Here we’ll take a look at what, in my opinion, are the best road running shoes for men in 2023.
Looking at each major category of shoes, I’ll tell you which shoes I think offer the best features in each of these categories.
Of course, as always, these selections are my personal opinions based on shoes I’ve tried during the year so far as well as shoes that I’ve recommended to hundreds of customers throughout the year at my own running store.
In some categories, if there is more than one shoe I feel offers great features I’ll include them all.
The categories are neutral cushioned, support or control shoes, road racing shoes, the best value shoes, and finally a new category that has emerged in 2023, ‘super-trainers’.
Born out of carbon-plated road racing shoes, there’s now a wide selection of carbon-plated daily training models, I’m calling this category super-trainers!
9 Best Road Running Shoes For Men
Best road running shoes for Men
Price – £170/$160; Weight – 279g / 9.8oz; Heel stack – 37mm; Toe stack – 27mm (10mm drop)
Whilst the Saucony Triumph 21 is only a slight revision of the previous model, the changes do make it stand out in terms of overall fit and comfort.
A new seamless, flat-knit construction of the upper gives the shoe a premium fit and feel. Ok, it should do, after all, this is the brand’s, range-topping neutral shoe, and their most expensive.
The whole upper part of the shoe simply oozes plushness, with neat padding around the ankle collar and heel, your foot slides inside to be welcomed by a neat fitting upper that has to be one of the best (if not the best on the market).
Cushioning comes from the brand’s PWRRUN+ (power-run-plus) foam. This Peba-based foam has the appearance of polystyrene balls compressed together and looks a little like adidas’ BOOST material.
While looking similar PWRRUN+ is lighter and to me, feels a much more responsive, less dense material.
The ride of the shoe is great, shock absorption is second to none and the responsive push-off is just right for an everyday ‘mileage shoe’.
In the past, a shoe such as this would have been a rare thing, highly cushioned and at the same time responsive, but the market is now awash with similar models. The market also has the aforementioned category, super-trainers.
Thanks to the rise of super-trainers as a category, we don’t necessarily need ultra-responsive daily trainers, but if you want a great all-around shoe, the Triumph 21 is it!
Price – £175 / £165; Weight – 270g / 10.2oz; Heel stack – 41.5mm; Toe stack – 33.5mm (8mm drop)
The latest Gel Nimbus was a departure from the previous generation for ASICS. Gone is the visible Gel and the midsole cushioning is ramped up to maximal levels!
I’d always wondered about the effectiveness of the Gel in the shoe, after all, it sat more towards the lateral edge of the shoe and not directly under the heel and the amount of Gel in the forefoot was rather small, to say the least.
In the Nimbus 25 Gel is replaced by PUREGEL, a softer, lighter material, only now it’s embedded deep within the new FF BLAST PLUS ECO foam. This new midsole is undoubtedly excellent in terms of shock-absorbing qualities.
Like the upper of the new shoe, the midsole is very plush, and soft and simply soaks up the impact.
In terms of long, steady miles, the shoe is great, it’s a Rolls Royce of a shoe, just coasting along in comfort!
Where the Triumph 21 is better than the Nimbus and therefore claims the top spot is the responsive feel. The Nimbus is simply just a cushioned shoe (excellent cushioning may I add), but the Triumph’s extra little spring gives it the edge.
Price – £165 / $160; Weight – 298g / 10.5 oz; Heel stack – 38mm; Toe stack – 28mm (10mm drop)
When it comes to support for pronation or overpronation or indeed supination or underpronation, things can become a little confusing.
After all, what exactly is over or under? There’s no set-in-stone measurement or angle, it’s often simply one person’s opinion and like opinions, when it comes to shoes, there’s lots!
Traditionally, shoes featured medial posts to control overpronation, and a firmer section of the midsole placed under the arch to reduce inward roll.
While this method works well it’s a very distinctive type of control and tends to provide an all-or-nothing type of support.
The GTS range of shoes from Brooks (go-to-support) now use the brand’s Guiderail system to provide control.
This system is essentially an extension of the cushioning, up around the medial and lateral side of the rear of the foot, cupping the heel.
By providing an all-around guide rail, the foot is controlled should it roll to either side, a little, as Brooks says, like the rails at the bowling alley. If you need them, they are there, if you don’t need them, then fine.
The guide rail system works very well and as well as stabilizing the foot, they control the rotation of the knee a little and I’ve seen many great instances of them at work and people being amazing at the effect from such a natural feeling system.
As well as the guide rails for control, the Glycerin GTS 20 features the brand’s DNA LOFT v3 cushioning, a nitrogen-infused material that offers supreme cushioning, responsiveness, and an extremely durable life span.
As you’d expect, the upper matches the cushioning and is suitably plush, well-made and comfortable, with an engineered mesh that’s highly breathable.
Price – £165 / $160; Weight – 252g / 8.9oz; Stack heel – 36.5mm; Stack toe – 28.5mm (drop 8mm)
On its release, the Tempus was somewhat of a revelation, a lightweight training shoe that offers great support and a near-racing shoe-like experience.
Support category shoes are often heavier models without the responsive nature that can be found on some of their neutral training counterparts.
Taking a PWRRUN PB core sat within a PWRRUN frame, the Tempus offers both an energized ride that supports the foot and control over-pronation. How the two materials work together is both clever and highly effective.
The support isn’t simply a traditional medial post, but more an integration of the two materials to best guide the foot forward.
