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Best Jogging Shoes Reviewed & Rated

last updated Sep 30, 2019

Jogging is a simple type of physical activity that’s been popular for decades. Done at a slower pace than running, it is still an exceptional way to add some cardio exercise to your fitness routines, and it includes the additional benefits of preventing heart disease, combating stress and helping you get some much needed fresh air and vitamin D. And while being low cost in terms that it doesn’t require you to pay a monthly fee or membership, it will require one piece of equipment - a quality pair of jogging shoes.

The list below looks at the best jogging shoes currently available for purchase, including models made for specific types of terrain, as well as those that include specialized cushioning or support to ensure foot health and pain-free experience.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 17 hrs of research

icon
Hoka One One Speedgoat 3
95.4/100 our score
Comfort
97
Flexibility
88
Support
95
Traction
100
Weight
97
Hoka One One Speedgoat 3
Why is it better?

Engineered Mesh Upper

Waterproof Version Available

EVA & CMEVA Cushioning

Vibram Outsole

Wide Platform

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Hoka One One Speedgoat 3
Test Winner: Hoka One One Speedgoat 3
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Researched Sources
19
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1378
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
17
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
20
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Ana Rockov
By Ana Rockov:

The latest update to this article looks at the best jogging shoes currently available for purchase. The September 2019 update includes 5 brand new pairs of footwear ideal for both slow and fast-paced running, focusing on shock-absorption, comfort, traction and support.

Sorting Options
Comfort Flexibility Support Traction Weight By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.4
Comfort
97 %
Flexibility
88 %
Support
95 %
Traction
100 %
Weight
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
Amazon Link
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.2
Comfort
96 %
Flexibility
92 %
Support
96 %
Traction
97 %
Weight
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
Amazon Link
$159.95
Road Runner Sports Link
$159.95
See Deal
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.8
Comfort
99 %
Flexibility
95 %
Support
96 %
Traction
94 %
Weight
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
Holabird Sports Link
$99.95
See Deal
Road Runner Sports Link
$99.95
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Amazon Link
$129.95
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
Comfort
96 %
Flexibility
94 %
Support
93 %
Traction
95 %
Weight
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
Holabird Sports Link
$69.95
See Deal
Amazon Link
$77.99
Road Runner Sports Link
$129.95
See Deal
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Comfort
91 %
Flexibility
92 %
Support
88 %
Traction
95 %
Weight
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
Amazon Link
$119.95
Holabird Sports Link
$119.95
See Deal
Road Runner Sports Link
$119.95
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#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.2
Comfort
98 %
Flexibility
93 %
Support
87 %
Traction
90 %
Weight
88 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
Amazon Link
$122.28
Road Runner Sports Link
$123.87
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Holabird Sports Link
$129.95
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#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.6
Comfort
91 %
Flexibility
90 %
Support
89 %
Traction
87 %
Weight
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
Amazon Link
$49.98
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.2
Comfort
90 %
Flexibility
88 %
Support
87 %
Traction
86 %
Weight
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
Amazon Link
$75.00
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79.8
Comfort
80 %
Flexibility
81 %
Support
79 %
Traction
81 %
Weight
78 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
Holabird Sports Link
$59.95
See Deal
Amazon Link
$67.71
Road Runner Sports Link
$89.95
See Deal
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
73.2
Comfort
75 %
Flexibility
73 %
Support
71 %
Traction
75 %
Weight
72 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.19)
Amazon Link
$61.99

10 Best Jogging Shoes

1. Hoka One One Speedgoat 3

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.4
Best Jogging Shoes Hoka One One Speedgoat 3
Best Jogging Shoes Hoka One One Speedgoat 3
Best Jogging Shoes Hoka One One Speedgoat 3
Best Jogging Shoes Hoka One One Speedgoat 3
Amazon Link
Comfort
97
Flexibility
88
Support
95
Traction
100
Weight
97
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

Engineered Mesh Upper

Waterproof Version Available

EVA & CMEVA Cushioning

Vibram Outsole

Wide Platform

Cons:

Slightly Narrow Toe

Cost

This pair of footwear is a maximalist trail runner, meaning that it offers a high level of shock-absorption through a generously padded sole. Made for jogging in nature, Speedgoat 3 is a continuation of Hoka One One’s series of popular athletic footwear solutions. It can be purchased in regular and waterproof versions and offers some unique features that are hard to find among other manufacturers. It can be purchased in four versions, including a medium height, a waterproof version, as well as a racing option. Though color options are slightly limited, it’s definitely a model worth checking out.

