There’s nothing more important when running long races than having high-quality, durable marathon running shoes - they can literally be the saving grace of any long-distance run. But which marathon shoes will really help you go the distance?
Finding good long-distance running shoes can be a marathon task in itself, but luckily here at OriGym we’ve given you a great headstart with our list of the top marathon running shoes of 2020.
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What are marathon running shoes?
Marathon and long-distance running shoes are shoes that have specifically designed features that make them more long-lasting, more comfortable, and more supportive for running longer distances.
These features include things like increased cushioning in the soles to help reduce impact on your feet, breathable exterior material to reduce residual sweat and moisture, and thick midsoles to provide support and add bounce to your movements.
For more information we’ve got a FAQ section at the bottom of this article so be sure to check it out.
Nike is one of the best known sportswear brands and are absolute titans of the sportswear world, so it's no surprise to find one of their pairs of trainers at the number one spot on this list of the best marathon running shoes on the market in 2020.
The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 marathon shoes have helped runners of every level reach their goal for almost 40 years now, and these are just as high-quality.
These shoes are sturdy and durable, making them ideal for running on all sorts of surfaces, from rugged terrains to smooth roads. These long-distance running shoes also have an all-new forefront cushioning unit which has been strategically placed there to provide you with increased responsiveness with every stride.
Nike have used React foam when making these shoes, making them incredibly light and springy. As mentioned, they are also manufactured to be durable, ensuring that they’ll last for miles and miles of running. They also have mesh uppers so as to offer breathability to your feet.
On a side note, these men’s marathon shoes are also stylish enough to easily fit into your everyday wardrobe, which is never a bad thing! They also come in a range of colours, so you can pick and choose which colour will suit you best.
Whilst they are a little pricey (though they are some of the cheaper ones on this list), it's easy to justify this price tag due to the fact that they’re pretty much guaranteed to last you a long time, meaning you’ll save yourself some money in the long term by not having to regularly replace your marathon training shoes.
These Nike shoes are without a doubt some of the best trainers for running a marathon on the UK market today!
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As marathon running trainers go, they don’t get much lighter than these ones by Hoka!
These are the lightest Clifton shoes for marathon runners since its initial release, as it tries to live up the promise of the original, that being ‘maximum cushioning, minimum weight’.
The Clifton 7 has a cushioning that is soft enough for tired and calloused feet, but firm enough for a supportive ride. The thick midsole foam is soft upon landing but springy on take off. This is a shoe that’s forgiving on aching joints and doesn’t cause any lag, making it the perfect shoe for those days where your feet and legs feel like they’re going to drop off.
The engineered mesh upper provides the runner with breathability and the snug, cushioned heel collar will keep your ankle secure and blister-free.
These long-distance road running shoes are also incredibly light, with men’s sizes only weighing 252g (and women’s weighing even less), meaning you won’t feel like you’re wearing cinder blocks on your feet when you’re out on a run.
Whilst it may not be the best shoe for racing in, it’s definitely one of the best men’s marathon running shoes out there.
#3 - Saucony Triumph 17
If you’re looking for long-distance road running shoes then the Saucony Triumph 17’s are ones that you should definitely check out!
The Saucony Triumph 17 are the most cushioned shoes that Saucony have to offer. The soft midsole will give you a springy and extremely receptive lift that will help you to continue your run for much longer.
The uppers of these top marathon running shoes are made from a breathable mesh that will allow a constant flow of air in and out, keeping your feet cool, ensuring they won’t overheat, keeping you comfortable. Your toes are protected with a thicker material at the end of the shoe, meaning any potential injury from bumping or stubbing your toe is significantly reduced.
The durable rubber outsole will give you a firm grip on a range of different surfaces, helping you to stay in control when running on the road and give you superior traction. The midsole is incredibly light and not only lowers the weight of the long-distance running shoes but also delivers a smooth ride that will protect you from injuries and reduce fatigue!
This is a great option if you’re shopping for some of the best running trainers for half marathons, full marathons, or any other long-distance running!
Plus, if you want to keep running through the winter months, we’ve got a handy article on winter running gear so you can fight off the cold and stay fit.
Under Armour’s HOVR Phantom 2 are some of the best shoes for marathon running for a variety of reasons, including the fact that these particular trainers can connect to the Under Armour MAPMYRUN app on your phone. A little chip implanted in the shoe itself will analyse and track your metrics to help make you a better runner.
These ultra-light marathon shoes have been designed to provide the wearer with a ‘zero-gravity’ feel so as to maintain energy return, which in turn helps to eliminate impact.
