You know a big part of my philosophy is that you need to rotate your running shoes, which means having shoes for different kinds of runs. Today we’re talking about marathon running shoes.
What’s going to have enough cushion, enough structure and enough life to get you through training.
More than that, there’s something that gives you a mental boost when you find the right shoe. It just feels good to put it on, it carries you through the miles and come race day you’re confident in that running shoe.
Best Marathon Running Shoes
While every runner is different, there are a few commonalities that will make most runners happy. And of course, it’s important to know when to replace your running shoes!
While one pair could get you through all of training, it might be run down enough that you don’t want to wear it for race day.
If you’ve found a pair that you love during training, then grab a new pair about a month before the race.
What to consider with marathon shoes?
- Do you have pronation issues that you can’t correct with strengthening exercises?
- Do you want a pair specifically for race day that are lighter? (consider them your race shoes)
- Heavier runners or those with a larger frame (hello my very tall male friends) may want a more cushioned shoe
- Do you need a wide shoe? (feet swell the farther we run and in heat, so know your foot)
I’ll be sharing one from each of the major running shoe brands. Each brand has a slightly different fit and feel, so if you’ve tried a shoe from them previously now you’ll know which model will go the distance.
Click on any marathon shoe name below to see complete details.
Cushion + Structure
You’re in luck because I recently tested out this shoe and did a full review! It’s been a long running favorite for many, which is why they’re up to the 27th model.
It’s a more structured and cushioned shoe that for many strikes the balance of cushion, fairly light and enough structure to keep their foot strike in line.
- Stability running shoe
- Higher heel to toe
- Long time favorite to many runners
- Cushioned, but not overly soft
Lower Heel Drop + Cushion
I ran in the very first model of this shoe and was surprised just how much I loved the maximal shoe. It was cushioned without being heavy and and feeling clunky.
In fact, I’ve now tested about 5 or so models of Hoka shoes, including the most recent clifton. You can see how the Hoka running shoes compare in this post.
Suffice to say that if you are looking for a marathon training shoe, this would be my pick for getting cushion without it being too soft.
- Neutral running shoe
- 5mm heel to toe
- Great cushioning
- 7 oz
In fact, since then I’ve tested out and compared Hoka models many times over the years.
Cushion + Style
A lot has been said about the Vaporfly 4%, but they aren’t the shoe I’d recommend for most runners. Some folks seem to run in to trouble with the carbon fiber plate.
Assuming this uses the same foam as the React, I LOVE the cushioned feeling it provides.
The Pegasus is a long time shoe for Nike, which to me is always a signal of a great model.
- Current model is 37
- Neutral shoe
- Improved cushioning
- 10mm heel drop
- 10 oz
Meanwhile, I’m on pair 5 of the Nike Epic React because I love it so much…however, I’ve realized it’s probably not my best shoe over 13.1.
I’m starting to get embarrassed by how many of these shoes I have or have run in, but the Ghost is also on the list!
These feel like a shoe with a lot more structure and while cushioned, they don’t have the plush feel of some shoes. This is useful to many runners who end up with low back pain in a too cushioned shoe.
- Current model is Ghost 12.
- Neutral running shoe
- 12 mm heel drop
- 9 oz
Softer Cushion + Support
I’ve seen some folks mention the Kinvara for marathons and the truth is I used to run in them NON-stop, but I never was 100% sold on them actually be great for my runs over 17 miles.
The Ride is going to provide you with some additional cushion and structure.
- Current model is the Ride 13
- Neutral running shoe
- 8mm heel to toe
- 9 oz
- Great padding around heel and tongue
Why marathon shoes matter?
Not simply from weak hips and glutes, but from shoes that aren’t right for you!
You’ll want to find a shoe that:
- has enough room in the toebox for your feet to spread and potentially swell over the miles
- allows you to change the lacing to provide more room or lock in your heel
- keeps your arch from dropping in which places pressure on knees and ankles
Looking for more reviews to find the best things for your run?
Checkout our full page of my must have running gear reviews and guides to save you time searching and money! I share what’s worked for me and fellow runners, along with what wasn’t worth the price tag.
A few common requests:
- Brooks vs ASICS – which brand is better for you
- How to tell if running shoes fit properly
- Best Trail Running Shoes
- Best running socks (lightweight to compression)
- Zero Drop Running Shoes
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