Running is a great way to stay fit and improve your health. However, if you want to get the most out of this activity, you need high-quality equipment, and finding the right running shoes can be challenging. With so many options on the market, it’s easy to make a mistake and purchase the wrong shoes. Hopefully, this list of the best running shoe brands will help you make the right decision or at least narrow down your choices.
- Best Running Shoe Brands
- Find the Best Running Shoes for You
Best Running Shoe Brands
Nike is definitely one of the most well-known names in the industry. The company is the largest supplier of athletic shoes, apparel, and sports equipment. Nike was founded in 1964 as “Blue Ribbon Sports” by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight. It was renamed “Nike” in 1971, and the name was taken from the Greek goddess of victory. The company sponsors many high-profile athletes and teams. In addition, its Swoosh logo and the “Just Do It” slogan are highly recognized.
Nike has something to offer to all runners. The company divides its running shoes into three categories: road, trail, and track. Since different surfaces require different materials and technologies, allowing runners to shop for shoes that best meet their needs.
The company implements different technologies to give its customers the best results. Some technologies runners can choose from are Nike Air Zoom, Nike Flyknit, Nike Flymesh, Nike React, Nike Skin, etc.
Since runners have different preferences, Nike tries to cater to everyone’s needs by creating running shoes that differ in support, width, and feel. Moreover, the shoes come in various designs and colors so that everyone can find what they’re looking for.
Besides high-quality running shoes, Nike offers everything you need to enjoy your run even more. Nike has it all: water bottles, bags, backpacks, hats, socks, shorts, t-shirts, jackets, you name it.
Adidas is another brand that deserves its spot on this list. This brand has a long and interesting history. It was founded in 1924 by Adolf Adi Dassler in his mother’s house. His older brother Rudolf joined him the same year, and the company was called “Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik” (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory). Adolf assisted in developing spiked running shoes for a number of athletic events. However, instead of using metal spikes, he used canvas and rubber.
In 1947, the partnership between the two brothers ended. Rudolf formed a new company named Puma, while Adolf rebranded the old company like Adidas. Today, Adidas is the second-largest sportswear manufacturer in the world, right after Nike. The company’s known for its three-stripes logo.
Adidas offers numerous running shoe collections to their customers. One of the most popular collections is Adidas Ultraboost, which offers superb cushioning and responsiveness. If you enjoy long runs and want maximum stability and support, check out Solar, Adistar, or Supernova. The Adizero collection is an excellent choice for everyone who likes lightweight shoes for racing. If you’re looking for the latest innovations, you’ll love the 4DFWD shoes with a 3D midsole. Adidas also offers shoes for those who enjoy running on trails. Terrex running shoes feature sturdy materials and can help you conquer every surface.
Of course, Adidas offers much more than running shoes. They manufacture apparel and accessories that make running even more comfortable and fun.
As mentioned, Puma’s history is closely related to Adidas. Namely, Adolf Dassler and his brother Rudolf formed a company named Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory) in 1924. When the brothers split, Adolf founded Adidas, while Rudolf founded Puma. Both companies remain based in Herzogenaurach, Germany.
Puma has been a public company since 1986. A former football professional, Bjørn Gulden, has been the company’s CEO since 2013.
Puma has several lines of running shoes, including Deviate, Electrify, Eternity, Liberate, and Magnify, to name a few. The most popular line of men’s running shoes is Deviate NITRO, high-performance shoes featuring the PUMAGRIP traction and a carbon-fiber INNOPLATE, ensuring maximum energy transfer. In addition, the lightweight NITRO foam provides superior cushioning, while the rubber outsoles have anti-slip properties.
The best-selling line of women’s running shoes is Velocity NITRO. They feature high-traction outsoles, advanced foam technology, and reflective accents. Plus, they provide superior responsiveness and breathability.
Puma shoes are known for their comfort, durability, and interesting design. You can easily match your running shoes to jackets, socks, t-shirts, and other gear the company sells.
