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The best running shoes for marathon runners in 2024


Every year in the U.S., over one million people will take part in more than 1,000 marathons such as the Boston Marathon. Whether you're hoping to finish those 26.2 miles in under four hours or you're just hoping to finish, marathon training involves long runs that can take a serious toll on your joints, back and knees. One of the best ways to minimize the wear and tear on your body that comes with those long training runs is as simple as wearing the right running shoes.

"When planning for a marathon, it's absolutely essential to pick the proper footwear," says Andrew Blakey, a certified personal trainer and director of Your Future Fitness. "You're going to want a shoe that is durable enough to withstand the constant stress of running for dozens of miles while also being light enough to keep your body from wasting excess energy."

Before you hit the ground running (literally), make sure you're taking care of your feet with the best running shoes for long-distance training. After all, you and your feet have 26.2 miles to go together.

Best running shoes for marathon runners

Before we hit the pavement, we asked the experts for their top shoe picks for marathon runners that offer maximum support for long running sessions. We also found picks from top brands that received rave reviews from real-life runners, making sure that only shoes with a 4.0-star rating or higher have been included in our roundup.

Check out our list of the best marathon running shoes, featuring men's and women's styles of some of the best running shoes to buy in 2024. 

Best lightweight: Asics Gel-Nimbus Lite 3

Women's Asics Gel-Nimbus Lite 3
Women's Asics Gel-Nimbus Lite 3 Asics

For a solid lightweight design, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better running shoe than the Gel-Nimbus Lite 3 by Asics. This shoe has a streamlined design that can help to correct the problem of "foot strike," as Asics and foot experts put it.

This is basically how your foot hits the ground when you run, so this shoe can help you avoid discomfort during long marathons -- especially if you have high arches.

"With its quality and lightweight [design, this shoe] can be a definite shoe to add to your running collection," Blakey says, "and 50% of its upper polyester is made from recycled materials." This added perk is good for anyone interested in footwear that has a low environmental impact.

Find both men's and women's sizes available in a variety of colors on Amazon. Prices vary depending on your choice of color, with some designs taking the spot as the most budget-friendly marathon running shoes on our list.

The Asics men's and women's Gel Nimbus Lite 3 is priced starting at $89 at Amazon.

Best for everyday use: Hoka Mach 6

Men's Hoka Mach 6
Men's Hoka Mach 6 Hoka

Even for dedicated marathon runners, having something that feels just as comfortable in other settings is worth it. Whether prepping for a marathon run, hitting the treadmill, or just kicking it on an errand run, these responsive, energy-returning shoes by Hoka are a great fit.

"[They're] marketed as very lightweight, breathable, [and] with good grip," says Dr. Marc Matarazzo, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine. Matarazzo highlighted these shoes in particular, alongside the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22, as the cream of the crop when it comes to marathon running shoes.

Find a selection of brightly colored styles in both men's and women's sizes at Hoka for $140.

Best support: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22

Women's Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22
Women's Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 Brooks

"The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 [is] said to have good support with a design that limits excess rotation of shin and heel," Matarazzo says. If support is a top priority for you as a marathon runner (and it should be), this may be the perfect shoe for you.

Brooks advertises this running shoe as offering top-tier cushioning thanks to its patented "DNA Loft foam." Combined with the added "GuideRails tech" that aims to keep your foot safe and your form on point during long runs, there's no wonder why this one made our list.

Find plenty of eye-catching colors in men's and women's sizes at Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW). 

The men's and women's Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22, is $90, reduced from $120.

Best for speed: Saucony Endorphin Speed 3

Women's Saucony Endorphin Speed 3
Women's Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 Saucony

Marathons are all about endurance, but sometimes you need to pick up some speed. When it comes to shoes that are designed around speed, these running shoes by Saucony are our top pick.

"This lightweight shoe is great for runners who are looking to run faster in races, tempo runs, and speed workouts," says Bill Reifnsyder, a former professional runner and the CMO of athletic laundry detergent company Nonaste. "Coming in at 7.2 ounces and a well-ventilated upper, your feet will stay cool on the way to your next PR (personal record)."

