The need for the right running shoes is more important than ever before with
over 3,111,800 women across England regularly running (including tons more newbies) since Coronavirus changed everything about how our fitness and regular lives looked.
And, TBH, the right trainers are just as important as correct form and technique and, yes that does include warming up and cooling down. (If you're a newbie who's been scouring the internet for how to start running, don't neglect the things you need to be doing beforehand or afterwards– OK?) But, making sure you have the right shoes is a point certified strength coach and footwear expert Emma Kirk-Odunubi wishes more women knew about, no least because different runs demand different footwear:
‘As your distance increases many people generally want to increase the cushioning level of their shoe. For (postponed) half marathon or marathon runners, having greater cushioning over longer distances can have its benefits.’ And that goes for training too if lockdown has significantly ramped up your miles.
But we get it: running shoes are an investment and the price tag can often exceed what you'd budgeted spending on new run-togs. With that in mind, we've rounded up a mix of the best and spiffy new releases so you can shop to your feet and budget's content.
What to look for in running shoes
With this in mind, it’s time for WH edit of the best running shoes money can buy.
Cushioning: This helps the ground feel softer underfoot and encourages ground-contact stability.
Weight: Lighter shoes typically have less cushioning, giving an increased rebound off the ground. They're designed for speedy splits and powerful runs. For longer distances choose heavier shoes with more cushioning.
Drop: This is the difference in the cushioning level from the rear foot to the forefoot. The lower the drop, the more conducive the shoe is for a speedy running style. Speed shoes will tend to have around a 4mm drop.
Best cushioned running shoes
1. Adidas Ultraboost 21s
Best for: Road running
How much? £160
Ready for those chilly winter miles? Yeah, us neither. But Spring is coming and Adidas are and they've dropped a brand new pair of running shoes to make sure you keep getting out there.
Here are the specs you need to know before adding to basket: A sock-like fit with 6% more cushioning than previous Boost iterations; Primeblue material made with Parley Ocean Plastic (Adidas' recycled high-performance fabric) and no virgin polyester; supportive heel counter and 115% increase in forefoot bending stiffness to make them your most responsive trainers yet.
2. Nike Reach Infinity Run Flyknit 2
Best for: Injury-prone runners
Drop: 8.4 mm
How much? £139.95
Nike's latest drop, the React Infinity Run Flyknit 2 (say that five times fast), is the latest iteration of one of the brand's most talked about trainer designs.
'Injury plagues runners of all levels and it can be something that stops people joining the sport or rejoining post-injury,' says Brett Holts, VP of Nike Running. 'We've prioritised and maximised the amount of cushioning underfoot to really smooth the foot out and allow each runner's body to be as natural as possible through their gait and stride.'
A study conducted by the BCSMRF showed that runners wearing the shoes had a 52% lower injury rate than those wearing the control shoe. So, if you're constantly bemoaning a sore-this or a pulled-that, it might be time to invest in some kit that quite literally was made for the job.
3. Saucony Ride 13
Best for: All round training
How much? £125
Not to point out the totally obvious but there's zero chance of you getting lost in the crowd with these mega colourful kicks. Designed with a durable outsole and PWRRUN cushioning, you'll be springy, supported and stable as you get going. A firm run-favourite of WH's digital fitness writer, Morgan Fargo, these shoes are basically everything we love in a running shoe and more. Cheers, Sauc'.
4. Asics Novablast
Best for: Neutral runners who want extra propulsion
How much? £129.99
If you've ever wanted to feel like you're running on a mini-trampoline – in a brilliant way – these Asics Novablast will do that and then some. The propulsive nature of the foam midsole means for every step you put in will be energised, cushioned and keep you trucking on when the miles rack up.
Most importantly though – the trainer's soft, lightweight mesh upper (the fabric over your toes) keeps air flowing which means super sweaty feet are a thing of the past – thank god.
Shave seconds off your 5k, stay cool and dry down there or just enjoy the feeling of running on more cushion than you thought possible – Novablast are the running shoe for you.
5. Brooks Hyperion Elite 2
Best for: Race day
How much? £210
Brooks are known for their springy, race ready running shoes and their Hyperion Elite 2 are no different. Springy, cushioned, with a curved, sculpted heel for fast transitions between paces, you'll be smashing PBs left, right and centre.
An efficient, sleek choice, these kicks will have you moving faster and more lightly - which, is kind of the dream, right?
