The Best Running Shoes for Long Distance in 2018
For long distance running, finding the right shoe is as essential as staying hydrated and finding your perfect nutrition strategy.
Comfort, cushioning, fit, stability all come into play. Going for long runs means you need a shoe that will support you for hours at a time.
Below is a list of the best long-distance running shoes on the market, with the benefits and drawbacks of each laid out.
Top 3 Best and Favorites
1. Brooks Ghost 11
The Brooks Ghost 11 is an ideal neutral trainer for runners who want a high-mileage shoe that balances cushioning and support in a lightweight design. It’s also one of our favorite Brooks running shoes.
The comfortable fit of the seamless, engineered mesh forefoot makes the shoe breathable, hugging your forefoot, but flexing as needed. It feels great as soon as you put your foot in it.
In the midsole, Brooks uses their patented BioMoGo DNA foam. This incredibly comfortable foam gives you great energy dispersion as well as rebound. There are also structured midsole supports included, which help stabilize your gait transition from heel to toe.
The outsole has a full-length Segmented Crash Pad, which keeps you stable on distance runs when form tends to break down. The tread is more aggressive than other road shoes, making this a good option is you incorporate any dirt trails into your runs.
- Plenty of cushioning
- Soft midsole
- Great grip
- Airy mesh makes them less than ideal for rainy conditions
2. Adidas Energy Boost
The Adidas Energy Boost is engineered with maximum energy rebound in mind. This shoe has a high amount of boost cushioning which provides great energy return and more consistent cushioning in a variety of temperatures. Boost foam also lasts longer than traditional EVA foam, meaning your run will feel good throughout the full distance.
Although the TechFit technology does give it a sock-like feel, with a snug fit, the hard plastic of the mid-foot cage and overlays are what make the upper somewhat inflexible. Some say it doesn’t really feel like a high-performance running shoe. It may also feel too snug for those with wider feet.
Boost technology makes the shoe cushioned with high energy return. It also is tough and durable and stays consistent regardless of external temperatures.
The outsole’s Adiwear technology is meant to cut down on wear and tear. But the tread has been known to wear down faster than comparable trainers.
- Stretchy mesh upper and wide forefoot
- Good energy rebound
- Might feel tight to runners with wider feet
- Less-than-durable tread
3. Hoka One One Bondi 5
The Bondi 5 is Hoka One One’s flagship running shoe. It’s a lightweight trainer and probably Hoka’s most cushioned running shoe. Ideally for long distances especially on pavement and other hard surfaces.
Very lightweight at only 10 ounces, and with an upper designed of engineered mesh, this shoe has incredible breathability. A roomy toe box gives your toes plenty of room to spread out for comfort. One of the only drawbacks is that the mesh upper tends to show wear and tear easily.
Hoka One One has added maximum cushioning to their Bondi 5, making for a very smooth ride. This cushioning makes it ideal for both long runs and recovery runs. Although it takes a little getting used to, the rocker built into the sole provides a nice transition from heel to toe.
The lug pattern of the outsole has been updated for improved traction. With the Zonal Rubber Placement on the heel and forefoot, the durability has been improved as well.
- Stability good for over-pronators
- Soft cushioning
- Good traction
- Lacks responsiveness
- Mesh upper wears easily
4. Nike Air Zoom Vomero 13
The Nike Air Zoom Vomero 13 is a highly cushioned neutral running shoe with enough snap to make it a great short distance or race shoe as well. There are two layers of cushioning for maximum energy return. This is a soft, comfortable shoe all the way from the upper to the midsole.
The upper is snug, with a ¾ length interior bootie. The collar is padded, and it is laced with FlyWire cables to ensure a comfortable fit, regardless of foot shape. The Vomero does have a somewhat narrow toe box, although the entire shoe is wider than most Nike running shoes, which tend to be fairly narrow.
The dual cushioning in the midsole of the Vomero has been engineered for maximum responsiveness. The soft Lunar core smooths out the heel-toe transitions, while the firm cushion carrier adds responsiveness and durability.
BRS-1000 rubber near the heel gives this shoe great traction, while the Dura-DS rubber in the mid-foot and forefoot areas gives it a light and bouncy responsive feel. Between the treads are anatomical flex grooves, making the shoe more flexible and agile while aiding the foot’s natural roll.
- Good traction
- High rebound
- A tad narrow in the toebox
- May cause blisters
5. Saucony Triumph ISO 4
The Saucony Triumph ISO 4 is a cushioned running shoe that hugs your foot and features EVERUN foam to keep you comfortable during long runs. It’s ideal for both newer runners and long-distance runners.
The ISOFIT lacing system is the real “triumph” of this shoe, featuring a design that conforms to the entire length of your foot. The upper is tight in the heel, snug in the mid-foot, and just roomy enough in the toebox. Saucony has created an upper that’s both breathable and comfortable. There is plenty of ventilation while resisting water in variable weather.
EVERUN foam provides for exceptional energy rebound. Running the entire length of the shoe, this responsive foam absorbs the shocks from landings to protect your foot, while providing high rebound to keep you moving forward. Like Adidas Boost foam, it is durable and maintains it’s feel for the entire length of a long run.
The outsole uses vertical breaks to ensure lateral flexibility in your run. This change from previous models has helped smooth out heel-to-toe transitions. This system has unfortunately reduced the Triumph’s traction, so runners aren’t recommended to use this shoe on slippery surfaces and trail running.
