What are the best shoes for men

You know what you want from your running shoes: light weight, cushioning, support, and a comfortable fit. Of course, the most important part of any shoe is your experience over the hundreds of miles you’ll take them on. To help you find your next great pair, and to get a sense of how updates to your favorite road or trail shoe may change how it fits or perform, we review hundreds of men’s and women’s shoes each year. Read quick reviews of five top options, or scroll deeper for longer reviews of those shoes and other options, as well as helpful buying tips from our gear experts.

Trevor Raab

How We Test

Runner’s World has the most comprehensive shoe testing process in the industry. We work with more than 350 local runners of all ability, age, and size, for real-world wear-testing on paved roads, dirt paths, and rocky singletrack trails. After a month of running more than 100 miles, our testers report back their findings on features like fit, comfort, performance, and ride. While our testers are putting miles on the shoes, the same models undergo a battery of mechanical tests in our shoe lab, to objectively measure each shoe’s cushioning, flexibility, sole thickness, and weight. Out test editors combine their own experience in the shoe with data from the lab and feedback from our wear testers to create reliable, useful reviews of every shoe we test.

Does a Shoe’s Weight Matter?

Some runners care a lot about weight, and research shows that you expend more aerobic energy with heavier shoes. Lighter shoes typically have less cushioning, which can make them feel faster. If you’re going long distances, however, the extra cushioning of a heavier shoe might be a better option.

Trevor Raab

How We Measure Cushioning

Cushioning provides impact absorption. To test it, our Shoe Lab takes measurements in the heel and forefoot, then averages the scores to give you an idea of the overall experience. The cushioning scores are given on a scale of 1 to 100, with one being the least cushioned. In addition to those key stats, we also look at the shoe’s stability features, flexibility, and energy return to help you find one you’ll love. To see the data, click to read the men’s review or women’s review on any of the shoes below.

What Does Drop Mean?

A shoe’s drop is the difference between the heel and the forefoot measurements, or how much your toes drop below your heel. It’s important because a higher drop can lead to more heel striking. Many shoes have a drop between 8 and 12 millimeters, but some shoes have less than 6mm. A few based on minimalist designs have zero drop.

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ROAD SHOES


Skechers GOrun Razor 3 Hyper

The Razor is the first example of a new buzz-worthy midsole Skechers developed, dubbed Hyper Burst. It’s a new EVA foam with an irregular cell structure that differs from more conventional manufacturing techniques. The result is a lighter and more resilient foam. Added to the Razor, which was Meb’s training shoe of choice when he was actively racing, it makes for a high-speed trainer or racing shoe for the rest of us. In testing, we found the Razor likes to be pushed hard and go fast. The foam underfoot is relatively firm, but at the same time feels protective and takes the harshness out of the pavement when you’re cranking. The thin, breathable upper and a web of rubber outsole boost its speediness.

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Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next%

Two hundred and fifty dollars is a load of money to pay for a pair of racing shoes, but if you must have the best, spend it on the Next%. As the first major redesign in the Vaporfly line, it looks a lot more like the pro-only Vaporfly Elite than the 4%, and that’s because it’s been designed with feedback from Nike’s stable of world-class marathoners. The Next% has 15 percent more ZoomX foam underfoot and the heel-toe offset is down from 11mm in the old shoe to 8mm in the new model. Perhaps the biggest change is the new “Vaporweave” upper, which is a woven blend of thermoplastic polymers and nylon that doesn’t absorb water like Flyknit did. That means your lightweight racing shoes won’t get waterlogged if it rains on your marathon.

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Hoka One One Rincon

The Rincon is the best Hoka you can buy right now. Sure, there are other purpose-built and buzz-worthy shoes in the company’s stable, but this shoe does everything you could ask of it—and is insanely affordable. It’s like the popular Clifton, but lighter and better suited for speed days. To help the shoe check in at 7.7 ounces (men’s size 9), it uses a lightweight reinforced mesh that locks your foot in place. “I’ve worn this shoe for everything from sub- 7- minute miles in New York’s Central Park and a 31-mile jog around Manhattan to a long trail run in the Adirondack Mountains over muddy and technical singletrack,” says Runner-in-Chief, Jeff Dengate. The only gripe from testers is about the exposed foam on the sole: It tends to show some wear prematurely.

