When trying on a new pair of shoes, we imagine we're putting on the most comfortable pair of running shoes. But two weeks breaking in your new shoes, you're still applying band-aids beforehand to the spots that rub until the blisters give way to calluses; you're icing your knees and legs afterwards; and you're still slogging through daily runs in shoes so heavy that they have all the zip and responsiveness of a mid-sized coal barge.
That doesn’t sound comfortable at all.
If you’ve been through several pairs of running shoes, you know that not all shoes deliver what the marketing campaigns promise. A survey of over 5,000 runners from one startup shows that some shoes are consistently more comfortable than their competition, however. Although there’s not yet a single best path to running in comfort, the most comfortable running shoes for men all aim to balance reliable cushioning against lightweight race-day responsiveness, while each model’s path to comfort balances innovation against gradual improvement on a proven formula.
Below are the most comfortable mens running shoes:
Men's Altra Torin 3.0, MSRP $125 Neutral Shoe
The running-shoe innovators on this list are represented by Altra and Hoka One One, both founded in 2009. (The next-youngest company producing cushioned running shoes for men is Nike, founded in 1964.) Altra’s approach involves zero-drop soles – that is, an equal height underfoot from heel to toe instead of the typical 8-12mm difference – to promote a more natural gait, and a wide toe box that follows the foot’s natural shape. Given the rapid rise in Altra’s popularity, and the wide praise for the Torin 3.0’s versatility and light weight in a highly cushioned shoe, Altra might just be on to something.
Men's Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17, MSRP $120 Stability Shoe
There’s a good chance that the most comfortable running shoe you might find will be from Brooks, as the Adrenaline GTS 17 is one of three Brooks models on the list. The company knows comfort. If you need shoes for pronation control, the highly-cushioned Adrenaline deserves a close look. Not only is it one of just two stability shoes on this list, but the Adrenaline GTS 17 offers more stability features than practically any other shoe on the market.
Men's Asics Gel Nimbus 19, MSRP $160 Neutral Shoe
You knew the Gel Nimbus was going to be on any list of comfortable running shoes for men. A great shoe to defend against plantar fasciitis despite its soft build, the Nimbus has become incredibly popular. Among running shoes, the Nimbus has become virtually synonymous with pillow-soft cushioning, ultimate comfort, and premium materials (at a premium price).
Men's Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34, MSRP $110 Neutral Shoe
To get the most comfortable Nike running shoes, start off with a great shoe like the Pegasus. Then have some of the best designers in the industry tweak the formula to make the cushioning just a bit more effective and the ride just a bit more responsive. Then repeat the process thirty-four times. The result is a cushioned yet responsive running shoe with millions of devoted fans.
Men's Saucony Triumph ISO 3, MSRP $150 Neutral Shoe
The Triumph ISO 3 has drawn notice as a premium daily trainer with plush padding and winning a spot on the list of most comfortable running shoes. Previous Triumph models stood out for combining high cushioning and energy return, which the Triumph ISO 3’s new full-length Everrun sole pushes to new heights. And with the new Triumph ISO 4 out, you can find this shoe at a discount online.
Men's Altra Escalante, MSRP $130 Neutral Shoe
If you’re wondering what are the most comfortable running shoes for men, take a close look at Altra. Your next question might be how the company can pack so much comfort into the Escalante, both the lightest shoe on this list (only 7.8 ounces in size 9) and the one with the highest energy return. The Escalante is an innovative up-tempo shoe ready to hit the starting line, but it’s also aRunner’s World editor’s choice that has reviewers cheering about its comfortable fit.
Men's Brooks Ravenna 8, MSRP $120 Stability Shoe
You can find comfortable shoes for running and be a smart shopper at the same time. The Ravenna 8 from Brooks is not only the top-rated support shoe on this list, with plush padding and a snug fit. It’s also a Runner’s World best buy. The Ravenna 8 has also been among the best reviewed shoes for flat feet, shin splints, and Achilles tendonitis.
Men's New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3, MSRP $100 Neutral Shoe
Overheard at the starting line of a recent half marathon: “I love my Zantes. They’re my go-to shoe for fast days.” Overheard at the finish line: “Have you ever had the feeling you were flying along faster than you’ve ever run before, but you could go on like that forever?” Finishing a race admittedly makes people a little giddy, but so does running in Zantes. At just 8.6 ounces and with a 6mm heel drop, the Fresh Foam Zante v3 is definitely an up-tempo shoe that hits just the right balance between cushioning and responsiveness. And best of all, if you’re looking for cheap comfortable running shoes, it’s also the least expensive shoe on this list.
Men's Saucony Freedom ISO, MSRP $150 Neutral Shoe
First there was the air versus gel debate. Then we grew up and learned to see through marketing slogans. Then the field of materials science grew up and started providing space-age materials that lived up to the hype. Everrun is Saucony’s variant of that modern-day miracle material, and a full-length Everrun sole has turned the Freedom ISO into a contender for the best comfort running shoes. With its cushioned responsiveness, the Freedom ISO has emerged as the rare shoe that can do it all.
Men's Brooks Glycerin 15, MSRP $150 Neutral Shoe
For the most comfortable shoes for running, it’s hard to go wrong with the plush padding, luxurious feel, premium materials, and the Brooks fit that the Glycerin 15 offers. This shoe particularly stands out for the amount of cushioning in the heel, so if that tends to be a sore spot for you, you might want to give the Glycerin 15 extra consideration.
Hoka One One Clifton 4, MSRP $130 Neutral Shoe
Beside Altra, Hoka is the other new shoe company offering innovative shoes. When other companies went minimal, Hoka went maximal, providing runners with shoes that combined high cushioning and a high heel stack with low heel-toe drop. Hoka One One’s Clifton has now reached its fourth iteration, and the repeated refinement has yielded some exceptionally comfy running shoes that are still on the lighter end of shoes for daily training.