We’re constantly testing the latest running shoes in our lab and on the feet of the more than 350 runners that make up our wear-test test team. About half of those runners are men, and while many are local to our eastern Pennsylvania headquarters, others come from areas all across the U.S. But the most important thing is that we’ve got an extremely diverse group of guys. Some are seriously speedy dudes hitting sky-high mileage and knocking on the door of the Olympic Trials; others are just getting into running or even coming back from injury. We have runners of all shapes, sizes, ages, abilities, and backgrounds—from full-time English teachers and new dads to night-shift nurses and grandfathers. The one thing they’ve all got in common is that they’re passionate about running, and log at least 25 miles per week on their test shoes.

After putting hundreds of pairs through the wringer and evaluating the data, we’ve rounded up some of the standouts that received especially high marks and praise from our male testers. Chances are, there’s a shoe here that you’ll love as much as they do, and you can scroll deeper for a variety of shoes that cater to different preferences for stability and cushioning. We’ve also included a breakdown of both these features to help you better understand how we evaluate shoes and how to choose your next favorite pair.

Stability

In terms of running shoe design, stability refers to a shoe’s ability to support good running form. Typically, that means an optimal level of pronation (more on that here). If you’re an overpronator—your feet roll inward excessively—and prefer stability, these shoes have features to help counter that movement. These include firmer foams in key areas of the midsole, like a medial post, or additional material on the edge of the sole to prevent the foot from twisting, like the GuideRails on Brooks’s Adrenaline GTS. If you don’t overpronate, you’ll likely prefer a “neutral” shoe, which doesn’t have extra support features and won’t interfere with your stride.

brooks adrenaline gts 20
GuideRails offer a less aggressive approach to stability that even neutral runners can rely on for extra support.
Trevor Raab
saucony speed endorphin
Saucony fuses together pellets of PEBA-based foam using steam and pressure to create the Endorphin Speed’s durable yet bouncy midsole cushioning. 
Lakota Gambill

Cushioning

This is an area where opinions vary widely. Runners who focus on speed often prefer a firmer shoe that gives them a good feel for the ground. Generally, less cushioning also yields a lighter shoe, which is crucial when trying to shave fractions of a second off your finish time. Others like something plush that absorbs impact forces. That’s important for longer runs, because the extra cushioning can reduce aches in tired feet and joints.


—BEST DAILY TRAINER—

Outsole shows some earlier wear

Air Zoom Pegasus 37
Nike zappos.com
$120.00

  • Thicker React foam midsole provides more responsive cushioning
  • Forefoot air unit delivers springy toe-off

  • Heel fit didn’t work for some

This update to Nike’s longest-running trainer is a great one, subtly improving on an already excellent all-rounder. The midsole is all new, with springy React foam—instead of Cushlon ST—and a forefoot air unit (a sealed pocket of pressurized air that’s tightly wrapped by knit fibers). The air unit helps give the Peg its well-known energetic ride, as the surrounding fibers quickly compress and spring back to their original shape. It also saves weight, so the shoe still feels light, even though the Pegasus 37 now has an entire 2mm more foam underfoot than the 36. The resulting shoe hits a sweet spot that so many trainers strive for. “The ride is comfortable, responsive, and snappy,” one tester said. “Normally you don’t get all three from shoes.”

Full Review


—BEST BUDGET BUY—

Saucony Kinvara 12

Lakota Gambill
Kinvara 12
Saucony amazon.com
$106.98

  • Lighter and more flexible than the Kinvara 11
  • Slimmer midfoot fit improves lockdown and arch support

  • Adequate cushioning for long runs, though some runners will want more softness

Lightweight and speedy, with the durability to withstand hundreds of miles, the Kinvara is a go-to training shoe for runners who like to go long and slow one day, and short and fast the next. This 12th iteration of the shoe is lighter and more flexible, with a snug midfoot to hold your foot in place and a mix of EVA and polymers in the Pwrrun foam midsole to boost energy return. It feels like an uptempo shoe—but has the versatile cushion to handle any workout in your training plan, including slow base miles. It’s also a stellar bargain for the number of miles you can get out of the shoe—currently you can grab a pair for under $100. Just be warned: The exposed foam outsole will show signs of wear long before the shoe is ready to retire.

