When you're pounding pavement, you need different features in a sneaker than you do when you're running on dirt or gravel. The
best road running shoes typically weigh less than their trail running counterparts. Speed and responsiveness are key, so they tend to be more lightweight and have a narrower profile, too.
Another main difference is the soles. Tread patterns on road running shoes provide excellent traction but they're
not as bulky as trail shoes. And since the rubber material of the soles is specifically designed for asphalt or concrete, it won't wear down as quickly when it comes into contact with those hard surfaces. Plus, it's not as sticky as the rubber on trail shoes.
Lastly, the overall profile of a good road running shoe is thinner, since it doesn't have to protect you from branches and other debris like trail running shoes do. The uppers tend to be made with breathable mesh or other slender materials that don't add unnecessary bulk. Not only that, but they also forgo the plates and other extra features that add mass to a shoe.
Beyond these distinctions, road running shoes also share many of the same desired features as trail shoes. They have comfortable footbeds with soft cushioning, moisture-wicking material, responsive midsoles, and durable rubber underneath.
Given these considerations, take a look at this list of the
best road running shoes below.
shock-absorbing running shoes are extremely lightweight, with thin uppers made of breathable, moisture-wicking knit material. The soles are tough yet sleek, offering a flexible pattern that delivers maximum energy return on the pavement. The bouncy midsoles prevent foot fatigue during long training sessions, and the neutral profile means they can accommodate a wide range of foot types. These shoes come in seven color choices including blue, black, purple, and white.
Costing less than 50 bucks, these
women's road running shoes aren't quite as fancy as the first pair but they're considerably cheaper (while still offering exceptional quality). With more than 1,300 Amazon reviews and a 4.5-star rating, they're super lightweight and feature smooth, road-specific soles that aren't too bulky or heavy. The uppers are made with thin, lightweight mesh paired with synthetic materials, and they have well-cushioned EVA foam footbeds. On top of all that, there are eight colors to choose from. Available sizes: 5 to 12 (regular and wide)
With 2,800-plus reviews, these popular ASICs —which come in nine color choices — are some of the
best-rated running shoes on Amazon. Reviewers noted that the concrete-friendly rubber soles and sleek, lightweight design make them great for road running. The tread pattern offers enough grip to prevent you from slipping on asphalt without the bulkiness of heavier trail shoes, while the thin upper material is made of flexible, breathable mesh. Additionally, these shoes have excellent moisture-wicking sock-liners and shock-absorbing foam midsoles. Available sizes: 5 to 12 (regular and wide)
If you're looking for a wallet-friendly road option, these fashionable women's sneakers rank among the
best cheap running shoes. In addition to being lightweight, they're built with thin, breathable uppers that wick moisture while delivering a fluid, flexible feel. The soles are specifically designed for concrete, with tough rubber and anti-slip tread, and the comfy air cushioning helps reduce foot fatigue.
These shoes are but not so much that they'll slow you down on the pavement. At this price point, these shoes don't deliver the same high-performance qualities as the other choices on this list, and they're slightly thicker, but for people on a budget, they're a great option. They're available in nine colors including black, red, purple, pink, and white.
Available sizes: 4.5 to 10.5
The Best Minimalist-Style Sneaker
Available in four chic colorways, these
minimalist athletic sneakers are custom-designed for barefoot-style running. They have minimal cushioning in the footbeds, allowing your feet to make more contact with the ground, encouraging a more natural stride. The uppers are extraordinarily thin and lightweight with breathable material and a form-fitting design. What's more, the strong rubber is durable enough to withstand repeated use on both asphalt and concrete. Just note that if you're new to barefoot running (i.e. running with footwear that mimics a more natural stride), you'll need to ease into wearing your new shoes to avoid injury. Available sizes: 5 to 11 (regular and wide)
The Best Maximalist-Style Sneaker
maximalist women's running shoes are considerably thicker and bulkier than your standard road running sneaker; however, they're still reasonably lightweight, especially given the amount of cushioning they provide. For those unfamiliar with the concept, "maximalist" running shoes are built with elevated soles and extra cushioning that encourages your feet to strike the ground in the middle, reducing the overall impact. They can be especially useful for people with bad knees or overuse conditions like plantar fasciitis. On top of the extra cushioning, the shoes feature breathable uppers and responsive, shock-absorbing midsoles. They come in your choice of black or turquoise. Available sizes: 5 to 11 (regular and wide)