10 Best Marathon Shoes 2021

When it comes to choosing the best marathon shoes, our best piece of advice is not to skimp on the quality. You get what you pay for, and if you aren’t willing to invest in a decent pair of shoes, you’re muscles are going to feel the aftermath once the race has ended.

So how should you go about choosing your marathon shoes? Which brands do other runners favor?

How to Choose

Remember that the shape of your foot and your pronation have everything to do with shoe selection, whether you’re a marathoner or a nurse on your feet for 12 hour shifts in need of a good walking shoe.

Here are the basic things to take into consideration as you shop for the right marathon shoes:

  • Pronation. If you’re an overpronator, you’re going to need a stability shoe or a motion control shoe. Underpronators (a.k.a. supinators), you’ll do best with a neutral shoe or cushioned shoe.

Neutral pronators, you probably want something that’s lightweight and low profile. You don’t need the extra cushioning and support that overpronators and underpronators do. If you’re experienced enough and you train in them, you might even try running in a pair of minimalist shoes.

  • Run What You Train In. Don’t change the type of shoe at the last minute because you suddenly realize that your current pair won’t make it through the marathon. If you train in one style, make sure your new pair offers you the same type of support.

You probably already know this, but we’ll say it anyways out of habit: never run a race in a brand new pair of shoes. Break in the new pair at least a month out and alternate the old and new pairs as you train so you get used to them.

Top 10 Marathon Shoes Table

PictureNameForPriceRating (1-5)
Rating (1-5)
81zV0WOVX0L. SP1101. Brooks Women's PureConnect 4 Running ShoesWomen$$4.6
81VGy9zTrQL. SP1102. Nike Men's Free 5.0 Running ShoeMen$$4.5
3. ASICS Women's Gel-Nimbus 18 Running ShoeWomen$$$4.5
91GaTFU0C6L. SP1104. Under Armour Men's UA Speedform Apollo SneakerMen$$4.5
81eQw%2B66NVL. SP1105. Brooks Womens Ravenna 6 Athletic Running ShoeWomen$$4.5
81CCUj7WNeL. SP1106. ASICS Men's GEL-DS Racer 10 Running ShoeMen$$4.5
7. adidas Performance Men's Marathon 10 M USA Running ShoeMen$$4.4
91Rh4Gy5C7L. SP1108. Asics Womens GEL Noosa Tri 10 Running ShoesWomen$$4.3
9. Mizuno Women's Wave Inspire 11 Running ShoeWomen$$4.3
61nRRXq6ZQL. SP11010. Vibram Men's V-Run Running ShoeMen$$4.1


It’s not always easy to determine the weather on race day, but at least try to match the uppers to the season.

If you find yourself training in shoes with mesh uppers but the marathon is happening in the cold weather, look into getting a pair of thin thermal socks.

Your Marathon Experience

If you’re new to marathons and new to running gear, then we highly recommend that you have a running shoe specialist help you out.

They’ll help you with gait analysis (so you know what type of support your feet need) and offer you suggestions on the right type of footwear to choose. Honestly, brands don’t matter when it comes to finding the best marathon shoes.

Experienced runners already know what to look for in a shoe so it’s just a matter of comparing and contrasting brands to see which will offer them what they’re looking for. Newbies need a little more guidance and should learn the basics about this type of footwear before they choose.

Top 3 Best Marathon Shoes Reviews

Keep in mind as you read the details about our top three choices that while they make excellent marathon shoes for some runners, they may not be right for you.

If these three don’t work, we have seven other options for you to look in to! You’re bound to find something that will work for your feet and your running style.

1. Brooks PureConnect 4 Running Shoes

81zV0WOVX0L. SP500

When you run a marathon, you’re putting a lot of stress on your knees and feet and thankfully, these PureConnect 4 shoes from Brooks are designed to help reduce that stress. Just what you need when running a marathon!c

If you’re an overpronator with medium to high arches, these will provide you with the stability and neutral support you need. They feature a DNA midsole cushioning system that adapts to each runners foot in order to provide you with a custom ride.

The curved heel is where the stress relief comes in, working to align your body and shift the contact point forward a bit for a more efficient stride.

They’re also extremely light, weighing in at 6.6 oz. per shoe. It meets the needs of many a marathoner, however, if they’re not the right shoes for you, we still have two more to look at.

2. Nike Free 5.0 Running Shoe

81VGy9zTrQL. SP500

The Nike Free 5.0 is a new version of the Nike Free Run+ 3 (they also eliminated “Run” from the name). They’re like a mix between a minimalist shoe and a regular running shoe, with a comfortable cushioned midsole lightweight uppers, yet you have the structure and grip of a regular shoe thanks to the Flywires. These really help lock your feet in place as you run, but comfortably so.

These would make a great option for those of you with neutral pronation and a minimalist approach to running. If you were afraid of using minimalist or barefoot shoes in a race, this has the added cushion that helps you “cheat” past the problem.

Again, not the right choice for everyone but if the descriptions fits your bill, give them a try.

3. ASICS Gel-Nimbus 18 Running Shoe

What’s a marathon without a pair of Asics running the course?

The GEL-Nimbus are a go-to favorite of many runners and we must say that we have to agree. They are cushioned, offer you plenty of bounce back, they’re lightweight and great shock absorbers. The 18 is latest in the Nimbus line (not a lot has changed from the 17’s). You get mild stability and a shoe that will last, which means you can train in them without having them fall apart and use them up until race day to bring you on home.

The one down side is the weight. Each shoe is weighs 11.40 ounces, which is almost double some of the other lightweight shoes. They do, however, provide you with excellent support. It’s a tossup! If the weight doesn’t bother you and you’re not trying to come in first, then we say go for it!

An experienced runner and an active mom, Kelly is the research expert behind runninggearlab.com When you don't find Kelly training for her next 10k or 5k race you'll find her reading reviews and testing the latest running watch.

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