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Best Running Shoes

By: Lisa Maloney on August 17, 2016

Running shoes are more than glorified sneakers. They are specifically designed to help you transition from impact to toe-off with each running step, offering the optimal mix of cushioning to reduce impact and a firm, fast feel underfoot. ConsumerSearch editors evaluate running shoe reviews to find the best running shoes for most people, including those with flat feet or high arches.

Saucony Triumph ISO 2 Review
Best Reviewed

Best running shoe

Saucony Triumph ISO 2

The Saucony Triumph ISO 2 offers a near-universal fit thanks to its ISO caging: independent strands that connect to the midsole and help mold the upper to your foot. The Triumph ISO 2's Everun "topsole" is lab-tested to improve energy return with each step, and users and experts alike say this shoe feels smooth, responsive and bouncy. An 8mm drop from heel to toe allows a natural midfoot strike, but the Saucony Triumph ISO 2 has plenty of padding for heel strikers too.

Buy for $109.90
Nike LunarGlide 8 Review
Runners Up

Running shoe for flat feet

Nike LunarGlide 8

Not only is the Nike LunarGlide 8 a great shoe for road running, it's also one of the best running shoes you can get for flat feet because a wedge of dense foam gives progressively more support as your foot rolls inward. The LunarGlide 8 also draws expert praise for the comfort and plush ride of its Lunarlon cushioning. Concentric rings of laser siping in the shoe offer a great blend of flexibility, stability and structure, although they may pick up loose rocks.

Buy for $125.00
Brooks Ghost 9 Review
Runners Up

Running shoe for high arches

Brooks Ghost 9

Runners with high arches love the Brooks Ghost 9 for its light weight, durability, and neutral cushioning. That same cushioning also suits runners with a neutral gait who don't need any correction to their biomechanics. Engineered mesh in the upper locks your foot in with the perfect blend of support and flexibility, with no stitching to rub against your feet. A full-length "crash pad" accommodates almost any foot strike, although the 12mm heel-toe drop encourages a heel strike.

Buy for $120.00
New Balance Vazee Pace v2 Review
Best Reviewed

Best lightweight running shoe

New Balance Vazee Pace v2

The New Balance Vazee Pace v2 exemplifies the best qualities of a lightweight running shoe. It's firm and responsive but cushioned enough for long runs, with a 6mm heel-to-toe drop that encourages a midfoot strike. A molded "arch bump" gives light support without throwing off a neutral stride. Engineered mesh in the upper means it locks your foot securely to the upper, with no stitching to irritate your feet, and a pair of men's size 9 weighs just 9.6 ounces.

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Skechers GOrun 4 Review
Runners Up

Minimalist running shoe

Skechers GOrun 4

The Skechers GOrun4 is a great shoe for minimalist runners, with just a 4mm drop from heel to toe so it's easy to maintain a midfoot strike. There's plenty of cushioning in both heel and forefoot, and mild stability features give some support without throwing off runners that already have a neutral stride. Experts and users all praise this shoe for its snug upper, great flexibility and soft but responsive ride, and each men's size 9 shoe weighs slightly more than a deck of cards.

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Choosing the best running shoes starts with identifying your foot type

Running shoes are more than glorified sneakers. They're built to guide your foot through the most efficient stride possible, with strategically placed cushioning to absorb the impact of each footfall. What it takes to generate that efficient stride, and where you really need the cushioning, depends on your foot type and gait.

Although we can make some helpful generalizations about which type of shoe is typically best for which type of feet, experts warn there is usually some trial and error in learning which running shoe features work best for you.

Running shoes come in three main types: stability, motion control and neutral cushioning shoes. Some pronation -- inward roll of the ankle -- is normal when you run, but if you overpronate, experts recommend stability shoes to correct your stride and prevent the potential injuries that can result from this type of movement. Any foot type can overpronate, but it's especially common in people with flat feet.

The exact way stability shoes are constructed varies from one manufacturer to another, but the general principle remains the same: Progressively firmer material is layered along the medial (inside) edge of the shoe, often paired with a wider base. Together, the two features gently support the inside edge of your foot to keep it from rolling inward too much. Some models also employ plastic reinforcements near the arch for extra stability.

If you overpronate severely, you may be more comfortable in motion control shoes, which provide even more stability features to correct your stride. Motion control shoes aren't for everybody, though. They may be too stiff or restrictive for people who don't need the extra structure, and might even transform slight overpronation into underpronation (more properly known as supination), forcing you to run on the outside edges of your feet. However, for those who really do need this much of an adjustment, this type of supportive, padded shoe is the key to a comfortable, injury-free run.

At the other extreme, some people supinate, running with their weight on the outside edges of their feet. This is especially common in people with high arches. If this is you, a neutral cushioned shoe can absorb that impact and redistribute it, helping your feet return to a neutral gait. And finally, if you're lucky enough to have normal arches and efficient biomechanics -- in other words, your feet don't roll too far in or too far out as you run -- you will probably be most comfortable in either a neutral shoe or a stability shoe that provides only mild support, so it doesn't interfere with the natural flex and give in your feet as you run.

Clues to help you identify your foot type

Remember that trial and error we mentioned? It starts with a visit to a specialty running shop that has the equipment and trained staff to identify your foot and gait type. If you prefer to shop online, you can identify your foot type with a simple wet-foot test; Runner's World has a great guide for doing so.. Examining the soles of your old running shoes is helpful, too. If you overpronate, you'll usually see extra wear on the inside edges of your shoes, and underpronators/supinators will notice more wear on the outside edges. Once you have identified your foot type and stride, it's time to start trying on shoes and determining which features actually agree with your feet.

Finding the best running shoes

We identified the best shoes for several foot types, including flat feet and high arches, by evaluating input from a number of expert sources. Runner's World is one of the best, followed by OutdoorGearLab.com, GearPatrol.com, Competitor.com and WearTested.org, all of which subject shoes to extended testing and comment on how they perform under real-world conditions. User input from everyday runners is enormously important too, especially when it doesn't agree with expert evaluations; the best sources we spotted for user input on running shoes were RoadRunnerSports.com and Amazon.com and we used those to make our final choices.

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Recently Updated
Running Shoes buying guide

What every best Running Shoes has:

  • A snug, but not restrictive, fit.
  • Flexible, responsive soles with adequate cushioning.
  • No break-in period.

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