Anyone that’s ever done running for fitness or otherwise will tell you that the activity is certainly not as easy as it’s made out to be.
Running can involve a lot of pressure on various muscles in your legs and feet, so having a pair of comfortable running shoes that will still support you as you run is imperative.
The main problem when it comes to purchasing a pair of running shoes is knowing what kind of things should you look for. Of course, you want a pair of running shoes that are comfortable but you also don’t want something that isn’t going to give you the performance that you need while you’re out on the track.
In fact, there are also so many different kinds of running that you need to take into account too, as what may work for a marathon runner may not work for someone attempting to run a 5K.
So, how do you choose a good pair of comfortable running shoes? Read on to find out.
Top 5 Most Comfortable Running Shoes
OUR TOP PICK
The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 V10 running shoes are an easy first place on this list. Consisting of a super thick midsole for a comfortable ride and a softer outsole, you are sure to feel like you’re walking on air in these running shoes.
Not only will you get comfort but you’ll also get performance with these shoes. They have a fantastic feel on the road, and they feel nimble and light. They’re ideal for long runs too so if you’re a marathoner these could be a good choice for you. It provides a lot of protection for your feet as you run and even though these are comfortable running shoes, they also have a firm ride.
In addition, you will have plenty of ways to express your individuality when you look at the sheer amount of colors on offer with these running shoes. Particularly striking are the Bali Blue/Ginger Pink running shoes, that look very vibrant as you zip across the running trail. It should be noted of course that there are some downsides with these shoes though.
The toe box is a little bit constrictive if you do have a wider forefoot and they are expensive, but if you can get past these aspects they are certainly worth the investment.
- Provides lots of protection
- Responsible cushioning
- Good for long distance running
- Constrictive toe box
With a pillowy soft feel and a comfortable ride, the Hoka One One Bondi 6 running shoes are a very popular option among runners looking for more comfort. These are hardly running shoes that require introduction among seasoned runners, but for those who aren’t already familiar with them, why should you buy them?
To start with, the shoes have an ultra thick foam stack with a 4mm offset, so the volume in the midsole is distributed evenly throughout the front and rear. Because of this, the cushioning is deep providing lots of comfort. The shoe fits well, and gives plenty of support despite its cushioning.
Of course, there are some downsides, such as the fact that some runners feel that the midsole cushioning can make recovery slower for pushing off, so the ride can feel a little slow. Because of this, it may not be the best choice for a race, for example. Other than this, if what you’re looking for is comfort then you will most certainly find it in this pair of running shoes.
- Soft ride
- Evenly distributed midsole
- Can ride a little slow
Saucony is a reliable brand that you can trust will give you shoes providing optimum comfort and performance. Indeed, these running shoes will give you a smooth and comfortable ride from the moment your feet first hit the floor.
So what’s so great about these running shoes? Well, Saucony incorporate their Pwrrun+ foam inside these shoes, which is an ultra plush cushioning that still has a lot of firmness so your feet don’t feel too much like they’re sinking in the shoes.
In addition, the shoes have a wide midfoot from the heel to the forefoot, so you will get even more volume without needing to trade in for stability.
We should mention that the upper is a little bit snug, but overall the fit is a good one. The shoe is also pretty durable too, so you can be sure that you’ll be set for even the longest marathons.
- Very comfortable
- Ultra durable and long lasting
- Low heel to toe offset
- Unstable on uneven surfaces because stack height is high
- PWRRUN+ gives you a springy and responsive underfoot feel that keeps you strong and feeling fresh.
- FORMFIT acts like a luxurious bucket seat for your foot, conforming to you for the perfect fit and providing comfort from every angle.
- Cushioning thats 25% lighter than our previous best, the lightweight comfort of these shoes means you'll never feel like something is holding you back.
The Saucony Kinvara is a little bit of a strange running shoe as far as comfort goes due to its low drop and low profile form, but we’re pleased to report that you don’t have to have the thickest midsole known to man to make a comfortable running shoe.
