Welcome to the yearly installment of all our favorite road running shoes. Fair warning that not all of you are going to agree with this, but remember this is our own take after countless miles and numerous shoes tested. We are happy to have it out if you really want to, but let’s all agree that the real winner from this last year is well… all of us because this was an amazing year for shoes despite everything else we were faced with.
Best Race Day Running Shoe
Winner – New Balance FuelCell RC Elite v2 – $225
We started with what we felt would be the most contested item on the list and carbon plated racers are all the rage. While Nike and others continued with their domination of the market, our winner for this year is the New Balance RC Elite 2. We felt it brought an overall more comfortable ride to the table while still allowing for solid performance improvement. Some of the other shoes may have been faster, but none were more comfortable. Read our review or check out the New Balance site for more details.
Runner-Up – ASICS MetaSpeed Sky/Edge – $250
Another huge surprise came in the form of the ASICS MetaSpeed who launched two different versions of the same shoe targeted at different stride lengths and cadences. The FlyteFoam Blast Turbo midsole paired with the carbon plate and curved platform made for quick times while the barely 7oz weight made them light enough for tons of podium finishes. Check out our review or grab a pair from ASICS.
Best Road Running Tempo Shoe
Winner – New Balance Rebel V2 – $130
In what was the surprise of the year, the redesigned Rebel platform took the road running shoe by storm. The Rebel V2 was superlight, ultra responsive, cushy when it needed to be, and just a lot of fun overall. It is hard to find someone who didn’t love them and they definitely made those up tempo days a little more fun. You can read our review or check them out on the New Balance website.
Runner-Up – Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 – $160
We actually preferred the Speed 2 to the Pro 2 given the additional structure in the upper and the fact the nylon plate performed very similarly to the carbon. The Speed 2 just made those quicker days a bit more tolerable and that PWRRUN PB midsole had plenty of oomph. Check out the Saucony site for more details.
Best All Around Running Shoe
Winner – HOKA Mach 4
Bringing a mix of up-tempo performance and underfoot comfort, the Mach 4 was another revelation in a really crazy year. And yes while the laces were a bit long, everything else about this shoe hit top marks and they really gave the Clifton a run for their money at top of the HOKA food chain. Our review has more details or you can check out the HOKA site.
Best Road Running Easy Day Shoe
Winner – HOKA Bondi X – $200
In what might have been one of the biggest surprise moves of the back half of the year, HOKA drops the Bondi X on us. They took the Bondi platform, added a carbon plate, and seriously turned it into something really magical and way better than expected. They run about 2oz lighter than the spec and the visual so don’t let their profile fool you. Read our review for more or learn more on the HOKA site.
Runner-Up – New Balance Fresh Foam More V3 – $165
We almost couldn’t stand the V2 version of this shoe, but wow if New Balance didn’t really reset expectations. The Fresh Foam More V3 will make even the most loyal HOKA runner jealous and with so much cushion, these are great daily runners while also being perfect for recovery. Our review has more details, or visit New Balance to learn more.
Biggest Surprise Road Running Shoe(s)
Literally Everything PUMA NITRO
PUMA came way out of left field with the launch of NITRO and gave us a massive selection of shoes across their line-up from low platform to super high stacks to race day. From the Liberate to the Deviate to the Magnify and more. Each shoe felt like a natural progression to the next and their all new nitrogen infused midsole platform made for a lot of beautiful runs. Check out their site for more.
We hope everyone had a great year of running and if you have a very strong opinion about our selections, then feel free to reach out. 2022 is already looking amazing, so hope everyone is pumped for an exciting new year!!