Whether gym closures have forced you into running or you just want a trainer treat to pull you through, here is Men’s Fitness‘ guide to the best running shoes of 2020.
BEST LIGHTWEIGHT RUNNING SHOES
MF BEST BUY:
Brooks Glycerin 17
Brooks has been making excellent running footwear for some time and its Glycerin silhouette is one of the brand’s most iconic. Simple, traditional, comfortable and durable, the Glycerin is the go-to for many runners up and down the country.
And the latest iteration might just be the best yet: the Glycerin 17 is a super-comfy yet trimmed-down runner that’s in keeping with the brand’s roots.
DNA LOFT cushioning hugs your feet, while the midsole is made from the same material as previous Glycerin models, giving a lightweight and breathable feel.
Not as strictly minimal as other shoes in this list, but that extra cushioning does nothing to detract from the lightweight feel. A trainer built with both speed and comfort in mind – what’s not to like?
Speed: 4/5 Comfort: 5/5 Performance: 5/5 OVERALL: 4.5/5
Salomon Sonic 3
Salomon might be best known for its trail shoes, but its recently released road runners are just as good.
The Sonic 3 features a two-layer cushioning system that absorbs shock, yet feels sufficiently propulsive to give you the go-forward, while the bootie-style upper keeps your feet secure and in place. Perfect for pushing for that parkrun PB.
Speed: 3/5 Comfort: 5/5 Performance: 3/5 OVERALL: 4/5
Vivobarefoot Primus Lite II Recycled
Another eco-friendly trainer from sustainable sneaker brand Vivobarefoot. Known for making minimal runners that allow your feet to work as nature intended, the Primus Lite II Recycled is certainly unique.
The leather-free shoe is made using recycled plastics and bio-based materials, providing lightweight and breathable movement, while treading lightly on the planet.
These will take some getting used to, but once you’re over the bedding in, you’re laughing.
Speed: 4/5 Comfort: 2.5/5 Performance: 2.5/5 OVERALL: 3.5/5
This slimline offering from adidas is a breath of fresh air and a minimalist’s dream. No fancy tech, no futuristic features, just what’s necessary for a smooth and efficient run.
The SL20 comes up a little small, but size up and you have everything you need for a light and fast run.
It doesn’t look bad, either: coming in a black colourway with a soft compression sole and a dash of luminous pink across the midsole.
Speed: 4.5/5 Comfort: 4/5 Performance: 4/5 OVERALL: 4/5
BEST NEUTRAL RUNNING SHOES
MF BEST BUY:
ON Running Cloudflow
‘Swiss-engineered’ is shorthand for ‘really well made’, and although Swiss brand ON is less than a decade old, it’s already established itself as a shining light in the running shoe game.
Its goal was to revolutionise the sensation of running, with soft landings and explosive take-offs, and that’s exactly what the Cloudflow does.
Whether it’s a 5k, 10k or marathon, the Cloudflow’s versatility makes it stand out from the crowd. Lightweight, reinforced and well-ventilated, the advanced traction pattern on the sole also offers superior grip on wet and slippery terrain.
The Helion™ superfoam, meanwhile, ensures a smooth ride, giving comfort, kick and more speed, and the curved heel unit means better hold, durability and comfort.
Elsewhere, the strategic taping and a new lacing configuration offers sure-footed freedom and support for high-speed goals.
Speed: 5/5 Comfort: 4/5 Performance: 5/5 OVERALL: 4.5/5
Salomon PREDICT RA
Salomon’s PREDICT RA is a completely new concept in the world of road running. It uses an ultra-decoupled, super-stable, highly cushioned bottom unit, mated to a totally new upper that moves with you for a new road-running experience.
Such is the brand’s expertise in trail shoes, it knows what it’s talking about when it comes to comfort and longevity, both of which come to the fore in the PREDICT RA.
Speed: 5/5 Comfort: 3.5/5 Performance: 3.5/5 OVERALL: 4.5/5
Nike Pegasus 36
A modern upgrade on a classic Nike shoe, the Pegasus returns with more perforations and engineered mesh in the upper for breathability.
