The best running shoes to take your training to the next level in 2024

Nike

One of the biggest decisions every runner has to make is which running shoes to buy. So it’s not surprising that newbies and veterans alike find shopping for new running shoes a bit nerve-wracking. How much support do you need? Are you running on trails, treadmillsor roads? Do you prefer maximum cushioning or would you rather feel the ground under your foot?

To make it even harder, the best running shoe for you depends on things like foot shape, running style, or terrain, so the shoes your friend absolutely swears by could be a terrible choice for you. Whether you’re a beginner or it’s just been a few years since you last replaced your shoes, keep reading to find our favorite running shoes to carry you through 2024.


Best running shoes for 2024

From the versatile Nike Pegasus 40 — a CBS Sports readers’ favorite, by the way — to the rugged and reliable Saucony Xodus Ultra 2, here are the best running shoes for training, racing or trail running.

Best running shoe overall: Pegasus 40

Nike

The Pegasus line has been a staple among runners for decades — 40 years to be exact, as this Nike Pegasus 40 marks the 40th anniversary since the first Pegasus came out in 1983. From the beginning, Nike has built this to be a balanced, daily running shoe that delivers comfort and support but still adds a little extra bounce to your step.

The Pegasus 40 does that with a layer of Nike’s signature React foam in the midsole. React foam is soft enough to cushion your foot when it lands, but durable enough to spring back into shape when you lift off again. That spring back into shape helps provide a little extra lift in your stride. You also get two Air Zoom units, one in the heel and one in the forefoot. These small air capsules act like a bouncy ball for a little extra propulsive power with each foot strike.

Overall, it’s the ideal balance of support and responsiveness that runners look for in a daily trainer or for slow to medium-tempo runs and recovery runs. The daily trainer is available in men’s and women’s sizes.

Regularly priced at $130, you can find some colorways on sale for up to 20% off right now — or you can splurge on a custom design all your own for $160. There’s even an NFL edition Nike Pegasus 40 so you can rep your favorite team as you run.

Top features of the Nike Pegasus 40:

  • The shoe has a balanced, supportive design that works for a wide range of foot shapes and running styles.
  • The shoe is made with Nike React foam for a smooth, responsive stride.
  • The Air Zoom units in the heel and forefoot provide extra bounce.
  • Its midfoot strap molds to both high and low arches.
  • It’s available in both regular and wide sizes.

$104 and up at Nike


Best lightweight yet cushy daily trainer: Hoka Clifton 9

Disappointed

The Hoka Clifton 9 is one of the most balanced Hoka running shoes to date, featuring a more neutral footbed and enough cushion to keep you comfortable on both long and short runs. The newest model in the Clifton lineup also boasts a lighter weight, more responsive midsole so you can go the distance without feeling like your shoes are weighing you down.

Flex grooves on the outsole and a wider toe box give your foot the flexibility and room to move naturally through your stride. Combine that with the extra cushion and the Clifton 9 is one of the best running shoes to use as your daily trainer for running on roads or treadmills.

The plush yet balanced shoe costs $145 for a pair at Disappointed.

The previous generation Hoka Clifton 8one of our readers’ favorite Hoka shoes, is on sale right now. So if you’re looking for a similar design and feel as the Clifton 9 at a lower price point, you can get the Clifton 8 starting at just $112 for both women’s and men’s sizes.

Top features of the Hoka Clifton 9:

  • The balance of comfort and responsiveness makes this a great go-to shoe for everyday runs or recovery runs.
  • A 5-millimeter heel-to-toe drop provides cushy support for dynamic movements but is still low enough to get good contact with the road.
  • The wider toe box gives room for your toes to spread during toe-offs.
  • A plush heel minimizes friction on your ankle.

$145 and Hoka


Best running shoe for beginners: Brooks Trace 3

Brooks

One of the best entry-level running shoes on the market, the Brooks Trace 3 features a comfortable cushioned sole with a segmented crash pad that flexes around your foot with each step. This design is a great balance between comfort and flexibility so your foot can move naturally while still being protected from the impact of your footfall.

