Best Race Shoes
With every competition for which you run, the real reward is the moment that you cross the finish line. But let’s face it- you really want to cross that finish before anyone else. In order to do that, you need to train in such a way that you can increase your speed as well as your stamina. While there are a lot of training regimes that will help you achieve that goal, another thing that you need to look at it your footwear. If you are wearing heavy, boxy trainers that have deep treads and are designed for all terrain- you might want to look at a pair of trainers that are designed to help improve your times.
This type of gear is generally designed to be incredibly lightweight so that it feels like you are wearing nothing at all, but it should also give you a good deal of support on the full extent of your gait to keep your body in alignment as you push yourself to achieve your best times. We have done our research to find the best trainers on the market to wear for your next competition. With the proper gear, a positive attitude, and a lot of training, there is nothing stopping you from taking home that first place prize.
- NEW BALANCE CRUZ
- Comfortable sole
- ADIDAS NEO CLOUDFOAM
- Saucony Breakthru 3
10 Best Race Shoes
New Balance Cruz
As we mentioned earlier- the style is what makes this trainer a little bit unique. While many of the others host a short design that sits low on the ankle- the Cruz is actually a high top. This might seem counterintuitive when you are striving for maximum flexibility, but the way that it is cut out will not hinder your movement. It is offered in a myriad of colors- but never anything flashy. All the colors offered in neutral, solid colors that are a little bit darker than one would expect in a trainer.
If you wanted to travel faster- this is your ticket. Not only are they incredibly lightweight- but they also offer an incredible amount of support. The high top has a plunging collar along the sides of the foot that will allow you to maintain maximum flexibility, but the higher front and back will give you additional padding a comfort. The top sole is made from a very lightweight and breathable material- perfect for those hot race days. The sole of this model is where it really shines. It has a foam insole that users find to be incredibly comfortable and provides maximum cushioning throughout the entire extent of your gait- heel to toe.
New Balance is known for setting their prices to be reasonable- and the Cruz is no exception. It will offer you incredible support and comfort throughout all of your training and competitions- and it can do so without putting any extra strain on your wallet.
If you want something that looks a little unconventional and offers really great support to your foot without making your feet feel encumbered, the New Balance Cruz will be able to deliver, and it comes in a really great point.
- Brand recognition
- Comfortable sole
- Runs a little small (users suggest buying ½ size up from normal)
adidas Neo CF
Sometimes these types of trainers have a top sole that doesn’t have much design because it is made from a really thin piece of mesh fabric. The Neo CF has a top sole that is a little bit thicker than some of the others out there on the market, and also as a pretty thick sole. It is offered in neutral colors such as midnight blue, gray, and brown.
The soles are not made from memory foam- which is something that you see a lot of in trainers. Instead, it is composed of a solid piece of rubber so that your foot is given proper support every time it hits the pavement. The sock liner, however, it is composed of a thin piece of memory foam which will conform to the shape of your foot over time. While the sole will never change shape over time, the soft interior lining will make them feel like they are your trainers. They treading on the bottom isn’t deep like an all terrain, but it also won’t become slick if the course becomes wet or muddy.
Surprisingly, these are set at a pretty affordable price point. They aren’t the least expensive out there, but they are by no means that most expensive. If you are looking for an affordable set of trainers that comes from a trusted brand- these are going to be your best bet.
For the athlete that wants something that is lightweight, but also offers a good deal of support on the arches and heel of the foot when running on hard surfaces, and also wants something from a trusted brand that got their start by making gear for competitions- this is an excellent choice.
- Trusted brand
- Sole is resilient to breaking down over time
- Runs a little big
- Some find the sole is too thin
Saucony Breakthru 3
Saucony isn’t setting out to reinvent the wheel with the Breakthru 3. It has a very basic outward design. The mesh top sole that curls up at the toes is offered in three basic colors that include blue, black, red, and grey. Each design also has the trademark Saucony logo running along the side of the foot.