Asics is a sports equipment manufacturer from Japan. Its name originates from the Latin phrase “anima sana in corpore sano,” meaning “a sound mind in a sound body.” The company’s story began in 1949 when it was founded by Kihachiro Onitsuka as “Onitsuka.” Onitsuka became famous for the Mexico 66 design, where the crossed strips now synonymous with the brand were first featured. Bruce Lee was the first celebrity who wore this design. In 1977, Onitsuka merged with GTO and JELENK, and Asics was officially founded.
Today, the company’s running shoes have been ranked as one of the best-performing shoes on the market. Their shoes are popular with casual runners, marathon runners, and professional athletes. The main characteristics of Asics shoes are comfort, stability, and durability.
Asics offers shoes for all terrains. If running on hard surfaces, you should check out the company’s models with a unique GEL absorbent silicone. This innovative technology lowers the effect the hard surfaces have on your feet and makes running much more comfortable.
If you’re a trail runner, you’ll enjoy the water-resistant models with tough lugs that provide extra grip and traction on slippery, uneven surfaces.
Asics knows how important it is to find a pair of running shoes that fit perfectly. Their website contains detailed instructions on measuring your feet and choosing a collection that suits you the best.
Although Asics is best-known for its superb running shoes, the company sells clothing and accessories for various sports and casual wear.
New Balance is an American sports footwear, apparel, and accessories manufacturer. But the company sold completely different products when it was initially founded. The company’s history started in 1906 when William J. Riley founded the New Balance Arch Support Company. As you can assume, the company manufactured arch supports and other accessories that improve a shoe’s fit. Later, the company changed its name to New Balance Athletic Shoe Company, but it continued manufacturing the same products.
In 1956, Riley sold the company to his daughter and her husband. They continued selling mainly arch supports until 1960. That’s when they designed the Trackster, i.e., the first running shoe with a ripple sole, sold in varying widths.
In 1970, New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc. was formed, replacing the old company. This company became New Balance Athletics, Inc. in 2015. Unlike most competitors, New Balance has manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and Europe.
The two most popular lines of New Balance Running Shoes are FuelCell and Fresh Foam, named for the foam type they feature. FuelCell running shoes are lightweight and designed for daily runs and up-tempo workouts. Fresh Foam shoes are made for rougher terrains, providing a soft landing, improved traction, and durability.
Besides running shoes, New Balance manufactures high-quality apparel, accessories, and sports equipment.
The North Face
The North Face is one of the best-known outdoor recreation products brands. Its history started in 1968 when Douglas Tompkins and his wife Susie founded a climbing equipment store named The North Face in San Francisco. Two years later, the company was acquired by Kenneth Hap Klopp. By the 1990s, the company started focusing on street couture, thus expanding beyond the targeted initially outdoor enthusiasts. Finally, in 2000, The North Face was purchased by the VF Corporation.
Although The North Face focuses on apparel, the company manufactures superb trail running shoes, which earned it a spot on this list. They offer shoes that provide maximum comfort, cushioning, stability, breathability, and a minimalist design.
In addition, the shoes feature lugs that offer supreme traction and grip, regardless of the surface or weather conditions. What’s best is that The North Face paid particular attention to the design, so runners can wear the shoes even while running on the road. Hence, there’s no need to purchase a separate pair of road running shoes or invest in hybrid shoes to enjoy an occasional run on hard surfaces.
The North Face sells apparel and accessories that make running even more comfortable. One of the accessories many trail runners love is the trail run pack that offers functionality, style, and convenience.
Reebok is a sports footwear and clothing company with a long history. In 1895, a 14-year-old boy named Joseph William Foster designed one of the earliest spiked running shoes in his bedroom, above his father’s sweet shop. Five years later, he founded a company called J. W. Foster, which became J. W. Foster and Sons.
When Joseph died in 1933, his sons Billy and Jim continued running the business. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Jim’s two sons joined the company but soon had to leave for two years due to National Service.