Thanks to an upper that fits like a sock, these shoes are also incredibly comfortable, whilst an external heel counter creates the stable support that you need whilst running. The shoe is also designed to be breathable, helping keep your feet cool and comfortable on longer runs in warmer weather. The plush cushioning of these men’s marathon running shoes interior only adds to the comfort you’re going to feel wearing these trainers.
These are some of the best running shoes for a marathon and for travelling long-distances, and even for shorter runs, making them a fantastic choice for pretty much everyone.
If you’re someone who is a fan of the ‘barefoot running’ trend, then these trainers made by Nike could well be the ones for you. Or, you can take a look at this list of the best barefoot running shoes by OriGym.
The Nike Free RN trainers will give you the feel of running barefoot due to the fact that they’re so low to the ground and so much lighter than many of the other long-distance running shoes out there.
They have far less spring and cushioning than other models, giving you an opportunity to experience what it would be like to run barefoot without getting all the cuts and bruises that would come with doing such a thing.
The most important thing about a barefoot running shoe is the safety, and the secure laces and snug fit ensure that you’ll have a comfortable, flexible, yet safe shoe to keep your feet protected.
If you haven’t tried barefoot running but fancy giving it a go, these shoes are the perfect entry point to the fad, where you’ll be able to experience whether this new movement is your kind of thing on your runs.
Otherwise, these are also some good long-distance running shoes!
You’re going to be wanting the best ultramarathon running shoes around if you’re going to be embarking on one of these long and challenging races anytime soon. Race lengths can be anything from 50km and above, so it’s vital that you find a pair of trainers that are going to last.
That’s where the Columbia Trans Alps FTK II comes in. These mid-weight trainers are very comfortable and have a protective outer sole with well-sized lugs for grip on a wide range of terrains.
These ultramarathon shoes are very comfortable and nimble, yet still offer you a considerable amount of support for your off-road racing.
The Columbias have a reinforced toe cap and heel, making them ideal for running on rocky, mountainous terrain. They also have a mesh upper which adds breathability, helps keep debris and dust out, and adds durability.
Not only do they come in a range of colours, but these ultramarathon running shoes are only going to set you back £60.00, making them a great cheaper option. These are some really good long-distance running shoes and ones we definitely recommend checking out if you’re working on a budget!
If you’re shopping for women’s marathon running shoes, then the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 trainers are a fantastic option and well worth checking out.
This is a good beginner's shoe for those who are just starting out in their long-running career, and is reliable enough to be used in both marathons and speed races. The shoe is hefty and stable, making it perfect for longer runs, whilst being lightweight and nimble enough to help you smash your short run personal best.
The Fresh Foam midsole provides you with an enhanced softness that will keep your feet comfortable no matter how many miles you clock up. You’ll experience 360° comfort with the knitted upper and the ‘Ultra Heel’, which will provide you with the support you need. The shoe is also designed to hug your foot, giving you a snug, supportive fit.
These New Balance are good marathon running shoes, which have been designed to give you a lightweight, cushioned ride, and as an added bonus, is available in a range of colours, including ‘Lemon Slush’, ‘Natural Indigo’, and ‘Bali Blue with Ginger Pink’.
These are some of the best long-distance running shoes (women’s) for sure!
These are the ideal choice for anyone shopping for stylish running shoes for a marathon that also supply a high level of practicality to your runs.
‘Boost’ is Adidas’ most responsive cushioning ever according to them. It is designed so that the more energy you give, the more you’ll get in return from the shoe with every stride.
These long-distance road running shoes have been built to be used on rocky, rugged terrain, and thus have a responsive EVA midsole that supports your foot, giving you added control on uneven surfaces.
The rubber outsole delivers extraordinary grip in all conditions, be that wet or dry. As they’re built to be used just as much in the sun as they are in the rain, these shoes also have a waterproof, breathable lining, which will stop your feet and socks from getting wet when you’re out running in the rain.
You’ll also need some of the best running socks to go with your marathon shoes to make sure you’re completely comfortable.
These are incredibly versatile trainers and some of the best running shoes for a marathon or long-distances on the UK market for sure!
#9 - Nike Wildhorse 6
As far as good marathon running shoes go, you wouldn’t be wrong in giving the Nike Wildhorse 6’s a go. Designed to be strong, lightweight, and reliable, these shoes will give you the traction that you need whilst ensuring that your feet are kept cushioned and comfortable.
