In 2009, comedian Eddie Izzard completed 43 marathons in 51 days with scant training and no serious running experience to raise money for charity.
No doubt the comedian had many questions during his epic 51-day marathon challenge.
One question I am sure he asked at some point is “What are the best long distance running shoes to help me accomplish this challenge?”
Mr. Izzard completed the challenge and went on to complete another 27 marathons in 27 days in 2016, so I am sure he found a few pairs of good long distance running shoes along the way.
You might ask him for some running shoe advice, but he is probably busy recovering!
Since Mr. Izzard is likely busy, I created this short guide to help you choose the best long distance running shoes, and I’ve included reviews of the 16 best long distance running shoes 2019 for men and women.
How to Choose Long Distance Running Shoes for Marathons and Endurance Running
Let’s Define Long Distance
- Distance – When I say long distance running shoe, I am talking about shoes that work well for distances of 3 miles up to 26.2-mile marathon-length training.
- Terrain – I am talking about shoes that do well on concrete, asphalt, and pavement. Trail runners and other style running shoes are featured in a separate article.
What NOT to Buy
First, if you are new to running, it is important to realize the r between shoes designed specifically for running and those that are for cross-training, basketball, tennis etc.
Big brands like Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Asics, New Balance, Mizuno and others make shoes for all types of sports, including great running shoes.
Running shoes are special.
Running shoes are designed to hold up under high mileage, provide support, cushion and bounce that is great for running, but could be detrimental for other sports.
On the flip side…
Shoes that are great for CrossFit might give long-distance runners shin splints or plantar fasciitis.
Check out the article Cross Training Shoes Vs. Running Shoes – What’s The Difference? For an in-depth explanation of the difference between the two styles.
Rule #1: Running Shoes are for Running.
If your sport is long distance running, you need a pair of good long distance running shoes.
Rule #2: Base Your Choice on Comfort.
Of all the possible shoe variables, the most important is the comfort, assuming you are following rule #1.
Comfort is more important than pronation, arch, foot shape, weight, drop or any of that.
If it hurts now, it will really hurt 10 miles from now. That’s why.
If you are an over-pronator, but all shoes designed for overpronators make your knees ache, ditch them!
Same goes for every other long distance running shoe trait I am about to list. The best endurance running shoe is one that is comfortable mile after mile.
Find the Best Endurance Running Shoes by Considering these Factors
Know your Pronation Style
I covered the pronation style in a previous article. If you want a more complete explanation, check it out.
I will sum it up here real quick.
In a Nutshell:
Over Pronators – Your foot tends to roll in as you run. Look for shoe labeled a “stability or ”support” that keep your foot properly aligned.
Under Pronators – Your foot tends to roll out as you run and impact is absorbed by your joints and knees instead of your feet. Search for a long distance running shoe with ample shock absorption and cushion.
“Normal” Pronators – your foot remains true, not rolling inward or out. This is most people. Look for a shoe labeled “neutral”.
Know Your Arch Height
Your arch falls somewhere along a spectrum of very high, high, medium and flat.
Shoemakers design shoes to fit feet all along the spectrum.
In the reviews below I try to include information about the shoe’s arch support, and what height arch each shoe works best for.
Does Shoe Weight Matter?
Here is the deal with shoe weight.
Long distance and endurance running shoes are among the lightest athletic shoes on the market.
Even amongst running shoes, there are differences.
Everyday training running shoes
Everyday training shoes, highly cushioned shoes, and stability shoes tend to be heavier, and as a consequence, they are slower.
Heavier shoes are often more durable because they are designed to be used every day.
Race day running shoes
Race day shoes are the lightest shoes out there. They are made from a responsive material designed for high energy return and speed.
They are usually less durable than everyday trainers. Race shoes are not the best choice if your goal is training because they wear out fast when used every day.
Does Drop Matter?
Shoe manufactures often talk about the shoe’s “drop” or differential.
This is basically how much higher your heel sits than your toes.
Some shoes have 0 drop, meaning your toes are at the same level as your heel.
Most running shoes have a higher drop than general-purpose athletic shoes for these two reasons:
- Reason #1 The drop can affect how your foot strikes the road. If the shoe has a high drop, say between 12mm and 15mm, you are less likely to strike the ground heel first.
- Reason #2 A shoe with a high drop also causes you to lean forward just a tad, propelling you to move forward as you run.
What about Zero Drop or Low Drop Running Shoes?
If you opt for a low drop shoe you can expect the shoe to “feel” slower and you are more likely to strike heel first.
This could be a good thing if you currently are a toe striker and want to correct that. A 0 drop shoe also encourages more natural gait and movement.
The shoes reviewed below are the best shoes for long distance running for 2019 I could find.
By long distance, I mean any distance between 3 miles and 26.2 mile Marathon lengths.
These shoes are urban, city or street running shoes, designed for pavement, asphalt, concrete and the like.
An article for the best trail running shoes will be released shortly.
