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Are you on the lookout for the perfect pair of running trainers? There’s a style for everyone, whether you’re a professional runner or someone looking to take their first steps pounding the pavements outdoors.
Whether you’re a fan of clocking up the miles on the treadmill, or an all-weather terrain kind of runner, there's guaranteed to be the perfect running shoes out there. There's no need to sacrifice style for substance, though - some of these will look as good on a night out as they will in the gym.
But with so many options available, how do you know which is the right choice for you? We’ve put together the best soft ground boots you can get on the market today, depending on what you want out of your routine.
The running trainers included in this article
- Best overall running trainers: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 FlyEase
- Best budget running trainers: Reebok Energen Lite
- Best running trainers for trail terrain: Asics Gel-Venture 7 180
- Best running trainers for road surfaces: Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 Ekiden
- Best running trainers for hills: Nike Wildhorse 7
- Best running trainers for wet weather: Nike React Miler 3
- Best running trainers for propulsion: Reebok Zig Dynamica 3
- Best laceless running trainers: Adidas Puremotion Adapt
Why do you need a pair of running trainers?
Whether you're taking it indoors or outdoors, you want to ensure that you're in the best possible condition to get the most out of any run - and that starts at the bottom with your feet.
You could attempt to do your workout in ordinary shoes or even a different type of fitness gear, but you're likely to underperform to the best of your abilities when it comes to delivering results.
Running trainers are designed with one function above all - to help the wearer get the most out of any routine where they are pounding the proverbial pavement. That alone is why you'll want a good pair of running trainers, even before getting into the finer details.
What makes a good pair of running trainers?
There are plenty of individual facets and elements that will help craft a superb running shoe. Still, typically the most significant benefits will be in the comfort, functionality and durability that a good pair of trainers can provide.
The last thing you'll want is a trainer that will give you blisters, that's going to slip on uneasy surfaces, or that's going to fall apart at the seams at the first sign of a little bit of wear and tear.
Running trainers are designed to withstand heavy-duty workouts, get the best of your body, and ensure that the risk of pain is minimal.
What is the difference between various pairs of running trainers?
Running trainers are built for different terrain, much like football boots are elsewhere. While one pair will give greater function on a treadmill, another may deliver more over trail ground, and a third could provide superior power on asphalt.
Those differences all come down to how you want to approach your run routine and where you'll be taking yourself on your fitness journey.
With that in mind, here are some of the best running trainers available right now.
Best overall running trainers: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 FlyEase
Put a spot of godlike pace into your steps with the Air Zoom Pegasus 39 FlyEase - an absolute monster of a running trainer, bringing together top-of-the-line technology for an excellent experience.
Its FlyEase system lets you slip them on and off without serious hassle. A wider forefront gives you space to breathe, and the traditional Pegasus responsiveness remains preserved in all its glory to get you to the top of your workout potential faster and harder.
Best budget running trainers: Reebok Energen Lite
Who says you've got to break the bank to get some footwear that will match you with every step? The affordable Energen Lite does the job nicely as a sturdy running shoe option from Reebok.
It's a simple and effective number with a FuelFoam midsole intended to provide long-lasting cushioning for full-day usage and a breathable mesh upper to help reduce sweat. It's great for newcomers and veterans alike, whether it's your first run or your five-hundredth.
Best running trainers for trail terrain: Asics Gel-Venture 7 180
Prefer to take your runs off the beaten track? The Gel-Venture 7 180 will do you nicely, bringing the support and stability you'll need when traversing uneven terrain on your runs and workouts.
A GEL Tech-infused midsole provides additional reinforcement and cushioning against the blows of heavy footfalls and jagged ground underfoot, while a lugged rubber outsole helps increase grip. Top it off with a padded ankle collar and you've got one comfortable trainer.
Best running trainers for road surfaces: Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 Ekiden
The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 Ekiden may be a mouthful of a name, but it delivers on the road where it matters, with no shortage of dramatic style. A revamped mesh upper helps improve ventilation and comfort to keep you cool and collected.
A full-length carbon fibre plate at the bottom of the shoe gives you a responsive feel that will keep you going on the road with every strike. Not only that, but this model comes in various colourways to run with style and personality.
Best running trainers for hills: Nike Wildhorse 7
You may not find much difference between a pair of shoes set for trail terrain and those destined to tackle climbs and hills - but this Wildhorse 7 option from Nike will at the very least help you scale the climb just like Miley Cyrus.
The high-abrasion rubber outsole is cut with jagged grips to help improve traction as you take a steady upwards stroll, and a reinforced foam midsole helps protect the undercarriage of your foot from additional strain. It's excellent for clocking up those inclines in an instant.
Best running trainers for wet weather: Nike React Miler 3
A slip and a slide will take you straight out of the zone - and possibly onto something more than bed rest if you're not careful - which means having the shoes to deal with those rainy days are vital, which the React Miler 3 Shield understands.
The tyre-inspired traction will keep you moving on those slick streets, but it's the engineered mesh upper that will help keep your toes cool and dry, completed with extra padding on the collar to keep your feet comfortable.
Best running trainers for propulsion: Reebok Zig Dynamica 3
Get the lift-off you need to ensure that you don't need to return to a standing start with the energy-efficient Zig Dynamica 3, which seeks to help replenish you as you move through the gears on your run.
Its heel-to-toe return system helps improve the overall experience, complete with a traditional cushion and outsole design from Reebok - and its zig-zag design underfoot adds a splash of chic fashion to proceedings.
Best laceless running trainers: Adidas Puremotion Adapt
Want to cut away the hassle of always having to tie knots? Up steps the Puremotion Adapt - Adidas' answer to the laceless running trainer problem, delivered with no shortage of sleek style and effectiveness.
A cushioned Cloudfoam midsole is bracketed by a slip-on construction that makes it easy to put on and remove - and with a snug, sock-like feel, it helps bring you ever closer to the sense of a superior second skin as you hit your stride.