Top 20 New Running Shoes for 2021

Finding the right pair of running shoes can be frustrating. What seems so easy on the surface becomes difficult when you consider all the factors. How do you find the perfect balance of cushion, weight, flexibility and grip to support your goals?

Fear not, fellow runner. At Holabird Sports, we've served our customers for over 30 years, helping them find the perfect pair. Inspired by the expert reviewers at Runner’s World Magazine, we’ve created our list of the top new releases based on sales, customer feedback, and industry experience.

Whether you want to get a head start on holiday shopping or slip your feet into the top models of 2021, our comprehensive guide is here to help!


In this article, we’re going to reveal our top four shoes in the following categories:

  1. Speed
  2. Soft
  3. Trail
  4. Support
  5. Sustainability

Speed Shoes

We’ll start with speed shoes – whether you're in the mood to go fast or need a reliable option for race day, these shoes are ready to push the tempo.

ASICS Magic Speed ($150)

Designed with trickle-down elements from the MetaRacer and Novablast, the ASICS Magic Speed sets a fast pace during your runs. It combines a lively FF BLAST™ midsole and a carbon plate in the forefoot for snappy transitions. Reasonably priced for a plated racing shoe, the ASICS Magic Speed is great for runners who want to try the new tech at a lower cost.

If you're an ASICS runner who wears the Nimbus or Cumulus for daily training, consider the Magic Speed as your secret weapon for race day.

Hoka One One Rincon 3 ($115)

Ideal for tempo runs and track sessions, the Hoka One One Rincon 3 is the speed training counterpart to Hoka's daily workhorse, the Clifton. This version includes a vented mesh upper to improve breathability and a softer EVA midsole that increases durability, helping runners enjoy its responsive ride longer.

Soft, light and responsive, the Rincon 3 is an awesome addition to any runner's lineup!


Mizuno Wave Rebellion ($180)


For runners who prefer a fast and firm ride, the Mizuno Wave Rebellion is your ideal up-tempo trainer. Instead of a carbon plate found in most competitive racers or the Pebax material in most Mizuno shoes, this version uses a fiberglass plate to provide a smooth rolling sensation on your runs. The Enerzy Lite midsole leads a responsive ride unlike any other Mizuno shoe, and the G3 outsole delivers superb traction on rainy roads.

If you've worn the popular Mizuno Wave Rider before, consider the Mizuno Wave Rebellion as a firmer, but faster option.


Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 ($200)

The second iteration of Saucony's carbon-fiber-plated racer continues to outclass its competition. Reach high speeds with every stride under the ultralight and springy PWRRUN PB cushioning. SPEEDROLL technology works with a signature S-curve carbon fiber plate to propel you forward.

Now with a more secure fit around the heel, the Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 is perfect for competitive runners who seek the top spot on the podium.

Soft Shoes

Next up are soft shoes – all these options deliver top-notch cushioning and silky-smooth transitions to add comfort to your miles.

Brooks Aurora-BL ($200)

Incredibly light for a max-cushioned trainer, the Brooks Aurora-BL offers unmatched versatility for long distances, recovery runs, and speed sessions. Its the first Brooks shoe to introduce the DNA Loft v3 midsole, which is lighter, softer, more responsive and more durable than traditional EVA foams. The result? High mileages and harder efforts feel easier on your legs.

If you can tolerate the high cost and futuristic look, you’ll love its otherworldly ride.

Altra Paradigm 6 ($160)

Ideal for runners who want to ease into the zero-drop transition, the Altra Paradigm 6 is the total comfort package. The plush Altra Ego Max midsole is perfect for easy runs and recovery days, with surprising energy return for speedwork too. For support, the medial GuideRail™ controls overpronation to keep you comfortable during long distance journeys.

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 ($150)

Soft enough for distance yet light enough for speed, the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 is a versatile training shoe. The Fresh Foam X midsole provides more energy return than the previous foam, with the signature softness runners expect from this series. Wide-footed runners will appreciate the accommodating fit in the stretchy Hypoknit upper.

Whether you're a daily walker or dedicated runner, the Fresh Foam 1080v11 provides lasting comfort over long distances.

Brooks Ghost 14 ($130)

Smooth, reliable and versatile, the Brooks Ghost 14 is the perfect mid-weight daily trainer for runners with a diverse training program. Every stride on the DNA LOFT midsole provides a not-too-firm, not-too-soft, just-right ride. The smoother midsole and Segmented Crash pad combine for effortless transitions from foot strike to toe-off.

It's also Brooks' first carbon neutral shoe, upgraded with eco-friendly materials that don't compromise quality or performance to achieve its goal.

Sustainable Shoes

Performance and sustainability should always run together. In the past few years, more brands have adapted their approach to be more eco-friendly and environmentally conscious. Here are some of the top shoes leading the way in 2021:

Reebok Floatride Energy Grow ($120)

Meet the sustainable sibling of the Reebok Floatride Forever Energy. Made from 50% USDA Certified bio-based content, the Reebok Floatride Energy Grow blends comfort and sustainability. 30% of the upper materials are recycled from Eucalyptus bark, and the natural rubber outsole uses no petroleum-based additives.

Light and comfortable, this eco-friendly shoe is a great daily trainer for relaxed paces.

