'We test hundreds of pairs of running shoes – these are our editors' favourites'
When it comes to running shoes, it's hard to find a trainer that our team hasn’t put through its paces — whether it’s the latest iteration of a much-loved classic (like the Pegasus 40 or Gel-Kayano 29) or a surprising newcomer like the Flow Velociti Elite.
Now if you’re new to running, there’s nothing wrong with relying on one solid trainer for every run. But if you’re looking to get a bit more serious about your training, you might want to consider a shoe rotation. In short, this is where you use a different shoe for each type of running workout. There’s no set number for how many shoes you should have on the go at once, but sessions you might want to consider different shoes for include slow-paced runs like recovery runs and long, slow runs and faster efforts like tempo workouts and race days. If you're regularly running on trails, you'll need a trail shoe, too.
Check out our guide on how to build a shoe rotation for the full 101. But to give you some inspiration, we asked the Runner’s World editors for the shoes they’ve been reaching for time and time again.
Rick Pearson, senior editor
Preferred distance: Half marathon
Preferred terrain: On and off road
Gait: Forefoot/midfoot striker, neutral
Asics Metaspeed Sky+
For race day and key sessions, I’m going for the Asics Metaspeed Sky+. It’s designed with forefoot strikers in mind, which suits me, and feels a little more stable than other supershoes I’ve tried. It’s lightweight (205g) and has a slightly lower heel-toe drop (5mm) than many of its competitors, which creates a more natural ride.
Nike Zoom Streak 7
Before the dawn of carbon plates, people were winning major races in the Nike Zoom Streak. It’s a low-profile, versatile racing flat that can be worn for distances from 5K to marathon. The Streak 6 was even better than the Streak 7, but is sadly no longer available (and I have looked). In terms of a road shoe that can serve almost all your needs without bankrupting you, it ticks every box.
Adidas Terrex Speed Ultra
I wasn’t expecting to like this shoe, as I hadn’t enjoyed other Terrex models, but the Speed Ultra is a revelation. Ultrarunner and Terrex athlete Tom Evans played an active role in its creation, and the result is a shoe that feels fast and comfortable across a variety of speeds and distances. It’s a trail shoe, but with a tread that can effortlessly handle road sections, and it looks snazzy too.
Ali Ball, ecommerce editor
Preferred distance: Marathon
Preferred terrain: Road
Nike Alphafly Next% 2
For me, no race day shoe beats the Alphafly. I slightly overpronate when I run, and while I’ve ran marathons in both the Vaporfly and Alphafly, the Alphafly give me that bit more stability. It’s seriously stacked, falling just under the World Athletics 40mm limit for sole thickness (not that I’ll be winning any competitions), so it might be a bit tippy for some. For me, I love the comfort and the propulsion, and you’ll find these on my feet for most races and interval sessions.
Asics Gel-Nimbus 25
I’m a sucker for a max-cushioned shoe, and it doesn’t get much plusher than the Gel-Nimbus 25. The bouncy foam midsole and stretchy knit tongue get a big thumbs up from me, and Asics has given the shoe a more fun, modern look since the previous iteration, too. Don’t expect to be hitting PBs in these, but for easy runs and recovery days they’re my winner.
For when you want comfort combined with responsiveness, the Cloudmonster fits the bill. I often recommend this one to friends as a great beginner’s running shoe. Like the Gel-Nimbus, it’s classed as a max-cushioned trainer, but it feels a lot less plushy and a lot more versatile. This is largely due to the speedboard which gives the forefoot a certain snappiness for faster paces – perfect for adding some tempo to those longer runs.
Jen Bozon, deputy digital editor
Saucony Ride 16
I tend to do the bulk of my miles in the Saucony Guide 16s – wearing these for long weekend runs and easy recovery miles in the week. I’m someone that overpronates and can be quite prone to lower limb niggles so I found the structure they provide and their firm cushioning is great for me.
On Cloudsurfer 7
I like to wear the Cloudsurfer 7s for faster stuff – so interval sessions and tempo runs – as they’re light and energetic, so feel great when you want to pick up the pace, but soft as well, so just feel really comfortable to run in.
Saucony Endorphin Speed 3
I also wear the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3s for speed sessions – and think I will wear these for my next race. These have a nylon plate, which combined with the bouncy midsole foam feels really springy but not overly so that you feel out of control, which suits me well. Because of their ultra-light and bouncy cushioning they are also well suited to long miles, so I tend to stick these on if I’m doing a long run with fast efforts thrown in.
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