6. HOKA All Gender Rocket X
Best for: Racing
How much? £140
You say cushioned, HOKA say cushioned. If the difference wasn't obvious, the HOKA All Gender Rocket X is the responsive trainer of your dreams – super lightweight, propulsive with a firm heel and soft forefoot, these are the trainers to get ready to race in (crossed fingers, 2021). The lightest racing flat in the HOKA range, they'll get you past the finish line in what's likely to be your quickest time yet. Get in.
7. On Running Cloudflow
Best for: 10km race training
How much? £130
The newest ON shoe, the Cloudflow, combines their Helion™ superfoam along with a curved heel for 'better hold, durability and comfort.'
Basically, they're going to feel light on the top of your foot, super cushioned underneath and cool thanks to the ventilated mesh. The new rubber traction base will also keep you more stable on slippery wet roads.
8. Nike Air Zoom Tempo Next %
Best for: Training
How much? £169.95
Designed to go the distance, Nike's latest iteration of the cult-followed Next % trainers are the everyday companion for comfort and durability. The visible Zoom Air unit (the round disc) gives springy cushioning while the Nike React technology in the heel is lightweight to help keep your stride as efficient as poss. Basically, they'll go the distance and be light enough to feel like you're floating through the seconds. Winner.
9. New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10
Best for: Beginner distance running
How much? £135
Cushioned, stable, lightweight – three words we love to hear when it comes to trainers that'll more than do the job. A running staple, New Balance Fresh Foam is a style that's been around for aeons – fortunately for us, they just keep making it better. This latest style has enough support for long-distance runs whilst the foam and cushioning helps you pick up speed too.
10. Skechers Max Cushioning Elite
Best for: Runners on a budget
How much? £85
Skechers Max Cushioning Elite shoe adds comfort and response to your run without weight you down in the process while also letting tired feet breathe as they work. Cushioned, lightweight and breathable, these gems come in at under £100.
Best 'smart' running shoe
11. UA HOVR™ Machina – ON SALE
Best for: Neutral runners who like to track their stats
Under Armour's most recent runner, the HOVR™ Machina, comes with a personal running coach that when connected to MapMyRun™ tracks your stride length, cadence and pace and coaching you in real-time.
As for the shoes, zero-gravity feel helps keep your stride light, compression mesh holds your foot securely, reflective details keep you seen and the solid rubber outsoles help protect high-impact zones to keep you running for longer.
Best lightweight running shoes
12. Adidas SL20 – ON SALE
Best for: 10k training
One of Adidas' most anticipated drops, the SL20, is a lightweight shoe with a snappy propulsive feel. It's also breathable, supportive and comfortable, meaning you can get out and train without worrying about whether your kit will slow you down. A half-step below from their pro-shoes, the SL20 crosses the line between committed daily runners and race runners: Meaning, if you've got a goal in mind, these are the shoes to get you there.
Best road running shoes
13. Saucony Endorphin Shift
Best for: Runners looking to up the distance
How much? £130
So. You've completed the Couch to 5k app, you've been running on the reg and you're looking to take it to the next level. These are the shoes for you. The Saucony Endorphin Shift promises to make every run feel easier – and it really delivers. How, you ask? The PWRRUN cushioning feels super plush, and the SPEEDROLL technology enhances each and every stride to keep you moving forward.
Best supportive running shoes
14. Saucony Guide 13
Best for: Cushioned support
How much? £124.99
So you require a little extra comfort when you run, do you? The Saucony Guide 13's might be just the ticket for you then. Reliable, cushioned, with a fluid feel from heel to toe, you'll be supported your whole run long.
Best sustainable running shoes
15. Allbirds Tree Dashers
Best for: Everyday running
How much? £120
This running trainer is carbon neutral, made from natural materials and offers lightweight stability and support. It's this brand's first foray into performance footwear, and is crafted from natural rubber and merino wool with a seamless upper made from FSC® Certified eucalyptus trees. Now that's eco-chic.
16. Giesswein Merino Wool Runners
Best for: Cross training
How much? £116
Austrian brand Giesswein create 100% merino wool trainers that thermoregulate and are naturally odour resistant - whether you choose to wear socks or not! Their running trainers are hyper lightweight, comfortable and flexible which means they work for different workouts: perhaps running one day, power walking the next?
On the hunt for trail running shoes? We have you covered with the best trail running shoes to keep you getting out there safely this summer.
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