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Best Running Shoes 2021

At WearTesters, our team of expert reviewers test hundreds of running shoes each year. After testing, we collect the Best Running Shoes available and include them here for easy reference. 

We regularly update this page to feature the highest performing, currently available running shoes. The shoes listed are in no particular order and are grouped into relevant categories such as Trail Shoes or Race Day Shoes . Check back any time you’re ready to buy new running shoes.

We’ve also reviewed many other running shoes that didn’t make this page.  Every foot is different, so read the reviews carefully to find the best shoes for you. For details on methodology, see the detailed description at the bottom of the page.

Updated 10/20/2021

Best Running Shoes Categories

Best Cushioned Running Shoes

These are the shoes you use day in and day out for all types of running activities. Easy days, hard days, long runs, speedier runs, these shoes are a jack of all trades and can handle anything. And as an added bonus, these shoes are perfect for chasing kids around the back yard, visiting theme parks, and the occasional (light) hike.

Puma Magnify Nitro

The Magnify Nitro is one of our favorite daily runners of 2021. At $140, it’s priced right for a high end cushioned running shoe. It may be a little bulky but that’s a trade off that results in a super comfortable upper with a lot of plush foam providing impact protection. Read the full review.

Brooks Aurora-BL

The Aurora-BL looks a little space age and the cushion resembles marshmallows, but it’s a go-to running shoe. The cushion, stability, and fit are all great. It’s a soft and bouncy shoe that doesn’t struggle with stability. The only drawback is the $200 price tag. It’s a shoe made for early adopters and running shoe enthusiasts. Read the full review.

Nike Pegasus 38

The Nike Pegasus line is a go to for many runners. The 38th version is reasonably priced at $120. The combo of a voluminous forefoot Zoom Air bag and full length Nike React cushioning is plush but also bouncy up front where you need it. And the upper materials and outsole ensure you’ll get great durability out of each pair. It is a narrower shoe, but Nike makes a wide version to help with that. Read the full review.

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UA Flow Velociti Wind

The UA Flow Velociti Wind looks sort of like a slipper. But his slipper’s woven WARP upper hugs the foot nicely. And the Flow foam works surprisingly well for such a low profile shoe. And surprise, even though there’s no rubber traction on the bottom this shoe still grips the ground well. It’s different, but it works. Read the full review.

Brooks Glycerin 19

The Glycerin line delivers year after year. Last year’s Glycerin 18 was one of our favorites and the Glycerin 19 improved on the formula every so slightly. Great grip, maximum cushioning, and a great fit that accommodates the majority of foot types. Brooks continues to be a rising star in the running shoe industry because they nail the basics.  Read the full review.

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Nike ZoomX Invincible Run

If you want the plushest ride you can get for your daily runner, look no further. Sporting a thick midsole comprised entirely of Nike’s super bouncy ZoomX foam, the Invincible Run is the ultimate suspension system for your feet. While it may be too unstable for some, there’s ample rubber on the outsole for serious durability and the plush ankle area, tongue, and comfy flyknit upper provide a great fit. Read the full review.

Best Speed Day Running Shoes

These are the best running shoes for going fast whether you prefer intervals, tempo runs, or fartleks. These shoes are built to pick up the pace and give you proper bounce. They’re also built to perform just as well on the roads as on the track.

Puma Deviate Nitro

Puma is back in performance running with six (!) new models in their first year. And the one meant for uptempo workouts is the stellar Deviate Nitro. It’s bouncy, light, and uses one of the grippiest rubber compounds on the market. It’s got some slight heel fit issues but that’s the only drawback among a sea of great features. Read full review.

Nike Zoom Tempo Next%

The Tempo Next% is the training shoe complement to Nike’s Alphafly Next% (which gets mentioned below). It’s a little tough to get your foot in the opening, but once you do, the combo of Zoom, ZoomX, and React cushion is great for your feet and legs. True, it’s expensive at $200, but buy it on sale and you’ll be happy every time you pick up the pace. Read full review.

Saucony Endorphin Speed

The name says it all. It’s a bouncy, high end, lightweight shoe built for speed. The Pebax foam and nylon plate combo create a smooth and thrusty ride. Among WearTesters and other reviewers, this was most likely the top rated Saucony shoe ever made. Read full review.

