Running gives you a sense of freedom, an escape filled with fresh air and endorphins. To be able to run to the best of your ability, you need the best pair of trainers to suit your running style. Whether you've just started the couch to 5km programme or you're planning on a new marathon PB, we've got the best running shoes of 2021 to keep you on track.
We're always asked, 'which brand makes the best running shoes' and the answer can vary depending on whether you are road running, trail running or have a session on the track. Each brand offers different styles of shoe, with different levels of support or cushioning which can help minimise impact and protect your knees and hips.
Best cushioned running shoe
The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 V12 are similar to the V10 but with some fresh new upgrades, including the knit material on the upper foot. The stretchiness of this material makes these shoes much more suitable for those with wider feet and the material is breathable too.
The cushioning here though is what makes this running trainer stand out. With a chunky heel of 'Fresh Foam X' you get ultimate comfort with each stride and fantastic energy transfer. The cushioning on the V11 is firmer than the V10 giving you maximum spring when you push off and the sole grips whatever the weather.
If you need the added support and cushioning, look no further than the Mizuno Wave Rider 25. This running shoe sole is designed using a combination of Mizuno Enerzy, Mizuno Wave and SmoothRide technology making them cushioned, durable and stable underfoot. They also give you a boost with each step: you are not forfeiting momentum in your stride to gain cushioning and comfort.
Best long distance running shoes
The Bondi X is the latest innovation from Hoka and we have to say we think it's one of their best running shoes to date. It takes the cushioning bouncy foam sole that Hoka have become renowned for but with a rigid carbon plate that covers the length of the shoe which helps to stabilise the foam with each step. More flexible than the Carbon X2 and wider around the toe box than other Hoka shoes, the Bondi X will be popular for those laying down some decent mileage in their training.
Before we get onto the cushioned sole of the Clifton 8, let's bring your attention to the materials used to create this latest Hoka model. Ideal for those who are environmentally conscious, the Clifton 8's are fully vegan and are the most breathable to date, allowing your feet to stay cool no matter how long you're wearing them. The sole is well balanced (ideal for neutral runners) and cushioned in all the right places so your knees and hips don't get battered by the impact, but are still responsive off the toe with each step.
The Hoka One One Carbon X2 is made for those planning on running long distances, including marathons and ultras. The position of the foam sole differs from that of the Carbon X, sitting further back towards the heel. It is also wider and softer, meaning those who tend to heel strike will still be comfortable along with mid-foot strikers. The running shoes are very forgiving but responsive with a carbon plate that keeps the midsole stable, allowing you to make the most out of the rocker.
Fastest running shoes
When it comes to race day, you want to run as fast as you can to smash your PB. The Asics MAGIC SPEED Running Shoes have a carbon fibre plate in the sole so each step propels you forward quicker than standard running shoes. They are lightweight too, firm underfoot, and the upper is also made of a thin material. These trainers are designed for tempo work - to make your fast runs feel effortless.
The adizero Boston 10 has changes the design of the classic flat racing shoe into the high stack racing shoe. It is built for speed and the long run, giving you both cushioning and responsiveness.
Best Trail running shoes
Best all-round running shoe
How to find the best running shoes for your running style
Sometimes it can be hard to know whether a pair of trainers will suit the way you run. Perhaps you over or under pronate and need a little extra support.
Wiggle has launched an industry-first running shoe tool, 'My Run Shoe Finder', allowing you to replicate an in-store assessment (gait analysis) at home. The tool will guide you through a series of biomechanical tests, to help you find the running shoes from different brands for your unique needs.
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