The best running shoes 2020 - according to Mumsnetters
If you're not a runner then the idea of becoming one can be intimidating. Do you really want to be one of those sweaty lycra-clad people who are forever clogging up pavements and dodging pushchairs? Or one of those bores who drone on about how many kilometres they clocked up at the weekend?
But the truth is that, once you get into it, running is brilliant for fitness, relieving stress and can provide the kind of alone time that is all-too-rare when you're a parent. Whether you're starting with the couch to 5km challenge or training for a marathon, a decent pair of running shoes will help you get the most out of it, so here are the running shoes Mumsnetters swear by.
Things to consider when buying running shoes
- Is it worth buying a fancier pair?
If up until now your idea of running has been chasing after your Duracell bunny toddler then this can be a dilemma. It's totally understandable to baulk at the idea of shelling out for a decent pair of running shoes if you don't know if you're going to stick with it. The catch-22, however, is that good running shoes could be the difference between developing a hobby and vital exercise routine or giving up after a couple of laps around the local park. On balance, it's worth getting a good pair – or at least a mid-range/price pair – of running shoes, especially as it is possible to get quality without breaking the bank. As one Mumsnetter says: “Trainers vary so much and getting the right ones will help prevent injury.”
- Where will you run?
This one is mainly down to where you live. If you live in a city with a park or common nearby then you can enjoy the best of both worlds – zipping round the streets to a banging soundtrack, or escaping into a cocoon of greenery and fresh(ish) air – but even if you live in a world of concrete running is a great way to see your environment anew (it's amazing how much ground you can cover once you get going). For country-dwellers, meanwhile, running up hills, along rural pathways or even over sand dunes offers rewarding challenges. Running shoes come in two types – road for running on concrete and tarmac, and trail for running on grass and mud, so think carefully about where you're likely to do most of your running.
This is the fancy term for the side-to-side motion of your foot as you run. There are three types of pronation – over where the foot rolls in, neutral where the foot stays in place, and supination where the foot rolls outwards. If you go to a large sports shop or a running shop you should be able to get your gait analysed and the staff can tell you about your pronation. If not then you could try the “wet foot test” which involves analysing your wet footprint. If it shows your arch flat on the floor, you're likely to over pronate and need running shoes with extra-cushioning. Neutral shoes have all round support. Very few are designed for supination so, if that's you, just buy neutrals.
- How much do you want to spend?
In 2014, Sport England reported that more than two million people in England alone were running regularly and that the growth in popularity was not slowing down. As a result, there are loads of different types of running shoes on the market today, as brands like Nike, New Balance, Adidas, as well as running specialists like Asics and Mizuno, and many others, try to meet demand from runners of all levels, locations and budgets. Prices range from as little as £30 to around £150, but you can get a really good pair for anywhere in between.
New Balance V4 running shoes, from £25.99
The FuelCore Coast v4 is designed for running, but they look so good you’ll probably want to wear them out and about too. Peak athleisure they may be but, make no mistake, they are for running. The specialised mesh/synthetic upper delivers stability and style. The EVA midsole and NB response 2.0 performance insert (no, we're not sure either) give soft support to your step, while the slip-on design means you can just get up and go.
“I've got some New Balance V4 and they are proper running shoes. They are incredibly light and comfortable.”
“I really like New Balance, they fit my feet well. I never got on with Mizuno, Saucony were ok, but for me New Balance are best.”
“New Balance are great for me.”Buy it now from Amazon
ASICS Women's Gt-2000 7 running shoes, £84.60 (varies with size)
The GT-2000 7 includes features that enhance the comfort of one of the favourite ASICS models. The new mesh upper brings a fresh look, while the FlyteFoam midsole cushions every step, meaning they should feel bouncy. The forefoot has also been expanded to reduce irritation and make the shoe more comfortable for every foot shape. They’re made for any distance, running rhythm and anyone looking for a reliable and supportive running shoe. Whether this is your first pair of ASICS running shoes, or you already know the GT-2000 series, these should never let you down.
“I am now the proud owner of a pair of ASICS – they cost £69 quid, so blooming pricey, but they are soo comfy.”
“I wear ASICS and run 15 to 20 miles a week. Think my current ones are GT2000. I wear a gel insole in one as I get a sore foot and achilles sometimes.”
“I love ASICS, used to wear Saucony but find I'm between sizes with them now.”Buy it now from Amazon
Looking for some casual trainers? See our trainers guide for Mumsnetters' favourites.
Brooks Adrenaline running shoes, from £57.99
You get a smooth ride with the Adrenaline GTS 18. The precise balance of bounce and stability will suit those in need of support. Snug and soft, this style offer greater underfoot cushioning than previous models, while still fitting securely. The shock absorbing midsole adapts dynamically with every step and every stride, while the segmented Crash Pad has special padding located between the midsole and the outer sole, offering soft heel-toe transitions. Plus, the Omega Flex Grooves improve the flexibility of these shoes. All this technology will take care of your comfort while you concentrate on achieving your running goals.
“I usually run on road or gravelly paths. I have a “wonky hip” and over pronate and love my Brooks Adrenaline.”
