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best long distance running shoes

How to Choose the Best Long Distance Running Shoes for You

October 21, 2021

Read our guide to pick the best long distance running shoes. Learn what factors to consider whether you’re running a marathon or a slow-paced nature run.

Choosing the best marathon running shoes isn't as easy as it seems, with many factors to consider when selecting the right fit for your foot and gait. Your feet are as unique as your running style, so there’s no such thing as one size fits all. You need to know your pronation type, your running technique and what works best for different terrains. To help you take the guesswork out of what to look for, we asked our ASICS experts to recommend the best long distance running shoes for 2021.

How to pick the right shoes for long distance running

When it comes to choosing the best marathon running shoes for you, consider these important factors: comfort, quality, and function. On top of that, understanding your running style, the running terrain and how your feet respond to hours of pounding the pavement will help you in the hunt for the best long distance running shoes.

Here are some helpful suggestions to narrow down your search.

What makes long distance running shoes different?

Long distance running shoes need to be sturdy enough to take a pounding, light enough to not weigh you down and stable enough for maximum push-off and energy return. So many factors come into play when looking for the best shoes for a marathon. Here are a few pointers to get you started.

Greater comfort to prevent blisters and other injuries

Above all, comfort is going to be your main concern when searching for the best long distance running shoes. Whether it’s a half marathon or a full marathon, the longer the distance, the more your feet will swell and sweat. A proper fitting, lightweight shoe with breathable upper fabric will help with moisture control and keep your feet dry. avoid tight-fitting shoes and allow for extra room in the toe box.

Increased durability to withstand frequent long distance runs

Three things to consider when looking for the best marathon shoes include mileage, body weight and foot type. For long distance runs you want a shoe with a high-quality outer rubber sole and a lightweight, cushioned midsole for extra comfort and bounce. To help reduce landing shock, look for a shoe with gel cushioning in the heel and forefoot. Buy a shoe that’s appropriate for your weight and foot type, so it can withstand the grueling hours of running time.

Knowing when to replace your running shoes depends on how many kilometers you put on them, your running conditions and training style.

Secure fit and support for stability and safety

Finding a running shoe for your pronation type will give you extra support and stability where you need it most. Overpronators and underpronators can reduce the risk of running injuries by choosing a shoe based on their foot type. Overall, the best shoes for marathon running give you immediate step-in comfort with enough room for foot spread and extra support in the heel for a smooth ride.

To find out your pronation type, take a look at our Pronation Guide .

What should you consider before buying marathon shoes?

In addition to body mechanics, the terrain and duration of your run will greatly factor into what kind of marathon shoes you buy. Are you running a half or full marathon, is it a slow-paced run or a race, are you road running or hitting the trails? Let’s take a look at these in more depth below.

1. The average number of kilometers you’re planning on running long distance

The best marathon running shoes are designed to withstand long hours of training time. But the more kilometers you put on a shoe, the greater the wear and tear. When asked, how many kilometers should your marathon shoes have on them before replacing, Podiatrist Clifton Bradeley replied, 450 to 550 miles. Keeping track of your mileage and replacing them when the time is right will ensure you’re getting the most support from your running shoes.

2. The type of terrain you’ll be running on

The type of terrain is important to your shoe style because it needs to meet the unique demands of your running surface. You want one pair of long distance running shoes that are durable enough to withstand repetitive pounding of the pavement and one that is stable enough to keep you safe on the trails.

  • Long distance trail running. For rough terrain, you need a responsive shoe with greater traction and stability. A running shoe with superior energy return responds well to this kind of softer ground and allows runners to cover more terrain with less effort.
  • Long distance road running. The harder the terrain, the greater the pummeling your shoes will take. Look for a shoe that will provide enough durability in the sole without sacrificing comfort and flexibility.

3. Whether you’ll need more than one pair

To get more mileage out of your long distance running shoes, it’s a good idea to alternate between two pairs during training. This will give your shoes enough time to dry out and decompress between runs. When you find the proper fit for your foot type and running style, consider buying two of the same pair of running shoes. Models of running shoes can change from season to season, so don’t miss out when you find the perfect pair.

4. The type and style of your long distance run

For runners who want to add more speed to their runs, look for a lightweight shoe with energy efficient design and bouncy toe-off. For slower marathon runs, durable shoes with extra midsole cushioning and breathable upper fabrics will improve the quality of your run.

Best ASICS long distance running shoes we recommend in 2021

Now that you know all the factors involved in finding the best marathon running shoe for your running style, you’ll feel more confident in making the right shoe purchase. Our experts have picked the best ASICS long distance running shoes for 2021 based on your individual running needs.

Best marathon shoes for road running:

Choosing the best marathon running shoes isn't as easy as it seems, with many factors to consider when selecting the right fit for your foot and gait. Your feet are as unique as your running style, so there’s no such thing as one size fits all. You need to know your pronation type, your running technique and what works best for different terrains. To help you take the guesswork out of what to look for, we asked our ASICS experts to recommend the best long distance running shoes for 2021.

