Whether you’re searching for your first pair of running shoes or you’re looking to replace an older pair, the range of options available can make it difficult to pick the right ones for you and your running style.
Using a pair of running shoes that aren’t designed for the type of running that you’re doing, or that don’t give you the level of support and comfort that you need, can mean that you’re not getting the best out of your training.
As well as getting the right level of cushioning to minimise the impact of your running it’s also important to address any stability needs you might have. The Run Company offers in-store gait analysis to understand if you need a pair of shoes that provide support for pronation.
In this guide, we cover our top picks for shoes across the most popular categories, helping you to choose the best options available to enjoy your running and to help avoid the risk of injury.
Cushioned Running Shoes
A pair of cushioned shoes is a good option if your focus is ticking off the miles in comfort. Due to having a higher stack of midsole foam, these shoes can help to minimise the impact of running, providing a soft, supportive ride that keeps your legs feeling fresh for longer.
Cushioned shoes are ideal if you’re new to running and you're building up your fitness and distance. They can play an important role in a rotation of shoes for covering easy, recovery or long runs.
Puma Magnify Nitro 2 - Weight: 281g | Drop: 10mm | Price: £130
The second version of Puma’s max cushioned shoe has become popular with runners who want plenty of cushioning without the ride being too soft. The nitrogen-infused midsole foam offers an impressive level of comfort for easy and long runs but has a surprisingly responsive ride if you want to pick up the pace.
To protect the midsole, there’s a thick layer of Pumagrip outsole, improving the durability of the shoe and providing one of the best grips you’ll find in any running shoe. Whether you’re running on wet roads or you’re hitting lighter trails in the summer months, it’s a solid option that won’t let you down.
The shoe also features a new engineered mesh upper designed to hold the foot securely in place as well as to allow plenty of ventilation to stop your feet getting sweaty. In addition, there’s a good amount of padding around the ankle collar and the tongue to improve the fit and ensure a welcome amount of step-in comfort.
Brooks Glycerin 20 - Weight: 286g | Drop: 10mm | Price: £165
The Glycerin range has long been associated with all-out comfort due to its thick layer of soft foam. In the most recent version of the shoe that foam has been updated to be DNA Loft V3, a nitrogen-infused material that offers an impressive balance of cushioning and responsiveness. The result is a shoe that glides through easy miles with a gentle bounce but can still handle quicker days if you need it to.
The new engineered mesh upper combines reinforced sections with a stretchy design, allowing for a relaxed feel that still manages to hold the foot in place. There’s also plenty of padding across the inside of the shoe to ensure the foot receives a high level of comfort and plushness.
Despite its thick layer of foam, the Glycerin 20 has a widened base to improve stability as well as Omega Flex Grooves to improve flexibility. The outsole also has a generous layer of rubber to deliver excellent traction on wet or dry road surfaces.
Daily Running Shoes
Daily shoes are those options that are designed to be used frequently for a variety of runs. Sometimes that might be a short few loops around the block and at other times it may be covering off a long run while training for a marathon.
Due to this versatility, daily shoes should be the ones that are always sat next to the front door ready for your next run and the first ones you pack if you’re going on holiday. When looking for trail shoes you also want something that will be durable and offer plenty of comfort for many miles of running.
Mizuno Wave Rider 27 - Weight: 285g | Drop: 12mm | Price: £140
When a running shoe makes it to its 27th version, you know the brand is doing something right. In the case of the Mizuno Wave Rider 27, that’s all down to its reliability and comfort for daily training miles.
It comes with several new updates that make it a noticeable improvement on its predecessor. Those include a lighter overall weight, a revamped upper, 2mm of extra cushioning in the midsole and a redesigned heel structure for a better fit. The upper also uses a 3D PU print to improve the fit and a jacquard mesh material to promote a good level of airflow when training starts to heat up.
The standout design feature of the Mizuno Wave Rider 27 is the brand’s wave technology. A wave plate sits in the midsole to help improve the transition, increase the stability and soften the landing, thanks to an extra layer of cushioning. Sitting outside the midsole is a thick layer of X10 outsole rubber to provide a high level of grip in all conditions.
Brooks Ghost 15 Weight: 286g | Drop: 11mm | Price: £135
The Brooks Ghost has long been one of our most popular cushioned shoes for beginners and seasoned runners focussed on comfort. The thick layer of DNA LOFT V2 midsole foam offers a perfect balance of cushioning and support while the breathable Air Mesh upper provides a reliable and roomy fit.
From 5k easy runs to marathon training long sessions, the Ghost 15 provides a solid and supportive base meaning it’s an accessible shoe for any runner. There’s plenty of padding around the ankle collar and tongue for a soft, plush feel and it has a 3D Fit Printed upper to ensure a good lockdown.
On the outsole is a healthy layer of blown rubber for excellent grip and to protect the midsole from many miles of running, along with Omega flex grooves to allow for plenty of flexibility and a natural feel.
Running Shoes for Harder Training and Racing
When you’re focused on setting some PBs on race day, a pair of shoes designed for faster efforts can be a good investment. These shoes tend to be lighter than daily shoes and include features that promote efficiency when picking up the pace.
Faster training shoes can often be quite versatile these days, however, all-out race shoes tend to veer more towards the leaner side of design. Because of this, they’re best saved for when you need them.
