What do you consider when you buy a new pair of running shoes? You probably look at cushioning, support, comfort, and of course, the design and color. But is weight something you think about when buying shoes?
Which brings up the question: how much do running shoes weigh? And does it even matter? The truth is, the weight of your shoes could be holding you back… Or, it could be preventing you from getting the support and cushioning you need.
In this article, we’ll review some common questions about running shoes and how much they weigh. We’ll cover: why do some shoes weigh more than others? Should you always go for the lightest pair? Will lighter shoes help you run faster?
Here’s what you should know about running shoe weight.
How Much Do Running Shoes Weigh?
In general, running shoes weigh between 6 and 13 ounces.
That’s a wide range, so let’s narrow it down by type of shoe. While there’s still a range within each category of shoe, they tend to be similar.
Max-cushioned shoes are often heavier than those with a normal level of cushion. Some manufacturers are getting smart with their technology now and creating very light yet protective foam.
But in general, more foam equals more weight. Max-cushioned shoes tend to weigh 10 ounces or more for men’s shoes and 9 ounces or more for women’s shoes.
Standard Running Shoes
The average weight of men’s running shoes is 9 to 10 ounces, and for women’s shoes, between 7.5 and 9 ounces.
These shoes tend to have moderate cushioning, good support, and are usually made of quality materials that are quite durable.
Most neutral running shoes fall into this category. Some are on the lighter end of the spectrum and others closer to the heavier end, but most running shoes land here.
Stability shoes weigh more than neutral shoes because the support and stability features built into the shoes add weight.
Light stability features like Guide Rails might not add much weight, so you can expect these shoes to weigh around the same as a regular pair of running shoes—between 7.5 and 10 ounces.
But stability features like Trusstic systems and medial posts add a little more weight. You may expect these kinds of stability shoes to weigh 9 or 10 ounces. Technology has improved, so it’s rare to find heavy stability shoes exceeding 10 ounces these days.
However, it’s important to note that motion control shoes—which are designed for severe overpronators and incorporate more robust stability mechanisms—may stray upwards of 10 ounces due to their additional support.
Racing Flats/Minimalist Shoes
Racing flats and minimalist shoes fall into the “lightweight” running shoe category. These are the shoes that weigh between 6 and 9 ounces—men’s—and between 6 and 7.5 ounces for women.
Keep in mind that they’re likely to be less supportive and offer less cushioning than other shoes, but they are generally designed for speed or a “barefoot” feeling.
What Contributes to the Weight of Running Shoes?
Multiple elements go into making a pair of shoes. Here are a few things that can have an effect on how much a shoe weighs.
The purpose of the running shoes will also play a role in how much they weigh. For example, racing flats are made specifically for speed, so naturally they will be lighter. Stability shoes are designed to counter overpronation, so they contain more features, more material, making them heavier.
Barefoot shoes will be lighter as they’re meant to help you feel the ground beneath your feet. Trail running shoes could be a touch heavier as they typically feature thick rubber lugs, rock plates, and stronger uppers.
Of course, the amount of cushioning affects the weight of your shoes. The midsole makes up around 75 percent of the weight of your running shoes. Running shoes with less cushion will be lighter. Those with more cushioning will be heavier.
Keep in mind that some brands use unique technology to lighten their foam, like Brooks, who has a range of shoes that use nitrogen-infused cushioning. They’re a good option if you want good cushioning without the added weight.
Any support and stability features added to the shoe will increase its weight. These include: medial posts, roll bars, guide rails, and strategically placed pieces of foam or plastic, like trussic systems.
Shoe technology has advanced in recent years, so these features are no longer as heavy as they have been in the past. In some cases, you may not notice a big difference, but each feature adds a bit of weight.
The larger the shoe, the more material is needed to make it. So that means a size 8 will be heavier than a size 6 in the same brand, same model.
Keep in mind, though, that the size of the person also correlates to their inherent strength.
So while a size 8 might be lighter than a size 12, the person wearing the size 8 is likely to expend the same amount of energy to lift and move the shoe as the person wearing the size 12 shoe.
Why Is Running Shoe Weight Important?
Obsessing over the weight of your shoes is not necessary, but you should definitely take it into consideration when buying a pair. Choosing a shoe with a weight that doesn’t work for your goals or your foot needs can cause problems.
Different feet have different shoe needs. Even though shoes only differ by a few ounces, changing the weight of your shoes can have noticeable effects on your gait.
Wearing shoes that are too heavy for you can slow you down, but they can also cause you to expend more energy just to lift your shoes. While this may lead to burning a few more calories, it can also mean that you end up “dragging your feet”, and the extra weight can place strain on your joints.
On the other hand, wearing lightweight shoes might make you faster, but it can mean your feet aren’t as supported. This can make it easier for you to twist an ankle or injure yourself as your shoes aren’t holding your feet in place properly.
This is why running shoe weight matters. If you’re wearing a shoe that doesn’t work for your foot—a lightweight shoe when you need stability, or a shoe that’s too heavy for what you can handle—there’s a higher chance of getting injured.
Heavier vs Lightweight Running Shoes
So which shoes should you choose? Here’s a quick guide to choosing the right weight shoes for you so you can run freely and avoid injury!
Wear Heavier Shoes If:
You Want Them to Last Longer
More cushioning equals longer-lasting padding. It makes sense that 15 mm of cushion will flatten faster than 30 mm of cushioning, so if you want shoes that will last a long time before needing to be replaced, you may want to go for a heavier, more padded pair.
This is particularly true for those who run frequently or run long distances at a time. The more often you use the shoes, the quicker they’ll wear down. In the same vein, the more miles you put on them, the faster the cushioning will wear out.
Your Feet Need Support
If you overpronate, you may want to choose a stability shoe with good support. Lightweight shoes may not be able to provide the support you need, leading to worse pain or the development of worse conditions.
You will need a shoe that offers enough arch support, which typically means a touch more cushioning. If you’re an overpronator, you’ll need a stability shoe or a motion control shoe, which are usually a little heavier.
You’re a Heavier Runner
Heavier runners might prefer heavier shoes, as they’ll provide more padding underfoot. Lightweight shoes may not offer the right amount of protection. Heavier shoes with more cushioning will also last significantly longer for heavier runners.
You’re a Longer-Distance Runner
Heavier shoes with more cushioning will protect your feet on longer distances. The cushioning absorbs shock and protects the joints; the added support means it will take longer for your feet to fatigue.
Choose Lightweight Shoes If:
You Want to Feel Free and Not Weighed Down
If you prefer the feeling of being barefoot but you need a little more support, then lightweight shoes will work better for you.
They offer light support and a bit of protection from the ground, but don’t weigh you down or make you feel like you’ve got cumbersome footwear holding you back.
However, even if you prefer the barefoot feel, you should think twice about lightweight shoes if you’re prone to injury. This could be an indication that “barefoot” running is not for you!
You Want to Run Faster
Lightweight shoes can help you to run a little faster. It’s important to note that you won’t necessarily suddenly be breaking your PBs on every run just because you changed to lightweight shoes!
But having a few grams removed from your shoes can also remove seconds from your time. While this might be less noticeable on longer runs, it’s definitely important for sprinters or short-distance runners.
Again, while lightweight shoes can help improve sprinting or short-distance performance, if you struggle with foot pain or injury, then the lack of support in your shoes could be contributing!