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Best Marathon Running Shoes

Best Marathon Running Shoes

In recent years, the best marathon running shoes have undergone an incredible transformation. Starting with Nike Vaporfly 4%, the entire running shoe industry changed what constituted a proper marathon shoe. And now, the best marathon running shoes are better than ever and recent world record runs attest to that fact.

The best marathon running shoes used to be low stack height and as light as possible. The thinking was to minimize the weight the runner carried on his or her feet for such a long distance in order to save energy. But due to the emergence of super foams like Pebax, all of sudden a super-light shoe with a big honking stack of foam was an option. These super foams were incredibly plush and unstable so brands placed carbon fiber plates inside the foam to offer greater stability and springiness. What resulted were shoes that better protected joints and aid in quicker recovery from long grueling races. Oh, and studies claimed they improved performance by up to 4%.

With all that good press, the new super shoes became the most coveted marathon running shoes and soon every brand was making one. Now, there’s enough that we can do an entire list dedicated to the best marathon running shoes. Our list below will explain some of the nuances of these shoes and help your figure out which will be best for your feet.

If you wish to see all of our running shoe reviews, you can check out our Running Shoe reviews page.

Categories are placed to help you find what you want. If you know what you need, you can simply click the category. If not, feel free to check out the whole list as your guide.

We would also like to hear your thoughts on this list and you can even share your own list in the comments below.

Updated: 7.1.22

Let’s get into our picks:

Best Marathon Running Shoes for Racing

Asics Metaspeed Sky+

Asics Metaspeed Sky+

The Asics Metaspeed Sky+ is light, stable, breathable, and super bouncy. The FF Blast Turbo paired with the carbon plate really provides a spring to every step. The AsicsGrip traction grips everything making the Metaspeed Sky+ a great choice for running in bad weather. The upper isn’t perfect, but the rest of the shoe is so good you can overlook any small issues. It’s versatile enough to tackle any race from a 5k to a marathon. You’ll love the mental edge the insane bounce provides. Read the full review.

Fit: True to size, Drop: 5mm, Price $250

9.5/10
Total Score
Buy Asics Metaspeed Sky+

adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3

adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3

The adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3 is a smooth-riding and bouncy marathon-focused racing shoe. The rocker is improved from previous versions with a sharper toe angle and improved carbon fiber energy rods that make the shoe feel faster and bouncier. Breathability is top-notch, the outsole grips everything, and, due to a widened base, stability is great for a race day shoe. You’ll want to wear thicker socks with a heel tab to avoid issues with the problematic Achilles stitching but that’s the only real issue in a shoe that’s one of the best marathon racing shoes on the market. See the full review.

Fit: Typical adidas, Drop: 6.5mm, Price $250

9.5/10
Total Score
Buy adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3

Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next%

The Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% is arguably the current most popular running shoe among marathon runners. And for good reason. A sub-2-hour marathon was posted in these shoes. A feat that years ago no one thought was possible. The Alphafly also made our Best Running Shoes list. Just look at that midsole. It’s full-length ZoomX, the bounciest foam Nike has ever created, a carbon fiber plate, plus two large volume Zoom Air units in the forefoot. It’s plenty of cushion, and maybe even too much, for anyone and everyone who runs marathons. See the full review.

Fit: True to Size, Drop: 4mm, Price $275

9.5/10
Total Score
Buy Men’s Nike Alphafly Buy Women’s Nike Alphafly

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2

The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 is a fun shoe to run in. It The Vaporfly is the original super shoe line and the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 is the current iteration. It’s incredibly light and anchored by tons of ZoomX foam bisected with a scooped carbon fiber plate. And while the traction and support aren’t always reliable, you’ll see this shoe on tons of feet at marathons all over the world. And for good reason, it’s super snappy, bouncy, and just fun to run in. 

Fit: True to Size, Drop: 8mm, Price: $250

8.5/10
Total Score
Buy Men’s Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 Buy Women’s Nike Vaporfly Next% 2

adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2

The adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2 has a light, see-through, breathable upper. This can sometimes mean that the support will suffer, but that’s not the case with this shoe. The support here is top-notch. adidas also uses carbon fiber Energy Rods instead of a carbon fiber plate. Paired with the Lightstrike Pro foam, it’s a very springy ride but the ride is stiffer than most other marathon racing shoes. Plus, the Continental rubber on the outsole will grip any surface you run on. If you’re also looking to spend less than $250 on a marathon shoe, the Adios Pro 2 is one of the best options.