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Reebok Floatride Run Fast

The fastest shoe you could buy in 2018 was this Reebok, and it’s still one of our all-time favorites. The FloatRide Run Fast won’t stress your credit card nearly as hard as shoes like the Vaporfly 4%, but shares some similar traits to help you reach the finish line faster. It all starts with the foam: Reebok is using a Pebax-based foam—much like what’s found in the Vaporfly 4%—which is far lighter than the standard EVA that’s been used in running shoes for decades, but it also delivers excellent cushioning and off-the-charts bounce (energy return). Thanks to that lightweight material, Reebok is able to use a considerable amount of foam underneath the foot without bogging you down. In doing so, it made the heel relatively tall, and the drop from heel to forefoot is quite high, which can give you a sense of speed and propulsion.

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Brooks Ghost 12

The Ghost’s versatility is unmatched. Our testers used it for everything—speedwork on the track on Tuesdays, hilly tempo runs on Thursdays, and double- digit long runs on the weekend. It’s the first shoe we point new runners to, because it works so well for so many. The 12th iteration maintains the same mix of foams that made the last version a winner: DNA Loft and BioMoGo DNA give you serious cushioning, but won’t slow you down when you pick up the pace. The DNA Loft in the heel has all-day softness, which our heel-striking wear-testers appreciated on long runs, while the BioMoGo under the toes has a springy feel-ing, giving the shoe a performance ride. This year, the shoe gets an engineered mesh upper, which has zones designed for stretch, breathability, and support to better fit your foot.

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Reebok Forever Floatride Energy

“The Reebok Forever Floatride Energy is that equilibrium point of low cost and high-quality,” one tester said. It’s light enough to work as a road-racing shoe, soft enough to keep you comfortable through long runs, and attractive enough to garner a few compliments when you wear them on your next group run. What’s more, it’s only $100, making it accessible to more runners than similarly impressive, though more expensive, everyday trainers. But the best part of this shoe is undoubtedly the midsole, a singular piece of Floatride Energy foam that keeps you feeling fresh late in your long runs. This foam isn’t quite as light and springy as the Float foam Reebok has used in its Run Fast shoe recently, but it’s lighter and bouncier than EVA alternatives.

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Hoka One One Carbon X

An eagerly anticipated shoe, the Hoka One One Carbon X snagged the 50-mile world record three days after it was announced. But despite the accomplishment, it’s curiously difficult to nail down what this shoe is designed to do. It’s arguably too heavy to be a true road racer, although that doesn’t mean Hoka’s elite distance runners won’t adopt it for upcoming marathons. The carbon plate is designed to make it propulsive, but unlike a certain competitor, there’s no claim of how much or even whether the shoe makes you faster. In any case, the early-stage Meta-Rocker puts the pivot point just behind the ball of your foot to aggressively shove you onto the forefoot. And the carbon fiber plate is designed to hold the rocker’s shape throughout your gait cycle.

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Saucony Liberty ISO 2

We gave the Liberty ISO our Best Debut nod when it released back in 2018. It was a pretty easy decision—our test team rated the shoe over 90 percent on nearly every feature from stability to comfort. What hasn’t been so easy is anxiously anticipating its sequel. Nothing stings like a poor follow-up to a classic; it doesn’t matter whether it’s from a shoe box or box office. Luckily, Saucony directs a success in the ISO 2, with full-length Everun cushioning back as the star in its leading role, and a few new surprises from the supporting extras.

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Altra Torin 4 Plush

The Torin 3.5 received special treatment last year—Altra made it available in two new uppers: a stylized mesh and a soft, stretchy knit. This year, the Torin again comes in two flavors, but with distinctly different underfoot experiences. The standard model is a racier shoe, stripped of its strobel layer, resulting in less cushioning, height, and weight. The Torin 4 Plush, on the other hand, is extra soft. Our testers who have previously run in the Torin, Paradigm, and even Hoka One One shoes, praised this model for its cushioning and toe room, saying it’s a combination of the best features in both brands. “The cushioning reduces foot fatigue and allows me to run longer more frequently,” said one. “I wore the regular Torin a couple of years ago, and the addition of more cushioning is very noticeable.”

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New Balance FuelCell Rebel

Working with its elite middle-distance athletes, New Balance designed a wild-looking racing flat, the FuelCell 5280, for racing a mile on paved roads. But that has a limited audience, so it created a more versatile version, the Rebel, for the rest of us. Its DNA is similar to the 5280—it’s built to go fast at short distances on the road, but uses more budget-friendly materials and is a bit heavier. To help you go from midfoot landing to toe-off as quickly as possible, the shoe has some unusual geometry. Most obvious is the fin that sticks off the lateral side of the shoe. That’s where many of the fastest runners make initial contact. The beveled piece of foam smooths your landing and guides you efficiently onto your toes. One of our testers raced Grandma’s Marathon in his pair and ran a 5:18 pace through 10 miles before slowing, but he reports that the Rebel performed great for the entire marathon. Try before you buy: Our testers all had to go up a half-size from their normal shoe.