The Kinvara thankfully does not possess many of the pitfalls of some other running shoes. Indeed, you will find no stiff upper mesh, thick overlays or scratchy heel collars in this running shoe.
It’s also only 8 ounces so it’s not bulky. Overall, the shoe provides a very smooth ride that is also super comfortable.
This is a versatile running shoe that will allow you to walk and run in comfort. Did we mention the designs, too? No? Well, they’ll certainly allow you to run in style! The transition from heel to toe is also very smooth too which helps to get an even more consistent ride.
- Attractive design
- Not a lot of traction on wet surfaces
- PWRRUN cushioning maintains the lightweight responsiveness that makes this shoe a favorite for daily training miles or racing longer distances
- The flexible sole is designed to quickly transition from landing to take-off
- FORMFIT conforms to your foot to provide the perfect fit and feel from every angle
If you’re into your running then you may have heard about Mizuno before, but this shoe is a little different than your standard Mizuno running shoes. Thee shoes are quite literally stacked with comfort, with a soft top layer made of PU foam and a layer underneath of EVA foam. Wait, that’s not even all! There’s even a thick sockline on top of these layers!
In addition, the shoe has a spacious knit upper so there’s plenty of room for those little piggies to wiggle! The shoe has an ultra durable rubber outsole so you can be sure that it will last you some time. You’ll go for many miles in these running shoes!
With these shoes you will get a bouncy ride with plenty of traction, and above all else a comfortable ride that your feet certainly won’t forget anytime soon. The shoe is somewhat limited in colors and the colors that it does offer are somewhat ‘safe,’ but if you’re not looking for anything particularly flashy then you won’t be missing out by not getting another running shoe.
Overall you will get a great ride for a price that’s certainly not the worst on the market. It’s definitely worth a try if you’re looking for a comfortable running shoe with a spacious upper.
- Fits true to size
- Wider upper
- The shoes are very durable
- There is a very limited selection of colors to choose from
- XPOP PU foam and Mizuno Foam Wave combine to make this favorite neutral running shoe the softest and bounciest yet
- WAVEKNIT upper construction provides a comfortable fit with natural movement and breathability
- In addition to XPOP PU foam and Wave Technology U4icX Midsole provides a lighter, more cushioned ride delivering a softer underfoot feeling for a smooth transition.
Most Comfortable Running Shoes - Buying Guide
So now that you’ve seen our top picks for the most comfortable running shoes, how do you know which one to choose? There are a few criteria that you should be looking out for when you are in the market for a pair of running shoes.
Ultimately running shoes are designed to help give us maximum performance as we run, so it’s only natural that you should want a pair that will work well for you and your unique running style. Because of this, comfort is an essential factor.
When we’re talking about comfort, we are partially talking about cushioning. Do you want a pair of running shoes that are going to making you feel like you’re running on air for example? In addition, do you want a triple layer of foam or gel cushioning?
You may be thinking that this is a lot to think about, but ultimately what you decide to go for will depend on personal preferences.
We can work up quite a sweat while we’re running, especially if our run is particularly challenging. This is one of the reasons why breathability is so vital when you are looking for a pair of comfortable running shoes.
Ultimately you need a pair of running shoes that are well ventilated. A lot of brands incorporate materials in the upper that will provide more breathability, and will include little holes that will give more airflow. With that being said, not all shoes need to have these little holes for them to have breathability as technology in shoe design adapts.
So why do you need breathability? Well, first of all, good breathability generally adds to the overall comfort of the running shoes. It’s not nice when you’re mid way through a run and all you can feel is sweat in between your toes. If there’s no breathability then there isn’t going to be enough air flow to let moisture out.
Speaking of moisture, bacteria can also be a big issue when there’s not enough breathability. If the moisture has nowhere to go, the sweat is going to soak up into the inside of your shoes, which can make them stink pretty badly after a while. Eventually this build up of bacteria could result in some nasty problems such as foot fungi and other foot conditions that no runner wants or needs.