How to pick the right shoes for long distance running

When it comes to choosing the best marathon running shoes for you, consider these important factors: comfort, quality, and function. On top of that, understanding your running style, the running terrain and how your feet respond to hours of pounding the pavement will help you in the hunt for the best long distance running shoes.

Here are some helpful suggestions to narrow down your search.

What makes long distance running shoes different?

Long distance running shoes need to be sturdy enough to take a pounding, light enough to not weigh you down and stable enough for maximum push-off and energy return. So many factors come into play when looking for the best shoes for a marathon. Here are a few pointers to get you started.

Greater comfort to prevent blisters and other injuries

Above all, comfort is going to be your main concern when searching for the best long distance running shoes. Whether it’s a half marathon or a full marathon, the longer the distance, the more your feet will swell and sweat. A proper fitting, lightweight shoe with breathable upper fabric will help with moisture control and keep your feet dry. avoid tight-fitting shoes and allow for extra room in the toe box.

Increased durability to withstand frequent long distance runs

Three things to consider when looking for the best marathon shoes include mileage, body weight and foot type. For long distance runs you want a shoe with a high-quality outer rubber sole and a lightweight, cushioned midsole for extra comfort and bounce. To help reduce landing shock, look for a shoe with gel cushioning in the heel and forefoot. Buy a shoe that’s appropriate for your weight and foot type, so it can withstand the grueling hours of running time.

Knowing when to replace your running shoes depends on how many kilometers you put on them, your running conditions and training style.

Secure fit and support for stability and safety

Finding a running shoe for your pronation type will give you extra support and stability where you need it most. Overpronators and underpronators can reduce the risk of running injuries by choosing a shoe based on their foot type. Overall, the best shoes for marathon running give you immediate step-in comfort with enough room for foot spread and extra support in the heel for a smooth ride.

To find out your pronation type, take a look at our Pronation Guide .

What should you consider before buying marathon shoes?

In addition to body mechanics, the terrain and duration of your run will greatly factor into what kind of marathon shoes you buy. Are you running a half or full marathon, is it a slow-paced run or a race, are you road running or hitting the trails? Let’s take a look at these in more depth below.

1. The average number of kilometers you’re planning on running long distance

The best marathon running shoes are designed to withstand long hours of training time. But the more kilometers you put on a shoe, the greater the wear and tear. When asked, how many kilometers should your marathon shoes have on them before replacing, Podiatrist Clifton Bradeley replied, 450 to 550 miles. Keeping track of your mileage and replacing them when the time is right will ensure you’re getting the most support from your running shoes.

2. The type of terrain you’ll be running on

The type of terrain is important to your shoe style because it needs to meet the unique demands of your running surface. You want one pair of long distance running shoes that are durable enough to withstand repetitive pounding of the pavement and one that is stable enough to keep you safe on the trails.

  • Long distance trail running. For rough terrain, you need a responsive shoe with greater traction and stability. A running shoe with superior energy return responds well to this kind of softer ground and allows runners to cover more terrain with less effort.
  • Long distance road running. The harder the terrain, the greater the pummeling your shoes will take. Look for a shoe that will provide enough durability in the sole without sacrificing comfort and flexibility.

3. Whether you’ll need more than one pair

To get more mileage out of your long distance running shoes, it’s a good idea to alternate between two pairs during training. This will give your shoes enough time to dry out and decompress between runs. When you find the proper fit for your foot type and running style, consider buying two of the same pair of running shoes. Models of running shoes can change from season to season, so don’t miss out when you find the perfect pair.

4. The type and style of your long distance run

For runners who want to add more speed to their runs, look for a lightweight shoe with energy efficient design and bouncy toe-off. For slower marathon runs, durable shoes with extra midsole cushioning and breathable upper fabrics will improve the quality of your run.

Best ASICS long distance running shoes we recommend in 2021

Now that you know all the factors involved in finding the best marathon running shoe for your running style, you’ll feel more confident in making the right shoe purchase. Our experts have picked the best ASICS long distance running shoes for 2021 based on your individual running needs.

Best marathon shoes for road running:

GEL-KAYANO™

Features:

  • Increased impact absorption and responsiveness
  • Improved stability with Space TRUSSTIC™ technology
  • Excellent rearfoot and forefoot gel cushioning
  • Designed for overpronators

Advanced support and reliable cushioning combine to make even your long runs feel relaxed. DYNAMIC DUOMAX™technology supports overpronation for a smooth and stable ride, while GEL™ technology in the heel and forefoot reduces impact where it matters most.

Features:

  • Increased impact absorption and responsiveness
  • Improved stability with Space TRUSSTIC™ technology
  • Excellent rearfoot and forefoot gel cushioning
  • Designed for overpronators

Advanced support and reliable cushioning combine to make even your long runs feel relaxed. DYNAMIC DUOMAX™technology supports overpronation for a smooth and stable ride, while GEL™ technology in the heel and forefoot reduces impact where it matters most.