The goal that this trainer sets out to accomplish is to be as lightweight as possible and to conform to your natural gait. You might have noticed that some trainers out there have toes that are curled upwards. There is a very specific reason for this, and it has to do you with your natural stride. When you push off from your toes, trainers that don’t have curled ends mean that you are not only pushing against the ground, but you will also have a little bit of resistance from your footwear. This design eliminates that so that there isn’t anything holding you back from making really great times. It also has an incredibly easy and lightweight top sole that will keep your foot cool and dry for the duration of the competition.
The Saucony brand typically has a higher price tag than many of the other on the market, and these are no exception. These will likely run you the same cost as you would spend on a pair of the Nike MDs- which is still considered to be a reasonable price in comparison to some of the others designs currently on the market.
If you want something that will help you run faster without holding you back, and comes from a brand that has been perfecting their trainers for over 100 years- these trainers are well worth the slightly padded price tag.
- Brand recognition
- Curled toe box
- Runs a little small
- Some find them to be a little narrow
New Balance s FuelCore Coast V3
To be honest, users are not in love with the design of this particular model. It has a very basic top sole that is offered in colors such as black and white, red, grey, and black. The laces that are on the top are purely decorative because you simply slip on the trainer like you would a sock, and it hugs your foot (rather than lacing it up).
Users might not necessarily like the outward look of this model, but it makes up for it in how it performs. The top sole is made from an incredibly lightweight material that is breathable and leaves your foot feeling cool even on those hot summer days. The traction on the bottom is a little light, meaning that it might not be the perfect trainer to take up those difficult trails. The sole has a lot of padding to make for a comfortable stride, and includes a NB Response 2.0 Performance insert that wicks away moisture while cradling your foot.
While New Balance is typically pretty affordable, these are slightly more expensive than you would expect. However, they are still set at a lower price point than the Nike MD. If you want something that isn’t going to hold you back, and will help you get your best times- this is well worth the slightly padded price tag.
If you are in the market for something that is incredibly lightweight and doesn’t require the need to lace up (it just hugs your foot) this is an excellent option that will help you reach all of your goals.
- Brand recognition
- Bootie construction doesn’t require laces
- NB Response 2.0 Performance insert
- Tongue bunches up
- No side support
Altra Impulse Flash
This model is a little bit different than a lot of the others that you will find out there. It has a little bit of a boxy design that actually serves a functional purpose that we will get into a little bit later. It is offered in three fun and bright colors that include blue, electric green, and a more muted gray.
Altra has been making an impact on the footwear world because their designs differ from a lot of other brands on the market. One of the most noted features about this design is has to do with the toe box. It might look a little bit peculiar that the toe box doesn’t taper at the end, but it actually makes it a lot more comfortable on your foot and feels incredibly natural because your toes can spread naturally inside while you run. The top sole is also a little bit different. It is made from a durable textile that has patterned slits in it with a mesh underlay to provide excellent breathability while also keeping water out.
The cost of these run about the same amount as many of the other similar name brands making this list. It might seem like a bit much because it isn’t coming from a name brand, but we feel like Altra is a company definitely worth taking a chance on.
If you are looking for something that has a unique design that isn’t offered in many of the other well-known brands and has a long line of satisfied customers behind them that find their products help them achieve their goals, this is a trainer that you should really check out.
- Wide toe box
- Structured yet breathable top sole
- Asymmetrical lacing
- Some feel there isn’t much cushioning
- Users report that they are a tad heavy
Under Armour Micro G Pursuit
Users were all initially drawn in by its sharp design. It’s is offered in shades of black, red, blue, and gray, and each design has a black heel with the Under Armour logo in electric green on the side of the heel. It sits pretty low on the foot and has ample padding along the tongue and on the collar to avoid annoying rubbing that can cause blisters.
These were designed to get you moving and get you moving fast. The special Micro-G one-piece foam insole is the ticket to clocking in at some pretty high speeds. The padding in the cushion makes for a comfortable landing on your foot and your joints, but also provides just enjoy spring to execute an explosive take off so that you can really achieve some high speeds. It also has a lightweight mesh top sole that even on those really hot summer days, your foot will stay cool and dry.
