The Best Running Shoes of 2023
A Complete Guide to Help You Find the Right Pair
On the lookout for your go-to running shoe? Finding running shoes is personal. So, no matter what anyone tells you, there is no one best pair for everyone.
To stay comfortable while you run, it’s crucial to find the best running shoe that matches your foot shape (wide, narrow, high arches or flat feet), running style and running surface.
In addition to how your running shoe fits, finding a sneaker that gives you the right amount of support and cushion is important to ensure you stay comfortable over the countless miles you’ll run in them.
Through our personalized Fleet Feet fit id® Outfitting process with 3D foot scanning technology that measures foot length, width, arch height and more, we use data from over 5 million foot scans (and counting) to give us unique insights into how today’s best men’s and women’s running shoes from the top brands fit and perform on a wide variety of feet.
So whether you’re looking for a shoe to start running, a rugged trail shoe for your next ultramarathon or a high-cushioned daily trainer for weekend runs, our guide to the best running shoes will help you choose the perfect pair.
Check out our list below comparing the 10 best shoes for running as well as how we tested them, who they're best for and why we think you’ll love them:
- ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25
- Brooks Ghost 15
- HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 9
- Karhu Ikoni
- New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v12
- Mizuno Wave Rider 26
- On Cloudmonster
- Saucony Ride 16
- Altra Lone Peak 7
- Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 40
[Looking for more options? Shop all running shoes or scroll down to find the best running shoe brands, the best shoes for trail running, the best shoes for marathons and more.]
[Want more details? Check out our in-depth shoe reviews where our testers run in each shoe and compare them to previous models to give you the best information about buying new running shoes.]
ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25
The ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25 is a classic model with cushioning designed to withstand daily training for new and experienced runners alike.
If you're looking for durability that gives your run endless cushioning and a roomy fit, the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25 is for you. ASICS designers added even more of their FF BLAST PLUS ECO foam to the midsole making this the softest version of the Nimbus yet. They also added their brand new Pure-GEL technology in the heel to better absorb the impact of running and create smoother transitions.
Between its comfy fit and versatility, the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25 is perfect for all-around performance.
- What It's Best For: The Nimbus 25 feels great on long-distance runs or everyday training miles no matter how far you go. It’s perfect for new runners and seasoned marathoners alike and is comfortable enough for people who are on their feet all day.
- Why You'll Love It: Soft cushioning underfoot and ASICS’ Pure-GEL technology creates a cushioned ride without feeling too mushy. The roomy fit is comfortable for long runs when your mileage starts to increase.
Read more: ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25 review.
Want a similar fit with stability features? Check out the ASICS GEL-Kayano 29.
Brooks Ghost 15
The Brooks Ghost is an award-winning sneaker, and one of the most popular models on the market—and the newest Ghost 15 looks to be no exception.
The updated Brooks DNA Loft v2 foam creates a smooth, soft ride, no matter what your training looks like, and it is now lighter and softer than ever. The engineered mesh upper is lightweight yet durable and the 3D fit print feels secure around your foot, making the Ghost 15 an excellent daily trainer.
While the Ghost 15 is instantly plush, the shoe transitions well between long runs, recovery days and uptempo workouts thanks to a grippy outsole that adds an extra kick of responsiveness.
- What It's Best For: The Brooks Ghost 15 can handle just about anything. The soft DNA Loft v2 foam midsole delivers a buttery ride, while the lightweight upper hugs your foot for comfortable miles.
- Why You'll Love It: You'll love the straightforward fit and easy ride. Brooks continues to refine the Ghost to make it a well-rounded running shoe that can take on easy days, long runs, walking and even some faster workouts with ease.
Want a bit of support? The Brooks Adrenaline GTS offers a similar experience as the Ghost but uses Brooks’ GuideRail technology to keep you running smoothly.
HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 9
The HOKA Clifton 9 is one the best running shoes for anyone who demands plush cushioning, shock absorption and a roomy fit.