“I wear Brooks Adrenaline for road running and for muddy trails I have another pair. I don't think support is as important for trail running because you're not repeatedly hitting a hard, flat surface. I don't run very far off-road but these have been fine for the occasional muddy 5k. The sizes come up very small though – I wear a 6 in normal shoes, 7 in my Brooks.”Buy it now from Amazon
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Salomon trail running shoes, from £67.43 (RRP £110)
Looking for something sturdy yet light? If so, Salomon's range of trail running shoes could be for you. The SpeedCross4, for example, weighs only about 280g but still offers “aggressive grip”. The handy quicklace system allows you to tighten the laces fast without knots or fiddling – so if they’re too loose and you need to stop running, bend and adjust, you can do so without really losing your rhythm. These will suit you if you live somewhere rainy, as they‘re water resistant and protect your feet from the build-up of moisture that can accumulate while trail running. Their soles are made from resistant rubber that offers exceptional traction and support for running on wet surfaces.
“Definitely consider the Salomon 3XD for trail running. Nice wide, stable shoe. Decent cushioning as well.”
“I like Salomon. The XA Pro 3D ones are extremely supportive, stable and you don't feel like you've wasted your money because you can wear them for normal walking/ hiking as well. They also transition relatively well to tarmac for mixed medium races.”Buy it now from Amazon
Mizuno Wave Inspire 14 running shoes, from £64.44
A serious upgrade on a popular range, the Mizuno Wave Inspire 14 offer comfort, durability and innovation. The general quality of the materials is impressive and the shock-attenuating platform of the shoe provide comfort and spring for your heels. The midsole should help in preventing knee and back pain while running and the stability features in the midsole are good for your stance. The jacquard mesh lets the air in and improves their breathability. They are lightweight and come in a range of jazzy colours.
“Mizuno Wave, super cushioned zero drop, I find them really nice, I use non-cushioned when running fast, but for easy runs the cushioning on these is great.”
“I'm on my second pair of Mizuno running shoes. I ran a mixed terrain half-marathon in the first pair.”
“Mizuno Wave works for me (wide forefoot, narrow heel). New Balance are generally a decent brand for running shoes but they discontinued the ones I liked.”Buy it now from Amazon
Saucony Peregrine running shoes, from £64.58
The full name is 'Saucony Peregrine Iso Competition Running Shoes' so these are obviously for serious runners who are thinking about entering competitions (that might sound a long way off but, if you catch the running bug, who knows… ). Even if you have no plans to compete, you might appreciate the award-winning Peregrine with its ISOFIT construction that adapts to your foot as you navigate any surface. Yes, they're for trail running but, to be honest, plenty of runners say they work well on the roads, so if you're likely to run on a variety of terrains these could be for you. Sizing up is recommended.
“I like the Saucony Xodus shoe. They are good for trails and road, so if you are not sure you will do more trail running, then they will be ok for road running. I over pronate, and they are good for that.”
“If you get on well with your Saucony Xodus, try the Saucony Peregrines. They get good reviews and people in my club love them.”Buy it now from Amazon
Monitor your runs with the latest fitness trackers.
Adidas Ultraboost running shoes, from £88.79
The highly popular Adidas Ultraboost are worn for running and for general use, in part because they are among the more stylish of running shoes (the all-black with white sole, for example, is a far cry from some of the more garish
nightmarish options out there). They're a safe bet for all road runners but are particularly good for city-dwellers as the sole provides exceptional grip on wet pavements.The primeknit wraparound upper, meanwhile, adapts to the movement of your feet, the boost technology does exactly what it says and the comfortable shaped heel favours the natural movements of the Achilles tendon. Snug and sleek, if you choose these it's likely that you'll stick with them, as they inspire devotion among their users.
“Very comfortable trainers! I am on my fifth pair. I have run two marathons in them and also wear them for general use.”
“I had to size up. My shoe size is a 3 but I wear a 5 in these for general use and a 5.5 for running.”Buy it now from Amazon
Nike Free Run running shoes, from £67.99
Nike Free Runs are designed to mimic how it feels to run barefoot – without you having to take the plunge into the barefoot running shoes market (see below) – are very comfortable. This design from 2018 is a cool update on a classic, boosted by the structured Flyknit upper that offers more elasticity and support than ever. The motif on the sole adapts to your feet at every step for a dynamic run from top to bottom. Breathability, flexibility and dynamism are the name of the game with these snug-fitting running shoes. You can put them in the washing machine when they need sprucing up.
“I bought a pair of Nike Free Runs and they are great. Very light and very supportive. They also go through the washing machine like a dream. Two years later and I’m only just thinking about replacing them, so they were excellent value for money.”Buy it now from Amazon
Skinners barefoot running shoes, from £31.95
Yes, this strange middle ground between shoes and socks really is for running outdoors as well as indoors. They’re for runners who like to feel the ground beneath their feet, while still retaining protection, and the compact size and unique “second skin” feeling make Skinners perfect footwear for short runs ( as well as workouts and yoga). They won’t be for everyone but for runners who want lightweight footwear combining the freedom and portability of socks with the basic protection of shoes, they are a durable yet comfortable alternative to standard running shoes.
“I love my Skinners barefoot socks. If you start barefoot running, my advice is to go with as little padding as possible rather than think in terms of gradually reducing, and run on tarmac to start with. That combination makes you actually change your stride rather than thumping along as normal.”Buy it now from Amazon
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