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We’re in a golden age of running shoes. The level of R&D that’s poured into this footwear is tangible — running speed records are constantly breaking, running clubs are at capacity and new drops selling out have become the norm as the crossover into mainstream fashion continues to be validated by social media.
Even if you’re not out to smash a world record, it’s recommended that regular runners replace their shoes approximately every 500 to 800 kilometres, or about every four to six months if you run an average of 30 kilometres per week.
It’s a safety and performance issue. Modern running shoes can do a lot to help compensate for poor form or bad biomechanics, but the act of running generates an enormous impact. Over time and with repetition, this breaks down even the most technologically advanced shoe. That means the features you initially bought the shoe for to counterbalance any physical shortcomings, also deteriorate and you’re left running with poor support, potentially leading to injury.
Overall, running shoes today are lighter in weight, heavier on cushioning and much more breathable. But there are still a lot of differences to consider, brand to brand and model to model. Find the right fit with the right features, and it can make your choice of running shoe feel like it’s practically custom-made for your feet.
In this guide, we’ll discuss key features such as fit, comfort and stability, as well as other factors that make for a truly superb running shoe. Here are well-reviewed running shoes great for a variety of budgets and running styles. This is everything you need to know about some of the best running shoes in Canada that will get you — and keep you — in top shape.
Best overall: Asics Gel-Kayano 30
Why buy: First of all, we understand that this is an impossible recommendation. The best shoe for you is going to depend on so many factors that differ, person to person, such as stability, pronation/supination, strike, etc. It also depends on the frequency you run and your running goals.
But the Asics Gel Kayano 30 is a really well-balanced shoe that provides excellent stability. The midsole features an angled stability feature that’s designed to prevent your foot from rolling too far inward during your stride. And improved cushioning creates softer landings and a more energized toe-off. These are the lightest Gel Kayano shoes ever produced, weighing 10g less than the previous model.
Heel height: 24mm
Forefoot height: 14mm
Best cross trainer: On Cloud X 3
Why buy: This is your does-everything workout shoe. A lightweight, nimble and versatile runner, the On Cloud X 3 will get you through a variety of activities. It easily handles trail running as well as road running and keeps your feet secure when you’re working out at the gym.
The engineered mesh upper means your feet won’t overheat either. Made from 35 per cent recycled content, this is an excellent workhorse that even looks stylish on rest days. Between its style, performance and the ideal amount of cushioning for everyday use, it’s not a surprise you’ll see a lot of film crews also favouring this shoe.
Heel height: 20.4mm
Forefoot height: 13mm
Best trail runner: Hoka Mafate Speed 4
Why buy: Trail runners know the pain, literally, when the shoe can’t keep up with off-road terrain. It has to be able to claw up inclines, secure enough to handle both loose rocks and mud, and still be cushiony enough to protect toes when descending.
The Hoka Mafate Speed 4 does all that beautifully, thanks to some key updates. The outsole has a larger surface area for better traction and there’s plenty of padding with new two-layer foam. And while this isn’t a new feature, the relatively low stack height (4mm drop heel to toe) means there’s a lot more stabilization and control when running, helping to reduce injuries.
Weight: 295 g
Heel height: 33 mm
Forefoot height: 29 mm
Best road runner: Saucony Endorphin Speed 3
Why buy: These promise speed — and they actually deliver. Saucony claims their, “reimagined S-curve winged nylon plate centers and supports the foot better.“ This means it actually returns energy and minimizes fatigue. Many find it very responsive and helps propel feet through every stride.
It’s a neutral shoe with nice cushioning. It’s lightweight, very comfortable and highly breathable. This is the shoe that will carry you across the marathon finish line.
If you’re ready to level up, in both performance and budget, try their Elite.
Heel height: 36mm
Forefoot height: 28mm
Best budget: Brooks Revel 6
Why buy: For the casual or beginner runner, there’s no need to drop a lot of cash on your shoes just yet. While you’re figuring out your stride, pace and form, it’s perfectly fine, if not preferable, to choose a simpler and less expensive pair of running shoes. Anything too technical, while you’re just starting your running journey will only potentially mask shortcomings and have you develop poor habits.
As a beginner or occasional runner, you want to feel your feet move through the shoe. And these Brooks Revel 6 provide a classic training option that’s still springy and comfortable. It’s a solid runner that will let you run a variety of terrain over quite a distance as you think about what you want out of your next pair of runners.
Heel height: not provided
Forefoot height: not provided
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