What Are The Best Running Trainers?

Updated: Feb 25, 2021

a man tying his shoe laces prior to going on a run

It’s no exaggeration to say that for the regular runner the single most important item of clothing is trainers. And it’s a sensible person indeed who, when selecting trainers, prioritises performance and protection over aesthetics.

The purported benefits of running specific trainers are not to be sniffed at. According to word on the street a proper pair of sneeks can:

Reduce risk of common running injuries
Improve form (which in turn can reduce injury susceptibility)
Strengthen feet!
Offer superior supportive cushioning
Flexibility in the right places (instep)
Greater traction
Breathability which can reduce sores and blisters

Before purchasing a pair of trainers there are a few questions you ought to ask yourself first

What surface do I primarily run on?

Not all running trainers are designed to be used on tarmac. For example, Solomon’s Speedcross Running Shoe, though an excellently rated product, has been engineered for softer surfaces such as what you’d find when cross-country trail running. By contrast, Reebok’s Nanos (aka the CrossFitter’s footwear of choice) are built to offer superior performance primarily in a synthetic training environment such as a gym.

It’s for this reason why it would be unwise to purchase a pair of trainers without ensuring that they are designed to absorb the impact that you’d experience when running on hard surfaces. A cross-country or gym shoe is unlike to be as shock absorbent as a proper running trainer.

Has the trainer got sufficient heel-toe drop?

Heel-toe what? Yeah, I can’t imagine many people when buying trainers have consider heel-toe drop. I know I haven’t. However, if you are a regular runner or plan to be then heel-toe drop is something to consider.

But what is it? Quite simply the degree or tapering of the downward slope measured from the heel to the toe of the trainer. Or, put another way, the difference in the thickness of cushioning between the heel and toe. Typically, trainers have a drop of between 10- to 12mm, which provides adequate cushioning for road running.