The best running shoes: my five favorite pairs

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A round-up of my favorite running shoes! I vary my shoes depending on the type of run — easy run, fast run or long run — and shared when I wear which!

I often get asked what shoes I run in after I share a post-run selfie or running watch picture (a “wristie” if you will!). And I’m always asking my running friends what shoes they are running in. I think most runners are constantly searching for the “perfect” shoe. Or, they’re in the other camp where they only buy one brand/model over and over. I fall somewhere in the middle.

The main thing to remember when you’re shopping for running shoes is that there are so many different types and brands out there, and what works for one person may not work for you. So, it’s important to pair attention to how a pair feels on your feet and while running. Comfort is key!! (And don’t buy looks alone!!!) If you want more details about how to evaluate running shoes, get on the waitlist for my running course – I have an entire lesson dedicated to the topic!

I have six shoes in rotation right now and explain below when I use each and what I like about them (and a few dislikes!). I also just bought a pair of the New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon, which I’ve heard great things about! I’ll be sure to share a review once I try them out!

Okay, here’s what I’m currently running in, along with pros and cons of each!

The best running shoes

Top choice: Adidas Adizero Boston

If I look back at allll the running shoes I’ve had over the last 3-5 years, the Adidas Adizero Boston is the shoe I keep buying over and over.

Pros

  • They’re super versatile. They’re snappy enough for speed work and supportive enough for long runs. I ran the 2018 Boston Marathon in them! (Read my race recap here!)
  • They keep getting better.  Many times when companies rework shoes with the newest model, the new model isn’t as good as the previous. But I’ve liked every version of these better than the last. The latest version has a softer upper which I personally love.
  • They look good. Some running shoes just don’t look cute (cough, Hokas). I often take my Adidas on trips since I can use them for a run and then with jeans for exploring. (Full disclosure: I typically NEVER use my running shoes for anything but running. But for travel, I take an older pair that can serve multiple purposes.)

Cons

The only downside is that they’re a little narrow for my foot, but that’s a me issue, not a shoe issue!

You can read my full review of the Adidas Boston running shoes here!

Runner up for all-time favorite, best running shoe: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus

I got the Nike Pegasus in attempt to find something to replace the Nike Zoom Elites, which I LOVED but have been discontinued. At first I hated the Pegasus since they felt heavy compared to the Adidas Bostons, but now I choose them over Adidas Bostons most days! I’m on my third pair so it’s safe to say they’re one of my favorites! But they’re a runner up for one key reason, noted below.

Pros

They are lightweight, but provide a lot more cushion that the Adidas Bostons.

I don’t feel beat up after a long run in them, like I often do with the Adidas Bostons. I did most of my easy-pace long runs when training for the Boston Marathon last year in these.

They work for tempo work. They’re very responsive, and while they aren’t as lightweight as the Adios (below), they’re still a speedy shoe. If I’m doing long tempo work or doing tempo in the middle of a very long run, I favor these over the Adios to help give my feet and body a little more cushion. (Side note: I really want to try the Pegasus Turbo! They look similar to the Vaporflys, which I LOVE for race day – more on those below.

The latest model has a very thin tongue which is nice since the Pegasus 34 had a super thick tongue, which took up a ton of space and put pressure on the top of my foot. It also made the shoe laces nearly too short to tie!

The latest or last Pegasus model is always easy to find. They’re never sold out and I even find them at Nordstrom on crazy sale sometimes. They’re also really cute! I’ve gone through three pairs now and when I retire them from running, they’re my go-to’s for walking, hiking or just wearing with jeans! I often take these when I travel too.

Cons

They model is inconsistent from year to year so I get nervous to buy them. I first had the Nike Pegasus 33 and LOVED them. But then I hated the Pegasus 34s! I was iffy on the Pegasus 35 and but I LOVE the Pegasus 36! (That’s what’s pictured below.) I hope the Pegasus 37 is good – I haven’t had a chance to try it. Because of the inconsistencies, I make sure to buy them from a place with a good return policy now!

