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Most Durable Running Shoes in 2021

 

We all have our favorite old pair of running shoes that we love the feel of on the road or trail. They’re like a long-time running buddy, comfortable, familiar, and consistent.

But the time always comes when we need to retire the old faithfuls and bring in a new, younger, fresher pair. It’s inevitable, and it happens to every pair, no matter how good they’ve been to us.

This is why we’re reviewing the most durable running shoes today. Our top pick is the Hoka One One Bondi 7. This max cushion shoe feels great and thanks to its thick midsole will last many, many miles.

We all want our new shoes to last us as long as possible, and these are the ones we recommend if you’re looking for that new running buddy feel.

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

Hoka One One Bondi 7

 

  • Breathable mesh upper
  • Medium-firm density midsole
  • Early-stage meta-rocker
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

 

ASICS GEL-KAYANO 28

 

  • Gender-specific Space Trusstic
  • Dynamic DuoMax support system
  • High-Abrasion Rubber outsole
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

 

adidas UltraBoost 21

 

  • Primeknit+ upper
  • Linear Energy Push system
  • Crystal rubber outsole
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

Best Overall

1. Hoka One One Bondi 7

The beloved Bondi 7 is Hoka’s most popular shoe. It’s also their most cushioned shoe, sporting a serious stack height of 30+mm in the heel.

If cushioning is a consideration for you when buying running shoes, then the Bondi 7 comes highly recommended for runners with a neutral foot. With a heel-to-toe drop of just 4mm, your feet will be well-padded from front to back.

All that plushness in the midsole comes from compression-molded EVA foam, which is just soft enough to be super comfy but dense enough to not flatten easily from use.

The “bucket seat” feeling and early-stage meta-rocker in the sole help to provide a bit of momentum. Plain, tech-less EVA foam in the midsole is comfy and durable but doesn’t offer much energy return on its own.

The arch in the midsole is fairly elevated. This is ideal for those who need the extra arch support, but if you’re not used to it or don’t need it, it could be a little irritating. Another possible downside is that the sole tends to stiffen up in colder weather, which could reduce some of its cushioning.

On the outsole, rubber is strategically placed in high-wear areas. It’s softer blown rubber, which is less durable than the hard stuff but does the job here.

The significant EVA midsole also means that if the blown rubber does wear through, the shoe can still last a good long time.

A breathable mesh upper with light synthetic overlays finishes the shoe off nicely. The upper is somewhat narrow, so if you’ve got even medium-sized feet you may need to go for a wide in order to get a comfortable fit.

PROS:

  • Breathable mesh upper
  • Medium-firm density midsole
  • Early-stage meta-rocker
  • Blown rubber on high-wear areas

CONS:

  • The Bondi 7 may be a bit too chunky in look and feel for some
 

Top Runner-Up

2. Brooks Levitate 5

The Brooks Levitate is a tempo shoe that’s designed for pushing the pace a bit. It may not look like anything special, but it’s among the most durable we can find out there.

21mm of foam in the forefoot and 29mm in the heel offer more than enough underfoot protection without inhibiting the ground feel too much.

In the midsole, DNA AMP foam offers excellent bounce-back on each step. It’s also highly durable, thanks to a unique TPU shell encasing it. Runners who want a bit of pep in their step and aren’t afraid of firmer foam will enjoy this one. You’ll find it retains this bounce much longer than standard running shoes.

The outsole of the Levitate is impressive. A full-length piece of solid rubber covers you from toe to heel, with an arrowhead pattern for better grip. It may not have great traction in wet weather, though.

A breathable circular knit upper, stretchy Fit Knit material, and stitched-on pull tabs contribute to both the performance and the durability of the shoe.

PROS:

  • Circular knit upper
  • Light, springy midsole encased in TPU shell
  • Full rubber outsole with arrow-point pattern
  • Stitched pull-tabs

CONS:

  • May be slick on wet surfaces
 

Best For Support

3. ASICS Gel-Kayano 28

Overpronators, the ASICS Gel-Kayano is an excellent choice. It features ASICS’ Dynamic DuoMax support, which is basically a more dense foam that runs from the heel to the arch in the medial side of the shoe.

