Sure you can rely on aggregator sites with hundreds of “reviews” from people who have run in the same three shoes for the last 10 years. Or you can actually get it from people who run. A lot. Here are our picks (in no particular order) for the best road running shoes of 2019 (so far).
After a parade of letdowns that seemed to get progressively worse (ahem, Clifton 4 and 5), the Clifton we love is back and better than ever. The toe box finally has enough room, the midsole is soft but not squishy, and the mesh upper is breathable and secure. You want to know how much we love this shoe? Meaghan bought a second pair, a rarity for us shoe reviewers.
A shoe that has now moved into classic territory, the Boston 8 holds true to its self with its sleek design and lightweight structure. This version features updates to the Continental rubber outsole (grippy and durable as hell) and a slightly wider platform, which puts this at the top of the list for “best rainy day race shoe.” Oh, also it’s just real, real pretty.
Not much has changed since the first version—and that is a good thing. One of our top shoes of 2018 got an update to the heel counter, but it retains the sock-like Flyknit upper and ultra-responsive React foam midsole. We’ve put in hundreds of miles in these and still love them to death.
Please trust us on this. You will not find a better value in a running shoe than the FloatRide Energy for $100 (and often less). The midsole ride is near perfect, and it can do everything from daily training to marathon distances. A simple mesh upper envelops the foot, and it actually looks pretty good. Size down, it runs a little large.
Not exactly a shocker that this shoe landed on here. We loved the Vaporfly 4%, and the NEXT% really is that next percent. It features a re-designed Vaporweave upper that wicks off moisture, as well as offset lacing and 15% more Zoom X foam. Aim for your PR during training season, then make sure you hit the target on race day by strapping on the NEXT%.
A new face in the HOKA family, the Rincon is poised to become a classic, right up there with the Clifton. It’s a shockingly light shoe in a max cushion body, lending it a versatility that’s hard to find anywhere else. The early stage meta rocker will propel you through your stride, while the cushion will keep your legs fresh, mile after mile. And it comes in at a reasonable $114.95.
The Skechers GOrun Ride 7 was a sleeper hit last year, so we were anxiously awaiting the release of this shoe. It did not disappoint. Featuring Skechers’ Hyper Burst midsole (maybe the best midsole out there), this thing has energy return for days. Throw in a a comfortable upper, and a grippy Goodyear outsole, and there are few daily trainers that can compete.READ THE REVIEW WATCH THE REVIEW BUY THE SHOE
New Balance is bringing the heat with the FuelCell line. While the FuelCell 5280 is meant for the mile distance and the FuelCell Propel is the still-immature sibling, the FuelCell Rebel hits the sweet spot. A thin engineered mesh upper with Trace Fiber Stitching is complemented by a durable rubber outsole, and it all comes in a super lightweight package. And damn does it look good too.
Look, ASICS hasn’t been exactly inspiring over the last decade, but they’re starting to make some moves. While we didn’t love the sky-high MetaRide, the GlideRide is a step in the right direction. The design is pretty on point, the layers of Flytefoam around a TPU/gel section keeps you feeling fresh, and the rocker midsole propels you through your stride for a springy toe-off. It feels lighter than its weight, and it’s a comfortable daily trainer that will get you through some long training miles.
Okay so technically this is a 2018 shoe, but our review came out on January 1. Anyway, if you still think you’re too cool for School with a capital Skechers “S,” we can’t help you. This isn’t your Uncle Randy’s shoe. The Razor 3 is a rocket, straight up. Its crazy-responsive Hyper Burst midsole is one of the best in the industry, and the ripstop mesh upper combined with a durable outsole makes this a race day weapon. Did we mention it’s $115 cheaper than the Nike Vaporfly NEXT%?
A damn glorious looking shoe on the feet, it is also a beauty of a running shoe, despite being a tad heavier than what we like. Featuring a sweet knit upper and Boost midsole, this shoe can do almost anything, including being paired with jeans.
We know for a fact that people are sleeping on this shoe (or have no idea it exists), but wake up— it’s basically a better-looking Launch. And we love the Launch. Brooks BioMoGo DNA midsole isn’t anything new, but it’s still quality. The overall fit is great, and while the knit upper is a little warm, this can be a perfect shoe for those fall and winter runs. Afterward, wear them to your favorite Bloody Mary brunch bar.
Look, it’s not changing the world. But if you’re looking for a solid and reliable everyday trainer, you can’t go wrong with the Sky Waveknit 3. It also shows that Mizuno is moving away from the Pebax wave plate; instead, this shoe features two layers of foam that sandwich Mizuno’s new XPOP midsole foam. The knit upper is supremely comfortable, which helps balance out the weight (which is a bit heavier than we’d like).
Altra has had some misses in this year’s versions of road shoes (e.g. Duo, Escalante), but the Paradigm 4.5 is not one of them. While the shoe is certainly max cushion, it’s not marshmallow soft. It retains enough firmness that it’s responsive, while still keeping your legs fresh. Of course, it also features Altra’s zero-drop platform. If you’re not used to zero drop, ease into these.