Best Running Shoes For Men And Women Guide (updated: 2016)

people running outside with their footwear on

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.A good trail running shoe needs a strong, thick sole to cope with the different types of ground you’ll encounter, as well as strong support, especially around the angle, for when you are ascending or descending inclines.


Seeing the sole extend around the front of the shoe to provide added grip on the ascent of hills particularly is also a good feature.
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Women (click below for more information)

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.A solid road running shoe must be able to retain maximum foot comfort, while absorbing the pounding that the feet take while running along the road.


Best rated shoes for road runners combine excellent support, with comfort and durability as these shoes can encounter all kinds of conditions, from powder dry roads, to puddles on rain soaked days.
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.When racing on the track comfort and fit is vital, but athletes do tend to try and wear a slightly lighter shoe than when on the road and especially compared to trail.


The best track shoes will not only support and enhance the runner on track, but work with the nature of the track itself to promote a more fluid, graceful and easier motion.
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.If you are of the opinion that you’d like to try some of the top minimalist running shoes, or barefoot shoes then the good news is that there is infinite choice waiting for you.Men (click below for more information)
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With the wealth of running shoes available , many are unaware of the importance of selecting the best shoes for running.

Many people mistakenly believe that a pair of Nike running shoes is exactly the same as a pair of Adidas, Mizuno or Puma running shoes.

Do you believe that best running shoes for women are likely to be the best for men as well?

Unfortunately, a wealth of scientific research has revealed that finding the right running shoe is extremely important, not just in terms of enjoyment and run faster but also as a preventative measure against a whole host of foot problems, or problems caused by overpronation and underpronation of the feet.

The upshot of this research is that it underlines how important it is for runners to find the best men’s running shoes and the best running shoes for women that will not only look stylish and feel comfortable to wear, but which address a number of key factors.

Let’s take a look at these key factors in a bit more detail and explain why they should form a crucial part of your decision-making process when deciding which pair should you shop for and buy .

Key Factors To Consider


  1. Whether You are Male or Female and Your Body Size and Shape

It may sound extremely obvious, but there are significant physiological differences between a man and women and these differences are exacerbated when jogging.

This often means that the top women’s running shoes need to be of a significantly different design compared to the running shoes for men.

How does this manifest itself?

Typically, women’s feet tend to be a slightly different shape than men’s; a woman’s foot is proportionately wider at the front of the foot, but narrower towards the heel.

This is an important distinction as when the first training sneakers were developed, they were designed solely for men and women found them uncomfortable to use, tight around the toes, but slipping in the heel area.

It was only when designers first addressed this, that sales of women’s running shoes began to match those of their male counterparts.

In addition to physiological differences between the sexes, the shape of the body is as important. Women tend to have wider hips than men and that increases the Q-Angle (the angle of the quad muscle in relation to the knee cap) in women.

The effect of this is that women have a tendency to suffer from overpronation of the foot (we’ll look at the issue of overpronation and underpronation in more detail shortly).

Of course, these are very general differences and there are always exceptions to the rule, but what is fundamental to understand is that the differences in how your body is put together and works biomechanically will affect how you run. This, in turn, then will determine the type of shoe that is best suited to your specific jogging style and gait.


  1. The Surface That You Will Run On Most Often

Even top cushioned footwear can cause problems if the user does not determine beforehand what surface they are most likely to be on.

Different surfaces impact on the foot in different ways and it is certainly true that the trail running footwear are going to be of a significantly different design to top road sneakers.

What is clear here is that the sole, and its overall design, needs to work in harmony with the surface that the athlete is racing upon.

A hard, unforgiving surface such as a road of pavement will therefore require a very different designs compared to someone who runs mostly over muddy trails, gritty pathways, or indeed out on a synthetic, more spongy track.

The importance of identifying which surface you will run on and matching the right footwear will not only help you run more efficiently on these surfaces, but will also help prevent both minor and major injuries.

Picking the right training sneaker for the surface you predominantly run on can reduce the impact on harder surfaces on your joints.

A carefully selected  pair can offer you better grip on softer, slippery surfaces as well as promoting more stability across the foot and reducing the chances of a nasty twist or sprain that could sideline a runner for several weeks. They will also reduce the risk of minor foot problems, such as blisters that are easily caused when using the wrong type of shoe for the surface you are on.


  1. Your Running Gait and Whether it Promotes Overpronation or Underpronation of the Foot, or Is Neutral

Without doubt, some of the biggest advances in determining what are the best for an individual has come from a far greater understanding of the biomechanics and in particular, the importance of pronation and supination of the feet.

Pronation is best described as the general movement of the foot as it is being walked or run upon. Generally, this motion starts when the outer of the heel is planted onto the ground and the foot rolls forward and also inwards as it flattens out before the leg muscles lift it into the air for the next step.

Supination is the opposite of pronation and occurs when the foot has an outward roll when in natural motion, such as when the inside of the heel strikes the ground first and the foot rolls forward and outwards before the leg muscles retrieve the foot for the next step.

