So what is the best running shoe for men? I think I am fairly qualified to answer that as I run. A lot. I don’t necessarily get home and think ‘Oh I can’t wait to go for a run’ (especially not in England in the Winter when it is cold, wet and dark!), instead I focus on how much better I will feel when I get home after my run.
My running obsession reached a peak in 2014 when I completed my first ultramarathon (see photos below!) – running 52.4miles without a break. Now I am not saying you have to do that, but if you can get yourself out for regular runs you will feel the benefits of them.
Find Out How You Run
If you are new to running one of the first things you want to do is get a gait analysis done. A gait analysis is basically a way of assessing how you run and walk. Any reputable store will be able to do this for free for you and it should only take 15 minutes.
It basically involves you being filmed whilst you walk and run on a treadmill. The film will be then be assessed and your running style will be determined to help you select a running shoe that best suits you.
Essentially you will have one of three types of running styles:
Overpronation This accounts for around 70% of the population. What happens is when the foot is planted it rolls inwards, so weight is transferred to the inner edge instead of the ball of the foot. This can lead to shin splints, plantar fasciitis, bunions and heel spurs.
Underpronation Essentially the opposite of overpronation as the outer side of the foot hits the ground at a steeper than normal angle with little or no movement inwards. This causes a jarring effect and a transmission of shock through the lower leg. This can lead to plantar fasciitis, shin splints and ankle strain
Neutral The foot lands on the outer edge and then, in a controlled manner, rolls inwards. The weight is distributed evenly and this helps absorb shock. Injuries are less likely for neutral runners. I am lucky enough to be a neutral runner.
The idea behind a gait analysis is you will end up with a running shoe that counters your type of pronation and leaves you less likely to get injured.
A good running shop will not pressure you into buying a running shoe straight away and also will not try and sell you the most expensive shoe. So…
The video below goes into more detail about pronation:
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What is the best running shoe if you are an overpronator?
Running, or walking, if you overpronate requires extra support in your shoe. The best running shoes for overpronators will stop you rolling your ankle inwards and support and stabilise your stride pattern. My top three picks are:
1) ASICS GT-2000 3
Asics GT 2000 series is their most popular running shoe, and the bestselling in the industry, and for good reason. The GT-2000 3 is a lightweight running shoe, with good cushioning under the forefoot that is perfect for the mild to moderate overpronator. The GT-2000 3 has lower arch support, the heel has been dropped in comparison to previous iterations of this series and the sole has also be stiffened
Provides plenty of stability and minimizes roll
Very competitive price
Not too flashy
Might not suit you if you have wider feet
Overall The GT-2000 3 is a great shoe if your overpronation is not too severe. They feel nice and cushioned and are very lightweight yet still provide plenty of stability and minimize roll. The arch support has been improved and they should last longer on the sole than other similar shoes. The stiffened sole might initially be uncomfortable but it forces you to alter your stride to be more bio-mechanically correct and reduce the risk of injury, so benefits you in the long run (pun intended!).
The Gel Kayano line is, along with the GT-2000 series mentioned above, the most popular all-round ASICS shoe but overpronators. But whereas the GT2000 are suited more for mild to moderate pronators this shoe will suit even those with more severe overpronation. The Gel-Kayano 21 is the lightest ever and has a fluid fit style, with creates a glove like fit.
Great arch support so perfect for runners with flat feet
Slightly narrower in the toe box
Overall The Gel-Kayano 21 is the Rolls Royce of running shoes for overpronators – due to the ASICS fluid fit style they are incredibly comfortable and have a much softer top. They are great if you have flat feet as the arch in the shoe is not over pronounced and the gel on the outside heel works like a shock absorber when you are running and landing on the outside of your feet and rolling in. They have a high heel-toe drop, are light, durable and all round a top quality running shoe.
The LunarGlide 7 comes from the LunarGlide line of shoes that has earnt much respect in running circles. The upper of the shoe has been significantly overhauled from previous versions and the synthetic overlays replaced with a more engineered mesh and Flyknit material for a very breathable finish and customized fit. Extra support has been provided thanks to a dual density sole – remodelled from the already popular LunarGlide 6.
Great stabilizing shoe, absorp the foot to ground impact, but also support fallen arches
Lots of heel cushioning for heel strikers
Upper unit is breathable and encourages air flow for a more comfortable run
Good tongue cushion so comfortable around the upper foot
Very comfortable and very lightweight
Slight lack of traction on very wet surfaces
Overall The LunarGlide 7 is a great shoe for overpronators as it offers a mix of stability and cushioning and a comfortable and lightweight fit. If you need a supportive running shoe this well help prevent shin splints and knee pain and the mesh design means they will feel better on your feet, leaving you with minimal aches and pains. They strike the perfect balance between being breathable and light but offering good support.
What is the best running shoe if you are an underpronator?
As underpronators tend to turn their feet outside as they run, this means all of their weight goes on the exterior of the foot rather than the arch. A properly cushioned shoe can help counteract this. My top three picks are:
1) Brooks Ghost 9
The Brooks Ghost series has a great reputation among running aficionados winning numerous awards over the years and this was named best buy in the Runner’s World 2016 Fall Shoe Guide. This has midsole cushioning using their signature BioMoGo DNA foam and this actually adapts to your stride and reduces pressure on the soles of your feet. They are very breathable and hug your feet for a comfortable fit.
