Everyone loves a new pair of shoes, but sometimes culling the herd of hundreds takes way too much effort. To help narrow your search, we’ve corralled 16 of the top new contenders based on quality, durability, comfort, fit and — of course — aesthetics!
No matter what your sport, we’ve got you — and your feet — covered.
Garmont 9.81 N Air G S GTX
Want to see the fall foliage up close and personal? This footwear can make it happen in comfort and style. Ideal for speed hiking and a little mountain running, this waterproof shoe keeps your feet cool and dry and offers lugged soles to glue you to diverse terrain. It also features an asymmetrical cuff, an anatomical tongue, a super-roomy toe box and precision heel lacing for a customizable fit.
Saucony Mad River TR
Throw anything at the Mad River TR and you’re guaranteed a sure-footed ride. These trail runners have a uniquely mapped outsole that shows you where to place the studs or drainage holes, making them customizable to any kind of terrain. It also has two rows of eyelets so you can lace up to suit the trail conditions and create the most comfortable, secure fit possible.
Adidas Terrex Agravic Flow
If you don’t want — or can’t afford — to buy both a road-running and a trail-running shoe, check this out: This adaptable trail runner from Adidas is designed to tackle everything from pavement to technical trails, making it the perfect hybrid for thrifty shoppers. Its careful engineering keeps your foot stable and protected while the shoe itself remains flexible and airy, thanks to breathable mesh, a super-grip outsole and a rocker shape that offers a smooth ride on any surface.
Altra Escalante 2
Altra is known for its award-winning running shoes, and this latest version of the Escalante is sure to please. These shoes feature high-caliber technology that makes your stride sure and steady while keeping your feet cool and comfy. The decoupled midsole and outsole add further flexibility, and a perforated upper allows your feet to breathe on long runs.
There’s nothing worse than a stiff running shoe. With that in mind, Topo designed the Phantom to be the perfect mix of stability and softness. Its patented midsole offers long-term resilience and incredible cushioning, while a breathable mesh upper and strategically placed rubber bits on the bottom add extra traction and support on unreliable surfaces.
Hoka One One Rincon
The weight of a running shoe can make or break its comfort level on longer runs — and since the Rincon weighs in at just 6.3 ounces, it is a distance runner’s dream. This shoe features a built-in Meta-Rocker that acts like a roll bar, guiding your foot through a smooth step every time. It also has durable, impact-dampening EVA foam throughout the midsole and outsole, as well as a super-thin, highly pliable, mesh upper — making every foot strike buttery smooth.
New Balance X-Racer
Feeling nostalgic? This shoe will take you back. Modeled after an early 1990s runner, this old-school shoe has slipper-like snugness yet remains stable and light as a feather. And unlike its predecessor, this iteration of the X-Racer has a compression-resistant midsole that protects your feet against the pounding as you stride.
Salomon Speedcross 5
Fall means sloppy outdoor conditions, and here is where this shoe shines. With chevron lugs and a sticky rubber outsole, the Speedcross 5 gives you extra control on even the muddiest, most technical terrain, making in the veritable 4×4 of footwear. It also offers superior cushioning, and its Sensifit compression technology provides a snug, secure fit.
Topo Hydroventure 2
Let it rain! Because you’re still going to train. The Hydroventure 2 features a breathable, waterproof upper that lets sweat escape while keeping the elements out, as well as a gusseted tongue to protect against debris. An EVA-injected midsole delivers maximum shock absorption, and deep, well-spaced lugs literally bite into any surface — and stick.
Spartan by Craft Fuseknit X
If you’re an obstacle-competition fanatic or are just on the market for a versatile, super-light outdoor training shoe, this is your best bet. Built for both running and cross-training, the Fuseknit X has a sock-fi t upper with enough flex and support for either short intervals or long runs. It also has reinforced cords that wrap under your foot and behind your heel for unsurpassed stability.
Scarpa Spin Ultra
Attention, ultra-runners — this shoe can go the distance and can take a pounding without sacrificing performance. The Spin Ultra features a TPU midsole insert to boost torsional stability, an ultra-thin Vibram Litebase sole, a breathable micro-nubuck and mesh upper, and a sock-fit-constructed tongue that wraps around your foot for serious support.
MBT Colorado X
Walking is one of the most popular forms of fitness around the globe, and this shoe from MBT is perfect for enthusiasts of all levels. Fortified with a high-abrasion rubber outsole and nubuck leather upper, this athletic walking shoe reduces shock and boosts support, while a curved rocker sole lets you glide forward. Bonus: The Colorado X is recognized by the American Podiatric Medical Association for promoting quality foot health.
Pearl Izumi Vesta Studio
If you love Spinning or just like to cycle and perhaps stop for brunch, you’ll love the Vesta. This shoe comes in three vibrant colors and is designed to perform both on and off the bike, courtesy of a recessed cleat that allows you to walk around comfortably when not in the saddle. It also features a mesh forefoot for added breathability and a single-strap design, which makes slipping them on a snap.
Inov-8 F-LITE 235 V3
Cross-training activities can often be high-impact, and this shoe with a Powerflow+ midsole is 10 percent better at absorbing shock than the norm. The F-Lite also has a super-durable (yet comfy) upper, an enhanced rubber toe bumper for protection and a graphene grip on the sole for serious traction. What’s more, the shoe’s hightech engineering allows your forefoot to move more naturally through weightlifting and fitness movements.
Reebok Nano 9
Though originally designed for the CrossFit community, this super-adaptable training shoe is perfect for anyone who loves to cross-train. The Nano 9 has a durable, lightweight Flexweave upper, a two-piece outsole that improves heel-to-toe mobility and a fortified midsole that cushions your feet during sprints, jumps, hops — whatever you’re doing in the name of fitness.
If you lift heavy and often, you will love these shoes from Nobull. They are the Rolls-Royce of powerlifting footwear, and each pair is handmade by a team of craftsmen using top-grain leather embedded with natural oils and premium-sourced materials. There is a molded, removable sock liner, and the stacked heel consists of individually cut layers that are bonded, waxed and buff ed for a smooth, beautiful contour, which create an 18.5 mm heel-to-toe drop — ideal for hitting that PR.