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5 Best Running Shoes for Men According to Exercise Science
What are the best running shoes for men on the market? According to the research, here are the shoes that will help you run faster and pain-free for longer.
Running shoes can make or break your workout. The wrong shoe can lead to injury and reduced performance, while the right shoe can keep your running pain-free for years to come.
But what is the best running shoe for men? Is there even such a thing? We decided to delve into the world of exercise science to uncover the answer.
Here are three things you need to know about running shoes for men.
- Running in a shoe that you consider comfortable is key to reducing injury
- There is no single best running shoe for men because we’re all built differently
- The best running shoe for you depends largely on your running habits
Choosing the Right Running Shoes for Men—What Does the Science Say?
Whether you’re running to lose belly fat or because you simply enjoy the sport, the right running shoe can make all the difference. But what is the best pair of running shoes for men? One with cushioning? No cushioning at all?
We took a deep dive into the research on running shoes. Here’s what we found.
Minimal vs. Maximum Cushioning
The minimalist running shoe craze took off sometime in the ’90s, only to be swiftly replaced by maximum cushioning after reports of running injuries became rampant. So, does this mean maximum cushioning is the way to go?
According the latest research—not necessarily.
In a 2019 study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, scientists compared running data from eight participants who ran on a treadmill wearing four different shoe conditions: barefoot, minimal sole, thin sole and a thick sole. Their results indicated that there was no significant difference in loading rates across different shoe conditions (see claim: “…runners maintained similar loading rates across footwear conditions by altering foot strike angles to regulate the duration of impact.”)
In other words, runners tend to adjust their gait depending on the amount of cushioning they’re working with. This is why shoes with thick cushioning don’t always appear to reduce the loading rate, and why maximalist runners are still plagued by running injuries.TRY MEN’S SKIN CARE
Comfort Is Key
Good news, guys. Your quest for the best running shoes for men may be easier than you think. All you need to do is trust your instincts and pick a shoe that feels comfortable on your feet.
At least, that’s according to a 2015 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. In the study, researchers concluded that runners who chose comfortable shoes were more likely to stay within their “preferred movement path” and thus, automatically reduce their risk of injury (see claim: “…suggest that a runner intuitively selects a comfortable product using their own comfort filter that allows them to remain in the preferred movement path.”)
Running Form Matters
The simple truth is that the science backing any specific type of shoe is murky at best. Here’s what isn’t murky, though—running form matters.
In a 2018 study published in the Journal of Biomechanics, researchers came to two noteworthy conclusions. First, they found that runners with a forefoot strike (as opposed to a heel strike) were less likely to experience tibial stress fractures (see claim: “…to forefoot striking decreased two risk factors for tibial stress fracture: average and peak loading rates.”) They also found that increasing running cadence (the number of steps you take per minute) could decrease peak hip adduction angle.
All this is to say that running form can have a significant impact on your risk of injury. While shoes can help you run better, it will hardly matter unless you have good running form in place.
The 5 Best Running Shoes for Men
Just because there is no single best running shoe for men doesn’t mean that there aren’t good running shoes and bad running shoes. The best running shoe for you will depend on your running habits, the shape of your feet, your preferred terrain and more.
Along with improving your training regimen and running form, the following pairs of running shoes can make all the difference to your comfort level and performance.
Why mess with a good thing? The Brooks Adrenaline GTS has been around for more than two decades, which says something about its comfy fit and consistently smooth ride.
The Adrenaline GTS is a stability shoe that features DNA LOFT technology, one of Brooks’ softest midsoles ever that delivers comfort and protection. The responsive cushioning and hint of springiness easily adapts to your individual stride, weight and speed, promising an unbelievably comfortable run no matter how you move.TAKE THE SKIN CARE QUIZ2. Saucony Triumph 17
The Saucony Triumph 17 is a well-made shoe that is cushioned from heel to toe. But don’t be fooled by its added cushioning. This running shoe won’t weigh you down in the slightest due to its lightweight foam that is softer and springier than ever.
Runners will appreciate the soft mesh upper and plush fit at every angle, which ensures long-lasting comfort and performance. Put simply, it’s a worthy addition to Saucony’s previous editions of the shoe that will make your feet happy, whether you’re on mile 1 or 10.3. New Balance FuelCell Propel
If you’re on a budget and want to invest in only one pair of running shoes, let it be the FuelCell Propel. This shoe by New Balance is equipped to handle every day of the week, whether you’re doing speedwork, long runs or recovery runs.
The Propel features a comfortable midsole that puts energy back into each step and a Trace Fiber upper that offers the right amount of support without feeling overly bulky. If you often run in the rain, you’ll love the Propel’s incredible traction that offers resilience against slippery sidewalks and wet grass.4. Adidas Ultra Boost 20
When a shoe has been made in partnership with the International Space Station, you know it has to be good. The Ultra Boost 20 expands upon the Ultra Boost 19 by adding a new-and-improved upper and a completely redesigned heel.
If you love a responsive shoe, the Ultra Boost 20 delivers on all fronts. The energy return in the midsole is out of this world, and you’ll feel the responsiveness with each step. Its lightweight yet supportive upper makes the shoe restrictive, but not too snug. And did we mention the colorways? If you appreciate a good design with eye-catching colors, the Adidas Ultra Boost is sure to delight.5. Asics Gel-Kayano 25
The Asics Gel-Kayano line has a loyal following, and for good reason. This shoe just keeps getting better and better with its overpronation control, unbeatable energy return and comfortable mesh upper.
If you’re looking for a shoe that provides high-level comfort and joint protection, the Asics Gel-Kayano 25 is it. Thanks to its signature GEL technology, the Kayano 25 minimizes impact on the joints to keep you running comfortably all through your marathon training.
The Bottom Line
If you’re running in worn out shoes, you’re not doing your joints any favors. The best running shoe for men is one that is comfortable and suited for your particular gait and preferred running terrain. With their high-performance technologies and comfortable features, these running shoes for men can help you run faster, longer and pain-free.
Udofa, Andrew B., et al. “Running Ground Reaction Forces across Footwear Conditions Are Predicted from the Motion of Two Body Mass Components.” Journal of Applied Physiology, vol. 126, no. 5, Feb. 2019, pp. 1315–25.
Nigg, B. M., et al. “Running Shoes and Running Injuries: Mythbusting and a Proposal for Two New Paradigms: ‘Preferred Movement Path’ and ‘Comfort Filter.’” British Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 49, no. 20, Oct. 2015, pp. 1290–94.
Yong, Jennifer R., et al. “Acute Changes in Foot Strike Pattern and Cadence Affect Running Parameters Associated with Tibial Stress Fractures.” Journal of Biomechanics, vol. 76, July 2018, pp. 1–7.