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Top14 Best Long Distance Shoes

Running is a rough time in the wrong shoes: injury, blisters, discomfort, and foot soreness are common complaints.

Today, we’re solving all of these problems by offering you a solution – the best long-distance running shoes on the market. We’re going to cover 14 of the best products around, discuss what makes them perfect for runners of all levels, and what you should look for in a long-distance running shoe.

Let’s look at the best products and what they teach us about picking a running shoe.

 

 

Brooks Women’s Adrenaline GTS 21 - Best Overall

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 Ombre/Lavender/Metallic 10 D - Wide
  • THIS WOMEN'S SHOE IS FOR: Runners looking for a supportive shoe that's soft and smooth, the Adrenaline GTS 21 offers an improved ride and reliable support for however your body moves so you can forget the shoes and enjoy the run. This Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 is a certified PDAC A5500 Diabetic shoe and has been granted the APMA Seal of Acceptance.
  • SUPPORT AND CUSHION: Provides just the right amount of stability and support, great for overpronation while providing high energizing cushioning. Ideal for road running, cross training, the gym or wherever you might want to take them! Predecessor: Adrenaline GTS 20
  • BALANCED, SOFT CUSHIONING: The DNA LOFT Crash Pad cushions each footfall and works with BioMoGo DNA to adapt to your every stride.
  • MODERNIZED FIT: A streamlined, engineered mesh upper with 3D Fit Print offers the structure and proven fit the Adrenaline is known for-without excess bulk.
  • GUIDERAILS HOLISTIC SUPPORT SYSTEM: We've shifted our focus beyond the feet to the most injury-prone part of a runner’s body: the knees. GuideRails keep you moving comfortably by keeping excess movement in check.

Review: Brooks are a great brand with a history of quality shoes and reputation among runners as some of the best all-purpose running shoes.

Adrenaline GTS 21s come with a soft sole to reduce impact and prioritise both long and smooth runs. The support is balanced across the whole foot (toe to heel) with a natural drop towards the toe and a medium approach to the walling and heel cup. This means a great all-purpose running shoe with a slight bias towards longer runs and comfort for runners of all experience levels.

As with other Brooks models, the Adrenaline has a supportive hybrid material throughout the sole and the upper, providing support and shock-absorption in 3 dimensions. This is great for supporting the ankle and providing light-weight support against floor-contact forces.

On top of these features, you’re getting the premium durability and reliability of the brand. These shoes have great longevity and a lifespan that easily justifies the price, making for a great shoe no matter your running experience.

Pros

  • Natural balance sole
  • 3 dimensional sole and upper support for the ankle
  • Mesh upper is hard-wearing and high-quality
  • Hybrid construction with a foot-molding inner

Cons

  • One of the more expensive designs on today’s list

Takeaway

The Brooks Adrenaline is our best long-distance running shoe for a reason. It’s a combination of all the features you could possibly want, at high quality, with a great price tag compared to the value you’re going to get out of them.

These are fantastic running shoes that will perform well and age well with the miles you put into them.

Asics Men’s Gel-Venture - Editor's Choice

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ASICS Men's Gel-Venture 7 Running Shoes, 13, Metropolis/Black
  • Rearfoot GEL technology cushioning system - Attenuates shock during impact phase and allows for a smooth transition to midstance.
  • Ortholite X-40 Sockliner - This premium sockliner features higher rebound properties while providing excellent moisture management and a high-level of breathability (Ortholite is a registered trademark of ATP Manufacturing LLC.)

Review: Asics are a respected sports shoe provider with experience in a range of sports. When it comes to running, their pedigree is decades old, and the Gel-Venture 7 is the modern all-purpose running shoe with natural, mid-weight sole and heel-toe drop.

This is a great, versatile shoe that suits distance running and provides an all-round, balanced, medium-support offering. This is perfect for anyone who doesn’t know exactly how they’ll run, or is running in the medium-long distance ranges to take the edge off of ground-impact.

The gel design softens impact through the sole without losing ground-shoe friction. They also include an aftermarket insole to offer greater breathability and moisture-control, keeping your shoes dry while you put in the miles.