The technology used in Hoka One One’s footwear aims at providing a plush underfoot feel without sacrificing weight. The Speedgoat 3 features an EVA foam midsole which has a wider toe in order to ensure a comfortable wearing experience. The heel cushion is maximized, while responsiveness still remains sufficient for most users.

The wide platform of the Speedgoat serves a simple purpose - providing the required stability on varied terrain. This means that you can easily wear this model without having to worry about ankle sprains or other injuries, even on more challenging trails. Performance is further ensured by a Vibram outsole which offers high abrasion resistance and excellent traction in all weather conditions, both wet and dry. The multidirectional lugs bite into the surface area and keep you stable on your feet.

The Speedgoat 3 is made with 100% vegan materials, utilizing an open engineered mesh upper for maximum breathability. Support for the toe and midfoot areas are provided by TPU overlays connected to the lacing system. The heel is tightly secured by an internal cage, while a pull tab ensures easy on and off. The cost for which the Speedgoat 3 is above average for running footwear, but isn’t too expensive considering that it’s one of the highest-rated pairs of running gear released in 2019. If you’re a nature enthusiast, it’s the model to go with, no doubt.

2. ASICS GEL-Kayano 26

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.2
Best Jogging Shoes ASICS GEL-Kayano 26
Best Jogging Shoes ASICS GEL-Kayano 26
Best Jogging Shoes ASICS GEL-Kayano 26
Best Jogging Shoes ASICS GEL-Kayano 26
Amazon Link
Comfort
96
Flexibility
92
Support
96
Traction
97
Weight
95
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$159.95
Road Runner Sports Link
$159.95
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Pros:

GEL Cushioning

Flytefoam Propel Midsole

Dynamic DuoMax Support System

Jacquard Mesh Upper

ASICS High Abrasion Rubber

Durable

Cons:

Narrow Toe Box

Runs Large

Very few manufacturers can boast of offering a line of running footwear that’s been around for a quarter of a century. The ASICS GEL-Kayano is one such shoe, with the current, 26th version being one of the highest-rated releases to date. This is a sneaker made for road conditions, aimed at people with normal and low arches, or completely flat feet. It’s great for both neutral and overpronation, making it one of the more versatile products on this list. It can be purchased in several color choices, as well as in normal, wide and extra-wide sizes.

The single biggest update to the GEL-Kayano, compared to the previous versions, comes in the midsole. The 26th version of the shoe now includes a higher level of shock-absorption through the inclusion of the brand’s newest technologies. The cushioned effect of the Kayano is achieved through a number of features, the most prominent of which is the GEL cushioning inserted in the heel and forefoot sections. This compound helps dissipate the force from impact, ensuring the health of your joints and muscles, as well as a higher level of endurance. It’s housed in a foam midsole made with newly developed Flytefoam Propel which has a high level of energy return, pushing you to go further even during long runs.

To provide the stability required by low arches and flat feet, the model includes a firmer foam section placed on the inside of the arch, creating a support system that’s called Dynamic DuoMax Technology. This system prevents the foot from rolling inwards, thus helping eliminate knee, back and joint pain which are most often the consequence of improper alignment. The outsole uses an abrasion-resistant rubber compound to ensure durability and long-lasting traction on asphalt surfaces, and the overall weight of the shoe is kept at a minimum through innovative material use, keeping these shoes lightweight at around 300g.

As for comfort and fit, they’re highly rated by users of the ASICS GEL-Kayano 26. The material used in the upper is a jacquard mesh which is a stretchy, cloth-like material that offers a supportive, non-restrictive feel. It’s excellent for all foot shapes and requires absolutely no breaking in. There’s padding in the collar and tongue to prevent rubbing, and printed overlays keep everything supported throughout your runs. There’s also a heel-clutching system in place which prevents in-shoe wobbling that could lead to injury or discomfort. The price point of the Kayano 26 is quite high, although it’s not the most expensive model on our list. If you’re after a pair of running footwear that has a good amount of arch support and a fan-favorite shock-absorbing system, this model is definitely worth checking out.

3. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.8
Best Jogging Shoes Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19
Best Jogging Shoes Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19
Best Jogging Shoes Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19
Best Jogging Shoes Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19
Amazon Link
Comfort
99
Flexibility
95
Support
96
Traction
94
Weight
90
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$129.95
Holabird Sports Link
$99.95
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Road Runner Sports Link
$99.95
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Pros:

BioMoGO DNA Cushioning

Blown Rubber Outsole

Motion Control Support

3D Print Saddle

4 Width Options

Cons:

Durability Issues

Runs Small

The latest edition of the Brooks Adrenaline is made for runners with flat to normal arches who need a motion control pair of running shoes. The purpose of this footwear is to guide the runner through a natural and balanced gait cycle, ensuring that pressure is distributed equally over the entire foot, preventing issues such as heel, joint or tendon pain. Like most other pairs of Brooks athletic footwear, the Adrenaline comes in four width options allowing almost anyone to find the right fit while offering a plethora of color options ranging from all-black to more colorful versions.

The two main advantages that the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19 offers over other models on this list are contained in the midsole. Firstly, it features a highly efficient cushioning system that’s made with environmentally-friendly materials. This foam compound is plush underfoot, but highly responsive, with a lower likelihood of packing or flattening that’s common for more traditional foams such as EVA. There’s a DNA Loft section in the heel to absorb shock that’s generated by heel landings. Inside the midsole is placed a GuideRails Holistic Support System that aims to ensure proper support. It is through this motion control system that knee and joint pain are prevented, seeing that the runner is always in a state of natural alignment.

The outsole of the shoe includes Segmented Crash Pads made of blown rubber which additionally contribute to shock-absorption. Flex lines ensure proper flexibility and foot movement. You’ll find this model surprisingly lightweight, due to the smart use of materials.

As for the upper, it uses engineered mesh for high levels of breathability, as well as an asymmetrical saddle that ensures a comfortable and locked-in feel. It’s made with 3D Print overlays and connects the lacing system with the heel area for the best possible support. This shoe also offers a high amount of padding in the collar, for the highest possible comfort levels. The price of this model ranks average compared to other running shoes listed, so if you’re after a highly cushioned sneaker or a motion control runner, it definitely works well.

4. Reebok Crossfit Nano 8.0

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
Best Jogging Shoes Reebok Crossfit Nano 8.0
Best Jogging Shoes Reebok Crossfit Nano 8.0
Best Jogging Shoes Reebok Crossfit Nano 8.0
Best Jogging Shoes Reebok Crossfit Nano 8.0
Amazon Link
Comfort
96
Flexibility
94
Support
93
Traction
95
Weight
91
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$77.99
Holabird Sports Link
$69.95
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Road Runner Sports Link
$129.95
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Pros:

Toe Wrap

EVA Midsole

Internal Fit Frame

Protection Wrap

Metasplit Flex Grooves

Cons:

Arch Support Very High

Runs Wide

Made for the elements, the Reebok Crossfit Nano 8.0 Training Shoe has an amazing toe wrap that is designed to keep your feet moving in any situation. The Reebok Crossfit Nano 8.0 Training Shoe offers so many added features that will make your head spin. Metasplit flex grooves keep your feet moving while ultimate lightweight materials make up this shoe to give you a natural feel, every time.

With the added durability of the Internal Fit Frame, the Reebok Crossfit Nano 8.0 Training Shoe is made to last. Giving you optimal support and protection, these are known to get the job done without a flinch. Now that's durable!

The Reebok Crossfit Nano 8.0 Training Shoe offers the amazing foam EVA midsole for maximum comfort and contour. The EVA Midsole is designed to protect your feet from impact while absorbing any shock that may hit your shoe. The Reebok Crossfit Nano 8.0 Training Shoe has comfort in every step.

