The Best Half Marathon Shoes for 2021

On the hunt for the right part of half marathon shoes to get you through your training and 13.1 miles?

Our group of runners and reviewers have gone out to the market and road-tested the best half marathon shoes on the market right now, for both men and women – and here’s their pick.

Whether you’re a half marathon virgin or a veteran, selecting a pair of shoes for your event can be a tough task.

It can be hard to find the right pair when starting out. Likewise, sometimes you have a favorite style which suddenly isn’t available, or sometimes you need to upgrade your old kickers.

Let’s look at what you should be looking for in half marathon shoes – and share with you our recommendations for the best half marathon running shoes!

best half marathon shoes

What To Look For In Half Marathon Running Shoes

As I detailed in How To Choose Running Shoes, the number one factor when trying out running shoes is simply comfort

It almost sounds too simple, but it’s true.

Any shoe you don’t find comfortable when trying on is not going to get any more comfortable once you’re out running with them.

And sometimes you can only discover that a pair of shoes are uncomfortable after running around in them.

Here are some more pointers for what to look for when picking your marathon shoes:

  • You want a thumbspace between the longest toe and the shoe box.  This avoids the repetitive motion of the toe hitting the toebox, which leads to sore toes / lost toenails.  At the same time, if the shoe is too big your foot will move inside it and your toes will strike the toebox anyway.
  • Pick shoes that suit the terrain of the half marathon.  Trail races have very different underfoot conditions to city races.   (And don’t forget to train in the same environment as you are running! 
  • Seek advice from a reputable running store.   Avoid stores where the assistants aren’t runners themselves.
  • Stick to what has worked.  If you have a brand or model you’re familiar with, there’s often no need to even change your marathon training shoe.
  • If you’re used to using insoles, take your running insoles to the store with you and try out your new shoes.

Related: What To Wear When Running

How Long Should You Trial a Pair of Half Marathon Shoes For?

Two months gives me plenty of time to train in my half marathon shoes, ‘kick the tires’, and discover any small complaints.   

It sometimes takes a few 5 mile + runs to figure out that you don’t actually like a pair of shoes!

MarathonShoes2

How Many Pairs of Half Marathon Shoes Should You Buy?

If you’re in training mode for a half marathon, consider buying 2 (or even 3) pairs of the same shoe.

(Only do this once you’re confident you’ve found the shoe).

Why?

Running shoes gradually lose their support and ‘bounce’.   You should look to change out a pair of running shoes every 300 – 500 miles.

At the same time, running shoes need to be broken in.   A brand-new pair of running shoes need a few miles on them before they are race-ready.

When it comes to half marathon preparation, here’s how I like to do it:

I buy two identical pairs of running shoes.

Then I wear my first pair for almost all of my training – by the time the race comes, they are a little worn and dull.

As for the second pair (my ‘race shoes’), I save them until around 4 to 5 weeks before the race, then introduce them into the mix.   I’ll alternate the 2 pairs, until the race shoes have around 50 miles in them. Then they’re ready. 

Related article: How To Run With Your Phone: The Best Options For Carrying Your Phone While Running

Best Half Marathon Shoes for Men

Here are a selection of my top half marathon training and running shoes for the guys:

