My Favorite Running Shoes

Jan 11, 2021

This post contains affiliate links.

Over the years I’ve spent as a runner I’ve had the chance to run in many different brands and types of running shoes. Last year I came across On Running brand and I’ve fallen in love. My newest pair, the On Running Cloudflash, are my favorite yet.

My History of Running Shoes

To understand my love for these shoes, you have to know where I’ve been. I grew up running track, in Nike spikes. I don’t remember the model name because it’s been years, but I’m sure I also ran in regular old athletic shoes. Aren’t kids resilient? As an adult I find that I am much more picky with my shoes. Coincidentally, the more I run the more I feel like my shoes don’t matter as much. Before I get into a rundown of every pair of shoes I’ve ever run in as an adult, you should know that I typically wear a size 8 in casual shoes.

  • Nike Free RN, 2016

    Updated: Nike Free RN 5.0
    Size 8.5. I wore these casually, to run on a treadmill every now and then, and during a trip to Iceland a couple of years before and they were the sneakers I had laying around when I started to run regularly again in 2018. After a couple of months I would get pretty bad shin splints and a runner friend said I should have a proper fitting done at a running store.

  • Saucony Liberty ISO 1, 2018

    Updated: Saucony Liberty ISO 2

    Size 9. These were my first shoes after having a proper evaluation at a running shop. I found out that I had some light pronation in my stride and they suggested these. The color was a light blue and I wasn’t super happy with it but felt like my options were limited. I ran in them for about a year and during that time developed plantar fasciitis on one foot. I do love that they have only a 4mm drop (heel-to-toe difference).

  • Brooks Adrenaline GTS, 2018

    Updated: Brooks Adrenaline GTS ’21
    Size 8.5. I tried a different shop this year since each one uses different technology to assess your needs and ended up with these. They offered a little less stability and I was much happier with the color. In this brand I was able to take my usual size.

  • Brooks Adrenaline GTS, 2019

    Updated: Brooks Adrenaline GTS ’21
    Size 8.5. Since I really enjoyed the previous model, when it came time for new shoes I was excited to try it out. These performed well both on road and easy trails for me. Sadly the model was updated and the backing on the heel was just too stiff to break in, even with taller socks. I’m thankful for most places return policy for running shoes because ultimately after trying 3 different pairs of the same shoes, these all went back.

  • On Running Cloudventure Shield, 2019

    Updated: On Cloudventure Waterproof
    Size 9. After running my first trail race in road shoes, I thought I should invest in proper trail running shoes since I spent half my time on trails. I also had a trail race in Lake Tahoe coming up and wanted to be properly equipped. I saw a billboard for On Running in San Francisco awhile before I saw these and ended up picking these up on a whim. I loved them and they felt so sturdy on trail. I did have to size up a half size for them to be the right fit.

  • Hoka One One Bondi 6, 2019

    Updated: Hoka One One Bondi 7
    Size 8.5 wide, which is odd because my current Hoka OV Clifton‘s (updated Hoka One One Clifton 7) are 8.5 regular. I went through three pairs of these in different sizes before settling but ultimately they went back. I like to run on an asphalt trail and going downhill the friction from movement in these (even with tight lacing) made my feet feel like they were on fire. On flat ground they were fine if I wasn’t in a sprint. I will say that the one positive I had with these is that my plantar fasciitis went away. Hooray!

  • Asics Gel Cumulus 21, 2019

    Updated: Asics Gel Cumulus 22
    Size 8.5. In 2019 I ran a half-marathon for Asics and they sent me a few pairs of shoes to try out. I tried on the Gel-Kayano, Gel-Nimbus, and these. Ultimately I liked how these fit the best and they got the job done.

  • On Running Cloudrush, 2019

    Size 9. These were my first introduction to “racing flats” style shoes and I thoroughly enjoyed them. They did have a 1-2 run break in period but after that it was smooth sailing for over a year on both road and treadmill. My feet never felt pressure spots or got too hot when I’d run. I really enjoyed them. Their durability was a little on the low mileage side, but I didn’t expect them to be as durable as more bulky shoes. I would directly compare these to my newest shoes.

  • Hoka OV Clifton, 2020

    Updated: updated Hoka One One Clifton 7
    Size 8.5. I use these for walking but have jogged in them a few times in a pinch (Surprise! My feet get hot in them while running). They have the usual cloudy bounce that Hoka is known for and although I absolutely love them for walking, they are not my favorite to run in.

  • On Running Cloudflash, 2020

    Size 9. I may show my running nerd here a little, but I was excited to get these shoes. They’re extremely lightweight and perfect out of the box. They have just enough vents that my feet don’t ever get hot, and dare I say, they can even get cold. They do feel very flat since they are racing flats, but I love to feel the ground when I run and these check every box for me. I’ve laced them in a crossover style with a runners loop at the top, taking the extra eyelet into account so my foot never slides in them. I would not recommend them for long runs but run regularly up to 6 miles in them with no issues.

Tips for Running Shoes:

  • You should be professionally fitted at a running store, in person. It is helpful information and you can try on many pairs of shoes.
  • Not every person is the same. I have a slight pronation but don’t prefer stability shoes.
  • I like to feel the ground when I run, but not everyone does. Keep this in mind when you look at padding.
  • In most brands you will need to size up so that your toes have room when they expand while you run.
  • If you want to geek out about lacing, I love this article about how to lace your running shoes.
  • Socks matter, I prefer thin ones. My favorites are the Nike Elite Lightweight Dri-Fit No Show Running Socks.
  • For longer runs I sometimes do thicker socks but I don’t prefer them. These Balega Zulu No Show work well.
  • Most places have an awesome running shoe return policy, especially if you go to a running store. My favorite is the Zappos Runlimited Policy because of how easy it is to order and return items.

My Running Shoe Recommendations:

If you like to run for fun:

On Running Cloud X

I have personally recommended these to multiple people who love them. There isn’t a big break-in period for On Running shoes and these are comfortable enough for a run and other activities as well.

If you like to run fast:

On Running Cloudflash

My favorites, hands-down. My review is above.

If you like to run fast & far:

On Running Cloudboom

I will admit that I have not tried these, but if I ran another half-marathon these are the shoes I would choose in a heartbeat.

If you like to run on trails:

On Running Cloudventure Peak

These are the newer model of my old trail running shoes and are currently on my wishlist for when I can hit the trails safely again.

If you like to walk:

Hoka One One Clifton 7 / Hoka x OV Clifton 4

I use these as my walking and casual shoes and love how comfortable they are. I spent some time in the hospital with a family member and once wore them for 36 hours without issue. Don’t fret about white, they’re easy to wash!

Do you like to run? What are your favorite shoes to run in?
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