Finding the best men’s running shoes for your needs can be a challenge. There are hundreds of great running shoes to choose from, and sifting through all of them is a never-ending process.
At Fleet Feet, we’re constantly searching for the best running shoes for men and all runners, including ourselves. We research, test and write about as many men’s running shoes as we can to assess how well they hold up to their intended purpose: to deliver a comfortable running experience.
There are sometimes also differences between men's shoes and the best running shoes for women of the same model. If shoe designers created models for each gender, we outline how each shoe is different.
After putting many shoes through their paces, we think these are the best men’s running shoes for (almost) every type of run:
[This article is part of the Fleet Feet Buyer's Guide for The Best Running Shoes 2020. Find all the best running shoes from the top brands for all situations.]
There are lots of great men’s running shoes. From every brand, in every category, you can find a pair of running shoes that work for you. But few men’s running shoes enjoy the mass appeal of the men’s Brooks Ghost 12.
The Brooks Ghost 12 combines several characteristics that give it such allure: comfort, cushion, weight, quality and price.
One of a running shoe’s main jobs is to be comfortable; an uncomfortable shoe won’t work for you, especially if it’s the one that absorbs most of your miles. The Ghost 12 is comfortable all around. A roomy toe box and midfoot blend with a snug heel cup and straightforward lacing to create a fit that works for a wide variety of foot shapes (plus, it comes in wide sizing for anyone who needs it).
Brooks used a combination of its soft DNA Loft and responsive BioMoGo DNA foams to create easy landings and solid takeoffs. Both foams offer lightweight cushion, so the Ghost never feels like it’s holding you back. In the Brooks Ghost 12 review, Fleet Feet testers said they loved the uncomplicated fit and ride provided by the Ghost.
Complete with an impressive build quality and just-right price, we recommend the Brooks Ghost 12 as the best men’s running shoe for most runners.
The running shoes you use for your everyday training have to strike the right balance of cushion and weight. The men’s New Balance Fresh Foam 880v10 nails it.
The 880 has long been a favorite among many male runners for its comfortable fit and cushion, and the tenth version is no exception. New Balance used a cushy Fresh Foam midsole in the latest model, giving it a softer feeling than ever before without weighing it down.
Designers also gave the 880v10 a more modern (and slightly more aggressive) look. With a redesigned upper and organic styling on the sidewalls, the newest 880 is a classic everyday training shoe disguised as something you could wear out with friends.
Testers said in the New Balance 880v10 review they loved the move to Fresh Foam. Adding New Balance’s premier cushioning to its most popular trainer was a no-brainer, and it paid off.
If you’re looking for the most-cushioned running shoe for men, stop here. The men’s HOKA Bondi 6 has the most foam of any shoe on this list.
HOKA engineered the Bondi 6 to be the most-cushioned road running shoe in its impressively cushioned lineup. The Bondi stands on a 33 mm stack height in the heel and 29 mm height in the forefoot, giving you plenty of cushion across the entire length of the shoe.
That amount of luxurious cushion is obvious when you step into it, too. The men’s Bondi 6 delivers a soft and slightly bouncy feeling that translates to smooth, easy runs.
The Bondi 6 is largely the same as the Bondi 5, with the exception of some noticeable aesthetic tweaks. In the HOKA Bondi 6 review, testers said the pillowy midsole makes for a supremely soft running shoe but can also work for anyone who works all day on their feet, like nurses and doctors.
Few shoes come close to the level of foam as the Bondi, which makes the HOKA Bondi 6 the best men’s running shoes for max cushion.
There are men’s running shoes that are lighter or more technologically advanced than the Saucony Kinvara 11, but few running shoes put together the same combination of weight, cushion and speed.
The men’s Kinvara 11 is a featherweight running shoe that packs enough cushion to blur the line between racing flat and everyday trainer. A full-length PWRRUN midsole provides the cushioning and an airy mesh upper gives the shoe a comfortably snug fit.
Part of the Kinvara’s fast feel comes from the 4 mm heel-to-toe drop. Testers in the Saucony Kinvara 11 review said the low drop puts more emphasis on a light step and quick turnover, which encourages a quicker pace.
Even with the narrow difference, though, there’s still a healthy amount of cushioning to soften your steps.
Nike made big updates to the Pegasus 37 to make it faster than ever—and to maintain its reign as the best-selling Nike running shoe ever.
