The Best Running Shoe Brands of 2023: A Guide to Finding Your Sole-mate

The Best Running Shoe Brands of 2023: A Guide to Finding Your Sole-mate

In the modern world of running shoes, options are anything but scarce. The volume of choices grows exponentially, so it's easy let this tidal wave to sweep you off your feet. But fret not, for we've narrowed down the top five running shoe brands that will help you conquer the pavement in style and comfort. The featured shoe brand names are Hoka, Saucony, Altra, Topo Athletic, and Brooks.


Hoka: Cushioning Clouds for Your Feet

Walking on clouds is a regular metaphor for describing the comfort that running shoes may provide to their users. While the feeling itself can only be imagined, some companies try to channel this fantasy to make real running shoes. This dream is what HOKA One One set out to achieve when they burst onto the running scene in 2009. Founded by Nicolas Mermoud and Jean-Luc Diard, two former Salomon employees, HOKA was born from their desire to create a shoe that allowed for faster downhill running. They achieved this by developing an oversized outsole with more cushioning than other running shoes at the time. Fun fact: the name "HOKA" comes from the Māori language phrase meaning "to fly over the earth."

Now, let's fast forward to today. What sets HOKA footwear apart from other companies? It's their unique blend of high comfort and lightweight materials, which earned them a spot in Men's Health Magazine as a shoemaker "in a league of their own." Throughout their product line, HOKA shoes maintain features like a low weight-to-cushion ratio and midsole and outsole geometry designed to promote inherent stability and an efficient stride. No wonder they are fancied by ultramarathon runners and weekend joggers alike.

HOKA offers a variety of shoes for different terrains and preferences, from max-cushion road shoes to low-profile trail runners. And they don't just cater to the average runner; they also sponsor professional athletes in track & field, triathlon, and road-running events, as well as training groups like Northern Arizona Elite and the California-based Aggies Running Club.


Let’s take one pair of shoes as an example. The HOKA Unisex Cielo X 2 LD Running Shoes enjoy the perfect combination of style and substance. The Cielo X 2 LD offers HOKA's signature cushioning without weighing you down, making it perfect for long-distance running or those who simply want a comfortable ride. Plus, the sleek design ensures you'll look good while you're out there pounding the pavement (or trail). So, if you're looking for a running shoe that delivers on both performance and aesthetics, the HOKA Cielo X 2 LD might just be your perfect match.

As you can see, HOKA has come a long way since its inception in 2009. The company might not boast the greatest mileage on the list, but that only makes its achievements even more impressive. They've managed to accomplish the arduous task of combining comfort, lightweight materials, and style in their running shoes, earning them a dedicated following of professional athletes and everyday runners alike. So, if you're ready to fly over the earth (or get the closest to the feeling of it), why not give HOKA a try?


Saucony: More Than a Century of Running Excellence

If you were looking for running shoe brands at the beginning of the 20th century, the chances are Saucony would have been one of the few options you’d have. In 1898, a small shoe factory near Saucony Creek in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, witnessed the birth of the Saucony brand. Within 125 years, this American brand has grown into a global powerhouse, offering top-notch athletic footwear and apparel for runners everywhere.

What mark did they leave on the running world? One of the key features that set Saucony apart from other companies is their commitment to the motto "Run for Good." This philosophy is reflected in their innovative designs, which focus on promoting good. Good for the performance, good for the health, good for the planet, and good for the community - that’s a description of a typical pair of Saucony running shoes. They continually strive to create shoes that enhance the running experience while giving back to the environment and society. It’s fair to say that Saucony’s influence on the footwear industry is as big as the impact they have on the people that put their trust in this brand.

Saucony is known for its cutting-edge technologies that cater to various types of runners. For instance, their EVERUN cushioning system provides continuous energy return and increased durability, while the FORMFIT technology ensures a comfortable, custom-feel fit for every foot shape. Another prime example is their ISOFIT design, which adapts to your foot's motion and provides an almost shoeless feel.


Now, let's talk about the Saucony Men's Kinvara 14 Running Shoes. These fan-favorite sneakers are perfect for those who crave a lightweight, responsive, and well-cushioned ride. The Kinvara 14 features PWRRUN cushioning for a soft yet energetic feel underfoot, and a flexible sole design that promotes a more natural stride. And let's not forget the sleek aesthetics – these shoes will make you look as fast as you feel!

Long story short, Saucony has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1898. Their dedication to innovation, combined with their commitment to the "Run for Good" philosophy, has earned them a devoted following of professional athletes and everyday runners alike. So, if you're looking for a running shoe that delivers performance, comfort, and style, the Saucony Men's Kinvara 14 might just be your perfect match. Or maybe not, there are dozens of other models to choose from.


Altra: Redefining Foot Freedom

When the industry has been existing for some time, you have to dare to be different if you want to work your way to the forefront. Without exaggeration, Altra could be called a pioneer in the industry. The company was founded by Golden Harper in 2009, born from the backroom of a running store in Orem, Utah. Altra set out on a mission to challenge the traditional design of running shoes and create something truly unique. And boy, did they deliver!

