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The best road running shoes 2022: the latest shoes put through their paces

Three running shoes on an orange background
(Image credit: Future)

Choosing the best road running shoes is a real challenge, particularly when you're shopping online, so we've been putting in the miles on your behalf so you can make the right choice. There's no substitute for trying a shoe for yourself, but here we've aimed to give you some great starting points, with neutral and stability options, and shoes for training and race days.

Whether you want something springy and responsive to help you beat your personal records (perhaps with a carbon plate for extra snap) or something durable and dependable for putting in those long miles, there's a road shoe here for you.

We've tested all these shoes ourselves, so you can check our full reviews for in-depth details of what they're like to wear long term and decide which is likely to suit you best, whatever you're training for.

Looking for a shoe with green credentials? We've also rounded up the best eco-friendly running shoes you can buy right now.

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2

The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 is a running shoe built for speed, with an articulated carbon plate and plenty of foam to propel you forward (Image credit: Nike)
The best thoroughbred race running shoes available today

Specifications

Weight: 206g (men's)
Heel drop: 8mm

Reasons to buy

+
Super lightweight
+
Insanely fast
+
Great eye-catching looks

Reasons to avoid

-
Not very durable

The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 takes our award for the best running shoe of 2021, thanks to its impressive energy return that feels like nothing we've experienced before. This is a shoe made for running, and running fast. When we tested it, we were extremely impressed by its springiness, which courtesy of a full-length articulated carbon footplate and generous 40mm of ZoomX foam that never feels squishy or marshmallowy.

Its minimalist mesh upper is extremely breathable, with the bare minimum of padding strategically positioned for comfort without adding too much weight. Our feel felt well connected and secure throughout our runs

The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 is a superb shoe for track days and races, with the potential to propel you to a new personal record, though we'd recommend supplementing it with another, more affordable shoe from this list for your everyday training.

Read our full Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 review

Adidas Adistar

(Image credit: Adidas)
The ideal training shoe for longer, slower runs

Specifications

Weight: 345g (men's)
Heel drop: 6mm

Reasons to buy

+
Resilient dual-density foam
+
Well designed rocker
+
Uses sustainable materials

Reasons to avoid

-
Stack height too high for some
-
Not the lightest shoe

The Adidas Adistar impressed us with its well designed rocker that keeps propelling you forward during long training sessions. It's not the lightest shoe we've ever tested, but its dual-density foam is tough and resilient, standing up well even after some serious mileage.

We also liked the shoe's integrated cage system, which gives this running shoe a snug and comfortable fit. The upper is made of a combination of recycled ocean plastic and recycled polyester, which is also welcome from a sustainability standpoint.

Overall the Adidas Adistar is an excellent running shoe for those long, slow sessions, and will help you maintain your pace and form even when your mind begins to wander and you're running on autopilot. Even after several hours, it doesn't feel sluggish, and the rocker design means you're unlikely to accidentally drag your toes despite the shoe's stack height.

Read our full Adidas Adistar review

Hoka One One Bondi X

(Image credit: Hoka One One)
A chunky but snappy long-distance running shoe

Specifications

Weight: 300g (men's)
Heel drop: 5mm

Reasons to buy

+
Responsive ride
+
Snug but not tight fit
+
Snappy carbon plate

Reasons to avoid

-
Chunky design

The Hoka One One Bondi X has the company's familiar chunky style, but feels snappy thanks to an embedded carbon plate. This is a new feature for the Bondi line, and together with a full-size molded EVA sole, results in a springy and responsive ride.

It's softer, wider and generally more forgiving than the Carbon X 2, and better suited to squeezing a few extra miles out of your training runs than breaking personal records on race day. In our tests, we found it particularly helpful after the 10-mile mark, when our form sometimes tends to suffer. 

You'll either love or hate its distinctive looks (the fluorescent color scheme and hefty heel unit are hard to miss), but if you're happy to embrace its style you'll find it's thoroughly enjoyable when you're hitting the pavement for a few hours.