In classic HOKA fashion, the Clifton 9 boasts a thick stack of EVA foam for heavenly comfort mile after mile. But don't let the tall stack height fool you, the Clifton is crazy light and energetic, so you don't have to switch shoes between recovery days and tempo runs.
No matter your foot shape, the HOKA Clifton 9 is designed with a roomy toe box and a flared heel collar to accommodate a wide range of feet without uncomfortable rubbing, a tiny detail that the testers loved in our HOKA Clifton 9 review.
- What It's Best For: The Clifton excels at long runs and quick paces, but it’s just as comfortable for easy cruising or gentle walking. The light weight won’t hold you back, and the cushion can stand up to anything.
- Why You'll Love It: Cushion, cushion, cushion. The Clifton 9 gives you a lighter, plusher and more energetic ride than ever before. You'll love the lightweight and protective feel of the EVA foam beneath your feet.
Read more: HOKA Clifton 9 Review
Craving more cushion? The HOKA Bondi 8 is the most-cushioned model in the HOKA family.
Never heard of Karhu? Get hip with the Ikoni.
All Karhu shoes are designed using 3D foot scan data, helping the fabulous Finns behind the brand create an uniquely comfortable experience for neutral runners. The midsole foam is super-lightweight and offers plenty of cushioning over daily mileage, no matter how far you go.
The Ikoni is great for individuals who usually rely on orthotic inserts to find that just-right feel. And even if you want to keep your inserts, the Ikoni has a removable sock liner and plenty of room for you to pop them in.
- What It's Best For: All of your miles. The Ikoni is a great everyday sneaker, whether you’re training for a race or running to clear your head.
- Why You'll Love It: The custom-like fit works for many people because it was designed using data from many people. Plus, there’s a wide fit version for runners who need it.
Read more: Karhu Ikoni Review
Looking for a softer feel and more stability? The Karhu Synchron 2.0 delivers a plusher ride.
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v12
There's very little the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v12 can't do. Between long runs and speed days, for beginners and experts, the 1080 v12 is hard not to love.
Pillowy Fresh Foam provides super-soft, neutral support to each step, and absorbs the impact of running on pavement, delivering a bouncy feel on every run. The overall lightweight feel makes the 1080 v12 an easy choice for daily training, because nobody likes a clunky shoe.
The knit upper fits like a sock with stretchy and supportive sections. New Balance redesigned the heel from the previous version, adding a more traditional, padded heel counter for a better fit. The forefoot is roomy enough for natural toe splay, and the 1080 v12 also comes in wide (and extra-wide) sizing.
- What It's Best For: High mileage and hard efforts, but it’s just as comfortable for beginners dipping their toes in the water.
- Why You'll Love It: The 1080 v12 is lightweight and soft, giving you the perfect foundation to ramp up your training and finish strong. The stretchy upper doesn’t pinch or squish your foot, so you’re more comfortable when the miles start piling up.
Read more: New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v12
Love New Balance but need stability? The refreshed New Balance Fresh Foam 860v12 is a fan favorite.
Mizuno Wave Rider 26
Comfort and consistency are what make the Mizuno Wave Rider 26 one of the most approachable trainers you can find.
Energetic Enerzy foam underfoot provides balanced cushioning and response, helping you move easily between speed work and recovery runs. Plus, the signature Wave Plate helps to disperse impact and makes the Wave Rider 26 durable enough to handle daily mileage.
Available in wide sizing, the Wave Rider 26 is an excellent choice for anyone with a neutral gait looking for a balanced, energetic ride for everyday training and road races.
- What It's Best For: The Wave Rider 26 is built to handle high mileage. Mizuno Enerzy foam delivers a well-balanced ride, while a durable rubber outsole adds traction and protects the midsole.
- Why You'll Love It: With the Wave Rider 26, you get a versatile training partner that handles high mileage as well as it handles walking the dog.
Read more in our Mizuno Wave Rider 26 review.
Love the fit but need stability? The Mizuno Wave Inspire adds a stability-tuned Wave Plate.
