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The best running shoes for every kind of run

Technically, you can run in any running shoe. But there are specifics you will want to consider to feel the best and get the most out of your run. Running in the wrong shoe can not only be uncomfortable, it can also lead to injuries, so whether you’re hitting the pavement, the dirt or the sand for a mile or six or twenty-six there is an ideal shoe for you. Walking in to a store or looking online can be overwhelming with options. So we have outlined the best running shoes you can buy for every kind of run: street, beach, treadmill or trail.

Best running shoes for the street

Putting in your headphones and hitting the streets right out your front door is convenient, but running on concrete can cause injury if you’re not wearing the right shoe, so your jog around your neighborhood may be doing harm along with good. For running on concrete, you will want a lightweight shoe with extra support and lots of cushioning for shock absorption.

Hoka One One Clifton 7

The Hoka One One Clifton 7 offers an EVA foam midsole for cushioning, a Meta-Rocker for ease in forward movement and they are stable and lightweight making them ideal for road running.

Asics Gel Cumulus

The Asics Gel Cumulus has GEL Technology cushioning for shock absorption, FLYTEFOAM Technology for lightweight but effective cushioning and Gender Specific 3D SPACE CONSTRUCTION, which addresses different compression rates at footstrike per gender.

Brooks Glycerin

The Brooks Glycerin, while a bit heavier than the other two, is also a great road running shoe. Its DNA LOFT cushioning provides comfort and shock absorption, its 3D Fit mesh upper stretches for an ideal fit and its OrthoLite sock liner makes for added step-in comfort.

Best running shoes for the beach

While running in soft sand with the ocean beside you may sound blissful, if you wear the wrong shoe it can be anything but. Wearing a shoe to protect your feet from broken shells or glass is important, but wearing a shoe that is too stiff, doesn’t dry and fills with sand can lead to blisters and leg and foot injuries. In an article for Refinery 29 Dr. Emily Splichal, DPN, a podiatrist, says “An injury could be greater in a shoe that’s designed to restrict motion. This is because it isn’t allowing subtle movements that could offset an injury. Look for a shoe that conforms to your foot — one that adds support but still allows natural function of foot.”

Astral TR1 Mesh

The Astral TR1 Mesh has with a sticky G Rubber sole for grip and the mesh upper allows water to drain out while keeping sand from getting in and has plenty of flex, allowing the foot to move in a natural way.

Vivobarefoot Primus FG

The Vivobarefoot Primus FG are foot shaped as opposed to shoe shaped and very flexible to let your foot move in a natural way, and their Firm Ground Sole grips wet or dry and uneven terrain.

Mishansha Lightweight Beach Water Shoes

The Mishansha Lightweight Beach Water Shoes have a rubber sole with good grip and drainage holes, a breathable, flexible, fast draining upper for ease of natural movement and enough cushioning to provide support on the sand.

Best running shoes for the treadmill

A lot of reasons bring runners inside, and running on the treadmill is a little better on your body than running on the pavement, but it can still be jarring so you will want a shoe with high stability, shock absorption and energy return, which, according to Outside, “denotes the amount of energy that shoe is able to retain when force is exerted upon it by a runner’s stride. The ideal cushioning system, so the thinking goes, will provide a sweet spot between stiffness and compliance, creating a springboard effect to help drive forward momentum.” Also, in a gym there is no natural airflow so you will want a shoe that is breathable to keep your feet dry while you get in your miles.

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11

The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 has double layer Fresh Foam cushioning for ultimate shock absorption while keeping the shoe light, the sole itself is stable but flexible allowing for nice bounce back and the mesh upper is breathable.

Asics NovaBlast

The Asics NovaBlast offers you high energy return with its FLYTEFOAM Blast midsole, and the outsole’s design amplifies this technology creating a ‘trampoline’ effect with each step. It also has plenty of cushioning and its soft mesh upper offers extreme breathability.

Brooks Ghost 13

The Brooks Ghost 13, a popular road running shoe, is also favored by treadmill devotees due to its DNA LOFT cushioning which runs through the midsole for a smooth transition from heel to toe and its Engineered Air Mesh upper that is super breathable and hugs the foot for a secure fit. The outsole also offers great grip so you won’t slip.

Best running shoes for the trail

A run through the woods can do your mind, body and soul a world of good, but if you’re wearing the wrong kind of shoes it can wreak havoc on your feet and legs. You will encounter uneven and varying terrain that might include rocks, mud and even water so you should look for a shoe with extra cushioning, more aggressive tread and either waterproofing or material that dries fast.

Saucony Peregrine

The Saucony Peregrine is a versatile trail runner that will carry you with confidence through a range of terrains and trail conditions. Its PWRRUN cushioning provides ample support while still allowing you to feel the ground and remain surefooted, and its PWRTRAC rubber lugs and rock plate provide traction both up and downhill.

La Sportiva Bushido II

The La Sportiva Bushido II is popular among trail runners due to its balance of solid structure and support from the STB Control construction with superior lightness and grip, thanks to its FriXion Red double compound sole. It also has an extra strong toe-cap providing extra protection should you kick rocks while running, an inevitable on the trail.

Brooks Caldera 5

The Brooks Caldera 5 finds itself at the top for its versatility and ability to function as a road-to-trail runner due to its BioMoGo cushioning that makes it comfortable on dirt as well as hard surfaces like paved fire roads. On the trail, its TrailTack rubber outsole with lugs provides adaptability to varying terrain and excellent traction both uphill and downhill and on wet or dry surfaces, and the mesh upper allows for good breathability and, with correct tying, provides a snug fit that keeps the tongue in place.