Puma Deviate Nitro 2 - Weight: 260g | Drop: 8mm | Price: £145
For those days when you need to take it up a notch, whether that’s a parkrun, an interval session or even a race, the Puma Deviate Nitro 2 has got everything you need. Along with the lightweight Nitro foam midsole, designed to be propulsive when picking up the pace, there’s a carbon composite PWRPLATE that improves running efficiency and provides a high level of responsiveness.
One of the biggest plus points of the Deviate Nitro 2 is the PUMAGRIP outsole, one of the most impressive you’ll find in a road shoe. It’s so good that we’ve even found it works well on lighter trails.
The breathable upper works for faster sessions when your feet can get sweaty and includes PWRTAPE reinforced areas to provide support across key areas and improve durability.
It’s a shoe that’s best suited to runners who want a bit of everything, working well for anything from slow easy runs to longer sessions and all-out racing. There’s plenty of cushioning for ticking off the miles, but it won’t slow you down when you’re focus is speed.
Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 - Weight: 210g | Drop: 6mm | Price: £180
For all-out racing, the Deviate Nitro Elite 2 is a shoe that’s become popular with both elite athletes and recreational runners aiming for a PB. It’s one of the lightest race shoes available and combines a range of features that promote propulsion and responsiveness whilst still maintaining a good amount of comfort.
As well as Puma’s premium nitrogen-infused midsole foam, the shoe features a carbon fibre plate to maximise energy transfer and stabilise the midsole. The result is a shoe that drives you forward with each step with a fluid, consistent movement.
The lightweight design is thanks partly to an impressively lean mono-mesh upper that offers a surprising amount of comfort and support. The material is also very breathable, which makes it perfect for racing.
Stability Running Shoes
Many runners need some level of stability and if you’re new to running it’s always worth getting a gait analysis to understand if you are one of these people. Picking up a pair of stability shoes can not only mean runners avoid unnecessary problems further down the line, but they can also help to make running more comfortable.
In the past, stability shoes were often associated with bulkier options that lacked the performance benefits of many neutral shoes. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case and you can now find a wide range of support shoes that have many of the same performance benefits.
Mizuno Wave Inspire 19 - Weight: 305g | Drop: 12mm | Price: £140
For runners that need a balanced level of stability and comfort, the Mizuno Wave Inspire 19 ticks a lot of boxes. The design combines elements of support with both performance and cushioning to deliver an experience that far exceeds what people have come to expect from a stability shoe.
The ENERZY FOAM midsole gives a soft, cushioned landing whilst still ensuring a good level of propulsion, and works alongside the Mizuno Wave plate works to add stability. The combined experience works like a versatile daily shoe without the feel of a traditional support shoe.
If you’re looking for a support shoe but want the freedom to train at a faster pace, the Mizuno Wave Inspire 19 is one of the best options available.
Puma ForeverRUN Nitro Weight: 274g | Drop: 10mm | Price: £140
The ForeverRUN Nitro is a support shoe that veers towards the lighter side of stability and works best for runners who need a minimal level of guidance. The design has more in common with conventional daily shoes and offers an impressively versatile ride as a result.
The nitrogen-infused midsole has two densities of foam; a softer layer to provide a smooth, cushioned feel and a firmer section to promote support and guide the foot into the optimum position. It also features an asymmetrical heel counter to lock the foot in place and prevent unnecessary movement.
In addition, it has both a wider medial rubber section and a guide rail to add stability, as well as a thick PUMAGRIP outsole layer for a confident level of grip across any road conditions.
Trail Running Shoes
Although road shoes can handle some off-road terrain in the summer months, when it’s wet or if you’re heading to more technical surfaces, it’s likely that you’ll need a pair of trail shoes.
The main benefit of trail shoes when hitting the great outdoors is safety. Unlike a smooth road surface, trails generally require a higher level of grip and a more protective upper. Depending on where you’re running, you might also want to look at features such as waterproofing and additional protective elements like rock plates.
Brooks Cascadia 16 - Weight: 298g | Drop: 8mm | Price: £135
Now on its 16th Version, the Brooks Cascadia has become a go-to for trail runners who want comfort and protection across a wide range of trail surfaces. It’s a shoe that comes packed with features for off-road adventures along with a selection of improvements over the earlier versions.
The most important of those updates is a redesigned DNA LOFT v2 midsole foam which adds 2mm more cushioning, improving the softness by 5% and making it 20% lighter. That, combined with the Ballistic Rock Shield, provides a smooth ride that also offers excellent protection from sharp objects you might find on the trails.
Other features include a Pivot Post System to ensure a stable platform, drainage ports that allow water to escape quickly and a gaiter tab on the heel for use in the toughest conditions.
Puma Fast-Trac NITRO - Weight: 255g | Drop: 8mm | Price: £105
The Fast-Trac Nitro is not so much a trail shoe as it is a trail/road hybrid. It takes some of the best elements of its road shoes and combines them with additional features to produce a shoe that can be used in a range of situations. If you’re the sort of runner that covers city streets, public footpaths and parks in one run, it’s a shoe well worth looking at.
The lightweight design uses both Puma’s responsive Nitro foam and a layer of PROFOAMLITE to produce a cushioned ride that can also handle speedier efforts. Covering that is a layer of PUMAGRIP ATR – the brand’s performance rubber outsole built for unstable surfaces like mud and ice.
There’s also a sturdy Ripstop mesh upper to protect the feet and prevent ripping, along with forefoot drainage ports and a Formstrip to provide additional support.