Full Review


—Hoka One One Mach 4—

New Balance Saucony Kinvara 12

Saucony Kinvara 12
New Balance amazon.com
$119.99

  • Softer cushioning than the Beacon v2
  • Upper fit has been improved

  • BEST FOR LONG RUNS
  • Slightly heavier than the Beacon v2

There’s a lot to love about the Beacon. It’s light. It’s comfortable. It can go fast, but it has enough cushioning to keep you going through double-digit mileage. The third version significantly improves the fit (the upper in the shoe’s second version felt a little loose and sloppy to some testers). Plus, New Balance also switches the Beacon over to Fresh Foam X cushioning, which makes it feel a little softer this time around. If you regularly bounce from speedwork to long runs and need a shoe that can keep up for both, this is a great candidate. “The Beacon takes the prize for being my favorite shoe,” one tester said. “It’s lightweight, cushioned, and comfortable, and the way the collar cradles the heel is perfect for me.”


—MOST VERSATILE—

Saucony Endorphin Speed

Endorphin Speed
Saucony amazon.com

  • PEBA-based foam is soft and bouncy
  • Nylon plate provides fast turnover
  • Excels at training and racing speeds

  • Snugger racer-style fit felt slightly short to some testers

While most of the fastest runners will still reach for pricier racers with carbon fiber, like the Endorphin Pro and Nike Alphafly Next%, the Endorphin Speed is a suitable racing option for most of us. It’s still stiff—though the nylon plate is far more flexible than carbon fiber—and snappy, and the cushioning works well for short, fast races all the way up to the marathon distance. Where the Speed shines, however, is in everyday training. For tempo runs and interval sessions, the Speed delivers all the hustle you need for your workout, while saving you some cash versus those more expensive race-day models.

Full Review


—BEST NEW SPEED SHOE—

Puma Deviate Nitro

Lakota Gambill
Deviate Nitro
Puma puma.com
$150.00

  • Carbon-fiber plate boosts speed
  • Nitrogen-infused foam add responsiveness
  • Nutrition & Weight Loss

  • The heel padding rubs some runners

Over the past few years, Puma has made a serious effort to re-establish itself in the competitive running shoe market by introducing a few new models with updated performance features and style. The work has finally paid off with the Deviate Nitro, a carbon-fiber-plate race shoe with a nitrogen-infused foam midsole that feels bouncy and responsive underfoot. The shoe doesn’t have quite the same rocket-fueled spring as Nike’s Zoom Alphafly Next% and Saucony’s Endorphin Pro—it’s made with TPE and not the pricier Pebax foam that other brands use. But it’s significantly lower priced than most carbon-fiber-plated premium models, while also proving to be far more versatile and durable during testing. The low-profile, sock-like upper is also lightweight and breathable, with an overall Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 aesthetic. “These shoes blew me away,” said one of our testers. “I wore them for everything from a 9-minute-per-mile cruise to a 10K PR, and they felt fully capable doing both.”

Full Review


—BEST FOR LONG RUNS—

New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v10

Fresh Foam X 880 v10
New Balance amazon.com
$100.00

  • Durable outsole and stretchy mesh upper excel for high mileage
  • Midsole feels soft yet very responsive

  • Tongue is a little too thick and warm

The 880 is everything you want in a workhorse training shoe: It’s built to last, comfortable, and delivers a snug fit. The tenth version comes with some key updates, most notably a switch to Fresh Foam cushioning in the midsole for increased softness and a new Hypoknit mesh upper that’s engineered for improved midfoot security. Like the previous iteration, its generous rubber outsole lends dependable grip and durability, so it’ll hold up through a demanding training regimen. “This is the most complete running shoe I’ve ever run in,” one tester said. “The fit is superior to most any shoe I’ve tried, the upper’s material is breathable and stretchy, and I can run higher mileage in this shoe without fear of getting injured. It is the perfect blend of comfort, fit, weight, and bounce.”