Pros

  • Gel sole reduces impact and specifically heel-pressure
  • Improved ground-contact support and friction
  • Versatile design with natural drop and ‘regular’ softness to suit mid- to ultra-distances
  • Proprietary insole helps reduce moisture and keep feet healthy

Cons

  • Relatively expensive – an investment in your running

Takeaway

The asics gel-venture is a perfect choice if you’re looking for an all-purpose running shoe. If you’re not sure what you want or you’re looking for a middle-long distance running shoe that does it all, this is the product for you.

It’s our editor’s choice for its versatility and applicability. Whoever you are, this shoe has something to offer you with a high-quality take on the natural, middle-softness running shoe.

Brooks Women’s Ghost 13 - Premium Choice

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Brooks Women's Ghost 13, Black/Hushed Violet, 7 Medium
  • THIS WOMEN'S SHOE IS FOR: The Ghost 13 is for runners looking for a reliable shoe that's soft and smooth. The Ghost 13 offers improved transitions for zero distractions so you can focus more on what matters most: your run. This Brooks Ghost 13 is a certified PDAC A5500 Diabetic shoe and has been granted the APMA Seal of Acceptance.
  • SUPPORT AND CUSHION: The neutral support type provides high energizing cushioning. Ideal for road running, cross training, the gym or wherever you might want to take them! Predecessor: Ghost 12
  • BALANCED, SOFT CUSHIONING: BioMoGo DNA and DNA LOFT cushioning work together to provide a just-right softness underfoot without losing responsiveness and durability - yet it feels lighter than ever.
  • SMOOTH, STABLE RIDE: No matter how your foot lands, our Segmented Crash Pad - an integrated system of shock absorbers - will cushion every step and stride for smooth heel-to-toe transitions.
  • SOFT, SECURE, FIT: The newly engineered mesh and 3D Fit Print practically disappears on your foot with strategically placed stretch and structure.

Review: Brooks are a great running shoe manufacturer with a reputation that matches the quality of their shoes: great.

The shoe provides soft support, with a balanced heel-toe drop. This means you’re going to get a lot of smooth bounce in each stride and take a lot of the impact out – making them a perfect place for beginners or those with long-distance runs in mind.

The actual design of the Brooks Ghost 13 offers a middle (or natural) sole support design and heel cup, with a mild molding and a great design to accommodate the shape of your foot. Shock absorbers in the sole provide hybrid support to reduce shock without giving away too much force against the floor.

The upper is balanced between soft and supportive, offering a great run with light lateral support and a comfortable foot-feel. The quality of this shoe is clear in every material choice, design, and feature.

Pros

  • Soft support for longer-distance running
  • Effective heel cup and sole outer-walls for better lateral support
  • Built-in shock absorbers reduce impact without losing force against the floor
  • Brooks’ upper mesh is high quality to protect durability for a longer lifespan

Cons

  • Premium products mean premium prices – an expensive running shoe

Takeaway

This is our premium product because it delivers a fine balance on so many of the most important details of a great running shoe. It’s well-balanced, supportive, smooth to run in, and has both the design quality and durability to go the distance with you. A great product and investment.

Asics Women’s Gel-Venture 7 MX - Best Gel Sole Running Shoe for Women

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ASICS Women's Gel-Venture 7 Shoes, 8, Carrier Grey/Silver
  • Rearfoot GEL technology cushioning system - Attenuates shock during impact phase and allows for a smooth transition to midstance
  • Ortholite X-40 Sockliner - This premium sockliner features higher rebound properties while providing excellent moisture management and a high-level of breathability (Ortholite is a registered trademark of ATP Manufacturing LLC.)

Review: This is Asics’ Gel-Venture in women’s sizes and designs. Just like the men’s running shoe, this specialises in the middle of the market where it offers amazing quality for its price and covers just about every feature you could look for in a running shoe.

The gel design reduces impact on the foot, expanding the range and comfort of the shoe, without cutting out your ability to produce force against the floor. It’s a great compromise between the two that comes from smart design and Asics’ experience in the field of great sports shoes.

Just like the men’s shoe, the Ortholite insert that comes with this product covers the breathability and sweat-control of the inner. This helps keep feet healthy and comfortable during long runs and hot internal conditions. The result is a better run with less discomfort and foot-risk!

Pros

  • The ortholite insert improves breathability and prevents foot-sweat problems
  • Gel-cushioning is a great compromise between softness and stride-quality
  • Supports dispersing force across the front- and mid-foot
  • Great features for a mid-level shoe, offering excellent value

Cons

  • Misses out on some of the better build-quality and design choices of premium products

Takeaway

Just like their male counterpart, the women’s gel-venture are a great all-rounder built on experienced design choices. These are a great go-to women’s running shoe for long distances and anyone who has ‘normal’ feet and unremarkable needs.