Read our full Hoka One One Bondi X review

Saucony Endorphin Speed

The Saucony Endorphin Speed is fantastic run to run in, and can help rekindle your love of the sport if you've lost your mojo (Image credit: Saucony)
The best motion control shoe for fast sessions

Specifications

Weight: 221g (men's)
Heel drop: 8mm

Reasons to buy

+
Fast and springy
+
Well cushioned
+
Lightweight design

Reasons to avoid

-
Not for slow training

If you've fallen out of love with running recently, the Saucony Endorphin Speed could be the best running shoe to rekindle your passion for the pavement. 

This is a neutral motion-control shoe, meaning it isn't designed to prevent the twisting motion of over-pronation, but does help your foot roll and transfer energy more effectively thanks to a nylon plate in the midsole. The result is a springy, fun (but not bouncy) feel with each step.

It's an exceptionally light shoe, and Saucony has pared down the design as much as possible to shave off extra grams. We can't guarantee that it'll help you hit a new personal best in your next race, but we wouldn't be surprised.

Read our full Saucony Endorphin Speed review

Asics Metaspeed Sky

The Asics Metaspeed Sky is a carbon running shoe with a surprisingly affordable price tag (Image credit: Asics)
A speedy carbon race shoe that gives Nike a run for its money

Specifications

Weight: 210g (men's)
Heel drop: 5mm

Reasons to buy

+
Speedy and cushioned
+
Grippy rubber outsole
+
Lightweight design

Reasons to avoid

-
Question marks over durability

If you're looking for a race shoe that's a great alternative to what Nike and Adidas currently have to offer, the Asics Metaspeed Sky is well worth your consideration. It's  a running shoe built to keep you quick over short and long distances

When we reviewed the Metaspeed Sky, we appreciated the spring provided by the full-length carbon plate and curved design, together with the shoe's lightweight, responsive foam. It compresses at each footstrike before springing back into shape, giving a controlled feel while propelling you forward.

It's pricier than the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 above, and we're not absolutely in love with the upper, which feels a little coarse to the touch, but it's a superb shoe nonetheless, and feels great to run in.

Read our full Asics Metaspeed Sky review

Saucony Endorphin Pro 2

(Image credit: Saucony)
A comfortable, springy carbon shoe for picking up the pace

Specifications

Weight: 213g (men's)
Heel drop: 8mm

Reasons to buy

+
Snappy, responsive cushioning
+
Durable for a performance shoe
+
Snug, comfortable fit

Reasons to avoid

-
Relatively pricey
-
Not built for slow miles

Sitting in between the Hoka One One Bondi X and the Asics Metaspeed Sky listed above, the Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 is a versatile carbon plate running shoe that works well at a variety of distances – particularly training sessions at race pace.

It might feel odd at first, but once you pick up speed you'll feel the benefit of that plate together with she shoe's SpeedRoll geometry, which propels you forward with each step. There's also less exposed foam than you'll find on many performance shoes, which lends some welcome durability.

The chief downside of this road running shoe is its price; at $200 / £190 / AU$319.99 it's pretty steep. If cash is tight and you're in the market for more of a daily shoe, take a look at the Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 instead; its use of nylon in place of carbon gives a similarly lively ride while keeping costs down.

Read our full Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 review

Asics GT-2000 9

The Asics GT-2000 9 is a hard-wearing everyday training shoe for anyone who wants a little extra stability (Image credit: Asics)
A tough, affordable and reliable stability shoe

Specifications

Weight: 281g (men's)
Heel drop: 10mm

Reasons to buy

+
Affordably priced
+
Particularly hard wearing
+
Secure, comfortable fit

Reasons to avoid

-
Too rigid for some runners

The latest iteration in the long-running GT-2000 series, the Asics GT-2000 9 is one of the best running shoes around if you're aiming to control pronation and favor a stiffer shoe that'll give you plenty of support during long training sessions.

This stiffness comes courtesy of a resin plate in the shoe's midsole that prevents unwanted twisting actions as your foot rolls. This is combined with a lightweight foam midsole that gives a cushioned but not bouncy ride, plus additional gel in the heel and toe for shock absorption.