VEJA Condor 2 ($160)

Striding for a greater purpose? Check out the top daily trainer from VEJA! Now in a lighter package, the Condor 2 is the first post-petroleum running shoe. Eco-friendly materials include an Alveomesh upper made from 100% recycled bottles, L-Foam cushioning from 30% natural latex and a sustainable outsole made from 30% Amazonian rubber.

On the run, the VEJA Condor 2 performs well during daily training, long runs and recovery sessions, with a sweet spot in the 5-10k range.  

Merrell Moab Flight ($110)

Take your eco-friendly adventures off the grid. The Merrell Moab Flight includes a breathable mesh-lined upper made from 70% recycled material and a Vibram Ecostep outsole composed of 30% recycled rubber. Savor every stride on the responsive FloatPro midsole foam, made from 50% recycled materials.

Beyond the sustainable approach, this shoe delivers as a lightweight trail runner or hiker that won’t weigh down your adventures.

adidas Terrex Two Ultra Parley ($110)

Another off-road option with an eco-friendly construction, the adidas Terrex Two Ultra Parley provides long-lasting comfort. The knit upper uses Parley Ocean Plastic™ yarn made from recycled ocean waste -- 50% of the upper is textile and 75% of the textile is Primeblue yarn. Responsive boost cushioning keeps you energized for extended hours on the trail.



Trail Shoes

And now we get to trail shoes, which help runners navigate technical terrain with durable protection, responsive cushioning and reliable traction.

Skechers GOrun Razor TRL ($135)


Light, fast and fun, the Skechers GOrun Razor TRL is great for mild to moderate trail running. Using the same Hyperburst midsole as it’s road sibling, the GOrun Razor+, this version responds quickly to the changing terrain. The grippy Goodyear® performance outsole protects your feet on bump paths and rocky roads.

Inov-8 TrailFly Ultra G 300 Max ($190)

With the use of new tech, the Inov-8 TrailFly Ultra G 300 Max manages to keep its signature flexibility and ground feel while adding more cushioning and underfoot protection. This version better serves long distance runners without affecting core customers who love the minimal style. The Graphene-enhanced G-Fly midsole keeps you feeling fresh over long distances, and aggressive outsole lugs deliver exceptional grip.

Hoka One One Zinal ($160)

There’s beauty in simplicity. By removing the heavy elements that weigh down most trail shoes, the Hoka One One Zinal uses a stripped-back approach to unleash your speed. Great for hybrid routes, the 4mm lugs provide grip on uneven surfaces without being overly aggressive for pavement.

You’ll want something with a rock plate or gaiter attachments for more technical trails, but if you’re blazing through moderately rocky paths, the Zinal is perfect.

Norda 001 ($285)

Conquer harsh climates with the Norda 001's unbeatable combination of cushion, fit, weight and grip. The Bio-based Dyneema® upper protects you from trail hazards while reducing environmental impact. Every stride on the Vibram® SLE midsole provides best-in-class comfort. Vibram® MegaGrip outsole uses 5mm lugs to deliver superior traction on any course you’ll encounter.

For avid trail runners who need a technical shoe to tackle ultra-long distances, the Norda 001 fits the description.

Support Shoes

Finally we have support shoes, which are designed to prevent overpronation and keep you moving comfortably during your runs.

Brooks Launch GTS 8 ($100)


If you’re wondering what happened to the Brooks Ravenna, here’s your answer. The Brooks Launch GTS 8 offers “Go-To-Support” for speedwork and tempo training. GuideRails holistic support keeps your stride aligned when form starts to fade, and the BioMoGo midsole delivers responsive cushioning when you push the pace, creating the perfect lightweight stability shoe.

Saucony Guide 14 ($130)


If you’re looking for a reliable option for long runs, the Saucony Guide 14 checks all the boxes. It all starts in the cozy FORMFIT upper, which hugs your foot comfortably while you run. Every stride on the PWRRUN midsole delivers a soft and responsive ride that's unlike most stability shoes. For support, a TPU guidance frame offers a touch of lightweight stability to guide you through daily training.

Hoka One One Arahi 5 ($130)


Combining maximum cushioning with minimal weight, the Hoka One One Arahi 5 gives runners the best of both worlds. The dense EVA J-Frame wraps around the heel and medial side for pronation control. MetaRocker technology leads a smooth ride without feeling stiff or rigid like most stability shoes. Finally, the Vibram MegaGrip with Litebase outsole adds traction without weight.

For long distance runners who want a light and supportive shoe to carry them through training and recovery runs, check out the Arahi 5!

ASICS GEL-Kayano 28 ($160)


In an industry where it’s easy to get excited about the latest innovations, the ASICS GEL-Kayano 28 is a model of consistency. For it’s 28th victory lap, this shoe gets a complete makeover, with increased forefoot flexibility, a stable heel counter and a springy FF BLAST™ midsole. The DUOMAX support system controls overpronation, and Space Trusstic technology reduces weight while retaining stability.

When it comes to high cushioning and max support, the Kayano 28 still reigns supreme!

And there you have it, the top 20 shoes of 2021! Hopefully this helps you decide which running shoes would be the best match for you. So many awesome shoes made their debut this year, and it's hard to choose the best. We can only get excited about what's in store for 2022.

Think we missed a model or have any additional questions about a shoe? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

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