Review: The Nike Zoom Pegasus 36 shoes are a longstanding favorite because they are fast, responsive and extremely light.
They are a neutral shoe with a 10mm drop and are best suited to people with high arches. But maybe what makes them so great for long distance is the full-length Zoom air pocket that gives great energy return while providing plush cushioning.
They’re best suited to daily running of up to 10 miles and recovery runs.
Very well cushioned and responsive.
Secure lacing system.
Suitable for supinators.
Narrower toe box than previous models.
Not quite enough cushioning for marathons.
These could be the best Nike long distance running shoes.
Review: The Adidas Ultraboost are an ultra-popular pair of long distance running shoes. They feature a boost midsole that turbo charges your run while providing the cushion you need to keep going over long distances.
It’s a lightweight neutral running shoe with a 10mm drop, and yet despite its light weight, it’s packed with highly responsive cushioning that stays springy long into your run.
Sounds appealing, right? Pair that with the fact that it’s just really comfortable and you’re on to a winner.
Continental rubber sole provides great traction and long lasting durability.
Foot hugging stretch knit upper.
Responsive boost midsole.
Tend to run tight or narrow.
If you’re not worried about the expense, theis is a well cushioned, responsive shoe that easily goes the distance.
Review: The Vongo V3 Fresh Foam running shoe is slightly different from your average sturdy and traditional New Balance shoe.
This is a lightweight stability shoe built for overpronators. The dual-density rubber sole, combined with ample cushion and arch support make this shoe ideal for flat feet. But, it only has a 4mm drop so you’ll want to transition slowly if you’re not used to low drop shoes.
Spacious toe box.
Dual-density outsole that’s firmer on the inside to prevent foot roll.
Great bounce and responsiveness mile after mile.
Can get hot.
Best long distance running shoes for flat feet and over pronators who want more stability in a very lightweight package.
Review: The Adizero Boston 7 is a neutral long distance running shoe designed for road running. It is amazing how light this shoe is, the men’s model is just 8.6 oz! It’s also really fast, so if you’re a distance runner but looking for a racing shoe, these would be a great choice.
The shoe uses Adidas boost midsole, providing just enough cushion and great bounce back. And, the continental outsole provides great traction and durability.
Well padded and secure heel cup keeps your foot locked in.
EVA midsole layer adds stability.
Extremely light, 8.6 oz.
Continental rubber outsole is durable and grippy.
A little short in the toe box/forefoot area.
Cushioned enough for everyday training, light and responsive enough for race day, this new model is set to become a favorite!
Review: The Kinvara 9 are a neutral running shoe with a mid-level cushion to provide comfort while maintaining ground feel and responsiveness.
They are a popular choice for long distance runners because of the flexible, natural feel of the upper, and “Everun” midsole foam which provides just enough cushion and a great bounce back to keep you going.
They have a 4mm drop so are designed for forefoot strikers with high or medium arches.
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, minimalist style with just enough cushion and good energy return.
Review: The Adidas Supernova ST is a daily or long-distance running shoe for people with medium arches who strike the ground with their midfoot and overpronate. Sounds complicated but at the end of the day, if they’re comfortable – try them out!
The 8mm drop is an excellent transition zone for people coming from 12 or 14mm drops.
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.
Plenty of cushioning.
Guiderails installed in the midsole add stability.
Continental rubber tread sole for all-weather traction and durability.
Mesh upper keeps you dry no matter how many miles you run.
Well cushioned stability shoe for long distance running every day training.
Review: The Asics Gel Nimbus is the more cushioned sibling of Asics’ Cumulus, making it an even more amazing option for long distance running.
It’s a neutral shoe with a 13mm drop (or 10mm for the men’s) and even though it’s designed for people with normal pronation, it includes gait guidance technology to keep you feeling stable, supported and efficient.
But it’s the midsole that really stands out. With two kinds of FlyteFoam and rear and forefoot gel cushioning, you’ll be hard pushed to find a more cushioned but energizing shoe for your distance runs.
Slightly wider outsole than other Asics models creates a stable platform.
Very well cushioned.
Different widths available.
