Home > Footwear

The Best Running Shoes of 2024

After countless miles of pounding the pavement, our running fanatics found the best running shoes of 2024.
The GearJunkie team clocked endless miles in just as many shoes to bring you the best of the best for this guide (photo/Nick Presniakov)
Support us! GearJunkie may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article. Learn More

We used to say running was a pretty simple sport. All you need is a pair of running shoes and clothes, and off you go. However, with the advances in technology these days, we’re second-guessing that concept.

Somehow over the past 25 years, complexity crept in. GPS watch data, Strava segments, hydration vests, and the obligatory social media post-run selfie are as standard as striped tube socks were in the ’70s and ’80s. As gear aficionados, it’s hard to complain. But as the sport has expanded, the question of what shoe is great for you has only gotten more nuanced as more brands enter the running game.

Whether you embrace the new complicated age of running or wish for a return to the simpler past, there is one thing about running that will never change — running always has, and always will, start with a good pair of running shoes.

Our team of testers put the shoes on the list through the (literal) paces. We may not be the United States Post Office, but we certainly put hundreds of collective miles on these runners through snow, rain, heat, and gloom of night.

During short speed workouts, run commutes, heart-rate spiking interval training, and weekend devotion to the church of the long run, we faithfully logged steps and notes on each shoe listed here. So whether you’re a recreational runner lacing up for a family 5K or a competitive marathoner, we have a shoe for you.

In 2024, we sent contributor Matthew Medendorp with a duffel bag full of shoe samples to test finalists head-to-head in two high-altitude running culture hubs: Flagstaff, Ariz., and Mammoth Lakes, Calif. Steeped in running culture and featuring pristine roads and thin air, the locales proved the ideal testing grounds to log competitive miles.

Scroll through to see all of our recommended buys, and at the end of our list, be sure to check out our comparison chart, buyer’s guide, and frequently asked questions.

Editor’s Note: We refreshed this article on May 3, 2024, adding the Brooks Glycerin GTS 21, Nike Alphafly 3, and Brooks Ghost 12. We also made sure our product list is up-to-date with current models, color schemes, and designs.

The Best Running Shoes of 2024

Best Overall Running Shoe

Craft PRO Endur Distance


  • Weight 8.3 oz. (men)/6.4 oz. (women)
  • Stack Height 36 mm/30 mm
  • Drop 5 mm
The Best Running Shoes of 2024


  • Solid shock absorption
  • Lively midsole
  • Lightweight


  • Upper is a bit thin
Best Budget Running Shoe

Brooks Launch 10


  • Weight 8.3 oz. (men)/7.4 oz. (women)
  • Stack Height 34 mm/24 mm
  • Drop 10 mm
The Best Running Shoes of 2024


  • Great value
  • Lightweight


  • Not the most responsive
Best Neutral Running Shoe

Asics Gel Nimbus 25 Lite-Show


  • Weight 10.3 oz. (men)/9.1 oz. (women)
  • Stack Height 41.5 mm/33.5 mm (men)/40.5 mm/32.5 mm (women)
  • Drop 8 mm (men)/8 mm (women)
The Best Running Shoes of 2024


  • Comfortable neutral feel
  • Cozy upper


  • Somewhat snug fit
Best Supportive Running Shoe

Brooks Glycerin GTS 21


  • Weight 10.5 oz. (men)/9.5 oz. (women)
  • Stack Height 38 mm/28 mm
  • Drop 10 mm
The Best Running Shoes of 2024


  • Smooth transition to toes
  • Solid support
  • Soft, cushioned foam


  • On the heavy side
  • Pricey
Best Zero Drop Running Shoe

Altra Vanish Tempo


  • Weight 8.2 oz. (men)/6.9 oz. (women)
  • Stack Height 33 mm
  • Drop Zero drop
The Best Running Shoes of 2024


  • Great cushioning
  • Solid versatility


  • Altra’s Slim FootShape is a tossup with Altra fans
  • On the pricey side
Best Running Shoe for Marathons

Nike Alphafly 3


  • Weight 198 g (men)/ 174 g (women)
  • Stack height 40 mm / 32 mm
  • Drop 8 mm
The Best Running Shoes of 2024


  • Incredible energy return
  • Higher durability than the previous iterations
  • Efficient rocker geometry


  • Narrow-ish midfoot
  • Expensive
  • Not a great everyday running shoe
Best Running Shoes for Recovery Runs

