shoe

Lululemon is one of my go-to brands for activewear, so I was thrilled when it launched performance sneakers. I love the Blissful 2 running shoes—they’re lightweight, comfortable, and sleek. Designed specifically for women runners, this pair has a foam cushioning to soften landings. They’re a great pair to pack—I'd wear these running, walking, or to a workout class. —Meaghan Kenny, associate commerce editor

Brooks Ghost 15

I’ve been wearing the Ghost 15s to train for my 10th half marathon, and they’ve kept my feet feeling good on all types of outings, from short treadmill interval runs to longer distances on the streets of New York and hillier Atlanta roads. I’m a longtime Brooks fan, and find they give me a good amount of support without weighing me down or feeling bulky. While traveling, they’re a great comfortable shoe to have on hand for days with lots of walking, too. —Madison Flager, senior commerce editor

Mizuno Wave Rider 25

I got into running pretty late in life (I was 35), and honestly my priority was a shoe that didn’t look like a bag of Cheetos. My first pair of Wave Riders were black mesh with subtle turquoise accents. As I continued to run and get better, these shoes remained my favorite, and still are to this day. They have a breathable mesh fabric, are lightweight, and look great if I need to pop them on for errands. —Alex Sanidad, research director

Brooks Hyperion Max

I got into running during the pandemic and have fully embraced it since—including the fact that some of the best running shoes just look really runnery and that’s okay. While I love some of Brooks' sleeker looking models (like all-black Ghost 15s), I’ve worked my way through enough pairs of runners to know that the Hyperion Max is special. This shoe is ultra lightweight, good for speed, and great for packing, yet there’s a springy barrier between my feet and the ground. They fit like a glove—which is a defining feature between Brooks and Hokas for me, the latter being more of a wide, pillow of shoe—and I really do feel lighter on my feet in them. —Megan Spurrell, senior editor

Saysh One sneaker

I'm a self proclaimed sneaker-head, but when it came to actual trainers that would be the right fit for me—I was stumped. I was pleasantly surprised by the Saysh One sneakers. The Saysh One is the first sneaker that was released by Allyson Felix's brand, Saysh. The Saysh One is incredibly lightweight and molds to your foot. One of my favorite aesthetic traits of the sneaker is the thin shoe laces and woven texture. I was skeptical with its slender, thin design, but have been pleasantly surprised by the arch and heel suppprt. The shoe itself is modeled after a woman's foot rather than a man's which is common in the shoe industry. —Paris Wilson, commerce producer 

Best for casual runners: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22

For 25 years, the Adrenaline has been a staple of Brooks’ lineup, with the GTS (appropriately named “Go-To Shoe”) earning the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance. The sneaker strikes the right balance of both “smart support” through its guide rails, which limit extra movements in the feet (and help stabilize the knees and hips), and soft cushioning that doesn’t become too squishy.

The best part is, the Adrenaline does all of its own work—catering toward any kind of foot-strike without the runner ever noticing. Having worn almost every model since the GTS 17, no matter how many other shoes I try—even the new Brooks Glycerin GTS 20—I still find my way back to the trusty Adrenaline GTS, my true sole-mate.

Marlovits says this shoe, along with the New Balance 860, Asics GT-2000, and Hoka Clifton, tend to check off all the right needs for most runners, including being supportive, cushioned, flexible, lightweight, and durable.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 (women's sizes)

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 (men's sizes)

Best everyday sneaker: On Cloudmonster

Look down at any race or airport, and you’re bound to see a pair of On running shoes on someone’s feet, as the Swiss brand has become one of the trendiest shoes on the market. On Athletic Club’s Oliver Hoare, who is also a track-and-field Olympian, wears On’s Cloudmonster shoe for general running. “This shoe has changed the game in cushion, support, and stability,” he says. “It is the Swiss army knife of training shoes for professional athletes and joggers.”

He’s taken the shoes from trails to city streets in every kind of weather, as well as various lengths, from 8- to 20-mile runs. “With the amount of mileage and strain I put on my body, I am able to get back a lot from each run by wearing the Cloudmonster,” he adds. One of his most memorable runs in them was a “killer” 19-mile run with American Olympian Joe Klecker and New Zealand world championship representative George Beamish on the “hilly dirt roads” of Tom Watson Park and Boulder Reservoir in Colorado, maintaining an under-six-minute-mile pace.

