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:

SaleBestseller No. 1
Salomon Speedcross 4 GTX Men's Waterproof Trail Running Shoes, Black Black Black Silver Metallic X, 10.5 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. 2
Brooks Men's Launch GTS 8 Running Shoe, Nightlife/Black/White, 8 UK
  • THIS MEN'S SHOE IS FOR: The Launch GTS 8 is for runners who want a lightweight shoe with a fast, fun ride plus trusted GuideRails support. Durable enough for training but light enough for race day, the Launch GTS 8 is designed to keep up on every run. Predecessor: Brooks Ravenna 11.
  • MAXIMUM SUPPORT: The Launch GTS 8 is the more supportive version of the Launch 8. The integrated GuideRails holistic support system keeps excess movement in check to keep you moving comfortably and providing support beyond just the feet, to the most injury-prone part of a runner’s body: the knees.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT CUSHIONING: Brooks lightest BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning provides a fast and supportive ride without the extra weight - perfect for days when you are working on your speed.
  • BREATHABLE AND SLEEK FIT: The new one-piece mesh upper creates a closer-to-foot-feel that is more breathable than ever before.
  • QUICK TRANSITIONS: The Midfoot Transition Zone is shaped to go from heel to toe quickly. Newly added blown rubber in the forefoot propels you forward for a faster ride.
SaleBestseller No. 3
SOLLOMENSI Running Shoes Mens Womens Trainers Lightweight Outdoor Sports Shoes Athletic Gym Fitness Walking Run Jogging Walking Casual Sneakers 8 UK/42 EU H Red
  • BREATHABLE: Durable,Breathable Layer Fabric Knit Upper,features outstanding breathability and quick-drying, keeps your feet refreshing and cool.
  • FEATURES: Excellent shock-absorbing ability provide great foot support and protect.Comfortable,Breathable, Lightweight, Durable, Stylish.
  • NON SLIP: Shoe sole print shape designed with appropriate depth for skid resistance,wearproof.Non-slip sole increases the friction and air circulation, which makes your action safer.
  • FASHION:Classic Outsole Pattern,Low-Top, Lace-Up Closure And Super Light,match with any clothes,but make you different from others.
  • OCCASION:Suitable for party, sports, indoor, outdoor, travel, travel, gym, running, every day walk-around, home, regular walking, casual, workout classes, vacation, leisure, daily shopping, tourism, camping, driving, jogging, dog walks, etc.
Bestseller No. 4
Salomon Men's Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoes, Black (Black/Black/Black Metallic), 9 UK
  • Men's trail running shoe for long distance off-road runs in the mountains or forest
  • Perfect fit, Easy to slip on and off foot thanks to Quicklace lacing system, Water-resistant upper material for dry feet, No pebbles in shoes due to mesh insert and tight closure underneath ankle
  • Extremely light running shoe with removable OrthoLite insole made of EVA foam for cool and dry feet, Comfortable to wear, Good cushioning and anatomical foot support with EVA foam midsole
  • No slipping on wet, slippery or muddy mountain or forest terrain due to Premium Wet Contagrip technology: Low profile for a good performance even on uneven ground
  • Content: 1 Pair of Salomon Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoe, Material: Synthetic/Textile, Colour: Black (Black/Black/Black Metallic), Size: 43 1/3
SaleBestseller No. 5
ON Cloudflow Road Running Mens Shoes, Flare/Dawn - 10.5 UK
  • Lightweight comfort
  • The Swiss-engineered mesh upper is primed for race pace. Lightweight and reinforced to support tired feet, with zoned ventilation to let air flow through. An elastic strap keeps laces out of the way, and a new rubber compound in an advanced traction pattern offers superior grip on wet roads.
  • Ready, Set, Flow'
  • 18 adaptive Cloud elements and Helion superfoam combine with the re-engineered Speedboard to turn impact into acceleration. The curved heel unit means better hold, durability and comfort. Strategic taping and a new lacing configuration offer sure-footed freedom and support for high-speed goals.
  • BEST FOR Fast training, racing, 10km, half marathon, marathon, tempo running, long interval sessions
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.