Featuring a slimmer heel and tongue, to reduce bulk without compromising comfort, iconic Flywire cables give you a snug fit at higher speeds. This is the perfect shoe fora responsive ride and long-run comfort.
Speed: 3/5 Comfort: 3/5 Performance: 3/5 OVERALL: 3/5
While every trainer promises a better running experience or a more efficient ride, the ASICS Glideride employs an innovative design to meet those bold claims, with the stiff forefoot and dynamically curved sole designed to increase running efficiency by reducing the movement of the ankle joint.
Boasting a tall two layers of foam, the shoe is curved upwards at the toe which propels you forward and makes for a smoother, more efficient stride.
Speed: 2/5 Comfort: 4/5 Performance: 5/5 OVERALL: 3/5
New Balance 860v9
Built to be a daily running companion, the New Balance 860v9 partners a proven ride with a light, breathable mesh upper that delivers a comfortable fit without any fuss.
To get technical, the TruFuse midsole contains a shock-absorbing, dual-density EVA that prevents uneven or unpredictable terrain from playing havoc with your feet – tailor-made for long, slow marathon miles.
Speed: 4/5 Comfort: 3.5/5 Performance: 4/5 OVERALL: 3.5/5
BEST CUSHIONED & SUPPORT RUNNING SHOES
MF BEST BUY:
Saucony Guide 13
The 13th edition of the Saucony Guide series is undoubtedly the best yet. Underfoot you’ll find a midsole made of a new material called PWRRUN, which makes the trainer feel softer and offers more bounce compared with its predecessors.
Like most stability shoes, you’ll find a firm foam material underfoot, which helps to stop your feet rolling excessively inwards as they strike the ground.
Using the same materal for the full length of the midsole is a break from the norm, but it adds to the shoe’s smooth, effortless ride.
With the Guide 13, you feel as if the trainer is doing a lot of the work, which is no bad thing for beginners or heavier blokes who need their shoes to take some of the strain.
Speed: 4/5 Comfort: 4.5/5 Performance: 4.5/5 OVERALL: 4.5/5
New Balance 1080v10 London Edition
The Fresh Foam 1080v10 is one of New Balance’s best running trainers, which is why the brand has decided to create a special London edition for this year’s marathon.
Made with in-depth running data, comfort and cutting-edge design in mind, the Fresh Foam midsole delivers enhanced softness and a more energetic rebound than any New Balance runner before.
With 360 degrees of comfort and a soft-fitting knit upper, this is comfort at its finest.
Speed: 2.5/5 Comfort: 5/5 Performance: 4/5 OVERALL: 5/5
Nike React Infinity Run
Whatever type of shoe you’re after, most runners will be happy with comfortable, durable and sufficiently cushioned. Nike’s new React Infinity Run has the lot, with added support for those that need it.
From the outset, Nike’s newest addition provides a soft, responsive platform and delivers it with a widened midsole for extra stability.
Similar to the geometry of other Nike runners (namely the Next %), the Infinity has a rocker-like bottom that yields a more fluid transition from foot strike to toe-off.
That said, the noticeable bulk might put quicker runners off.
Speed: 3/5 Comfort: 5/5 Performance: 4/5 OVERALL: 4/5
HOKA Elevon 2
HOKA’s Elevon is made for runners who are looking for a smooth, floaty ride.
Featuring a dual-layered midsole – which pairs a lightweight layer of cushioning closer to the foot with the brand’s signature rocker design – and a rounded sole, it’s a combination that delivers a smooth, rolling motion from landing to toe-off.
The extra-wide frame provides a base-layer of support, and there’s enough cushioning to maintain comfort on long runs.
Speed: 4/5 Comfort: 5/5 Performance: 3.5/5 OVERALL: 4/5
adidas UltraBOOST 20
adidas’ latest UltraBOOST features the brand’s classic Primeknit upper that wraps the foot with a supportive fit.
As well as next-level comfort, that BOOST midsole delivers an energy return you can really feel, while the stitched-in reinforcement is precisely placed to give you the support you need.
The soft elastane heel means comfort comes to the fore, while also providing the perfect support for steady Sunday long runs.
Speed: 3/5 Comfort: 5/5 Performance: 4/5 OVERALL: 3.5/5
Words: Tayler Willson