Ranking the Best Running Shoes of 2020: Did Your Favorite Make the List?

What is the best running shoe? 

It's one of the simplest questions to ask, yet so hard to answer. There are many factors that go into what makes a shoe work for you. Your gait, pace, surface, and type of run can all affect how your shoes perform. It's about finding the right pair that matches your activity. For example, you wouldn't play soccer in hiking boots, just like you wouldn't go to the school dance wearing cleats. Context is key.

Using our customer feedback, industry knowledge and product reviews, we've come up with the top shoes in the first part of 2020. Keep in mind that no two feet are the same, so what works for one person won't always fit another. But in general, these are the best models we've seen this year. We've broken down our top shoes into different categories to answer this question the best way possible. 

Let's get into it!

Best Running Shoe for Comfort: ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22

For over 20 years, the ASICS GEL-Nimbus reigned supreme as the king of cushion. 

This plush, comfortable shoe uses GEL® cushion at the heel and forefoot to disperse shock at impact. It truly feels like you're running on clouds, with each step getting a pillow-soft landing.

Though it's not a stability shoe, the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22 has a lot of support for a neutral model. The Impact Guidance System (I.G.S.) technology and Guidance Line system support your stride, while the Trusstic system adds stability to keep you aligned.

The only knock on this shoe is the weight--at 9.0 ounces for women's, it can feel heavy during long distances and isn't ideal for speed work. As a brand, ASICS fits tighter than most, so wide-footed folks will need a larger width. But for comfort seekers and cushion lovers, this shoe hits the spot.

When it comes to cushion, the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22 is at the top of its class.

Honorable Mention: New Balance 1080v10

When premium quality meets plush comfort, you get the New Balance 1080v10! 

Now that's a great combination. Runners loved the new Fresh Foam X midsole, which delivers softness for long distances while returning energy for a surprisingly peppy step. Though it'll never be confused for a speed day shoe, the New Balance 1080v10 is one of the faster max-cushioned running shoes available.

An engineered knit upper wraps around your foot for a stretchy yet secure hold. The Contoured 3D Ultra Heel hugs the back of your foot for a snug, no-slip fit. As a brand, New Balance tends to run wider than most, making the 1080v10 more accommodating to different foot types. 

This shoe really shines during long-distance runs and casual walks in the park.

Honorable Mention: Hoka One One Bondi 6

Hoke One One fans won't be surprised to see this shoe on the list. 

This company has such a loyal following, and for a good reason. For those who don't know, Hoka One One shoes use a low drop platform and a Meta-Rocker technology in the midsole to propel your foot forward. This effect leads to a smooth roll at ground contact and lessens the impact on your joints. As the highest-cushioned road shoe in the lineup, the Bondi 6 is perfect for long distance, high mileage, and long-lasting comfort. 

Runners who suffer from lower leg problems love the plush cushion and smooth ride of the Hoka One One Bondi 6.

Best Running Shoe for Support: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20

Innovative support for everyone--that's what the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20 provides. 

Until the 19th version, the Adrenaline used a medial post called a Progressive Diagonal Rollbar, which was introduced in 2003. With the new Guide Rails support in the GTS 20, runners can go confidently knowing their stride will stay aligned. Brooks compares this technology to bumpers on a bowling alley, gently guiding your gait when form begins to fade.

For neutral runners, it's there only if you need it and stays out of the way if you don't. Guide Rails truly are an innovative approach to stability without using the intrusive medial post. 

From slow and steady paces to fast tempos, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20 balances cushion and support every step of the way. 

Honorable Mention: ASICS GEL-Kayano 27

The ASICS GEL-Kayano has been synonymous with support for over two decades. 

Ever since its first iteration in 1993, the GEL-Kayano delivered cushion and stability for long-distance and high-mileage runners. The ASICS GEL-Kayano 27 respects the vision of the first version, but uses modern technology to fulfill its promise.

DYNAMIC DUOMAX™ technology prevents excessive overpronation by guiding your foot into a smooth transition. Signature GEL® cushion in the heel and forefoot absorb impact from every step to keep you comfortable. A top layer of FLYTEFOAM® adds a spring to each stride, which comes in handy during high-mileage journeys. Enjoy a plush step-in feel from the engineered mesh upper constructed from premium, high-quality materials.

Though many stability shoes can feel clunky and cumbersome, the ASICS GEL-Kayano 27 does a good job of walking a fine line between soft cushion and smooth support. No runner should feel as if their shoes are weighing them down, like bricks are attached to their feet. That doesn't happen in the ASICS GEL-Kayano 27.

Best Running Shoe for Speed: Saucony Kinvara 11

Fast enough for race day yet cushioned enough for a daily trainer, the Saucony Kinvara is a fan favorite among the running community. 

This lightning-fast trainer is a rare breed because of its versatility to keep pace at the track and stay steady on the long runs.

A thin layer of PWRRUN+ foam sits atop a bed of PWRRUN midsole, creating the perfect cushion combination. The former is a premium, TPU-based foam with more bounce and durability than standard EVA. PWRRUN is made from EVA blended with polymers to improve responsiveness and cushioning. In the upper, FORMFIT replaces ISOFIT to provide a more adaptive, breathable feel. 

When it's time to push the pace on training or race day, the Saucony Kinvara 11 is ready!