The cost of these trainers runs pretty par for the course. They are not the most expensive models out there on the market, but they are by no means that most expensive. If you are looking for something that is designed to help you reach top speeds, this is well worth the price tag.
For athletes in the market for something that is incredibly lightweight and comfortable, but is also equipped with the right materials to help you make good times in your training- the Micro G Pursuit is your ticket to first place.
- Brand recognition
- Sharp design
- Micro G foam cushioning insole
- Some find they are too squeaky
- Runs a little small (users suggest buying ½ size up from your normal size)
Inov-8 Terraclaw 220
There are two very distinct styles when it comes to the Terraclaw 220- one is very subtle and will allow you to blend into the crowd, and the other demands that you be seen. The first option is a solid black with very subtle red accents on the interior and alone the rubber sole. The other option is offered in a sky blue with electric yellow accents along the side. Each design has a bold ‘Inov-8’ logo along the heel.
Often, when you are dealing with all terrain footwear, you often lose a lot of flexibility and maneuverability in exchange for superior traction and stability. With the Terraclaw 220, you can have the best of both worlds. It is designed to be able to really gain traction on any type of surface, but it is made from lightweight materials and has a low profile that you will be able to be just as fast and mobile as many of the other styles on the market. The tongue is also sewn at an angle to prevent any stubborn debris from infiltrating your shoe and distracting you from making your best time.
The price of this design is just slightly under what many of the brands on this list are selling for. If you are in the market for something that can traverse many different planes without slowing you down- this is well worth the price point.
Not all competitions will be set on smooth and even surfaces, and these trainers are designed to take you on any type of road or trail without slowing you down or slipping you up. If you have never tried a pair of Inov-8 trainers before, they are definitely worth checking out.
- Perfect for any type of competition: road or trail
- Asymmetrical tongue (prevents debris)
- Lightweight and flexible
- Some find them to be too tight
New Balance Hanzo
You are really going to stand out from the crowd wearing these Hanzos. They are only available in one color, which is a blend of black and salmon at the toe, and electric yellow and black on the heel. The sole is composed of a busy blend of yellow and black. The sit rather low on the foot and the toebox bend upwards.
If you want something that is both lightweight and comfortable- these are going to be your ticket. Often when a design is advertised as being lightweight, they often skimp on the additional padding around the collar and tongue. The Hanzo has a really soft collar and tongue, but without being overly bulky to the point that it hinders your flexibility. The top sole is composed of a lightweight and breathable material that will keep your foot nice and cool even on those hot training day in the middle of the summer. It utilizes a Revlite midsole for excellent support, and the curvature at the toebox means you will be able to generate explosive takeoffs.
For a New Balance design, these pack quite the price tag- even more so than the Nikes. These are going to be one of the more expensive models out there on the market, but for athletes that want something that is as comfortable as it is effective- these are going to be well worth the padded price tag.
If you are looking for something flashy that will send you over the finishing line- in the first place- in style, there are no trainers out there that can complete that task any better than the Hanzo.
- Unique design
- Some find they fit too loose around the ankle
New Balance Coast v3
These offer a pretty solid exterior design that comes in a few different colors such as black, white, and gray. You can opt for a pop of color with the option to select a style that has the N logo on the side that if offered in electric green or yellow. It should be noted that the white color option doesn’t come with laces- instead, it offers a velcro strap across the top that runners may or may not prefer.
You can trust that any New Balance product will provide athletes with the proper design so that they will be able to perform at their best. The question you want to know is if they are good for improving your time. They offer a modest traction so that you will be able to grip the concrete without being held back by heavy treads, and it has a wide toe box to give your foot ample room to move around. It also has an incredibly cushioned collar and tongue, without limiting flexibility.
The cost of these are pretty low compared to all of the other options making this list. If you wanted to give New Balance a try, but didn’t want to spend the price of some of their higher end designs- this is an excellent place to start.
For athletes that wanted to find a great pair of trainers that are lightweight, comfortable, and will really help improve their times without breaking the bank- you can’t go wrong with anything from New Balance.