Bestseller No. 1
SaleBestseller No. 2
SALOMON Men's Speedcross 4 GTX Trail Running Shoes Waterproof, Black Black Black Silver Metallic X, 8 UK
  • AGGRESSIVE GRIP: The fourth generation of our legendary Speedcross lug pattern is an even hungrier monster for eating up soft, technical trails
  • PRECISE FOOTHOLD: Feel one with the trail with a precise combination of Sensifit with Quicklace, performance last shape and endoFit
  • WEATHERPROOF COMFORT: Techno fabric meets technical terrain in a weatherproof GORE-TEX shoe that breathes and protects so you can run through all seasons
Bestseller No. 3
Aaronano 5 Pairs Men Half Cushioned Terry Athletic Running Length Socks Size(5.5-11 UK/38-46 EU)
  • SIZE:5.5-11 UK/38-46 EU
  • Half-cushion terry foot for comfort and shock-absorption
  • Breathable design in the foot back part ,it keeps warm well in winter and has a good absorption of sweat in summer
  • 5 Pairs in one pack ,it meets your sports demands within a week ,best choices for physical exercise, running or whatever kind of sports
  • Machine wash available and tough enough to wear
Bestseller No. 4
6/12 Pairs Trainer Socks for Men and Women Cotton Sports Socks for Men and Women Nonslip Ankle Socks Running Socks Outdoor Sport Socks (Mixed 6 pairs, 3-7)
  • 1.Sweat-wicking and breathable sports socks: Made of high-quality materials, they have super elasticity and comfort. This makes the sports socks breathable, comfortable to wear all day, and can take sweat away from the skin, keeping you cool, dry and light, effectively inhibiting bacteria. This kind of thin socks is especially suitable for the hot season.
  • 2.Mesh ventilation can cool the heat under any conditions and keep the feet at the ideal temperature. Color stitching on the heel and toe to bring fashion sense to sports socks
  • 3.Heel and arch support: The elastic cuff can lock the heel tightly to prevent the socks from slipping off during daily work. Proper arch compression will keep your arch in a safe and stable fit.
  • 4.Sports training socks: Suitable for various high-intensity outdoor sports (such as running, training, hiking, basketball, fitness, business, leisure, climbing, etc.), which can effectively protect your feet.
  • 5.Buy it if you like it, you will be 100% satisfied with our socks! If you have any questions about size, or any questions about quality, please contact us. We will help you solve it as soon as possible and give you the best service.
Bestseller No. 5
Rymora Compression Socks for Men and Women (Lightweight, Graduated Compression, Seamless) (One Pair) (Black) [S] (Small: UK 3-6.5 / EU 35-39)
  • GRADUATED COMPRESSION: The level of compression in the socks truly reduces from the ankle to the knee. This provides support for the calves and promotes increased blood flow, leading to increased oxygen flow to the leg muscles helping to prevent cramps and to lessen fatigue.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT: A great alternative to Rymora Cushioned Compression Socks. If you want a pair of socks that are lightweight then these are for you.
  • VERSATILE: Unisex and perfect for sports, work, recovery and flights. Sports (running, marathons, hiking, cycling, football, rugby, tennis, basketball, triathlons, skiing, weight lifting and general fitness). Work (individuals who are on their feet all day such as nurses, teachers, pharmacists, police, warehouse operatives). Flights (reduce the risk of DVT and blood clots whilst on long flights).
  • HIGH QUALITY: A premium tailored blend to ensure breathability, elasticity and longevity: 54% nylon, 39% polyester, 7% elastane.
  • ORDER NOW: Don’t delay, click Add to Basket now and join the thousands of others benefitting from these versatile and highly rated compression socks.
The Best Half Marathon Shoes for 2021 1The Best Half Marathon Shoes for 2021 2

ASICS Nimbus Gel 21

– Great for rookie runners

– Rates high for comfort

The Asics Nimbus line have been a favourite of aspiring marathon runners for decades now.   

This well-supported, well-cushioned shoe is very forgiving – which can be advantageous as you increase the mileage.   The Gel 21 model is slightly narrower than previous models.   

But if a you want a shoe that is total comfort, this is the one for you.

The Best Half Marathon Shoes for 2021 3The Best Half Marathon Shoes for 2021 4

Saucony Ride 10

The Saucony Ride 10 is well-regarded for distance running – it is known for its comfort, flexibility and reasonable price.

It is designed as a neutral shoe, and the mesh exterior gives a lot of breathability. 

Overall, a good shoe to try out for your marathon training.

The Best Half Marathon Shoes for 2021 5The Best Half Marathon Shoes for 2021 6

Mizuno Wave Inspire 15

The Mizuno is a great shoe that offers a ton of support and cushioning – which may be too much for some people.   

It includes a 12mm drop (the difference in height between the toe and the heel) which is quite pronounced. 

The Wave Inspire 15 offer a lot of stability, and the mesh upper makes the shoe breathable.

The Best Half Marathon Shoes for 2021 7The Best Half Marathon Shoes for 2021 8

NIKE Air Zoom Pegasus 36

I’m continually impressed by how well Nike manages to make shoes that are both ‘lifestyle’ everyday shoes and great distance running footwear.   

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 is the shoe which is currently my top pick of the Nike running range!   

It’s durable, super-light, and comfortable to boot. Last year I clocked up most of my miles in their predecessor, the 35 model.

