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
Saucony Kinvara 9Lightweight Running Shoes, Road Running Shoes, Running & Running Shoes
This is one of our favorite shoes in the lightweight trainer category, with great comfort on top and a soft, fast ride underfoot. The Kinvara combines plush cushioning for soft landings with minimalist construction elements like a wide toe box and flexible forefoot. The 4mm drop makes it ideal for midfoot strikers, but heel strikers will still find it a fast and fun shoe for training or racing.
The Salomon Sonic RA is a very strong debut model that delivers a good combination of comfort and performance. The midsole geometry and material construction provide a smooth ride and impressive energy return. There are no significant drawbacks to this shoe as a dependable everyday trainer.
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.
Best for Data Geeks
Under Armour HOVR Sonic CTLightweight Running Shoes, Road Running Shoes, Running & Running Shoes
The Under Armour HOVR Sonic shoe is an impressive debut of the midsole technology that provides a very comfortable and responsive ride underfoot. It would make a very solid shoe for fast training days or road racing over any distance, although there are lighter options to reach for on race day. You’ll also have trouble with traction and grit on dirt roads, so keep this shoe restricted to the track or asphalt.