There’s something about slipping on a fresh-out-of-the-box pair of running shoes that instantly resets my workout and puts a new spin on my day. Everything is suddenly new again: the terrain of the neighborhood and the miles ahead of me. It’s no surprise, then, that in the age of COVID-19 redundancy (when no one’s going, like, anywhere and every day kinda feels the same), sneaker sales have increased 30 percent year-over-year, as newbie pavement-pounders seek to find some novelty in their workout routines with the best running shoes 2020 has to offer.
Running shoes have the Cinderella effect of feeling wrong, wrong, wrong until you find the pair that fits you from heel to toe. That’s why when you start looking for your next pair, think about what you really want to get out of your strides. More bounce? A light-as-air feel? Support and stability? It’s also worth mentioning that running shoes can be expensive ($100 and up), so if that’s not in your budget, skim the sale section of the sites below for the same edition of the shoe in its 2019-edition.
Whatever your parameters, we’ve got a pick from four of our Well+Good staffers (slash runners) that will be the right fit for you.
6 editors name the best running shoes 2020
1. Asics Gel Cumulus 22, $120
“The first time I laced up my Asics Gel Cumulus 22 sneaks, I felt like a lighter runner,” says Well+Good beauty and fitness editor Rachel Lapidos. “The knee pain that I was getting from running outside in my older sneakers subsided with the Asics—these shoes are incredibly cushy and absorb so much impact without weighing you down. They make me feel like I’m running with pillows on my feet, and I’d recommend them to any runner that likes a little extra support.”
2. New Balance Fresh Foam More v2, $165
“With a high arch and a fits-just-right toe box, this shoe will help you really go the distance. As you can see, the soles are packed with tons of foam that make each stride feel bouncy and help propel you to the next step. They are worth a try for anyone training for distance this year (despite medals being a thing for 2021),” says Ali Finney, Well+Good’s director of beauty and fitness. This sneaker comes in bright, neon colorways that will help you be seen no matter what time you get your run in.
3. Brooks Hyperion Tempo, $150
“A favorite of Olympian runner Des Linden, these shoes strike a perfect balance between being light-weight enough for speed, but supportive enough to be the wind at your back for miles and miles,” says staff writer Kells McPhillips. “I’ve also found that these work as pretty good hiking shoes when you’re in a pinch, so take that as you will.”
4. Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit, $160
“I like the Flyknits for shorter, quicker runs because they’re super light and breathable,” says associate video producer Saanya Ali. She’s been using her go-to pair of kicks to gear up for Black Lives Matter protest runs around the city led by Overthrow Boxing trainer Power Malu and DeFine New York Run Club founder Coffey.
Within the Flyknit family, there’s something for everyone as well. For longer distances, Finney loves the Nike React Infinity for the injury-fighting technology that forms the sneaker’s very DNA. “The Nike Infinity React is quickly becoming the kick of choice for runners who like to go like to go far, fast, and without injury. In internal studies, this shoe decreased injuries by 52 percent because it places the foot deeper into the footbed and allows for safe motion with every step,” says Finney.
5. Hoka One One Clifton Edge, $160
“I’ve run in stability shoes for a good bit of my days, but I honestly don’t need quite as much support as they sometimes offer. This Hoka Clifton edge is a neutral shoe with super light foam that has built some shock absorption into the heel of the shoe,” says Finney, “so that it absorbs a lot of the impact while helping my stride feel smooth and easy.”
6. On Cloud Cloudswift, $150
“I couldn’t tell you how it’s possible, but my feet somehow get lighter when I put these shoes on. If you’re a minimalist road-runner who doesn’t mind a little bit of bounce, these shoes will rocket you forward with every (feather-light) step,” says McPhillips.