HOKA Clifton 9


  • Weight 8.7 oz. (men)/ 7.3 oz. (women)
  • Stack height 27 mm/33 mm
  • Drop 5 mm
The Best Running Shoes of 2024


  • Very comfortable
  • Relatively lightweight for amount of cushioning
  • Excellent recovery run shoe


  • Not designed for speedwork
Best of the Rest

Saucony Endorphin Speed 3


  • Weight 8.1 oz. (men)/7.2 oz. (women)
  • Stack height 36 mm/28 mm
  • Drop 8 mm
The Best Running Shoes of 2024


  • Flexible nylon plate delivers good energy return with more flexibility than a carbon fiber plate
  • Smooth, cushioned ride


  • Not the most stable, supportive shoe

Asics MetaSpeed Sky+


  • Weight 7.2 oz. (unisex)
  • Stack height 33 mm/28 mm
  • Drop 5 mm
The Best Running Shoes of 2024


  • Great energy return with a carbon fiber plate
  • Solid flexibility
  • Good stability


  • Current iteration a bit heavier than before
  • Pricey

Brooks Ghost 15


  • Weight 9.8 oz. (men) / 8.8 oz. (women)
  • Stack Height 35mm / 23mm
  • Drop 12 mm
The Best Running Shoes of 2024


  • Comfort paired with neutral cushioning
  • DNA Loft v2 results in soft, consistent ride
  • Carbon neutral (recycled content + offsets)
  • Great all-rounders for training and race day


  • Slightly heavier than competitors
  • May not be able to compete with race day “supershoes”
  • Running-specific construction, not cross-training capable

Salomon Phantasm 2


  • Weight 9 oz. (men)/ 7.7 oz. (women)
  • Stack height 26 mm/35 mm
  • Drop 9 mm
The Best Running Shoes of 2024


  • Energy Blade technology creates propulsion feeling
  • Comfortable cushioning
  • Lightweight
  • Great cost-to-feature ratio


  • Little traction
  • Not designed for walking or recovery runs

On Running Cloudsurfer


  • Weight 8.6 oz. (men)/7.2 oz. (women)
  • Stack height 37 mm/27 mm
  • Drop 10 mm
The Best Running Shoes of 2024


  • Firm yet comfortable cushioning
  • Rocker outsole aids smooth heel-to-toe transition
  • Looks great


  • Short tongue
  • CloudTec outsole doesn’t work for cross training

Running Shoe Comparison Chart

Running ShoePriceWeightStack HeightDrop
Craft PRO Endur Distance
$1558.3 oz. (men)/6.4 oz. (women)36 mm/30 mm6 mm
Brooks Launch 10
$1108.3 oz. (men)/7.4 oz. (women)34 mm/24 mm10 mm
Asics Gel Nimbus 25 Lite-Show
$17010.3 oz. (men)/9.1 oz. (women)41.5 mm/33.5 mm8 mm
Brooks Glycerin G
TS 21
$16010.5 oz. (men)/9.5 oz. (women)38 mm/28 mm10 mm
Altra Vanish Tempo
$1708.2 oz. (men)/6.9 oz. (women)33 mm0 mm
Nike Alphafly 3$2857 oz. (men)/6.1 oz. (women)40 mm/32mm8 mm
Brooks Ghost 15$1409.8 oz. (men)/8.8 oz. (women)35 mm/23 mm8 mm
HOKA Clifton 9
$1458.70 oz. (men)/ 7.30 oz. (women)33 mm/27 mm5 mm
Saucony Endorphin Speed 3
$1708.1 oz. (men)/7.2 oz. (women)36 mm/28 mm8 mm
Asics MetaSpeed Sky+$2507.2 oz. (unisex)33 mm/28 mm5 mm
Salomon Phantasm 2$1709 oz. (men)/ 7.7 oz. (women)35 mm/ 26 mm9 mm
On Running Cloudsurfer
$1608.6 oz. (men)/ 7.2 oz. (women)37 mm/27 mm10 mm
The GearJunkie team clocked endless miles in just as many shoes to bring you the best of the best for this guide; (photo/Nick Presniakov)

How We Tested Running Shoes

We began our testing for this guide in December 2021, with an initial roundup of 10 shoes, running the gambit from legacy brands that established road running as a recognized sport to scrappy up-and-comers bringing new tech and new attitudes to the world of running. 

Cory Smith led our initial rounds of testing. His passion for running started over 25 years ago in high school when he became the number six ranked runner in the nation in the 3 km his senior year. Ever since then, Cory’s been addicted to competitive running in every distance, from 1 mile to the marathon and trail racing. Today, he’s a full-time online running coach and running gear reviewer.

