Part of being a responsible consumer is sourcing your products from ethical and responsible manufacturers, and one of the simplest ways to do this is to grab products that are made in your home country. When you make the decision to shop products manufactured in the USA, you’re limiting the products available to you. This can narrow down the products you need to search for but sometimes finding the responsibly sourced ones can be difficult.
That’s why we’re here. We’ve found five examples of running shoes from brands that try to keep their manufacturing here in the States. Each entry has a writeup complete with pros and cons, helping you to quickly look for certain properties that you’d prefer in each product.
There's also a buyers’ guide below the list that explains how we ranked the shoes, so you can see our rationale and get a useful rubric to judge other shoes by in the future.
In a hurry?
Since you’re a runner, we wouldn’t be surprised if you want to get through the purchasing process as fast as possible, so let us help you with that. Here’s our number one choice of running shoes that are made in the USA, the aptly named New Balance Made in US 1540 V3 Running Shoe. See why we picked it as our favorite below:
- It’s a typical New Balance stability running shoe that weighs in at 15 ounces. New Balance is one of the largest shoe brands out there with a commitment to keeping as much of the manufacturing process as possible based in the USA.
- Uses New Balance patented tech like the ENCAP midsole supports that in turn supports your feet and increases the durability of the shoe as a whole. It also uses their brand specific Rollbar that has medial and lateral TPU posts in them, improving your motion control to give these heavy-set stability shoes a decent, agile performance.
- Made with a combination of synthetic and mesh material that’s breathable and keeps the shows as light as they can be. The outsoles are also made with wide rubber and a specific geometry to cushion your feet and reduce impact vibrations when running.
Top 5 Best Made in USA Running Shoes
OUR TOP PICK
New Balance is probably the largest shoe brand that keeps its manufacturing in the States, so expect them to feature prominently on this list. Here we have the New Balance 1540 V3 Running Shoe, from the aptly named Made in US series.
It’s a stability running shoe, which isn’t new for New Balance since most of their catalog are either stability or walking shoes. This makes these shoes, and most New Balance shoes, ideal for those searching for stiff and heavy running sneakers. These models in particular weigh in at only fifteen ounces.
Starting at the top of the shoes, they’re made from a combination of synthetic and mesh material that’s relatively light for a heavier running shoe. It’s also used for the upper, making it more breathable and comfortable to wear for longer periods of time.
It's towards the bottom of this shoe where all the action happens, however, with ENCAP midsole technology being utilized at the midsole to improve foot support and the durability of the shoe as a whole. New Balance’s own trademarked rollbar is also found here, where medial and lateral TPU posts enable more motion control for a more agile running experience.
The stability of these shoes mainly comes from the wide and thick rubber outsole geometry that, whilst stabilizing you when you run, also helps to cushion your feet and reduce the impact vibrations that occur when you’re running. This is handy for those with knee joint problems or who otherwise want to safeguard the condition of their legs when running.
Whilst they’re so cushioned on the bottom, the tongues of these shoes are a little short and could probably do with being more padded, since it’s not like these are shoes that are overly concerned with being small.
- A stability running shoe that weighs just 15 ounces.
- ENCAP midsole technology maximizes support and durability.
- Rollbar with medial and lateral TPU posts allow for ultimate motion control.
- Wide rubber outsole geometry cushions your feet and lessens impact from running.
- Made with a combination of synthetic and mesh material, with a breathable mesh upper.
- The tongue could be longer and better padded.
- Premium Performance Running Shoes: The Made in US 1540v3 Running Shoe is crafted with premium materials and technologies for discerning consumers who are serious about athletic style and performance
- Modern Construction for an Outstanding Fit: The leather/mesh upper on these New Balance kids' running shoes features a stitched-down tip and foxing details to provide flexible support and durability
- Soft Underfoot Cushioning: The ABZORB midsole absorbs impact through a combination of cushioning and compression resistance, giving these kids' running shoes a comfortable feel that lasts all day
At second place we have yet another pair of New Balance shoes, this time the MX608 V4 models. Despite belonging to the same brand, these are made of completely different materials and feature other design features that change the running experience they’ll give you.
The first thing you’ll notice is that they have a more rugged design and are made with 100% leather, making them much more durable than the synthetic materials many other running shoes are made from. This results in a generally heavier shoe, but it carries that weight well.
Its design features are all focused in the soles of these shoes, these being the injection-molded ethylene vinyl acetate footbed and midsoles that, whilst soft and responsive to the shape of your feet, also provide support. Similarly, at the heels are New Balance’s own Abzorb cushioning tech that improves these shoes’ compression set properties, making your run feel more like a glide.