- Some find them to be too narrow
- Some find that they do not offer enough support
Back in the 1990’s, runners didn’t rock sneakers that came in all colors of the rainbow the way they do today. Serious sneakers came in two colors- black and white. Nike is holding to that tradition in these redesigned sneakers, and they are only available in black and white. They have the classic Nike swoosh the runs along both sides, and the word Nike printed in big block letters on the heel.
Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to the MD. Keep in mind, the top is a little bit more stiff and rigid than a lot of the other models out there on the market that sport a loose, mesh top sole. The top sole of this design is breathable and made from lightweight materials, but it also has more structures around the heel. Where this model stands apart from the rest is in its sole design. Many of the soles you will find in other brands use EVA for their soles. EVA is incredibly tough and durable- but it can be a little heavy. The MD doesn’t use EVA, but instead uses Injected Phylon which is substantially more lightweight than EVA.
When you see the name Nike, you know that you are going to be paying a little bit more than some of the other more affordable brands out there. Although they are set at a slightly higher price point than many of the others making this list- they will by no means break the bank.
If you are in the market for something that looks stylish- and also provides you great support without weighing you down- the Nike MD will be a perfect addition to all of your training.
- Brand recognition
- Injected Phylon sole is lighter than EVA
- Slightly expensive
- Runs small (users suggest going ½ to 1 size up)
The Criteria We Considered
Training for a competition is hard work. It all starts with a single step, and then you build upon that step week after week until you find yourself triumphantly crossing the finish line. If you have ever purchased a cheap pair of trainers, you know just how much your footwear can hold you back. Blisters and jammed toes might not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things on race day, but it can really distract your mind from the task at hand.
Additionally, depending on what type of competition you have signed up for, different types of footwear serve different purposes. One thing that everyone can agree upon is that the lighter the design, the faster you can run. We did a lot of research to determine what the best shoes are in regard to racing, and we did that by keeping a few key ideas in mind as we searched.
We all know that trainers have a tendency to carry quite the heavy price tag. While we were in our search to find the best design out there on the market, we made sure to keep the price tag within the realm of reason. Some brands, such as Nike, Adidas, New Balance, and ASICS, are considered to run about in the middle of the road in terms of price. These brand are incredibly trusted in the industry for using high-quality materials that will really help athletes achieve their personal goals without breaking the bank.
Brands such as Brooks and Mizuno are lesser known brands, primarily because their product carry quite the hefty price tag. These products really focus on the very specific things that athletes need down to every last detail, and that’s why they are so expensive. If you want to get the best of the best and are willing to pay any price- try Brooks or Mizuno. For everyone else- many of the other products found on this list are excellent as well, and they don’t cost as much.
Yes, we know- there isn’t a pair of trainers out there that can actually make you run faster. But we all know that there are designs out there that can actually make you slower. When you have to contend with stiff and uncomfortable soles or collars and laces that dig right into your foot causing blisters- these are things that can slow you down, and they are things that can be avoided. Also, we want to make sure that we selected styles that were made from incredibly lightweight materials. The less weight you have holding you back means the faster you will be able to push yourself to the finish line.
That’s one thing that can really push your training over the top- if you are excited to lace them up and hit the road. There is a special relationship between a runner and their trainers, and if they make your feet feel supported and comfortable, you are more inclined to go for a run. Getting out there and training as often as possible is one of the best ways to improve your times and push yourself to run faster than you ever thought possible. We wanted to make sure that we selected models that had a lot of cushioning or that sat on the foot comfortably to make it feel like they are an extension of your body.
Let’s face it- we all look at the design before we even take a look at the specs. And that is precisely what we did in this case. Don’t get us wrong- if a sharp and stylish brand didn’t have the proper specs to help get your ready for the big day, we cast them aside. We liked to select designs that appealed to most tastes- those that want something that it a little understated, and those that want something bright and flashy so that no one will miss the moment that you cross that finish line.
