New Road Shoes for Every Kind of Runner

These models will help you push your speed limits


Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Altra Rivera ($130)

(Photo: Courtesy Altra)

Best Zero-Drop Ride

The Rivera is a minimalist gateway shoe. The forefoot is roomy (for natural toe splay) without feeling sloppy, and the 26-millimeter-thick foam from heel to toe is both soft and responsive, resulting in a notably enjoyable ride. It has “good bounce” and “inspired speed,” testers reported. Bonus: the largely seamless, breathable upper is über-comfy. 9.1 oz (men’s) / 6.9 oz (women’s); zero drop.

Men’s Women’s

Brooks Glycerin 19 GTS ($150)

(Photo: Courtesy Brooks)

Best Stabilizer

Take a cushy, plush, neutral Brooks Glycerin and add stability rails—dense foam bumpers at the heel and along the instep that keep your foot from pronating—and you have the new Glycerin 19 GTS. Testers praised the sublime heel strike, saying their gaits felt “smooth, controlled, and stable” in this workhorse. 10.7 oz (men’s)/9.5 oz (women’s); 10 mm drop.

Men’s Womens’s

Hoka One One Rocket X ($180)

(Photo: Courtesy Hoka One One)

Best Carbon Crusher

“The best Hoka I’ve ever put on my foot,” said one of our testers. Designed for the pros, the Rocket X features a one-­millimeter, full-length carbon-fiber plate tucked inside the EVA midsole. But it’s not just for elites. Another tester called it “a home run on every surface and at any speed,” praising its “energetic and responsive” ride. 7.4 oz; 5 mm drop.

Buy Now

Skechers GOrun Razor Excess ($140)

(Photo: Courtesy Skechers)

Best Distance Racer

Hiding in the shadows among carbon-fiber-plated kicks is this no-nonsense shoe. A sibling of the brand’s popular racer, the Excess packs an additional three millimeters of snappy midsole foam, which ensures a soft landing and a crisp takeoff—sans carbon fiber. “Effortless and fun,” said one tester. But take note: fit runs a bit narrow and shallow. 7.5 oz (men’s)/5.9 oz (women’s); 4 mm drop.

Men’s Womens’s

Under Armour Hovr Machina 2 ($150)

(Photo: Courtesy Under Armour)

Best High-Tech Trainer

Sporting enough technology to make Elon Musk jealous, the Hovr Machina 2 features an embedded chip that connects to the MapMyRun app to collect pace, distance, and stride data. We loved how structurally sound yet consistently peppy the midsole performed. Paired with a lighter, airier upper, it makes for an incredibly comfortable trainer. 10 oz (men’s)/8 oz (women’s); 8 mm drop.

Men’s Womens’s

ASICS Noosa Tri 13 ($130)

(Photo: Courtesy Asics)

Best Energy Saver

An enduring triathlon ­favorite gets an overhaul with a new ­rockered outsole. It per­formed so well that our roadie testers are now part of the Noosa Tri cult. “It seemed to propel me forward,” raved one, while another gushed, “If I had only one shoe, this would be it.” We also adore the highly breathable upper and wild designs. 7.9 oz (men’s)/6.5 oz (women’s); 5 mm drop.

Men’s Womens’s

From April/May 2021

When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small commission. We do not accept money for editorial gear reviews. Read more about our policy.