The newly redesigned single-piece mesh upper is noticeably more breathable than previous GT-2000 models, making this shoe a particularly good choice for warmer weather and indoor treadmill sessions. Highly recommended if you're looking for a shoe with plenty of guidance – and very competitively priced.

Read our full Asics GT-2000 9 review

Asics Novablast Tokyo

The Asics Novablast Tokyo is a super cushioned road shoe, with masses of springy foam underfoot (Image credit: Asics)
The best extra-cushioned neutral road running shoe

Specifications

Heel drop: 10mm
Weight: 261g (men's)

Reasons to buy

+
Springy, energetic ride
+
Light and breathable
+
Comfortable right out of the box

Reasons to avoid

-
Can feel unstable at times

If cushioning is what you want, the Asics Novablast Tokyo is one of the best neutral road running shoes around. There's so much marshmallowy Flytefoam Blast material underfoot, the overall feeling is springy, energetic, and a lot of fun.

This is a great lightweight shoe, with a particularly thin and breathable upper. The lack of padding in the tongue took us by surprise, but the flat laces never become uncomfortable across the top of your foot and the thoughtfully designed mesh means increased ventilation for runs on hotter days.

The downside of all that cushioning is that the shoe can sometimes feel a little unstable if you're running on uneven surfaces, so you'll want to dodge the potholes, but on smooth roads it's a joy.

Read our full Asics Novablast Tokyo review

Salomon Index.01

The Salomon Index.01 is a lightweight, breathable running shoe that you can return for recycling once it's worn out (Image credit: Salomon)
The best no-nonsense running shoe – and recyclable

Specifications

Heel drop: 9mm
Weight: 285g (unisex)

Reasons to buy

+
No-nonsense, comfortable design
+
Environmentally friendly
+
Also good for everyday life

Reasons to avoid

-
Steep price

In terms of environmental impact, the Salomon Index.01 steals a lead on the Reebok Floatride Energy Grow (below) due to its closed-loop manufacturing process. The whole shoe is recyclable, and when you've run it into the ground, you can return it to Salomon to be transformed into other garments.

Of course, that would be little use if the Salomon Index.01 wasn't a good quality, high performance shoe – but thankfully, it is. It feels firmer than the Reebok, making it a better choice if you're looking for support, with a curved sole and unusual rear overhang that we found gave a welcome forward jolt of propulsion.

The upper is pleasantly breathable, and its understated design means it can shift easily between training sessions and running errands. We did find that the upper began to show dirt quite quickly, and the initial price is fairly steep, so it's worth considering the Floatride Energy Grow as a more affordable alternative.

Read our full Salomon Index.01 review

Reebok Floatride Energy Grow

The Reebok Floatride Energy Grow is made largely from plant-based materials, and works as well for casual wear as it does for your regular training runs (Image credit: Reebok)
The lightest sustainably made running shoe

Specifications

Heel drop: 9mm
Weight: 229g

Reasons to buy

+
Reduced use of plastic
+
Extremely lightweight
+
Attractive retro design

Reasons to avoid

-
Less hard-wearing than some

The Reebok Floatride Energy Grow is made from at least 50% plant-based materials, reducing the use of virgin plastic – but you wouldn't know that from looking at it. Unlike some eco-friendly running shoes, this one doesn't shout about its credentials; instead, Reebok has opted for a refreshingly retro design that goes as well with jeans as it does Lycra.

There's a moderate amount of (castor-bean based) cushioning, and in our tests we found it easy to forget during training runs. It's not excessively cushioned, and is quite flexible around the toe (particularly medially), which won't suit those with a tendency to overpronate, but is nicely responsive if your footstrike is neutral.

There's a lot to like about this shoe, which is also surprisingly light, leaving the similarly green but much weightier Allbirds Tree Dasher in the dust. We have some reservations about the durability of the gusset that secures the tongue to the inside, but the Floatride Energy Grow otherwise fared well after plenty of miles.

Read our full Reebok Floatride Energy Grow review

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)