Everything You Need to Pick the Right Men's Running Shoes
Finding the best running shoes for men is about more than looks. Read on to learn why it's important to find the best running shoes for you!
Picture this... you're out there on the road running. You look fit and strong. You're striding out on track to hit your best time yet.
Then BOOM. Your shins start to hurt; You get a cramp in your arch; that pesky hip starts to smart.
Chances are you are a victim of a poor choice of running shoe. The best running shoes for men are important as poor shoe choice is the main cause of issues including:
- plantar fasciitis (heel pain)
- shin splints/pain
- Achilles pain
- knee pain
- iliotibial band (ITB) issues
- foot pain
And depending on the amount of time you spend out there on that road, you need to be really careful about your choice of shoe. It can literally be a make or break decision for your body.
So, how do you find the best running shoes for men and the right running shoes for you?
To help you make an informed decision, we've put together a foolproof guide what you need to consider when finding the best running shoes for men. Of course, if you have flat feet, you should instead check out our comprehensive guide to running shoes for flat feet. We've then matched the main requirements to some good options currently in the market.
But before we go into that, let's have a look at the key 'dont's' of buying running shoes.
What you should NEVER factor into your choice of running shoes
It's important to note upfront that there are certain factors that should never be considered when looking at the best running shoes for men:
- Your friend recommended them - what fits one person doesn't necessarily fit another. Unless you are certain your friend shares your exact body type and gait, this should be an irrelevant consideration in your shoe purchase
- How good the shoe looks - whilst everyone likes to look good, what the shoe looks like should never be a primary consideration in your purchase
- Whether the shoe is trendy - every market goes through trends and running shoes are no exception. Just because it's on the bestseller list does not mean it's the right shoe for you
- The brand - many of us are loyal to certain brands. This is most often an emotional preference based on great marketing rather than actual performance. If you can try and stay brand agnostic, you have a better chance of finding the right shoe for you.
So, having gotten those issues out of the way, let's have a look at what you should be considering when you are looking for the best running shoes for you.
How much are you running?
There are so many different types of sports shoes on the market, it's easy to get sucked into buying something that you don't need.
The most important thing to remember as a runner is that you need actual running shoes.
A lot of stores will try to sell you a cross-trainer shoe and tell you that it's capable of supporting both running and gym-type activities like cross-fit. But the truth is that different shoes are designed to support different activities.
For the rest of this article, we are going to focus only on the best running shoes for men that are by definition, actual running shoes, not any type of cross-trainer.
Your running style
Understanding how your feet move when you run is the key element to consider when selecting a running shoe.
You can check this easily yourself though by having a look at an old pair of shoes. There are generally 3 types of wear you should look for:
- equal wear on the sides and heel = neutral
- more wear on the inside ball of the feet and the inside heel = overpronation
- more wear on the outside ball of the feet and the outside heel = supination
There are some classic issues that indicate that you either over-pronate or supinate as well.
Men who supinate tend to have issues such as knee problems, iliotibial band syndrome (ITB) as well as heel and Achilles pain.
Whereas classic symptoms of over-pronation can be things like stress fractures, Achilles tendonitis, and chronic heel pain.
The best running shoes for men will be designed specifically to help counter these particular issues.
For example, if you overpronate, you need additional arch support. If you supinate you still need a little bit of arch support but you will benefit most from shock absorption.
So, now that you understand a bit more about the mechanics of finding the best running shoes for men, let's get a look at some killer products on the market right now that will help you get the best out of your body on every single run.
Finding the best running shoes for men who are mild overpronators or supinators
Over-pronation in layman's terms means that your feet roll in when you run. Depending on how badly you pronate, you may even be considered flat-footed, meaning you do not have arches on your feet.
Supination means that you feel don't roll in enough when you move. This means that the outer edges of your feet absorb the most pressure.