At just $100 per pair for men’s sizes and women’s sizes, the price of these running shoes is also beginner-friendly. So if you have no idea where to start, this is the shoe to get. The balanced design works for a wide variety of running styles and the affordable shoe is a great starting point to get a feel for what you like (and don’t like) in a running shoe.

For an even more affordable entry-level shoe, opt for the previous-generation Brooks Trace 2 (available in both men’s sizes and women’s sizes). Boasting a very similar design minus a few subtle upgrades in design and material, it’s still a great shoe to start with and you can get it at its clearance price of just $75.

Top features of the Brooks Trace 3:

  • Thick cushioning provides a super comfortable feel that’s great for beginners who are still getting used to running.
  • The surprisingly lightweight and flexible design lets your foot move naturally as you run.
  • A breathable mesh upper prevents your feet from getting hot and sweaty on longer runs.

$100 at Brooks


Best super shoe for marathons: Nike Alphafly 3

Disappointed

The prototype of this Nike super shoe carried the late Kelvin Kiptum to his new world record fastest marathon time last year at the Chicago Marathon. So when the Nike Alphafly 3 first dropped earlier this year, it was no surprise to see it sell out instantly. Each new colorway that has dropped since has sold out just as quickly.

Fortunately, you can find the coveted super shoe available for resale on StockX.

Now, what makes the Nike Alphafly 3 such a covet-worthy running shoe? It takes every element a super shoe should have and optimizes it to add that much more propulsive power.

Where many carbon-plated shoes have a flat plate, the Alphafly 3 adds a gentle curve to help your foot transition smoothly from heel to toe. Nike’s signature ZoomX foam cushions each impact while being lightweight and springy enough that you can bounce into your next stride. The Air Zoom units built into that foam add even more bounce to your step.

It’s everything a super shoe should be and priced to match. The regular retail price on the Nike Alphafly 3 is $285 but you might end up paying more on StockX if your size is sold out at Nike. But it’s an investment that will pay off. These are PB-breaker shoes.

Top features of the Nike Alphafly 3:

  • The full-length carbon plate is curved for a smoother transition.
  • ZoomX foam with built-in Air Zoom units offers a lightweight and springy feel that propels you forward.
  • The tall stack of foam cushions impact for a comfortable run.

$285 at Nike

$262 and up at StockX


A carbon-plate-free alternative for race days: Nike Streakfly

Nike

Carbon-plated shoes like the Nike Alphafly 3 aren’t for everyone. If you want a great racing shoe without it, we highly recommend the Nike Streakfly. This is Nike’s lightest racing shoe and it’s built to help you reach your top speed. You get a full-length ZoomX midsole, which is Nike’s lightest and most responsive foam. The grip pattern on the outsole is designed to provide traction on the heel and toe so you get a stable foot strike and toe-off but a smooth glide from heel to toe so you can build up speed.

The racing shoe is priced at $170 and available in unisex sizes ranging from Men’s 3.5/Women’s 5 up to Men’s 15/Women’s 16.5.

$170 at Nike


Best all-terrain running shoe: Saucony Xodus Ultra 2

Saucony

Built for ultra marathons or long trail runs, the Saucony Xodus Ultra 2 offers a balance of supportive cushion and great ground feel so you can navigate rocky or muddy terrain with a secure footing and comfortable ride. The traction and a durable frame protect your foot, even when you’re scrambling uphill.

These details make it a great daily trainer for trail runners: they’re supportive, comfortable, and stabilize your foot strike so you can run safely. The all-terrain shoe shines brightest on trails, but it can hold up to brief sections of paved roads if you’re running a route with mixed terrain.

The Saucony Xodus Ultra 2 is available in women’s sizes and men’s sizes for $150.

Top features of the Saucony Xodus Ultra 2:

  • With a 4.5 mm deep grip on the outsole, this trail running shoe is ideal for agility on rough terrain.
  • The PWRRUN PB foam midsole is lightweight yet plush enough to keep you comfortable on long runs.
  • A 6mm drop is a great balance of cushion and ground feel so you can feel the trail underfoot while still having plenty of shock-absorbing foam.

$150 at Saucony


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