Be prepared- it’s not just for the boy scouts. Whether you are about to run your first race or for fiftieth- being prepared is a big part of performing well. Training alone on the sidewalks around your neighborhood or your local part is one thing, but running with a group of competitors makes your training seem like a walk in the park. Making sure that you are in the right headspace, and are equipped with the right gear is a surefire recipe to cross that finish line at your best personal time. While training your body to make sure that it is in its top shape is the most important part about making good time, there are a few things that you also might want to consider as the big day comes closer.
A lot of experts say that continuing your training up until race day is a bad idea. The week before the competition, give yourself a break. This will allow for all of your joints and muscles to be completely rested so that you are competing at 100 percent. Another thing to consider is to be sure you eat clean. Making sure your body is getting enough fuel is incredibly important, and what’s even more important is making sure that what you eat is giving you the right nutrients.
The last thing that is important before the big day is to be sure you get enough sleep. It might be hard- because you are probably a little nervous and a little anxious- but a good night’s sleep is a surefire way to perform at your very best. Keep all of these things in mind and you are bound to blast past all of your personal records!
Q: What to look for to help me run faster?
There are certain things to look out for when selecting trainers. The first thing that you want to take into consideration before even hitting up the stores is what type of events do you plan to participate? This will have a huge impact on what type you should buy. If you intend on running in different types of marathons that take place on concrete or asphalt, you probably don’t need to utilize a trainer that has a lot of traction. If that is the case, be sure that you steer clear of designs labeled ‘all-terrain’, because those will likely have a lot of traction that won’t be necessary for your needs.
On the other hand, if you intend on competing in competitions that aren’t just on concrete but are also on rugged trails and mountains, you are probably going to want to utilize something that has just a little bit more traction. That’s where the ‘all terrain’ designs will come in handy. They are perfect for transitioning from rugged trails back to asphalt without skipping a beat. The treads might slow you down a little bit in comparison to other design that has less tread- but you can be certain that you will never lose traction when the trail gets rough.
Q: Which is better: high tops or low tops?
If you go to one of these events and take a look at the footwear of all of the participants, you will likely notice a trend: most of them are wearing low tops. The reason for that is because when you need to really pick up speed, low tops offer you the flexibility and maneuverability that you need in order to really pick up steam.
High tops are great for more difficult trails that require a lot of stability and support to keep your ankles protected. You might have noticed that there are some high tops to makes this list, and that is due in part for their unique designs. Most of the high tops out there that are designed for competition have plunging collars around the sides of the foot so that you have the added comfort of a high top without minimizing your flexibility.
Q: What should I wear on the day of the competition?
The main goal you should have when shopping around for the right clothes to wear is comfort. Through your training, you probably have a good idea of where your uncomfortable spots are. If your skin feels more comfortable in cotton rather than spandex, be sure to choose cotton. However, keep in mind that cotton can become heavy when wet- which might become a problem if you are running in the rain, or sweating a great deal on a particularly hot day.
Most athletes prefer to use nylon because it fits close to the body to prevent rubbing and chaffing, and it dries almost instantly when it becomes wet. Some runners, on the other hand, simply do not like clothes that fit super close to the body. So, it is all a matter of personal preference. Just be sure that you are aware of your preference come the big day!
Q: Can I wear all-terrain trainers?
As we have mentioned easier, all-terrain sneakers are perfect for competitions that involve various types of terrain. If that is the type of competition you like to sign up for- then that is the sneaker that you should keep an eye out for. However, for other types of competitions that take place on hard and flat surfaces, all-terrain might set you back a little bit. Due to the deep tread of all-terrain, when you go to push off of a smooth surface, you won’t be able to get the same level of explosiveness that you would when using a design with a smoother sole.
Q: Can I wear my new trainers on the day of the competition?
Unpacking your new trainers and lacing them up the day of the competition is a recipe for disaster. Although we do understand the sentiment of saving your best gear for the big day, it is in your best interest if you commit to all of your training wearing the same pair of sneakers. That way, there is no surprise blisters or jammed toes when you are trying to make your way to the finish line as fast as you can.