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The 4 Best Running Shoes, According to a Podiatrist

Trail, road, or treadmill, wearing the right shoes can prevent injury and keep you running for years.
The product recommendations in this post are recommendations by the writer and/or expert(s) interviewed and do not contain affiliate links. Meaning: If you use these links to buy something, we will not earn a commission.

Whether you're a seasoned marathoner, trail dog, or lacing up running shoes for the first time, it's essential to wear the right shoes. You may not think your shoe type matters, but according to foot doctors, wearing the right pair of shoes can make all the difference in getting the most out of your runs and keeping injuries at bay. "Running shoes, especially for anyone who experiences chronic foot pain, including heel pain, arch pain, or plantar fascia, need to keep feet stable during strenuous motion," says Bradley Schaeffer, DPM, podiatrist, foot surgeon, and founder of Central Park SOLE in NYC. Fortunately, Dr. Schaeffer shares his best sneaker recommendations below, so you'll know exactly what to look for next time you pick out new running shoes.

"When looking for the best running shoes, consider these important factors: arch support, arch support, and arch support. Stability, fit, and cushioning next. The goal is to keep your lower body in alignment as much as possible," Dr. Schaeffer explains. "Arch support is a must in any footwear – no matter what type of foot you have. This is likely the most critical item that can help prevent a myriad of health issues."

Choosing the best running shoes is often easier said than done. It depends on several factors, including your body and foot types, running habits, running form, whether or not you have existing injuries, and the terrain you're running on. Also, sneaker shopping will likely require trial and error, so be prepared for that heading in. And before rushing out to purchase your new pair of running shoes, read Dr. Schaeffer's recommendations for the best running shoes broken down by foot type and support needs. Then, check out The Best Foot Care Tips For Runners To Live By.

HOKA Clifton 8

HOKA sneaker women's
$180 at HOKA
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These lightweight and cushioned running shoes receive Dr. Schaeffer's stamp of approval because of their unmatched support for high arches. In addition, the Clifton 8s are designed with HOKA's proprietary Meta-Rocker technology, providing optimal heel-to-toe transitions and even pressure distribution for high-arched feet.

"If you have high arches, also called pes cavus, I recommend HOKA Clifton 8 running shoes because they have a great offloading feature that provides that good balance transfer between heel strike and toe," says Schaeffer. "For running shoes, extra cushioning is important, too, because you'll have more uneven pressure points and it's important to absorb as much impact as possible."

Brooks Ghost 15

Brooks Running men's sneaker
Brooks Running
$180 at Brooks Running
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The Brooks Ghost 15 running shoes are another superstar when it comes to high arch support. Brooks' DNA LOFT cushioning technology (a combination of EVA foam, rubber, and air) makes running with high arches a dream by providing cushiony support through the midsole where high arches need it most. In addition, the DNA LOFT foam cushioning absorbs impact shock at the heel and forefoot for optimal support.

High-arched feet aren't a requirement to enjoy Brooks' running shoes, though. Ghost 15s are also great if you have a neutral foot type. "If you have a neutral foot type, you're lucky because that's what we always strive to achieve for patients with the best fitting shoe," Schaeffer explains. "A neutral foot position stabilizes every step you take and therefore decreases the pressure from your feet to your knees, your hips, and your back. Many shoe brands, including Brooks running shoes, can accommodate a neutral foot type."

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New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12

women's New Balance sneakers
New Balance
$160 at New Balance
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New Balance's Fresh Foam design is "engineered for precision comfort," delivering an incredibly cushioned and lightweight running shoe for next-level arch support, regardless of your running style. New Balance shoes add an extra spring to your stride that helps increase speed while taking the load off tired legs during long runs.

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 24

ASICS sneakers
$170 at ASICS
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If you're seeking a highly comfortable, plush running experience, then the ASICS GEL-Cumulus 24 running shoes could be the option for you. "ASICS are lightweight and offer good support while running or exercising," says Schaeffer. In addition, ASICS's FLYTEFOAM™ cushion technology and GEL units at the heel and forefoot provide top-quality shock absorption and high-arch support. Plus, the GEL-Cumulus 24s have an extra wide toe box for those requiring additional space or who have Morton's neuroma.

Adam Meyer
Adam is a health writer, certified holistic nutritionist, and 100% plant-based athlete. Read more about Adam
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