The best men's running shoes of 2022 are the ones that protect you while propelling you to greater heights. They can handle all kinds of weather and terrain. They need to look good too. That’s where we come in.
We've rounded up the best men's running trainers on the market, from Nike to Adidas to New Balance, to ensure that you're supported on your journey. But how do you pick the right one? By following out guide, of course. Ready, set, go.
How to choose the right running shoe
A lot of different factors go into buying the right running shoe, and top tier trainers don’t come cheap, so it’s worth putting in the research.
First of all, what surface are you predominantly running on? Muddy, rocky trail running calls for (surprise surprise) trail running shoes, with the kind of tread that can perform on and protect from uneven ground. Road running, on the other hand, necessitates more comfort and bounce, to keep you puffing away for longer. But if you do a bit of both, then you should opt for a hybrid trainer that can, well… do a bit of both.
Then there’s gait, which is important for long-term runners. We can’t help you there. If you want to drill into the more personalised aspects of your running style – pronation type, inefficiencies, heel striking etc – you should go to a place that specialises in such matters. Asics offers a video gait analysis in-store, as do a number of other running brands.
There are different kinds of lightweight running shoes, and understanding them is the key to buying right.
The majority of the entries on this list are cushioned trainers – or neutral shoes – for regular runners geared towards different levels of ability. They’re plush and offer support, without being too rigid.
Racing flats with spikes are meant for experienced runners undertaking speed work and racing around tracks, whereas normal lightweight road shoes cut fatigue and generally prioritise comfort and shock absorption (that is, if you invest in a proper, premium pair).
Stability shoes offer arch and ankle support, as well as midsole cushioning, to avoid overpronation (when the foot rolls inward upon landing, something you might discover during a gait analysis.) If you find that you do pronate to an excess, motion control shoes offer a firm fit that controls movement.
The best running shoes of 2022
Hoka Mach 5
Packing both the comfort of a road shoe, the sturdiness of something designed for long runs and the light pick-up and responsiveness you'd be after in a proper racing shoe, there isn't much the Hoka Mach 5 can't do. Hoka tend to turn out very comfy shoes, but even by their standards this one is practically like sticking your foot into a particularly supportive and speedy chaise longue. This rather Refresher-ish orange-yellow fade colourway is our pick.
Hoka Mach 5, £130 hoka.com
It's getting ever soggier out there, as anyone who's attempted to run on anything less firm than concrete in the last few weeks will be aware. Whether you're a committed fell runner or just fancy being able to go up a very minor incline at the next park run without sliding slowly back down, a decent pair of trail shoes is essential. The secret to the excellent grip you'll get with the VJ Spark isn't super-long, super-short lugs – it's the flexibility in the outer sole. These are shoes for tackling the muddy, the marshy, the boggy and the treacherous rather than being primed for comfort, but then if you were interested in comfort you'd not be knee deep in mud anyway, would you?
VJ Spark, £147 amazon.co.uk
Nike Winflo 8
If you're after a solid pair of trainers with which to make your first, tentative boings into jogging, the Winflo 8 is a very sound choice. Granted, dropping the thick end of 90 quid on your first pair of runners might feel like quite a high risk kind of a sound choice. But look closer. A well cushioned sole and a breathable, translucent mesh upper keeps things both super comfortable and super stable, and the Flywires under the laces make sure the fit is snug. Think of it as a high grade water-carrier, the N'Golo Kanté making the rest of the team tick.
Nike Winflo 8, £89.95 nike.com
Nike ZoomX Streakfly
The ZoomX Streakfly is geared toward blasting you along shorter distances, so if you're trying to knock some time off your 10k time then look no further. It's Nike's lightest shoe, with a super-slim profile and extra cushioning in the forefoot to help you ping yourself toward another PB. Handily, the laces are offset too, so there's less pressure going through the top of your foot with each stride. Nike reckons the design is so sleek it "disappears on your foot," which feels like a better idea when it's not chucking it down and you're pounding through sludge on a dark Tuesday morning, but you can appreciate the sentiment.
Nike ZoomX Streakfly, £134.95 nike.com
Asics Gel-Kayano 29
The Gel-Kayano 29 from ASICS pulls off the masterstroke of feeling luxuriously supportive and cushioned without being bulky – particularly around the impressively springy heel – so that it provides comfort and stability on short and long runs alike. It’s actually 4 per cent lighter than its predecessor, the Gel-Kayano 28, and the design is eye-catching without being showy. You can set out knowing that your feet are, as it were, in safe hands.
Asics Gel-Kayano 29, £165, asics.com
Brooks Ghost 14
The pivot toward environmentally friendly everything has given longstanding Brooks favourite the Ghost a new lease of life: from the dyes in the tongue to the recycled materials which make up a chunk of the upper, this bestseller has its sights on green cred. (Brooks are also switching up the sustainability of their supply chain and doing more recycling of old shoes which might have ended up chucked in a big skip.) The ride is in the sweet spot of firmness and comfort, and brings a responsiveness despite losing Brooks’ BioMoGo DNA segment in the midsole. It comes in roughly a million colours too.