A little heavier than previous versions.
If you’re after a well cushioned work horse for marathon training, this is your shoe. These are some of the best marathon shoes of 2021.
How to Choose Long Distance Running Shoes
First, 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 that there are differences 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.
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 overpronator, 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 (and doesn’t result in injury).
Find the Best Endurance Running Shoes by Considering These Factors
Know Your Pronation Style
I’ve covered pronation style in a previous article. If you want a more complete explanation, check it out.
If not, I’ll sum it up here quickly.
In a nutshell:
Over Pronators – Your foot tends to roll in too much as you run. Look for shoe labeled a “stability or ”support” that will 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, or shoes specifically designed for supinators.
“Normal” Pronators – your foot remains true, not rolling too far inward or out. This is most people. Look for a shoe labeled “neutral”.
Know Your Arch Height
Your arch falls somewhere along the 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.
But, heavier shoes are often more durable because they are designed to be used every day.
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, and they’re not cushioned enough to be comfortable.
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 traditional running shoes have a higher drop than general-purpose athletic shoes for these two reasons:
Reason #1 A high drop (10-14mm), encourages you to strike the ground with your heel first, and allows for much more cushioning in the heel than the toe.
Reason #2 A shoe with a high drop also causes you to lean forward just a tad, propelling you forward as you run.
But, thoughts surrounding the most natural way to run have changed over the years and more running shoe manufacturers are moving towards shoes with lower drops (4-8mm). This means you’ll be forefoot or mid-foot-striking which is believed to be better for your joints in the long run.
Some people naturally run this way, others have to transition slowly and build up the muscles in their feet and calves.
Lastly, What About Gender Specifics?
The shoes in the list above are divided into men’s and women’s just to give it an even mix.
But really, every shoe on the list comes in a men’s and women’s version, so you can view the models above as interchangeable.
But when it comes time to buy, unless you’re a large footed woman and usually buy men’s shoes (which is completely fine), most people find that the shoes designed for their sex are more comfortable, provided the shoe company is actually making gender-specific shoes and not just ‘shrinking and pinking’.
If not, choose a shoe that matches your foot shape and support requirements, regardless of whether it’s being marketed to men or women specifically. If it’s comfortable and fits you well, it’s a winner.
If you’re thinking about doing a marathon, you might want to check out our article on the best running belts too, so that you can be sure you always have access to water and a snack, or just a handy place to put your phone and keys!
On the same note, you’ll also be needing something to fuel up with.
What Types of Shoes are Best for Long Distance Running?
Any of the shoes on the list above are all great options for long distance running. But, you specifically want to be looking for a good amount of cushioning that won’t compress before your run is over.
How Many Miles Should You Run in a Marathon Shoe?
This depends on what kind of shoe you have and what kind of running you’re doing in it. If you have competition shoes and want to wear them only for racing, they’ll be good until around 150 miles.
If you have harder wearing shoes with reliable cushioning, you might get more miles out of them but you might relegate them to easy training runs once they start wearing out.
Do Running Shoes Lose Cushioning?
Yes and no. What happens is that over time, the cushioning gets compressed to the point that it doesn’t decompress at the end of your run.
So, eventually, if you don’t replace your shoes, you’ll feel like you’re running directly on the road – ouch!
Should I Buy New Running Shoes Before a Marathon?
No! The shoes you wear for a marathon should be broken in to your foot shape.
Even if the shoes you have ‘don’t need breaking in’, they still need at least 50 miles in them to perform the best for your specific feet.
How Do You Know When Running Shoes are Worn Out?
There might be some tell-tale signs like a hole in the upper mesh where your big toe is poking through, or loss of tread. But more of than not it comes down to compacted cushioning and a little loss of structure through the midfoot.
If you can twist your shoe easily through the midfoot, it’s probably on its way out.
With 17 excellent shoes to choose from, I hope you find the best long distance running shoes for your next run.
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Michael is a fitness expert and professional home/garage gym builder. His tutorials, guides, and reviews are backed up by his own experience and will definitely help you achieve your goals. He also loves putting mayo AND ketchup on the pizza for some reason!