The On Cloudmonster provides cushion with maximum rebound for a smooth and energetic ride.
The double layer of lightweight Helion foam and CloudTec cushioning provides plush landings and explosive takeoffs in every direction as you run, walk or jump. This shoe features a rocker shape that keeps you rolling along during your run, while the Speedboard gives you snappy take-offs. Our testers loved how the Cloudmonster performed for all paces and workouts in our On Cloudmonster review.
Plus, the unique look of the Cloudmonster pairs great with casual outfits for a coffee run or a night out.
- What It's Best For: The Cloudmonster is great for any type of run or workout. The unique CloudTec elements provide cushioning in any direction, so you can take it on a 10 mile run or enjoy the extra cushion in a HIIT class.
- Why You'll Love It: The unique Cloud Element midsole and Speedboard create a snappy, engaging ride. The double layer of helion foam give it a uniquely cushioned and plush experience, while still being able to pick up the pace
Need a bit more stability? Check out the On Cloudflyer 4 or On Cloudstratus 2.0.
Saucony Ride 16
The Saucony Ride 16 is a do-it-all trainer that’s great for beginners and experienced runners alike.
Neutral support and well-balanced PWRRUN cushioning make the Ride 16 both soft and responsive. It’s durable enough to handle long runs, and lightweight enough to take on speed work. The midsole geometry has high side walls so your foot sits into the footbed rather than on top of it, giving you a supportive feel and smooth transitions.
The Saucony Ride 16 provides a no-fuss fit and comfortable feel, and it's also available in wide sizing. It's an excellent choice for daily training or making your debut at your local 5K.
- What It's Best For: Being your go-to, everyday choice. The Ride 15 is confident on shorter efforts and comfortable on long days, meaning it’s the only shoe you need from your first day of training through race day.
- Why You'll Love It: The well-balanced cushioning feels soft enough for high mileage and responsive enough to run fast.
Read more: Saucony Ride 16 review.
Looking to speed up? Check out the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3
Altra Lone Peak 7
The Altra Lone Peak has long been a fan favorite of trail runners and hikers looking for a lightweight and nimble trail shoe.
A spacious FootShape toe-box and 0 mm heel-to-toe drop give you a connected and confident ground feel when you're flowing through single track or navigating over technical terrain.
From trailhead to summit, the Lone Peak’s tacky MaxTrac™ outsole and responsive AltraEGO™ cushioning give you the grip and protection to charge uphill or confidently race down steep descents. So whether you’re just starting to trail run or training for your next ultramarathon, the Altra Lone Peak 7 is one of the best trail running shoes for your runs, hikes and outdoor adventures.
- What It’s Best For: The Altra Lone Peak 7 is a versatile choice for trail runners and hikers who like extra room in the forefoot for their toes to splay out. It’s lightweight and flexible enough to feel nimble, yet gives you the protection to tackle any trail.
- Why You’ll Love It: Your feet will be the last thing you have to worry about when you’re spending long days on the trail—the Lone Peak’s unique ground feel and spacious toe box will keep you comfortable and confident no matter where your next adventure takes you
Read more: Altra Lone Peak 7 Review
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 40
A workhorse shoe for elite athletes and weekend warriors alike, the Nike Pegasus 40 is ubiquitous thanks to its versatility and eye-catching design.
Nike’s React foam gives you a smooth and responsive ride, while two Zoom Air units at the forefoot and heel add a pop to your step to keep you feeling energized for miles. It’s a versatile and nimble shoe that can handle high mileage with ease or even take on cross-training and strength sessions.
No matter what you’re wearing them for, the Pegasus 40 will look and perform great thanks to its speedy silhouette and bold colorways.
- What It's Best For: The Pegasus 40 is a do-it-all running shoe. Although it has a quick turnover and excels at uptempo paces, it's more than capable of turning in comfortable long runs and easy miles.
