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 clear on what you want, rather than more confused than when you got here, then you’ve come to the right place.

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 whether that’s influenced by a brand, or the people themselves.

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.

I may be a trail runner first but much of my training is also on the roads where I focus on tempo training, 5ks, sprint interval sessions, and recovery runs.

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.

You won’t find the best cheap running shoes for men and women on this list because we believe you should be buying comfortable and durable running shoes that last longer than the average, support your feet during training, and that will help you fly to the finish line.

Don’t forget your shoes should also bring you joy when you lace them up!

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

HOKA Rocket X 2 review

1. HOKA Rocket X 2 ($250)

“Best Racing Shoes For Half and Full Marathons – Winner”

  • Fit: True to size
  • Width: Medium
  • Weight: 7.6oz / 215g for size US(M)9
  • Drop: 5mm

To learn more, read my in-depth HOKA Rocket X 2 review.

The HOKA Rocket X 2 is an exceptional choice for runners seeking a fast, lightweight, and responsive shoe that’s perfect for achieving personal bests across various distances.

With an impressive weight of just 7.6oz for a US size 9 (men’s), this shoe allows for nimble and swift movements, and it’s the shoe you’ll want to hit your best half marathon and marathon race times.

One of the key features contributing to the Rocket X 2’s speed is the combination of a ProFly midsole, rocker geometry, and a carbon fiber plate. I love it when HOKA running shoes integrate this trio of features in their shoes – it’s a recipe for ultimate speed while maintaining comfort.

This unique blend ensures exceptional responsiveness, making it ideal for races ranging from 5K to marathons.

In addition to its performance capabilities, the Rocket X 2 also boasts a very breathable upper, ensuring comfort during intense runs. The shoe’s aesthetic design is also noteworthy, appealing to runners who appreciate both form and function – and of course, want to stand out, I mean they’re HOKAs right?! 🙂

The HOKA Rocket X 2 is a top choice if you’re looking to push your limits and achieve new personal bests.

HOKA Mach 5 512px

2. HOKA Mach 5 ($140)

“Best Overall Running Shoes At A Great Price – Winner”

  • Fit: True to size
  • Width: Medium – available in wide (EE) also
  • Weight: 8.2oz / 232g
  • Drop: 5mm

To learn more, read my in-depth HOKA Mach 5 review.

The HOKA Mach 5 is for you if you’re looking for a relatively affordable, high-performance daily running shoe designed for speed, responsiveness, and that can be used for racing, not just training runs.

This is great for serious runners who don’t want to bother with multiple pairs of running shoes (a daily trainer and a racing shoe) because the Mach 5 has you covered for both instances.

The HOKA Mach 5 are great running shoes for anything up to marathon distance if you’re someone who doesn’t need that super plush feel when running long distances.

It’s a fairly stripped-down running shoe in terms of how plush it feels underfoot but the benefit of this is that you feel complete control and get a much more responsive and balanced ride during speed workouts, which does help you run faster in my experience.

They’ll basically have you training yourself harder and you’ll likely see great results because of it.

Nike Invincible 3 best running shoes

3. Nike Invincible 3 ($180)

“Best Running Shoes Runner Up + Best For Beginners Looking to Increase Mileage”

  • Fit: True to size
  • Width: Medium (slim in the midfoot area)
  • Weight: 9.9oz / 280g
  • Drop: 9mm

To learn more, read my in-depth Nike Invincible 3 review.

The Nike Invincible 3 is for you if you’re looking for an insanely cushioned running shoe with great stability and comfort for putting in easy miles.

Yes, this is an excellent (albeit quite expensive) running shoe for beginners looking to increase mileage (with a greatly reduced risk of picking up injuries like plantar fasciitis, for example.

You’ll also love these for marathon training because bagging those essential miles is such an easy game with the Invincible 3 on your feet.

They feel so comfortable that you’ll find the “zone” much quicker than you may be used to, and as a result, time will fly by quickly and you’ll likely feel a lot less tired after your runs with more energy going into your next ones.

They’re fast shoes too, thanks to the great energy return that you get from ZoomX foam in the midsole – this also makes them a great choice for 5km, 10km, and even half marathon racing and training.

On Cloudmonster - best running shoes

4. On Cloudmonster ($170)

“Best Running Shoes Runner Up”

  • Fit: True to size
  • Width: Medium with plenty of room in the toe box
  • 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!

