The Best Road Running Shoes
Looking for reviews of the best running shoes? Each season, our experts test the best road running shoes and trail running shoes head to head against each other. Two dozen experienced wear testers spend approximately 2-3 weeks running in each shoe, providing objective feedback on comfort, cushioning, fit, ride quality and other criteria. Each shoe is compared against other similar shoes for fair comparisons. And we never let our advertisers or brand biases influence our reviews in any way, so you get unfiltered, candid assessments directly from our experts.
Best In Class
Hoka One One MachCushioned Running Shoes, Road Running Shoes, Running & Running Shoes
The Mach is one of the best well-rounded road shoes we’ve tested and as one tester put it, “If I could only have one road shoe this would be the one.” It had the whole package; it’s lightweight, responsive, cushioned and just whole lot of fun to run in. A direct descendant of the Clayton, the Mach maintained everything people enjoyed about the Clayton, while fixing everything people didn’t like. Hoka’s new dual density ProFly midsole delivers seemingly opposing forces of a soft landing with a firm take off.
Brooks LevitateCushioned Running Shoes, Road Running Shoes, Running & Running Shoes
As a newcomer to the Brooks cushioned lineup, the Brooks Levitate proves it already earned the right to sit alongside best sellers like the Glycerin and Ghost. Boasting a brand new midsole compound called DNA AMP, the Levitate blends a uniquely springy and fun cushioned ride with a snug fitting, secure upper. While our testers raved about how comfortable and enjoyable this neutral everyday trainer was, they also found the shoe to be one of the slowest in the cushioned class. Tipping the scales at 11.2oz for men and 9.7oz for women, the Levitate is best suited for days when speedy times aren’t a priority and comfort rules.
Best for Faster Running
On CloudflyerCushioned Running Shoes, Road Running Shoes, Running & Running Shoes
On’s approach to the Cloudflyer is simple, freedom of movement with added cushioning while still maintaining a touch of stability. The Cloudflyer is a lightweight, flexible trainer that has characteristics of both a minimalist shoe and stability trainer. Most suited for lighter runners who appreciate a less-restrictive shoe that rides close to the ground, it lacks the structure most comfort trainers have. The flexibly and minimal design decrease durability, causing it to be one the least durable shoes tested.
Best Lightweight Cushioned Trainer
Altra DuoCushioned Running Shoes, Road Running Shoes, Running & Running Shoes
As the newest addition to the Altra line of zero drop road shoes, the Duo brilliantly strikes the ultimate balance of cushioning-to-weight ratio. Despite a the massive full length 31mm stack the Duo tips the scales at an astonishing 7.9oz for men and 5.3oz for women, making them one of the lightest and fastest shoes in the cushioned category. The Duo, like all Altra shoes are headlined by Altra’s unique Foot Shape design, to allow the toes to splay out naturally and a zero drop for a more naturally balanced run. While this rather non-traditional approach does take time to adjust too, the ride is easy going, responsive and cushioned. The only downside is some my find the excess space to feel insecure, giving the shoe a loss fit.
Best in Class
Adidas Adizero Boston 7Lightweight Running Shoes, Road Running Shoes, Running & Running Shoes
The Boston 7 returns with a new upper while maintaining the fast and cushioned ride it has been known for. The 10mm drop combined with a responsive midsole makes the shoe versatile for long races as well as short repeats. Some of our testers found it begging to go faster while others enjoyed the lightweight ride.
New Balance FuelCell ImpulseLightweight Running Shoes, Road Running Shoes, Running & Running Shoes
The New Balance Fuel Cell Impulse is a lightweight trainer/racer geared toward faster running. A lightweight upper holds the foot snugly on the shoe while a close to the ground sole provides good feedback during landings. However, due to the firmer sole, this shoe works best for faster and/or shorter runs. It should appeal for those who land farther forward for uptempo running, track workouts or those looking for a more cushioned racing flat.
Best For Easy/Long Runs
Altra Torin 3.5 MeshLightweight Running Shoes, Road Running Shoes, Running & Running Shoes
The Altra Torin 3.5 Mesh provides flexibility, cushion and zero drop in a lighter weight package. While the new mesh upper and Nubuck Heel hold the rearfoot and midfoot well, the forefoot suffers from being a bit too wide and slightly short due to the toe guard. The Torin 3.5 will protect runners for long miles and recovery runs while keeping feet happy. However, don’t expect to break any land speed records due to the soft cushion. This shoe is best for longer miles and recovery runs.
Best Sports Car for Your Feet
On Cloud XLightweight Running Shoes, Road Running Shoes, Running & Running Shoes
The On Cloud X is a strong speed trainer or race shoe that may struggle with an identity problem if it marketed too heavily as a cross-training or gym shoe. Its midsole response is as good as any we’ve tested, and its sleek lightweight construction makes it easy to run fast. Fit might be an issue for some users, and long-term durability might be a problem for non-neutral runners in wearing down the pods asymmetrically.