If you only mildly overpronate or supinate, a stability shoe is most appropriate. These have mild arch support and good cushioning to try and correct the way your foot moves when you run.
Let's have a look at a couple of great options in stability shoes:
- Nike Air Zoom Structure - Widely rated as one of the best running shoes for flat feet, the Nike Air Zoom has triple-built foam on the inside of the shoe to give those arches extra support. It's also light-weight and looks great
Hoka One One Clifton - Super-lightweight, these shoes are great for a bit of extra heel and toe cushioning. They also have a molded midsole which provides the extra support you need
Both of these options are quite narrow, which means you may need to consider ordering them in a size above what you would normally order. But as with any running shoes, make sure you try before you buy to ensure they fit your foot correctly and that you are comfortable with the amount of cushioning.
Finding the best running shoes for men who are chronic over-pronators
A chronic over-pronator puts a lot of extra pressure on the first two toes both when you land on your feet and when you push off.
So chronic over-pronators need, not only good arch support to prevent the pronation but also extra cushioning to absorb the pain points on the foot that absorb the extra pressure.
Commonly referred to as motion-control shoes, a shoe with extra stability will ensure minimal movement of the feet when you strike the ground.
Here are a couple of great options to consider:
- ASICs Men's Gel Kayano - Great arch support and lots of cushioning are the hallmarks of this stability favorite. The Gel Kayano has been around for a long time and its longevity in the market is a result of a consistently good product. They're also well regarded as the shoe of choice for chronic over-pronators
- Skechers Go Run Ultra - If you're looking for absorption and stability, this is a great option. They've got excellent overall cushioning and heel support which gives great support. Not a lightweight option however if you are doing a lot of miles. Perhaps better for offroad stuff
Finding the best running shoes for men who have neutral feet
You guys are the lucky ones. Your feet need minimal correction to ensure your body is in alignment.
The main shoe component you need to consider is the amount of cushioning you prefer. This comes down to personal choice but also the terrain you most commonly run on.
The heel drop measurement represents the space between the height of the heel and the height of the toe and indicates the level of cushioning provided by the shoe. Most shoes in this category have between 8mm and 12mm heel drop.
Let's have a look at some of the best neutral shoe options:
- Saucony Echelon 5 - Super comfortable, these runners offer an 8mm heel drop and well cushioned front foot. These shoes are aimed specifically at men with wide feet and the level of cushioning means they can cope with different types of terrain
- Mizuno Wave Inspire - A great shoe for long distance running, these feature a 12mm heel drop for extra comfort. They also have a patented Dynamotion fit feature which makes them more stable than other shoes in this range
Reviews of the Best Running Shoes for Men
1. Hoka One One Clifton
The Best... Overall
We’ll make no secrets of it; we love the Hoka One One Clifton, despite its absolutely ridiculous name. Fairly new on the scene, Hoka One One have only been around since 2010, created by two French buddies who used to work for Salomon, they’ve dubbed themselves as the ultra ‘maximalist’ shoe, in response to the brief yet powerful boom of minimalist running back in 2013 (which seems to have died down for the foreseeable future).
The Clifton combines two of the most important characteristics necessary when considering purchasing a running shoe. They are ultra-lightweight, due to their SpeedFrame construction, but also are perfect for those looking for a protective shoe, thanks to their generous cushioning around the toe and heel. It’s the one of the lightest running shoes you can find on the market that also comes with a thick protective design.
They combine a wide toe box with a molded midsole which helps increase stability and gives a comfortable heel to toe strike. The Hoka One One Clifton is clearly made by a company that has identified what areas runners needed more in, adjusted their shoe accordingly, and profited. We recommend the Clifton to beginners and advanced runners alike, especially if you are looking at long distance running.
2. Asics Men's Gel Kayano 25
The best... for overpronation
The Gel Kayano has long been the running shoe of choice for the over-pronator, probably due to Asics FluidFit system which helps make the Gel-Kayano ‘more like a glove’ than a regular running shoe. They also concentrate on a tight fitting heel with their exoskeletal clutching system and GEL cushioning systems, which allow for a comfortable heel strike.