His obsession with running shoes started in 2014 when he wrote his first shoe review. Since then, he’s tested and reviewed hundreds of running shoes, clothing, and gear for GearJunkie and other outlets. He loves dissecting gear and thinking like a product engineer to explain the why behind every design and little detail of running shoes.

We brought in gear tester Matthew Medendorp to help update the guide in 2023. A runner who bounces between trails and tarmac, Medendorp never takes a trip without packing at least one pair of running shoes. Okay — more like three. These days you can find him in the Midwest, grinding out weekly miles on the local running paths and behind a running stroller (a Thule Urban Glide 2 Double — since this is GearJunkie).

For 2024, we brought our running shoe finalists on two head-to-head testing trips. The first was in the thin air of Flagstaff, Ariz., where the amateurs and pros flock to train every season. The second to Mammoth Lakes, Calif., another high-altitude training ground for elite athletes (and humble gear-testers). With picturesque backdrops, we vetted 2024’s best shoes on pristine tarmac, sometimes swapping shoes mid-route to get a better comparison. 

Testing shoes in the high-altitude training grounds of Flagstaff, Ariz.; (photo/Bekah Williamson)

Every runner is different, so we also solicited feedback from a diverse group of runners. For this review, GearJunkie tasked a test team with logging miles and weighing in with their perspective as competitive runners, physical therapists, and former shoe designers.

We tested the latest shoes from every brand, and all testers were asked to rank each shoe numerically and write short-form reviews of the top-ranked shoes. Armed with our testers’ feedback and our own impressions, GearJunkie picked the best running shoe in the most popular shoe categories.

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Running Shoe

Female runner in tights and Brooks Running Shoes
Finding a comfortable pair of durable running shoes is key for preventing injuries on long runs; (photo/Brooks)

Running shoes have their fair share of complexity. Sorting through today’s shoe stats like stack height, heel drop, weight, and now carbon fiber plates can give anyone a headache. Luckily, we’re here to cut through the noise and give it to you straight.

Over our years reviewing shoes, GearJunkie testers have run in just about every running shoe produced. More than that, we’ve recruited teams of testers for feedback and talked with shoe engineers, podiatrists, and specialty running store owners.

Armed with this knowledge, we’ve picked the best shoes of the season based on our editors and test team’s input paired with head-to-head comparisons.

It’s worth noting that this guide focuses specifically on road running shoes. Be sure to check out our exhaustive guides on the best trail running shoes and the best hiking shoes — if that’s more your pace.

Comfort Is King

What makes a shoe “comfortable” is very subjective, and boils down to personal preference and the type of running you plan to be doing; (photo/Nick Presniakov)

After talking with many physical therapists, running store owners, and shoe experts, they all agree on one thing — pick a running shoe based on comfort. The shoe that feels, fits, and runs the best is most likely going to be the best shoe for you.

Fortunately, most of today’s online shoe retailers allow a full refund or credit on used shoes within a 30- or 90-day window. This allows you to buy a pair of shoes, try them out for a few runs, and make the decision. This is also a nice feature to ensure that you get the correct sizing.

Sizing Properly

In our experience, most people wear running shoes that are too tight. The rule of thumb (literally) is you should have a thumb-width of space between your longest toe and the edge of the running shoe. For most, this will be half to three-quarters of an inch.

You need this space for two reasons. First, as you run, your feet will slide slightly forward. This extra space prevents your toes from consistently banging up against the inside wall of the shoe. Second, if you run long enough and in higher temps, your feet will swell. Again, extra space is necessary.

The thumb’s width rule is a great way to size your shoe while accounting for how much your feet may swell during a long run.

The “thumb rule” is a good point of reference for finding a good-fitting pair of running shoes; (photo/GearJunkie)

Finding the proper width is a little trickier. Shoe width varies from brand to brand and even within the same brand between models. There are brands that are known for being wide or narrow.

Altra and Topo are known for favoring runners with wide feet. Aside from these two, it’s hard to make absolute assumptions across all models of a brand as being wide or narrow.

The Details: Stack Height, Drop, and Weight

If you want to geek out on the stats of a shoe, that’s fine. But we would steer clear of making decisions solely based on them. Pay attention but don’t obsess.

Sure, there is a pretty big difference between a 12mm drop and zero drop, so much so that I don’t suggest making such a drastic change. But between a 4mm and 6mm drop, it’s marginal. To put it in perspective, it’s the difference in the thickness of a nickel.

