Best Karhu Running Shoes 2021

Buyer's Guide | Fleet Feet

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Shop All Karhu Running Shoes

Karhu has been making running shoes for over a century and are now shaped for the perfect fit using Fleet Feet’s fit id® outfitting process.

Beginning in the early 1900s, Karhu started making running shoes that quickly caught on. The Finnish brand outfitted amateurs and professionals alike, racking up a slew of gold medals in the process.

Karhu keeps this competitive spirit alive by continuously innovating to provide the best shoes. Part of this innovation is the Fulcrum technology that is in each of their shoes and is designed to keep you moving forward. Tested in university labs, the Fulcrum helps reduce vertical oscillation and stabilize unwanted side-to-side movement so you can run smoother. It is designed for forward movement by offering balanced cushion, increased support and more energy at toe-off.

Recently, Karhu has partnered with Fleet Feet to use the data from millions of 3D foot scans to design their shoes. This data is used to provide an almost custom-like fit when you put on a pair.

Here are our picks for the best Karhu running shoes:

[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.]


Best for Most People

Karhu Ikoni 2021

Karhu built the original Ikoni from more than 100,000 3D foot scans captured during Fleet Feet’s fit id® outfitting process. The mountains of data informed the shoe’s shape and fit. The latest edition is even better.

Designers compiled more scans and more data to tweak the fit for the new model, making it a more comfortable, accommodating running shoe for most people. Fleet Feet testers said the fit works for a wide variety of foot shapes, and it feels comfortable from the first miles to the last.

Karhu outfitted the Ikoni with lightweight AeroFoam cushioning and a seamless engineered mesh upper for a ride and feel that’s well-suited to the bulk of your training miles and some up-tempo paces, as well.

Best for Cushioning

Karhu Synchron

Karhu engineered the Synchron to be the softest shoe in its lineup by packing it full of AeroFoam Nova cushioning.

The plush bed of foam creates a luxurious landing and smooth transition from heel to toe. Plus, it delivers impressive durability for hundreds of miles of easy running.

Fleet Feet runners said they also appreciated the stable feeling provided by the midsole. Although the Synchron is a neutral running shoe, the ride doesn't feel wobbly or unstable.

Wrapped in a lightweight mesh upper lined with a silky bootie, the new Karhu Synchron 2021 will keep you cruising in comfort for your longest runs.

Read more in our Karhu Synchron 2021 review.

Best for Wide Feet

Karhu Ikoni 2021 HiVo

Karhu developed the Ikoni 2021 HiVo with wider—or “high volume”—feet in mind. Designers leveraged the same fit id data to turn the outstanding Ikoni 2021 into a better fit for wider feet.

Karhu kept the same Fulcrum technology for a smooth transition in the Ikoni 2021 HiVo. The HiVo model delivers the same lightweight feel and well-cushioned ride as the standard width version, but it provides a wider toe box and midfoot to accommodate larger feet.

So if you struggle with your feet falling asleep during runs, consistently blow out the sides of a shoe, or commonly get hotspots on the top of your foot, the Ikoni HiVo could be a great option for you.

Best for Everyday Training and Speedwork: Karhu Fusion 2021

Karhu Fusion 2021

The Karhu Fusion is a great everyday trainer that can pick up the pace for speedwork.

Karhu’s signature Fulcrum tech helps maintain forward momentum by reducing how much you bounce up and down with each step. The Fusion has a shorter fulcrum than other Karhu shoes, which propels you forward and encourages a quicker turnover. This is combined with the AeroFoam midsole that is lightweight and bouncy for an efficient ride.

After studying the shapes of men’s and women’s feet from Fleet Feet’s 3D scans, Karhu found the two most significant differences were the circumferences of the instep and the forefoot. Designers tailored each shoe to those differences.

Instead of taking the same last as the men’s model and making it smaller for women, Karhu made the Fusion with an instep and forefoot to match a woman’s specific foot shape, and they called HeraFit. The women’s Fusion is the first shoe that Karhu built with its new women’s-specific fit.

One of the first things reviewers noticed about the updated Fusion is its soft step-in feel. Karhu used a padded tongue that’s coated in a smooth fabric, which gives the shoe a plush feel and soaks up the pressure created by the laces. The Fusion is a great shoe to log everyday miles and is light enough for tempo work for those runners who want a responsive, stable ride.

Karhu Shoe Reviews

Karhu Running Shoe Technology

Ortix + -

Ortix is what gives KARHU its signature, data-informed fit. This technology uses foot scans to design a shoe bed that takes into consideration the shape of the midsole, foot volume, and overall foot measurements.

Fulcrum + -

KARHU's Fulcrum technology is designed to keep you moving forward. It uses your body's natural energy and momentum to create a smoother ride while delivering balanced cushioning and increased support where it counts.

M-lock + -

These specially designed side panels help to secure the shoe around your foot while the inner bootie retains its shape.

Ideal Knit + -

Specially knit upper that rests above the uniquely printed Ortix layer, with focused zones for support, stretch and breathability.

Aero Foam + -

KARHU's cushioned, proprietary midsole foam that is lighter and and more temperature resistant than EVA.

Aero Foam NOVA + -

An liquid-based iteration of the proprietary Aero Foam that provides increased shock absorption and durable cushioning.

How We Picked the Best Karhu Running Shoes

We used data from our fit id® outfitting process, interviews with designers and real-life wear testing to determine the best Karhu running shoes for most runs and the most runners.

No two people (and no two runners) are the same, though. The best running shoes for you might not be the best shoes for your sister or that guy in your weekly pub run. You have to decide which shoes are best based on comfort, performance and price—that's why we offer a Happy Fit Guarantee, so you can try them out for yourself.

You can shop with confidence at Fleet Feet: We offer free shipping on all orders over $99, and you have 60 days to return any gear if you don’t like the way it looks, fits or feels. Plus, with our price-match guarantee, you can make sure you never pay too much for a new pair of running shoes.

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