10 Best Running Shoes Overall Rated for Performance
All of us have certain things we look for when picking our next set of running shoes. Today, we will examine these attributes for ten of the most popular models currently available, rate them for you and let you decide. Among the criteria we shall examine are the style, the fit, the weight, the durability and the price.
There are additional sub-categories that will no doubt also come to play . . . the fashion, the comfort, the ease of putting your foot into the shoe and lacing it up. We’ll take it all into consideration. For trendsetters out there, you can rest assured that we are reviewing the freshest, leading edge, high-tech models on the market today and any of these running shoes would serve you proudly on your daily workout.
- Brooks Ghost 9
- Segmented Crash Pad
- Saucony Ride 9
- Tri-Flex outsole
- Skechers GOrun 5
- 5GEN cushioning
For some, the price will be of less concern than the comfort or some other factor. Don’t worry! We’ll cover all the bases!
10 Best Rated Running Shoes
1. Brooks Ghost 9
One of the most common factors people like about these shoes are the natural, form-fit that they provide. Seasoned runners, particularly those with foot issues like plantar fasciitis immediately recognize the comfort this shoe affords them. This is probably why Brooks running shoes are most highly recommended by podiatrists.
Cushioning and Rebound
The leading edge materials science in the Brooks Ghost 9 includes lightweight yet wonderfully shock absorbent inner linings. Not in the least bit squishy, they act like springs fine tuned to the average weight of the user and the impact that moderate jogging places where your foot impacts with the ground. As their ads imply these shoes will put miles of road behind you without the hardship you might endure from ordinary running shoes.
Cost and Value
There’s a saying that you get what you pay for but in the case of the Brooks Ghost 9 you really get more than you pay for. That is to say that compared to the rest of the field, the craftsmanship is superior for the price. While some running shoes are designed in a way to provide maximum comfort and performance yet wear out quickly and others are designed to last longer with some sacrifice on the part of the user, the Brooks Ghost 9 makes the best of both worlds.
- Orthotic-grade fit.
- Technologically advanced construction
- High tech materials
- High value vs. cost ratio
- Certainly not the lowest priced shoe in the market
- Fashionable but not considered the “Cadillac” of running shoes
2. Saucony Ride 9
These are really good looking running shoes! If you’re out on the local jog trail among your peers, this shoe will not disappoint. If you do fall in the category of those with slender feet you really don’t want unnecessarily wide shoes and this shoe will provide you with both a really good look and the added performance of freedom from shoes that are too wide or bulky for your preference.
Choice of Styles
You can select from a variety of Saucony Ride 9 styles any of which is sure to please. Some folks that do lots of running want to have a variety of running shoes. It could be for pure style reasons or it could be for utility. On days when you feel particularly energetic, you might want a shoe that suits that mood . . . or you may want a shoe to match a different outfit you choose to wear on a particular day. The variety of Saucony Ride 9 running shoes will provide you with the latitude you need to complement all your outfits and all the varying degrees you may choose when seizing the day!
Cost and Value
The Saucony Ride 9 made it near the top of the top 10 here because their design achieved all the major hallmarks a good shoe should have, and . . . Saucony did so is a way that brought the price in near the bottom of the pack! These are good looking, well functioning shoes that will serve you well and not break the bank!
- Highly attractive and stylish
- Well priced
- Especially great for those with slender feet
- Variety of styles
- Inner sole can be removed for cleaning
- Historically, folks with wide feet might want to try these puppies on in person, first!
- Some like the tight fit but for others, it is uncomfortable. Take the time to check your fit!
3. Asics DynaFlyte
Those Asics aficionados who have long followed the brand will also love the Asics DynaFlyte! The long run this company has had in the market space has fine tuned their craftsmanship. Side-by-side comparison of the Asics DynaFlyte with every other shoe in this competition showed the Asics DynaFlyte having superior construction from the overall shape of the design right down to the stitching of the components.
