Running might be a decidedly low-tech way to lose weight and boost cardio health, but the best shoes for male runners to wear are decidedly a high-tech affair.
Indeed, major running shoe manufacturers issue annual revisions of their footwear to incorporate the latest technology for comfort and safety, like new types of run and different heel designs that reduce stress on the body.
Five Great Choices for New Running Shoes
In 2017, a large number of impressive new running shoes were released. Men who are in the market for a new shoe should consider one of the five best options released this year as they seek a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable run for months to come.
1. Mizuno Wave Catalyst
In the United States, Mizuno often flies under the radar as footwear manufacturer. That’s unfortunate, because the company’s Wave Catalyst shoe is perhaps the best men’s running shoe available in 2016.
The Wave Catalyst features a unique design, with a low-profile, lightweight upper and a wave-like, foam sole. The shoe’s stiff design actually encourages the feet to roll outwards, which is great for runners who have developed inward-pointing toes.
Furthermore, a firm and flexible sole allows this shoe to offer superior comfort even to heavier runners who might be running to lose weight. For men everywhere, this versatile shoe is an asset for proper running technique and better comfort at higher weights.
2. New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo
New Balance’s bread and butter is in providing shoes that fit all types of feet, especially feet that are particularly wide. This is not a uniform commitment in the industry: Brands like Asics and Nike have a reputation for accommodating only narrow feet and “standard” arches.
The Foam Vongo by New Balance has a thick sole constructed entirely of mid-strength foam. This foam is a single, solid block, which provides both durability and enhanced comfort.
Unlike many other brands, New Balance equips its Fresh Foam Vongo shoes with a higher arch. This helps guide the feet in a proper, straight direction, which should reduce the frequency of soreness and the likelihood of injury.
Another key feature of this shoe is its highly contoured upper. While many running shoes are very thin on top, primarily for ventilation or “flexibility” reasons, the Fresh Foam Vongo features three separate layers of foot support that keep the legs, ankles, and feet aligned during long runs.
3. Saucony Xodus ISO
Often overlooked as a running shoe brand, Saucony has a shoe that many seasoned runners will enjoy. The Xodus ISO isn’t simply a “road shoe,” like so many competitors on this list.
Instead, it’s a trail shoe. That means there’s a slightly different focus: The Xodus has a unique set of grips on the sole that stick to dirt and rocks and provide excellent stability during trail runs.
A thicker heel provides proper cushioning on uneven terrain, while the contoured upper is an essential way to provide stability on ground that is often not flat, trails that are often not straight, and environments that are often hard to predict when running at a high rate of speed.
Overall, Saucony’s ability to blend proper cushioning and form with injury protection and stability makes this shoe a must-have for trailblazers.
4. Nike Free RN
When the Nike Free first came to market, it was sold primarily as a “barefoot” shoe, designed to replicate the barefoot running experience and give the foot room to fully expand with each strike.
To that end, Nike Free shoes had very thin soles and a unique, sock-like design that utilized “flywire” to provide structure and support. Many complaints followed: The shoes developed a reputation for sore arches, shin splits, and general discomfort.
That’s where the Nike Free RN comes in. The RN features a massive foam sole that fixes many of the Nike Free’s initial hiccups. The foam sole feels “like walking on the moon,” according to reviewers, who note that the shoe is exceedingly comfortable and provides a gentle landing to even the heaviest runners and those with the longest strides.
The sock-like design of the shoe helps it adapt to all foot types, including those with high inclines, making it comfortable for a wide cross-section of men.
5. Asics Gel-Kahana 8
The Asics Gel-Kahana 8 is the only shoe on this list that doesn’t offer a sole made purely of foam. Instead, as its name suggests, this shoe brings both foam and gel to the table.
The gel, which is primarily located in the heel, provides a smooth bed for runners who strike with their heel. Gel is also located under the palm of the foot, for those who strike with their toes.
This shoe’s unique design actually encourages proper running form and is specifically designed to guard against shin splits and hairline fractures. A tightly composed upper allows this shoe to provide structural support to the ankle as well, making it a great option for men who are just beginning to run longer distances.
There has perhaps never been a better time to buy running shoes. The industry is alive with innovation and experimentation, producing some of the best shoes for heavier runners and beginners, road runners and trail runners.
With the right combination of foam, gel, and foot support, and a proper fitting at a local running store, runners will find it easy to enjoy running and stay safe from injury for the duration of each outing.