Running shoes for comfort can be difficult to find. Yes, there are a lot of brands and options available, but for the first time buyer, how do you decide which one to use? Also keep in mind that these shoes are not built equally, and some are more comfortable than others. Aside from the different shoes, people run in different ways so you need to look at specific features to make sure that it fits your needs. That’s what this guide is for, to help you determine what makes for a comfortable pair of sneakers.
Features to Look For
Trying to find the best running shoes for comfort isn’t as simple as going online and typing “best shoes”, because all brands make that claim. Your chances of finding the right one will increase if you take the time to study these and learn what options and types are available. Knowing what’s what is going to increase your understanding and make it easier for you to find the ideal pair.
For starters we need to consider the following disciplines:
- Long distance running: if you’re a long distance runner, shoes with optimum protection will be necessary. Speed optimization is necessary too, so a general all-purpose shoe will do fine. Your shoes must also have support and shock absorption.
- Marathon running: you need shoes that can withstand the wear and tear.
- Recreational running: this is running for leisure or to reap the health benefits of running. If this is what you’re looking for then almost any type of shoe will do. Just make sure that’s its comfortable and your feet has sufficient breathing room.
- Trail running: shoes for trail running need to have strong grips and are designed specifically for running on rugged terrain, off-road, hills and similar environments. If you’re going to run in these terrains, get shoes with thick soles. You’ll need that as protection from injury as well as provide stability while you’re on the move. Power transfer and shock absorption are also essential because your feet will take a pounding.
Types of Shoes Available
Running shoes for stability and comfort come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and it helps to know these categories when making your choice. Here are the most common choices:
- Stability shoes: these provide medial support that limits your foot’s excess inward rolling, which helps prevent injury. These shoes also provide good cushioning so there’s better density along your foot’s inner edge. This is the ideal choice if you’re a runner that doesn’t have any problems with motion control.
These shoes are also for you if you’re an overpronator who requires control features and looking for durability. These shoes are also suitable for heavy runners who need stability and comfort.
- Racing shoes: these aren’t like the typical shoes for running because the emphasis is on speed. As you might expect these shoes are very light with minimal features. They don’t have many of the elements on running and training shoes because they need to be as light as possible.
The lighter the shoe, the more minimalist the design, and there’s a growing number of fitness enthusiasts who prefer the minimalist approach. These shoes are not really suitable for beginners, and are more suited for fast runners who are in good physical condition.
- Training shoes: many runners’ shoes also double up as training shoes, and most major brands have shoes that can do both. The simplest way to describe these is they are multi-purpose shoes that provide a bit of everything: comfort, stability and cushion.
These shoes are durable and because they’re all purpose, tend to be heavier compared to racing footwear. However, technology has improved tremendously to the point that they weigh only just a few ounces.
- Running trail shoes: running on the trail, more than any other, is going to require a comfortable pair of shoes because of the rocks, clay, mud etc. At the same time your shoes need to have superior outsole traction and superior grip. The stitching also has to be stronger than those on regular shoes.
Types of Runners
Your purchase will also depend on what type of runner you are. While we all want comfortable shoes, your experience still has to be accounted for.
- Beginners: if you are new to running, stick with running / training shoes, the all-purpose types. They are widely available and offer a nice combination of support, durability and cushion. Furthermore, they’re built specifically for beginners or those who haven’t been running for a long time.
- Intermediate level runners: intermediate runners are those who fall into the category of those who run for 30 miles a week. If you’re in this category, comfort should be priority, but if your goal is to race or compete in a marathon, the focus should be on durability and speed.
- Advanced runners: advanced runners are those who run for 40 miles per week at least. If you’ve been running for a while, emphasis has to be on durability but you need to make sure that breathability isn’t affected.
Knowing which category you fit is going to make your choices much easier. There’s no question that the feel is crucial for any pair of shoes, but there are a lot of different running profiles and choosing the wrong one –or not knowing where you belong – can affect your performance. It will also help if you learn a bit about shoe construction and what midsoles, outsoles and meshes mean. The more you know about these shoes, the better your choices will be.
Now that you know what your options are, here’s a look at the best comfort running shoe brands online. You can find these online and in shoe stores everywhere. As you will notice in the reviews, they have different features, but they do share a common trait and that’s they’re easy on the feet.
Adidas Men’s PowerBlaze Running Shoe
The PowerBlaze is one of the more popular athletic shoes from Adidas. The design makes it comfortable and suitable for running and working out in the gym. Durability wise, the PowerBlaze is as good as claimed thanks to its Adiwear outsole: basically what the Adiwear does is provide additional support in high wear areas.
