In recent years, the running shoe trends that once categorized the most colorful wall at Foot Locker — minimalism, neutrality, stability — have quickly given way to more dynamic and freeform styles, guiding the sport in a number of new directions. Trail shoes are starting to look like road shoes; road shoes are starting to look like trail shoes. A number of manufacturers are adding ergonomic second-skin uppers to cushioned midsoles with dramatic heel-to-toe drops, while some minimalist runners are switching to racing flats full-time. On the other side of the spectrum, maximalism, thanks to brands like Hoka One One, is continuing its renaissance.
The result of all this change is a hard-to-navigate bazaar of promises and claims that your best run ever is just one purchase away. But chances are, it’s going to take a little trial and error before you find that dream pair. To help mitigate the stress of that process, we’ve collected 29 of the best running shoes, testing them out on roads, tracks and trails around New York City.