TOP 16 Best Long Distance Running Shoes Reviewed 2019
First up, the boys!
Here are the 9 best men’s long distance running shoes.
NIKE Men's Zoom Pegasus 35 Turbo
Review: The Nike Zoom Pegasus 35 Turbo shoes are a longstanding favorite because they are fast, responsive and extremely light
The shoe is made with ZoomX foam that returns 85 % energy back to your stride while providing enough cushion for long distances and endurance running.
- 85% energy return because of the Zoom X Foam midsole.
- Curved beveled heel creates a smooth transition and prevents heel strike.
- Durable runner outsole withstands longer sessions on abrasive terrain.
- Narrower toe box than previous models.
The best Nike long distance running shoes yet!
ASICS Gel-Cumulus 20 Men's Running Shoe
Review: The Asics Gel Cumulus 20 has been a popular long distance running shoe for more than 20 years.
This shoe is designed for under or neutral pronators and features a fluid ride midsole that provides the optimal balance of energy return and underfoot cushion for a productive and pain free run.
One of the best Asics long distance running shoes for men.
- High energy return cushioning.
- Forefront and heel gel reduce impact shock.
- Forefront and rear foot Flytefoam provide responsiveness and energy return.
- Heel is firmer than previous models.
Gel cushioning makes them comfortable for long runs without sacrificing bounce back.
Adidas Performance Men's Ultra Boost M Running Shoe
Review: These ultra popular long distance running shoes for men, Adidas Ultraboost feature a boost midsole that turbo charges your run while providing the cushion you need to run long distances.
This is a neutral running shoe with ample cushioning, designed for long distance runs in typical city terrain.
- Continental rubber sole provides traction in rain and sun alike.
- Foot hugging stretch knit upper.
- Responsive boost midsole.
- Tend to run tight or narrow.
Give your run a boost with shoes favored by long distance runners around the world.
New Balance Men's 1080v8 Fresh Foam Running Shoe
Review: This latest version of the New Balance 1080 Running shoe has been upgraded to include outsole flex grooves engineered to actual runners specifications.
This neutral running shoe is well cushioned and has a supportive ortholite insole, allowing you to go the distance.
- Mid level arch support.
- Impact absorbing fresh foam insole provides a well cushioned ride.
- Molded foam collar and bootie style form for a secure yet comfy fit.
- Highly cushioned, not ideal for over pronators.
Soft, well cushioned long distance running shoe.
Mizuno Men's Wave Enigma 6 Running Shoe
Review: The Mizuno Wave Enigma 6 is a neutral running shoe for those with normal pronation. If you like a soft well cushioned ride, this may be the shoe for you.
This shoe has several layers of cushion in the midsole, a form fitting upper and roomy forefoot for a low impact long distance run.
- Toe box has more space than previous models.
- X 10 Carbon rubber outsole withstands abuse & abrasion of pavement and asphalt terrain.
- Parallel wave plate midsole provides added cushion.
Well cushioned, a good choice for larger or heavier long distance runners.
New Balance Men's Vongo V3 Fresh Foam Running Shoe
Review: The Brand new Vongo V3 Fresh foam running shoe will not disappoint the avid long distance runner.
This is a light weight stability shoe built for over pronators. The dual density rubber sole, combined with ample cushion and arch support make this shoe ideal for flat feet.
- Spacious toe box.
- Dual density outsole that’s firmer on the inside to prevent foot roll.
- Great bounce and responsiveness mile after mile.
Salomon Men's S/Lab Sense Ultra 2 Running Shoes
Review: The Salomon Lab Sense Ultra 2 Running shoes are designed for ultra long distance running.
This is a neutral shoe with ample cushion that still allows you to feel ground feedback. This shoe is built for trail or city running in wet or dry weather.
- Quick lace elastic lacing system.
- Profilm at the midsole provides stability.
- Energy Cell midsole for awesome responsiveness and bounce back.
- Excellent lateral support when you need to change direction fast.
- Laces may be too short and flimsy for high arches.
A versatile long distance race shoe for street and trail alike.
Adidas Men's Adizero Boston 7 Running Shoe
Review: The AdizeroBoston 7 is a neutral long distance running shoe designed for road and city type environment.
It is amazing how light this shoe is, the men’s model is just 8.6 oz!
The shoe uses Adidas boost midsole, providing just enough cushion and great bounce back.
- Well padded and secure heel cup keeps your foot locked in.
- EVA midsole layer adds stability.
- Extremely light, 8.6 oz.
- A little short in the toe box/forefront area.
Cushioned enough for everyday training, light and responsive enough for race day, this new model is set to become a favorite!
Saucony Men's Freedom ISO Running Shoe
Review: The freedom ISO has been around a few years and still remains a popular long distance running shoe.
It features “Everun” material midsole that spans the entire length of the shoe, giving the shoe cushion and great energy return to propel you forward stride after stride.
This is a neutral running shoe, it’s highly cushioned and designed for high arches.