On Cloudmonster (women's sizes)

On Cloudmonster (men's sizes)

Most versatile running shoe: New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12

New Balance athlete and Peloton instructor Selena Samuela can jump from running to strength-training in an instant in this New Balance classic. “If you’re going somewhere and only have space for one pair of shoes, it has to be the 1080,” she says, adding that she especially loves the superior underfoot cushioning and range of color options.

“The Fresh Foam X 1080v12 allows me to solely focus on the meditative act of running as the shoe itself is so comfortable it doesn’t distract from the experience,” Samuela says. “Additionally, I’m always looking for ways to be more environmentally conscious, and the Fresh Foam X 1080v12 meets New Balance’s green leaf standard.” The hypo-knit upper is made with 50 percent or more recycled content, and offers stretch and support in all the right areas.

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12 (women's sizes)

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12 (men's sizes)

Best lightweight running shoe: Asics Noosa Tri 13

At 6.5 ounces, the Asics Noosa Tri 13 was originally designed for triathletes, so it’s no surprise that it is 2016 Olympic gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen’s top choice. “I have had Achilles issues and this shoe has a soft heel cup,” she says. “I also love that Asics is using a more sustainable design approach in creating this shoe.”

Along with its low weight (a win for those packing the shoe), the sneaker also uses the brand’s Guidesole technology with a curved sole and stiff forefoot combo that’s easier on the ankles and legs, helping runners of any kind stay nimble. Jorgensen says it’s great for uptempo or easy days, especially when she runs in one of her favorite spots, Harper Lake and Davidson Mesa in Louisville, Colorado.

Asics Noosa Tri 13 (women's sizes)

Asics Noosa Tri 13 (men's sizes)

Best for city runs: Adidas Adizero Boston 11

“As an NYC street runner, the pavement can wreak havoc on my body—tendon, shins, hips,” Bronx–based marathoner Louisa Tatum, who is part of the Mile Style running group, says. “But since discovering the Adidas Boston 10, via the Adidas Runners, all of my issues have been minimized because of the cushioning throughout the shoe and technology built in for mid-sole strikers.”

The pair provides a smooth ride for her on runs from Harlem down to the southern tip of Manhattan as she trains for the Berlin Marathon in September. “The sneakers absorb the shock from the ground really well, carrying me through both long and short runs, and the best part is they are light and don't make much noise,” she says. Bonus tip from Tatum: “If you have wide feet, opt for a men’s shoe because it will have a bigger toe box.”

Marlovits says pavement shoes should have a bit more cushioning to soften the blow of the hard surface, noting the Hoka Bondi and Saucony Triumph as other leaders in this category.

Adidas Adzero Boston 11 (women's sizes)

Adidas Adzero Boston 11 (men's sizes)

Best technical running shoe: Brooks Cascadia 16

Brooks professional trail athlete and ultra-runner Hillary Allen had a tough time choosing between the brand’s Catamount (which is her go-to for fast runs, workouts, and hill repeats) and the Cascadia (the new 17 version is due out this fall), which she prefers for “my burly mountain days and more technical trails where I need protection for my feet and cushion for my longer miles.”

Allen’s favorite feature are the lugs that help her both on and off the trail, across even the steepest terrains. In fact, it was the Cascadia that helped her place third at the San Juan Solstice 50-Mile Run in the mountains of south central Colorado, where she also achieved the fourth fastest time in the race’s history.

Brooks Cascadia 16 (women's sizes)

Brooks Cascadia 16 (men's sizes)

Best waterproof running shoe: Nike Pegasus Trail 4 Gore-Tex

Very few things can come between runners and the road—even poor weather conditions. But there’s nothing more painful than wet shoes, especially when they cause blisters and irritation. “Gore-Tex is a breathable waterproof laminate that will keep your feet warm and dry, but won’t get your feet too hot or sweaty” Marlovits says.

