As you know, I love exercise! I am training currently for a half marathon, but also love hitting the gym, or attending classes with friends. I am constantly receiving messages asking me for recommendations on the best workout shoes, and the truth is, the shoes I wear to run are often completely different than the ones I’d wear to cross-train. Plus, I recently tried a handful of different shoe option, so I figured now is as good as time as any to share my thoughts on all of the variations.
For the past few years it would seem I’ve been pretty biased toward Nike shoes when it comes to just a basic athletic shoe. My favorite cross-training shoe I’ve ever worn is the Nike Free RN Flyknit shoes. I also love my Nike Flex running shoe, but would literally never run in them!
Hence the names, these shoes are designed for running but they just don’t work for running for me. It’s nothing against Nike as a running shoe…just these specific styles.
Another one of my favorite athletic shoes I’ve ever bought is the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34 shoes. I bought these last year for the first half marathon I did in Brooklyn, and they were amazing to run in. I continued to wear them for HIIT and cross-training, and they’ve just been perfect all around.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that everyone is different, and everyone runs differently. You might have a different type of foot than me, with a different preference in support, etc. My first recommendation would be to learn as much as you can about your personal preference, and your feet. If you go to a place like SecondSole, or a local running shoe store, they will be able to watch you run, take measurements of your feet, and make recommendations based on the type of foot you have. I did this a lot growing up to get fitted for spikes for sprinting, so I have a lot of knowledge of the type of runner I am, and how much support I need. All the same, I still do it almost every time I buy a new shoe. I highly recommend you give it a try – at the very least, you can learn about your running style!
I grew up wearing ASICS, so they were my first choice when I was looking into a new running shoe this year. Nothing against my Nikes, but I wanted to get back into traditional running shoes, and really make sure I was choosing the best one for myself.
The shoe I decided on ended up being my first of the Brooks brand, one which I receive a ton of recommendations toward! I’ve linked the exact pair I got here. The Brooks Levitate are ideal for road running, and for runners looking for a springy responsiveness. I have a neutral pronation, meaning my foot doesn’t really sway to the inside of outside when I plant after a stride, but rather I hit the ground straight/flat on. I love these shoes because I feel they are extremely supportive in both my ankle and arch (I have very flat feet), and they are super lightweight, allowing me to not feel weighed down as I am running. It is almost as if I am running barefoot, or like the shoe is just a part of my body!
If you are looking for some information on some additional options, though, I’ve included a few others I’ve tried with my thoughts below! Keep in mind, everyone’s foot is different and my feedback on these styles is simply based on my personal preference. I would still definitely recommend you try each of these brands/styles because they were all great shoes (just not the right one for me).
The first shoe I tried was the ASICS Gel-Kenun. I was so excited to try these because they were so cute, on sale, and I read a lot of good things about them online. To be honest, picking them up I did not think they looked like a good, comfortable running shoe, but I was open to it because like I said, I grew up wearing ASICS so definitely trust the brand. I ran a few miles in these and my shins were killing me. I determined they did not have enough support for me, and were not very responsive to my stride. Although they felt lightweight, they were heavy when I was running, and I felt as if I was being pulled down by them.
Second on my list was a pair of Sauconys. I had a lot of people recommend Sauconys to me, including a specialist I worked with at a local running store, so I was excited for this one as well. I wore the Saucony Echelon, but didn’t run a whole lot in it because I found it was not as supportive/stable as I would have liked. I have very narrow feet and thin ankles, so I need something that will sit snug on my foot and feel tight around my ankle. This shoe was very light and responsive, but ultimately didn’t fit me as properly as I would have liked.
Finally, I gave another pair of ASICS a try – a real, more traditional running shoe, the ASICS Gel-Kayano 23. This was the exact color/pair I tried and I loveddd the look and style. They were very comfortable to wear around, and felt super supportive…until I started to run. Similarly to the Sauconys, I felt these shoes were just not as snug around my ankle and narrow foot as I needed for long distance running.
Overall, I would say the Brooks, Saucony, and ASICS brands all came super highly recommended, and have a history of being great running shoes. If you are looking for your next (or first!) running shoe, I definitely recommend checking out some of the specific styles listed above, or even just looking into these brands.
Another one I received a couple of recommendations for was APL, and even an Adidas Boost shoe, but I didn’t get a chance to try any of those. Please feel free to email me with any additional questions you might have on my experience, or if you’d just like to share more recommendations!
Happy running! 🙂