Great support for high arches and relieves underpronation
Excellent price for the quality of shoe
Amazing fit – almost as if you are running without shoes on!
Lovely combination of cushion, support and performance
Heel to toe hit has been slightly increased to relieve pressure and absorb shock on every stride
May chafe your toes slightly (this can be remedied with talcum powder or better running socks)
Overall The Ghost 9 is a hugely versatile shoe that is great for long runs, tempo runs or even speed training. If you are an underpronator and are having problems with your ankles or knees there is a good chance this will remedy those problems. They provide just the right amount of support and are amazingly comfortable and all at a great price!
The Glycerin range has long been a favourite of underpronators. They are well padded, stable are a great fit and made to the highest quality with a rounded heel and mesh design for breathability.
Minimal arch support will help correct IT band and hip issues
Super BioMoGo DNA midsole balances stance and stabilizes gait
New seamless upper design makes for a comfortable fit that adapts to your foot
Ultra cushioned so excellent shock absorption and very comfortable
Durable and fantastic quality
At the upper end of the price spectrum (but worth it)
Overall The Brooks Glycerin 13 might be the best running shoe for underpronators from the Brooks range – even better that the Ghost (mentioned above). They are really comfortable, have great cushioning underfoot and will improve and correct poor gait. It is also very soft underfoot, so is the ideal shoe for an underpronator. A slightly higher price range, but worth it for the quality and performance levels.
The Saucony Cohesion line are well known for being reliable running shoes at a lower end price. The Cohesion 9 has built upon it’s predecessor with a more highly breathable mesh, a more lightweight rubber outsole and a grip system on the heel that adds cushioning and reduces impact.
High quality shoe at a very reasonable price
Perfect balance of comfort and supportive
Excellent fit and cushioning
Great side stability and supportive footbed
12mm heel to toe drop takes the strain off of the calf
Lateral support is slightly lacking
Overall You may look at the price of the Saucony Cohesion 9 and think they can’t perform to the same standard of other, higher priced, running shoes, but they do. They provide comfortable support and are perfect for any type of running – road races, trail races or running on the treadmill. With a supportive footbed and the right amount of cushioning around the ankle and heel they are great at stabilizing your running style and reducing injuries.
What is the best running shoe if you are a neutral runner?
Only around 25% of runners are neutral pronators, ideal running shoes for neutral pronators should not be too heavy and if they are too minimalist they may lack the sufficient cushioning needed to absorb a level foot strike. Here are my top three picks:
1) Asics Gel Nimbus 18
The Nimbus 18 is designed for long distance running, but really performs well at any level. They have a huge amount of cushioning and have gel in the rearfoot to make for a softer landing. Asics have changed the toe box material so it is no lighter in the entire toe area not just the tops of the toes.
These are great shoes if you suffer from Plantar Fasciitis – as the arch support and cushioning should help ease it.
The upper design is spot on and adapts to your feet, keeping them cool and dry even on hot days
Amazingly cushioned and feel great to wear right from the offering
The Gel Cushioning reduces shock on landing and is especially good for heel strikers.
Encourages a more efficient running style
On the heavier side compared to other running shoes
Overall If you are a neutral runner and a heel striker – the Nimbus 18 are probably about the best running shoe you can get. Overall you can tell Asics have put a lot of time and thought into designing these – they are quality trainers, with great cushioning and they will help iron out any inefficiencies in your running style and reduce injuries.
The Nike Pegasus is the longest continuing running shoe series in the world and with each version Nike seem to make improvements. The appeal of the Pegasus is they can suit almost everyone – they are well priced, cushioned without being overly so, fit well without feeling like your feet are trapped in them and durable. The Pegasus line stays true to the idea that there should be an affordable running shoe that lasts well and is comfortable.
Flexible material allows room in front of the shoe
A durable sole without being too heavy that will last for miles and miles
Good on the trail, the road or the treadmill
The airbag provides a cushioned pad to land on
Great design with reflective material around the back of the heel
If you are looking for cutting edge trainers these are not them.
Overall If you want reliable, well made and comfortable running shoes without the bells and whistles some of the more expensive shoes have then you can’t go wrong with the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34. They are perfect for experienced runners and beginners, with a good dose of cushioning and a secure fit.
The Mizuno Wave Rider is another long running series of shoe. The Wave Rider 18s were good, and these retain the same outsole pattern, the same midsole foam design and construction and the same upper. However the area under the insole has been rejuvenated, with 2mm of foam added to help with shock absorption.
Great midfoot support
Top of the insole is very comfortable – so great for sensitive feet
Top notch arch supportive
Comfy roomy toebox
Durable and well made.
Encourages heel striking
Overall The Wave Rider 19 is an all round quality shoe that performs very well in all areas without excelling in one area in particular. If you do a lot of running and want something comfortable, durable and reliable then this will be for you. It provides stability and a great running experience.
Exercise really can make a huge difference in the winter if you are suffering from SAD and I’d urge you to give it a go. Even if you only go out for a five minute run when you get home it is better than nothing and will make you feel better. So get yourself a decent pair of running shoes and go for it you won’t regret it.SaveSave