5. Mizuno Wave Rider 23

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Best Jogging Shoes Mizuno Wave Rider 23
Best Jogging Shoes Mizuno Wave Rider 23
Best Jogging Shoes Mizuno Wave Rider 23
Best Jogging Shoes Mizuno Wave Rider 23
Amazon Link
Comfort
91
Flexibility
92
Support
88
Traction
95
Weight
94
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$119.95
Holabird Sports Link
$119.95
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Road Runner Sports Link
$119.95
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Pros:

Dual-layer Mesh Upper

Mizuno Wave Plate

U4ic and U4icX Midsole

X10 Rubber Outsole

Lightweight

Cons:

Limited Color Options

Shoelace Length

What makes Mizuno footwear special is the brand’s innovative shock-absorption technology that makes running much less taxing on your joints and muscles. This results in lower levels of fatigue and increased performance, which is ultimately what you want when you go for a jog. The Wave Rider was designed for road conditions and neutral pronators. It’s the latest addition to Mizuno’s most popular line and comes in two upper versions the regular mesh version and the knit version named Waveknit R2.

The sole of the Wave Rider utilizes a foam compound called U4ic, a highly shock-absorbing material that favors ground feel and energy return. It’s used as a full-length unit and is aided by the addition of U4icX in the heel, for a softer, more cushioned lading feel. This midsole houses a Mizuno Wave Plate, a TPU system that disperses shock, ensures a smooth heel to toe transition and maximizes energy return.

The upper is highly breathable, as is expected considering the engineered mesh material. It features more perforations in key areas such as the toe and midfoot while ensuring stability through more dense areas. Aided by synthetic overlays, you’ll find that this shoe offers a supportive fit made even better through the use of padding in the tongue and collar. The Dynamotion Fit system allows the shoe to stretch along with the foot, giving you an unrestrictive experience.

As for the outsole, it’s made with carbon rubber in the heel area, and is highly resistant to abrasion and works perfectly on road surfaces. The toe utilizes blown rubber for a higher level of cushioning, as well as a more flexible performance and lighter overall weight. The cost of the Wave Rider 23 is average compared to other similarly performing running footwear, making for an excellent choice to those who want a good pair of daily runners.

6. Adidas Ultraboost 19

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.2
Best Jogging Shoes Adidas Ultraboost 19
Best Jogging Shoes Adidas Ultraboost 19
Best Jogging Shoes Adidas Ultraboost 19
Best Jogging Shoes Adidas Ultraboost 19
Amazon Link
Comfort
98
Flexibility
93
Support
87
Traction
90
Weight
88
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$122.28
Road Runner Sports Link
$123.87
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Holabird Sports Link
$129.95
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Pros:

Primeknit 360 Upper

Boost Cushioning

Continental Rubber Outsole

Removable Insole

Excellent Heel Lock-in

Cons:

Expensive

Lateral Stability

The latest addition to the Adidas Boost family comes in the form of the Ultraboost 19, one of the highest-rated running sneakers currently available in the market. This sneaker has a bootie construction for the ultimate amount fo in-shoe comfort, and it makes for one of the most stylish options on our list. With new colorways being added several times a year, you’ll see that finding the perfect look is a piece of cake.

The Ultraboost 19 was designed to provide novice and experienced runners the best of the best. It utilizes the brand’s most popular shock-absorbing system, an Ultraboost midsole made from numerous TPU pellets that compress with each landing and expand with each toe-off. What this results in is a significant increase in shock-absorption, as well as energy return compared to most cushioning systems. The medial side features dual-density Boost for increased arch support, making this model perfect for runners who need neutral shoes.

The upper is made with Primeknit 360, a knit material that uses stretch fibers in order to ensure a proper fit. It’s highly breathable, seamless, and offers a sock-like fit that works for most foot shapes. The heel is held in place through a cage system that efficiently locks it in place, while the midfoot cage increases support, allowing for some fit adjustment through the lacing system. The collar is very thin for a barely-there feel, while the heel curves away from the ankle, ensuring comfort in the Achilles section.

The outsole of the Ultraboost 19 uses Continental rubber for dry and wet traction and is made so as to ensure maximum flexibility. The price of this shoe is quite high, making it one of the most expensive models on this list, but on the whole, it’s also one of the highest-rated pairs of footwear you will find and is an excellent choice for almost anyone.

7. Nike Revolution 4

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.6
Best Jogging Shoes Nike Revolution 4
Best Jogging Shoes Nike Revolution 4
Best Jogging Shoes Nike Revolution 4
Best Jogging Shoes Nike Revolution 4
Amazon Link
Comfort
91
Flexibility
90
Support
89
Traction
87
Weight
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$49.98
Pros:

Mesh Upper

Foam Insole

Padded Collar & Tongue

Added Arch Support

Cons:

Seams Pull Away

The NIKE Revolution 4 is an updated version of their Revolution 3. They are a super durable yet lightweight runner that is bound to get you from place to place in comfort and style. With a mesh upper the Nike Revolution 4 is bound to keep you on your toes with limited weight and constant air flow. The added arch support takes the shock out of your step.

