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Outdoor & Activity

10 best outdoor running shoes

Whether you’re pounding pavement, park or muddy trail, we’ve found the best footwear for the job, with expert picks by Sarah Russell, consultant editor of Running Fitness magazine

"The running shoe market can be a confusing place for consumers," says Sarah Russell, UK athletics running coach and consultant editor at Running Fitness magazine. “There’s a lot of information about various hi-tech features out there, but it’s not always that easy to make sense of.”

The best solution, she says, is to go to a reputable running shop where a trained professional watches you run on (and ideally off) a treadmill. “Better still, they’ll watch you with and without shoes, videoing each to spot the differences,” says Sarah. “Armed with all this information on how you run, they’ll be able to advise you on the best running shoes for you.”

Ideally, go up one shoe size, sometimes even a size-and-a-half, she advises. “You need space in the toe box so your feet can move. Also make sure the shoes feel comfortable right away. There’s this myth about needing to wear trainers in, but they should feel like slippers right away. Certainly, nothing should dig into your Achilles and you shouldn’t have to tie them up really tight to fit.”

Consider the terrain you’ll be running on too. If you’re into the latest trend of muddy obstacle races, the Inov-8 X Talon is a good option, whereas for more conventional running on roads and the odd bit of off-road, Salomon’s X-Scream will do you proud.

1. Salomon X-Scream, £50, amazon


“Both lightweight and versatile, this is an ideal choice for urban runners whose routes might include parks or canal towpaths,” says Sarah. They have the

cushioning and ride that you need for pavement, plus the protection and grip for rougher surfaces.

Buy now

2. Inov-8 X Talon, £75, amazon


“The aggressive grip mean these are an amazing off-trail running shoe. Particularly the really muddy trails, which makes them perfect for obstacle course running,” says Sarah, who advises getting shoes fitted at a specialist running shop.

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3. Brooks Cascadia, £63, amazon


Engineered to adapt to the surface and your foot, these from the US brand are Sarah’s personal favourites. “They are a hybrid shoe with a balanced blend of grip and cushioning, making them ideal for country running with sections of road, trails and fields.

Buy now

4. Mizuno Wave Sayonara, £65, amazon


“New from Mizuno, these high-performance lightweight shoes are ideal for the PB chaser and 10km runner,” says Sarah. Featuring the new U4iC midsole which

delivers a good cushioning to weight ratio for road runners, they’ll keep feet stable and lightly cushioned.

Buy now

5. Adidas Energy Boost 2, £72, amazon


This is an excellent all-rounder for roadrunners. “The high-tech new midsole and lightweight feel makes them really comfortable – soft and bouncy but not

over-cushioned.” They’re flexible but will keep feet stable.

Buy now

6. Brooks Adrenalin GTS 14, £53, amazon


A stability shoe that will help correct overpronation - when the foot rolls in excessively - while offering support and cushioning in the right places. These are super-comfy on road or trail – even on those longer marathon training outings you’ll forget you’re wearing them.

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7. Asics GEL-FUJI TRABUCO 2 GTX, £70, amazon


These are a long standing off-road favourite. The latest edition, which is a great all-round trail shoe, will give you a smooth, stable run on rugged surfaces. The outsole is seriously robust and will give you traction on rough and steep terrain. A pair for hill-runners.

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8. New Balance 1260v3, £65, amazon


If you have a tendency to overpronate when you run, these could be the pair for you. They’re cushioned but lightweight and the foot’s kept close to the ground without sacrificing stability. Wear them on or off road.

Buy now

9. PUMA Faas 600 S Glow, £29, amazon


You’ll stand out in these lightweight, minimalist-looking shoes with some inbuilt pronation support. They make a good everyday running shoe for pavement

pounders. Evening runners take note: they glow to keep you safe in the dark.

Buy now

10. On Cloudrunners, £88, amazon


These award-winning shoes are designed to make light of concrete – absorbing heavy impact, while providing stability. A good pair to consider if you’re tackling longer endurance runs.

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Sarah is in no doubt that Brooks Cascadia, now on its ninth version, is the best hybrid shoe, ideal for country running with sections of road, trails and fields. Meanwhile, for road runners, the Adidas Energy Boost 2 is a good shoe to plump for.

Read more: 10 best running tops