Nike’s running shoes for marathons have a foam interior, which is meant to provide the wearer with a smooth, soft ride that adds a spring to your stride. The extra cushioning in the heel also creates stability.
The rubber outsole has abrasion-resistant materials in the forefoot and heel, whilst the sticky rubber in the middle gives you grip on a range of terrains, be they rugged or smooth. The shoe is covered in grips, giving you added control and meaning you won’t be slipping over on rocky or mountainous running routes any time soon.
The mesh at the forefoot helps keep your feet cool and prevents overheating, whilst the collar around the ankle helps to prevent dirt and debris from getting into the trainer, which is always a welcome feature - who likes getting stones in their shoes?
If you’re after some of the best marathon shoes (women’s and men’s) on the market, what better pair to consider than the Nike Wildhorse 6s?
#10 - Brooks Ghost 12
For some of the best running shoes for running a marathon on the market, we highly recommend you taking a look at the Brooks Ghost 12 trainers, which, compared to some of the other shoes on this list, are a relatively cheap option.
The Ghost 12s provide a smooth ride that holds up for miles and miles. This shoe has an all-new 3D Fit Print upper that gifts the user with a sleeker aesthetic and lighter feel.
The interior of these full or half-marathon shoes is cushioned from front to back and provides the runner with a soft landing that also allows them to feel the terrain underneath them. The cushioning works to provide softness underfoot without losing responsiveness and durability.
There are also crash pads on the bottom of the shoe that have an integrated system of shock absorbers, which will cushion every step and stride. These shoes for marathon runners will quite easily last you for well over 400 miles.
These shoes are mainly geared towards women, so if you are shopping around for a pair of good quality women’s long-distance running shoes, then these could well be the best ones for you!
#11 - Adidas SolarBoost 19
The SolarBoost 19’s are another great product from Adidas that are also a top contender for best ultra marathon running shoes.
These men’s marathon running shoes have been specially designed to provide the wearer with targeted support and optimal comfort for long-distance running. Tailored Fibre Placement offers reinforcement for targeted reinforcement at the midfoot, whilst the Boost - responsive cushioning - delivers incredible energy return, meaning the more energy you give, the more you get back! All of this has been specially engineered so as to give you the smoothest ride possible.
The SolarBoost is suitable for all manner of training, with emphasis in particular on long runs thanks to the aforementioned bouncy Boost foam, however it’s also just as effective in tackling the faster races.
The ‘Continental Rubber’ also gives you better traction on some of the trickier surfaces, giving a more stable feel to your marathon shoes.
These are some of the best marathon shoes for women and men, available in 10 different colours including ‘Core Black’, ‘Crystal White’, ‘Glow Blue’ and more. So if you’re looking to buy some top marathon running shoes anytime soon, then we suggest you hurry and snap these up while you still can!
#12 - Brooks Hyperion Elite
Brooks Hyperion Elite are widely regarded as some of the best long-distance running shoes out there, and for good reason.
The Hyperion Elite is Brooks' fastest running shoe available, and is designed to be worn in all manner of races, be they shorter runs or full marathons.
The midsole has a compound called DNA ZERO in it, which is Brooks’ lightest foam yet, providing the wearer with plenty of bounce and lightness. The foam also adapts to your stride and offers you a stable and responsive yet soft ride.
These women’s and men’s marathon shoes have a carbon fibre Propulsion Plate which has been designed to propel you forwards by translating your energy into forward movement, giving you an extra bounce in every step.
The outer sole of the shoe is designed to be extremely durable, however, Brooks advises that the shoe will last for only around 100 miles. But, that doesn’t have to be an issue, as these can easily be effective half-marathon racing shoes, and for shorter runs or training.
So, if you’re looking for the best half marathon shoes, then the Hyperion Elite will be right up your street!
#13 - Mizuno Wave Rider 24
If you’re looking to buy some of the best women’s marathon running shoes, then the Mizuno Wave Rider 24 have to be near the top of your list.
The Wave Riders deliver a smooth transition and responsive ride, and have introduced ‘MIZUNO ENERZY’ to the heel wedge, which in turn provides an even more cushioned landing and an increased energy return for the wearer.
The upper of the shoes has been designed to allow the foot to breathe, allowing the air to flow in and out and reduce residual sweat and dampness. It also allows vapour from sweat to escape, thus leaving your feet fresh and dry.
For other useful sweat-wicking products, have a look at our article on the best running headbands to keep moisture and hair out of your face.