Raindrops end up slipping right off the upper, while an extra gaiter at the collar helps keep things tight so no water gets into the shoe. The rubber outsole also resembles a bike tire to ensure extra traction, no matter how stormy the situation. Other standouts in this category include Brooks GTX Ghost and the On Cloudventure Waterproof shoe.

Nike Pegasus Trail 4 GORE-TEX (women's sizes)

Nike Pegasus Trail 4 GORE-TEX (men's sizes)

Best racing shoe: Saucony Endorphin Speed 2

If you have a need for speed, you want to be as light on your feet as possible. “These shoes tend to be minimal and today some are even plated—they have a plastic or carbon plate within the midsole to propel you forward and make you a more efficient runner while they minimize fatigue,” Marlovits says of most racing shoes today.

While he also lists the Hoka Carbon X and the Nike Zoom Vaporfly as good options, the Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 has a sleek new design, marked with a tighter fit in the heel, most breathable mesh, suede details, and anti-slip laces that makes it a favorite. The seven-ounce shoe also has a reinforced outsole for added traction and durability.

Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 (women's sizes)

Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 (men's sizes)

Best all-terrain running shoe: New Balance Fresh Foam x 880 

Finding a single pair of running shoes to take on vacation can be a challenge when your itinerary includes a healthy mix of adventures. But New York Road Runners’ CEO Kerin Hempel has found her go-to traveling shoe with New Balance 880 when she ran through the volcanic lava fields at La Perouse Bay in Maui. “These shoes helped me trek from the white sand beaches of Wailea to the jagged rock trails along the southern tip of the island—one of the most beautiful runs I have taken,” she says.

Hempel says she loves that it’s a classic model for neutral runners that keeps getting tweaked and improved. The latest version is built with Fresh Foam X, which provides neutral underfoot cushioning anywhere you go—the road, trails, a hotel treadmill—but also a durable, dual-layer midsole construction. [Editor's note: New Balance is the Official Athletic Footwear and Apparel Partner of NYRR.]

New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v13 (women's sizes)

New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v13 (men's sizes)

Best for mid-distance races: Hoka Rincon 3

If the half marathon is your distance of choice, Hoka’s Rincon shoe will get you through training sessions and race day. Traveler’s senior commerce editor Madison Flager has worn this for her last few half marathons, and the shoe is still going strong. “This was my first Hoka shoe, and I immediately felt more of a return from it than previous running shoes I’ve worn,” she says. “Along with the added bounce, it’s supportive without feeling clunky, and doesn’t constrict my wide feet.” 

Hoka Rincon 3 (women's sizes)

Hoka Rincon 3 (men's sizes)

Most sustainable running shoe: Allbirds Tree Flyer

Allbirds’ commitment to sustainability is cemented in all its products—and its lightest running shoe yet, the Tree Flyer, which debuted last May, lives up to its promise to be carbon neutral. Not only are more natural materials used in the creation of the shoe (like FSC-certified Tencel Lyocell, SwiftFoam midsole made with bio-based Pebax, FSC-certified natural rubber outsole, and shoe laces made out of recycled plastic bottles), but it wears the number 9.92 on its heel, showing its overall carbon footprint—the average running shoe usually sits around the mid-teens, an Allbirds spokesperson says.

Best budget running shoe: Asics Gel-Contend 7

“Entry-level shoes in the specialty market tend to be around $100 to $110 today,” Marlovits says, noting the spike is related to inflation and supply chain issues. But more budget-friendly shoes do exist: the Asics Gel-Content 7 (regularly $65, but marked down to $45 as of ) is a good neutral road shoe for all-day wear with rear-foot gel to absorb extra shock, a foam midsole for extra flexibility, and an Ortholite sock liner for moisture management.

Another strategy to save on is to go for older models of the same shoe, Marlovits suggests. “Most shoe models are updated each year and oftentimes the updates are minimal,” he says. “You may be better off buying a model from last season than buying a budget shoe—you get a better quality and more performance-oriented shoe for the same or less than a budget model.”

Asics Gel-Contend 7 (women's sizes)

Asics Gel-Contend 7 (men's sizes)