I test running shoes for a living, so I come across a lot of sneakers, at least a lot more than the average person, who probably buys a pair of running shoes once every two years, on top. Maybe that’s why I don’t always get super excited when I get new shoes, unless it’s a Hoka, the best purveyor of the sexiest running shoes.
Do not mistake yourself; many of the best running shoes from different brands look as good as Hoka’s kicks. Nike is really good at making their running shoes good enough to get even sneakerheads excited about the latest releases of Nike running shoes – just look at the Nike Air ZoomX Alphafly NEXT% 2 Proto which sold out instantly after its release . The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 isn’t an eyesore either.
Adidas sneakers are as popular as Nike sneakers. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t like the look of a new pair of Adidas sneakers. The Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3 might not be to everyone’s taste, but I’m sure no one would turn down a pair of the Adidas Solarglide 5 if offered a pair. Not to mention the Adidas 4DFWD!
ASICS has some of the best-looking shoes of recent times – the ASICS METASPEED EDGE+ comes to mind – but the Japanese brand also has some running shoes that will never excite anyone but runners and dads, like the ASICS Gel – Nimbus 24.
Saucony is a bit hit and miss. The best Saucony shoes include things like the Saucony Peregrine 12, which, don’t get me wrong, isn’t a complete mess in terms of looks, but it’s not too sexy either. However, Endorphin’s latest drop, which includes the brilliant Saucony Endorphin Speed 3, is well on its way to becoming the most brilliant running shoe collection of the year (see also: pretty in pink).
On Running has gone from total obscurity to one of the most sought-after athletic brands of late, thanks to its efforts to tap into the sneaker market with its new shoes. And indeed, the On Cloudmonster is as sexy as it is comfortable to wear! However, On must strive to differentiate their shoes from each other, which could be quite a challenge, considering how the sole looks on all of their shoes.
Under Armor’s shoes are… quite something. Some of their daily trainers look rather chunky, while their lighter runners, such as the wonderfully lightweight Under Armor Flow Velociti Wind 2, have a look that might not suit everyone. Some of the more colorful variations are worth checking out though.
Brooks is the ultimate “dad shoes” brand; at least it was. These days, the brand’s maximum-cushioned shoes, such as the Caldera 6, are starting to look more appealing, but there’s definitely room for improvement here. Let’s not forget the Brooks Aurora-BL, though!
Now New Balance is not a terrible option. NB has a strong sneaker game, and some of its running shoes look pretty cool: just look at the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12. On the other hand, the New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v12 look like dad shoes. You earn some; you lose some.
And then there is Hoka! The brand that has yet to produce running shoes that don’t look amazing. I remember the OG Hoka Carbon X and how much I loved the look of those shoes; the Hoka Kawana from earlier this year with its clean aesthetic, and who can forget the fan-favorite Hoka Mach 4 or the eccentric Hoka TenNine Hike GTX!? All instantly recognizable shoes, but different on their own terms.
And Hoka shows no signs of slowing down; I’m testing the Mach 5 and the Bondi 8, both super sexy. And like I mentioned in the intro, every time I get a pair of Hoka’s I can’t wait to lay my eyes on the prize and take them out of the box to see them. I hope Hoka will continue to produce the shoes they can.