The Nike Revolution 4 is made with a mesh upper that gives constant breathability. Benefits of mesh include airflow, disease-free feet, comfort, and flexibility. Mesh will keep your feet stink free too!

The Nike Revolution 4 offers extra padding for your comfort. The tongue and collar of this shoe keep constant comfort and support with extra padding in this shoe. The extra padding will help prevent rubbing and pain and also maintain stability in the ankle.

8. Skechers Sport Equalizer 2.0

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.2
Best Jogging Shoes Skechers Equalizer 2.0
Best Jogging Shoes Skechers Equalizer 2.0
Best Jogging Shoes Skechers Equalizer 2.0
Best Jogging Shoes Skechers Equalizer 2.0
Amazon Link
Comfort
90
Flexibility
88
Support
87
Traction
86
Weight
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$75.00
Pros:

Arch Support

Gel Cooled Memory Foam

Mesh Material

Exceptional Flexibility

Cons:

Weak Lace Loops

With a high impact absorption, the Skechers Sports Men's equalizer 2.0 True Balance Sneaker is the perfect shoe for your daily jogs or casual walks in the park. Dual support for the foot and heel make this shoe incredibly comfortable and will support your feet with every move that you make. Added comfort at the collar, this shoe will make sure you are comfortable from toe to heel, at an attractive price.

The Skechers Sports Men's equalizer 2.0 True Balance Sneaker offers a gel cooled memory foam that is both cooling and designed to take a bigger hit than normal foams. The gel cooled memory foam throws away heat and brings in the cool, allowing your feet to remain comfortable.

The Skechers Sports Men's equalizer 2.0 True Balance Sneaker is one of the lightest sneakers available in this market. Made with durable, yet powerful lightweight materials, this shoe is both made to last and give a natural feel with all of your performance needs.

9. Vibram KSO EVO

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79.8
Best Jogging Shoes Vibram KSO EVO
Best Jogging Shoes Vibram KSO EVO
Best Jogging Shoes Vibram KSO EVO
Best Jogging Shoes Vibram KSO EVO
Amazon Link
Comfort
80
Flexibility
81
Support
79
Traction
81
Weight
78
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$67.71
Holabird Sports Link
$59.95
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Road Runner Sports Link
$89.95
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Pros:

Fivefinger Technology

EVA Midsole

Speed Lace

Vibram Outsole

Soft Lining

Cons:

Difficult To Break In

The Vibram KSO EVO Cross Training Shoe is a diverse and incredibly lightweight shoe that makes your jog go by fast and easy. This shoe fits very natural to the foot, keeping a natural feel on jogging. Icetrek outsoles make any surface a playing field with the Vibram KSO EVO Cross Training Shoe. Light padding gives you maximum comfort and speed lace systems allow you to get up and go. With a shoe this good, you will feel as if you are jogging barefoot with an added outsole.

The Vibram KSO EVO Cross Training Shoe offers an outsole so good, it makes it versatile for a variety of surfaces, even during the winter months. The maximum grip on the bottom of the Vibram KSO EVO Cross Training Shoe makes any dry, wet, slippery, or icy surface, a place for a jog.

The Vibram KSO EVO Cross Training Shoe offers the best feel for your feet by providing a slot for each toe. This comfortable experience is designed to give you a natural feel with ultimate comfort as you jog.

10. PUMA Osu NM

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
73.2
Best Jogging Shoes Puma Osu RN
Best Jogging Shoes Puma Osu RN
Best Jogging Shoes Puma Osu RN
Best Jogging Shoes Puma Osu RN
Amazon Link
Comfort
75
Flexibility
73
Support
71
Traction
75
Weight
72
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$61.99
Pros:

No Lace

Added Strap For Security

Grooved Outsole

Spacious

Mesh Material

Cons:

Narrow Sole Bed

Looking for the best running shoe at an excellent rate? These super cool sneakers will support your feet and allow a constant flow of air. The PUMA Osu NM Cross-Training Shoe has a grooved sole with a strap for easy on and off. The strap also serves the purpose of constant ankle support while running or walking. This laceless cross trainer is the best bang for your buck!

