Best running shoes for men in 2023 tried and tested


hose Strava Year in Sport summaries may only have just faded into the background but the Christmas and New Year lull is over and the pavements are ripe for pounding.

The pandemic-induced running boom has, by now, created an army of plodders verging on veterans a couple of years after lacing up for the first time and taking those tentative first steps out of the door, looking ahead to another year of chasing PBs in 2023.

For more seasoned runners, 2022 saw a return to something close to normality, with a whole host of mass participation events revived in their normal guise after several years of Covid restrictions or outright postponements.

In a few months’ time the London Marathon will return to its traditional springtime slot for the first time since 2019.

But whether it’s Couch to 5k, the odd local Parkrun or 26.2 miles round the capital that’s your goal, there’s nothing to launch a new year of running like a new pair of shoes.

Our latest roundup includes products from a host of leading brands, with recommendations ranging from the most cushioned daily trainers to racing and trail runners.

Shop the best running shoes for men below

Saucony Triumph 20


Saucony had a great year in 2022, delivering hit after hit – including the latest Triumph. The Triumph has been company’s flagship model and one of the leading neutral shoes on the market for donkey’s years now and the most recent edition does not disappoint.

In terms of slip-on comfort, it might just be top of the class and, happily, nothing is lost when the running starts either. Stack height has increased in comparison to the 19 but weight has not, the upshot being that the Triumph 20 is somehow both more cushioned  and lighter than its predecessor, delivering – as max-cushioned trainers go – a very smooth ride. More subjective, but we think it’s gotten better looking, too. All-in-all absolute gem of a running shoe.

New Balance Fresh Foam Morev4

New Balance

Speaking of max-cushioning…The Fresh Foam Morev4 does what it says on the tin, incorporating more of New Balance’s plush Fresh Foam cushioning than any shoe the brand has made previously, though importantly it doesn’t feel sluggish for it.

Hoka-esque in design, with a high stack and broad base, the Morev4 is a super-soft shoe that offers a fair degree of stability, perfect for keeping up the miles on easy runs and recovery days when the legs are feeling the effects of a hard session or race. Fair warning, the Morev4 knows what it is and those seeking more of an all-rounder need look elsewhere, but as a luxurious partner to a racier trainer in your rotation, you cannot go far wrong.

On Cloudmonster

On Running

Despite their unorthodox appearance, Swiss brand On should need little introduction by now and the Cloudmonster is marketed among the label’s maximum cushioning neutral shoes. That might suggest soft and squishy, but though this shoe does indeed feel plush on landing, it combines that sensation with a notable forwards propulsion – or “running on clouds with the volume turned up”, as the brand describes it.

We actually found this shoe come into its own on in the later miles of weekend long runs, when a bit of spring in the step is preferable to the indulgent luxury of some max-cushioned shoes that can make the tired plodder feel weary. A note of caution: the shoe tends to size up a little smaller than most rivals so it’s worth going up half-a-size – and keeping the receipt just in case.

Hoka Mach 5


Hoka’s flagship Clifton shoe has grown more popular by the edition and no lap of any of London’s parks or running hotspots is likely to pass without sighting a few pairs these days.

Think of the Mach as a versatile, lighter sibling, providing a snappier ride, ideal for faster sessions, as well as every day runs. We tested these over a variety of sessions, from kilometre reps on the track to longer tempo runs. While it doesn’t pack the responsiveness of carbon-plated racers, it is significantly cheaper and still feels quick enough to fill a similar slot in your shoe rotation. Our one reservation is the lack of a rubber outsole, which doesn’t bode so well for durability or grip in the wet.

Hoka Challenger 7


Speaking of Hoka and London’s parks, this hybrid road-trail shoe is perfect for those whose plods tend to include a bit of pavement pounding on the way to mud, trail and grass.

Many hybrid shoes lean more towards trail than road, but the Challenger feels genuinely 50-50. It offers a softer, more cushioned feel than its out-and-out trail rivals, while the mesh upper is sufficiently reinforced in comparison to traditional road shoes, without feeling heavy or restrictive. Despite a relatively high stack, the shoes feel stable and its 4mm lugs – which Hoka say are based on gravel tyres – offer good grip. All in all, an excellent hybrid shoe.

Merrell MOAB Flight


Best known as a hiking brand, Merrell’s running shoes have tended to fly a little under the radar but this is a good’un. If it sounds a basic to highlight comfort and good looks as two of the MOAB Flight’s big plus-points then consider the extent to which one or the other is often sacrificed in the name of specialist performance when it comes to trail shoes.

Featuring a Vibram outsole, this is another shoe likely to suit the urban runner to whom “trail” means anything from gravel paths, to grassy sports pitches and muddy parks, rather than more extreme countryside conditions. Light, well-cushioned, slick ride and good value. What’s not to like?

Asics Novablast 3


The latest version of what is a relatively new shoe among Asics’ cabal of long-established favourites like the Gel Nimbus and Gel Kayano. In fact, it doesn’t rely on Gel cushioning at all, instead using Asics’ FF Blast Plus foam throughout the midsole, so don’t expect a similar feel to the aforementioned models.

Another neutral runner, it is significantly lighter than its predecessor and delivers a smooth, springy ride for everyday mileage. Some tweaks to the upper have improved the fit, particularly around the tongue. We’d recommend trying these before committing: most of the shoes in this review ran obviously either true to size or required a half-a-size increase but these were right on the cusp. Let personal preference decide.

Adidas Ultraboost 22


One of the most instantly recognisable shoes around, the Ultraboost in its various iterations have become so popular as every day or even fashion trainers, it is easy to forget this is still, at its core, a runner.

Regular users will be familiar by now with its springy Boost midsole and soft, flexible feel underfoot. Like most Adidas models, it features a Continental rubber outsole for excellent grip in wet conditions, as well as a sock-like upper that fits like, well, a second sock. And yes, when all is said and done, it is still just about the most stylish running shoe on the market.

Nike Pegasus Turbo Next Nature


Probably the single best-known runner on the planet, the Nike Pegasus gets a ludicrously attractive makeover in this latest variation on the core shoe. Lighter than the regular Pegasus 39 and with a firmer ride, the Turbo Next Nature is designed as a versatile trainer capable of handling anything between tempo runs and full marathon distances, as well as everyday running and even lifestyle use.

Nike say the shoe is made from at least 50 per cent recycled materials – hence the “Nature” bit of the name. One point to note is that there are no extra eyelets for those who prefer an ankle-lock style of lacing to secure the fit.

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