Bestseller No. 1
SaleBestseller No. 2
SALOMON Men's Speedcross 4 GTX Trail Running Shoes Waterproof, Black Black Black Silver Metallic X, 8 UK
  • AGGRESSIVE GRIP: The fourth generation of our legendary Speedcross lug pattern is an even hungrier monster for eating up soft, technical trails
  • PRECISE FOOTHOLD: Feel one with the trail with a precise combination of Sensifit with Quicklace, performance last shape and endoFit
  • WEATHERPROOF COMFORT: Techno fabric meets technical terrain in a weatherproof GORE-TEX shoe that breathes and protects so you can run through all seasons
Bestseller No. 3
Aaronano 5 Pairs Men Half Cushioned Terry Athletic Running Length Socks Size(5.5-11 UK/38-46 EU)
  • SIZE:5.5-11 UK/38-46 EU
  • Half-cushion terry foot for comfort and shock-absorption
  • Breathable design in the foot back part ,it keeps warm well in winter and has a good absorption of sweat in summer
  • 5 Pairs in one pack ,it meets your sports demands within a week ,best choices for physical exercise, running or whatever kind of sports
  • Machine wash available and tough enough to wear
Bestseller No. 4
6/12 Pairs Trainer Socks for Men and Women Cotton Sports Socks for Men and Women Nonslip Ankle Socks Running Socks Outdoor Sport Socks (Mixed 6 pairs, 3-7)
  • 1.Sweat-wicking and breathable sports socks: Made of high-quality materials, they have super elasticity and comfort. This makes the sports socks breathable, comfortable to wear all day, and can take sweat away from the skin, keeping you cool, dry and light, effectively inhibiting bacteria. This kind of thin socks is especially suitable for the hot season.
  • 2.Mesh ventilation can cool the heat under any conditions and keep the feet at the ideal temperature. Color stitching on the heel and toe to bring fashion sense to sports socks
  • 3.Heel and arch support: The elastic cuff can lock the heel tightly to prevent the socks from slipping off during daily work. Proper arch compression will keep your arch in a safe and stable fit.
  • 4.Sports training socks: Suitable for various high-intensity outdoor sports (such as running, training, hiking, basketball, fitness, business, leisure, climbing, etc.), which can effectively protect your feet.
  • 5.Buy it if you like it, you will be 100% satisfied with our socks! If you have any questions about size, or any questions about quality, please contact us. We will help you solve it as soon as possible and give you the best service.

Best Half Marathon Shoes for Women

And here’s my pick of the top marathon training and running shoes for the ladies:

The Best Half Marathon Shoes for 2021 9The Best Half Marathon Shoes for 2021 10

Asics Gel Venture 6

Offering support and a firm sole, the Gel Venture 6 is rugged enough to be used on either the road or the trails.   

It includes a lot of support, including the long heel collar – making it very versatile.   

If you’re used to running in lightweight shoes however, you may find this one a bit clunky.

The Best Half Marathon Shoes for 2021 11The Best Half Marathon Shoes for 2021 12

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20

With an engineered 3D mesh upper, and forgiving cushioning, the Adrenaline GTS 20 is well-suited for runners looking to increase the mileage.   

The guide-rails structure are designed to protect the knees from over-use injuries.

The Best Half Marathon Shoes for 2021 13The Best Half Marathon Shoes for 2021 14

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36

The Zoom Pegasus 36 offers a great distance running trainer.   

It’s lightweight, it’s comfortable without drowning your feet in cushioning, and its responsive.  The flymesh upper is awesome too. 

 The Nike range are known for being great running shoes that also look good and are comfortable enough you find yourself wearing them all the time!

The Best Half Marathon Shoes for 2021 15The Best Half Marathon Shoes for 2021 16

Asics Gel Kayano 26

This shoe gives a very stable run – it provides plenty of support where you need it. 

It’s also comfortable and versatile enough that you’ll find yourself wearing it to the gym.   

The Kayano 25 features a wider toe box, which allows your toes to splay out naturally – good if you have big toes!

The Best Half Marathon Shoes for 2021 17The Best Half Marathon Shoes for 2021 18

New Balance Fresh Foam Arishi V2

NB’s Fresh Foam range is all about combining tons of cushioning with lightweight – two features that haven’t traditionally gone together.   