The PUMA Osu NM Cross-Training Shoe is an excellent shoe in the sense of flexibility and allowing extra toe room. The PUMA Osu NM Cross-Training Shoe fits snug while also giving your toes and feet that extra room for a natural feel. Added flexibility allows a step up in performance and speed!

The PUMA Osu NM Cross-Training Shoe has a grooved sole that offers a lot to the feet. With a shock absorption like none other, the grooved sole also allows added cushion for the comfort. The PUMA Osu NM Cross-Training Shoe has an excellent grip due to the grooved sole, making this an all-purpose shoe.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Comfort

Cushioning is essential. When you’re going for a casual walk, cushioning is still important, but going for a run produces more forceful impacts between your feet and the ground. You need sufficient cushioning in your jogging shoes to protect yourself from injury.

Sir Isaac Newton’s third law of motion states that “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” As such, the force from your foot pressing down on the ground is countered by an equal amount of force pressing back against your foot. These equal reactions between your feet and the ground allow you to push yourself forward. Force is measured in Newtons, named for the scientist that discovered the laws of motion.

According to research performed at Oregon State University, slow runs can exert anywhere from 1083 to 1314 Newtons on your feet. For comparison, ordinary runs can exert 2000-4700 Newtons on your feet per each step, according to Saucony. Each Newton is equal to about four and a half pounds. That means each step exerts the same amount of pressure on your foot as an object weighing 4,050 pounds would exert on a table. Each step could exert as much pound-force as an object weighing 21,150 pounds!

With all of this force being exerted, going barefoot or wearing footwear without cushioning could result in injuries which limit the time you can spend running. It’s imperative to find a shoe with the right amount of cushioning for you. That is to say that the most cushioning available is not always the right amount for each jogger.

Levels of Cushioning
There are three levels of cushioning commonly used in the manufacturing and design of athletic footwear. Minimalist, maximalist, and neutral. A minimalist shoe has the least amount of cushioning possible to reduce the weight and size of the shoe. A maximalist shoe has the most cushioning possible to reduce the most impact. A neutral shoe rests somewhere in the middle.

Which level of cushioning that works best for you depends on your tastes, your weight, the amount of it that you do, and the terrain on which you run. A harder surface like pavement would exert more force than a padded floor because the padded floor would shift under you more than the pavement would. The more you weigh, the more pound force that will be exerted with each step. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide how much cushioning you want and need.

Forms of Cushioning
Cushioning comes in a variety of forms. Insoles, midsoles, outsoles, padding, and shoe linings are all used to cushion.

An insole can be a removable footbed in your shoe that can be replaced with a customized orthotic insole with the best amount of cushioning for you. However, not every shoe come with removable insoles, so it would be best for you to choose a shoe with a well-cushioned insole so you wouldn’t need to switch out the insoles for a custom one.

A midsole is found between the outsole and the insole. This sole cannot be replaced, so it would be in your best interests to find a shoe with a well-cushioned midsole.

The outsole is found on the outside of the shoe. It’s the part that makes contact with the ground. Rubber outsoles offer extra cushioning and reduce impact while also supporting stability.

Padding can take the form of a plush tongue, air pockets on the sides, or a padded collar. These don’t reduce impact per se, but they do make your jog a little more comfortable because they reduce painful rubbing and irritation of the foot and ankle.

Shoe linings are generally rather thin, but the softer ones offer a little extra cushioning to complement the cushioning already built into the rest of the shoe.

Flexibility

Firm footwear has its purposes, but taking it for a jog isn’t one of them. You need a shoe that will give just enough with each footfall to allow your foot to move naturally and avoid injury. Similarly, too much flexibility can lead to injury due to a lack of support within the shoe.

Consider our earlier discussion about Newton’s Third Law of motion and the importance of cushioning in your jogging shoes. Each step generates up to 1314 Newtons of force on your feet. A hard, inflexible outsole could theoretically snap under the force, making you fall. If the sole didn’t snap, it could still cause severe pain and discomfort, or even injury, to your foot, ankle, or leg via the high impact between your foot and the inflexible sole.