This firmer foam does a good job of preventing the foot from rolling inward, effectively keeping it in alignment and preventing injury.

Another feature that contributes to stability is the Space Trusstic System. This is a hard bit of plastic in the middle of the foot that prevents twisting of the shoe, as the overpronating foot moves through its natural range of motion. It’s also gender-specific, catering to the small differences in men’s and women’s feet.

The cushioning in the shoe is exceptional, and not only absorbs shock and protects the feet but also lasts a good long time thanks to its sandwich-like design.

A bottom layer of Flytefoam forms a good base. On top of it, a Gel layer stretches from the heel to the toe. The top layer consists of Flytefoam Blast, offering a good mix of softness and energy return.

This triple-layer midsole increases the durability of the shoe, as it doesn’t flatten so easily with use.

Finally, the outsole. This is where you’ll be getting the most action on the shoe, and the Kayano’s generously layered outsole can take a beating.

ASICS High-Abrasion Rubber (AHAR) across the outsole handles wear and tear well and gives you unusual durability no matter what surface you run on.

PROS:

  • Gender-specific Space Trusstic
  • Flytefoam Blast and Gel midsole cushioning
  • Dynamic DuoMax support system
  • High-Abrasion Rubber outsole

CONS:

  • May run slightly narrow in the toe and midfoot
 

Most Versatile

4. Saucony Freedom 4

The Saucony Freedom 4 is a neutral shoe that’s pretty versatile.

But if you’re a runner who wants a pair of shoes they can run, shop, gym, drive, and do other things in, then it fits the bill quite well. It’s durable enough to see you through all of that and more.

A reinforced upper is the first thing that makes this shoe last a long time. It can handle abrasion well, with suede reinforcements around the toe and the heel.

As a bonus, it’s extremely visible in both daylight and darkness. It’s also extremely comfortable, from collar to sole.

The classic wide base of Saucony shoes makes for a great landing platform and the roomy toe box allows for wide feet to rest comfortably within the shoe.

In the midsole, PWRRUN PB cushioning delivers even more softness. Although it’s technically built for comfort and performance, the bit of bounce is dampened a bit by the squishy foam, spongy sockliner, and 4mm insole.

Those should last a good while for casual runners who use these shoes for a bunch of other things in between. A full rubber outsole of 3mm thick should also last a long enough time.

Take note that these shoes run a tiny bit large. You should downsize by ½ a size if you want a comfy fit.

PROS:

  • Reinforced upper
  • Wide base
  • PWRRUN PB cushioning
  • New outsole configuration

CONS:

  • Runs half a size too large
 

Best Energy Return

5. Adidas UltraBoost 21

The Adidas UltraBoost 21 comes in top spot for its energy return.

If you’re looking for a durable shoe that will keep you bouncy on the road, then this one could be it. It’s important to note, though, that although this is a springy shoe, it’s not necessarily fast.

At first glance, this unique shoe looks like it’s made of polystyrene. The interesting-looking foam in the midsole is Adidas’ UltraBoost; a firm, springy foam that gives you a bit of pep on every step.

Note that it’s really not a very plush shoe. The foam is actually somewhat heavy, making this a bit of a clunky shoe and not suitable for racing, despite its business.

For better support and stability, the shoe has a built-in Linear Energy Push system. This is a shank in the midfoot, although this isn’t known as a stability shoe. It simply prevents torsion, not necessarily overpronation.

Also contributing to the durability is the comfortable PrimeKnit+ upper, which is thick (although it may be slightly less breathable), and the strategically designed crystal rubber outsole, which also features a small strip of hard continental rubber on the toe.

