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Best Running Shoes For Men & Women: The Roads Won’t Know What Hit ‘Em!

This year's best road running shoes in a clear and concise roundup, designed to help make choosing easier.

All opinions are our own and never influenced by brands. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here's our process.

If you’re looking for a concise roundup of the best running shoes, where you leave our site more clear on what you want, rather than more confused than when you got here, then you’ve come to the right place.

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We live and breathe running, outdoor adventure, and the lifestyle that comes with it. As a result, we’ve run countless miles in all the best running shoe brands – yes, this includes the best trail running shoes too.

Choosing the best running shoes can be confusing nowadays. There’s just so much choice out there, and every review site or “running influencer” will tell you something different when it comes to their favorite pair of running shoes.

If you’ve been a follower of Trail & Kale for a while, and you’ve been coming back for more of our opinions on running and outdoor gear because we were spot on with our last review that you read, then you’ll likely enjoy the running shoes I recommend here today.

We stand behind every review we write, as it’s our reputation on the line if we tell you anything other than the truth about our experiences with the gear we test for brands.

This running shoe roundup includes the best shoes for running based on the results of our running shoe reviews.

By the time you’ve read this running shoe buyer’s guide you’ll have a much better sense of the right running shoes for you, and under no circumstances will you ever feel overwhelmed, or more confused than when you got here – I promise!


On Cloudmonster - best running shoes

1. On Cloudmonster [Best Running Shoes Winner!]

  • Fit: True to size
  • Width: Medium
  • Weight: 9.7oz / 275g
  • Drop: 6mm

To learn more, read my in-depth On Cloudmonster review.

Every year On manages to release a new model of running shoe that shuffles up my ‘Best On Shoes leaderboard and buyer’s guide‘, and sees a new King/Queen hit the top spot. The On Cloudmonster is that shoe for me!

Not only is it my favorite On running shoe right now, but it’s also my all-round favorite running shoe because it turns road running miles into a ridiculously fun experience.

The Cloudmonster is in my opinion, one of the best running shoes right now. These sneakers right here, are something very special (and monstery! – Muwahahaha!)

The On Cloudmonster provides extreme cushioning underfoot, without sacrificing energy return and responsiveness.

On Running does this by including a springy speed board underfoot (not carbon by the way, hence the reasonable price tag), which when combined with On’s famous CloudTec midsole, and intelligent rocker design, provides a wonderful feeling of ‘running On Clouds’ with almost effortless forward propulsion.

For its excellent performance over short and long-distance running, plush comfort underfoot, beautiful design, and impressive pricepoint – the On Cloudmonster has also earned itself a Trail & Kale Editor’s Choice Award.


air zoom pegasus 39 - best running shoes RUNNER UP

2. Nike Pegasus 39

  • Fit: True to size
  • Width: Medium
  • Weight: 9.5oz / 269g
  • Drop: 8mm

The Nike Pegasus range has been a favorite for so many runners around the world due to its ability to satisfy runners of any experience level.

Nike has been fine-tuning the fit and design of these running shoes since 1983 – so they know a thing or two about refining design and fit, in order to keep their loyal following happy.

Two fun facts for you… The first fact is I was born in 1983….ooooh spooky coincidence! Not really. The second fact is, The pegasus was my first proper road running shoe, and that was the shoe that helped me fall in love with running.

The Nike Pegasus 39 has React foam in the midsole which is a lightweight, durable foam that delivers a smooth, cushioned, and responsive ride.

Nike also uses a Zoom Air unit at the forefoot and the heel for an even more responsive feel where it’s needed most.

I’m also a big fan of the additional cushioning in the latest Pegasus version and I don’t seem to be alone in this.

Flywire technology integrates with a midfoot band to lock your feet into the shoe.

This lacing system also allows for some extra stretch, as and when your feet expand/contract during intense exercise.

In my opinion, for the performance, comfort, and price tag, the Pegasus 39 are the second-best running shoes right now.


Hoka One One Clifton 8 Trail and Kale

3. Hoka Clifton 8

  • Fit: True to size
  • Width: Medium (Wide is also available)
  • Weight: 8.9oz / 252g
  • Drop: 5mm

The latest in the award-winning Clifton franchise, the Hoka Clifton 8 continues to deliver the perfect combination of a soft cushioned ride, while remaining remarkably lightweight.

Crafted with an even lighter, more responsive midsole and the same ride characteristics as its predecessor, the Clifton 8 has a streamlined silhouette and updated engineered mesh upper.

That Pegasus’esq wing-like heal support at the rear that was introduced in the Clifton 7 is still there and I love them for it!

If you ever have issues with achilles tendinitis flair ups, this is the road shoe for you – it will help you recover and run at the same time.


On Cloudgo - best running shoes for getting in easy miles (and lots of them)

4. On Cloudgo

Shop Men’s   Shop Women’s

  • Fit: True to size
  • Width: Medium
  • Weight: 7.8oz / 220g
  • Drop: 11mm

For more of my thoughts on this shoe, read my On Cloudgo review next.

The On Cloudgo is a surprisingly high-performing running shoe and one I believe all sorts of runners from beginner to advanced, will enjoy.

It’s a very unassuming running shoe when you look at it, but the stats on paper, and performance while actually running, tell a very different story.

The Cloudgo is one of those reliable running shoes that I find myself gravitating towards when choosing a shoe to run with right now.

They do the job of helping me achieve the goal of ‘getting miles in’ so well, that I find myself not even thinking about the shoes when I’m running.

Apart from thinking “hey, these shoes are performing really well, I’m not even thinking about how they feel”, haha! This allows me to think about other things like focusing on my breathing and good running form.

The Cloudgo is for anyone who can relate to the above 5 paragraphs – you know who you are!

More specifically they are for fast-paced 5km training runs (or races), and also for anyone looking to increase their mileage up to the marathon distance and feel comfortable doing so.


zoomx vaporfly next percent 2 - best running shoes for fast marathons

5. Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2

  • Fit: True to size
  • Width: Medium
  • Weight: 6.9oz / 196g
  • Drop: 8mm

The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 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 full-length carbon plate that runs through the midsole provides incredible energy return for all 26.2 miles.

This plate and Nike’s ZoomX foam are the key reasons why so many records are being broken in these, the best running shoes that money can buy for marathon racing.

These shoes allow you to hit new PRs with their 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% 2 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.


Craft CTM Ultra 2

6. Craft CTM Ultra 2

  • Fit: True to size
  • Width: Medium
  • Weight: 9.1oz / 258g
  • Drop: 10mm

For more of my thoughts on this shoe, read my Craft CTM Ultra 2 review next.

The CTM Ultra 2 is a special shoe because it appeals to so many different types of runners.

If you simply want a fast, lightweight, breathable road running shoe then I recommend you give these a try.

Additionally, if you enjoy running light trails, or you just love to run anything and everything including roads and trails, then these shoes will allow you to do it all.

Being the ‘gravel bike’ of running shoes means the CTM Ultra 2 moves effortlessly over roads, gravel, light trail, forest trails, and even over LONG distances.

The CTM Ultra 2 turns heads too as Craft hasn’t exploded in popularity in the USA… YET… but it won’t be long before they do.

Craft running apparel is also a thing! Go check out the stylish Swedish designed Craft clothing at their online store – I think you’ll like their clothing.


READY TO GIVE TRAIL RUNNING A GO? Read our Trail Running Guide for Beginners next and then our best trail running shoes buyer’s guide.

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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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