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What's the best shoe for a marathon?

What's the best shoe for a half marathon or marathon? Do I need lots of cushioning, or should I go minimalist?

Hoka OneOne Bondi (Photo: Courtesy Hoka OneOne)
Hoka OneOne Bondi

Interesting question. I know the minimalist approach is all the rage right now–Vibram FiveFingers and all that–but for a longer run on roads? I just don’t think minimal is the way to go.

Asics GT-2160

Asics GT-2160

Not that you want to be running on pillows. If you are thinking of a marathon, find a shoe that feels good and go with that. Let your body be the cushion. That means working to adopt a flat-footed, bent-kneed running style, not one in which you reach way out with your stride, slam down on your heel, and wait for the shoe to absorb the blow. That’s how people are getting injury issues, I think.

I’ve always been a big fan of Asics shoes. They’re light, well-made, comfortable, and suit my stability needs (I over-pronate). The Asics GT-2160 is a classic—a shoe that has been around for 17 years and has stayed nicely updated. It's well-priced at $95, too.

Brooks is another company that really thinks about runners. The Adrenaline GTS 11 ($100) is, like the Asics, a well-designed shoe that has been around for a bit but has stayed cutting-edge with upgrades. It has good cushioning and stability, plus it's super comfortable and durable.

I just came across a fascinating shoe now appearing in the U.S. market called the Hoka OneOne. The shoes are super-cushioned and were originally intended for trail running, but they're finding a place on the road. The road model is called the Bondi B, and it features a soft, high-volume EVA midsole, exaggerated rockers to help with heel-to-toe transitions, and good stability from a deep heel pocket. They're expensive at $170, but I’m interested in trying a pair.

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Lead Photo: Courtesy Hoka OneOne