If you’re just looking to improve running or upgrade your shoes, the Asics gel-venture is a great choice.

Asics Men’s Gel-Venture 6 MX - Premium Running Shoes But Cheaper

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ASICS Men's Gel-Venture 6 Running Shoe, Aluminum/Black/Directoire Blue, 12 Medium US
  • Rearfoot GEL Cushioning System: Attenuates shock during impact phase and allows for a smooth transition to midstance.
  • Removable Sockliner: A sockliner which can be removed to accommodate a medical orthotic.
  • Removable Sockliner: A sockliner which can be removed to accommodate a medical orthotic.
  • Trail Specific Outsole: Reversed lugs provide uphill and downhill traction on all types of terrain.
  • AHAR Outsole: Acronym for ASICS High Abrasion Rubber. Placed in critical areas of the outsole for exceptional durability.

Review: Returning to the Gel-Venture line, the 6 MX is a cheaper alternative to the 7, offering many of the same crucial features at a lower price. Specifically, this product focuses on a gel rear-foot support to reduce heel striking.

The value on this shoe gets better with tie as the 7 is a newer design and covers the premium option. The 6 Mx, in contrast, is a great entry- and intermediate-level shoe that has an additional sockliner, and a mid-soft sole to reduce impact and help keep your ankles, knees, and hips safe.

The 6 MX is particularly well-known for being rugged and durable, lasting years and providing ridiculous value across the years. This makes them a perfect choice if you’re just getting serious about running or upgrading to a well-known and widely-loved shoe.

Pros

  • Same great design and gel-sole as Asics’ other gel-cushioned products
  • Less expensive than the 7 MX
  • Great choice for upgrading or making a first investment in running alike
  • Rugged and durable with a great lifespan

Cons

  • Lacks some of the full-foot gel-support that the 7 MX provides
  • Doesn’t provide the same hybrid build as other models, with more front-foot stress

Takeaway

The 6MX are a great running shoe that come from the same pedigree of quality and design of the Gel-Venture 7s and other great runners. These will support your feet and ankle, reduce striking impact, and offer the quality you need at a good price.

Adidas Men’s CF Lite Racer Shoes - Stylish Running and Fitness Shoes for Men

adidas Men's Lite Racer BYD Running Shoe, Grey Five/Black/Grey Metallic, 9 Medium US
  • Two tone stretch mesh upper with sock like construction
  • Seamless 3 Stripes, Comfortable textile lining
  • adidas Cloudfoam tongue label, adidas wordmark on heel strap, Webbing heel pull with 3 Stripes detail
  • TPU heel counter

Review: Adidas are a popular brand for both function and form alike. They combine effective design with a great, consistent aesthetic that we can all easily recognise. The CF Lite Racer is a great example of this combination of appearance and features.

With a low profile and great look, the CF Lite is a versatile running and training shoe. It has a cushioned sole with the kind of impact-absorption you need for running mid distances, while still being suitable for everyday use and cross-training.

The design of the sole is ergonomic and natural, while the upper is softer while still providing decent support. You shouldn’t run trails in the CF Lite, but they’re a great shoe that can go from the street to the gym to the road without ever being out of place.

Pros

  • Versatile multi-purpose shoe
  • Great, stylish appearance with a focus on a low-profile
  • Better for cross-training and other activities than many dedicated running shoes

Cons

  • Rubber sole isn’t as effective at dispersing force across longer-distance runs and ultra runs
  • Expensive compared to their pure-running features

Takeaway

The CF Lite is stylish, comfortable, and effective. It offers a versatile experience with a focus on lighter support and a great look that suits streetwear as well as the treadmill. This is a great shoe for the all-purpose fitness enthusiast looking to do some running, but probably not ironman distance.