Brooks Ghost 14, £130, brooksrunning.com
Adidas Pureboost 22
If you’re after something for a short blast around the block before work, or you’re just starting out and don’t feel quite ready for a half marathon yet, the Pureboost 22 is designed with you in mind. The Adidas Boost in the sole boings extra energy back into your foot as you push off, and the stretchy upper (made of 50% recycled material) is all about maximum comfort. And if you go for the extremely goth and extremely off-duty-ready all-black colourway, you’ll be ready to bounce straight from your jog to the pub. Ideal.
Adidas Pureboost 22, £110, adidas.co.uk
Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% FlykniT
Unless you fancy a wallet-sapping trip to Sotheby’s, you’d be hard-pressed finding a pair of Nike Obori Boston 73 running trainers. One of the first pairs produced by the company – and the first to feature the fat belly Swoosh logo – they deputed at the 1972 Olympic Trials and went on to become one of history’s most iconic sneaker silhouettes. Nike has paid tribute to the blue and white design regularly over the years, and the latest ode comes in the form of the robust Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% Flyknit, a highly cushioned everyday running shoe that you can always depend on.
Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% Flyknit, £179.95, nike.com
Asics Novablast 3
The Asics Novablast silhouette has come a long way. A comfy, go-faster shoe that feels incredibly light on the foot, the third iteration weighs 22 grams less than its predecessor and packs even more bounce, thanks to its trampoline pod outsole. From a design point of view they’re not a big departure from the Novablast 2 by any means, but given it’s always been one of the best-looking silhouettes on the running market was there any need for change? From the chunky ridged sole to recycled upper, they look and feel the part.
Asics Novablast 3, £135, asics.com
APL TechLoom Zipline
We’ve been fans of APL – AKA Athletic Propulsion Labs – for a long time now. Since it launched in 2009, the Los Angeles outfit has been synonymous with premium running gear with clean aesthetics (they’re also the first shoe that’s been proven to make you jump higher). But while APL generally likes to keep shoe designs simple, that doesn’t mean the brand is afraid to mix things up. Case in point: the Zipline TechLoom, complete with ‘laser red’ lines around the upper that provide support while allowing for the kind of flexibility you need on longer runs. They’re light, bouncy and fit well, thanks to the cushioning effect of the internal ‘souffle’ sockliner.
APL TechLoom Zipline, £385, mrporter.com
Nike Air Zoom Rival Fly 3
A shoe that looks and feels far more expensive than it actually is, the Air Zoom Rival Fly 3 is a very good option for casual runners who don’t want to invest too heavily. What they lack in premium running technology, they more than makes up for in fit, comfort and weight – the Fly 3 is one of the lightest trainers on Nike’s roster, and the carbon plate on the midsole, coupled with the React foam, means they’re ready to handle intense workouts as well as speed work. This summer-ready colourway is our favourite so far.
Nike Air Zoom Rival Fly 3, £89.95, nike.com
APL TechLoom Bliss
A little bit Rick Owens-y, a little bit primary school PE plimsolls, these minimalist monochromes from Athletic Propulsion Labs (APL) – a design-led running brand from Los Angeles that we’ve been big fans of for some time – stand out from the often gaudy, retro-crazed crowd. Super light and lace-less, relying on snug elasticated straps to keep your foot in place, they run small as a result, and the resilient Techloom fabric will ensure that the fit stays that way. What’s more, they’re surprisingly cushioned given the lack of depth on the midsole, and the traction is top tier.
TechLoom Bliss Slip-On Running Sneakers, £180, mrporter.com
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39
We’ve praised Nike’s Pegasus range a lot over the years. They’re affordable, comfortable and durable – everything a casual runner needs in a shoe. The 39th iteration comes with an improved fit and weighs in at even less than its predecessor, with a Zoom Air unit (cushioning system) that now covers the heel as well as the forefoot. It’s slightly bigger than some of the other similarly-priced options on this list, but still a great choice.
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39, £109.95, sportsshoes.com
We like the beachy colourway on these signature trail sneakers from Canadian brand Norda – squint your eyes, and it looks like a bird’s-eye-view of the sand, sea and foam. But they’re designed for far harsher terrain than that, with Vibram soles offering plenty of traction. What’s more, every pair of 001s are cut by lasers and stitched by hand, with sustainability at the heart of production.
Norda 001 Neoprene-Trimmed Mesh Running Sneakers, £225, mrporter.com
Salomon Raid Wind
Saucony’s first take on the Raid Wind arrived in 1999, and the colourful, hiking-inspired design of the shoe thankfully hasn’t changed much since then. The running tech has though: breathable mesh made of recycled materials adorn the upper, while dual-density Ortholite® sockliners keep you feeling cushy. Then there’s the all terrain Contagrip® rubber soles for proper traction on tricky surfaces. A lesson for all historic running brands: when in doubt, dive into the archives.