It is important to note that any normal step will contain a degree of both pronation and supination and that this is entirely natural and how human feet were designed to operate.

Problems arise however when feet are subjected to excess pronation (overpronation) or excess supination (also known as underpronation). Unfortunately for runners, this problem is a very common one and can lead to injury.

The good news however is that many of the best footwear manufacturers are now well aware of the issues of excessive pronation and supination and have designed a wide range of sport / fitness footwear that can help alleviate this problem and allow runners to run and not increase the risks of injury.

Of course, there are also runners (men and women) who do not suffer from excessive pronation or supination and this is called a neutral running style. However, this doesn’t mean that they can use any type of shoe, indeed these runners are advised to look for the best neutral footwear they can find to ensure that the training sneaker is perfectly suited to their own style.

It can be extremely difficult to self-diagnose whether you suffer from over or underpronation, but there are now plenty of ways a runner can visit a health professional and have their gait analysed with clear results which will give them a clear indication of what type of footwear would be most beneficial for their running / exercise style.


  1. Any Pre-existing Medical Conditions you Have, Especially Those Exacerbated By Running

Unfortunately as every serious runner will know, the very act of running can sometimes cause new medical conditions to emerge, or exacerbate the effects of existing health conditions to the point where it can become painful, uncomfortable and even impossible at times.

Many of these health conditions often stem from a runner not having the right training shoe to help them address the specific fitness needs of their style as well as the surface that they generally run upon.

Similar to how science has helped shoe manufacturers understand and develop footwear that can alleviated overpronation and underpronation, there are also a range of training sneakers nowadays that can help athletes avoid or alleviate the symptoms of many health and medical conditions some of the most common being:

Plantar Fasciitis – This is experienced by many runners as a sharp pain in the heel and has also earned the nickname of ‘ jogger’s heel ’ given how common this ailment is amongst the community. It is caused by the continual impact caused by running or other similar motion on a single area of the foot (usually the heel). The plantar fascia tissue runs under this part of the foot and along the sole and the impacts cause the tissue to thicken and tear, which causes the pain. (read our plantar fasciitis shoes guide)

Shin Splints – The term Shin Splints is actually an umbrella term as there could be many potential causes, but typically the person suffering from shin splints will feel a pain and ache in the front of the lower leg on the shin bone. The exact location of the pain can be different depending on the individual and some of the most common causes of shin splints include overworked and swollen muscles, tiny stress fractures of the lower leg bones and overpronation of the foot.

Flat Feet – Flat Feet (also known as fallen arches) are not generally a health / medical condition as such, but if you have flat feet then they can cause problems as they can lead to a number of problems. This includes stretched and torn tendons, broken bones, dislocations, inflammation or damage to the posterior tibial tendon, which connects your lower leg, through your ankle and to the middle of where the arch in your foot should be.

Bunions – Running can seriously exacerbate any bunions men or women may have as when walking or running, the entire body weight can rest on this part of the foot and as a result, they can be extremely painful for the male or female runner.

Bunions are easy to diagnose due to the obvious bulge on the side of the toe, but caught early enough and with the right shoe, their effects can be mitigated and reduced before this leads to surgery.

High Arches – High arched feet are the opposite of flat feet (which have no arch), in this problem the women or men may have excessively arched feet (known medically as Pes Cavus) which in turn can lead to a number of issues including Plantar Fasciitis, lower back problems, ankle, knee or hip problems.

Fortunately, the footwear nowadays that are designed for  men and women with this condition will come with additional support and even orthotic devices that can relieve the stress on the joints and reduce the risk of injury.


  1. Barefoot and Minimalist Running Sneakers

Over recent times there has been a swell of interest in the notion of the benefits of running barefoot, or at very least using the best minimalist running shoes that will allow you to experience the benefits of barefoot running, with fewer of the risks associated with it.

It is fair to say that scientific is inconclusive as to if there are any benefits to running using this form of shoe, but an increasing number of runners are happy to advocate the benefits of using them. Proponents believe that these will help them run without the risk of sustaining some of the injuries we have noted above that are particularly common amongst runners.

However, there are those who believe that these training shoes are more likely, rather than less likely to cause injury and that given their minimalist approach, they leave the runner open to other dangers that you would not have to worry about if you wore a shoe that was tailored to your specific needs.

Whether barefoot or minimalist footwear are best for you certainly cannot be proven scientifically at this time, but it remains an option for serious runners who may wish to experience these types of sneakers and to see if they offer any benefits to them as a runner.

Now that we have examined the key issues surrounding the top running  footwear and what a serious male or female runner needs to consider before shopping and making any purchase, let’s look at some specific models of the top shoes on the market today that best address the issues outlined above.

We’ll take a look at what the best options are for men first, then follow that up with a look at the best women’s footwear.

Best Running Footwear for Men and Women

If we start our list of recommendations by thinking about where you are most likely to run then the following are some of the best shoe options depending on the type of surface you’ll likely encounter in your training.


Top Shoes For Trail Running

A good trail running shoe needs a strong, thick sole to cope with the different types of ground you’ll encounter, as well as strong support, especially around the angle, for when you are ascending or descending inclines.

