There’s nothing quite like kicking up dirt in a shoe that was made for you. Unfortunately, most of us can’t afford custom-made running shoes. What’s the next best thing? You can select brand known for building the best running shoes out there.
While you might want to check out a few styles from different brands, every brand typically carries shoes specifically tailored for different foot types'”including neutral, support and control. Whether you overpronate (when your feet excessively roll inward), supinate (feet not rolling inward enough) or find yourself somewhere in between, the following brands offer the best of the best when it comes to running shoes.
Price range: $50 – $180 for men’s and women’s; $40 – $65 for kids
Motto: A sound mind for a sound body
Most popular style: Asics GT-2000
It might have started as a basketball shoe company, but Asics has traveled a long way since 1949. For over two decades now, the Japan-based company has been running a research institute that specializes in footwear innovations. Asics running shoes are known for extreme comfort and for having great mileage. Built to last, the latest iteration of Asics, the Gel-Kinsei, includes a biomorphic fit and a new cushioning system. Introduced in 2006, the Gel-Kinsei was named Shoe of the Year for innovation by Runner’s World magazine.
Headquartered: Bothell, Wash.
Price Range: $85 – $140 for men’s and women’s; $65 for kids
Motto: Run happy.
Most Popular Style: Adrenaline GTS
Brooks is one of the best-known specialty brands for runners. How did this come to be? Initially starting up as an ice skate and cleated sports shoe manufacturer in 1914, the company didn’t receive any real notoriety until it stepped into the running shoe area in the 1970s. During that time, it became one of the top three athletic footwear companies and eventually was eclipsed by behemoth Nike. Brooks has found great success by continuing to focus on the biomechanical needs of racers. Nowadays most styles of Brooks include a technology called Brooks DNA, a cushioning system that molds to the shape of your foot. Brooks is also known for its BioMoGo midsole, which is the world’s first biodegradable one.
Headquartered: Boulder, Colo.
Price Range: $139 – $174 for men’s and women’s
Motto: “Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.” – Bernard Baruch
Most Popular Style: Sir Isaac Racing Shoes
Newton Running’s shoes are the underdog in the running community. It’s a brand some swear by and others deem the “injury shoe.” Born from a patented technology first offered to companies such as Adidas and Saucony, Newton Running comes with a promise to make any runner faster without injury. Based off of Newton’s law of motion and named after Sir Isaac himself, it’s no surprise that they focus on educating runners. On the company’s website, they claim to be the first to design a running shoe to mimic the barefoot running form, a market which has exploded during the past year.
Headquartered: Boston, Mass.
Price Range: $59.99 – $264.99 for men’s and women’s; $27.99 – $59.99 for kids
Motto: Let’s Make Excellent Happen.
Most Popular Style: MR993
More than a century ago, New Balance was a small company that designed arch supports to improve the way a shoe fits. It released the world’s first performance running shoe in 1960s and hasn’t looked back. Its initial shoe design is based off of a three-point arch to help those who work on their feet, inspired by the well-balanced foot of a chicken. New Balance strives to produce at least some of its shoes in the United States and is one of the few to offer the majority of its line in wide shoe widths.
Headquartered: Beaverton, Ore.
Price Range: $47.99 – $195
Motto: Just Do It.
Most Popular Style: Nike Free
Founded in 1964 by a track athlete and his coach, Nike has certainly come a long way from its roots of selling shoes from the back of a car. Named after the Greek goddess of victory, Nike’s mission from the get-go was running shoes. Even though the company has grown into an international brand and world leader in athletic shoes and apparel, its focus remains still remains on running. The brand is best known for having celebrity endorsements by the top athletes in the world. Most recently Nike created waves with its minimalist Nike Free series of barefoot running-inspired shoes.
Headquartered: Osaka, Japan
Price Range: $199.99 – $84.99
Motto: Never Settle.
Most Popular Style: Wave Creation
During the past century, Mizuno has grown from a thriving Japanese basketball equipment maker to one of the sporting world’s staple brands. While best known for its basketball gear and golf irons, in recent years Mizuno has gained popularity in the running industry. Its running technology, called Mizuno Wave Technology, was influenced by looking at the formation of waves in nature. Borrowing the movement of sound waves to tidal waves, the innovators at Mizuno build shoes with a unique formation that takes the force of impact away from the foot. It is said to create a more natural, cushioned movement.
Headquartered: Tokyo, Japan
Price Range: $130 – $105
Motto: We are not joggers.
Most Popular Style: SyncroFloat III
Pearl Izumi’s story begins with a father who wanted his son to bicycle race in only the best gear. If one literally translates Pearl Izumi, it means a foundation of pearls. The Pearl Izumi brand started popping up stateside in 1981 as a sponsor for bicycling teams. Specialized in cycling, Pearl Izumi brings a different take on the running shoe to the table. They claim distinction by using comfort-enhancing seamless uppers, a 360 degree lacing system and Skydex forefoot cushioning for increased impact protection and energy return. They also promote a 1 to 1 technology which is said to balance the athlete with the gear. Built to last a lifetime, Pearl Izumi stands by its products and promises to replace or repair shoes with manufacturer defects.
Headquartered: Lexington, Mass.
Price Range: $135 – $55 for men’s and women’s; $30 – $55 for kids
Motto: A great day is when we inspire someone else to run.
Most Popular Style: ProGrid Kinvara
It all started on the banks of the Saucon River, where Saucony’s first shoe factory was established in 1906. This influence can be seen today in its river-inspired logo. While the company was founded in 1898, it didn’t start cranking out running shoes until 1968. Praised only by a small group of hardcore runners, the brand went under the radar for nearly a decade'”that is until 1977. That’s when it was nationally recognized in the press as having the best quality. That award cemented Saucony’s place in runners’ hearts ever since. Saucony incorporates technologies such as ProGrid into its shoes. According to the company, ProGrid is the first sole-based stability and cushioning system, which acts like a trampoline for your foot.