Stack height, drop, and weight are all vital elements to consider when narrowing in on the perfect pair of running shoes for your needs; (photo/Sam Schild)

Stack Height

This is usually the measurement of the bottom of the shoe to the bottom of the inside of the shoe. It gives a measurement of how much material there is between your foot and the ground.

The higher the stack height, the thicker the sole. We say “usually” because some brands will not include the insole as part of the stack height measurements.


Drop is the difference in measurement of stack height between the heel and toe. It ranges from zero to 12 mm. The higher the drop, the less strain on the Achilles, soleus, and calves. Zero-drop shoes are associated with a more natural barefoot running feeling.


The weight of a shoe can give a good insight into the type of running for which the shoe is best suited. Lightweight shoes — ones weighing less than 8 ounces for men and 7.5 ounces for women — are typically designed for faster running and racing.

Heavier shoes — 10 ounces for men and 9 ounces for women — are more suited for everyday training. In most cases, we’ve found weight to be a good insight into the durability of a shoe. Lighter shoes with less foam tend to wear out more quickly than the thicker, heavier ones.

Neutral vs. Supportive

Road Running Shoes
It is important to identify your gait, and whether you supinate or pronate, in order to find a shoe that is adequately supportive for your unique running form; (photo/Brooks)

Should a shoe correct over/underpronation or not? Some say yes; others say no. Most of the experts we’ve spoken with say it depends. Dr. Crispell recommends that those needing a supportive shoe look for “a sturdy heel cup, multi-density EVA midsoles, and a mid-foot truss or bridge that stabilizes the shoe.”

Bottom line: Comfort is king, and if you’re still unsure, we recommend taking a trip to your local specialty running store to get their advice. With proper footwear and proper training, you, too, can pound out the miles on the pavement in relative comfort.

More Than One Pair

Do you really need more than one pair of running shoes? Think of it this way — do you really need more than one pair of shoes in general? Technically, no. But if you start to pull away the layers, you have work shoes, workout shoes, comfortable shoes, slippers, flip-flops, etc.

Just like all your other shoes, running shoes perform best in certain scenarios. For example, the HOKA Clifton 9 makes a great recovery run shoe but not so much a great speed workout shoe. On the flip side, a carbon fiber shoe makes a great race day shoe but not a great recovery run shoe.

One solution is to own at least three pairs of road running shoes: a durable everyday trainer, a speed or race day shoe, and one super-comfortable recovery run shoe. By rotating between shoes, you’ll be less likely to get overuse injuries from your shoe.

Rotating between shoes while testing models for this guide in Flagstaff, Ariz.; (photo/Bekah Williamson)


Do running shoes actually matter?

Yes, absolutely. The soles of running shoes are made with a special type of foam that is designed to withstand the higher ground impact forces exhibited while running. This foam underfoot, called a midsole, makes running more comfortable and offers more durability over non-running shoes.

Furthermore, a running shoe’s upper will hold your foot in place better and offer more breathability than a non-running shoe. In general, it is not recommended to run in casual sneakers.

Is more cushion better for running?

Cushioning is a matter of personal preference and does not necessarily make one shoe better than another. Cushioning refers to the level of firmness of the foam underfoot and can be largely subjective. What one runner finds firm, a heavier runner may find soft. It was previously thought that a more cushioned shoe reduced the impact on your legs.

However, it’s been found that your body will adjust forces based on the firmness of the surface you are running on. The bottom line — buy a running shoe that feels comfortable to you.

Should I buy a size up for running shoes?

The ultimate question is a size up from what shoe? Running shoes should have a thumb width of extra space in the toe. The reasoning behind this — as you run, your feet will naturally slide forward a little. The extra space will prevent your toes from jamming against the front of the shoe.

Should running shoes be tight or loose?

A properly fitting shoe should be somewhere between tight and loose. Shoes that are too tight can cut off circulation and cause your feet to go numb, while running shoes that are too loose can cause hot spots and generally feel uncomfortable.

One of our authors recommends a shoe that fits snugly enough where your heel doesn’t lift and you have a thumb-width of room in the toes. It’s important not to tie your laces too tight. They personally like to tie them loose enough that I can remove their shoes with a small amount of force without untying the laces.

Altra - Best Running Shoes for Women
Properly fitting and comfy running shoes make the miles go by with ease; (photo/Altra)

Subscribe Now

Get adventure news and gear reviews in your inbox!

Join Our GearJunkie Newsletter

Get adventure news and gear reviews in your inbox!