Seeing the sole extend around the front of the shoe to provide added grip on the ascent of hills particularly is also a good feature.

The Adidas Performance Mens Thrasher 1.1 M Trail  is a good choice here as it comes in a range of colors and has a non-slip foot-bed and grippy adiwear outsole and comes at a price that is within most runners price range.

Other options to consider at a variety of prices include the Salomon Men’s Speedcross 3 Trail, the ASICS Men’s GEL-Kahana 6 Trail and for those prefer a more brightly colored shoe the Nike Men’s Wild Trail are another option.

For women, there is a ladies version of the men’s Adidas Thrasher shoe outlined above and other options, across a wide range of prices include the Salomon Women’s Speedcross 3 Trail, the somewhat striking Reebok Women’s TR Wild and the Nike Wild Trail , which is a great budget price option.


Best Shoes For Road Running

A solid road running shoe must be able to retain maximum foot comfort, while absorbing the pounding that the feet take while running along the road.

Best rated shoes for road runners combine excellent support, with comfort and durability as these shoes can encounter all kinds of conditions, from powder dry roads, to puddles on rain soaked days.

Top choice for road users therefore has to not only be an ideal fit for the runner but be able to be worn safely across a wide range of weather conditions.

If you are a man then a good place to start is with the Adidas Performance Men’s Climacool Aerate 3M.

This has ventilated mesh, which is ideal for warmer conditions but also for wetter as the shoe will dry out more readily when damp.

Other options to consider across a wide price range includes the top end Pearl Izumi Mens EM Road N 2 B/SG, the ASICS Men’s Gel-Excite-2 and the brightly coloured New Balance Men’s MR00 Minimus Road.

There is an equally good choice of top quality footwear for women road runners as well and a great shoe to start with the ASICS Women’s Gel-Noosa Tri 9 as it offers a great combination of durability, design and price.

The Pearl Izumi Women’s EM Road N1 is another very bright design, while the Mizuno Women’s Wave Prophecy 4 is a high end choice for those with a larger budget.


Best Shoes For Track Running

When racing on the track comfort and fit is vital, but athletes do tend to try and wear a slightly lighter shoe than when on the road and especially compared to trail. The best track shoes will not only support and enhance the runner on track, but work with the nature of the track itself to promote a more fluid, graceful and easier motion.

Male runners would do well to start by looking at the ASICS GT-2000 3, which offers a huge range of sizes and widths making getting a great fit very easy. Other options include the Saucony Velocity men’s track shoe, the New Balance MRC1600v2 and also the Adidas Performance Men’s Spider 4 M Track Shoe is a good relatively low budget option.

For women there are a number of excellent track shoe options available right now including the Saucony Fastwitch, New Balance WXC700v3, Puma Women’s Complete TFX Sprint 3 S and the Saucony Women’s Velocity track shoe are all excellent choices and available at a range of prices to suit most budgets.


The Best Minimalist and Barefoot Running  Sneakers

If you are of the opinion that you’d like to try some of the top minimalist running shoes, or barefoot shoes then the good news is that there is infinite choice waiting for you.

Vibram offer a wide range of their FiveFingers designs for both men and women and these offer what is as close to barefoot as is possible given current trainer design. They are not the cheapest shoes available but they will provide you with as close to barefoot-running as possible.

If you are looking for the top minimalist sneakers you can find, then there are a growing number of options.

Men can select from the Vivobarefoot Men’s Ultra Pure, the Merrell Mens Ascend Glove Minimal Shoe and the Nike FS Lite Run 2.

Women have an equally diverse range to select from and some of the best sneakers available for minimalist enthusiasts include Brooks Pure Connect 4, ASICS 33-FA, Saucony Kinvara 5 Vizi Glo and the Merrell Women’s Vapor Glove 2 Trail.

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Shoes for Overpronation and Underpronation and Various Health Conditions

Assuming you have an accurate analysis of whether you suffer from overpronation, excessive overpronation or underpronation, or that you have an accurate diagnosis from a medical professional about an existing health condition, you can move forward towards finding the best running shoe for you most easily by visiting the ASICS sport brand website.

On the website ASICS have a fantastic Shoe Finder service that allows you to define what surface you will run on (you can select multiple options), whether you are male or female, how experienced a runner you are and how often you run and then whether you suffer from underpronation, overpronation, severe overpronation or if you have a neutral gait.

By selecting the options that suit you best, ASICS will then bring you a range of their shoes that are expressly designed to suit men / women runners of that style.

The Zappos website also has the ability to allow men and women to search for Therapeutic and Orthotic friendly shoes, as well as a range of stability, motion control and neutral gait shoes.

So before you decide to spend money on a new pair of shoes that may look great, think about whether they are the right shoes for  your running style. Finding the right pair may be a little more time consuming, but it is extremely worthwhile when you consider the long term benefit and the reduced risk of sport injury.

If you enjoy reading this guide, please visit other section on Workout Gear Lab resource.