These Might Just Be Your New Running Shoes

To paraphrase one of my favorite memes, of course you don’t need running shoes to run — but it definitely helps. That’s because these special kicks are designed specifically for the repetitive, high-impact forward motion that can cause injury over time if you’re not careful. In fact, many experienced runners will tell you that before you even think about running, you should make sure you buy the right shoes.

But what exactly is the “right” shoe for you? Over the years, there’s been plenty of debate about how to choose a running shoe. It used to be recommended that you get a gait analysis, and a shoe that offered support tailored to whether you overpronate or you have flat feet.

These days, however, there’s been a slight backing away from this thinking. It’s still a good idea to go to a running store and chat with a pro, for sure. But a study published last summer in the British Journal of Sports Medicine made waves among runners by suggesting that all you really need to focus on when trying on new shoes is how comfortable they feel. After looking through decades of conflicting studies on the link between footwear and injuries, the researchers concluded that “a runner intuitively selects a comfortable product using their own comfort filter that allows them to remain in the preferred movement path. This may automatically reduce the injury risk.”

Translation: Finding the right shoes might not be the seemingly complex decision we once thought, and the only really important move is probably just listening to your body when you're trying shoes on.

This is freeing in a way since it takes away some of the pressure and opens up your options a bit. Because apparel companies are constantly dreaming up new improvements, we’ll be collecting the latest and greatest in running shoes here every week, just so you know what’s out there. Click ahead and happy hunting!
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Photo: Courtesy of Nike
Nike Airmax 2017

The running shoe that's so chic and comfy, you'll wear it even when you're not working out.
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Photo: Courtesy of Saucony.
Saucony Hurricane ISO 2

This well-padded, roomy shoe is great for long-distance runners.
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Photo: Courtesy of Under Armour
UA Charged Bandit 2

This super-stretchy shoe offers both a firm heel and a soft forefoot to give you support right where you need it. Plus, it has a double layer of cushion in the midsole to reduce any arch pain. In other words: A seamless shoe for a seamless run.
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Photo: Courtesy of Asics.
Asics Gel Nimbus 18

The Nimbus is an Asics fan favorite, and for good reason. They're designed to reduce impact for a stable, comfy run. However, the durability means that they have a stiffer heel counter, which may not be suitable for everyone.
5 of 26
Photo: Courtesy of Nike.
Nike Air Zoom Structure 20

Nike's new Air Structure shoe has a wider base for more stability as well as a soft foam cushioning that adapts to your feet. With its lasting flexibility, it's perfect for long-distance runs.
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Photo: Courtesy of New Balance
New Balance Vazee Pace v2

This second version of the Vazee Pace is formulated for speed and comfort. The extra layer of REVlite foam offers a lightweight cushioning while remaining 30% lighter than the first iteration of this shoe.
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Photo: Courtesy of Under Armour.
UA Drift

With its full-length sockliner and cushioned sole, this pair offers some serious comfort. They’re best for treadmill running, though the durable rubber traction makes them tough enough for some light outdoor trail running, too.
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Photo: Courtesy of Altra.
Altra Torin 2.0

If comfort is key for you, you won’t want to miss out on these. The Altra Torin 2.0 has a plush, slip-on feel, thanks to a cushioned midsole and a roomy toebox. The extra cushioning is also designed to help improve your stability.
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Photo: Courtesy of The North Face.
North Face Ultra Cardiac

Hikers and outdoor trail runners: This is your shoe. The Ultra Cardiac shoe is durable enough to protect against rocky roads, yet lightweight enough so that you don’t feel weighed down. Best of all, its soles provide enough traction to balance you during uphill jogs.
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Photo: Courtesy of Topo
Topo Athletic Magnifly

The Magnify is roomy in the toes and snug around the arch, allowing for a more natural stride. The dual-density cushioning also means that it perfectly offsets rough pavement and dirt paths. It only comes in women’s size 6 and up, but if don’t worry if you have smaller feet — Topo recommends you size a half size or even full size up to accommodate for the secure fit.
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Photo: Courtesy of Reebok.
Reebok Avon 39 Z Print 3D

Comfort is key with these. The Reebok Z Print comes with a 3D foot scan engineered to conform to your foot for the ultimate cushion. Plus, the low-cut design frees up your ankles for a greater range of movement, making it perfect for more challenging runs.
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Photo: Courtesy of 361.
361 Degrees Spire

