Best Long Distance Running Shoes – Quick Guide & 16 Shoes Reviewed 2019
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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.
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.
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.