Fit: True to Size, Drop: 7.5mm, Price: $220

9/10
Total Score
Buy adidas Adios Pro 2

New Balance FuelCell RC Elite 2

The New Balance FuelCell RC Elite 2 is the best marathon running shoe for marathon runners with wider feet. The setup is similar to other super shoes, a huge slab of FuelCell foam with a swooped carbon fiber plate in the middle. The result is a propulsive ride. On top, you’ve got one of the more comfortable marathon racing uppers though the shoe is a little heavier because of that. The traction is solid and the fit is more accommodating especially in the toebox. And to top if off, the RC Elite 2 is competitively priced.

Fit: True to Size, Drop: 8mm, Price: $230

9/10
Total Score
Buy Men’s New Balance RC Elite 2 Buy Men’s New Balance RC Elite 2

Puma Deviate Nitro Elite

The Puma Deviate Nitro Elite is the least expensive shoe on this list, but that doesn’t mean anything. It has a high rating for a reason. The traction is one of the best available on the market with what the brand calls Puma Grip. This rubber compound will grip and bite anything it touches so you don’t have to worry about slipping. It’s perfect for a marathon in wet conditions. Plus, the Nitro Elite midsole is bouncy and the shoe packs above-average support. See the full review.

Fit: True to Size, Drop: 8mm, Price: $200

9/10
Total Score
Buy Men’s Puma Deviate Nitro Elite Buy Women’s Puma Deviate Nitro Elite

Can I Run a Marathon in Everyday Running Shoes?

Yes, you can. For many people, that’s the best plan. Typically, it’s better to run a marathon in a shoe you’ve worn regularly during training and feel comfortable in. This limits potential issues (like blisters or bruised toenails) on race day because your shoes already handled the long grueling runs you did during your marathon training.

If you buy one of the marathon racing shoes above, be sure to mix it into your training and use it for both some speed work and long runs. The idea is to break the shoes in enough that they mold to your feet (to avoid any painful rubbing during the race) but at the same time, save the cushioning so it’s still super bouncy on race day. Your legs will appreciate the extra bounce or plushness as you work to maintain your marathon pace for 26.2 miles.


Best Marathon Running Shoes – Coming Soon

Puma Fast-R

Puma Fast-R Nitro Elite

The Puma Fast-R Nitro Elite is a light, supportive racer with amazing traction and bouncy forefoot cushioning. It’s a fun, wild-looking shoe that performs well and gets attention. Heavy heel strikers should probably avoid it due to the decoupled midsole construction and denser foam in the heel. The rest of us can enjoy the rocket-like Nitro Elite forefoot foam. Read the full review.

Fit: True to Size, Drop: 8mm, Price: $250

9/10
Total Score

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3

The third generation of the Saucony Endorphin Pro line appears in line for a big change. And by big, we mean the amount of foam is increasing like crazy. The previous Endorphin Pros all had solid Pebax cushioning but avoided the super high stack height of rivals. That appears set to change in the Endorphin Pro 3. As long as the Endorphin Pro 3 stays wide foot-friendly, I think most runners will welcome the new, bigger midsole and enjoy the extra protection and bounce. Price: TBD


New Balance SuperComp Elite v3

New Balance SuperComp Elite v3

New Balance appears to be taking what worked on the RC Elite 2, adding more, and then changing the name for good measure. The midsole and outsole feature a large channel running down the middle of the shoe that allows you to see the carbon fiber plate exposed. This is a first for a super shoe so it will be really interesting to see how it feels on foot. We’re optimistic it’ll be a fun one. Price: TBD


Asics MetaSpeed Sky+

Asics MetaSpeed Sky+

The original Asics Metaspeed Sky was one of the last super shoes to arrive on the market but it immediately garnered a ton of fans. Version 2 gets a + in the name but gets more foam, more stability, and a more comfortable upper. The rocker shape also changes to better match some of the insights that Asics picked up along the way. If it’s smoother and plusher you’ll see the Metaspeed Sky grab even more fans and start challenging the big dogs for marathon racing shoe supremacy. Price: TBD


Thinking of a shoe we should add to the best marathon running shoes list? Comment below or message us on Instagram or Twitter.

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