Best Running Shoes 2017: The best trainers for road and trail runners

We’ve been putting in some serious miles in order to pick out the best running shoes, whether that be for road or trail running.

If you’re just starting out or you’re already a seasoned runner, it all starts with choosing the best running shoes in order to avoid injury and to improve your running.

Now, unfortunately, picking the right running shoes isn’t quite a case of one size fits all, so it’s absolutely worthwhile trying pairs on first if you can. It’s also useful to pop into a dedicated running store so that you can have your gait analysed. This looks at your personal running style as well as the level of foot support you might need depending on your feet.

This will help identify whether you’re a neutral, overpronating or underpronating runner, which is about how your foot rolls when striking the ground. If you’ve ever looked at the soles of your trainers and noticed uneven wear, this will give you an idea of how your feet naturally strike the ground.

Having the right running shoe will help you to avoid injuring yourself in the long run (pun intended), so sparing 15 or so minutes to get checked will pay dividends.

Related: What is VO2 Max?

Running shoes only have a certain lifespan, too. Most experts recommend changing running shoes on average after accumulating around 300 miles. Also keep in mind what socks you wear, as it’s definitely worth investing in proper running socks that provide the support and cushioning needed. During testing we had good experiences with Stance socks.

While it’s difficult to identify the absolute best running shoes for everyone, we’ve been going the distance with a veritable mountain of options, spanning both road and trail-based, so the below recommendations are fantastic places to start.

We’re constantly trying out new running shoes, so be sure to return to this page, as we’ll update with new pairs worthy of your consideration.

Related: What is HIIT?

New Balance Leadville v3

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Key features:

  • Trail running shoe
  • No-sew material
  • Odour-resistant
  • Gusseted tongue keeps debris out
  • Drop: 8mm
  • Weight: 293g
  • Review price: £107

 

Best multi-terrain running shoe

The thing with trail running is, you often have to run on terrain that’s decidedly not of the trail variety before you get to your trail of choice. That’s why we were so fond of the Leadville V3, which we found to not only be fantastic for the unpredictable trail terrain, but also on tarmac surfaces, too.

This is in part thanks to the Vibram outsole, which provides fantastic grip across different surfaces. Then, once you’re on the trails the gusseted tongue is designed to keep soil and stones from getting into your shoe, which I’m sure we can all agree is one of the worst parts about trail running.

The ride is incredibly stable whether you’re bounding up or downhill, with plenty of ankle support and adequate cushioning. If you’re looking for a pair of running shoes that can transition between surfaces, the Leadville V3 are a great choice.

One word of warning, though: much like other New Balance shoes we’ve tested, these tend to run a little on the small side, so you might want to order half or a full size up from your usual.

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Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34

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Key features:

  • Road running shoe
  • Seamless Flymesh fabric
  • Rubber crash rail
  • Raised rubber to absorb impact and help traction
  • Weight: 295g
  • Review price: £100

Best stylish running shoe

The one thing you can count on Nike for is a stylish pair of running shoes and these are no exception. As usual, these are available in a range of colourways as well as Nike iD customisation if you want to get extra fancy.

But while the new Nike Air Zoom Pegaus 34 might not quite have the overall street style cred of its flyknit range, its running credentials are far more substantial. Instead, there’s Flymesh fabric to keep the weight low all the while keeping these running shoes breathable.

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We found the cushioning made for a comfortable ride, too, with some added stability thanks to cables within the shoe that wrap around the arch of your foot, helping you to feel locked in. The added cushioning in the forefoot and heel make for a somewhat springy feel, which might not be what you’re after if you’re fond of a barefoot style running shoe, but we found these much more joint friendly.

If ‘athleisure’ is a staple of your wardrobe, these are a great choice in the looks department.

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Adidas Adizero Boston 6

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Key features:

  • Road running shoe
  • Knit mesh upper
  • Continental rubber outsole
  • Drop: 10mm
  • Weight: 219g
  • Review price: £69.97 from sportsshoes.com

Best lightweight running shoe

If you like your running shoes lightweight, the Adidas Adizero Boston 6 manage to deliver without sacrificing stability and support. The knit mesh upper in particular gives you breathability but also helps to shed the excess pounds. If you’re more about short and fast runs, we found the Adizero Boston 6 fantastic for HIIT-style bursts, especially thanks to the extra surface grip provided by the Continental (of tyre fame) rubber outsoles.

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The outsoles are supposed to deliver more traction in both wet and dry conditions, and we found this to be the case when testing in the UK’s unpredictable weather.

While the Adizero are light in weight, there’s still a lot of cushioning, which is used for Adidas’ Boost tech, which is meant to deliver some extra energy return with each stride. If you’re not fond of a slightly bouncy run you might be better looking elsewhere. If, however, you want to chase a new 5K or 10K PB, these could be the running shoes to help you hit that goal.