The result is this dynamic range of versatile shoes, that look good whether you’re out for a half marathon, or in the gym!

Bestseller No. 1
Half Marathon shoe 13.1 sterling silver charm .925 x 1 Marathons charms
  • Marathons charms
  • Sterling Silver .925
  • Half Marathon shoe 13.1
  • Fitting - Jump Ring - NOT suitable for bead bracelets
  • Charm
Bestseller No. 2
6/12 Pairs Trainer Socks for Men and Women Cotton Sports Socks for Men and Women Nonslip Ankle Socks Running Socks Outdoor Sport Socks (Mixed 6 pairs, 3-7)
  • 1.Sweat-wicking and breathable sports socks: Made of high-quality materials, they have super elasticity and comfort. This makes the sports socks breathable, comfortable to wear all day, and can take sweat away from the skin, keeping you cool, dry and light, effectively inhibiting bacteria. This kind of thin socks is especially suitable for the hot season.
  • 2.Mesh ventilation can cool the heat under any conditions and keep the feet at the ideal temperature. Color stitching on the heel and toe to bring fashion sense to sports socks
  • 3.Heel and arch support: The elastic cuff can lock the heel tightly to prevent the socks from slipping off during daily work. Proper arch compression will keep your arch in a safe and stable fit.
  • 4.Sports training socks: Suitable for various high-intensity outdoor sports (such as running, training, hiking, basketball, fitness, business, leisure, climbing, etc.), which can effectively protect your feet.
  • 5.Buy it if you like it, you will be 100% satisfied with our socks! If you have any questions about size, or any questions about quality, please contact us. We will help you solve it as soon as possible and give you the best service.
Bestseller No. 3
Rymora Compression Socks for Men and Women (Lightweight, Graduated Compression, Seamless) (One Pair) (Black) [S] (Small: UK 3-6.5 / EU 35-39)
  • GRADUATED COMPRESSION: The level of compression in the socks truly reduces from the ankle to the knee. This provides support for the calves and promotes increased blood flow, leading to increased oxygen flow to the leg muscles helping to prevent cramps and to lessen fatigue.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT: A great alternative to Rymora Cushioned Compression Socks. If you want a pair of socks that are lightweight then these are for you.
  • VERSATILE: Unisex and perfect for sports, work, recovery and flights. Sports (running, marathons, hiking, cycling, football, rugby, tennis, basketball, triathlons, skiing, weight lifting and general fitness). Work (individuals who are on their feet all day such as nurses, teachers, pharmacists, police, warehouse operatives). Flights (reduce the risk of DVT and blood clots whilst on long flights).
  • HIGH QUALITY: A premium tailored blend to ensure breathability, elasticity and longevity: 54% nylon, 39% polyester, 7% elastane.
  • ORDER NOW: Don’t delay, click Add to Basket now and join the thousands of others benefitting from these versatile and highly rated compression socks.
SaleBestseller No. 4
JSLEAP Women Sneakers Fashion Casual Monochrome Running Sports Slip Shock Absorption Breathable Walking Shoes, Black, 7 UK
  • Material -- Soft & breathable flying woven mesh surface + non-slip wear-resistant TPU rubber sole
  • Blade Sole -- The sole Is made of hollow carved technology , providing stable support and optimal shock absorption for sports
  • EFFICIENT FOOT SUPPORT -- Die-cut Sturdy EVA midsole and lightweight cushioning which lasts many strolls and jogs,provides mobility at the ankles
  • Breathable Knit Uppers -- Lightweight Comfortable Fabric, Lightness Mesh Vamp Design,Make it Possible that your feet free breath when you running or walking
  • Perfect for run, walk, work, weight training, park, boating, cycling jogging, garden, lawn, equestrian, basketball, rowing, athletics, tennis, volleyball, football, driving and yoga, casual daily shoes which can bring more enjoy to your life

Shopping for the runner in your life? Check out our 12 gift ideas for trail runners!

Thomas Watson

Thomas Watson

Thomas Watson is an ultra-runner, UESCA-certified running coach, and the founder of MarathonHandbook.com. His work has been featured in Runner's World, Livestrong.com, MapMyRun, and many other running publications. He likes running interesting races and good beer. More at his bio.

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