Best Running Shoe Brands 2021
Buyer's Guide | Fleet Feet
The best running shoe brand is the one that works the best for you.
All of the best running shoe brands use premium materials to design comfortable, high-quality shoes. But deciding which brand is the best depends on a lot of factors.
Your foot shape, foot size and weight can make one brand work better for you than another. Same with your training, previous experience and goals. Don’t forget about personal style, either.
With so many variables, it’s impossible to say which is the best running shoe brand. But there are plenty of top-tier brands engineering running shoes for a wide variety of preferences and activities—you just have to find the right one.
The first rule of finding the best running shoes is making sure they’re comfortable. Double-check the length and width, and make sure they have cushioning that feels good under your feet. If they’re not comfortable when you try them on, they won’t suddenly become comfortable when you start running.
If you’re looking for a place to start, here are some of the best running shoe brands in the industry (in no particular order):
[This article is part of the Fleet Feet Buyer's Guide for The Best Running Shoes 2021. Find all the best running shoes from the top brands for all situations.]
Brooks makes some of the most popular running shoes on the market today. From the democratic Brooks Ghost 12 to the specialized Brooks Hyperion Elite, almost every runner can find a pair of Brooks running shoes that fits their feet and their training.
The Seattle-based brand focuses all of its energy, research and development on running—no football, baseball or swimming—so you get running shoes and apparel tailored specifically for the sport.
Check out the best Brooks running shoes.
ASICS prioritizes its motto “A Sound Mind In A Sound Body” when it creates new running shoes, which translates to high-quality products built for every runner.
Take the ASICS GEL-Nimbus for example. The Nimbus has been one of the most dependable running shoes over the past two decades, and it only gets more comfortable with age. Packed with technology and precisely tuned for different characteristics, each pair of ASICS running shoes delivers the premium experience runners demand.
Read up on the best ASICS running shoes.
HOKA ONE ONE
A relative newcomer to the industry, HOKA ONE ONE made a splash with its big midsoles. But it didn’t take long to win runners over.
HOKA running shoes are some of the most-cushioned running shoes around, making them great for long distances and jobs that require lots of standing or walking. Even with their generous helpings of foam, though, HOKA running shoes don’t weigh you down—many models weigh less than 10 oz.
See the best HOKA running shoes.
New Balance has been manufacturing iconic athletic equipment for decades, and New Balance running shoes are no exception.
Designers at the Boston-based brand create consistent models year after year and dream up bold new technology to push the industry forward. With styles that can go from running laps to running errands, New Balance running shoes deliver premium performance in every situation.
Check out the best New Balance running shoes.
The Nike swoosh is everywhere. From fashion runways to baseball diamonds, you’ll find athletes in Nike shoes and apparel.
Nowhere is that more apparent than at the starting line of a race. Nike running shoes crowd the line as both elite runners and amateur athletes take their marks, and they often turn up at the finish line to break the tape. With models built for training and other engineered for race day, Nike shoes are some of the best in the world.
See all the best Nike running shoes.
Saucony has a rich history of creating shoes, and they build that history into every pair of running shoes they produce.
With more than 100 years under its laces, Saucony designs some of the best running shoes you can buy. From feathery everyday trainers and cushioned stability shoes to powerful cross country and track spikes, every runner can find a match with Saucony running shoes.
See all the best Saucony running shoes.
Altra’s founder made the brand’s first prototype in 2009 by baking shoes in a toaster oven. More than a decade later, Altra’s roomy shape and standout performance have won over the masses.
The key to Altra’s success is its FootShape toe box. While some running shoe brands build shoes that get narrower toward the toe, Altra running shoes have a more square toe that allows a runner’s foot to land and push off naturally. The natural shape and ZeroDrop heel-to-toe difference give Altra shoes a comfortable and natural feel.
See the best Altra running shoes.
Karhu has outfitted everyday runners and Olympians since it first started making running shoes in 1916, and it now channels that spirit into modern running shoes.
Modern Karhu running shoes don the Finnish brand’s unique Fulcrum technology to keep momentum moving forward. Lab testing showed the Fulcrum helped reduce vertical oscillation, which in turn kept a runner’s forces moving forward.
One of the biggest innovations from Karhu, though, was the development of the Karhu Ikoni. Designers modeled the Ikoni on hundreds of thousands of 3D foot scans captured during Fleet Feet’s fit id® outfitting process. The result is a comfortable, easy riding running shoe that most people will love.
Check out all the best Karhu running shoes.
Mizuno is one of the best running shoe brands because it delivers consistent, dependable shoes for a wide variety of runners.
Shoes like the Wave Rider and Wave Inspire have powered runners for decades, while new technology propels Mizuno toward whatever’s next. Whether you’re training for a marathon or just looking to get outside for a walk, Mizuno running shoes will be your reliable, durable training partner.
See the best Mizuno running shoes.
On didn’t start making running shoes until 2010, but it wasn’t long after that athletes took notice.
The key to On running shoes is the CloudTec technology. Rows of Cloud elements on each shoe provide soft landings and explosive takeoffs. Paired with On’s signature Speedboard—a plastic board between the midsole and upper that delivers a snappy ride—On is making some of the best running shoes around.
Since their debut, On running shoes have made their way to elite triathletes and amateur runners alike, proving On as one of the best running shoe brands in the industry.
See the best On running shoes.