Running sounds easy. We’ve all run for a bus, run after a mellifluous van for an ice cream, and run out of good ideas - but when it comes to proper pushing-past-5k running – it’s tough. If you’re crazy enough to have signed up to a marathon or a half at that, then you’re going to need to get up off your beanbag and swap Netflix binging for pavement pounding.
We hate to be a nag, but it’s not going to happen unless you set some achievable goals, and one way which is sure to get you off to a good start? A good pair of trainers. At Stuff, we’ve foot-picked not only the best looking but some of the coolest, techiest and best performing running shoes money can buy...
Under Armour HOVR Phantom connected (£120)
Easily the brand’s best running shoes to date, the Phantom Connected wouldn’t look out of place strolling around town. But beneath these stylish and ultra-breathable sneaks are sensors that sync seamlessly with the MapMyRun app and deliver real-time readouts for pace, distance, duration and speed, along with cadence and stride length. Run phone-free and you can sync data later, but you won’t get mid-run updates and sadly there’s no way to share data with your running watch. But the fact they cost the same as a regular sneaker means they’re well worth lacing up.
Saucony Triumph ISO 5 (£140)
All runners dream of soft landings and springy take-offs and that’s exactly what this chunky sole mate is going to provide. A well-padded footbed cradles your foot for maximum comfort and support. They’ll also do their best to correct runners who suffer from under pronation. Whilst they don’t look like they’d shy away from muddy trails with that deep heel, they’re not fully splash-proof.
Brooks Cascadia 13 GTX (£130)
Brooks call it trail debris, we call it nature shavings – whichever way you want to look at it the Cascadia 13 GTX won’t so much as bat an eyelet lid at the gnarliest of tracks with their dedicated rock shield guards. The GORE-TEX is waterproof so you can go hell for leather into muddy puddles but they’ll be just as happy pounding the pavement around the block on a fresh spring morning.
Nike Epic React Flyknit 2 (£130)
Regardless of how many Rocky-montage workouts you do, it’s going to be hard to beat your record jog distance while wearing worn-out old trainers. The sequel to last year’s Nike Epic React silhouette once again features foam midsoles that absorb the energy of each step and propel you forwards. The difference? An improved heel clip for one, while the design is inspired by the patterns and tones of the ‘90s tech world. Just like us.
Adidas AlphaEdge 4D (£250)
Right now, 3D printing is mostly used by nerds for plastic figurines, but Adidas has grander plans for the tech. By using the revolutionary Digital Light Synthesis printing process, it’s designed a new midsole that offers oodles of energy return. To dedorkify this waffle, it basically means the seaweed-esque mesh at the bottom of these AlphaEdge 4D runners should help you run further than ever before.
Hoka Mafate Speed 2 (€170)
Pounding the pavement is fine, but going off road to give you and your mapping app a run for its money is what Hoka’s Mafate Speed 2 were made for. Built for attacking technical terrain, the shoes feature a tuned Meta-Rocker that turns your trainers into rocking chairs, protecting your fragile metatarsals whilst traversing undulating hills and dales in the most smooth and efficient manner possible.
On Running Cloud X (£130)
Lightweight and versatile, the Cloud X is the perfect running shoe for procrastinators. Equally adept when running to the gym as it is sweating out a HIIT class once inside, these mesh-made sneaks feature a CloudTec sole for flawless moves in more directions than a chess champion. Stability comes in the shape of a precision-moulded heel that’s there to keep your hooves in place and your achilles out of trouble.
New Balance FuelCell Impulse (£120)
Foam in running shoes is nothing new, but New Balance’s FuelCell foam is nitrogen-infused, which sort of makes it sound like the best foam, doesn’t it? Apparently 30% lighter than runners with comparable foams, the speed-focused shoe is designed to help you toe off quickly and with power, while the breathable, sock-like upper maximises comfort. The FuelCell Impulse is available in a variety of colourways, the best of which we’ve coined ‘Yoshi Green’.
Asics Gel-Kayano 25 (£155)
You can’t be running long-distance in a pair of shoes that give up before you do. Asics’ Gel-Kayano 25 is built with endurance in mind, so if you’re starting to fantasise about Netflix and massive bag of Wotsits, it’s not because your feet hurt. Its metaclutch offers improved heel-holding, FlyteFoam Lyte tech helps you bounce with each stride, and the roomy toebox stops your foot from throbbing as the mile count racks up.
Nike Pegasus Turbo (£160)
If you’re really getting into running, you want a shoe that helps you complete laps of your local park with the grace of a magnificent winged stallion. The ultra-light ZoomX foam in the midsole is the same foam Nike uses in the Vaporfly 4%, its fastest marathon shoe, giving you an 85% energy return. That’s the best Nike has to offer. The waffle-pattern outsole sadly isn’t as edible as it sounds, but it does give you great grip no matter what surface you’re running on.