Breathability also contributes to the durability of the shoe too. Not only will they smell after a while but the build up of sweat can affect the shoe’s structure. So make sure you don’t spend too much time looking at the shoe’s cushioning that you forget about the breathability!
The other thing that can affect your running and overall comfort is the flexibility of your running shoe. It’s so important that your running shoe flexes properly when you run, and honestly, there is nothing more uncomfortable than a run with stiff shoes that don’t accommodate your feet as you run.
Naturally, flexibility can have a huge effect on how efficiently you are running. Your stride can be affected too. Of course, flexibility is certainly a factor that can change dramatically depending on the shoes you choose. Some of them have thicker soles which will have a different range of flexibility, whereas others may have a lower profile design so the flexibility is freer because the soles aren’t as thick.
In fact, as technology is developing a lot of the running shoes that are thicker are a little more flexible than earlier editions. Ultimately though, you need to ensure that the running shoes you get are both cushioned and allow for plenty of movement.
The amount of support you get from your running shoes can largely impact your overall comfort. Let’s just admit it: having your toes all squashed together inside of your shoes is not the most comfortable thing in the world. Because of this, it’s imperative that you have enough room in the toe box.
If your toes are cramped you are far more likely to get blisters or foot pain that could have otherwise been avoided.
It’s also important that you understand the needs of your body. Do you overpronate? If so, you need to opt for shoes that accommodate that. Do you have wide feet, or do you have flat feet? These are all things that you should consider before you make your purchase.
Running shoes are not cheap commodities by any means. Sure, you can spend less than $20 on a pair of running shoes but the chances are that they are hardly going to be up to scratch. On that note, it’s pretty important that you buy a pair of running shoes that are going to last you for a long time.
There’s no use in spending upwards of $100 for a pair of running shoes that are going to fall apart in less than 3 months.
The frequency at which you are going to need to buy new running shoes will largely depend on how often you go running. Generally, male runners will need to buy a new pair of running shoes every couple of months. Of course, a decent pair of running shoes should be able to last between 400 and 600 miles.
Some things you need to consider are whether the outsole is going to wear more quickly than anticipated or if the upper will fray more easily. You should also consider where you tend to run because some running shoes can take quite a beating from certain types of terrain.
In addition to terrain considerations, consider your general running climate. If it rains a lot where you tend to run then it’s imperative that you get a pair of running shoes that are water proof and have some form of weather resistance, otherwise you’re going to be running with swimming pools in your shoes. We hardly need to remind you that that isn’t ideal.
Fun Fact: Running can put 3 to 5 times your bodyweight oto your feet. Because of this it’s vital that you think about your body composition when you are choosing what cushioning to get in a pair of running shoes. If you’re a little heavier and quite tall then the chances are that you could need slightly more cushioning than someone with a shorter and thinner frame.
It should still be said however that there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to running shoes - different shoes will work better for certain people, so it’s worth trying the shoes on before you buy if that’s possible.
One thing you should consider when buying running shoes is the amount of traction a shoe has. You will need to know if your shoes will have good grip on the trails as you run. Ensure that the outsole provides enough stability and control for you, and something that isn’t going to wear down easily. Always check the outsole’s durability before you buy.
Most Comfortable Running Shoes - FAQ's
If I have high arches then what running shoes will suit me best?
We’ve covered this in another article in more depth, but it’s important to get a well cushioned shoe if you have high arches. Your arches will support all of your bodyweight so you will need lots of support.
What kinds of running shoes should I choose if I have flat feet?
You can tell if you are flat footed because you won’t have a visible arch in your feet. Runners that have low arches tend to overpronate. If you have flat feet then you should look for running shoes that will give your feet adequate support because when you are running your feet are going to be supporting 3 times your body weight on the arches.