Reviews You Can Rely On

How We Tested Running Shoes for Men

By Nathaniel Bailey ⋅ Review Editor
Wednesday February 28, 2024
We've tested a diverse selection of running-related products over the years. To specifically make your shoe decision-making easier, we also have information to help you find the perfect pair of running shoes based on your needs, in addition to our detailed review. For that review, we tested the men's running shoe competition through the streets of Helena, MT. Each shoe was put through a comprehensive set of runs that started with a standardized 6-mile loop with loose gravel, hardpacked dirt, asphalt, concrete, and grass. Then, each shoe completed a barrage of other tests, including (but not limited to):
  • A 6-10 mile threshold workout
  • A long run lasting 90-120 minutes
  • A short recovery run
  • 3k-5K paced work
  • Mile paced strides, 2-3 sets

Every shoe went through a gauntlet of detailed tests to help bring you the best information possible.
Credit: Nathaniel Bailey

While most of our testing metrics are subjective, we know we provided fair assessment between the different models, testing them multiple times under many conditions. Most pairs of shoes went through significantly more miles than required.

Cushioning and Landing Comfort

We created our standardized test loop, which features various terrains and gradients, to better compare cushioning and landing comfort. We took each model on a run around the loop and noted what we liked and didn't like about the cushioning. We then took each model on a long run to see how well the cushioning reduced fatigue. Similarly, each shoe was assessed over a shorter recovery run to see how the cushioning felt at slower paces. Taking notes on fatigue, discomfort, and perceived impact helped us narrow down which cushioning we liked the best.

running shoes men - we also assessed cushioning in the lab, by cutting the shoe in half...
We also assessed cushioning in the lab, by cutting the shoe in half and applying World Athletics stack height standards to measure how much foam was underfoot.
Credit: Jessica Riconscente


Our assessment of responsiveness came over the course of a variety of runs. We performed a threshold session of 6-10 miles for each model and noted how we liked the responsiveness. Similarly, we assessed the ability to hit faster paces during sessions at 3k-5k pace, strides at mile pace or faster, and alactic sprints. We considered objective measures of pace as well as subjective measures of feel, and completed side-by-side testing to see which had the fastest feel and produced the most rebound for our energy input.

running shoes men - we tested responsiveness at a variety of paces and on a variety of...
We tested responsiveness at a variety of paces and on a variety of terrains and grades.

Lateral Stability and Support

One of the main reasons we wanted to make sure our test loop had different surfaces was to check for lateral stability and support. This allowed us to analyze how the different heel drops and stack heights impacted this performance metric. We took careful note of how the stability transferred into our ankles and knees. We also examined the wideness of the models to see if there was a correlation between width and stability. Models that were more stable and supportive received the highest scores. We also considered models that were designed to be stability shoes, and whether their approach was effective.

Some shoes aren't designed as stability shoes, but provide good stability through features such as good upper lockdown and varying densities of foam.
Credit: Nathaniel Bailey

Upper Comfort

Upper comfort was evaluated by comparing all of the run types and noting which upper worked best with our foot. We tried differing thicknesses of socks and ran in different weather conditions. We analyzed the toe box and heel cup, looked at the different footbeds and arch support types, and checked for hot spots or blisters and pressure points from the upper.

The extremely lightweight upper of the Vaporfly is also extremely breathable.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


All weight comparisons were completed during our in-house testing. We weighed each shoe right out of the box on the same scale.

running shoes men - we weighed each size 10.5 shoe in the lab on the same scale.
We weighed each size 10.5 shoe in the lab on the same scale.
Credit: Jessica Riconscente