Features of a Flexible Shoe
There are several ways that manufacturers produce flexibility in their footwear, such as rubber soles, flex grooves, mesh construction, and stretchy upper material.

Rubber Soles
You don’t want a leather sole or a sole made with hard heel materials in your shoe. The best soles are generally made of rubber, but some are made with other synthesized materials, such as polyurethane. Rubber soles in particular offer flexibility and traction, so they are the most common.

Flex Grooves
Flex grooves are thin grooves cut into the outsole in small increments to make the sole even more flexible. Some have more drastic grooves built in so that the entire shoe can be bent in a semicircle, while others have subtle grooves which allow some bend, but not that much.

Mesh Construction
Mesh construction is the gift that keeps on giving in this type of footwear. The mesh is lightweight, breathable, and flexible! The mesh can usually be tugged or compressed, and it easily returns to its original shape. The slight give in a mesh upper prevents squeezing and painful rubbing of your feet and toes.

Stretchy Upper Fabric
Some manufacturers prefer to use a blend of materials in their fabric which makes their models more flexible than manufacturers developing less stretchy uppers. As with the mesh construction mentioned above, the stretchy fabric prevents painful squeezing and rubbing against your feet and toes for a more comfortable jog.

Support

Unlike cushioning, support is meant to be firm to provide stabilization and prevent injury while you are on the move. The frame of the shoe should be firm enough to prevent your ankles from rolling. Heel support can reduce the likelihood and symptoms of plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the tendon along the bottom of your foot. Arch support also helps joggers with Iliotibial (IT)-Band Syndrome, which results from too much strain on the IT-band tissue in the hip and thigh down through the rest of your leg.

The best options have a healthy balance between cushioning and support so that you may jog in any environment comfortably and safely. However, there are many models that maximize support, and they are known as “stability footwear.” Bear in mind that some of them will be firmer and less cushioned than others when you look into them.

Features of a Supportive Shoe
A supportive shoe could have any of the following built into it to maximize support:

  • an exoskeletal heel counter;
  • a firm outsole;
  • a specialized support frame; and
  • a flexible beam and shape built into the outsole.

An exoskeletal heel counter is the back end of the shoe around your Achilles tendon. The heel counter is meant to support your ankle and feet, so you don’t roll it.

A firm outsole provides support to your arches. However, too firm of an outsole would be uncomfortable, as it would not bend with your feet.

Some companies devoted a lot of time and energy into creating a stabilizing shoe. As such, there are several types of shoe frames which offer support and stabilization to prevent injury. Hoka One One’s 3-D Puff Print Frame technology is one such example.

Some outsoles incorporate different materials into them for arch support. Some companies use beams across the plantar fascia while others place their support pieces in the curved areas of the foot, such as along the side of your foot, rather than directly beneath it.

Traction

When you are out for a jog, it might start raining. Or it may be cold, and there are a few patches of ice on the ground. Or you’re doing it indoors on some slick surface. You need a pair of jogging shoes that will grip the ground so you can jog safely.

The type of outsole and the size and shape of the indentations in the outsole can determine how well your shoe will grip the ground. The ideal shoe would have an outsole that has many indentations it and some of those need to be deeper than the rest. Having more grooves gives them more traction, so you don’t slip and fall. The best models have outsoles made out of rubber. Car and motorcycle tires are made with rubber, as well, because it is proven to support traction. Leather soles do not lend themselves well to these activities because they have poor traction, so you would be wise to avoid any shoe with a leather sole.

If you are doing it in any sort of slick or wet environment, it will behoove you to invest in a shoe which has a strong sole with lots of traction. If you fall and get hurt, you won’t be doing it for a while, and if you fall and get hurt in a remote area, such as a secluded walking trail, it could lead to further injury or even death. Take precautions as you jog: be aware of your surroundings, be prepared for an emergency, and wear footwear with good traction.

Weight

During your jogs, you don’t want ultra-heavy footwear meant for combat, construction work, or cold weather. You want a pair of jogging shoes that weighs less and still includes the features required for a safe, comfortable jog, such as cushioned midsoles and flexible outsoles. However, depending on the environment you plan to jog in and your personal preference, a heavier shoe might be more suitable for your jog. A jog on a mountain or up and down a hill would need footwear with higher ankles and more support to counter the effects of the slant on the mountain or hill on your feet. The more built into and onto the shoe will make the shoe heavier than more minimalist ones and, the heavier the shoe is, the more Newtons of force you have exerted on your feet.