Salomon Raid Wind Rubber and Mesh Trail Running Sneakers, £125, mrporter.com
Asics GT-2000 10
Already renowned for its supreme comfort and stability, Asics’s new GT-2000 10 features a seam-free knit upper to allow for an even better fit. The weave is designed to move with your feet and allow improved airflow and regulate foot temperature, which is especially important on those longer runs. The shoe also features a layer of Asics’s latest ‘Flyte Foam’ in the sole, which offers improved cushioning and energy return from previous models
Asics GT-2000 10, £120, sportsshoes.com
Saucony Endorphin Speed 2
The latest in Saucony’s barnstorming Endorphin range is almost impossibly light, but despite its minimal weight, it still offers the stability and cushion you need to put in some serious miles. Saucony claims it will perform as well over long distance as it will in sprints or middle-distance runs, but just putting the shoe on makes you feel faster. It sits snug (thanks to the improved heel shape) and offers incredible comfort straight out of the box. Add to that some lary colours and you’ve got a winner.
Endorphin Speed 2, £109.99, sportsshoes.com
Hoka One One Rincon 3
With a design inspired by the famous surf spot of the same name in Santa Barbara, California, the Rincon is a multipurpose shoe that is both lighter and more comfortable than its predecessor. The transitions are smoother, and the mesh upper is also 100% vegan – something we’re happily seeing far more of from running shoe manufacturers.
Hoka One One Rincon 3, £69.99, sportsshoes.com
Salomon Cross Pro 2 Trail
Comfortable, rugged and understated in design, the ultra-grippy Salomon Cross Pro 2 is a great option for anyone who finds most trail shoes to be unnecessarily clunky and fugly. The Contragrip outsole is adaptable to any terrain, digging its deep lugs into muddy ground to ensure that you maintain your composure and keep your face out of the dirt (it’s abrasion-resistant too), and the sock-like upper mean you’ll get a light and snug fit. Helps that they look like the kind of shoe Batman would wear to boot a henchman’s shins in with, too.
Salomon Cross Pro 2 Trail, £89.99, sportsshoes.com
Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2
The Adizero Adios Pro 2s are all about limiting energy loss. Adidas has achieved that by crafted a sculpted midsole which delivers lightweight stiffness which, they say, is designed for a ‘more anatomical driven transition’. Meanwhile, the shoe’s cushioned and springy running technology protects your joints on hard surfaces while also pushing you forward. Designed for record-breaking efforts.
Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2, £179.99, sportsshoes.com
Adidas Supernova M
Stripped back design and an affordable price point make the Supernovas a perfect choice for casual runners, with a comfortable upper made from eco-friendly recycled fibers and a rubber outsole that provides plenty of grip. They’re not as light as the more premium offerings on this list, but they’re hardwearing and use the brand’s Boost midsole technology to provide a pretty seamless workout experience. They also remind us a little of vintage Adidas football boots, which is no bad thing.
Adidas Supernova M, £85, adidas.co.uk
Arc'teryx Norvan SL 2
While we’re talking Gorp, Arc’teryx’s trail runners have a great reputation for a reason. The Norvan SL 2s are super lightweight and breathable, perfect for gliding around all kinds of challenging conditions (the durable Vibram Megagrip outsole really stands up to the test). They’re also, if you haven’t already noticed, extremely yellow. They’re probably the yellow-est trainers we’ve ever seen. If you’re a fan of yellow – and you must be, because you stopped to read this and haven’t stopped – then there is simply is no better option.
Arc'teryx Norvan SL 2, £130, arcteryx.com
Columbia Escape Pursuit Trail
We like the sunset-to-dusk colourway on these Columbia trainers, but not as much as we like the price. You don’t find many trail runners this good looking for south of a hundred, and while they boast a relatively simple construction compared to some much pricier (and often clunkier) competitors, they’ll serve you well in challenging terrain. The mesh upper is flexible while still maintaining a structured fit, and it's satisfyingly breathable too. The midsole, meanwhile, is well cushioned and offers impressive stability. They’re also part of a small but esteemed group of shoes on this list that we’d wear casually.
Columbia Escape Pursuit Trail, £63, columbiasportswear.co.uk
Merrell Moab Flight
Another trail runner, perfect for all that countryside staycation exercising you've promised yourself you’ll be doing in the coming months. First thing’s first, the Moab Flight is sustainably crafted: the mesh upper is made of 70% recycled material, while the high-performance Vibram EcoStep soles and the top sheet of the EVA foam insole sit at 30% and 50% on the doing-good-o-meter respectively (the laces, meanwhile, are 100% recycled). It’s also vegan-friendly, and they’re super rugged and comfortable. An impressive achievement, and a big step in the right direction.
Merrell Moab Flight, £110, merrell.com
Brooks Glycerin 19
Supreme comfort is the name of the game with the Glycerin 19. Brooks has decked the shoe out with a plush interior and super soft cushioning in the midsole – what the brand calls ‘DNA Loft’ – that provides an easy ride without being too squishy or absorbing your momentum.
Brooks Glycerin 19, £140, brooksrunning.com