Ok, so before we breakdown the best running shoes in 2021, I want to clarify that personal preference is everything. For example, some people think the Nike pegasus 38 and it’s previous models are the best running shoes to ever grace the planet, whereas on the other hand, I think they’re completely useless. So please bear in mind, this is from my personal preference and my own research. I am not paid to influence you to buy any particular shoe, so my top 5 best running shoes in 2021 so far, will be completely unbiased.
For further clarification, these shoes won’t fit any particular category and I’ll be breaking down each subsection in another article. E.g The best mileage shoes, the best workout shoes, the best racing shoes… You get the point.
Top 5 Best running shoes 2021
Asics Nova Blast
Wow, I have been using this shoe for just over a month and on the first run I was very skeptical. It felt stiff, un-cushioned and uncomfortable. This very quickly changed the second time I put them on my feet. It was like I was wearing a completely different running shoe. Extremely cushioned, fairly responsive and now possibly my favourite milage shoe ever.
So far it has handled all my easy runs on all terrains and inclines. I typically run easy with this shoe and the only faster run I have done was a steady Long run, which included around 14k at 3:30 Kms, so it can certainly handle some faster paced work when needed. However, anything faster than this pace, personally I would 100% choose a different running shoe. As although the Asics Nova Blast is relatively lightweight for its cushion, It’s still on the heavier side, compared to the next shoe on this list.
The softest shoe I have ever worn.
The Asics Nova Blast 2 will be released soon, so keep an eye out
Saucony Endorphin Speed
The shoe of 2020. No running shoe came close to the versatile Saucony Endorphin speed last year and it still has a top spot in 2021.
It’s by far the most natural feeling running shoe I have ever worn, and it literally feels like you’re running in the most optimum way possible, without the extra stiffness of a carbon plated racing shoe. Since this shoe has a much more comforting plastic plate, that’s more durable and doesn’t leave the calfs banged up. This shoe has personally been used for 25k Long runs with tempos in, all the way down to some fast 300s (I forgot my spikes). I’d say the shoe has its main strengths working at tempo/threshold pace, but it can certainly go a lot quicker and feel comfortable for those longer runs.
Out of all the running shoes I have ever worn, the Saucony Endorphin speed is the only one that seems like it can do absolutely everything. Some shoes come close, Like the new Hoka Mach 4, but not even that is in the same league as the Endorphin speed, as it’s in a class of it’s own.
You can also wear this shoe on race day, especially if you’re more of a casual runner.
Nike Vaporfly Next% 2
I’m lucky enough to not feel the negatives of training in carbon plated shoes regularly. At the minute any track workout I do that I’m not wearing spikes in, I will probably wear the Nike Vaporfly Next%. Which is quite a debatable subject, due to it’s price point, durability and aggressive nature. Any workout on the road or track that I see as challenging, I will wear this shoe. The time I avoid it, would be for more bread and butter workouts that are a little less taxing to complete. E.g Tempo, threshold, or shorter Intervals of 5K pace and upwards.
I personally find that the zoomx foam, allows me to leave the workout not banged up and therefore reduce the risk of injury and allow me to recover more optimally before the next session. And of course come race day on the roads, this shoe has been a global favourite and especially for the Half marathon and Marathon it seems the best shoe to be wearing.
Asics Meta speed sky
The new super running shoe. We have already witnessed Beth Potter run a World record time in the 5K (Not ratified), so the shoe has already shown it can hold it’s own on the roads, but it also has similar benefits for training, as the next%. The reason I have included this shoe as well as the Nike Vaporfly Next% is because from first impressions this shoe seems as if it is faster for the 5K and 10K distances than any other super shoe on the market. And since 5K races are roughly 50% of all races, Parkrun’s etc… it only makes sense I include this shoe, since it is probably the best suited racing shoe for the majority of people reading this.
Hoka Clifton 7
Hoka at this point are pretty much the kings of milage shoes. The only other shoe company that compares is Asics. If you struggle with impact injuries, I strongly suggest investing in some Hoka’s for your milage. The reason the Hoka clifton 7 is my recommendation is because it fits perfectly within Hoka’s shoe range. It’s not too heavy, yet still has a lot of cushion and can be used for some steady miles, as well as the easy ones.
If you have used Hoka running shoes before, I don’t need to do too much explaining. But for any none Hoka wearers, the high stack, high cushion is something everyone needs to try. I had years of achilles issues, switched to Hoka’s (Now asics as well) and I no longer get any impact related injuries.
My current rotation
So even though I have most of the shoes mentioned currently in my rotation. I want to state the other shoes I’m currently using and for what purpose.
New Balance Fuelcell Rebel – Tempo running and steady runs.
Hoka Clifton 6 – Another alternative to a mileage shoe.
Nike tempo Next% – Track sessions that aren’t as hard
Adidas SL20 – Strides, some track tempo’s, if done for a warmup.
They have amazing reviews, but I either haven’t tried or personally don’t like as much: Hoka Mach 4, Asics, Asics gel nimbus 23, Saucony Endorphin shift, Brooks glycerin 19 GTS.