The Best Shoes For Running A Marathon in 2020

Dave Hudson – Podiatrist

So, you’ve just signed up for a marathon in 2020, firstly congratulations, whether it is your 1st or your 10th it is always a big achievement to get the ball rolling. One of the first questions that is likely to pop into your head is “what shoes should I be wearing?” so in this blog I’ll run you through the varied world of running shoes and what options are out there in 2020.

The running shoe market is a broad as it is colourful, so I find the best place to start is thinking about what you typically enjoy from your running shoes. You may be running further than ever but that doesn’t mean you need to drastically change your footwear. If you’ve enjoyed a highly cushioned and plush feeling in the past I would recommend sticking with a similar style, likewise if you’ve done most of your running in a stiffer more responsive shoe I’d start there.

If you’re looking to trial something a little different, I’ll break down the key categories with a few recommendations to get you started.

Highly Cushioned and Plush

If running on a pillow is your idea of an enjoyable run these shoes are for you, essentially designed to deliver the highest level of shock absorption and plush underfoot feel these shoes hold up all the way through the longest of training runs or race day. Consisting of predominately neutral options, some of the current leaders in this category include;

  • Asics Nimbus 22
  • Brooks Glycerin 17
  • Hoka One One Bondi 6
  • Mizuno Wave Sky 3
  • New Balance 1080 v10
  • Nike Pegasus 36
  • On Cloudswift
  • Saucony Triumph 17

Cushioned yet Supportive

Sure, cushioning is great, but you may also need more support and stability than the neutral shoes above offer. This can be achieved with slightly firmer sections of the foam within the midsole or different shoe geometries and shapes.  The following options offer added stability without sacrificing on cushioning;

  • Asics Kayano 26
  • Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20
  • Hoka One One Arahi 4
  • Mizuno Wave Horizon
  • New Balance 870 v5
  • Nike Structure 22
  • On Cloutstratus

Lightweight and Responsive 

Calling a shoe lightweight is always relative, what one person considers lightweight might be completely different to the next person. Just because you’re increasing the distances doesn’t mean you can’t continue to wear lightweight shoes, although we would always recommend being mindful of the increase load when running in lighter shoes. To simplify things a little I’ll keep shoes in this category to anything under 255g for men’s and 227g for women’s shoes, which the brands themselves categorise in their lightweight range;

  • Asics DS Trainer 25 (Men’s 255g/Women’s 220g)
  • Brooks Launch 7 (255g/227g)
  • Hoka One One Clifton 6 (255g/209g)
  • Mizuno Wave Shadow 3 (250g/210g)
  • New Balance 1400 v6 (201g/175g)
  • Nike Pegasus Turbo 2 (204g/158g)
  • Saucony Kinvara 11 (221g/195g)
  • On Cloudflow (255g/230g)

Carbon Plated and Energy Saving

The new kids on the block, running shoes with carbon plates and thicker midsoles have been all the rage in the elite running circles recently and have certainly come with their fair share of hype and controversy. Whether it was Eliud Kipchoge breaking the 2-hour marathon barrier or World Athletics banning soles thicker than 40mm and limiting the number of embedded plates to no more than 1, these shoes have been the talk of the running world.

Certainly not for everyone based on their unique feel and style, the general principals behind these shoes, which are hotly debated, are that they are designed to increase performance by saving energy and returning it a way that propels you through a run like other shoes do not;

  • Asics Metaride
  • Brooks Hyperion Elite
  • Hoka One One Carbon X
  • New Balance Fuelcell Rebel (or a soon to be release Fuelcell TC)
  • Nike Vaporfly 4% or Next%
  • Saucony Endorphine Pro (soon to be released)

The key take home points when looking at your next pair of shoes never change;

  • Fit and feel is key – a shoe should always be comfortable before anything else.
  • Transition after changes – whenever breaking in a different pair of shoes start with shorter easy runs to see how you adapt.
  • No one shoe for everyone – just because a professional or even your friend raves about a shoe doesn’t mean it’s right for you, listen to your gut feel when trying on new shoes.

If you’d like to chat any further about shoes and your running in general feel free to be in touch or book in with one of our friendly podiatrists at Beyond who are always happy to help.

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