The 10 Best Road Running Shoes [Buyer’s Guide]

Welcome to our ever-evolving list of the 10 best road running shoes in 2021. When it comes to buying your next pair of running shoes, this list will be your ultimate guide. This list is updated regularly so be sure to bookmark this page for when you’re ready to buy your next pair of running shoes. This list applies to men’s and women’s road running shoes.


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DO YOU LIKE TO RUN ON TRAILS TOO? Best Trail Running Shoes of the year (so far…)


1. On Cloudboom [Best Carbon Plate Running Shoes]

on cloudboom best road running shoes trail and kale

The On Cloudboom are, in my opinion, the best On running shoes for road runners to date, these shoes right here, are something very special. I like to test all running shoes before reading the technical details as to not bias my initial thoughts about how the shoes perform, and also why they perform that way.

As I was nearing the end of my first run in the Cloudboom, I knew there had to be some sort of carbon plate in the midsole as I was moving so much faster than usual with less perceived effort. I also noticed a higher drop (9mm) than any other On running shoes due to the more aggressive forward-leaning stance I was taking on. This shoe feels similar to the Cloudrush but with just the right amount of cushioning to allow you to run fast for anything up to a marathon distance. On Running has absolutely hit it out the park with the Cloudboom and it’s now my favorite road running shoe and as such has earned itself a Trail & Kale Editor’s Award from me.

If you’re looking for super-lightweight (7.94oz / 225g), breathable, and cushioned shoes to run your fastest times on the roads, the Cloudboom is most definitely for you – they’re also very reasonably priced for Carbon plate running shoes when you look at the competition out there.

Drop: 9mm / Weight 225g (7.94oz)


2. Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% – [BEST RUNNING SHOES]

Nike zoomx vaporfly next percent running shoe trail and kale

The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% is built to meet the exacting needs of world-class marathoners, and designed for record-breaking speed, which it proved it could actually do. The Nike VaporWeave upper is an engineered, woven mesh that’s light and breathable and the laces loop through side sashes, eliminating the need for an arch band while giving you a secure, comfortable fit. The full-length plate that runs through the midsole provides incredible energy return for all 26.2. This is one of the key reasons why so many records are being broken in these, the best running shoes.

The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% allows you to hit new PR’s with its lighter design and faster feel than before. With more cushioning underfoot and reduced weight up top, the result is extreme energy return and comfort.

The ZoomX foam is ultra-light and responsive and is attached to the full-length carbon fiber plate that helps propel you forward. The Nike Vaporfly NEXT% is largely considered the best road running shoes on the market, and it can be all yours, just as long as you don’t mind paying the hefty price tag. Drop: 9mm / Weight 190g (6.7 oz)


3. On Cloudswift – [EDITOR’S CHOICE]

best running shoes On Cloudswift

The On Cloudswift is an impressive new addition to the On running shoes line up, we love it so much that it went right to the top of our Best On Running Shoes list. The extra breathable upper has a 1 piece construction, with no traditional ‘tongue’ so to speak which allows the shoe to wrap around your feet comfortably without any chaff points.

The Cloudswift also has a flexible ‘rocker’ outsole made from On’s new Helion superfoam. This new foam is very lightweight with excellent energy return, making long or fast runs on asphalt a real pleasure. The mid-foot cage support also has a cleverly hidden pocket to hide your laces too. Drop: 7mm / Weight: 290g (10.2 oz).

  Men’s     Women’s

On Cloudswift Reviews

On Cloudswift – Full ReviewWomens On Cloudswift – Full Review


4. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36

nike air zoom pegasus 36 best road running shoes trail and kale

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 is built for runners at every level, whether you’re a seasoned veteran or just starting out. The Pegasus 36 returns with more perforations and engineered mesh in the upper that strategically target breathability across high-heat areas. A new slimmer heel collar and tongue reduce bulk without compromising comfort, while exposed Flywire cables give you a snug fit at higher speeds. The outsole cushioning has full-length Zoom Air to deliver a smoother, more natural stride. It really is as fast as it looks! Drop: 10mm / Weight: 286g (10.1 oz).

  Men’s     Women’s


5. Brooks Ghost 11 – [CUSHION KING]

best running shoes Brooks Ghost 11

The Brooks Ghost 11 are an absolute delight to run in. They are very comfortable, offer plenty of cushioning, are breathable and stretch to your feet as you run. This shoe is a great choice if it’s cushioned support and comfort that you’re after! There’s a drop of 12mm from heel to toe, which some may too much. If it’s a more neutral shoe you’re after, with a similar level of support and cushioning, look towards the On Cloudswift. Drop: 12mm / Weight: 309g (10.9 oz).