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The heel and forefront of the shoe have firm material on them to protect you from any bumps or jostling that you may encounter while running, whilst you’re guaranteed a comfortable ride with the premium in-sock that fits snugly underneath the sole of the foot.
The Wave Riders are true all-rounder women’s long-distance running shoes and are suitable for marathons, short runs and even daily training, whilst always delivering a smooth and sturdy ride.
This shoe is well worth checking out if you’re looking to buy some of the best marathon shoes for women!
#14 - Asiscs Gel Kayano 27
The Asics Gel Kayano 27s are the best marathon shoes for overpronators, and are also the perfect choice for anyone who is looking for something a little bit more stable and plush for their runs.
The ‘Dynamic Duomax’ technology has been incorporated into the shoe to help support the foot and increase stability for runners who overpronate (when their feet roll inwards too much). The sole of these long-distance running shoes is also very flexible and helps stimulate more natural mobility throughout the foot movement involved in taking each stride.
This shoe by Asiscs has a revamped and sturdy heel counter, a new gender-specific torsion-control device, and deeper outsold flex grooves, which have been designed to better cater the different support needs of both men and women.
Finally, as an added bonus, the shoe has a large section of reflective materials in the rear-foot that helps keep runners visible during low light conditions.
The Gel-Kayano 27 are the best long-distance running shoes for flat feet and those susceptible to overpronation, yet also for both competitive and non-competitive runners.
The Infinity Run Flyknit marathon training shoes have been designed to help reduce injury and keep you running for longer.
The Flyknit trainer has been built to be strong and durable, whilst the higher foam stacks underfoot provide a softer feel, as well as give the shoe a super springy feel.
Less material in the shoe itself means that the wearer is closer to the foam, thus creating a more responsive and softer experience. The increased level of rubber on the outer sole also helps deliver increased durability and traction.
The midsole has been engineered to have a ‘rocker’ shape which rolls you through your stride. The Flyknit half-marathon shoes also have a wider base than previous designs, adding more stability to every step.
As an added, stylish bonus, the Flyknits come in a wide range of different colours, including pink, teal, and white & gold, ensuring that you’ll have the best looking trainers on for whatever marathon that you’re taking part in!
What are the best shoes for running a half-marathon?
While there is no definitive answer for this question, there are some specific features that will definitely contribute to your new trainers becoming the best half-marathon shoes for you.
Look for thick midsoles, durable properties, breathability, and a higher level of responsiveness to enhance your runs and ensure maximum comfort.
What are the best shoes for running a marathon?
Again, with no conclusive answer to this question, we recommend keeping an eye out for important features to make sure your run is as smooth as possible.
Similarly to half-marathon shoes, you’ll want to invest in durability, sweat-proof properties, good traction, comfort, and reliability. You will no longer be wondering “what are the best marathon running shoes?” when you’ve invested in a great pair from this list with high-quality features.
How to select running shoes for a marathon
Unfortunately, finding the right running shoes for a marathon involves a lot of trial and error. Everyone’s feet and general preferences are different, so there’s no sure-fire formula to finding the best marathon racing shoes for you.
That being said, there are a few key tips we can offer that will make the whole experience much easier:
- Consider your race - training for a half-marathon and training for a full marathon will require different considerations in footwear. You’ll need more durability for longer distances.
- Previous experience - throughout your life you’ve probably worn a variety of different trainers, and you can use that prior knowledge to inform your choices now. If those thick-soled, solid running shoes give you knee pains then it’s probably best to avoid that type. However, if your lightweight, foam-soled trainers really put a spring in your step then a similar type will be more beneficial to your marathon!
- Type of shoe - make sure you’re choosing trainers specifically designed for long-distance running. There are a few different types of trainer and not all will be as effective for marathon running, so be sure to check this before you purchase.
When to buy new running shoes before a marathon
Do not buy brand new running shoes right before your marathon.
This is hugely important as you’ll need to break in your shoes to ensure that they fit well, and that they do not rub or cause unnecessary pain before your long race. We’d recommend buying them at least 2 to 3 weeks in advance, and then wearing them for a few long-distance runs to break them in. This will ensure that their structural integrity is still sound.
Conversely, when you buy your long-distance running shoes for your training you could also buy a second pair for your actual race. That way you’ll know you’re definitely prepared!
Before you go!
There are so many different styles and great brands that make long-distance running shoes, that even choosing one pair from this list will probably be difficult.
Ultimately, they need to be durable, comfortable, and maybe even add a little spring to your step to really make the cut as the best trainers for running a marathon. No doubt you’re ready and raring to get outside and test out your new marathon running shoes!
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