What sets Altra apart from other running shoe brands? The answer lies in their innovative FootShape toe box and Zero Drop platform and an unconventional way of coming up with one of them. Several shoe models were heated up in a toaster oven, had their midsoles cut and the cushioning platform level. Thus appeared the Zero Drop technology. There is no such story for the FootShape toe box but that doesn’t diminish the technology’s benefits on runners’ experience. While most running shoes feature a narrow toe box and raised heels, Altra's shoes are designed with a wider toe box, allowing your toes to splay naturally for better stability and comfort. The Zero Drop platform means that the heel and forefoot are at the same height, promoting a more natural, low-impact running form.

Altra offers a range of shoes for various terrains and preferences, but their commitment to these core design principles remains consistent throughout their lineup. They also focus on gender-specific fits, ensuring that men's and women's shoes cater to the unique anatomical differences between the sexes.


Whom shall we bring into the spotlight this time? Meet Altra Women's Torin 6 Road Running Shoes. These beauties are perfect for those who seek a responsive, cushioned ride without sacrificing ground feel or natural foot movement. Combining the signature Altra EGO midsole with an engineered mesh upper, the Torin 6 ensures a comfortable, breathable, and lightweight experience. The FootPod outsole maps the bones and tendons of your feet, providing targeted support and flexibility where you need it most.

Altra has carved out a unique niche in the running shoe market with its out-of-the-box designs and commitment to natural foot movement. If you're looking for a shoe that combines comfort, performance, and a more natural running experience, make sure to check out our collection of Altra running shoes.


Topo Athletic: The Perfect Blend of Nature and Nurture

Topo Athletic is a relatively young brand with a fresh perspective on running shoes. Founded by the former CEO of Vibram USA Tony Post in 2013, Topo Athletic sticks to the vision of blending the best of minimalist and traditional running shoe designs, striking a balance between natural movement and necessary support.

So, how does Topo Athletic stand out from the crowd? Their signature combination of three key features makes the brand’s footwear easy to recognize. A roomy toe box, a secure midfoot fit, and a low-drop platform - check the three and know you’re holding Topo Athletic shoes. This trifecta allows your toes to splay naturally and provides snug support through the midfoot and a close-to-the-ground feel for better stability and proprioception.

Topo Athletic offers a variety of shoes for different terrains and preferences, all while maintaining their core design principles. They are known for their lightweight construction, breathable materials, and commitment to promoting a more natural running experience so minimalist shoes are their forte.


Now, let's talk about the Topo Athletic Men's Cyclone 2 Road Shoes. If you are looking for a lightweight, responsive, and versatile pair of shoes for both training and racing, don’t look any further. The Cyclone 2 features a new ZipFoam midsole, which delivers exceptional energy return and durability without adding excessive weight. The breathable mesh upper provides a comfortable fit, while the strategically placed rubber outsole ensures traction and durability.

Topo Athletic have made a name for themselves in the running shoe market with its unique blend of minimalist-inspired design and performance-focused features. If you're looking for a running shoe that offers a more natural feel without sacrificing support or protection, the brand’s inventory will pleasantly surprise you.


Brooks: Running Royalty since 1914

There are only two groups of brands featured in this article: those younger than 20 and more than hundred years old. Brooks, an American sports equipment company, was founded in 1914 and thus belongs to the group of seasoned brands. They began with bath and ballet shoes, tried their hand at roller skates and ended up making running shoes their primary focus. Crowning our list of the most popular shoe brands, Brooks bring their products to 60 countries worldwide.

What makes Brooks footwear special? The brand’s committed to creating high-quality, performance-driven footwear with innovative technologies that cater to the needs of runners of all stripes. Brooks even coined the term "Run Happy" as their guiding philosophy, emphasizing the importance of comfort, support, and enjoyment in every step.

Brooks is known for a variety of various cutting-edge features. The DNA Loft cushioning system provides a soft and responsive ride without sacrificing durability. The brand’s GuideRails support technology offers holistic, non-intrusive stability by allowing runners to move through their natural motion path while only intervening when necessary.


Let’s have a look at the Brooks Women's Glycerin 20 Running Shoes and take them for a spin! These luxurious sneakers are perfect for those who are in the market for a plush, cushioned ride with uncompromised responsiveness. The Glycerin 20 boasts a full-length DNA Loft midsole, ensuring a soft landing with every stride. Combine that with a sleek, engineered mesh upper for breathability and a snug fit, and you've got yourself a running shoe that feels like it was made just for you.

Brooks has earned its place in the hearts of runners around the globe with its dedication to innovation, comfort, and performance. If you're looking for a running shoe that goes the extra mile in terms of cushioning and support, the Brooks running shoes might just be your perfect match.

So there you have it, folks! Our top five running shoe brands of 2023. None of them enjoys the title of the sole best running shoe brands, but that’s the best part of it. With competition comes place and motivation for growth and improvement. Each of the brands mentioned offers something unique to help you find your perfect fit. Now, lace up those shoes and let your feet decide which brand will carry you across the finish line.

Jun 14th 2023 Run United


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