Structurally, these shoes are pretty solid. The leather material is sturdy enough, but this only gets reinforced by the internal shank that connects the insole and the outsole and makes the shoe feel like one solid unit.
The soles themselves have a ten-millimeter heel to toe drop, which is quickly becoming the norm in modern running shoes as opposed to twelve millimeters, and it’s particularly useful for runners who have aggressive heel strikes when they’re on the move.
- A rugged running shoe option made from 100% leather.
- Injection-molded ethylene vinyl acetate footbed and midsoles are soft whilst supporting your feet.
- New Balance’s Abzorb used at the heel for advanced cushioning and compression set properties.
- Internal shank maximizes the support structure of these shoes.
- 10mm heel to toe drop is perfect for aggressive heel strikers.
- The laces are pretty long, which can make them come undone easier.
Next, we have the Nike Epic React Flyknit 2 Running Shoes, a pair from America’s largest manufacturer and supplier of footwear, so you can be confident that they’ll adhere to some standard of quality.
This is best exhibited by the fact that they benefit from certain brand-specific features that you’ll only find in Nike shoes. The foremost of these, as the product name implies, is the Nike React foam. This is one of Nike’s latest innovations in how they cushion their shoes, particularly their running ones.
Nike React foam is used in their basketball and running shoes to deliver a squishy but stable running experience, and these shoes are no exception. It’s also very long-lasting, so these are a great option for those who want a workhorse running shoe that’ll be with you for the long haul.
At the bottom of the shoes are specially designed traction patterns intended to maximize the friction you generate when running. This increases your grip, making for a more stable run when you’re on rough terrain, as well as making the outsoles of these shoes generally more durable.
As you might expect from shoes that have a marketing focus on the comforting foam that’s built into them, the shoe’s body has several design elements that are geared towards making them as comfortable to wear as possible. The first of these is an easy on/off for each bootie, so you shouldn’t have to worry about putting them on or taking them off in a hurry. The ankle collar is comfortable yet supportive since it positions itself just below the ankle and is contoured to the bony shape of it.
Though they’ll reliably provide a comfortable fit, this is contingent on you grabbing the right shoe size. As sometimes happens with footwear, these shoes can run small with their sizing, meaning you may want to compensate for this by buying slightly bigger than your foot size.
- Utilizes Nike React foam tech that smoothens your running experience.
- Traction patterns on the bottom of these shoes enhance grip when running.
- Designed with an easy on/off bootie.
- Contoured, low-cut collar supports your ankle for a comfy fit.
- These can run small, so you may want to be careful when choosing a size.
- Style#: BQ8928-601
- Nike React technology delivers an extremely smooth ride.
- Bootie is designed for easy on/off.
At the fourth spot on this list, we have the Brooks Hyperion Running Shoes. They’re pretty new, having been announced just in January 2020, so they don’t have many reviews but what few they do have are positive so far. As you can imagine, the newest releases of products, especially those intended for outdoor use, haven’t seen much market activity due to the worldwide lockdowns in 2020. Still, we thought they deserve a place on this list because they do have some great features that shouldn’t go overlooked, so here they are.
The Hyperion Tempo is the more accessible variant of the Brooks Hyperion Elite, but there are some newer features that the Tempo has over the Elite. The most notable of these is the new nitrogen-infused DNA Flash midsole that’s designed to limit stride deviation, optimizing the biomechanics of your running so that you get fatigued less and recover faster.
The midsole is suitably springy, too, so it’s a light and responsive shoe to run in whilst also reducing some of the impact forces that are usually generated on your heels when you’re running. This plays into the overall design goal of these shoes, which is the optimization and stabilization of your natural running motions through the use of tailored shoe geometry.
As for the rest of the shoes, they’re topped with woven uppers that are stretchy enough to deliver an accommodating, comfortable fit for most people’s feet. They even left tiny gaps in the upper during the manufacturing process so that the fabric doesn’t sit too close to your skin and air can enter and leave the shoe interiors. These keep your feet cool when running which limits perspiration.
That said, they’ll still get warm and damp inside if you’re running marathon distances, so we’d advise that these are best for more casual or hobbyist running.
- Nitrogen-infused DNA Flash midsole optimizes your running profile.
- Supportive yet bouncy shoes that reduce impact forces on your heels.
- Woven upper is breathable and stretchy for the best, most comfortable fit.
- Designed with specific shoe geometry that stabilizes and optimizes your natural motion.
- Its breathability will only extend so far.
- THIS SHOE IS FOR: For runners looking to get the most out of their workouts, the Hyperion Tempo is a light and responsive trainer that reduces deviation, allowing you to run and recover faster
- LIGHT, RESPONSIVE CUSHIONING: We created the all-new DNA FLASH midsole by infusing our adaptive DNA material with nitrogen, providing an incredibly lightweight yet springy experience.