- Why You'll Love It: The Pegasus feels nimble and light without sacrificing cushioning. Its React foam is energetic and soft, which works well whether you’re just starting out or training to set a new PR. Plus, two Zoom Air units in the forefoot create a quick response on takeoff.
What Running Shoe Is Best For You?
Finding the best running shoes can be difficult. There are hundreds of style to choose from, and many offer very different experiences.
When you're looking for your first (or next) pair, it's important to know there is no one best choice for everyone. What makes a shoe the best one for you depends on many different factors: foot width, arch height, your weight and unique gait all play a role.
You have to consider your training, preferred running surface and current fitness level—and let’s not forget your style, either. New runners might like more structure and cushioning compared to someone who is looking to ramp up their speed with a minimal weight and lightning fast response. Trail runners often look for more grip than the average road runner, and track stars need spikes built for speed.
To give you a place to start, we’ve combined over 40 years of outfitting experience, real-life testing and fit id® data to curate this list of running shoes for every type of runner.
Best Running Shoes By Brand
Every major brand makes excellent shoes for all different occasions. So whether you're devoted to Brooks or loyal to New Balance, you can find the right pair for the right situations.
But just like there's no one best shoe, there's also no one best brand for every runner. Each brand has its own designs and technologies; what works for your friend might not work for you, so it's important to know what makes each brand unique to make an informed decision.
Need a high-cushion everyday trainer? Looking for a light and fast racing flat? Check out the best running shoe brands and all the shoes they make.
Here are the best running shoe brands:
Best Running Shoes By Category
Different runners require different gear, so we created these lists to help everybody find exactly what they need.
Some runners who overpronate might prefer extra stability, while others go for neutral support. Off-road runners need grip for the trail, while some people are just looking for comfortable walking shoes.
We combed through each major category to find the best running shoes for every type of runner.
Best Walking and Running Shoes For Men and Women
Many top brands make men's and women's running shoes with different attributes.
Men are generally heavier than women, so some men's sneakers have more cushioning. Women typically have a narrower heel and midfoot than men, so some brands make women's versions to accommodate those differences.
We pulled models for men and women to give you a place to start your search for the perfect pair.
Best Running Shoes By Foot Shape
If you've had a 3D scan during our fit id® outfitting process, you know whether you have high or low arches, you know your heel shape and you can see your foot width. Or maybe you've tried enough running shoes to know you need a wide width.
Millions of runners and walkers have had their feet scanned at a Fleet Feet store, giving us tons of data to identify which shoes will fit which types of feet. Whatever your foot shape, we can match it with a pair that will help you run comfortably.
Check out these categories based on 3D foot scans:
Finding the right shoes online can be difficult. There are hundreds of models and styles to choose from, and you can find a wide range of prices for similar products.
Here are some commons questions we see about running shoes to help you make the right choice:
How Do You Pick the Right Running Shoes For You?
From carbon-plated running shoes designed to go fast to rugged trail running shoes, there are shoes for every ability, size, level and surface. With so many options to choose from, how do you find the best running shoes for you?
Whether you’re just beginning to run or are training for a race, your running shoes should feel light on your feet, cushion your landings and support your foot’s natural motion. Narrowing down the best running shoes for you, however, will typically come down to one thing: comfort.
How Should Running Shoes Fit?
If you're new to running, here are some basic guidelines to follow when trying on shoes to find the perfect fit:
- Length - Generally speaking, you should have a space about the width of your thumb between the end of your big toe and the front of your shoe.
- Width - Your feet should sit in the middle of the footbed and not spill over the edges. If your foot is bulging out of the sides, consider trying a wider width.
- Comfort - There shouldn't be a break-in period—your shoes should be comfortable right out of the box (although we don't suggest racing a half marathon in a new pair the day you purchase them.)
As you gain experience and try more pairs of running shoes, you'll learn if you like more cushioning or less, a stiffer model or a more flexible one.
Finding the best running shoes for you can be a daunting process, but it is an important one to get right. Your running shoes provide a base for your body to land on while you run; they can help prevent injuries and make your run overall more enjoyable. To be confident you’re buying the perfect pair, check out our guide on How to Choose Running Shoes.
