Painters have a brush, and runners have their shoes. It’s the tool that allows you to discover the world of running and make your own mark on it, or footprint in this case. And never is a running shoe more important than in long distance.
The running shoe market is a thick jungle and can be hard to navigate, and before we get into our top picks, it’s important to note that everyone runs differently, and different shoes suit different styles. So, it’s important to make sure you get the right pair for you specifically.
But just what is the best long-distance running shoe? Here are our top picks:
Skechers GOrun Razor 3 Hyper
Don’t be put off by the brand, these are more than just shoes that can breathe. These are mainly made for road running or well worn-down trails, and feature a new ‘hyperburst’ midsole, think of Styrofoam on a microscopic level and that’s pretty much this midsole. This midsole is not only soft and cushioned, but also very responsive, and has emerged as a real contender to Adidas’ famed ‘boost’ foam sole. The rest of the shoe is kept simple and this is one of its strengths. But be warned, this shoe fits quite narrow and doesn’t have much give.
Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next%
It would be sacrilege to not include the latest and greatest by running shoe powerhouse Nike in this list, and the Next% does not disappoint. If it’s good enough for Eliud Kipchoge, it’s good enough for you. The shoe features more foam than ever for the most intense underfoot cushioning yet, although this is an acquired taste, and can take some getting used to. This is very much the Ferrari of the list, especially with a price tag of £216. This is built for elite performance, so weight has been shed at the cost of durability, so keep this shoe for races rather than training.
This shoe features a huge amount of underfoot cushioning and also features a 6mm ‘drop’ from heel to forefoot, meaning the thickness change of the sole from back to front. This all equates for a shape that promotes more midfoot striking, leading to less impactful steps. But, all this does come at a cost, in terms of weight and price, with the weight being a little on the heavy side at 10.3oz as well as a costly RRP of £144.99, but you can pick them up for around just over a ton if you look around.
Nike Zoom Air Pegasus 36
This is an all-rounder and timeless classic. There’s nothing too extreme about the Pegasus shoe and the only major bit of tech to it is the highly breathable mesh upper which was new on the 2019 model. The mesh upper also allows for give in the shoe so it’s suitable for all foot types after a couple of uses. The understated slick design means it can double-up for casual wear too. The simplicity consequently means this is the cheapest of the list coming in at around £65-80 dependant on where you look.
Now we’re done with our top picks, it’s time to hear from your own top footwear picks that you’ve given us on our Facebook page.
Sam Tubbs from Wokingham has a message for all of the pronate perpetrators out there:
Brooks Adrenaline GT
“Brooks Adrenaline GT’s 18! I pronate so much; I wonder if I should run! The Brooks are perfect for me. They feel light but push my foot the right way.”
Tammy Holmes also recommends the Adrenalin GT’s: “Brooks Adrenaline GTS, I’m on my 6th pair and they are so comfortable I can literally run for miles straight from the box! My boyfriend has also now been converted 😀”
For the vegans out there Becky Barker suggests Vivobarefoot running shoes for a trainer that is not only vegan but designed to ergonomically fit the shape of your foot as naturally as possible, resulting in your feet feeling ‘less squashed’ as Becky says. These cost between £45-90 dependent on the model. Be warned though, it takes time and training to get used to running essentially barefoot, so take baby steps. Not literally.
Finally, one of the most common answers was the Adidas Ultraboost, predominantly for their unparalleled underfoot cushioning. Virtual Runner Dominic Bowen said: “Adidas Ultra Boosts… so comfortable, I’ve had countless pairs and they definitely helped get me through my 12-month fundraising challenge!!! I even managed to get 975 miles out of one pair!!!” And fellow Virtual Runner follower Rosiee Isom seconded that saying “Rosiee Isom Dominic Bowen I second this! Got my first pair 8 years ago, would never switch now!” The Ultraboost are a tad more on the pricey side at around £130 RRP, but sales are frequent on these due to the number of different models. So, keep your eyes peeled!