Brooks Hyperion Tempo

The Hyperion Tempo was Brooks first shoe to use the nitrogen infused DNA Flash. And while it’s stiffer than Pebax-based foams, it’s plenty bouncy. The upper’s featherweight feel makes it seem as if nothing is there. The wet traction wasn’t great, but the Hyperion Tempo makes up for it in responsiveness and versatility.  Read the full review.

Best Marathon Running Shoes

Race day is when you pull out all the stops and seek out any little advantage to achieve a new PR. The weight, materials, cushion, and traction of these shoes is specially tuned for race day performance. These are the type of shoes you see on a brand’s sponsored athletes as they compete in the Olympics or high level road races.

Puma Deviate Nitro Elite

I told you Puma reentered performance running with a bang. Their first carbon fiber plated race day shoe is a winner. Super light on foot with great bounce, superior traction, and above average support, the Deviate Nitro Elite competes with best racing shoes available. Read full review.

Nike Alphafly Next%

Listen, a guy named Eliud Kipchoge wore this shoe when he ran the first under 2 hour marathon in history. He did that before the Alphafly released and made this shoe the most hyped running shoe ever. And you know what? It lives up to the hype. It’s the bounciest shoe available. It’s not very stable, but if the roads you’re racing on are smooth, you’ll love it. Read full review.

Saucony Endorphin Pro

The Saucony Endorphin Pro is close to perfect. The fit is amazing. The cushion is squishy but not too squishy, and the traction grips in all conditions. It’s also built to accommodate wider feet than Nike’s Alphafly and Vaporfly. And at $200, it’s on the lower end of championship worthy shoes. Read full review.

Best Affordable Race Day Running Shoe

Atreyu The Artist

A carbon plate race day shoe for $100? From a relatively new running shoe startup whose first shoe performs really well and costs less than $100? Yes and Yes. This Atreyu race day workhorse is almost as good as the big brands’ racers and costs half as much. You’ll compromise on some support and fit in the upper but everything else is just as good. Really. Atreyu’s supercritical foam/plate combo is bouncy AF while the shoe is light and packing traction that doesn’t look it, but grips in any condition. Don’t want to spend your whole paycheck on a racing shoe? This is the answer.

Best Trail Running Shoes

Trail running is usually much more peaceful than running on roads but the paths are often rocky, muddy, or root-filled. You need a special shoe to handle the obstacles most trails throw your way. These shoes are built to protect you from rough terrain while still providing all the fun, speed-focused features modern running shoes include.

Inov-8 Trailfly G300 Max

Inov-8 knows trail running and they’re innovating to make running trails even easier on your feet, knees, and back with Graphene cushioning. The cushion and traction on the G300 Max can’t be beat. At $190, it’s an expensive shoe, but Inov-8 built it to last over the long haul. Read full review.

Brooks Catamount

The Brooks Catamount’s DNA Flash midsole is perfect for unleashing some speed on trails. On top of that comfy midsole is an extremely well built upper that fits and feels great. Finally, the traction does its job and doesn’t collect rocks. This is a well-rounded trail shoe without any true flaws. Read full review.

Best 3D-Printed Running Shoe

adidas 4DFWD

3D-printed midsoles look hella cool but all the various brand’s attempts at making them resulted in stiff, minimally cushioned shoes. That’s not great for running. So runners always just looked longingly at casual-focused 3D-printed shoes. But now, adidas cracked the code. The 4DFWD midsole actually works for some short running and feels good enough for a long day on your feet (the theme park test). If you want the most comfortable 3D-printed midsole tech, this is the shoe you need. Read full review.

Keep in mind that all of these running shoes will accommodate any person as long as the shoe in question meets your specifications or requirements. Detailed information on each shoe is featured in its respective performance review. Performance reviews feature an in depth look at each shoe’s pros and cons, price, weight, technology, and other performance specifics. Click on the image or link to read the full performance review for each shoe.

If a model isn’t featured, it’s either because the model has yet to be tested/reviewed or because we feel it does not belong among the current top running shoes. Please reach out via Twitter if you have any follow up questions.