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Hoka One One Speedgoat 2

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Key features:

  • Trail running shoe
  • Wider platform for stability on varied terrain
  • Reinforced speedframe for durability
  • Vibram outsole
  • Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 278g
  • Review price: €140

Best tough trail running shoe

While on first glance at the Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 you might expect it to have a severe heel-to-toe drop, it’s actually only around 4mm. The design of the shoe just creates an illusion of a far greater drop. This means the Speedgoat 2 promote less heel strike, which in part explains more of the emphasis on the forefoot.

Running trails in the Speedgoat 2 feels more like you have natural momentum propelling you forwards. These are designed to excel on more technical trails, they are named after the rough Speedgoat 50K after all, and this certainly felt the case. There’s a ground rubber toe cap for some added protection and these provide exceptional ankle support and stability.

The outsole is from Vibram, which provides plenty of somewhat sticky-feeling grip, ensuring plenty of traction when ascending or descending the trails. The cushioning inside are also friendly on your knees making these a great choice for more tricky terrain.

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Inov8 Roadclaw 275

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Key features:

  • Multi-terrain running shoe
  • Mesh and synthetic upper
  • Upper webbing cradles fore foot
  • Tri-C outsole
  • Drop: 8mm
  • Weight: 275g
  • Review price: £88 from sportshoes.com

Best multi-terrain running shoe for stability

We found these shone across different terrains thanks to some substantial grip offered from the outsole even on tarmac. This is thanks to an outsole constructed from a mixture of EVA foam and synethic rubber to provide plenty of smooth cushioning. The close-fitting heel also meant the stability was rock solid. These are also great if you have wide feet and the upper webbing provides ample support to your forefoot.

While these might not be the most stylish-looking, they’re not as heavy and clunky as they first appear. The 275 refers to its weight in grams, putting these at a comfortable middle ground.

Inov8 says its PowerFlow midsole has 10% better shock absorption and 15% better energy return than standard, and we’d have to agree. Over the course of several long runs on both road and trail these shoes held up well.

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New Balance 1260 v6

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Key features:

  • Stability running shoe
  • Air mesh upper
  • REVlite midsole
  • Drop: 8mm
  • Weight: 326g
  • Review price: £125

Best for comfort

If you’re on the market for a durable stability shoe ideal for long road runs, then the New Balance 1260/v6 is an excellent choice.

Featuring N2 pod heel and REVlite foam padding, this shoe is one of the most comfortable around and will give much needed support to runners with a naturally heavy step.

The six-pod rubber mid-sole design further improves stability and gives the shoes a pleasantly springy feel when running.

Breathability is also excellent, thanks to the shoe’s no-sew synthetic upper wraps, which were a godsend when running in warm environments.

The only downside is its hefty 326g weight, which will make it hard for some runners to maintain a light, quick step.

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Asics GT-2000 5

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Key features:

  • Stability running shoe
  • Mesh upper
  • Asics Fluidride midsole
  • Drop: 10mm
  • Weight: 310g
  • Review price: £120

A great all-rounder

The Asics GT-2000 5 are a great all-round stability trainer running shoe with fantastic breathability.

The redesigned mesh top breathes better than any of the other shoes we tested, which will be a blessing for runners in hot environments.

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The gel cushioning combined with the outer plastic exoskeleton around the heel offers excellent overall support and stability for road runners. Coupled with a Fluidride midsole the shoe feels suitably springy and makes it easy to keep a solid light running rhythm, despite the GT-2000’s slightly chunky 310g weight.

The only downside is that the 10mm drop will be a little high for people with shallow feet, and the shoes take a little while to break in.

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New Balance Vasee Prism v2

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Key features:

  • Stability running shoe
  • Synthetic mesh upper
  • REVlite midsole foam
  • Drop: 8mm
  • Weight: 298g
  • Review price: £95

Best for training and racing

If you’re looking for an all-in-one road running shoe that works for training and racing then the New Balance Vasee Prism v2 may be just the ticket.

The Prisms are lighter and thinner than most other New Balance trainers, weighing in at 298g. The REVlite foam midsole and midfoot wrap ensure the shoes offer great support and cushioning for long runs. The 8mm drop and sole unit also provide great traction and control, making them one of the best we tested for tackling hills.

As a final perk, a medial post located on the inside edge of the shoe helps prevent overpronation in mid-run, which will be a boon for heavy strikers.

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New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v7

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Key features:

  • Stability running shoe
  • Synthetic mesh upper
  • Fresh Foam midsole
  • Drop: 8mm
  • Weight: 309g
  • Review price: £115

Best for wide-footed road runners

The Fresh Foam 1080 v7 are one of the best trainer shoes for wide-footed runners. Featuring a “roomy toe box” this shoe is noticeably wider than New Balance other offerings.

Outside of this it ticks all the right boxes for a running shoe, featuring a low 8mm drop that will work for most runners, regardless of whether they have a high or shallow arch. The mesh construction is also suitably breathable and the flexible under-sole offers wonderful freedom of movement.

The Fresh Foam padding makes the shoes feel slightly firmer than shoes using the older REVlite, which put off some of the TrustedReviews team, but this is ultimately a matter of personal preference.

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