Nike Men’s Revolution 5 - Best Running Shoe for Wide Feet

Nike Men's Revolution 5 Running Shoe, Black/Anthracite-University Redwhite, 8 Regular US
  • REVOLUTIONARY COMFORT: The Nike Revolution 5 men's running shoes cushion your stride with soft foam to keep you running in comfort. Minimalist design fits in just about anywhere your day takes you.
  • BREATHABLE SUPPORT: These Nike men's shoes have lightweight knit textile that wraps your foot in breathable comfort. Reinforced heel and overlays lend support and durability.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT CUSHIONING: Soft foam midsole delivers a smooth, stable ride, making these the running shoes men need. Textured outer wall reduces the weight of the shoe.
  • DURABLE & FLEXIBLE TRACTION: These Nike shoes are made with rubber outsoles, offering durable traction on a variety of surfaces. Spacing in the tread lets your foot flex naturally.
  • MEN'S RUNNING SHOES: Lightweight knit wraps foot, foam midsole, rubber outsole, plush lining, soft sockliner.

Review: Nike’s shoes are designed with wider toe-boxes across the whole range, compared to Adidas. With the Revolution 5 wide running shoe, you’re going to have all the space you need for wider feet and flatter arches, making them a lot more comfortable for large feet.

The revolution 5 is also a high-quality running shoe in its own right. It packs all the most important features: a breathable sole and upper, high-quality mesh for the upper and to support the foot, and even a sockliner as standard to keep runs comfortable and dry.

The Revolution 5 combines soft sole cushioning with a gradual heel-toe drop to provide a comfortable longer run. There’s plenty of bounce to take the stress off your joints and they offer a smooth run, overall.

Just like Adidas’ shoes, Nike offers a fashionable design in a wide range of colours. You can get a great run with a variety of colourways so that your running shoe matches your aesthetic.

Pros

  • Great looks
  • Gradual heel-toe drop and soft, bouncy soles
  • A great running shoe for the mid-long distance runner
  • Durable, high-quality mesh upper
  • Perfect for wider feet with a more generous toe-box, especially

Cons

  • More expensive than many items on this list
  • May not out-perform Brooks and Asics runners despite the comparable price tag

Takeaway

Nike’s Revolution 5 are a perfect choice if you’re looking for a wider shoe to support your running. They can be a huge relief if you’ve struggled with narrow shoes from other manufacturers and need some more space. They’ll give you space, protect your feet, and reduce the risk of avoidable ankle injuries.

Asics Men’s Gel Kayano - Best Affordable Ultra-Distance Running Shoe

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ASICS Men's Gel-Kayano 27 Running Shoes, 13, Black/Pure Silver
  • Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL Technology Cushioning System - Attenuates shock during impact and toe-off phases, and allows movement in multiple planes as the foot transitions through the gait cycle.
  • FlyteFoam Propel Technology - ASICS energetic foam formulation that provides supreme bounce thanks to a unique elastomer compound.
  • FlyteFoam Midsole Technology - Our FlyteFoam technology provides exceptional bounce back and responsiveness no matter the distance, utilizing organic super fibers to help reduce packing out that traditionally happens with softer, low density foams.
  • Dynamic DuoMax Support System - This evolution of DuoMax system enhances stability and support, with reduced weight and increased platform support.
  • Engineered Mesh Upper - Multi-directional mesh material improves ventilation and stability.

Review: The Asics Gel Kayano 27 offers a truly premium long-distance running shoe with a soft foam sole and the Asics DuoMax insole. This is a patented insole that offers support during dynamic movement by adapting to the forces you put on it during your stride. There are 2 densities in the actual sole and this provides a smooth but supportive run.

The sole itself is designed to prevent lateral movement, supporting the weaker side of the foot as you tilt into it. This reduces heel rolling and striking, in conjunction with the supportive upper design to help reduce injury risk. You get a comfortable stride without compromising on the force you put through the floor.

There’s a relatively gentle heel-toe drop and a focus on comfort in every feature. These are true running shoes for the long- and ultra-distance runner looking to save their feet and joints while putting in a great pace.

Pros

  • Great long- and ultra-runners with tons of bounce
  • Premium features and build quality
  • DuoMax sole helps maintain great running efficiency while still reducing stride impact
  • Great sole lateral walling to prevent rolling and support ankle health

Cons

  • Softer sole makes these shoes slightly slower in dedicated short-mid distance runs
  • Expensive with a price that matches the premium functions

Takeaway

These are perfect for long- and ultra-long-distance runs where the bounce of the shoes will support higher-volume striding. This makes the Gel-Kayano 27 a great choice for serious endurance runners; you’re going to get every penny of the premium price tag.