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Asics GT-2000 8

The redesigned Asics GT-2000 8 feels much smoother than its stiff, less-forgiving predecessor. Asics used lighter- density foam for the new shoe; in the forefoot there’s a single, thicker layer of FlyteFoam instead of two. The rear half of the shoe uses a slab of slightly high- er-density foam beneath the FlyteFoam, with a patch of gel cushioning under the heel. The lighter foam and single layer in the forefoot work wonders: Whereas the previous GT-2000 slapped the pavement as your foot hit the ground, the new shoe touches down softly and immediately sets you up for a smooth toe-off. Part of the easier transition comes from the additional flex grooves in the high-abrasion heel rubber; coupled with the lighter heel foam, the GT-2000 8 feels forgiving yet responsive. The stability is subtle but noticeable if you’ve only run in a neutral shoe like the Cumulus 21. To improve the engineered mesh upper, Asics moved its logo back and repositioned the toe reinforcement beneath the mesh, which makes the toebox more accommodating. The updated fit lets you wear the shoe a little loose without feeling unstable. But the retooled midsole is still the best part; for mild over- pronators, it’s an absolute pleasure to run in.

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Saucony Kinvara 10

The king of the lightweight trainers, Saucony’s Kinvara has won multiple Runner’s World awards over its lifespan. The 10th iteration may not recreate the magic of last year’s Editor’s Choice-winning model, but it’s still a worthy successor. Need a racing shoe that’ll deliver without taking out a second mortgage? It’s capable, just ask Jared Ward who casually dropped a 2:09 at Boston while sporting the fast-selling Dunkin’-printed model. Or maybe you need a neutral cushioned everyday trainer with a breathable upper? The Kinvara’s EVA-and-Everun midsole will be your trusty companion for the next couple hundred miles.

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New Balance FuelCell 5280

It’s official: 2019 is the year of the carbon fiber plate. New Balance’s new FuelCell 5280, the latest with the high-tech material, is designed for one task—the road mile. It’s essentially a track spike without the metal pins, but includes the extra cushioning you need to hammer fast on rock-hard roads. The underfoot feeling is exceptionally weird. The sole is curved and flares out wide on the lateral side for a smooth landing at speed. New Balance took a different approach for its plate, using unidirectional carbon fibers. What that means is the plate can twist and bend laterally—side to side—but is rigid from heel to toe. That creates a stiff lever for runners to generate even more power with every stride, but still allows them to land smoothly and pronate onto their forefeet.

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Trevor Raab

Skechers

GOrun Razor 3 Hyper

$134.95

amazon.com

  • Lightweight and breathable construction
  • Hyper Burst midsole is highly responsive for speedwork

Nike

Nike

ZoomX Vaporfly Next%

$250.00

nike.com

  • Better traction than the Vaporfly 4%
  • 15% more bouncy ZoomX midsole foam

Hoka One One

Hoka One One

Carbon X

$180.00

hokaoneone.com

  • Breathable upper
  • Relatively light
  • Heel strikers felt the shoes interfered with their stride
Hoka One One

Rincon

$114.95

zappos.com

  • Light and cushioned
  • Breathable upper
Reebok

Floatride Run Fast

$136.63

amazon.com

  • Exceptionally lightweight and bouncy feel
  • Cushioning is versatile for long runs and racing
  • Narrow feet may find the forefoot too roomy
Brooks

Ghost 12

$129.95

amazon.com

  • DNA Loft midsole remains unchanged
  • 3D printed upper adds breathability
Reebok

Forever Floatride Energy

$100.00

amazon.com

  • Lab tests showed an incredibly responsive midsole
  • Lightweight and springy ride
  • Testers weren’t fans of the lacing system; the tongue tended to move midrun
Saucony

Liberty ISO 2

$155.15

amazon.com

  • Full Everun midsole for plush, springy feel
  • Unobtrusive stability
ALTRA

Torin 4 Plush

$139.95

amazon.com

  • Soft, slightly squishy, midsole provides comfort for long runs
  • Wide toe box accommodates wide feet
  • Knit upper tends to make feet overheat
New Balance

FuelCell Rebel

$129.99

newbalance.com

  • Light and fast
  • Versatile for mid-length road races
Asics

GT-2000 8

$119.95

amazon.com

  • Responsive, supportive cushioning
  • Secure-fitting upper
Saucony

Kinvara 10

$109.95

amazon.com

  • Comfortable fit
  • Lightweight
  • Exposed foam outsole isn’t very durable
New Balance

FuelCell 5280

$199.99

newbalance.com

  • Exceptionally lightweight
  • Springy midsole
  • Snug fit
  • Use is limited to mile road races