What to Consider Before Buying
There are plenty of things that make running shoes good. High quality materials last longer than cheap stuff; attention to small details, like stitching, helps make them more comfortable; and technical fabrics make them more breathable.
But everyone’s feet are different—not to mention their weight, footstrike, gait pattern and pronation. Just because they’re good shoes doesn’t mean they’re the right shoes for you. That's why it's important to also understand the anatomy of a running shoe.
Other things to consider when you’re shopping are your foot shape, the level of support you need, how much cushion you want and how they fit your style.
In short: There isn’t one best pair of running shoes for everyone. But there is a pair that will give you a comfortable experience, mile after mile.
Finding the right shoes comes down to a combination of comfort, performance and price. Here are the first three questions you should answer to narrow down your search:
- How many miles per week do you currently run?
- What are your running or walking goals?
- How much money are you willing to spend?
Whether you’re a new runner looking to get started or you’re a veteran marathoner chasing PRs, this Running Shoes Buyer’s Guide will help you find the right pair.
Still not sure which shoe is best for you? Find a local Fleet Feet store for a free, personalized assessment and 3D scan of your feet. Plus, to make sure you love your gear, you can try out your shoes for 60 days thanks to our Happy Fit Guarantee.
How We Tested the Best Running Shoes
With over 250 stores in communities across the country, Fleet Feet is the largest running store in the U.S. with over four decades of experience outfitting runners with the best running shoes, apparel and gear. We focus on running and walking gear, so we can be the experts and bring you the best running and walking advice possible.
Through our personalized Fleet Feet fit id® Outfitting process with 3D foot scanning technology, we use data from over 5 million foot scans (and counting) to give us unique insights into how today’s top running shoes fit and perform on a wide variety of feet. Additionally, thanks to 100,000+ runners participating in our local running clubs and training programs each year, we can see firsthand how the newest running shoes and gear perform for all different types of runners, each with different goals in mind.
Collectively, our experienced team of Fleet Feet editors has tried, tested and fallen in love with hundreds of different running shoes from dozens of the world’s top running brands. With this knowledge, we meticulously pour over the smallest details like fit, comfort, materials, durability and weight, to decide which running shoes and gear are the best. From running shoe and gear reviews to workout tips and inspiration, we are your go-to source for running knowledge and motivation.
With this knowledge and expertise, we’ve tested the best running shoes based on:
- Purpose. Comparing apples to apples
- Performance. How well does it do its job?
- Real-world testing. We put them to the test on real runs
- Price. Is it affordable? Does its performance justify its cost?
- Sales. Best-selling models are best-sellers for a reason
- fit id® data. Our 5 million+ foot scans show how shoes fit for different feet
- Availability. It won’t be good for you if it’s not in stock
- Designer interviews. We ask the people who made it
Standing Behind Our Picks
Fleet Feet knows running.
We picked the best running trainers based on over four decades of experience outfitting runners of all abilities, ages and sizes. If you buy gear from us and you don’t like the way it looks, fits or performs, bring it back within 60 days for a full refund.
Plus, we offer free shipping & returns on all orders over $99 on fleetfeet.com, and we’ll match a lower price from a qualifying retailer. That’s our Happy Fit Guarantee.
fit id® & Dynamic Pressure Mapping
Buying online isn’t for everyone. To try on your gear before you buy it, visit a local Fleet Feet store for an in-person fitting experience.
We fit you for running shoes through our own fit id® outfitting process. The one-on-one process uses a 3D scanner to take precise measurements of your feet. This in combination with our *Dynamic Pressure Mapping system helps our highly trained Outfitters assess your foot’s path of motion and stride as you walk so they can find the perfect shoes for you. Then, using data points for each foot and decades of experience in the industry, we help you find the right gear for your unique feet and specific needs.
Want to try it for yourself? Find a Fleet Feet location near you.
*Pressure plates are available at select Fleet Feet stores
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