PROS:

  • Primeknit+ upper
  • Linear Energy Push system
  • Firm, responsive midsole
  • Crystal rubber outsole

CONS:

  • Reports of heel slippage
 

Top Plush Shoe

6. Saucony Triumph 19

Plush doesn’t have to mean it’s not durable. The Saucony Triumph 19 manages to be both at the same time. Built for comfort and to last for ages.

It starts with the mesh upper, which uses FormFit technology to contour to the foot, reducing the chance of hotspots and pressure points. This improves both the durability and the comfort of the shoe.

The ankle collar and tongue aren’t overly padded, but they’re just cushioned enough to provide comfort without being too chunky.

You’ll be running atop a 34.6mm heel stack, which is pretty high but Saucony’s trademark wide platform makes every step feel firm and safe. The sole is soft and padded, less bouncy, but definitely plush.

For even more plush happiness underfoot, a 4.6mm insole cushions your feet inside the shoe. PWRRUN+ foam offers extreme comfort without adding too much weight to your ride.

To add to the general durability of this plush shoe, an XT-900 rubber outsole leaves very little of the midsole exposed and should be able to handle abrasion very well.

PROS:

  • FormFit mesh upper
  • PWRRUN+ midsole cushioning
  • Removable, plush insole
  • XT-900 rubber outsole

CONS:

  • The laces are unusually and unnecessarily stretchy
 

Most Breathable

7. Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2

Breathability is always important, but more so if you tend to overheat while running.

In some cases, brands sacrifice breathability in the upper for durability, but that’s not so with the Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2.

The Flyknit upper is thin enough to be breathable but is also reinforced with Flywire technology for stability and durability. This innovation provides the ideal mix of these two characteristics.

As for the rest of the shoe, it’s built to last. Nike React foam in the midsole is light but durable, lasting longer than you’d expect for a lightweight compound. A rocker shape helps to facilitate a smoother heel-to-toe movement, while a wider forefoot provides comfort for all shaped feet.

Rubber covers the majority of the outsole, protecting the shoe and helping it to stay safe for many miles. A sturdy heel loop also helps to extend the lifespan of the shoe if used properly!

PROS:

  • Breathable Flyknit upper
  • Wider forefoot
  • React foam cushioning
  • Rocker shape

CONS:

  • Somewhat heavy, at nearly 10 ounces
 

Best For Wide Feet

8. Brooks Dyad 11

Runners with wide feet, the Brooks Dyad may be the ideal shoe for you. Not only does it accommodate wider feet, but it’s also super durable.

A straight last and sufficiently wide upper throughout makes the shoe surprisingly comfortable. It also has a fairly low arch, so it may not be totally suitable for runners who need extra arch support.

The front half of the upper is made from mesh, which allows for great breathability. The rearfoot consists of a more sturdy, structured material, creating a full heel counter for a better lockdown.

It not only provides inherent stability, but it’s also much more long-lasting than a full mesh upper.

BioMoGo DNA foam in the midsole is a mix of two foams, creating a pleasing combination of comfort and performance. It’s by no means a racing shoe, but it’s got a bit of pep in it while remaining comfortable.

For a touch more support (although this is a neutral shoe), there are dual arch pods underneath the shoe. This helps to provide arch support, which is firm even though it’s not very high.

The shoe features blown rubber on the outsole, which doesn’t last quite as long as hard rubber. But it will still give you plenty of miles before needing to be replaced.

PROS:

  • Straight-lasted shoe
  • Dual stability arch pods
  • BioMoGo DNA cushioning
  • Blown rubber outsole

CONS:

  • May not be suitable for those who need extra arch support
 

Top Shoe For Races

9. ASICS MetaRacer

If you want a sleek and speedy race shoe that won’t burn out after a few pacey runs, look no further than the ASICS MetaRacer.

Flytefoam midsole cushioning protects and pads the feet, offering comfort and a touch of bounce. What really gives you the edge in these shoes is the Guidesole rocker shape and the integrated carbon-fiber plate.

The Wet Grip rubber outsole adds to the durability of the outsole as well. It may run slightly narrow in the midfoot.