A slim-fitting midfoot provides further support around the foot and a broader forefoot allows the toes to splay naturally, again contributing to natural stability.
The shoe performs very well on a day-to-day basis and here, it’s only pipped to the post by the exceptional durability of the Glycerin GTS.
Price – £235 / $250; Weight – 210g / 7.4oz; Stack heel – 40mm; Stack toe – 32mm (8mm drop)
Having been lucky enough to have tried most carbon-plated road racing shoes in the last few years, the Vaporfly has always been my number-one choice.
Of course, having been the focus of Eliud Kipchoge’s first breaking two attempts, the shoe gained instant notoriety.
Questions over its initial legality and then later new World Athletics rules being introduced to limit future shoes, the Vaporfly was the shoe to be seen on the start line of road races the world over.
Now, Eliud chooses the Alphafly, but it’s the Vaporfly that edges it in both popularity stakes and at the front of marathons everywhere.
The Vaporfly is a little less bulky, lighter and more flexible than the Alphafly and for me, the more versatile racing shoe over any distance.
The Vaporfly 3 sees a couple more mm of that soft, responsive ZoomX foam and gives the shoe a slightly more cushioned feel.
To accommodate this extra ZoomX but stay within World Athletics limits, the outsole has been reduced. This makes the shoe a little lighter and more flexible but does reduce durability a touch.
The durability of road racing shoes is always questioned. The On Cloudboom Echo 3 for instance says right there on the box that it’s good for just 4 marathon races.
The popularity of carbon racers and simply how good they feel means some runners just want to wear them all the time!
A carbon Flyplate makes the ZoomX come to life and gives the shoe the near-perfect toe-off, energizing your stride and propelling you along the road.
An engineered mesh upper uses a large open-knit pattern. This keeps the weight down and makes the shoe exceptionally breathable.
Right now, for me (and for most other road racing athletes) the Nike Vaporfly 3 is the best competition shoe available.
Price – £85 / $110; Weight – 266g / 9.4oz; Stack heel – 27mm; Stack toe – 19mm (8mm drop)
In terms of value for money, the Reebok Floatride 5 simply can’t be beaten. Whatever reason you have for selecting this shoe, it delivers beyond the price point.
For new runners or those who simply want a reasonably priced shoe, the Floatride offers great cushioning, usually only found in shoes at twice the price!
The Floatride Energy Foam is a TPU-based material and looks a little like the Triumph 21’s cushioning, there’s just less of it.
It has a 27mm stack but has a familiar, responsive feel to it. Ok, it’s not going to give the same ride as the Saucony, especially after around 5 or 6 miles, for beginners who cover fewer miles it’s absolutely fine.
The upper fits well enough given the price and the sole coverage is good and helps the shoe in terms of durability.
Price – £135 / $140; Weight – 286g / 10.1oz; Stack heel – 35mm; Stack toe – 23mm (12mm)
One of the most popular running shoes in specialist retailers as well as with online buyers, the Brooks Ghost 15 is an excellent value shoe.
Its value comes from the fact it does lots of things very well. It offers great cushioning, it’s durable, it has a seamless upper, is well-made and it’s just a very easy shoe to get along with!
As well as all of the above, the Ghost is available in a range of width fittings from narrow to extra wide, it has a Gore-Tex (water-proof) version and it comes in lots of different colors. There really is something for everyone.
Regardless of price, the Brooks Ghost 15 is an excellent shoe!
Price – £210 / $220; Weight – 287g / 10.1oz; Stack heel – 40mm; Stack toe – 34mm (6mm drop)
During my build-up in recent months to this year’s Berlin marathon, I’ve been running every single speed and interval session in the New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer v2.
Having worn the first version of these shoes in a marathon race last year I was very excited to try the updated model.
The new version brings the illegal stack height down to within the limits of 40mm. It’s still FuelCell, so rides very smoothly and with the voids cut into the midsole it provides a unique feel alongside the EnergyArc carbon plate.
The midsole voids along the foot to sink a little and then react with the plate. It’s rather unique and helps the carbon plate flex to absorb some impact before releasing that energy at toe-off.
It’s tricky to explain the feeling but once you experience it, it proves a great energised feel.
There’s plenty of outsole rubber for durability and the upper is a great fit for extended comfort. This shoe, like the Saucony below, has provided many miles of excitement for me in the last few months.
Price – £200 / £220; Weight – 269g / 9.5oz; Stack heel – 42mm; Stack toe – 34mm (8mm drop)
Okay, this is a close one, a very close call between the New Balance and the Saucony. I’ve been using both of these shoes extensively in recent months.
In fact, I’ve probably been using them too much, such is the quality of the ride and performance of these two shoes.
The Kinvara Pro offers a dual-layer construction of PWRRUN PB for a soft and responsive feel and the brand’s regular PWRRUN foam that adds a durable and stable feel to the ride.
Sandwiched between these two layers of foam is a three-quarter-length carbon fibre plate with a scoped forefoot.
This plate offers a very quick toe-off, almost throwing the foot forward giving you a lively and exciting ride.
For tempo runs, interval sessions, and simply those days when you want to feel a little extra spring in your stride the Kinvara Pro provides it.
Stability isn’t an issue at all as can often be the case in this type of shoe, so it’s a safe bet too.
The Saucony Kinvara Pro is one of the very best super-trainers around right now.