Honorable Mention: Hoka One One Carbon X

The Hoka One One Carbon X is the company's first shoe to use a carbon fiber plate in the midsole. 

The plate sits below a PROFLY™ midsole to deliver a propulsive feel and a powerful toe-off that guides you through your stride. A firmer, rubberized EVA foam sits below the plate to increase durability. The result? A fast shoe that can fly through half and full marathons. 

Ultrarunner Jim Walmsley broke the 50-world record in 2019 wearing this shoe, leaving no doubts about its speed. But for the casual runner who enjoys long-distance racing, the Hoka One One Carbon X can guide you to the finish faster and more comfortably.

Honorable Mention: adidas Adizero Adios 5

Quick, agile, and race-day ready: the adidas Adizero Adios 5 is designed to fly. 

With legendary Boost cushion in the heel and Lightstrike foam in the midsole, these lightweight training shoes deliver a smooth and snappy ride. Runners who want to run fast 5Ks or 10Ks will love what this shoe has to offer. The breathable Celermesh upper keeps you cool and locked in when you turn up the tempo. Continental rubber and AdiWear in the outsole deliver superior traction during wet runs and a strong grip on dry roads. 

Not all fast running shoes need a carbon plate, and the adidas Adizero Adios 5 is the perfect example.

Most Versatile Running Shoe: Brooks Ghost 13

How would we describe the Brooks Ghost 13 in a word? Smooth. 

This neutral trainer earned eight Runner's World Editor's Choice over the years for its versatility. From tempo runs to long distances and interval training, this shoe can handle any challenge. The DNA Loft cushion in the heel provides soft landings with each step, while the BioMoGo DNA in the forefoot delivers springy transitions. The new engineered mesh upper offers support in strategic areas for a fit that practically disappears on your foot. 

Simply put, it's hard to throw any shade on the Brooks Ghost 13.

Most Stylish Running Shoe: adidas Ultraboost

Ever since its introduction in 2015, the Adidas Ultra Boost emerged as an icon of comfort and style. Every step on the full-length Boost midsole delivers unrivaled responsiveness and incredible energy return. The Primeknit upper offers a comfortable and stylish fit to form a slick, instantly recognizable silhouette. Finish it off with a Continental rubber outsole for superior grip, and that's a dangerous combination. 

The Adidas Ultra Boost is one of the few shoes to appeal to both runners and sneakerheads alike.

When it comes to comfort, it's hard to beat the boost! 

Best Cross Training Shoe: Reebok Nano X 

The Reebok Nano X evolved over the past decade, improving to provide what today's athlete's needs. 

These versatile cross training shoes offer support for high-impact movements like weightlifting and short-distance running. The wide base and low drop platform provide extra support during heavy lifting sessions when you're piling on the plates. A soft and flexible woven upper wraps your foot in comfort, keeping you cool no matter how intense your training gets. 

For whatever the W.O.D. demands, the Reebok Nano X is ready!

Honorable Mention: Inov-8 F-Lite 235v3

With its durable overlays and flexible outsole, the Inov-8 F-Lite 235v3 is like your personal bodyguard--protecting you through every move of your workout. 

The 235v3 is surprisingly plush for a minimalist training shoe, with a POWERFLOW+ midsole that delivers 10% better shock absorption and 25% better energy return than standard midsoles. Durable synthetic overlays provide the ultimate resistance for rope climbs, and the flexible gum rubber outsole allows for natural movement. 

Anyone who wants a light and free feel on training day will enjoy the Inov-8 F-Lite 235v3.

Best Trail Running Shoe: Saucony Peregrine 10

The Saucony Peregrine earned many awards over the years, with its ideal combination of cushion and durability to conquer the trails. 

While many off-road shoes can feel clunky and cumbersome, the Peregrine does a great job of providing responsive cushioning without sacrificing protection. The tenth version of this iconic model is no different. Aggressive PWRTRAC lugs dig deep into the dirt for traction on uneven terrain. PWRRUN cushioning provides the responsiveness to keep you quick and nimble on the trail.

With a strong combination of cushion, traction, and protection, the Saucony Peregrine 10 is versatile enough to conquer any surface.

Honorable Mention: Salomon Speedcross 5 

The Salomon Speedcross 5 is tenacious on the trail, with a grippy outsole that uses cleat-like spikes to eat through the dirt.

This rugged trail shoe is perfect for mud runs, spartan races, or any off-road adventure. ENERGYCELL+ provides ample cushioning and energy return to keep you fresh after every mile. The Quicklace system offers an easy and convenient way to take your shoes on and off with a simple pull. 

Need trail-ready protection? The Salomon Speedcross 5 has you covered with an anti-debris mesh and GTX waterproof upper. 

Recap: Top Running Shoes of 2020

Comfort: ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22, New Balance 1080v10, Hoka One One Bondi 6

Support: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20, ASICS GEL-Kayano 27

Speed: Saucony Kinvara 11, Hoka One One Carbon X, adidas Adizero Adios

Style: adidas Ultra Boost

Versatility: Brooks Ghost 13

Cross Training: Reebok Nano X, Inov-8 F-Lite 235v3

Trail: Saucony Peregrine 10, Salomon Speedcross 5

So there you have it, the best running shoes of 2020 so far! Be sure to check back often, as we'll keep things updated when more shoes arrive.

Think we missed a model? Did your favorite shoe make the list? Let us know in the comments below!

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