If you signed up to run those 26.2 miles, then in addition to realizing you now need to train seriously, you also need to find the best marathon shoes for the job. Picking the perfect shoes can get you through those long Sunday runs and the run itself with all the comfort and support you need so you don’t hurt yourself.
Before you set off, it’s essential to consider your own running ability and how quickly you want to complete the course. You’ll also want to choose a pair that’s built to withstand the massive amount of running time you’ll be putting in up to and including the big day. If you can’t afford two pairs of shoes, you better choose carefully.
There are many shoes that claim to be the ultimate marathon shoe. In this article, we’ve picked out the best shoes for going the distance, whether you’re looking to go really fast or just want something to get you to the finish line in comfort.
READ NEXT: The best cheap running shoes you can buy
Best marathon shoes: at a glance
- Best all-around marathon shoe: Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% | Men’s | Women’s
- Ideal for beginners: New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12 | Men’s | Women’s
- Best inexpensive marathon shoe: Puma Velocity Nitro 2 | Men’s | Women’s
How to choose the best marathon shoes for you
How do I make sure I have the right size?
A no-brainer for buying any shoe, but if you are planning to buy a shoe for running a marathon and also working out, there are some additional things you need to consider. Pay attention to the space you have in the toe area, for example. Your feet swell during runs which will impact fit, so you want a shoe that gives you room for that.
Pay attention to the heel padding as well as the tongue and laces. You want to make sure the shoes lock your heel and forefoot in place while still providing plenty of room to wiggle your toes, and you want to avoid pinch points that could cause problems on longer or later runs. stages of a marathon.
Is it worth doing a gait analysis?
Gait analysis is available at many running retail stores and sports physiotherapy facilities – it’s a wise move if you’re trying this running volume for the first time. Gait analysis will cost as much as a good pair of shoes, but it’s worth it for determining your pronation, which is the way your foot rolls when it lands on the ground when running. .
This scan will help you determine if you have normal (or neutral) pronation or if you are under or overpronating. This will make it much easier to determine which type of shoe will (and will not) be the best choice for you.
How important is support and cushioning?
When running longer distances, having enough cushioning under your foot can help absorb the impact of hitting the ground with your feet over and over again. It also improves comfort, which is ideal when the legs start to tire. Some shoes feature minimal cushioning to keep you lower to the ground, but most of the shoes we recommend here offer moderate to maximum cushioning.
The same consideration should be made in the level of support the shoe gives you for the marathon distance. Especially if your gait analysis reveals that you are overpronating and a stability type running shoe is probably the best option for you. This will give you a shoe to help offset that overpronation and absorb shock in all the right places to help protect your feet over the distance.
READ NEXT: Our pick of the best running shoes for overpronation
The best marathon shoes to buy in 2022
1. Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% FlyKnit: Best marathon shoe for speed demons
Price: From £182 | buy men | Buy Women at Pro Direct Running
It’s the shoe that’s on the feet of the fastest elites and there’s a reason for that. There is now an AlphaFly Next%2, but it is even more expensive. Shop around and you can find its predecessor well below the RRP, making it a bit cheaper for fast runners to reap the benefits of one of the best marathon shoes you can find.
Nike plants its ZoomX foam and Zoom AirPods in the forefoot under a full-length carbon plate, and the result is a bouncy, fun ride. The carbon plate helps with stability while these AirPods provide big energy returns to keep even tired legs going on every one of those 26.2 miles.
A stretchy FlyKnit upper provides support and structure while keeping the overall weight of the shoe down. It’s not a shoe that everyone will like and the amount of cushioning means it can feel slightly unstable. It wears out quickly too, so it’s something to keep for race day and key marathon training sessions.
If you have speed in the locker and feel like you can maintain that speed over longer distances, the Alphafly is for you.
Key Details – Weight: 210g; Drop: 4mm; Overhand: Neutral; Midsole Foam: ZoomX
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2. Puma Velocity Nitro 2: The Best Budget Marathon Shoe
Price: From £72 | buy men | Buy Women on Amazon
At the other end of the scale, you have Puma’s Velocity Nitro 2, a shoe that proves you don’t have to spend a fortune to get through a day of training and racing. The Velocity Nitro 2 is designed for comfort and feels as good when coasting as it does when picking up the pace.
The upper is really snug and snug, there’s plenty of padding in key areas including the tongue and heel collar, and a TPU heel pad improves stability and control. Puma’s Puma Grip rubber outsole works well in both dry and wet conditions and feels durable to withstand great mileage.
The special ingredient here is Puma’s nitrogen-infused Nitro midsole foam which provides a soft bouncy feel but also a responsive feel when you need to keep up. This foam enhances the versatility of the Nitro 2 and makes it a good choice for short and long distances.
If you shop around, you can even pick up the Nitro 2 for under £100. You could also watch the original too, but that extra load of Nitro foam you get in the 2 makes it better suited for marathon training and racing action.
Key Details – Weight: 257g; Drop: 10mm; Overhand: Neutral; Midsole Foam: nitro foam
3. New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12: Best marathon shoe for beginners
Price: £145 | buy men | Buy women’s shoes at SportsShoes
The New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12 is a great option for anyone tackling their first marathon. It offers a good level of comfort and cushioning, and is durable enough to survive training and also get you through the marathon course.
The Fresh Foam X midsole foam provides good protection for those legs over long distances and provides enough rebound to ensure they are fun to run too. There’s an upper that offers wonderful support, with the stretchy HypoKnit upper wrapping the feet in comfort, and the toe box is roomy.
The blown rubber outsole is durable enough to withstand plenty of running time, especially if you stick to roads and pavements, and also emphasizes the rebound you get from that Fresh Foam X midsole.
This shoe has all the right ingredients to get you through your first marathon: it’s suitable for regular gaits and offers a very consistent and stable ride, ideal for getting through a marathon. If you need to take a walk or two, they are also fine at walking pace.
Key Details – Weight: 292g; Drop: 8mm; Overhand: Neutral; Midsole Foam: Fresh moss X
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4. Saucony Endorphin Speed 3: Best carbon-free marathon shoe
Price: £165 | Buy men from Saucony | Buy Women at Pro Direct Running
The Endorphin Speed 3 is the latest version of one of 2021’s most notable running shoes. It’s a speedy daily trainer that can go marathon distance.
It features the same PWRRUNPB midsole foam and Speedroll technology as the Speed 2, and the result is a shoe that lets you shift through gears and keep going. There’s no fancy carbon used here, but the nylon plate has been modified to provide great energy return as you rack up the mileage – this also makes for a more stable shoe to use for training.
Down below is a rubber outsole designed for road running, and the areas that hit the pavement hardest are reinforced to ensure they’ll be in good shape on race day.
The Endorphin Speed 3 is a shoe that can quickly go from a steady pace to a faster pace. The Speed 2’s improvements should make it a better training partner, and it’s a great choice for the marathon if you want to go fast but don’t want to spend big.
Key Details – Weight: 229g; Drop: 8mm; Overhand: Neutral; Midsole Foam: PWRRUNPB
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