- High mileage shoe with long lasting rubber sole.
- Inner sock bootie combined with ISO fit upper make for a perfect custom fit.
- 4 mm drop allows for a natural runner powered stride.
- Run small and snug, size up!
Great foot lockdown, generous cushion, and popping responsiveness earn this shoe many recommendations from long distance runners.
Time for the ladies!
Here are the top 7 Best long distance running shoes for women.
Saucony Women's Kinvara 9 Running Shoe
Review: The Kinvara 9 are a neutral running shoe with a mid-level cushion to provide comfort while maintaining road feedback and feel.
They are a popular choice of long-distance runners because of the flexible, natural feel of the upper, and “Everun” midsole foam to provide just enough cushion and a great bounce back to keep you going.
- Light flexible minimal upper.
- Moderate cushion without overdoing it.
- Responsive energy returning “Everun” foam midsole.
- Secure upper, improvement over Kinvara 8’s.
- Not the most attractive shoe ever.
A long distance woman’s running shoe that leans towards a natural minimal style with just enough cushion and good energy return.
NIKE Women's Epic React Flyknit Running Shoes
Review: These new Nike long distance running shoes have many people asking “Are the Nike Epic React Flyknit Running shoes worth it?”
I say yes! As a long distance running shoe, it fits the bill.
It is super light. The women’s shoe weighs a mere 6.88 oz thanks in part to the ultralight react foam cushioning.
The react foam, as the name implies, offers reactive responsive bounce back, returning 13% more energy than Nike’s Lunarlon cushioning.
- Bouncy and responsive React midsole cushion.
- Stable heel with faux suede liner prevents heel rock and chafing.
- Flyknit technology gives the shoe a snug sock like fit.
Ultra light, responsive, supple and long lasting. The best long distance running shoes for women.
Review: All Brooks Ghost models get props and recommendations from long distance runners, and the new Ghost 11 shoes are sure to please the endurance running crowd as well.
The Ghost 11’s are lighter than the previous model, designed with stretch zones on the upper for better flexibility, with a new heel crash pad for a better-cushioned landing.
The Brooks Ghost 11’s are a neutral, cushioned shoe ideal for high to mid arches.
- Forefoot and heel DNA cushion for a soft ride over long distances.
- Segmented Crashpad in the sole absorbs shock no matter how you land.
- Excellent flexibility thanks to Deep omega flex grooves in the fore foot.
Fore foot not as cushioned as previous models.
One of the most comfortable, flexible long distance running shoes for women.
Adidas Women's Supernova W Running Shoe
Review: The Adidas Supernova women’s long-distance running shoe is a stability running shoe for those with normal pronation.
They offer a high level of cushioning and good responsiveness.
The dual density cushion is firmer on the arch side, promoting proper foot alignment and preventing injury.
- Energy rail installed in the midsole adds stability and provides plenty of energy return.
- Continental rubber tread sole for all weather traction and durability.
- Mesh upper keeps you dry no matter how many miles you run.
- Runs large, wide toe box.
Well cushioned stability shoe for long distance running every day training.
Brooks Women’s Glycerin 16
Review: The latest model Glycerin shoe is a neutral, highly cushioned long distance running shoe designed for city and urban surfaces.
The shoe is an ideal fit for those with mid-level to high arches.
The glycerin 16 model includes the new DNA midsole cushioning spanning the entire length of the shoe for a soft, reactive ride.
- Stretch sock like bootie upper for a perfect fit.
- Soft impact absorbing shoe, perfect for long runs.
- Absorbs impact well, an ideal recovery shoe.
- Not as responsive or fast as other Brooks models.
Best long distance running shoes 2019 for long distance runners looking for a luxurious ride.
New Balance Women's Fresh Foam 1080v7 Running Shoe
Review: The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v7 is a tried and true model, a long distance running shoe that is still loved and often recommended by long distance runners.
This shoe is a well cushioned neutral running shoe with a nice wide toe box.
- Fresh foam midsole makes for a soft ride.
- Bootie style mesh upper fits foot securely and allows ample air circulation.
- Comfort features: Roomy toe box and molded foam heel collar.
- On the heavy side (10.6 oz), considering it is a woman’s long distance shoe.
Ultra comfort everyday trainer, a plush long distance running shoe.
Saucony Women's Liberty ISO
Review: New for 218, The Saucony Liberty ISO is a stable every day training long distance running shoe.
The Liberty ISO is built for moderate pronators, high to normal arches and plenty of cushion.
The Liberty ISO is a more stable version of Saucony’s Freedom ISO running shoe and offers good support.
- “Everun” foam spans full length of midsole.
- Medial TPU guide for proper alignment.
- ISO fit sock like bootie upper conforms to your foot for a great fit.
- Not roomy enough in the forefront.
A stable daily trainer, one of the best running shoes for long distance runners.
With 16 new models to choose from, I hope you find the best long distance running shoes for your next run.
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