So begins your hunt for the perfect pair of trainers. If you have little experience with the whole exercise thing, this is the part that might keep you from actually getting on the treadmill. What is a shoe drop? Or a heel counter? Or foam cushioning? You’ll be left scratching your head after reading all the technical jargon that seems to accompany every running shoe on the market.
Even more befuddling are their colours: why would anyone besides Billie Eilish want to wear such a vivid shade of green? And who thought that orange and blue looked good together? All you can do is shake your head, close the tab and tell yourself, “Maybe next year.”
Or you can simply read on for our guide to running shoes that look and feel good. We’ve done the legwork and scoured the offerings of Nike, Adidas, ASICS and more to find the pairs that have that winning combination. Some of them are great for those of you dipping your toe into the sport, while others will see you through your transformation into a seasoned runner.
Whatever the case, our guide tells you all you need to know to choose your shoes and kick off your resolutions. You won’t have to sweat it anywhere else besides the gym, the park, or your favourite running trail. Check it out below.
Photo credit: Nike
The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37s are the shoes you’ll want to live in. They’re light and breathable, making them perfect for running just as much as walking. You’ll also notice a spring to your step, thanks to the shoes’ cushioned soles. The best part? They’re available for both men and women, and come in some pretty cool colourways that you’ll want to show off outside of the track. If you don’t mind forking out more cash, Nike even lets you customise your own pair.
(Photo credit: Nike)
Swiss brand On sets its trainers apart with its signature outsoles, dubbed “CloudTec”. You may not immediately warm up to how they look, but you’ll definitely love how easily you can lift off the ground with them. Then there’s the Helion foam, which makes every landing a soft one. The Cloudflow, a road shoe built for performance, marries those two features pretty well. Emphasis on pretty: check out the gradient colourways available for the men’s and women’s styles.
(Photo credit: On Running)
Fear not those chunky soles; ASICS designed them to give you a trampoline-like bounce with every step you take in their Novablast shoes. They also add quite a bit of height, if you’re looking for that. The Novablasts are great for conquering any terrain, but with all that added cushioning, you might want to save them for mid-distance runs instead of full-on marathons. By the way, the only thing more exciting than running in them is all the fun colours you get to choose from.
(Photo credit: ASICS)
If you plan on taking your running seriously, you’ll want these Bluetooth-enabled trainers. They’re compatible with the Under Armour’s MapMyRun mobile app, which offers you running tips and analysis to improve your performance. The shoes are lined with rubber soles that, while heavier than others on this list, prove reliable in wet weather. They also double as great workout shoes, too. Be sure to check out all the bold designs available for men and women.
(Photo credit: Under Armour)
You can run a mile in the Adidas SL20 shoes, and then some. They’re a speedy pair, thanks to the Lightstrike foam found in the midsoles that add plenty of bounce and very little weight. Running suddenly feels like a piece of cake. Despite their lightness, the SL20s still give you a sense of stability when you make a turn; those grippy outsoles keep your feet firmly on the ground when they need to be.
(Photo credit: Adidas)
Here’s another lightweight speedster. The New Balance FuelCell Rebel shoes boast a snug fit, while allowing for flexibility through their airy, knitted uppers. They’re also pretty springy, which may be an advantage depending on how you’re planning to use the versatile racing shoes. Either way, you’ll definitely be moving forward in this unisex pair.
(Photo credit: New Balance)
It may come as no surprise that Hoka One One, the athletic brand behind these shoes, is from France. Where else would you find performance shoes that can easily pass off as stylish sneakers? The Clifton Edge is also a reliable option for runners who land on their heels, rather than midfoot or forefoot strikers. They’re also light, breathable, and well-padded to give you lots of ankle support. And yes, those ice cream hues are offered to both men and women.
(Photo credit: Hoka One One)
If you’re not quite ready to invest in any of the shoes above, find your footing in the Mizuno Wave Skyrise first. The Japanese brand made this durable pair for you to go the distance with, especially on the track. The trainers also put comfort first, what with their sturdy yet breathable mesh upper and unique “X Pop” foam cushioning that reduces the impact of your landing.
(Photo credit: Mizuno)