Asics Women’s Gel-Excite 7 - Best Beginner’s Running Shoe for Women

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ASICS Women's Gel-Excite 7 Running Shoes, 7.5, Mint Tint/White
  • Jacquard Mesh Upper - Multi-directional mesh material improves ventilation and stability.
  • AmpliFoam Midsole - Engineered to maintain durability at softer densities, providing better flexibility, comfort, and platform adaptability ideal for natural running.
  • Ortholite X-40 Sockliner - This premium sockliner features higher rebound properties while providing excellent moisture management and a high-level of breathability (Ortholite is a registered trademark of ATP Manufacturing LLC.)

Review: The Gel-Excite 7 is a great shoe for entry level and intermediate runners alike. It offers a quality experience with a lower price tag than some of the other models we’ve looked at on this list so far.

The main focus of the Gel-Excite is a comfortable and natural shoe. It provides a soft sole with a purpose-built mid-sole designed to offer a comfortable run and adaptive support. This puts the Gel-Excite solidly in the ‘soft’ side of running shoe design with more focus on comfort than force-transfer.

The ortholite insole is a classic for Asics, offering both breathability and comfort to keep your feet happy. The heel-toe drop is still mild and the actual construction focuses on a thick sole. It does have a relatively narrow toe-box compared to others on the market, so consider opting up a half-size if you’re usually a Nike runner.

Pros

  • Ortholite insole provides better breathability and foot-ventilation
  • Gel soles are soft and support longer-distance running
  • Great price point for entry-level and intermediate running shoes

Cons

  • Slightly narrower toe-box can limit sizing options for some runners
  • Lacks the same top-level functions that make premium products stand out (due to price)

Takeaway

The Gel-Excite is a versatile beginner and intermediate running shoe that can get you on the road – in comfort – right away. It’s a shoe that is designed to fit any foot and offer the cushion and support you need to put in the miles without pain or discomfort.

It doesn’t have the same durability as a more-premium shoe or the cutting-edge design, but it doesn’t need it. The Gel-excite is a great shoe that does the basics well and doesn’t break the bank.

Adidas Women's PureMotion - Stylish Running and Fitness Shoes for Women

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adidas Women's Puremotion Adapt Running Shoe, Core Black/Footwear White/Grey Five, 9
  • Running-inspired laceless shoes for women
  • Regular fit; Snug, sock-like feel
  • Lightweight textile upper provides durability
  • Cloudfoam midsole for step-in comfort and superior cushioning
  • Synthetic outsole for light weight

Review: Adidas’ puremotion is on the shorter-range compared to many of the long- and ultra-distance shoes we’ve looked at so far. The rubber sole is a harder surface compared to the foam of a Brooks or Asics shoe and offers more transfer into the floor – with the trade-off of slightly more impact on each stride.

This makes the Puremotion a shorter distance shoe since you’re going to move faster but experience more wear and tear. They’re also better for cross-training and other forms of exercise and activity where tougher soles will be more suitable.

The lack of laces may also be a concern for the trail-runner or long-distance runners, where it makes the design slightly less foot-hugging. Again, this is perfect for shorter runs and versatile training, as well as giving the shoe a streamlined look and feel.

There’s quite a lot of heel-toe drop, with the majority of cushioning coming from the midsole, to maintain comfort. They’re a versatile shoe that comes at a fraction of the price of an ultra-distance shoe and with a design and style that suits the general fitness and running enthusiast.

Pros

  • A versatile, stylish entry-level running shoe
  • Great for many types of workouts and shorter runs due to the harder sole
  • Inexpensive, versatile, and a perfect ‘starter shoe’ if you’re looking for fitness and more

Cons

  • Not as effective as a dedicated, premium running shoe
  • Relies on midsole for cushioning with a harder sole construction

Takeaway

The Puremotion isn’t a running shoe for the elite athlete. It’s a versatile and stylish fitness and running shoe that you can use right out of the box for all your workouts, as well as an easy addition to an athleisure look.

These are inexpensive, versatile, and ready to take on a wide range of activities, but we wouldn’t wear them for an ultra-run.

Saucony Women’s Cohesion 13 - Best Long-Distance Running Shoes on a Budget

Saucony Women's Cohesion 13 Running Shoe, Grey/Black, 9
  • Grid technology with VersaFoam cushioning
  • Durable rubber outsole for even your toughest workouts

Review: Saucony’s Cohesion 13 offers a dedicated running shoe with a great price tag and an accessible design. They combine value with the key design choices you’d expect from a middle- and long-distance running shoe.

