I often get asked what the best running shoes are.
Spoiler: there is no best, but there is a best for me and a best for you.
If you know me well, you know the first thing I’ll ever tell you about running shoes is there is no best running shoe. There is the bestrunning shoe for me and the best running shoe for you. If the shoe that keeps you healthy and pain-free is no shoe, then great…that is the best running shoe for you.
Second, always get fitted by a local running store. If you’ve never run before and don’t know what you need, it’s the best place to start. The shoes are the same price, and you get personalized attention from an expert. Plus, most local running stores have some exchange policy that you can try a shoe out.
All of that being said, every year, most running shoes are updated.
Sometimes running shoes miss their mark.
Sometimes they are awesome.
I reviewed about 52 pairs of shoes this year (roughly 1 a week). None of these brands pay me to review shoes. This is my experience, and I cannot emphasize enough that shoes fit differently for every single person.
Shoes I Went Through More Than One Pair:
Here are a few of my favorite and the Best Running Shoes of 2020:
Keep in mind these are my opinions, and I welcome to hear your favorites too.
Best Running Shoe Update: New Balance 1080v10: New Balance has done many great things with their shoes over the last few years. I went through 3 pairs of the New Balancev10. It’s well-cushioned and firm but also durable.
Best Running Shoe Debut: Hoka Clifton Edge: Anyone who knows me well knows my love for the Clifton Edge. It’s underrated and a more firm version of the Hoka Clifton. I love how responsive it is.
Best Running Shoe Brand Debut: Atreyu: The guys at Atreyu are awesome. Atreyu is a subscription-based running shoe brand that you can get your shoes mailed to your door.
Best Running Shoe Carbon Plated Shoe: Outside of the Nike Alphafly, I will get flack for this, I’m sure, but I’m giving it to the Saucony Endorphin Pro for long races and the Asics Metaracer for shorter races. The New Balance 5280 was created for the mile race and is best for even shorter.
Why Saucony Endorphin Pro? The fit of the Saucony Endorphin Pro is good. There is plenty of space for your toes to spread out (especially if you have a wider foot), plus its response and light. No carbon plated shoe is available in wide, but the Saucony Endorphin Pro is wider.
Why the Asics Metaracer? Out of all of the carbon plated shoes, the Asics Metaracer is the most responsive. I strongly believe most carbon-plated shoes are too bulky for short races like the mile or 5k. The Asics Metaracer is like a 2016 racing flat with a carbon plate.
Best Stability Shoe: The New Balance 860 is one of the last “stable shoes.” Many stability shoes go towards “inherent stability” with no concrete medial post (including the Brooks Adrenaline). If you are looking for a shoe with stability to support the arches, the New Balance 860 is one of the last options. As always, get fitted from your running store, as it’s not the one size fits all.
Best always the Same Shoe: Brooks Ghost 13: The Brooks Ghost is updated every year, but the update remains fairly similar to the previous year. Not much usually changes between the years.
Most Durable Running Shoe: Nike Tempo Next% This might be surprising to include, but most carbon-plated shoes don’t last more than 100-200 miles. The Nike Tempo% gets at least 200 if not 300 or more. Which for being a $200 “fast” shoe, is a good deal.
Best Trail Shoe: This was tough! I like how lightweight and firm the Hoka Torrent 2 is. It’s been my staple for most of my trail runs. I also appreciate the Saucony Peregrine 10 and actually need to do a review of the next model.
While I haven’t had the chance to review Altra trails shoes in 2020, they’ve been extremely popular due to their zero drop. Since trail running is booming, many brands are investing in creating the best running shoes for trails.
Best Running Shoe Made in Leather: Hoka Gaviota If you know me, you know my love for all white shoes. The Hoka Gaviota is that chunky leather, high fashion shoe to walk the streets in. I once had to use it for a 4-mile cooldown because I forgot my shoes. LOL at me.
2021 and Beyond in Running Shoes:
I am curious to see what 2021 brings. Carbon plated shoes are here to stay, and there are rumors of trail versions coming out soon. I think 2021 will bring more brands creating a wider arsenal of trail shoes. With many trail events still able to happen in 2020, brands are looking to provide runners with more options.
Many brands are adding high cushion with lower stack heights (a la Hoka) to their rotation. Stack height is definitely one of the more buzzed about words and will continue to be.
If you are looking to learn more about running shoes, I wrote an ebook here.
Questions for you:
What are some of your favorite and best running shoes of 2020?
Do you run in the same shoe or try something new?