GEL-NIMBUS™

Features:

  • Extra lightweight cushioning
  • 3D designed midsole
  • Improved compression at footstrike
  • Eco-friendly

Superior cushioning for a light, plush ride in a more durable design so you can rack up the kilometers with ease. ASICS LITE rubber outsole is lighter and softer than standard rubber and has excellent abrasion resistance, featuring eco content for increased sustainability.

Features:

  • Extra lightweight cushioning
  • 3D designed midsole
  • Improved compression at footstrike
  • Eco-friendly

Superior cushioning for a light, plush ride in a more durable design so you can rack up the kilometers with ease. ASICS LITE rubber outsole is lighter and softer than standard rubber and has excellent abrasion resistance, featuring eco content for increased sustainability.

Best marathon shoes for advanced or elite runners:

Best marathon shoes for advanced or elite runners:

METASPEED™ SKY

Features:

  • Full-length carbon plate
  • Enhances upward spring with FLYTEFOAM™ Blast Turbo midsole
  • Advanced stability and propulsion
  • Extra traction and grippy sole

A racing shoe designed to help optimise your stride for a flying finish. Made with FLYTEFOAM™ Blast Turbo cushioning for responsive toe-off and a full-length carbon plate for stability and propulsion.

Features:

  • Full-length carbon plate
  • Enhances upward spring with FLYTEFOAM™ Blast Turbo midsole
  • Advanced stability and propulsion
  • Extra traction and grippy sole

A racing shoe designed to help optimise your stride for a flying finish. Made with FLYTEFOAM™ Blast Turbo cushioning for responsive toe-off and a full-length carbon plate for stability and propulsion.

MEATASPEED™ EDGE

Features:

  • Full-length carbon plate
  • Enhances upward spring with FLYTEFOAM™ Blast Turbo midsole
  • Advanced stability and propulsion
  • ASICSGRIP™ outsole rubber improves durability and grip

The METASPEED™ Edge is a modern racing shoe and is developed for runners who quicken their cadence to increase speed. This fast racing flat runs best at full pace and is best suited to competitive runners.

Features:

  • Full-length carbon plate
  • Enhances upward spring with FLYTEFOAM™ Blast Turbo midsole
  • Advanced stability and propulsion
  • ASICSGRIP™ outsole rubber improves durability and grip

The METASPEED™ Edge is a modern racing shoe and is developed for runners who quicken their cadence to increase speed. This fast racing flat runs best at full pace and is best suited to competitive runners.

Best marathon shoes for fast-paced runs:

Best marathon shoes for fast-paced runs:

NOOSA TRI™

Features:

  • AHARPLUS™ outsole improves durability
  • FLYTEFOAM™ technology provides lightweight cushioning
  • Bungee lacing for extra support

The NOOSA TRI™ shoes are built for triathletes, but they're not the only ones who can appreciate this model. With the addition of GUIDESOLE™ technology, this shoe just got lighter in weight and is now designed for a wide range of runners.

Features:

  • AHARPLUS™ outsole improves durability
  • FLYTEFOAM™ technology provides lightweight cushioning
  • Bungee lacing for extra support

The NOOSA TRI™ shoes are built for triathletes, but they're not the only ones who can appreciate this model. With the addition of GUIDESOLE™ technology, this shoe just got lighter in weight and is now designed for a wide range of runners.

Best shoes for slow-paced long distance runs:

Best shoes for slow-paced long distance runs:

GT-2000™

Features:

  • Added stability and support for overpronation
  • Extra midsole cushioning
  • Soft, lightweight one-piece mesh upper

Designed to provide optimal comfort and protection for runners in search of high performance and stability. If you’re a serious high mileage runner or a weekend enthusiast and you’re looking for the smoothest ride, the GT-2000™ is the model for you.

Features:

  • Added stability and support for overpronation
  • Extra midsole cushioning
  • Soft, lightweight one-piece mesh upper

Designed to provide optimal comfort and protection for runners in search of high performance and stability. If you’re a serious high mileage runner or a weekend enthusiast and you’re looking for the smoothest ride, the GT-2000™ is the model for you.

GEL-CUMULUS™

Features:

  • More cushioning underfoot
  • Softer compression in the heel
  • A seamless, sock-like mesh ​​

An everyday trainer, the GEL-CUMULUS™ shoe is designed for a smoother, more comfortable run with durable cushioning and softer midsole foam. With gender specific support technology, this running shoe delivers a softer ride, day after day.

Features:

  • More cushioning underfoot
  • Softer compression in the heel
  • A seamless, sock-like mesh ​​

An everyday trainer, the GEL-CUMULUS™ shoe is designed for a smoother, more comfortable run with durable cushioning and softer midsole foam. With gender specific support technology, this running shoe delivers a softer ride, day after day.