These start with a lower-density rubber sole than the puremotion and a lace-up upper. These provide the support, cushion, and stability you need to run longer distances more comfortably. The sole is a hybrid material with a firmer mesh inset to support your foot posture while you run.

The heel is thick and durable, the heel-toe drop is slightly steeper than natural, and the outer sides are tough. This makes Saucony’s inexpensive running shoe a comfortable and durable choice, letting you focus on a better run, even on a budget.

Pros

  • Affordable shoe for beginners and those with a tight budget
  • Lower-density rubber for softer landings than other rubber soles
  • Hybrid sole is a great addition for a cheap shoe, providing value beyond the price

Cons

  • Lacks the build quality and integrity of a more expensive product
  • Can’t strike the same running economy benefits due to material and design limitations

Takeaway

This is a great investment for beginners and those who are working with a tight budget. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to improve your running and keep your joints healthy – the Saucony Cohesion 13 is an inexpensive running shoe that has plenty of headroom for you to grow and improve as a runner without investing hundreds of dollars in a shoe.

Brooks Men’s Adrenaline GTS 21 - Premium Running Shoe for Men

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 White/Grey/Black 12 EE - Wide
  • THIS MEN'S SHOE IS FOR: Runners looking for a supportive shoe that's soft and smooth, the Adrenaline GTS 21 offers an improved ride and reliable support for however your body moves so you can forget the shoes and enjoy the run. This Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 is a certified PDAC A5500 Diabetic shoe and has been granted the APMA Seal of Acceptance.
  • SUPPORT AND CUSHION: Provides just the right amount of stability and support, great for overpronation while providing high energizing cushioning. Ideal for road running, cross training, the gym or wherever you might want to take them! Predecessor: Adrenaline GTS 20
  • BALANCED, SOFT CUSHIONING: The DNA LOFT Crash Pad cushions each footfall and works with BioMoGo DNA to adapt to your every stride.
  • MODERNIZED FIT: A streamlined, engineered mesh upper with 3D Fit Print offers the structure and proven fit the Adrenaline is known for-without excess bulk.
  • GUIDERAILS HOLISTIC SUPPORT SYSTEM: We've shifted our focus beyond the feet to the most injury-prone part of a runner’s body: the knees. GuideRails keep you moving comfortably by keeping excess movement in check.

Review: The Adrenaline GTS 21 men’s running shoe is just like the women’s counterpart: a serious investment for a serious runner. They’re a premium shoe that pushes many of the features you’ve seen in other shoes with better quality, durability, and commitment to improving your running experience.

The support is balanced and the drop is natural, with the lateral support necessary to keep your ankles, knees, and hips safe. These are greater than many of the other models we’ve discussed so far, combining a 3D-printed supportive mesh with a soft sole and strong, breathable upper. The result is a shoe that keeps your feet comfortable while still holding them in good posture.

The soles of the GTS 21 are also designed to adapt to your foot over time, providing a more ergonomic fit. The gel structure cushions the foot during landing, while the semi-pliable “DNA” material provides support and changes shape under pressure to mold to your foot, offering a high-quality, near-customised experience without the same cost.

Firm supports built into the upper mesh of the shoe also offer knee support to reduce rolling, strains, and “upstream” injury from the knee-hip complex.

Pros

  • Great premium features that set it as a top-level premium running shoe
  • Hybrid construction ensures stability without excessively soft soles
  • Great support for the ankle, knee, and hip with lateral stability design choices
  • DNA material allows for foot-molding and better ergonomics

Cons

  • Expensive, premium shoe – a real investment in your running

Takeaway

Brooks’ Adrenaline series are excellent and the GTS 21 is still a cutting-edge quality shoe. It offers excellent features, durability, and design for the discerning runner. If you’re looking for top-quality training performance and a shoe you can run 100s of competition miles in, the Adrenaline GTS21 is definitely a great choice.