Full Review


—BEST FOR SLOPPY TRAILS—

Altra Lone Peak 5

Lone Peak 5
Altra rei.com
$130.00

  • StoneGuard in the forefoot
  • Roomy toebox
  • Claw-like traction

  • May 7, 2021

Our testers described the Lone Peak 5 as a “Goldilocks” shoe that splits the difference between ultra-plush and minimalist trail experiences, adding just the right amount of lightweight, responsive cushion. The previous version of the shoe, the 4.5, was a hit specifically for its fit and comfort. This new version has its predecessor’s roomy, foot-shaped toebox and well-fitted upper, but Altra has also added a new StoneGuard rock plate at the toe and a more balanced Ego midsole. “The midsole provides many happy miles of running on technical trails,” said a tester, “but it’s not over-cushioned where it adds unnecessary bulk, making the shoe feel heavy or clumsy underfoot.” Those who tried the shoe also raved about the 5’s reliable traction—particularly the grippy MaxTrac outsole with angled TrailClaw lugs that find purchase on everything from rock faces to slush.

Full Review


—BEST NEW ALL-AROUNDER—

Hoka One One Mach 4

Mach 4
Hoka One One
$130.00

  • Slightly curved sole paired with Profly foam promotes propulsive ride
  • Incredibly lightweight and plush

  • Little traction in wet and wintry conditions

A cushioned road shoe that feels as light and explosive as a race shoe—but still sturdy enough for long training runs—the new Mach 4 just might be our favorite Hoka ever. To build this versatile trainer, Hoka added speedy design features from the brand’s new race-oriented Carbon X and Rocket X, like propulsive energy return and a sportier, more streamlined upper that hugs your foot, while forgoing the carbon plate and instead keeping the brand’s usual generous cushioning. The lightweight, dual-density Profly foam midsole provides plenty of zoom and bounce, while the early-stage Meta-Rocker (a curved sole shape) helps you roll through quick heel-to-toe transitions. We even loved some of the Mach 4’s simplest design features, like an oversize heel tab that makes it easy to get your feet in and out. It’s a shoe that excels at everything from interval track workouts to weekend long runs and recovery jogs—and so good that our runner-in-chief Jeff Dengate (who has dozens of available options stacked high in his office) exclusively ran in it for six weeks straight.

Full Review


—Fresh Foam X 880 v10—

Hoka One One Speedgoat 4

Speedgoat 4
Hoka One One hokaoneone.com
$145.00

  • Very soft midsole cushioning

  • Very stiff

A favorite among trail runners, the latest version of the Speedgoat combines Hoka’s legendary cushioning with a more protective and durable upper. The rocker sole on a wide platform gives the shoe a smooth, rolling ride that feels stable (even at its lofty stack height), which makes it one of the best for comfy cruising on easy days as well as trekking ultra distances. Consistent with its predecessor’s data, the 4 measured very soft in the heel and forefoot, and 5mm lugs create sure footing on all kinds of gnarly terrain. “The Speedgoats are a bit heavier than most trail shoes, but I’ll pay that price for the comfort they gave me during my last 50K race,” one tester said.

Full Review


—BEST STABILITY SHOE—

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21

Adrenaline GTS 21
Brooks amazon.com
$130.00
$116.00 (11% off)

  • BEST NEW SPEED SHOE
  • Smoother ride than previous versions

  • Doesn’t excel at speed workouts

The Adrenaline GTS is Brooks’s well-loved stability shoe that has a lighter, less obtrusive GuideRails system, rather than a medial post, to provide support. The 21st iteration has that same design, which places material along the edges of the sole to keep your feet in alignment. (This makes it accessible for both overpronators and neutral runners, since the extra support engages only if you need it). Overall, the shoe feels slightly softer and smoother than previous models, thanks to the DNA Loft foam that now spans the full length of the midsole. The Adrenaline still provides excellent shock absorption, and the rubber outsole delivers great traction and durability for high-mileage runners.