PROS:

  • Carbon-fiber plate
  • Flytefoam midsole cushioning
  • Guidesole technology
  • Wet Grip rubber outsole

CONS:

  • May be narrow in the midfoot
 

Best Lightweight Shoe

10. Adidas Adizero Boston 10

The Adidas Adizero Boston 10 is a good-looking shoe that’s comfortable and durable enough for most runners.

Two layers of the latest Adidas Lightstrike Pro foam up the responsiveness of the shoe, while Lightstrike EVA brings durability and shock absorption to the table. For extra support, the shoe features anatomically designed Energyrods to provide structure.

The lightweight upper consists of Primegreen, recycled materials that are long-lasting and soft on the skin. Underfoot, Continental rubber on the sole not only keeps excellent traction but lasts for ages.

PROS:

  • Thin textile upper
  • Dual-foam midsole cushioning
  • Anatomically-designed Energyrods
  • Continental Rubber Outsole

CONS:

  • These shoes can run small
 

FAQs

Wondering what to look for or why you should consider buying a pair of the most durable running shoes? Here are some common questions to help you make a decision.

What are the Benefits of Buying More Durable Running Shoes?

When you buy a pair of shoes that’s known to be highly durable, you can count on them being around for a long time to come. This means that in the long run, you’re paying less for shoes.

But being economical is only one benefit. Because you aren’t getting rid of shoes that often, you’re doing good things for the environment. It also saves you time shopping for shoes!

Ultimately, nobody wants to shell out their hard-earned cash on shoes that don’t go the distance with you. Your shoes are like a running partner, and you want them around with you as long as possible before having to get a new pair.

Important Things to Consider for Durability

Midsole

Two things influence durability in the midsole of the shoe: the compound it’s made from, and its density. Put these two factors together, and you can make or break a shoe.

Many running shoes use EVA foam in the midsole. There’s nothing wrong with EVA – it’s soft, cushioned, and has decent energy return. EVA midsoles last a good amount of time (depending on their density), but there are other compounds that are more durable.

If you can, try to buy a shoe with a polyurethane, SBES, or PEBA midsole. These are known to last longer than EVA and have similar cushioning and energy return properties.

Outsole

On the outsole, the type of rubber used and the layout it’s placed in will both influence the durability.

Some shoes use soft blown rubber on the outsole. This is excellent for grip, especially in wet weather or on loose ground, but it wears away much faster than hard rubber.

If you need soft, grippy rubber on your shoe, it’s best to choose a shoe with both. Soft rubber in the forefoot and hard rubber on the heel will last longer. If you don’t need extra grip, a shoe with hard rubber across the whole sole is best for durability.

It’s a good idea to avoid shoes that don’t use rubber at all on the outsole. In an effort to save ounces, some shoes simply leave the midsole exposed. These typically wear away quite a bit faster.

Upper

A single or double-layered upper with thick, well-made stitching is best. Make sure there’s no chance for friction or pressure points – for example, if your big toe pokes at the upper, try a bigger size shoe to prevent that.

Reinforced shoelace eyelets, synthetic overlays, and toe protectors will all help the upper to last longer.

How to Make Your Running Shoes Last Longer

Small changes can make your shoes last longer, no matter how durable they say they are. One of the easiest ways to make your shoes last longer is to only use them for one purpose.

Try to only use your running shoes for running. There’s nothing wrong with occasionally wearing them to the store, or to visit a friend. But if you’re wearing them twice as often as you run, they will wear out faster.

It’s also a good idea to invest in two or more pairs of running shoes and rotate them throughout your training. Using a pair of shoes once or twice a week instead of four or five times a week has a big impact on its durability.

Treat your shoes like you want them around for ages! Small things like untying your laces and loosening them before taking your shoes off, not putting your shoes in the washing machine or tumble dryer, and not kicking your shoes off with your other foot will help them last longer.

Keep an eye on them and if you do notice small tears or separations, get at them with some shoe glue as early as possible.

The Wired Runner