Asics Women’s Gel-Nimbus - Lightweight Running Shoes for Long-Distance

ASICS Women's Gel-Nimbus 22 Running Shoes, 8.5, Sheet Rock/White
  • FlyteFoam Propel Technology - ASICS energetic foam formulation that provides supreme bounce thanks to a unique elastomer compound.
  • Trusstic System technology - Reduces the weight of the sole unit while retaining the structural integrity of the shoe.
  • AHAR Outsole - Acronym for ASICS High Abrasion Rubber. Placed in critical areas of the outsole for exceptional durability.
  • Guidance Line Midsole Technology - Vertical flex groove decouples the tooling along the line of progression for enhanced gait efficiency.
  • FlyteFoam Lyte Technology - ASICS lightest weight midsole formulation that provides continuous cushion thanks to organic nano fibers.

Review: Another entry from the Asics gel series, the Gel-Nimbus is a heavily-supportive and thick-soled choice for serious foot-support. This is all in pursuit of more bounce during the stride and a very-soft, hyper-supportive sole that takes a lot of the stress off of your joints.

The Gel-Nimbus is a high-quality long-distance runner that expands on the Gel-Excite with a more durable design and more support. The sole and upper are both designed to support lateral movement, foot-posture supporting soles, and hyper-light sole material to reduce the weight of the shoe.

These are a direct competitor to other premium women’s running shoes we’ve looked at (like the Adrenaline GTS 21) and come with the same premium price. They’re a serious shoe, perfectly suited to long runs.

Pros

  • Very soft, thick sole for increased support
  • Hyper-supportive and bouncy for long and ultra-distance running
  • High-quality durability additions to prevent scuffing and upper-degeneration
  • Excellent quality hybrid design and soles for better durability and running economy

Cons

  • Expensive premium shoe competing with the Adrenaline GTS 21

Takeaway

The Gel-Nimbus is a premium running shoe to compete with the best on the market. It’s more suitable than the brooks for off-roading due to the rubberised outer segments, but competes 1-1 in all other areas (with the possible exception of looks).

This is a top quality shoe for serious running and 1,000s of miles of use.

Saucony Women’s Excursion TR12 - Best Affordable Trail Running Shoes

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Saucony Women's Versafoam Excursion TR13 Trail Running Shoe, Black, 7.5
  • Versafoam cushioning for more comfort than ever before
  • A cushy stack of VERSAFOAM cushioning feels responsive to provide every level of runner comfortable strides
  • The triangular-lugged outsole grips the terrain for rock-solid footing
  • The trail-specific mesh with supportive overlays locks your foot into place and protects from trail debris

Review: Saucony’s Excursion running shoes develop on the Cohesion 13. They’re slightly more expensive but offer more features and a better design overall.

They retain the same focus on high-duration running with a thick, bounce-heavy sole and plenty of comfort. They also have quite a lot of heel-toe drop, providing more support to the heels and reducing heel-striking actively.

The Excursion are also hybrids between running and trail-running shoes with deliberate grip-design and a tough outer. This makes them a great accessible choice for both road- and trail-running, something you don’t see much of on the market, and definitely not at this inexpensive price point.

Pros

  • A budget trail-runner to open up off-road running for all bank accounts
  • Great hybrid for both mid-distance running and off-roading
  • Extra support around the ankle to protect the ankle, knee, and hip
  • Bouncy sole that specifically protects the heel and has high outer walls to prevent rolling

Cons

  • Lacks premium functions
  • Design and durability aren’t the best on the market
  • Lacks the running economy additions seen in top-level trail and road running shoes

Takeaway

The Excursions are great for getting into running and trails. They’re a simple and effective design that prioritises comfort, even on uneven terrain, and all without the premium price tag you’d usually expect for this kind of hybrid design.

Running Shoes Buying Guide

The idea of a good running shoe is to serve a few simple purposes: 

  1. It needs to cushion the impact of your foot.
  2. It needs to provide a breathable and comfortable material for sweaty, hard-working feet
  3. It should contribute to better exercise performance and running economy

These are the basic functions. You might find additional benefits like ‘looking great’ and specific arch support, but those are bonuses. Long-distance running shoes are shoes that you run in, which means they need to take a stride well and be durable.

The basic idea of running shoes is to dissipate force that happens when you contact the ground. With the sheer number of repetitions of this impact across a long run, the quality is a huge investment in your wellbeing and the health of your feet, ankles, knees, and hips.

Proper shoe choice is an important part of any sport and running should be treated with the same seriousness. While it’s a very human exercise, we aren’t all experts. That’s why we’ve put this list together and why we’re breaking down what to look for in a great long-distance running shoe.