With an extra layer of foam in the midsole, ultra-comfy cushioning, and breathable mesh, the Spire is designed with your comfort in mind. This shoe is perfect for anyone with a high arch, and it makes for a great everyday running shoe.
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Photo: Courtesy of Altra
Altra Intuition 3.5
With its moderate cushioning and light, flexible mesh design, the latest Altra Intuition is ideal if you like a roomier shoe; thanks to its "FootShape" toe-box technology, your feet can spread out naturally. According to Altra, this improves your form and reduces impact on longer runs.
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Photo: Courtesy of Nike
Women’s Nike Free RN Flyknit
This shoe features Nike’s “sock-like” Flyknit technology, along with a very flexible sole. Translation: These are hella comfortable, but they’re not super supportive. An ideal sneaker if you like to do a mix of shorter running distances and other types of training — and need a shoe that can do double-duty.
15 of 26
Photo: Courtesy of Nike
Women’s Nike Free RN Distance
If, however, you are looking for something for the long run, Nike’s Free RN Distance is for you. This shoe combines the comfort of lightweight cushioning and the durability of a supportive sole to allow you to go the distance.
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Photo: Courtesy of Adidas
Adidas PureBoost X
Most women’s running shoes are simply knockoffs of the men’s version, but not so with the PureBoost X. This running shoe was designed with female biology in mind: Because women’s ligaments are more flexible than men’s, load-bearing exercise like running creates a wider angle in the arch of the female foot compared to the male foot. Adidas says they did extensive testing to create a shoe that accounts for that, and is therefore more supportive.
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UA SpeedForm Apollo 2
Featuring UnderArmour's proprietary SpeedForm technology, the Apollo 2 is a newer take on one of the company's now-classic running offerings. It's a lightweight shoe with perforated, durable fabric on top designed for breathability and comfort. We like 'em best in simple gray and white, but they come in black, white, and neon pink, too.
18 of 26
Photo: Courtesy of Asics
Asics fuzeX
Launched this February 1, the brand new fuseX line of sneaks from Asics comes with a special shock-absorbing gel added to the midsole material to absorb shock and help propel you forward, per a press release from the company. Sure, that may sound a little too good to be true, but these bad boys definitely add some color to your gym wardrobe.
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Photo: Courtesy of Pearl Izumi
Pearl Izumi Road N3
They’re not called “road-running” shoes for nothing — these Pearl Izumi runners are made for smooth-pavement-pounding. They offer lightweight support, and the offset midsoles give you great cushioning.
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Photo: Courtesy of Saucony.
Saucony Nomad
If you’re more of an outdoor runner than a treadmill hopper, this is the shoe for you. Saucony’s Nomad shoes were engineered to adapt to outdoor terrain, making them perfect for a jog on the trails. However, they’re not water-resistant, so maybe not ideal if you're running, say, a Warrior Dash.
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Photo: Courtesy of Saucony.
Saucony Xodus 6.0 GTX
If you are looking for running shoes that will keep your feet dry, the Xodus 6.0 GTX pair is a great place to start. Not only are they tailor-made to protect against rough terrain, the robust lining ensures that your feet are protected against all manner of water and mud.
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Photo: Courtesy of New Balance.
New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v2
If you’re a sprinter, this is the shoe for you. These New Balance Fresh Foams come with an aggressive toe spring that helps you outrun the competition. Plus, the engineered air-mesh means they’ll form to your feet and fit like a glove.
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Photo: Courtesy of Brooks Running
Brooks Women's Transcend 3

The plush cushioning and rounded heel on this shoe makes it perfect for anyone looking for a little more arch support. Translation: If you have flat feet, the Transcend 3 was made with you in mind. Plus, the laser-cut mesh promises to keep your feet cool and dry.
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Photo: Courtesy of Puma
Puma Speed 300 IGNITE

There’s a reason this one has the word “speed” in its name. It doesn’t have a ton of cushioning, but that’s because it’s designed to be a lightweight racing shoe. With its seamless upper construction and foam midsole, this shoe is engineered to be ultra-responsive to the pavement, making it perfect for speed races.
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Photo: Courtesy of Hoka One One.
Hoka One One Women's Clifton 2

If you’re looking for something for the long run, look no further. With durable rubber pads lining the outsole and a padded tongue that protects your foot, the Hoka Clifton 2 is made to last.
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Photo: Courtesy of Mizuno
Mizuno Women’s Wave Hitogami 3

Lightweight but still ultra-supportive, this sturdy shoe grips perfectly to the track to get you ahead. However, since it’s made for racing, it’s a shoe best used on the treadmill or concrete — not ideal for rough terrain.

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