  Men’s     Women’s

Brooks Ghost 11 Reviews

Brooks Ghost 11 Men’s – Full Review


6. On Cloudsurfer

best running shoes On Cloudsurfer

I’m pleased to say that the On Cloudsurfer is BACK and even better than the original! They’ll have you running faster than your current cardio may be used to, because of the new speedboard and comfortable fit that makes you feel like going much faster.

Its engineered mesh delivers the perfect balance of breathability and hold. The upper supports the forefoot nicely as you transition from soft landing into explosive take-off. When you push the pace, the re-engineered Cloudsurfer keeps up.

Prepare to spend more time on the road because you’re going to have a lot of fun running in these shoes, there’s no doubt about it! Drop: 6mm / Weight: 330g (11.6 oz).

 Men’s    Women’s

On Cloudsurfer Reviews

On Cloudsurfer – Full Review


7. New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v9

best running shoes New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v9

The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v9 has a full-length Fresh Foam midsole, and a breathable  double jacquard upper construction. It’s a clean and simple design that provides excellent comfort and a quick response for long runs and speed sessions alike. New Balance has also added a comfortable Ortholite® insole to add even more comfort to the midsole cushion. Drop: 8mm / Weight: 294g (10.4 oz).

  Men’s     Women’s


8. Asics Gel-DS Trainer 24 – [MOST LIGHTWEIGHT]

best running shoes Asics Gel DS Trainer 24

The Asics Gel-DS Trainer 24 are designed simply to make you run faster. They have a performance knit upper and lightweight cushioning for responsive support that allows you to run faster during race day. This latest version of the Gel-DS has a new and improved collar fitting to give you an extra comfortable feel.

The upper knit material that provides just enough support while remaining super breathable (a benefit from knit upper constructions), so there’s nothing to hold you back from working up a sweat and hitting goals. Drop: 8mm / Weight 246g (8.68 oz).

roadrunnersports.com Roadrunnersports.com $88.87
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Last Amazon price update was: 20th October 2021 2:01 am

  Men’s     Women’s


9. Adidas Ultraboost 19 – [POPULAR CHOICE]

Adidas Ultraboost 19 best road running shoes trail kale

The Adidas Ultraboost 19 has become a popular choice for fans of the Ultraboost range. It’s a very responsive shoe made for long runs on city streets. These neutral shoes have a stretchy knit upper with ventilation in key sweat zones to help you stay cool when the weather and your body heats up. I love the full sock design and the curved heel which is very similar to that of the Nike Pegasus 36. Energy-returning cushioning and a flexible outsole work together to give you a really smooth ride from touch-down to toe-off. Drop: 10mm / Weight 309g (10.9 oz).

  Men’s     Women’s


10. Salomon Sonic RA 2

best running shoes Salomon Sonic RA 2

The Salomon Sonic RA 2 balances cushioning and responsiveness to deliver a comfortable and stable ride that will keep you going strong, mile after mile. There’s a pretty regular drop of 8mm from heel to toe which keeps your posture tilted slightly forward and helps to protect your heel. Don’t be put off by Salomon’s reputation as one of the top trail running shoe makers, because they also make damn good road running shoes! Drop: 8mm / Weight: 260g (9.17 oz).

  Men’s     Women’s

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8 COMMENTS

  1. I’m sorry to point out the mistake, but the Brooks Ghost are neutral shoes, not support ones. Either way, they are extremely comfortable and easily the best shoes I’ve ran in!

    • Hey Frede,
      You’re absolutely right! What I was meaning to say is that they offer excellent underfoot cushioning support, I’m going to edit the post to make that clearer. Thanks for making the comment and keep running happy in the Ghost 11’s 🙂
      -Alastair

  2. For me Saucony brand is the best,Its good for any distance,Ive been using for Saucony from 2014 until 2018,Unfotunately nothing anymore here in Qatar,Im happy to wore that brand since all my race from short to long distance I’m belong to the Top 3,Hopefully Saucony brand will explore again in Qatar.

  3. Hi there and thanks for the recommendations! I just bit the bullet and bought the Vaporfly 4% (I absolutely love my regular Zoom Flys – but finding them is like searching for a unicorn these days!!!) – I chafed at the price but I have to say that my first run in them was MAGIC! All I could think while running was “I am bouncing!”, but as light as they felt, I also felt good support in my forefoot which is critical to me.

    One note – I think you need to check your gram to ounce conversion on that one . . . 195 grams is NOT 10.75 oz.

  4. Why doesnt Mizuno Prophecy make it to any list. I have run in a lot of shoes (asics nimbus, adidas ultraboost, brooks ghost etc.) and these are my by far the most favourites. Is it because of the price? I dont get it!

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