If you are going to be jogging on mostly level terrain, such as a sidewalk or an indoor track, then the most lightweight footwear possible would be a great fit for your jog, unless you prefer the way a heavier shoe feels or you just want a little extra cushioning for comfort. There are many advances being made all the time in cushioning, support, and sole technology to build lighter weight insoles, cushioning materials, supportive frames, and outsoles without sacrificing effectiveness.

If you are going to be jogging mostly on unlevel terrains, such as in a meadow, on a nature trail, or across a creek, you will likely need a heavier shoe with firmer support and extra cushioning in case you step on a rock.

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expert tips icon
Beginner Jogging Tips

If you're just starting out as a jogger or runner, there are a few great tips to keep you healthy, and to keep you going strong.
Warm up before you start your jog with a brisk walk. Warming up the muscles helps them become pliable, and prepares them for added load or activity. Most strains or muscle pulls happen when muscles are cold and not ready for the demand placed on them to perform.
Stretch after your jog or run to help keep your muscles limber. Hamstring and quad stretches cite the two major muscle groups used when running, so take time to stretch them out! Hold your stretch for 15-30 seconds, breath, and then go back into the stretch for another 15-30 seconds.

Improving Cardiovascular Fitness

Not only does jogging and running help your musculature endurance, it also give you a great cardiovascular workout! Improving your cardiovascular fitness can be done over time, by utilizing tempo or interval workouts.
Interval workouts utilize short bursts of speed, followed by a recovery period, for several sets. These push the capacity of your cardiovascular fitness, but will help improve them over time.
Tempo workouts are those where a sustained level of effort is performed, but slightly higher than a normal jog about town. These help raise the mid to high range of your cardiovascular fitness limit, and push you towards greater fitness down the road.

Other Factors to Consider

Bottom Line

The importance of a comfortable pair of jogging shoes is something that should not be underestimated by any jogger or those considering starting a routine. With so much shock going into the feet, pain is bound to happen when you have an ill-fitting shoe or one that does not fit the standards. No-one should accept pain as part of the activity.

Before you pick a shoe, you need to know what your feet need. Everyone has pain in their feet at some point but what you need to know is what causes that pain? Heel pain and bad arch support are the top two issues relating to pain in the feet. There are several pairs listed here that have added support for both these issues. Picking a shoe that does not work well with the activity, you’re planning can and will eventually jeopardize your performance and risk injury and long-term damage. In our top 10 list, everyone, with any shape of foot and any athletic requirement, will find a pair of jogging shoes that works for them.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What type of closure should I get?

a:

A slip-on shoe has its benefits and some athletic footwear is slip on, meaning they have no buckles, clips, velcro, or laces. However, lace up or velcro strap models are more secure. It depends on your personal preference and how good of a fit the shoe is. You definitely wouldn’t want a slip-on shoe that only comes in whole sizes (i.e., 8, 9, 10 and not 8, 8 ½, 9, etc.), because your shoe may be a little large and it could come off during exercise.

q: How much room should there be in the toe box?

a:

There should be ample room in the toe box for your toes to spread out comfortably. Footwear which pinches your toes together in the toe box could cause injury but they definitely cause discomfort.

q: What kind of shoe should I get if I have high arches?

a:

You should look into a neutral shoe if you have high arches, but ultimately it depends on your preference and comfort. Neutral ones carefully balance support and cushioning to reduce the impact on your feet and legs and to stabilize your run.

However, some people with high arches overpronate, or your feet and ankles curve outwards, which means you may want a shoe with more cushioning and support to offset that tendency. Overpronation can lead to plantar fasciitis and other foot injuries.

q: How tight of a fit should I get?

a:

Your shoe should fit loosely enough for your toes to spread out naturally and for your feet to rest comfortably against the footbed. However, it should be tight enough that it won’t come off as you jog.

q: Can I dry them in the tumble dryer?

a:

I wouldn’t because it could reduce the life of the shoe. You should check the manufacturer’s website to see if they are dryer safe. It’s best to let them air dry if you can’t confirm that they are dryer safe, but if you can’t air dry them, stuff them into pillowcases, tie them up, and toss them in there. Be sure to use low heat!