Sole and Heel Cup

The sole and heel cup of a running shoe are your first contact. These are the main areas that absorb force, often being designed out of high density, moldable foam that will become more comfortable over time.

A shoe that is more adaptable to your body offers better long-term function and ergometrics. This allows a simple shoe to offer personalised quality without the expense and time required to get a custom shoe from a manufacturer.

The sole has to balance durability with the softness to reduce impact on your foot. This is down to personal preference but manufacturers will provide a general guide on the softness or hardness of soles. Typically, a more-absorptive sole will be better, but this does depend on how it compromises other factors.

Soles have different levels of ‘bounce’ which are usually correlated with how far you’re running. Shorter distances are thinner and less bouncy, since they’re more concerned with transferring force into the floor, but also place more stress on the joints as they don’t absorb as much impact.

Long-distance running shoes (and especially ultra-runners) are softer. They help you bounce, reducing ground-contact force even more than normal running shoes. This is to accommodate the sheer amount of strides in a long-distance run and the reduced dependence on single-stride force.

In the middle, you have ‘natural’ – a shoe that offers a small amount of bounce to take the edge off. This design attempts to reduce ground contact forces without stealing your stride power, and are a good choice for middle- and long-distance running but not ideal for ultra-endurance running.

Soles with hybrid materials are one good way of ensuring stability and durability during a run. These are common with dots and other underlying meshed materials that provide both foot-support and extra lifespan to a premium long-distance running shoe. 

Heel-Toe Drop: Positioning and Striking

There are some shoes that are specifically designed for different running styles. The eternal controversy in running is where your foot should strike the floor – either at the ball or in the middle of the foot.

Many running shoes are designed with one or the other in mind. Preference in striking – or what you do already (and unintentionally) should dictate your shoe choice. All running shoes are designed to cushion the heel and prevent heel striking, but where they put you instead is a big deal.

Front foot striking obviously requires a more heavy-duty front-end that is both durable and able to deal with the repetitive impact. It also requires a strong front tip to reduce the impact on the shoe during landing. This is a common factor in kevlar-reinforced fronts and other heavy-duty webbing designs.

Mid-foot striking is a standard recommendation for beginners because it helps move the weight forward from the heel. This is also a common recommendation and is the design around which a ‘normal’ running shoe is designed. This is more common in long-distance running shoes where strides are typically shorter and front-foot striking may place undue stress on the knee.

Typically, heel-toe drop will show how much the shoe attempts to support a roll towards the front of the foot. Steeper shoes promote a faster roll through to the front of the foot and support longer strides and more front-foot striding or contact.

Width and Lateral Support

The front and back of the shoe aren’t the only important parts. Running involves lateral (sideways) forces that a shoe can help with. Specifically, they prevent the rolling of the foot or shifting sideways with a combination of ‘walled’ outer foot design.

Some shoes are wider than others to account for foot width. It’s also crucial to get the right width as a way to control lateral forces and prevent inversion and eversion strains – a common running injury. Shoes should allow for some movement without injury, but be designed to prevent lateral rolling. This kind of movement isn’t usually deliberate.

The walling of the sole, the material of the upper, and the fastening with laces and other devices are all key here. Stronger upper materials are often stiffer and provide more support, at the expense of a little comfort and the potential for abrasion against the foot. This is personal preference, but typically you want a stiffer upper for races compared with training or ‘jogging’.

 Appearance

There’s no question about it: shoes should look good. While running shoes are functional, you would probably rather wear stylish ones than ugly ones. Even if you’re a pure-performance runner, good looking shoes are more versatile in everyday life and a good outfit is never a hindrance.

Final thoughts – How to Choose the right Running Shoe

Long-distance running shoes are the most important equipment for running. All you need is a pair of shoes, the time to run, and a long stretch of road or treadmill. The shoe is the investment that comes between you and the floor, making it one of the most important fitness investments you could possibly make.

When you multiply the differences between good and bad shoes over 1,000 of miles (or millions of strides) it’s clear how important they are. The differences between ‘right for me’ and ‘ok’ are enormous, and it pays to put the effort into getting the right shoe.

Whether you’re a beginner looking for your first runner, or a veteran with miles on the mind, these 16 products have something for every running enthusiast. We’ve covered this range to make sure you get exactly what you’re looking for to support your running journey.

Choose the right shoe and it will pay you back for years to come, preventing injuries, keeping your feet happy, and helping you to become a better runner.

man running into sunset