This is my go-to racing shoe right now because the cushioning and energy return is insane!

It really is a joyous experience running in these shoes, especially if you tend to get hot feet when you run because of the wondrously breathable mesh upper.

Not only is it my favorite On running shoe right now, but it’s also one of 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 their excellent performance over short and long-distance running, plush comfort underfoot, beautiful design, and impressive price point – these awesome running shoes have also earned a Trail & Kale Editor’s Choice Award.

Although On Running does also make good trail running shoes too, their true engineering genius stands out more in their road running shoes.

On Cloudsurfer 7

5. On Cloudsurfer 7

“Best Marathon Training and Recovery Run Winner”

View Men’s   View Women’s

For more detail about the Cloudsurfer 7, read my detailed review.

My first pair of On Running shoes back in 2012 was the original On Cloudsurfer – and these were the shoes that best demonstrated how it feels to run on clouds. The Cloudsurfer was so innovative that the On Running brand immediately caught my attention.

I’m pleased to say that after a few generations of not-so-great innovation, the On Cloudsurfer 7 has regained that bouncy, fun feeling that I fell in love with all those years ago – but now there’s even more cushioning, comfort, and improved durability – and I’m even more in love!

They’ll have you running faster than your current cardio may be used to, because of the new CloudTec Phase midsole and comfortable fit that makes you feel like going much faster.

The On Cloudsurfer’s 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 shoe definitely keeps up. Prepare to spend more time on the road because you’re going to have a lot of fun running in these On brand shoes, there’s no doubt about it, they are a classic On shoe for good reason! SO MUCH LOVE for the Cloudsurfer 7!

air zoom pegasus 39 - best running shoes RUNNER UP

6. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 ($140)

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

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus range has been a favorite for so many runners around the world due to its ability to satisfy runners of any experience level, and the Pegasus 39 is an excellent running shoe in that range.

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 2 Nike Air Zoom units underfoot 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 (yes, it’s also a very affordable shoe compared to others on this list), the Pegasus 39 are the best sports shoes for men and women right now if you’re looking for shoes for a variety of sports on top of your running endeavors.

HOKA Clifton 9

7. Hoka Clifton 9 ($145)

“Best for beginners, recovery runs, easy miles, and plush feel marathons”

  • Fit: True to size
  • Width: Medium (Wide is also available)
  • Weight: 8.7oz / 247g
  • Drop: 5mm

To learn more, read my in-depth HOKA Clifton 9 review.

The latest in the award-winning Clifton franchise, the Hoka Clifton 9 continues to deliver the perfect combination of soft cushioning underfoot, while remaining remarkably lightweight and stable.

Crafted with an even lighter, more responsive midsole foam and the same ride characteristics as its predecessor, these relatively low-drop shoes have a streamlined silhouette and updated breathable 1-piece engineered mesh knit upper.

That wing-like articulated heal support at the rear that was introduced in the Clifton is still there and I love them for it, especially when combined with that relatively low 5mm heel-to-toe drop which encourages a good running form!

This heel shape works particularly well in HOKA trail shoes too when running down hills.

If you ever have issues with Achilles tendinitis flair-ups, this is the road shoe for you – it will help you recover and still be able to run at the same time.

Hoka also makes extremely good trail running shoes – read our trail running shoes buyer’s guide next to learn more about our top picks in that category including the best trail shoe right now which happens to be a HOKA trail shoe.

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

8. On Cloudgo ($150)

Best Running Shoes For Beginners

Shop Men’s   Shop Women’s

  • Fit: True to size
  • Width: Medium with average toe box width
  • 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 because it’s such a reliable running shoe.

They are the best jogging shoes on this list for sure, I literally feel like I can run forever at a steady pace with them.

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.

If a new runner were to ask me for advice on which shoes to run with, I’d tell them the On Cloudgo are the best running shoes for beginners due to their overall comfort, cushioning, support, and reasonable price point.

The Cloudgo is one of those reliable, stability shoe options that I find myself gravitating toward when choosing a shoe to run with right now.

These traditional running shoes 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 want to feel comfortable while doing so.

These stability shoes will get you to the finish line whatever your next challenge holds!

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

9. Nike ZoomX Vaporfly 2 ($250)

  • 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 foam 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 incredibly lightweight running 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

10. Craft CTM Ultra 2 ($165)

  • 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 hybrid road / trail 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.


  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 🙂

  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!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.