10 of the Very Best Running Shoes on the Market Now
Surveys have shown that almost a third of all recreational runners picked up the hobby during the pandemic, leading to a boom in the number of folks chasing that endorphin high. Trail running is also on the rise: An extensive report revealed the number of trail runners who finished in organized races increased by 231 per cent over the last decade. (Notably, Canada was one of three countries to claim more women than men participants.)
Whether running a trail, a treadmill or track, proper footwear is key. In 2023 to date, the global revenue in the athletic-footwear market reached just over US$52 billion, and the category is projected to experience a four per cent compound annual growth rate until 2028.
Here are 10 of the best pairs out now designed to help both new and seasoned runners take it all in stride.
All Birds Tree Flyer 2
This new version of a favourite style from the Silicon Valley-based brand brims with design upgrades that aim to enhance your run—and soften the impact on the planet. It features a midsole made with sustainably sourced castor beans with a refreshed lug (an exterior sole with deep indentations) that provides improved traction, especially on wet surfaces. And, in a step towards circular manufacturing, waste material from the foam-making process is remelted and molded into the exterior that wraps around the heel for stability.
New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v13
With multiple videos getting over 10 million views on their TikTok, it’s safe to say that New Balance is Gen Z’s favourite “dad sneaker.” Their Fresh Foam X performance running shoe features an ultra-cushiony midsole and durable rubber outsole for enhanced comfort and stability that ensures a soft landing with every step.
Norda 001 Regolith
If you’re taking on any rugged terrain, this Canadian-designed trail shoe will put you a step ahead. The brainchild of a Montreal-based husband-and-wife team with over two decades of running experience, the trainer is built to be incredibly tough and impressively lightweight. The style uses the world’s first seamless upper made with bio-based Dyneema (an ultra-strong, super-light fibre manufactured using renewable energy sources) for abrasion resistance. It also has a special midsole and soleplate made in collaboration with Vibram that’s nearly weightless with uncompromising grip. It even boasts a bespoke touch: The midsole is hand painted, making each pair unique.
On Cloudstratus 3
Swiss-engineered to power you forward and crush a quicker pace on road runs, this revamped best-seller also rewrites the “no pain, no gain” narrative. An independent study conducted with Progressive Sports Technologies based at the Loughborough University in the U.K. showed that the double CloudTec design reduces muscle soreness.
Saucony Ride 16
Designed for maximum balance and support, these running shoes are made with foam midsoles with more evenly distributed cushioning from toes to heel. They are intentionally higher cut along the sides to create a cradled sensation, and are also available in both regular and wide fits.
Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III
From the less-is-more school of thinking, this minimalist shoe design seeks to maximize your body’s instinctive movement by getting feet as close to the ground as possible. The extremely flexible, ultra-thin sole (it’s just two millimetres) supports natural mobility and encourages the development of foot and ankle strength. Offering the best grip and protection for urban environments, it’s an ideal introductory style for anyone new to barefoot performance footwear.
Nike Air Max SYSTM sneakers
Originally designed for performance running, this long-standing style amazed customers in 1987 when Nike debuted a version with a window in its heel, revealing a peek into the encapsulated air technology that contributes to the built-in comfort. But plenty of other details play a role in making the lightweight hit a solid option for lacing up, including the cushioned sole, a mixed-material upper that’s breathable and durable, plus a rubber outsole that helps with traction.
Decathlon Kalenji Jogflow 500.1 Running Shoes
Sure, the minutes may count, but feeling strong at the finish line is also an important measure of a good run. These performance sneakers get the job done and are wallet-friendly, too! Stemming from the results of a 2018 study conducted in partnership with the Luxembourg Institute of Health that involved over 800 runners and more than 27,000 running sessions, this style was designed to promote a more natural stride and reduce the risk of injury. It achieves this with a flexible cushioned sole and a slight four millimetre drop, allowing for a minimal difference between the height of the shoe’s heel and forefoot.
Lululemon Blissfeel 2 Women’s Running Shoes
One million—that’s how many scans of female feet this shoe design is based on. The woman-centric fit includes a seamless upper for support, breathability and flexibility aligned to where it’s needed most, plus a springy foam sole and durable outsole that’s ideal for cutting across a city route. Better yet, they come with a 30-day trial from the Vancouver-based brand, allowing you to put them to the test and get a full refund if you’re not satisfied.
Reebok Floatride Energy 5 Running Shoes
Whether you’re halfway through a long run or picking up the pace at the end of a short jog, things are bound to heat up when you’re in motion. This versatile running shoe features a lightweight breathable upper that will keep your feet cool and comfortable, plus a midfoot plate for added torsional stability to minimize twisting and help you push through fatigue.