The Best Marathon Running Shoes
The marathon. A cruel, yet rewarding mistress and bucket list event for runners of all levels. From delicately pinning on your race number in nervous anticipation, the almost tangible start line atmosphere of excitement and anxiety and streets lined with parading supporters. There’s nothing quite like it!
Marathon running has seen an astronomical rise in popularity over recent times but whatever your reason for tackling 26.2, there’s one thing we all have in common - the need for the perfect pair of running shoes.
Join us as we dissect the best options currently on the market to meet the needs of runners of all abilities! We all want to know, what is the next step in running shoe innovation. The answer? Make them more sustainable!
The Best Marathon Shoes for Beginners
I’m sure most people reading this will have heard all about the craze of beefed-up carbon plated super shoes flooding the market. However, these shoes can be very aggressive and take some time to get used to.
If this is your first rodeo and you’re simply looking to complete the distance as comfortably as possible, here are some cracking options that fit the bill!
Looking for something a little different? The HOKA Clifton is one of the brands most popular daily trainers for a reason. Lightweight and versatile, the Clifton is always worth a shout!
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080
Premium comfort with a sock like fit and oodles of New Balance’s Fresh Foam underfoot. Soak up the miles in comfort with the 1080v11.
New Balance Fresh Foam 880
Tried and tested. The 880 has always got the job done, no questions asked. More than capable of your training miles, 26.2, and beyond.
A real classic which has stood the test of time. Durable, comfortable and well cushioned. What more could you need?
The workhorse with wings. Versatile and durable enough to handle whatever is thrown at it. The Pegasus is a modern-day classic.
A long-standing staple daily trainer. You can’t go wrong with the Saucony Ride series!
adidas Solar Boost
The Solar Boost line up is well known for its exquisite durability merit. A super comfortable upper combines with a Boost midsole and continental rubber outsole for performance that lasts!
The Best Max Cushion Marathon Running Shoes
Less is not always more when it comes to running shoes, especially if you’re hoping to complete the Marathon in relative comfort!
What certain max cushioned shoes may gain in physical weight, they’ll often more than make up for in beautifully plush leg protective cushioning.
If you’re a fan of a soft underfoot experience, the following options may be for you.
adidas Adizero Boston 10
A true classic. In 2021, the Boston got a massive design overhaul and now features many of the technologies of the top tier Adios Pro. Still repping a Continental rubber outsole for traction and durability, the Boston 10 remains a versatile and durable contender.
The Glycerin oozes comfort from the plush heel collar to the DNA Loft cushioning underfoot. Like running in slippers, only better, obviously…
New Balance Fresh Foam More
The clues in the name with this one… A mammoth wedge of famed Fresh Foam coupled with a luxurious upper makes this one a real winner for those seeking comfort and cushioning galore.
ASICS made a real splash with the Novablast upon initial release and with the latest iteration, the hype train keeps on rolling. FF Blast Foam offers a super springy ride whilst the upper disappears on foot whist keeping you cool.
Saucony Endorphin Shift
The final piece to the enormously popular Sacuony Endorphin line, the Shift features SPEEDROLL technology for the smoothest of strides with a maximalist midsole stack.
They named it after what it is. The Triumph is Saucony’s long standing max cushioned neutral offering providing pure plush performance. Durable, comfortable, cushioned. It’s got it all.
ZoomX has been around for a while in Nike’s top end racing shoes and the results speak for themselves. The Invincible Run Flyknit was the first implementation of a full ZoomX midsole into a dedicated daily trainer and there’s nothing quite like it!
The Best for Support
We can’t all effortlessly gallop down the road at 2:50/km pace like Kipchoge but with the right shoe choice, it can feel like we are!
Need a little extra support for your stride? No problem. Support shoes will often feature a firmer density material in the way of a medial posting to help guide you smoothly and stably through your gait cycle.
If dedicated stability characteristics are what you’re after, check out some of the options listed below to whet your appetite.
New Balance Vongo
Subtly supportive without sacrificing performance, the Vongo features many of the same features of the popular neutral Fresh Foam 1080 mentioned above. You can expect the same long-lasting cushioning with an extra bit of medial support to keep you moving in confidence.
The supportive sibling of the Saucony Ride series, the Guide also features a medial post to limit excessive pronation.
ASICS Gel Kayano
A running shoe household name, the Kayano has an almost unrivalled reputation for a reason. Always reliable, always there to offer support when your form starts to slip. ASICS most premium support shoe is here to stay.
Nike Structure 24
One of the more versatile offerings on the list, the Nike Structure takes the classic Nike DNA into the support shoe arena with performance you can trust.
