For this reason, there is not a single best marathon shoes that will work for everyone.
I would split my recommendation in three main sections here:
a). First time marathoners
b). Runners trying to improve their Personal Best Time (PB)
c). Competitors (Race)
A). FIRST TIME MARATHON RUNNERS - NEUTRAL SHOES
If this is your first Marathon, it's possible that your race day will be the day where you run the most miles. For this reason, I recommend to use a shoe with enough cushioning to take you comfortably to the finish line. Your objective is not to run fast, but to run long.
One recommendation is to race with the same shoe you used for your long training runs. You'll be familiar with a shoe that served you well while racking up miles and you'll have no surprises on race day.
1 - BROOKS GHOST 12
- Excellent outsole grip.
- Secure upper flexes flawlessly with the movement of the foot.
- Highly durable shoe that will easily last 400+ miles.
- Supremely cushioned and soft ride.
- Pricey (but durable)
- Unstable on uneven surfaces due to high stack height.
2 - NEW BALANCE 1080V9
The NEW BALANCE 1080V9 is a high cushioned trainer that offers a lot technologies. You'll pay for them, but this cushioned shoe will also let you up the pace and get going in your training and racing.
- Upturned toebox helps stride transition
- Breathable upper without openings for dirt
- Upper is supremely comfortable
- Lots of cushion
- Very responsive
- Heel a little loose
- Foam firms up in cold weather
3 - ASICS GEL NIMBUS 21
Another staple shoe of Marathon training is the ASICS NIMBUS. Offering a very comfortable upper and soft, reliable cushioning, the NIMBUS surely has taken many thousands of marathon runners to their first finish line.
- The cushion is soft yet springy
- The traction is surprisingly grippy
- The upper has been redesigned and is much roomier
- They can log a lot of miles and stay comfortable.
- The upper is a little porous in wet conditions
- The cushion can sometimes be too much (especially on hard heel landings).
B). FIRST TIME MARATHON RUNNERS - SUPPORT SHOES
These are my favorite long-distance support shoes that can double for marathon training and also racing.
1 - MIZUNO WAVE INSPIRE 15
The MIZUNO WAVE INSPIRE has enough cushioning to take you through your training and your race. It's a snappy, responsive shoe even though it provides a lot of cushioning - especially under the heel. With a very breathable and comfortable upper, it will be on your feet for hours without annoying you.
- Wave plate and midsole compounds give a nice amount of stability and support
- Remarkably durable.
- Incredibly comfortable and versatile ride.
- Looks and feels bulky
- Long break-in period.
The KAYANO is ASICS' premium support shoe. Similar to the NIMUBS, if offers soft cushioning and a premium, comfortable upper while providing a lot of stability.
- Smooth Heel/Midsole strike to toe off
- Exoskeletal Heel Counter
- FlyteFoam Propel Cushioning
- Price Tag
- Cushioning is unforgiving the longer the distance
C). RUNNERS TRYING TO BEAT THEIR PERSONAL RECORD (PR) - NEUTRAL SHOES
These shoes are (generally) lighter, lower to the ground and with a lower heel drop. They could be your daily training shoes if you are particularly light or efficient, but work great as a race day shoe for runners who usually run in "more" shoe.
1 - NEW BALANCE 890V6
The 890 continues to be the perfect blend of breathable and pliable upper materials, lightweight and responsive midsole foams, and a simple yet effective fit and construction.
- RevLite foam midsole material
- New last improves the fit from previous versions
- Engineered mesh upper that has excellent, comfort, breathability, and durability.
- Heavier than previous version.
- Smooth heel-to-toe transition
- Supremely comfortable
- Highly responsive ride
- Lack of forefoot traction on wet surfaces
- Unnecessary addition of Achilles "pillows" that don't improve the feel or fit of the upper.
Here are fast options for runners who need support.
1 - SAUCONY LIBERTY ISO 2
The SAUCONY LIBERTY ISO 2 packs a punch with a dash of support. While pricey, it is built for the long run with a sturby construction.
- Sturdy outsole that complements an explosive midsole.
- Redone comfortable knit upper.
- Fast ride with a dash of support.
- Weak insole construction
The ADIDAS ADIZERO TEMPO 9 is a shoe that was meant for support during fast days and race day.
- Excellent cushion with maintained road feel
- Durable, responsive sole unit
- Streamlined design
- Lightweight with stability features
- Upper fit could be more secure (but that's being picky, and its lack aids the light ride)
Are you trying to break under 3 hours or are you trying to get as close as 2 hours as possible ? These are the shoes that can help you get there.
The BOSTON 7 is a solid racing or up-tempo training shoe with a superb fit and faster transition, smooth for those runners needing a little extra stability during races especially marathons.
- Smooth ride and transition
- Lightweight trainer racer
- Comfortable and breathable mesh upper
- Lack some responsiveness.
NIKE took the world by surprise recently with their near miss breaking 2:00:00 in the marathon with their Breaking 2 project. The ZOOM FLY is the more affordable version of the ZOOM VAPORFLY 4% that came out of the BREAKING2 research and the ZOOM FLY is a serious contender for best value for perform.
- Cheaper and More Durable than Higher-End Options
- Improved Outsole Durability and Traction from Zoom Fly Flyknit
- Carbon Fiber Plate Midsole is Responsive and Fast
- VaporWeave Upper Material
- Expensive for an Affordable Option
- Internal Bootie on Upper Seems Unnecessary
3 - NEW BALANCE 1400V6
A return to racing form for NEW BALANCE, the 1400 is one of the best marathon day shoes out there and a great companion for the NB 890.
- Great price point
- Simple and effective traction
- Newly constructed upper is highly breathable and comfortable
- Revlite midsole foam provides a responsive smooth ride
- Lightweight and nimble.
- Not available in wider widths.
@ Jackie San