 

My favorite shoes for faster workouts: Adidas Adizero Adios

I just got the Adidas Adios when training for the 2019 Boston Marathon for my tempo days or speed work days.

Pros

They are noticeably lighter and more minimal than the Adidas Adizero Bostons, which I expected. That is definitely nice when I’m trying to pick up the pace!

I also like the way they look on my foot!

Cons

They almost felt cheap. But, to be totally honest, it could have just been the adjustment to less shoe that made me feel that way. Overall, I DO like them.

adidas adios review

 

My easy run shoes: Brooks Launch

I got the Brooks Launch during marathon training when I needed something with a lot more cushion than the Adidas Bostons and Nike Pegasus. They felt SO heavy, clunky and slow to me. And when I told my running coach that, he said “GREAT. That’s the point.” He wanted me to run slower on my easy days and wanted a shoe that helped my body truly recover. I wore them for easy days, but always reluctantly.

Pros:

Coming back from an injury (a posterior tibial tendon tear), this is the pair I grab most days because they just feel good to run in! It feels nice to have a little extra support and cushion.

They’re not overly soft, but they’re definitely softer than the Adidas or Nikes!

I love the wider toe box so my toes has a little more wiggle room. (That may be a con if you have narrow foot.)

Cons:

The first model of Brooks Launch I tired a few years ago gave me HORRIBLE blisters on my heel. That has NEVER happened with a new pair of running shoes, even right out of the box. People had all sorts of hacks to fix it but I don’t believe that running shoes should need to be broken in. They need to work right out of the box. I hope that’s not an issue in the future. It hasn’t been an issue since I got a newer model!

how to run faster

My back-ups for very short, easy runs: Women’s Hoka One One Clifton 1

I originally ordered the Hoka Clifton 5 and HATED them. They felt so heavy and clunky, but a few running friends suggested getting the Clifton 1s. I like the 1s a LOT better than the 5s.

Pros

They are cushy without feeling flat, and I feel like they actually let my body have a break.

Cons

I can only do shorter runs in them since I think I tend to get lazy in them and my form breaks down because it can with all the cushion. And, I’m not running in them right now while my ankle is still in recovery mode and I don’t want any instability given their high stack.

I don’t feel comfortable doing more than 5 miles in them. They just feel too wobbly for me. But people who love Hokas LOVE Hokas, so don’t let my lackluster review deter you!

Oh, and I HATE THE WAY THEY LOOK. ha! I don’t like the bright colors and I don’t like how big they are on my foot. But I think that’s exactly why some people love them. To each their own!

My race day shoes: Nike Vaporfly

I eyed the Nike Vaporfly 4% for a while but the $250 price point held me back. But when my running coach suggested them, I had to get them, right? Coach’s orders!!! 😉 When they arrived, I put them on and walked around the house in them and within 10 minutes, I could were unlike any other shoe I’ve ever put on.

Pros

They felt as cushiony as the Hokas, but snappier than the Adidas. It was like they propelled me forward. Then, I did my first run in them  and HOLY MOLY, they felt amazing.

I went on to beat my half marathon PR and my marathon PR wearing these shoes. I ONLY wear these shoes on race day or for very key training workouts, e.g. 1-2 runs in a training cycle just to get my body used to the feeling and make sure nothing is off with them. And, to save the miles in them!!

Cons:

They’re hard to find since they sell out quickly.

The sizing is tough. They’re unisex and I couldn’t order my usual size. I had to try 3 different sizes before I got the right ones.

They’re super expensive and you will NOT get a full 250-300 miles out of them like most trainers. But, if you’re okay using them once they’re past their prime (probably at about 100 miles), I think they’d be a great shoe for fast training days. When I hit 100 miles on them, I’ll get a fresh pair for races and move this pair to the training shoe pile!

 

If you had to choose only ONE running shoe for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Want more running tips?

Get on the waitlist for my running course here. The course will go into a LOT more detail on topics like understanding the differences between running shoes, fueling, recovery, motivation, injuries and more!

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