When you speak of brand recognition, you are usually someone marketing a product. However, when you’re jogging down a trail, you don’t want to be caught wearing the off-brand Chinese jogging shoes. Asics is a solid, proven purveyor of quality sports shoes and the Asics DynaFlyte is no exception! Along with the reputation, there is an anticipated quality you can expect with Asics and the DynaFlyte series of running shoes certainly fills that bill!.
Cost and Value
While it’s always a choice that must be weighed, the Asics DynaFlyte while about 20% higher in cost than its competitors in this shoe challenge comes out pretty good because of its good looks, it’s better than average performance and the high degree of craftsmanship of the shoe. The popularity this brand has gained over the years is a result of the detail they put into crafting their product and it is a brand you can rely on.
- Excellent, long lasting construction
- Durability, possibly the best of the group
- A brand you can be proud to wear
- Enough variations on the style to complement your other apparel
- Excellent reviews throughout the running community
- A wee bit more pricey than the competitors
- As an industry leader, ever to be outdone by upstart competitors
4. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17
Running shoe designers have used science to create their products for over twenty years now and as the new guy on the block (respective of Nike) Brooks burst into the market space looking to do one better. For those with foot ailments, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS baths the foot in comfort and over time, literally makes some of these foot problems disappear!
Comfortable and Airy
They grace the feet! They are wonderful to walk on and the webbing that surrounds the enclosure of the shoe makes them breathe like sandals vs. shoes! From an engineering standpoint, it is difficult to obtain this compromise between structural integrity and openness but the Brooks Adrenaline GTS hit the mark with great accuracy!
Cost and Value
Brooks shoes cost slightly above the curve from low to high among their competitors. They are excellent shoes and the ever so higher cost should be considered with the great value they provide in return. Overall, these are time-proven, industry solid competitors in the market place seeking your business as consumers. Good shoes, reasonable price, good value!
- A proven design that runners come back again and again for
- Optimal comfort and airy design
- Excellent styling and a company among the new leaders in running shoes
- Pricey, but not too pricey when considered along with the competition
- Probably more than you would want to spend
- Slightly the old model, an oldy but goody, not the best for trend setters
5. Asics GT-2000 5
When a design closely matches nature, it’s hard to go wrong and the Asics GT-2000 5 inner sole matches the underpart of your foot extremely closely. Almost nobody wants to run with a heavy shoe and the GT-2000 5 combines form and function using the latest synthetic polymer formulations to create excellent support and proper rebound as needed.
Tried and True Design
Asics is a proven company with millions of shoes produced and purchased by happy consumers. The model GT-2000 5 has become another hallmark in a series of very successful model running shoes. If you are seen on the running track with these shoes on, you will no doubt be considered someone who is experienced in the field and are among the most demanding.
Cost and Value
The price of the Acis GT200-5 falls right in the middle of low to high with their competitors so you be the judge. There are so many different designs and versions of this shoe that from a style standpoint, you could find just about anything you seek to embellish your running ensemble. You can’t go wrong with Acis!
- A proven leader in performance footwear
- A shoe that nestles the foot in comfort
- Takes the impact of running and provides good shock absorption
- A brand name you can be proud to wear
- Extremely well made and durable
- Possibly more than you want to pay
- Not the newest of designs, many upstarts are seeking to knock Acis off!
6. Brooks Transcend 4
No other shoe can brag that it underwent the depth of research and design of the Brooks Transcend 4 which arguably had more R & D than any other shoe in history! The result is one of the most anthropomorphically friendly running shoes ever invented!
The Brooks Transcend 4 weighs in at less than half that of its competition. For those that enjoy a lightweight shoe on their feet, this is definitely a model you should consider! Jammed full of special components, Brooks makes use of a variety of structural materials strategically arranged in key areas of the shoe to max out performance and reduce the overall weight. A truly inspired design!