When they returned, they noticed the company had difficulty keeping up with the competitor brands like Adidas and Puma. They suggested what needed to be changed, but their suggestions were disregarded, so the brothers created their own company in 1958 and named it Reebok. Following Billy’s death in 1976, Reebok absorbed J. W. Foster and Sons. As of March 2022, Rebook is a subsidiary of Authentic Brands Group.
Whether you’re looking for road running shoes, trail running shoes, or those designed for more casual wear, you can be sure Reebok has you covered. The Energen Plus line of road running shoes is perfect for those who want durability, breathability, and responsive midsoles. The Zig Kinetica and Trail collections feature anti-slip outsoles, enhanced cushioning, and superior traction, thanks to which runners can conquer all terrains. Reebok also offers excellent running shoes for children.
Besides the impressive footwear, Reebok manufactures T-shirts, leggings, socks, shorts, jackets, sports bras, and more.
Salomon is a French company that manufactures sports equipment. It was founded in 1947 by Georges Salomon, who launched a wood saw and ski edge workshop in downtown Annecy. Ten years later, the first Salomon binding called “le lift” was created, thus replacing the traditional leather binding straps.
Fast forward another 10 years, when Salomon invented the first binding with a self-release heelpiece. The same year, Salomon bindings were featured at the Olympic Games for the first time. Then, in the late 1970s, Salomon manufactured the first alpine boots. Later, the company started manufacturing skis, equipment for summer sports, apparel, etc. Today, Salomon sponsors a number of professional athletes and is a part of AMER Sports.
While Salomon is a well-known brand in the winter sports world, many people aren’t aware the company makes high-quality shoes for road and trail running. Regarding road running shoes, the company’s Sonic 4 line is one of the most popular, known for exceptional cushioning that dampens uncomfortable vibrations.
In addition, Salomon uses a combination of foams to ensure maximum comfort and stability, while the 3D Open Mesh is there to provide breathability. In addition, of course, other road-running shoe collections like Phantasm, Predict, and Spectur are worth checking out.
Salomon manufactures some of the best trail running shoes on the market. If you’re looking for larger lugs, maximum traction, and a stitch-free upper construction, the Speedcross 5 collection is an excellent choice. These shoes are durable and deliver superior grip in all surface conditions. Those who want to run fast on trails shouldn’t hesitate to check out the Pulsar collection. These shoes have all the features you need to stay safe on the trail without the weight of regular trail running shoes. Thanks to the sock-like fit, the shoes will fit your feet perfectly.
Like other brands, Salomon sells everything a runner may need, including water bottles, clothing, bags, belts, etc.
Under Armour is an American company that manufactures sports and casual apparel and footwear. Compared to other companies on the list, Under Armour is relatively young. It was founded in 1996 by Kevin Plank, a 24-year-old captain of the University of Maryland football team.
As a fullback player, Plank was tired of having to frequently change the sweaty T-shirt under his jersey. But something that eventually led to him founding the now successful company caught his eye; his compression shorts always stayed dry. So, he created a T-shirt using moisture-wicking fabric and gave it to his teammates and friends who played in the NFL. Major companies like Nike and Adidas later manufactured their own moisture-wicking apparel. With many positive reviews, orders increased, and the rest is history.
While Under Armour remains popular for its apparel, the company offers high-quality running shoes. The most popular line of women’s running shoes is Sonic 4. They feature the patented UA HOVR cushioning that ensures maximum comfort and security.
In addition, the blown rubber under the forefoot absorbs ground contact, while the TPU heel counter provides extra support. As far as men’s collections go, one of the best-selling ones is Phantom 2. These shoes have UA IntelliKnit uppers that offer breathability, comfort, and support. In addition, rubber outsoles feature a texture that guarantees more traction and stability. Other lines of running shoes are Velociti, Charged Breeze, and Infinite, to name a few.
Under Armour is known for its exceptional apparel, so you can match your running shoes to shorts, T-shirts, sports bras, jackets, etc.
What Is the Best Running Shoe Brand?
While some brands may be more “present” on the market and have better marketing strategies, it’s impossible to say one is better than the other.
