I can clearly remember what it was like when I first started jogging. I was forty-nine, menopausal and totally unfit but the best thing was all you seemed to need was a pair of running or jogging shoes and a heap of determination.

Five years on, and I now get asked what type of shoes or trainers I’d recommend. So I decided to write down what I’d bought in the past and what I wear now and asked my running-buddies to do the same.

I hope you find this rundown of our best running and jogging shoes useful. I wish I’d had a blog post like this years ago… it would have saved me a lot of faffing about, discomfort and money!

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My Best Jogging Shoes (and What On Earth Are Barefoot Shoes?)

A snowy run

Me, enjoying a jog in the snow

My first pair of ‘proper’ trail running shoes were Brooks Adrenaline GTS. They were crossover jogging shoes – so you could wear them on muddy trails and on the road. They were really comfortable and were especially for people like me who ‘overpronate’ (which is when the arches of your foot roll inwards or downwards when you walk – or what we always used to call flat-feet!), but you can get Brooks shoes for ‘normal’ feet too.

Then a couple of years ago I started to get interested in something called ‘barefoot running’ and minimalist trail shoes (which have very little bracing, cushioning or motion control). The idea is that these barefoot minimalist shoes can help reduce the impact on your knees (which appealed to me as a woman in my 50s, as I had a cartilage removed in the 1980’s and now suffer from ‘bad knees’). I bought a pair of Vibram Five Fingers Womens Trek Ascent which is especially for (off-road) trail running – and I absolutely love them (my friends call them my ‘monkey feet’ and they’re just like gloves but with toes!) but be aware that it takes quite a long time for your muscle to get used to running in them!

To complement these I also have a pair of normal Saucony Women’s Peregrine 7 which are a comfy all-round running shoe. I like the Saucony – but I love the feel of the mud between my toes that I get from my Vibram Five Fingers more! 🙂

Vibram Five Fingers Womens Trek Ascent – check out reviews on Amazon here

Saucony Women’s Peregrine 7 – check out reviews on Amazon here


Zoe’s Favourite Road and Trail Running Shoes

Me with Zoe on a forest run

Me with Zoe on a forest jog

When I first started running about 4 years ago I never dreamed I would get excited about running shoes. Now I love getting a shiny new pair all brightly coloured ready to get muddy on the trails.

I started in Saucony then found they were too narrow for my feet so I changed to ASICS but as my distances increased, and I did more and more trail, I switched to Hoka One One trail shoes for the extra cushioning which I find good for my knees and back.

They also have a wider toe box than a lot of other makes, which suit me as I have wide feet. I have been running in Hokas about 3 years now, trail and road, and they are definitely my running shoe of choice.

Zoe’s Top Tip: If you buy Hokas always go half a size up!

Hoka One One trail shoes – check out reviews on Amazon here


Ruth’s Favourite Running Shoes

Ruth with her trusty running companion, Murphy

Ruth with her trusty running companion, Murphy

When I first started running 2 and a half years ago, I used any old trainers that were kicking around the wardrobe but quickly found myself in a specialist running shop having caught the running bug.  After a gait analysis** they encouraged me to spend £200 on a pair of ASICS MetaRun running shoes! Apparently, although expensive they convinced me they were the best. Initially, I thought they were amazing but I didn’t have any real experience of running shoes.

Because I was rapidly getting through shoes I decided to go for a cheaper model and opted for the Adidas Ultra Boost, I wasn’t sure about them at first because they felt so comfortable, a bit like wearing slippers but I now prefer them.  I wore them for The London Marathon and even a 100k Ultra Marathon and they left my feet blister-free!

Adidas Ultra Boost – check out the reviews on Amazon here


Alex’s Favourite Running Shoes – for Trail and Road

Alex at the finish of the 100k Race to the Stones

My very first running shoes were a pair of Nike (name unremembered!) which stood me in good stead and helped me ease into parkrunning etc. I then found ASICS Gel-Cumulus, which were my fave shoes for a number of years. I also had some (expensive and not a totally brilliant fit – despite being ‘fitted’ at a local running shop) ASICS MetaRun for road running. I got some Nike trail running shoes for women but they didn’t last well so tried more ASICS. Again all fine (had to put up with a fair bit of mud, puddles and tree roots) until this year.

Things changed in 2018 when I entered my first ultra*. I knew I needed some good shoes to cope with 100K (and the training leading up to it too – never wear a new pair of shoes on race day!!). But what type of trail shoes? What was the terrain going to be? Hard, soft, muddy, technical….. minefield! So I hedged my bets (and stretched my credit card) and bought two different pairs: Hoka One One Challenger ATR and Salomon Speedcross 4. The Hokas (and the weather) won – as it was hot and dry. The Salomons will be great in muddy conditions.

Oh and socks – that’s another story…

Alex’s Top Tip: I like to buy a new pair of shoes every 6 months or so and/or buy two pairs and wear every other time I run – so that I get less wear and tear on my feet and shoes.

Hoka One One Challenger ATR – check out reviews on Amazon here

Salomon Speedcross 4 – check out reviews on Amazon here


What are your favourites? And have any of the shoes you’ve bought been a disaster? Let us know below…

 

*A long-distance (usually a mixture of trail and road) race that is longer than a marathon – which is strictly 26 miles 385 yards/42.195 km.

**A way of assessing the way you move. Usually performed on a treadmill at a specialist running shoe shop. It helps define the best type of running or jogging shoe for the way you walk, run or jog.

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