Cost and Value
Again, it’s not the cheapest but for all you get, it’s not the most expensive either. This is why the Brooks Transcend 4 made this list and why Brooks is conspicuously mentioned in our review. It’s really an outstanding brand forging its way to the top of the industry.
- Famous Brooks orthotic grade design
- Very Lightweight
- Wide variety of designs
- Amazing combination of structural components
- Near perfect combination of form and function
- Priced about 50% higher than the competition
- Efforts to disassemble the shoe into component part for washing not recommended
7. Hoka One One Bondi 5
Nobody likes a hot, sweaty shoe and that’s why most designers formulate breathable mesh into the construction of their products. The Hoka One One Bondi 5 does one better. They’ve fabricated an impossibly thin membrane which is highly permeable and transmissive over a spongy middle core and created a shoe that wraps your foot in ultimate comfort and maximum breathability. That along with a very science-based lower design makes it pretty much the perfect shoe!
Leading Design and Style in the Field
The sporting shoe industry is big. Bigger than many industries. The players in this field are highly competitive. Hoka has created a shoe in the Hoka One One Bondi 5 model that exceeds all other competitors in the industry. People’s feet differ from person to person and some will attest to other shoes mentioned in this review but the Rolls Royce of all these has to be the Hoka One One Bondi 5.
Cost and Value
Who can put a price on the best in it’s field of competition? Were you to sit down and try on all the shoes in this review, I think you might come to the same conclusion I did. Hoka wraps your feet in love, really! You have to pay for it! This is why most mortals, myself among them have placed some of the Brooks models ahead of Hoka in this review for overall value. If money is of no object for you, check out the Hoka One One Bondi 5!
- Forging its way to dominance in the sports footwear industry
- Top of the line design and innovative construction
- Highly stylish, comfortable and trend-setting
- Super comfortable and high performance
- Double the cost of nearly similar competitors
- Relatively new brand yet to be proven with the test of time
8. Nike Zoom Vomero 12
Are you old enough to remember how much old Nike’s weighted? Unfortunately for me, I am and let me tell you, it was a little bit like putting boat anchors on your feet. What a great pleasure it was in the 90’s when the industry began using lighter weight, high-tech materials to fabricate their shoes. Nike has leveraged its long-standing industry dominance here and produced what might be the lightest weight running shoe in it’s class.
Good for Pronators
You pronators know who you are and this shoe does a great job compensating for that. Veteran runners who know their way around like this shoe and come back to it again and again. You owe it to yourself to give the Nike Zoom Vomero 12 a look see!
Cost and Value
This shoe brings a price tag with it commensurate with the famous reputation of its brand. Folks, that means it ain’t cheap. Depending on where you shop, it could be the most expensive shoe among the crop we reviewed today. That my friends is why this great running shoe is near the bottom of this top ten list. However, if price is no issue for you, please give it a look-see!
- The most well known creator of shoes in this industry
- Decades of experience producing winning products
- Stylish and functional
- Possibly the lightest weight shoe in it’s class
- If you had to ask, you can’t afford it
- Those Nike loyalists still swear by it (maybe not a Con)
9. Hoka One One Arahi
If you’ve read through our entire review, you will see that we gave Hoka great ratings before. They are great shoes and the Hoka One One Arahi also makes our list. I probably don’t have to tell you that runners go out every day and literally run their feet off achieving that endorphin high. It’s kind of a healthy thing to do but it can take a lot out of your feet without the benefit of good footwear and the Hoka One One Arahi would be one of those shoes that can provide you with the protection you deserve.
Hoka and the Hoka One One Arahi employs the latest datasets available about human biometrics to create the ultimate running shoe. Hoka designers are obsessed with creating the ultimate, perfectly designed running shoe and the Hoka One One Arahi model shows it!
Tailored for a Special Group
If you have a wide foot and have always gravitated towards wider shoes, the Hoka One One Arahi is probably not right for you. On the other hand, if you have a long, slender foot, then this is probably a great shoe for you. This is the general summary of hundreds of user comments on this shoe design and we wanted you to know!