These shoes are especially suited for long distance runners as they combine comfort and durability. The shoes fit snugly but without being too tight, and the heel cushioning is the way it should be for long distance and endurance running. With ordinary shoes, it gets tight after a while and your feet feels like its being clogged, but the PowerBlaze doesn’t.
These shoes are sold in various colors and on first glance they look a bit large. Even so they’re actually quite light and when worn, doesn’t feel like you’re lifting something heavy when you run. There’s a synthetic mesh cover that provides ventilation so your feet don’t sweat while you run.
The PowerBlaze has soft soles and there’s sufficient amount of cushion to ensure comfort and stability. The other thing that sets this apart from the rest is its affordable price so if you want a good budget pair of shoes, try these.
Nike Men’s Revolution 2 Running Shoe
Nike made these shoes for runners with neutral gaits, and it delivers. The shoes provide breathing room for your feet and the smooth design is ideal for running and casual wear. While the Revolution 2 was made for running, it’s stylish enough to be used daily. The upper has a lightweight mesh that increases comfort and reliability, and the leather overlays provide additional support during workouts and running.
The midsole is full length Phylon and articulated so it’s got a natural feel with responsive cushioning. Like other Nike shoes, the Revolution 2 is lightweight so it won’t be a burden when you run. The outsole is also well-designed with its Waffle configuration.
The deep flex grooves on the Revolution 2 provides you with high level of natural motion and while it’s for running, they don’t wear out quickly. The tread design is also solid so you won’t find any holes here. When you consider the price and its durability / quality, the Revolution 2 is as good as they come. To put it another way, when you wear these shoes and run, it feels light, and while Nike has produced a number of quality shoes, this is definitely one of the best.
ASICS Men’s GEL-Cumulus 16 Running Shoe
The Gel Cumulus has several features that make it stand out from the rest such as its durable rubber sole, and just like other shoes from the company, the Gel Cumulus has an open mesh. The open mesh has become a standard feature in running sneakers because they increase comfort, and it’s nicely implemented here. With the mesh, the Gel Cumulus also allows for a more customized fit.
The shoe also has a ComforDry Sockliner to prevent odor from developing and the cushioning. It’s a fact that running can cause sweating and consequently an unpleasant smell, but with the ComforDry Sockliner this ceases to be a problem. Another notable feature is the Fluid Ride which produces a nice bounce back and midsole cushioning.
Many of these features are the same as those found in more expensive shoes. Style wise this is ideal for neutral runners, and even when worn regularly the cushion holds up. As many customers have noted, these shoes are consistent and for all the changes, remains very comfortable. Finally, while the mesh isn’t as thick as those on other shoes, it doesn’t let water in so you don’t have to worry about getting your feet damp.
Nike Flex 2015 Running Shoes Mens
The name alone tells you that these shoes are meant for running. The midsole provides extensive support without being too heavy and the design, which is asymmetrical, actually works in terms of keeping the shoe fit. The shoes are sold in different sizes so you’re not likely to run into problems with finding the right size.
Regardless which size you go with, the shoe will still be light and comfortable. There’s enough room for your toes to move, and it doesn’t feel like your feet are squeezed in. Walking around the shoes feels light and that doesn’t change when you run. A frequent complaint with sneakers is they tend to tighten up after extended use, but this is an exception to the rule. The more you use it, the better it fits and conforms to your feet.
These Nike sneakers offer solid support and they’re durable enough for regular use. The Flex series have been solid the past few years and this one is no exception, delivering both in terms performance and comfort. Ventilation for the shoes is also pretty good and more than sufficient for serious runners, but it doesn’t sacrifice comfort.
New Balance Men’s 990V3 Running Shoe
The 990V3 has been around for a while, and part of the reason why it’s so popular is how comfortable it is to wear. The 990V3 has been updated and tweaked and while they haven’t changed the positive aspects from the original, they have enhanced it. Now the shoe is lighter than it used to be, making it even better for running. The ENCAP midsole is another notable feature that acts as a cushion when you make those strides.
More than anything else the shoe gives you stability and full control over your movements so it never feels like you’re not in charge. Premium comfort is provided, and there’s no question the 990V3 is made for runners and running. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t wear this for casual walking and workouts. These shoes in particular earned positive reviews from customers who like its reliability.
The NB 990V3 is wider than most other shoes so you’re not going to have problems finding one of the right size, and in spite of the specs the shoes are still easy on the feet. The look and feel is typical of New Balance so they’re ideal for other situations besides running. More than anything else, these shoes are easy on your feet.