REMEMBER: Asics seem to have been making the Gel Kayano slightly narrower each model that they produce; this means that the Asics Gel Kayano 25 have quite a narrow toe box and low height. If you’re looking for a regular fitting running shoe and you’re thinking of ordering the Gel Kayano, it might be worth ordering them in a size above your regular shoe size. It’s definitely worth considering ordering them in a larger width as well; they come in three different widths (D for regular fit, 2E for wide fit and 4E for ultra wide fit).
3. Mizuno Wave Inspire
The best... if you want durability
The Wave Inspire is Mizuno’s second most popular shoe, slightly behind the Wave Rider, though we don’t think that’s a great reflection of the two shoes. The Wave Rider is not as durable as the Inspire, probably due to the double fan wave technology that extends the sole life of your Mizuno Inspire. They also have a U4icX strobel board (sounds long and complex, we know) that is fantastic for heel support and general cushioning comfort.
4. Nike Air Zoom Structure
Best for... Stability
Described by Nike as their best running shoe in terms of stability, the Air Zoom Structure are a solid pair of running shoes that suit those conscious of the fashionable aspect of running as well as the technical. Available in a wide variety of colors, the durable midsole and flat arch make them a fantastic choice both visually and performance wise.
As often with other running shoes from Nike, they usually run at least half a size smaller than your regualr shoes size, so make sure to order correctly.
5. Reebok ZigPulse
The best... for narrow feet
Across every shoe guide and footwear forum you’ll always see people asking ‘what shoes are best for my wide feet’?Well, there’s now plenty of options for that but what about those with narrow feet? The ZigRhythm is perfect for a narrow foot, coming in just one width (D) you’re best off ordering your ZigRhythms at least half a size above your regular shoe size.
In terms of design and attractiveness, you’ll either love or hate the funky design which comes in a subtle black and blue or a flamboyant fluorescent yellow. Made with Reebok’s ‘ZigTech’, the Rhythms offer maximum traction and fantastic shock absorption due to the thick zig-zag outer sole.
6. Skechers Go Run Ultra R
The best... for protection
Skechers Go Run Ultra make the list of some of the best running shoes around at the moment, primarily due to their thick, comfortable cushioning and super protective toe box. They’re ideally suited to harsh terrains due to their hyper aggressive traction and sole.
These Ultras are fantastic for those looking for extra cushioning around the collar of their running shoes. They are certainly a bulky pair of shoes, not ideally suited to those looking for optimum pace, but in terms of comfortability and certainly protection, the added bulk of the Ultra’s make them a solid choice for those trail running. Although they are quite bulky, they are still relatively lightweight and it’s a small sacrifice to pay for added shock absorption and stability.
7. Saucony Echelon 5
Best for... road running
The American giants Saucony have produced one of their most popular shoes in recent years with the Echelon 5. This is probably due to the patented ‘Sauc-Fit’ system, 8mm heel-to-toe offset and and extremely comfortable flat footbed.
Made with road running in mind, they are adaptable to other terrains and you’ll probably find them quite low impact whether running trails or walking on the treadmill.
Saucony’s Echelon 5’s are aimed specifically at those with ‘wide foot syndrome’, coming in three different width sizes; D, a slightly wide but fairly normal fit, and either 2E or 3E, for those looking for a specifically wide fitting running shoe.
So there you have it. A guide to what to consider when searching for the best running shoes for men and what is best going to suit your body and running style.
The next step is to try on some of the shoes you think will work best.
Always try more than one option as you don't always know what's going to feel best and each of these shoes will have a different feel to it.
And then, get out there and try them out.
And if you have found the best running shoes for you that ensure more comfortable running and fewer injuries, then we'd like to hear about it. Leave us a comment and share your experience.