IN THE SCORCHING HEAT of summer, when the pavement turns into a sizzling pan and the sun seems determined to test the limits of our SPF, runners have a way of being more keen on punishing themselves with high intensity sweat sessions than any other time of the year. Considering that summer is when the temperatures are at their highest, you might think that it’s the worst time to get into a regular running routine. But given that Australian summer falls precisely when we’re setting new year’s resolutions and fitness goals for the following year, it’s the busiest time for running there is.
Summer is the season of speed, the time when even the most dedicated couch potatoes feel the itch to get moving, armed with nothing but resolve and a killer playlist. But let’s face it, your old sneakers from two summers ago just won’t cut it anymore. While running should never be easy, so long as you’re consistently challenging yourself to improve, there is a way to make it easier: a set of top-quality gear.
When it comes to running in summer, you want sneakers that are lightweight, breathable, and supportive, lest your feet become unable to cope with anything more than a light jog before degenerating into swamps of sweat. It can be difficult to tell which kicks are for real though, as almost every brand has a pair they promise will change your life—we’re not saying they won’t, but footwear traditionally isn’t life-changing material. Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up ten of the best running shoes on the market, for every kind of runner. Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or just trying to outrun the neighbourhood ice cream truck, these sneakers are the perfect companions on your quest to accomplish all your running goals.
Reebok Nano X4
Arriving just in time for new year’s resolutioners looking to launch their fitness journey’s with a summer running stint, the latest iteration of Reebok’s vaunted Nano line launched this month—and it’s the pinnacle of innovation. The Nano X4 is supremely breathable and lightweight—even surpassing previous nanos—but performance is not sacrificed for feel, with a focus on stability and support. Incorporating new Flexweave material, the Nano X4 is engineered with a midfoot ventilation panel for increased breathability, so you can place fears of an overheating foot in the back of your mind while crushing a workout.
Hoka Clifton 9
Hoka’s Clifton 9 is the running shoe equivalent of a summer breeze—light, refreshing, and an appreciated boon during any particularly arduous run. Its maximalist cushioning provides a pillowy soft landing, perfect for those long, slow-paced summer runs when you want to forget you’re exercising and just enjoy the scenery.
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38
With the agility of its namesake—a mythical beast of legend—the Pegasus 38 is a summer sensation. Its breathable mesh upper ensures your feet stay cool, while the Zoom Air cushioning puts a literal spring in your step. These shoes are workhorses, and they have the durability to match your endurance.
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11
New Balance’s Fresh Foam cushioning is a lesson in innovation, cradling your feet to offer a plush and supportive ride. Meanwhile, Ultra Heel technology will be hugging the back of your feet, ensuring stability and support. The shoe’s sleek design also adds a touch of sophistication to your sweaty endeavours, ensuring you look as cool as you feel.
Adidas Ultraboost 21
$270 135 (for a limited time)
The Adidas Ultraboost 21 is all about energy. These kicks redirect your own explosiveness to offer unrivalled energy return, so you’ll feel like you’re bouncing through every stride. A harmonisation of responsiveness, cushioning and weight distribution, the Ultraboost 21’s will get the job done, no matter where you’re running, be it on the track or the trail.
Brooks Ghost 14
$230 $150 (for a limited time)
With plush cushioning and silky-smooth material, the Ghost 14’s make every summer jog feel like a leisurely stroll on the beach. The lightweight design is a breath of fresh air, and the support is as unwavering as your commitment to that summer bod. The Ghost 14 is also Brooks’ first carbon neutral shoe, in case you’re eco-consciously inclined.
Mizuno Wave Rider 26
$220 $159 (for a limited time)
The Wave Rider 26 is the James Bond of running shoes—stylish, reliable, and always up for a challenge. After 26 editions, the folks at Mizuno are still finding ways to improve the Wave rider, and this time they’ve redesigned the shoe from the ground up to achieve greater propulsion capabilities and an all-around smoothness to this everyday sneaker.
ASICS Gel-Nimbus 25
If your summer goal is to feel like you’re running on a cloud, the aptly named Gel-Nimbus 25 is your golden ticket. These shoes combine gel cushioning with a plush collar, offering a luxurious experience for your feet. The stylish design ensures you’ll make a statement whether you’re conquering mountainous trails or just strolling to the coffee shop.
Under Armour HOVR Machina 3
Equipped with a built-in chip to track your metrics, these shoes are as smart as they are effective. Under Armour’s high-tech MAPMYRUN system analyses your running data, providing you with the information you need to monitor your improvement. What’s more, the energy return from the HOVR foam will have you feeling like the shoes are the ones doing the work, propelling you towards your fitness goals.
Saucony Kinvara 14
$200 $110 (for a limited time)
For the minimalist with a taste for speed, the Kinvara 14 is your soulmate. These lightweight wonders provide just enough cushioning to keep you comfortable without sacrificing that barefoot feel. The breathable upper ensures your feet stay as cool while you break personal records in the summer heat. They’re also probably the most colourful shoes on the market, if that’s your thing.
Reebok Floatride Energy 5
$160 $100 (for a limited time)
Dependable, durable and effective. The Floatride Energy 5 has everything you want in a running shoe, all for a startlingly low price. With a lightweight design and responsive cushioning, these shoes will get the job done on the pavement, at the track or off-road. A jack-of-all-trades of a shoe, the Floatride Energy 3’s serve as the ideal conclusion to our roundup. Get running this summer.