- PERFORMANCE FIT: The woven upper provides both stretch and breathability for maximum comfort.
Lastly, we have the New Balance Made in US 990 V5 Sneakers, the third and last pair of shoes from New Balance that features on this list. Being the Made in US 990s, they aren’t as advanced as our number one option, the Made in US 1540s, but they’re still a great alternative.
The ENCAP midsoles are back in these models, providing the same foot support whilst improving the overall durability of the shoes. What’s new is the Ortholite insoles that mold themselves to your foot shape, ensuring that you can find comfort with these shoes no matter the shapes of your soles.
At the ankle collar, you’ll find dual-density foam that supports your ankles without being too hard to rub against, so rubbing won’t be an issue with these shoes. This kind of specialized ankle reinforcement is handy for those who need more support here, like the elderly or others who have ankle joint issues.
The uppers are made with a combination of pigskin suede and mesh, so it’s structurally durable and bound to last a long time whilst also having those mesh spots where air can escape, keeping your feet cool and aerated.
Being a stability-oriented shoe, these aren’t the best New Balance models you could choose for running. They may be handy for those who need extra support on long walks or lighter jogs, but we wouldn’t recommend them for a sprint, hence why they found themselves at the bottom of our list.
- Ortholite insole molds itself to your feet for maximum comfort.
- ENCAP midsole is great for foot support and shoe durability.
- Dual-density collar foam supports your ankles and reduces rubbing.
- Durable yet breathable pigskin and mesh upper.
- A stability-oriented shoe that’s not ideal for long running sessions.
- THIS SHOE IS FOR: The Dyad 11 is perfect for runners who want a secure fit and a stable feel. Runners with slightly wider feet will also appreciate extra room in the forefoot.
- SUPER-SOFT CUSHIONING: BioMoGo DNA, our proprietary cushioning, adapts to your stride, weight and speed. Why? So it can help protect you by reducing impact on your joints.
- GENEROUS FIT: Sometimes you need a little extra room to move around in. So if you need a roomier shoe because of flat or voluminous feet, your search is over.
Best Made in USA Running Shoes - Buying Guide
How to grab the best running shoes
When looking to buy footwear, you’ll find that there are so many things to consider. This can be overwhelming, particularly if you’re not used to buying shoes online. To combat this, we’ve written this small buyers’ guide that breaks down these shoes into summaries of their parts, and which features you should be looking for in each of these parts.
These different parts ended up being the interior features of the shoes, such as the heel-to-toe drop and ankle support, the outsole features, the shoe uppers, and last but not least the comfort and fit of the shoe.
By interior features we mean some of the most important aspects of the shoe and how they’ll affect your running experience. These are mainly the insole and midsole construction, as well as any other foam padding and heel or ankle supports.
The insole will be where your soles are interfacing with the rest of the shoe, so any problems here will ruin your entire experience and maybe even render the entire shoe unwearable. You should check the material of the insole and whether it’ll form to the shape of your feet, which materials like Ortholite allow, since this will make the shoe more compatible with different foot types, increasing the likelihood you’ll get good use out of this shoe.
Heel-to-toe drop is also something to consider when getting running shoes. This is because the design here is crucial to how your foot moves during a run. The standard for most shoes used to be twelve millimeters, though eight to ten-millimeter drop is becoming more common since it’s more suitable for running. If you haven’t guessed, we’d recommend getting shoes with those millimeter drops for the best performance.
Midsoles are the layer between the insole and the outsole, and so are where a majority of the shock from running is absorbed. That’s why getting midsoles that are durable is important, since they’re like the spine of the bottom of your shoe, and having a good one adds some bounce to your shoe.
Bounce and shock absorption are also achieved through the use of padding. Running shoes tend to have small but high-quality quantities of padding foam, though above we have some more stability-oriented running shoes that feature some more padding. For running, there’s such a thing as too much foam padding, so you preferably want your padding built into the insole and midsole.
If your ankles need extra support, you should also opt for more padding around the ankle collars.
You want your outsoles to be made with a sturdy material that isn’t too hard, otherwise it’ll harm your running experience. Rubber works best for most applications, running being one of them, and you should also pay attention to the traction patterns on the bottom of the outsoles.
Being the majority of your shoe, you want the materials used to be durable without being too claustrophobic on your feet. Most running shoes you’ll find will feature mesh since this allows an airflow to be established through the shoes, keeping your feet cool and aerated for running. The accompanying material used for uppers will then either be fully synthetic or some form of suede, like pigskin. Either way, they’re suitably lightweight and provide enough protection to keep your feet safe when running.