The Peg 37 is still a lightweight, nimble everyday training shoe, but Nike updated the midsole and Zoom Air unit to give it a snappier ride.
Designers swapped out the Cushlon foam midsole used in the previous model for a new bed of React foam. The new React midsole is a proven performer that lends the shoe a bouncier, more durable ride than before.
While the Peg 36 used a full-length Zoom Air unit, Nike this year shortened the Air to fit in the forefoot. They made it twice as thick to give you more bounce where you need it.
Instead of just making a single Air unit, though, Nike used testers' feedback to create unique units for men and women. The men's Air unit is pressurized to about 20 psi, while the women's is pumped to roughly 15 psi. The lower pressure gives the women's shoe a less stiff feel, which female testers requested.
Even with major updates, the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 is still one of the most versatile neutral training shoes around, and one of the best men's running shoes you can find.
The men's Mizuno Wave Rider 23 perfectly pair cushion with responsiveness for a ride that carries you to the finish line.
Mizuno slipped its signature Wave Plate into the midsole of the Rider to help disperse impact across a broader area. By doing so, the Wave Rider 23 feel soft on landing and deliver a smooth transition to the forefoot. That's where the foam takes over.
Designers used U4ic and U4icX foams to boost the ride. The foams feel firmer than standard EVA, so you get a snappier step than other running shoes.
After more than two decades, Mizuno has dialed in the Wave Rider 23, making it one of the best running shoes for men.
The On Cloud X is one of the best running shoes for men because it excels in all situations.
On engineered the Cloud X for multi-directional use, meaning it will go from long run to HIIT workout with ease. The minimalist styling helps the shoe blend in when you're out of the gym, and the knit mesh upper is comfortable no matter where you are.
Beneath the Cloud X, on used its CloudTec technology to cushion the ride. On's Zero-Gravity foam is light and bouncy, and the individual Cloud elements collapse on landings for another level of comfort.
The all-around performance of the men's On Cloud X makes it a great running shoe for anyone who runs from the gym to the track or anyone who is looking to support their active lifestyle.
Comfort is important when you're running, and Altra's FootShape toe box on the men's Escalante 2 gives you comfort for many miles.
The unique shape of the toe box matches the real shape of your foot: wider through the midfoot and forefoot with a squared-off toe. That shape lets your foot splay more naturally when you land and push off better when you explode forward.
A new knit upper with more perforations helps your feet breathe better than the original, and an upgraded EGO midsole is more flexible for a smoother transition. With a 6 mm Contour Footbed, the men's Altra Escalante 2 provides plenty of cushion for any run.
The men's Karhu Ikoni 2020 isn't just one of the best Karhu running shoes, it's one of the best running shoes out today thanks to its generous fit.
Karhu designed the Ikoni using data captured during Fleet Feet fit id® outfitting process. The 3D scanning data informed the shape of the last, giving it an accommodating fit for a wide variety of foot shapes.
This year, Karhu made the Ikoni with a slimmer heel cup for a better fit. But it still sports the same AeroFoam midsole and Fulcrum technology that delivers a cushioned, stable ride.
The ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22 delivers a classic ride and premium comfort, making it one of the best men's running shoes you can buy.
Comfort comes from a pair of GEL cushioning units embedded into the midsole. One unit in the heel helps soak up shock, and one in the forefoot creates a smoother transition.
Surrounding the GEL units is a Flytefoam Propel midsole that's soft on landing but responsive on takeoff, which gives you the performance you demand over all the miles you run. With a comfortable forefoot fit and locked-in heel, the men's ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22 won't let you down.
It’s impossible to say definitively that these are the best men’s running shoes for all male runners.
There are so many factors to consider when picking the right men’s running shoes for yourself—not to mention personal preferences—that we can’t say which men’s shoes will be the best for you. Instead, we chose the men’s running shoes that we think will work for the most men, most of the time.
For more personalized recommendations, visit a Fleet Feet location for a one-on-one expert fitting through our fit id® outfitting process. A Fleet Feet expert will walk you through the 3D scanning process to precisely measure your feet, and then they will talk with you about your current training and future goals.
At the end, you’ll have personalized recommendations for men’s running shoes that are tailored to your size and needs.
We used data from our fit id® outfitting process, interviews with designers and real-life wear testing to determine the best men’s running shoes for most runs and the most runners.
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.