This is a guest post by Fritz Van de Kamp who is a huge fan of TrailStoke and self-proclaimed shoe picking expert. He has run over 50 marathons and was the winner of 15 of them so I agree that he might know a bit about shoes.
If you aren’t happy with your current shoes or you are just starting to run, here are a few of my favorites that I recommend giving a try. Of course everyone, everyone that everyone knows, and every running magazine and website have opinions about shoes. Since most of us wear shoes and many people run, it isn’t surprising that we have so many choices and it can feel overwhelming trying to find the right shoe.
Feel free spending hours or days dissecting all of that info or save yourself that time, take a leap of faith and follow my guidance. I admit I haven’t tried every shoe out there but I have gone through quite a few while training for and racing 51 marathons (PR 2:20) and hundreds of 5k, 10k, half marathon and trail races. I am also not being paid by any shoe company, although I wish I was, so I can assure you that my recommendations are based purely on what I like and recommend.
I have organized this list in three Road shoe categories: Training/Long Run, Workout and Race, and then a few of my favorite Trail shoes. Simple, right?
Men’s Road Running Shoes
Training/Long Run: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 or 32
Yes, the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus is on version 32 of this shoe so obviously it has evolved since the dawn of time. This evolution has resulted in a far superior shoe. It is a unique combination of comfort, cushion, durability and support for that runner just starting out, the everyday casual runner, or the competitive runner who just wants a soft ride on recovery runs or for first time marathoners. At 10.5 ounces I don’t think the shoe is too heavy or too light. Incredibly the last three pairs of these shoes I have worn have lasted me between 1,000 and 1,200 miles whereas other training shoes I have worn in the past last at most 500-600 miles. The shoe also has a 10 mm heal-to-toe drop which is a nice change from the 4 mm to 8 mm shoes that are becoming more common.
Workout/Tempo: New Balance M1400 v2 or v3
At 6.5 ounces the New Balance M1400 V3 this shoe is still deceptively forgiving. If you still think it’s too light check out the New Balance 870 or any version of the Saucony Kinvara. I was given a free pair of this shoe, otherwise I probably never would have tried it out. I am super glad I did because it is one of the most comfortable and cushioned lightweight shoes I have worn. The upper is thin and light and the sole provides and great balance of cushion and responsiveness needed for the faster pace on the track or road. The shoe is also cool looking and provides a 10 mm heal-to-toe drop.
Race: Nike LunaRacer v2 or v3
This one is a no brainer, at least for me. Regardless of whether I run a 5k or marathon I always wear the Nike LunaRacer. At only 6.3 ounces it is plenty light but most importantly, it still has the cushion needed to pound out 26.2 without the bruised/beat up sensation that is all too common from mile 18 on. This shoe does run a bit narrow so you might need to go up half a size to prevent major blistering.
MEN’S TRAIL RUNNING SHOES
Salomon Speedcross 3 – Medium weight (~12 ounces), super comfortable and cushioned, love the lacing system and traction. I don’t recommend wearing these on the road or hard surfaces because the traction does wear out quickly. See full women’s speedcross 3 review.
Altra Lone Peak 2.5 – I am not entirely sold on the Zero Drop but for one or two runs a week these are good shoes. I love the wide toe box, the traction is great and they provide a lighter/faster feel at ~10.6 ounces. If you like a minimalist feel I would give these a shot. Mine are holding up well at about 150 miles.