There are many times in life when hunting out the cheapest option is a good idea. Buying shoes to train for and run a marathon in is not one of them. Even beginner runners will probably log over 300km in total while training for a marathon, while more experienced people will rack up over 1,000km, so opting for a budget shoe that feels horrible and falls apart after 150km is no-one’s idea of savvy shopping.
What defines a great marathon shoe will differ from runner to runner, so we’ve included a range of options in our round-up to suit all comers. Whether you’re a keen bean with a few shoes in your wardrobe and want the fastest possible option for race day, or a new runner who wants a comfortable pair to wear for every run up to and including the marathon itself, we have you and your feet covered.
Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% – Best For Blowing The Doors Off Your PB
The Vaporfly 4% has its failings, with the main ones being that it’s very expensive, often sold out and far from durable – after a couple of hundred kilometres you can expect it to be past its best. However, no other shoe can provide anything like the feeling of running in the 4%, with the combination of Nike’s bouncy, lightweight ZoomX foam and a carbon plate in the midsole producing a joyously effortless ride that’s primed to take minutes off your marathon PB.
Buy from Nike (unisex) | £209.95
Adidas Adizero Boston 7 – Best For Training And Racing
Runners chasing a PB who want a shoe that’s a little longer-lasting than the Vaporfly 4%, or who only want one shoe in their wardrobe for all their training and racing, should look to the Boston. It’s a lightweight shoe with just enough Boost cushioning to make it comfortable for long and easy runs while still being responsive and quick enough for race day. It’s usually available in a sale somewhere and you can also scout out past editions of the shoe to find a bargain, as the only significant change from year to year tends to be in the colours available.
Saucony Triumph ISO 5 – Best Marathon Shoe For Beginners
The Triumph ISO 5 is a very comfortable running shoe, but it’s also equipped with the responsive Everun foam in the midsole and topsole so it can keep up when you start to run fast. This means beginners will have a shoe that provides plush comfort for their first steps in the sport, but it’s ready and waiting to up the pace when you are.
Brooks Glycerin 16 – Most Comfortable Marathon Shoe
If you’re not especially fussed about chasing a PB and purely want a shoe that is a joy to run in, no matter how far you go, we recommend the Glycerin 16. Brooks’s DNA Loft cushioning is luxuriously soft, with the padded collar and tongue on the shoe only adding to the extravagant comfort. If you try to ramp up your speed in the Glycerin 16 it can start to feel a little clunky, but there’s no better bet for cruising along at an easy pace.
New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon – Best Value Marathon Running Shoe
The Beacon was one of our favourite new shoes of 2018. It’s a highly cushioned but lightweight running shoe that feels equally good on the foot for easy and fast running, and it bucks the trend of ever increasing prices by coming in at £90. If you’re seeking a PB but haven’t got on with minimal racing shoes in the past, the Beacon could well be the shoe for you.