- Good amount of cushioning
- Comfortable right out of the box
- ISOFIT creates an ideal fit, regardless of foot shape
- Tongue bunches up
- Traction is less than ideal for off-road running
6. Asics Gel-Kayano 25
A stable, supportive trainer that provides you with a plush, cushioned ride, the Asics Gel-Kayano 25 uses some of Asics’ most advanced technologies to make for a great long distance running shoe.
FluidFit technology is used to make this upper fit like a glove, while the lacing system is designed to distribute the pressure evenly across the top of the foot. Your heel is kept in place by an external heel cup, which helps to stabilize the entire foot throughout your run.
The midsole is stable and well cushioned, giving you a speedy, yet stable stride. Asics’ I.G.S. (Impact Guidance System) helps smooth out the heel-to-toe transitions. Flytefoam lightens up the shoe without sacrificing cushioning.
Asics’ Rear Foot Crash Pad ensures that the heel doesn’t receive too much jarring impact, while the High-Abrasion Rubber helps create a solid grip, regardless of the surface. With gel in the heel and DuoMax cushioning, the outsole helps reduce overpronation, while protecting your foot during long runs.
With the Kayano 25, Asics updated the shoe with a new upper the latest FlyteFoam cushioning for a lightweight, responsive shoe. The upper is sleek and clean, although we can’t say we are in love with the colors.
- High amount of cushioning
- Good stability
- Locked-in fit
- Narrow toe box
- On the expensive side
7. Saucony Guide ISO
The Saucony Guide ISO has a soft, comfortable fit while maintaining a supportive, cushioned ride. The Guide ISO derives its name from the ISOFIT system, which is Saucony’s lacing system that provides a snug fit, sock-like fit on the upper.
The ISOFIT system has two parts to it. First, the mesh sock-like sleeve which hugs the foot. Second are the overlays, meant to conform to your foot. The heel cup provides extra firm support for the rear of the foot. Some users complain about the toe box feeling restrictive.
The EVERUN midsole foam is cushy and responsive with a fast feel. While some runners may find the midsole to be a bit on the stiff side, this is still a great choice for runners who need extra arch support. Long distance runners will also find this stability welcome once they get into double digit miles.
The Guide features a tri-flex outsole pattern provides a natural running feel. For overpronators, the stability of this design will also help with runners who need extra support.
- Good support
- Moderate heel drop
- Sock-like feel
- Some complained about narrow toe box
- Restrictive toe box
8. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19
Brooks’ GTS stands for “Go To Shoe,” and they’ve done a remarkable job providing a well-balanced shoe that can be for short runs to long runs to races.
This shoe’s sleek, engineered mesh upper gives it a streamlined look and it is available in a wide variety of colors. The toe box is a nice size compromise, not leaving you swimming in them, but never too tight. Compared to prior models, the upper on version 19 is soft and comfortable.
New to version 19 are guide rails that provide stability in place of medial posts found in most shoes. Guide rails act like a bumper in a bowling lane and provide support only when you need it. Bowl a strike (i.e. keep your foot neutrally aligned) and you won’t receive support. Roll a gutter ball (i.e. overpronate) and the Adrenaline realigns your foot as you run.
The sole provides soft cushioning with good flexibility. It has a high heel drop at 12mm, but is very lightweight for a stability shoe. Small trenches in the outsole, known as Omni Grooves, keep the shoe flexible.
- Lightweight shoe with cushiony support
- Firm yet flexible hold
- Less padding than comparable shoes
9. Asics GT-2000 6
The Asics GT-2000 6 is a durable, well-made workhorse of a shoe that gives the runner stable support as well as comfort to last on long distance runs.
Ventilation holes have been added to the middle part of the upper, which allows air to flow freely, a must for long runs. The upper has also been made lighter than previous versions, allowing runners more speed. The toe box has been opened up across the top, providing more room for the toes to wiggle, but not too much to feel oversized.
Where the sole is concerned, Asics has added Flytefoam to provide for more durability. Asics also uses their patented Guidance Trusstic system to add stability.
As Asics wearers know, there are pockets of gel in the heel and forefoot, which provides shock absorption. The vertical Guidance Line helps to smooth out the transition from heel to forefoot.
- Very light and breathable
- Lace loop secures the tongue
- Heel cushion is responsive
- Good stabilization
- Some haven’t liked the feel of the seamless upper
10. Asics Gel-Nimbus 20
The Asics Gel-Nimbus 20 is a plush, well-cushioned shoe with a long lifespan. Version 20 has corrected the size and durability issues that plagued the prior model.
The upper is made of breathable, gradient mesh to keep the foot cool and dry. The toe box does taper some, so those runners with wider feet should beware. The heel collar, heel cup, and tongue are quite plush, making for a comfortable run.
The midsole has been outfitted with Asics proprietary Flytefoam for great cushioning with less weight than older models. Asics Guidance Trusstic system reduces torsion in the mid-foot, making this a supportive shoe for overpronators.
The vertical Guidance Line helps to guide the foot through the transition from heel to forefoot, while gel cushioning pods provide responsiveness throughout the sole.
- Progressive mesh upper provides a good forefoot fit
- High-quality construction makes it durable and long-lasting
- Not especially flexible
- Some users may find the appearance dated
As long-distance runners know, the running shoes they choose need to be reliable, comfortable, and provide support in performance. We hope this list has helped guide you towards a pair of shoes that will keep you safe and healthy, while also helping you achieve your running goals. Thanks for reading and whatever pair of shoes you use, keep on moving forward!