Cost and Value
The Hoka One One Arahi comes in a hair above the price of it’s closest competitors. It is a truly a shoe of advanced design and in my humble opinion, worth every penny. If you’re ready to plunk down a nice chunk of change on a pair of running shoes that could literally rock your world, you should give the Hoka One One Arahi a good looking over!
- Highly rated manufacturer
- Industry leading and science-based designs
- Comfort and style
- Moderate price for the value
- Not for the weak in the wallet
- Limited designs compared to competitors
10. Skechers GOrun 5
Skechers were always the quintessential makers of shoes that approached orthotic type design and favored the foot like no other shoes ever had. That general design has permeated every Skecher shoe including the Skechers GOrun 5. These shoes are fabulous for walking and moderate jogging. Great for the price!
Stylish and Comfortable
At speeds under ten miles per hour, Skechers GOrun 5 shoes are as good as it gets in the business and that’s why they're on this list. Truth is, it is only for runners that work up to sprinter speeds where these shoes have ever caused issues like heel slipping. For everybody else, they are a smart buy.
Cost and Value
Skechers GOrun 5 shoes made this list as the last entry, number ten. They are probably the least expensive shoes on the list. They still fit very, very well and feel good on your feet and are wonderfully performing shoes. If you are jogging at a moderate rate, the heel slippage reported by some might not be a consideration. Don’t buy a running shoe without giving the Skechers GOrun 5 a look-over.
- Proven, orthotic foot design
- Excellent price point
- Variety of models
- Durable product
- Not the best performers particularly at higher speed
- A few buck more will buy you Brooks
What can you conclude from our up-to-the-minute review of current running shoes? I offer you a quick summation: If you have some extra change and want extra cushion, go with Hoka. If you want a good shoe but don’t have the extra to spend, go with Skechers. The differential between the two is not wide, they and those between them are all great shoes. If you have wide feet vs. slender feet, this is a real consideration for some of these shoe models. Don’t order them over the Internet without the ability to return them should they not feel right on your feet. Brooks shoes are the biggest up-and-comers on the list so if you are a trend-setter, you must keep that in mind! I can attest that no shoe company had any influence on my opinions in this article.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Running Shoes
Well-built & breathable upper
The upper is one of those components you won’t want to skimp on. You should always look for breathability in the form of mesh material, and a well-balanced blend of structure in the form of overlays. For trail running shoes, you will want an upper that is less mesh, more durable and water resistant. You can find seamless uppers on the market, but that tends to not be as big of a factor as the overall protection, breathability or water resistance they have. Generally, you want to allow air-flow so don’t even think about grabbing a pair of trail runners if you are mainly sticking to roads. Get a running shoe that allows airflow. This will assist in temperature regulation as well. Plus, the extra breathability will help in expelling moisture and sweat from the inside of your shoe.
Cushioned & Properly Supportive Insole
Some runners may never put attention to the insole of their running shoes. In fact, out of about 50 runner friends, only somewhere in the area of 10 pay attention to this critical component. Everyone’s foot is different, so while the insoles that come with a shoe can be great, some runners choose selectively or get custom orthotics in order to make the fit perfect. If you are not yet on the market for custom insoles and want to get it right the first time, first make sure the stock insole rates high in comfort. Some material, as seen in many Skechers running shoes is memory foam, but some runners prefer more of a spring. All running shoes will have slightly different insole’s, and the support each provides is certainly part of the equation. If you know your arch height and whether your feet are flat or not, you have part of the equation solved. Now get an insole that has either arch support, heel support or both. Another thing to watch out for is the level of support they offer. This is where you may want to go with custom inserts. You will be able to get the exact support needed if you can’t find it in a shoe. You can also get 1/2 inserts for heel support. It’s also worth checking if the running shoe has removable inserts. If not, you will certainly want to make sure the stock ones are right for you.
