It can be a bit of a minefield selecting the right running shoe – you can’t just pop into a shop and pick the nicest looking. If you are serious about running even a medium distance you have to get a shoe that’s right for the way you run; whether you over or under-pronate (running too much on the inside or outside of your foot) or have a tendency to heel-strike or forefoot strike, there will be a shoe suited to your style. A specialised running shop will be able to advise you on this.
Ahead of the London Marathon, we put a range of shoes through their paces on the road to find the pairs that will help you follow in the footsteps of the London runners (or at least smash your PB).
1. Saucony Kinvara 6: £105, prodirectrunning.com
These shoes are designed to commemorate 35 years of the London Marathon (you can see hints of Tower Bridge and the Union flag) but more important is how comfortable they are. They are lightweight but the technology ensures that shocks are absorbed and the secure fit protects your feet.
2. Under Armour Speedform Gemini: £110, underarmour.co.uk
The thick, springy soles on these are impressive but the neoprene section by your Achilles is a game-changer that feels as if you are not wearing anything on your feet. We found them the most comfortable in our trials. Obviously, comfort in all shoes will vary depending on your gait and running needs, so it is worth getting this assessed at a specialised shop.
3. Adidas Adizero Adios Boost 2: £89.95, wiggle.co.uk
Made for experienced runners who want to knock seconds off their personal bests, these are ultra-light racing shoes with minimal stability features. They still offer some cushioning with “boost foam”, but weight (or the lack of it) is the aim of the game.
4. New Balance 1080v5: £84.20, sweatband.com
Designed for neutral runners, the heels bounce off the road in these lightweight shoes to kick-start your run. Their snug fit negates any heel slippage, while the funky-designed tread aids grip. We found our feet well-cushioned, too.
5. Asics Gel Nimbus 17: £135, asics.co.uk
The most expensive shoes on our list but it’s easy to see why. They offer unparalleled levels of comfort and a great, supportive fit. The bouncy soles propel you forward with each stride. Designed for those with a neutral running style.
6. Puma Faas 600 v2: £79.99, kitbag.com
These ultra-responsive, lightweight running shoes contain engineered foam which makes them springy but supportive, with plenty of cushioning in the heels. We also felt secure on wet, slippery roads.
7. Adidas Ultra Boost: £130, adidas.co.uk
We found that the Ultra Boost “torsion system” – that supports your feet but adapts to your gait – took a bit of getting used to but helped with keeping our feet in a neutral position. We were getting the most out of each stride in real comfort.
8. Nike Air Zoom Vomero 10: £120, store.nike.com
Nike’s popular Vomero range is designed for neutral runners seeking a fast, comfortable stride. The Vomero 9s we tested felt really responsive and this latest update features the brand’s soft “Lunarlon” foam for ultra-light cushioning.
9. Puma Faas 500 v4: £75, uk.puma.com
These might not be as sleek as some on the list, but they are great everyday training shoes and are more lightweight than others at this price. Take note, the heel cushioning is not as supportive as some rivals.
10. Reebok Zpump Fusion: £85, reebok.co.uk
The clever air technology of these shoes mould them to your feet for a custom fit. They are more supportive than they looks, given the weight, and come in three colours.
For us, the Asics offered the best and most comfortable fit, while the cheapest shoe, the Puma Faas 500v4, is an excellent intro pair but didn’t have the comfort levels of some of the others on the list. The Nike Vomero ticked all our boxes. But before you buy, we advise checking the fit with a running specialist.
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