Breathability and a lightweight design are great features to have for your marathon running shoes. On top of that, Saucony markets these shoes as having "updated geometry" that can add more pop and spring to your run for some serious speed. 

Find a wide selection of unique colors in men's and women's sizes at Amazon. Prices vary by design, so keep an eye out for some added savings while picking out the pair that best match your style.

The men's Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 is available at Amazon starting at $135. The women's Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 starts at $104.

Most versatile: Nike Zoom Fly 5

Men's Nike Zoom Fly 5
Men's Nike Zoom Fly 5 Nike

These versatile running shoes by Nike offer a nice blend of comfort, reliability, and durability. Nike's patented "ZoomX foam" improves upon previous Zoom Fly designs to offer a lighter, more responsive cushioning system.

Added stability comes in the form of a wider base in the forefoot and heel, which can help you avoid discomfort during long runs -- or take tight turns with ease if speed is more your thing. According to the product page, a carbon fiber plate in the design also works to propel you forward with every step -- giving you that extra oomph you need to reach the finish line.

Nike offers several different colors in both men's and women's sizes. Both the men's and women's Nike Zoom Fly 5 are available at Nike for $170.

Most comfortable: New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v12/13

Women's New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v12
Women's New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v12 New Balance

Comfort is a big deal for long races and marathons, so we made sure to pick something that offers just that. These running shoes by New Balance come with "Fresh Foam X cushioning" and a knit upper that provides extra stretch and support.

"A well-made pair of shoes. I have done about 25 km in them. Good cushioning and adequate stability. The fit was perfect," says one reviewer

Find some unique and interesting color schemes on Amazon, from the more traditional Black/Thunder/White to the uncommon White Multi/Black (which looks to us like one of those magic eye pictures that were popular in the 90s). 

The men's New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v12 is available at Amazon starting at $90.

The women's V12 was so popular, it's sold out at Amazon. It's a good thing the women's New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v13 is here. Featuring New Balance's uber-supportive rubber outsole technology, which brings maximum durability on the road, this shoe earns 4.4 stars from runners who describe this shoe as "like walking on air.

What to look for with marathon running shoes

What makes a great running shoe? Marathons are more about endurance and less about speed, so you want athletic footwear that won't work against you in the long run (pun definitely intended). 

You have your pick of different running shoes for marathoners above, but before you zero in on the details you want to cover your basics: comfort, good cushioning for shock absorption, and -- perhaps most importantly -- a size and shape that works for you.

"Make sure they fit properly," says Dr. Gregory Alvarez, a podiatrist at the Ankle and Foot Centers of America. "Shoes that are too tight or too loose won't provide the necessary support and comfort. Shoes that are too small may cause... foot injuries. Shoes that are too large, on the other hand, may lack the necessary stability and cushioning."

Alvarez also mentions running terrain and advocates for a lightweight shoe over something heavier when it comes to a good running shoe. These are the things you should keep in mind when shopping for the perfect shoes to grab the next time you're getting ready for a long-distance marathon.

How we chose the best running shoes for marathoners

  • Customer reviews: In addition to using expert recommendations to pick our favorite kicks, we read through consumer reviews to make sure people were consistently happy with their shoe purchases. 
  • Expert recommendations: We spoke with certified personal trainer and Your Future Fitness director Andrew Blakey; orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine Dr. Marc Matarazzo; former professional runner and Nonaste CMO Bill Reifsnyder; and podiatrist at the Ankle and Foot Centers of America Dr. Gregory Alvarez for product recommendations and advice.
  • Star rating: We made sure all of our chosen running shoes have a four-star rating or higher, so you know you're getting the best of the best with our list.
  • Your needs: As a marathoner, you likely know what you want in a shoe -- but that may be different from what other runners look for. We considered things like different features, styles, and colors to list something for everyone.

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