SaleBestseller No. 1
Salomon Speedcross 4 GTX Men's Waterproof Trail Running Shoes, Black Black Black Silver Metallic X, 10.5 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. 2
Brooks Men's Launch GTS 8 Running Shoe, Nightlife/Black/White, 8 UK
  • THIS MEN'S SHOE IS FOR: The Launch GTS 8 is for runners who want a lightweight shoe with a fast, fun ride plus trusted GuideRails support. Durable enough for training but light enough for race day, the Launch GTS 8 is designed to keep up on every run. Predecessor: Brooks Ravenna 11.
  • MAXIMUM SUPPORT: The Launch GTS 8 is the more supportive version of the Launch 8. The integrated GuideRails holistic support system keeps excess movement in check to keep you moving comfortably and providing support beyond just the feet, to the most injury-prone part of a runner’s body: the knees.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT CUSHIONING: Brooks lightest BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning provides a fast and supportive ride without the extra weight - perfect for days when you are working on your speed.
  • BREATHABLE AND SLEEK FIT: The new one-piece mesh upper creates a closer-to-foot-feel that is more breathable than ever before.
  • QUICK TRANSITIONS: The Midfoot Transition Zone is shaped to go from heel to toe quickly. Newly added blown rubber in the forefoot propels you forward for a faster ride.
SaleBestseller No. 3
SOLLOMENSI Running Shoes Mens Womens Trainers Lightweight Outdoor Sports Shoes Athletic Gym Fitness Walking Run Jogging Walking Casual Sneakers 8 UK/42 EU H Red
  • BREATHABLE: Durable,Breathable Layer Fabric Knit Upper,features outstanding breathability and quick-drying, keeps your feet refreshing and cool.
  • FEATURES: Excellent shock-absorbing ability provide great foot support and protect.Comfortable,Breathable, Lightweight, Durable, Stylish.
  • NON SLIP: Shoe sole print shape designed with appropriate depth for skid resistance,wearproof.Non-slip sole increases the friction and air circulation, which makes your action safer.
  • FASHION:Classic Outsole Pattern,Low-Top, Lace-Up Closure And Super Light,match with any clothes,but make you different from others.
  • OCCASION:Suitable for party, sports, indoor, outdoor, travel, travel, gym, running, every day walk-around, home, regular walking, casual, workout classes, vacation, leisure, daily shopping, tourism, camping, driving, jogging, dog walks, etc.
Bestseller No. 4
Salomon Men's Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoes, Black (Black/Black/Black Metallic), 9 UK
  • Men's trail running shoe for long distance off-road runs in the mountains or forest
  • Perfect fit, Easy to slip on and off foot thanks to Quicklace lacing system, Water-resistant upper material for dry feet, No pebbles in shoes due to mesh insert and tight closure underneath ankle
  • Extremely light running shoe with removable OrthoLite insole made of EVA foam for cool and dry feet, Comfortable to wear, Good cushioning and anatomical foot support with EVA foam midsole
  • No slipping on wet, slippery or muddy mountain or forest terrain due to Premium Wet Contagrip technology: Low profile for a good performance even on uneven ground
  • Content: 1 Pair of Salomon Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoe, Material: Synthetic/Textile, Colour: Black (Black/Black/Black Metallic), Size: 43 1/3

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!

SaleBestseller No. 1
Salomon Speedcross 4 Women's Trail Running Shoes
  • Women's trail running shoe for long distance off-road runs in the mountains or forest. Mid feather construction
  • Perfect fit, Easy to slip on and off foot thanks to Quicklace lacing system, Water-resistant upper material for dry feet, No pebbles in shoes due to mesh insert and tight closure underneath ankle
  • Extremely light running shoe with removable OrthoLite insole made of EVA foam for cool and dry feet, Comfortable to wear, Good cushioning and anatomical foot support with EVA foam midsole
  • No slipping on wet, slippery or muddy mountain or forest terrain due to Premium Wet Contagrip technology: Low profile for a good performance even on uneven ground
  • Content: 1 Pair of Salomon Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoe, Material: Synthetic/Textile, Colour: Black (Black/Black/Black Metallic), Size: 38 2/3
Bestseller No. 2
SALOMON Speedcross 4 GTX Women's Waterproof Trail Running Shoes, Black (Black/Black/Metallic Bubble Blue), 6.5 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. 4
Brooks Womens Ghost 13 GTX Running Shoes - Black/Black/Peacock - 4 UK
  • Support: Neutral
  • Midsole Drop: 12mm
  • Arch: Medium, High
  • Type: Cushion
  • Use: Road Running
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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