Mizuno Wave Inspire 17
Trademark Wave Plate technology offers exceptional underfoot cushioning whilst an extending medial posting ensures a stable stride. Add in an accommodating upper, the Wave Inspire is a solid choice here.
The Best Non-Carbon Plate Marathon Shoes
The verdict is out and all current research leans towards the efficiency gains from carbon fibre plated shoes to optimise your race day. However, this comes at a price which can be tough to stomach for all but the most performance focussed runners.
Luckily, there are plenty of significantly more wallet friendly offerings which will still have you smiling through the miles. Here’s a few of our favourites!
HOKA Mach 4
Lightweight, responsive ProFly midsole, excellent breathability. The Mach 4 was a real hit with independent shoe reviewers, and it doesn’t take much to see why. Cushioned enough for recovery days with enough pop to toe the line in confidence!
New Balance Rebel v2
A rebel with a cause(sorry). The Rebel V2 takes the same super soft and responsive FuelCell midsole found in the top end RC Elite and couples it with a barely there mono mesh upper. Lightweight performance that packs a punch!
Nike Tempo Next%
Intended as the ideal training companion for the Alphafly, the Tempo Next% features a whopping stack of React and ZoomX foam, Air Zoom forefoot pods, a nylon plate and Flyknit upper for a uniquely propulsive ride.
Saucony Endorphin Speed 2
One of the most popular shoes of recent times! The Endorphin Speed 2 may only feature a nylon plate, but in terms of performance, its right up there in the top drawer.
PUMA Deviate Nitro
The big cat brand had flown under the radar until their recent foray into the performance running world. The Nitro series has captured many a runner’s hearts with lightweight construction and nitrogen infused foam!
The Best Carbon Plated Marathon Shoes
The pièce de résistance of modern day road racing. These days its tough for athletes to truly be competitive over the longer distance events without a reputable carbon plated racing shoe on foot.
In simple terms, the way an S curve carbon infused plate works in conjunction with a soft, yet high rebound foam is what provides that sensational feeling of propulsion we’ve come to know and love.
A market once monopolised by the Vaporfly is now a sea of diverse, highly innovative offerings. The shoes listed below are just a few of our top picks.
Nike Vaporfly Next% 2
The original Vaporfly was the OG and nothing came close in terms of performance for many years. Although other brands may have shortened the deficit, for many, the Vaporfly still rules the roost!
adidas adizero adios Pro 2
Debuting with a women’s only half marathon world record with numerous records toppling since, the Adios Pro has firmly cemented itself as a worthy carbon plated competitor.
Nike Alphafly Next
The most technologically innovative running shoe perhaps ever. An iconic silhouette featuring Air Zoom pods, a full-length carbon plate, max legal stack of ZoomX foam and Atomknit upper. This shoe was purpose built for the marathon.
New Balance RC Elite v2
Arguably the most comfortable of the carbon-plate super shoes. The RC Elite sits on a wider base than some of the other shoes on the list with perhaps the softest ride too. This one is a real long distance cruiser.
On Cloudboom Echo
The original Cloudboom was a little too firm and lacked the pop of its competitors. With the Cloudboom Echo, Swiss brand On have totally reimagined the shoe to be more protective and propulsive than before. A Worthy update!
Saucony Endorphin Pro 2
SPEEDROLL technology, full length carbon plate, super breathable upper, comparatively durable outsole and PEBA based PWRRUNPB midsole. Sounds like a recipe for a good time. The Endorphin Pro is a smooth mover!
The Best Trail Marathon Shoes
If the lure of an off road marathon is too much to refuse, you’re going to need something to tackle the terrain.
The trail shoes in this list all feature significant cushioning to keep you feeling fresh on hard packed paths, with sufficient traction for whatever mother nature throws at you.
HOKA and trail running go hand in hand. The Speedgoat series is one of the brands most popular options, offering excellent cushioning, durability thanks to a Vibram outsole and a strategically reinforced upper.
New Balance Hierro v6
Maximal cushioning and solid lug depth coupled with an accommodating upper makes the Hierro a real top pick for off road adventures.
TNF Flight Vectiv
We’ve mentioned carbon plated road shoes but what happens when you implement that tech to the trails? You get the Flight Vectiv. The first full carbon plated trail shoe!
Nike Peg Trail 3
Classic Pegasus fit and feel with grip that won’t let you down. Also feels pretty good on harder surfaces too making this one a great hybrid option for mixed terrain.
Helion super foam, Slingshot Speedboard and Missiongrip traction. The Cloudventure was built for off road precision.
Thus concludes our guide to marathon shoes for every type of run and any type of runner! Remember, for more options, you can always try our comprehensive Shoe Finder tool.
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