The 10 Best Men's Running Shoes
10. Altra Lone Peak 3-M
9. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18
8. Altra Provision 3 Road
7. Adidas Performance Supernova Sequence
6. New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v8
5. On Cloud 90000
4. Saucony Triumph ISO 4
3. Nike Air Zoom Vomero 12
2. Brooks Launch 5
1. New Balance 990V4
How Does a Men's Running Shoe Work?
Have you ever run outside barefoot, particularly on asphalt or gravel? If so, you've noticed the way a grainy surface feels against your foot, along with the way your stride involuntarily stiffens up to keep from injury.
That's where running shoes come in. They provide cushion - and bounce - so that your foot can naturally spring off of the ground.
A running shoe is also designed for absorbing shock, thereby alleviating any significant stress to your legs.
Many running shoes are built to keep your body from having to do too much work. That is to say the sole and the shoe work together to ensure your foot remains stable, as opposed to rolling too far inward or outward with every stride.
If you're an inexperienced runner, chances are you'll want a shoe that provides support. This type of shoe will help you build your leg muscles while simultaneously controlling your stride.
The best way to gauge a shoe's support is by pressing your thumb into the rubber foam along the base. Most lightweight shoes are comprised of a thin layer of foam that your thumb can easily dent. Shoes that are reinforced for stability tend to have a stronger rubber sole that proves a lot more resilient to the touch.
What Do I Need to Know Before I Buy a Pair of Running Shoes?
A lightweight shoe with a narrow sole is generally made for racing. A heavier shoe is generally made for distance running. When choosing a shoe, you want to zero in on a model that was built with the right combination in mind.
Many experts believe the best way gauge this is by determining your level of pronation (I know ... pro-what?). Pronation refers to how far your foot rolls inward after it strikes the ground. The average runner initially lands on the outside of his heel, causing his foot to pronate approximately 15% before pushing off again.
Pronation is critical to shock absorption, which is, in turn, equally essential to enjoying each run.
Look at the sole of your shoes. Do you see a lot of wear toward the inside ball of both feet? This is an indication that you over-pronate. That is, your feet tend to over-roll when striking the ground - a dynamic which has been known to cause blisters and bunions, as well as muscle strains and tendinitis (the list goes on and on). No worries; there's a simple fix.
You need to look for a pair of shoes that have strong stability and motion control. Shoes like this will keep your stride in-line, allowing you to avoid a lot of the conditions listed above. On the same token, if you under-pronate (i.e., look for wear along the outside of both soles), you'll want to look into a lightweight pair of shoes that allows more flexibility.
This, along with stretching, will help you avoid shin splints and stress fractures, and an entire array of painful conditions.
Keep in mind that if your shoes show wear toward the heel at the center of the foot, you more than likely have neutral pronation, which means you're good to go.
A Brief History of the Men's Running Shoe
The first athletic shoes were known as "plimsolls" (named after the plimsoll line of a boat's hull) and were used for leisure activities and vacationing.
These shoes soon found their way onto the tennis courts and cricket pitches of the UK, where laces were added and rubber soles were reconfigured for grip.
The first major boon in plimsolls came during the early 1900s, when British elementary schools made them a necessary part of the physical fitness uniform.
The first pair of running shoes had been designed just prior - in 1895 - by a British company known as Foster & Sons. These shoes differed from the average plimsoll in that they featured metal spikes, which are still used for traction on the soles of certain outdoor running sneakers today.
While sneakers began catching on in certain regions of the U.S., running shoes didn't really make their mark on U.S. soil until after World War I, a point in which athletics evolved into a way for countries - and countrymen - to compete for bragging rights and superiority.
The rise of professional sports brought with it celebrity endorsements, and by the 1950s, traditional sneakers weren't only being used for athletics, they were also growing into an acceptable form of footwear for any non-formal affair.
The watershed moment for running shoes came in 1964, when Oregon running coach Bill Bowerman, and businessman Phil Knight created Blue Ribbon Sports, which would eventually balloon into Nike, Inc.. Bowerman was obsessed with the mechanics of running, and as the story goes, he spent years in his garage, constructing lightweight rubber soles with the imprint of a waffle iron.
These prototypes, which were originally worn by Oregon University track runners, would later become the Nike Waffle Racers, an immensely popular men's racing shoe that revolutionized the business.
Between the 1970s and today, the running shoe industry has exploded. Some of that is due to the global fitness craze. Another part of it is due to the tremendous rise of women runners.
Twenty-first-century running shoes are highly specialized, and technologically engineered for very specific forms of exercise. The point being, whatever your needs are, there is a running shoe out there for you.