Midsole make-up & Material
The midsole is the piece of a shoe that is between the floor and the bottom of your foot, essentially (the outsole is between there somewhere). This piece is especially important in running shoes due to the fact that the amount of force on each step is magnified compared to if you were just walking casually. Typically, the material will be some form of Eva foam. Eva is a form of rubber that is shock resistant, flexible and durable. To add to the flexibility, especially if the midsole of any particular shoe is relatively thick, cuts (or flex grooves) are made into the sole at the bottom. This is done is critical areas that need to flex more, such as any joints of the foot. Overall, the midsole is responsible for reducing shock, and ultimately avoiding injury.
Outermost Portion of the Sole
This is the part of the sole that comes into contact with the ground and is usually seen made from a different material composition than the rest of the sole. This means the material will need to be harder, such as the high abrasion rubber found on some high-quality running shoes. If the outsole is durable enough, it will keep the rest of the sole from wearing down too easily, such as the much-needed EVA foam, or midsole material. Blown rubber is also used, sometimes in the toe area in order to give a softer transition when stepping. As mentioned in the midsole section above, flex grooves are also important, and to be effective need to be present on the outsole as well so you get a full flex all the way through the sole of the shoe.
For trail running shoes, you will want an outsole profile that has a significant amount of lugs. This is to combat the dirt terrain that you will be on, and provide much better traction. On the other hand you have road terrain, and road specific running shoes should have an outsole that is more flat surface area rather than lugged. The more surface area will producr more friction, but you also want a tread pattern to help expel water or moisture from underneath the shoe. Keep in mind, if the outsole tread pattern does nto allow all moisture to escape and has area that trap the moisture underneath the shoe, you will easily slip.
For all shoes, you want something relatively lightweight, but for sports shoes that involve competition and constant moving, running shoes need to be particularly light in weight. Okay, yeah, trail running shoes are different, and inevitably more heavy as they need to pack in more material to make them effective in the rough outbacks. For road running shoes, the less material you need, the better. If you know you will be on solid, flat road for the duration of your run, you can get away with a six or seven-ounce shoe, made almost entirely of mesh (aside from the lightweight, low-profile sole) such as seen in some flyknit or primeknit shoes. Every ounce counts, and this is especially true for marathon runners. It’s the same for ultra runners that are hitting the trail. Except, for trail running shoes, a good weight to shoot for is 10 ounces. Just don’t skimp too much on the material and always go with a rock solid brand such as Salomon or La Sportiva. For road running shoes, Nike and Adidas have some of the lightest materials that are also some of the most breathable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I need arch support in my shoes?
A: You need to know if you have flat feet, or the type of arch you have or whether you supinate, or pronate. There are many factors that come into play, but check out some supportive insoles if you need a custom orthotics. Some are even great for plantar fasciitis.
Q: What type of socks should I wear with my running shoes?
A: Because socks are a huge factor when it comes to overall comfort, blister preventio, and moisture wicking, we suggest merino wool for serious runners. Typical wool tends to hold more water, but is favored by some still. Here are some great socks for you, some of the best. We also recommend these socks here if you need compression.
Q: Do I need stability running shoes?
A: If you overpronate, stability running shoes will help correct it while you run. The midsole area of stability running shoes is usually harder and more firm to provide that much needed support.
Q: I can’t find the running shoe in my size, can I get the same shoe in mens size if they fit me?
A: Some brands make sure that are structurally different between the men’s and women’s versions, but it’s not all the time. First, check if the shoes sole is constructed for either a mans foot or womans foot. If not, most of the time you can get away with it, as long as the color fits you. You may also want to consider custom inserts to get a perfect fit to your foot.
Q: I have bad knees, which running shoes are best for me.
A: You want a running shoe with maximum cushioning. Look into some shoes by Hoka, or check out our guide here that will show you some highly recommended models by some of the best brands. You will also want to look into some effective kt-tapes.