Everyone is different, and what works for one person may not be suitable for someone else. For example, someone with wider feet will definitely not like narrow shoe models because they’ll feel uncomfortable, even if made using the latest technology. But, at the same time, someone with narrow feet will try on the same shoes and love them.
Many people purchase shoes from the most popular brands, which can be a good strategy. However, just because a brand is famous doesn’t mean a particular model will work for you. Therefore, regardless of the brand you opt for, it’s crucial to try on the shoes before purchasing them. Moreover, if you’re unsure what suits your feet, ask an expert for help, or try on different models before opting for one.
Remember that every brand that is popular today started from the bottom. So don’t dismiss a brand just because it’s not “popular enough” because you may be surprised by the quality of their shoes.
Are More Expensive Running Shoes Better?
Running is a relatively affordable activity; you only need a T-shirt, pair of shorts, and running shoes. So, you may be surprised by the wide price range of running shoes. For example, some models cost $20-$30, while others cost more than $200. So, it’s natural to wonder whether the $200 models are worth their price and better than the less expensive shoes.
Many expensive shoes feature innovative technologies, patented materials, and custom molding that fit your feet perfectly. This can be especially important for those with over and under pronation. In addition, pricey shoes are often advertised as having fancy features that make running a breeze.
Unfortunately, while all those features may sound attractive, many people end up disappointed in expensive running shoes. First, it’s essential to understand that a higher price doesn’t mean better quality. Often, buyers pay for the brand’s name, which is why the most popular brands often have the most expensive models.
There’s also the psychological effect. When you buy expensive shoes, you naturally have higher expectations from them. Unfortunately, these expectations aren’t always met, and you end up disappointed. On the other hand, affordable shoes could exceed your expectations.
Essentially, there are no rules. You can find high-quality running shoes within almost any price range. As always, it all comes down to your needs and preferences.
Do I Need Multiple Pairs of Running Shoes?
While some people would say owning multiple pairs of running shoes is a waste of money, others agree it’s beneficial for several reasons. Here are some of them:
Reduced Risk of Injuries
Running-related injuries often happen due to repetitive movement. For example, when you run in the same shoes daily, your feet and ankles are constantly in the same position. As a result, your muscles and bones experience fatigue over time, potentially resulting in injury.
An additional pair of running shoes with a different heel-to-toe drop allows your feet and joints to switch positions, thus lowering the risk of injury.
Different Shoes for Different Terrains
Buying separate pairs of shoes for asphalt surfaces and trails seems like a waste of money. However, it’s very much necessary. Trail running shoes are designed to handle slippery, rough, uneven terrains, provide traction, and lower the risk of awkward falls.
On the other hand, running shoes designed for the road may work great on concrete, but they usually won’t perform well in rugged conditions. Many brands sell hybrid shoes that allow runners to enjoy different terrains. Still, having an extra pair is recommended.
Running shoes usually require a replacement after 300-500 miles. Even standing or leisurely walking will affect the shoes’ lifespan because the cushioning will deteriorate. Besides that, running shoes will wear and tear much faster if you don’t use them for their intended purpose.
With multiple pairs of shoes, you’ll always be able to select the pair you need depending on the surface you’ll be running on. By rotating the shoes, you’ll extend their lifespan and enjoy them for much longer.
As you know, running shoes last longer if you maintain them properly. This usually means not throwing them in the washing machine or the dryer and avoiding keeping them in locations with hot temperatures. Instead, you should clean them using a brush and a mild cleaning solution.
While cleaning the shoes often isn’t a problem, drying them can be. When it’s cold, the shoes may take more than one day to dry. Unfortunately, you’ll need to miss out on running until the shoes are completely dry.
This will never be a problem with two or more pairs of shoes. You can wear one pair while the other one is drying.
Find the Best Running Shoes for You
Finding the perfect running shoes can be challenging. While having so many options usually means you’ll be able to find what suits you, it can often feel overwhelming. Although we can’t say what the best shoe brand is, we hope the list helped you find the right fit.
Remember that nobody knows what works for you better than yourself. So, take your time, try on different models, and you’ll know when you find the right pair.