Studies Say These Are the World’s Best Cities For Runners - Men's Health Magazine Australia

Studies Say These Are the World’s Best Cities For Runners

New research has revealed the best cities for runners around the globe based on several factors to identify optimum running conditions, with Sydney and Melbourne among the best in the world.

A run is the perfect way to energise your day at the crack of dawn, to take a load off in the afternoon, or to flush out the day’s stress in the evening. It’s the simplicity of running that makes it such a rejuvenating experience and one that’ll keep you in exceptional shape. You don’t need any fancy gear, a membership or even much experience, but finding a good place to run is the key to making it enjoyable.

A new data index from performance footwear brand HOKA has revealed the world’s best cities for running. The index ranks the 50 best cities based on seven factors ranging from environmental conditions to what the index calls ‘walkability’. A combination of these factors was determined to provide the ideal running experience. Each assessed factor was given a score out of 10, with a final score representing the cities’ average of all seven factors.

So which city came out on top? If you’re an avid runner, you might want to consider Vienna as your next holiday destination. The Austrian capital scored 7.9 out 10, making it the world’s best city for running. But you don’t necessarily have to look too far to find a great city to run in. Some of the best planet earth has to offer is in Australia, with its two largest cities firmly inside the top 10.

Australia was one of just two countries to have multiple cities ranking in the top ten, alongside Spain. Melbourne was ranked third with a score of 7.6 and Sydney wasn’t too far behind in eighth position with a respectable score of 6.8. Sydney and Melbourne were the only cities outside of Europe in the top ten.

Second on the list was Spain’s Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Located in the idyllic Canary Islands, Tenerife scored a perfect 10/10 in the green spaces category, more than any other city. While American cities missed out on the prestigious top ten, Denver was ranked 12th and another 11 cities made the top 40. Tokyo was Asia’s highest ranked city at 14th.

The factors considered in the in-depth analysis were average temperature, humidity, water accessibility and quality, air quality, CO2 emission from traffic, the number of green spaces, and walkability, which is described as how easy it is to navigate a city during a run.

‘The Sporting Capital of The World’ can add it’s claim as Australia’s best running city to its portfolio. Melbourne scored 9.8/10 for walkability and has an average temperature of 17°C, just under the ideal temperature of 18°C. Melbourne’s low humidity level of 52% gave it a 10/10 and a very high Air quality score of 9.72 was the second highest of all cities.

Melbourne scored poorly in the green spaces category with 1.76/10 and it’s this low score that prevented it from claiming the top spot. That doesn’t mean the mostly urban city is completely devoid of greenery. Check out Victoria’s Royal Botanic Gardens if you’re looking to get in touch with nature on a run without leaving the city.

Sydney scored a perfect 10/10 for walkability due to the harbour city’s flat terrain and the ease of navigating during a run. A 17°C average temperature and a low humidity level also led to high scores. Sydney’s biggest weakness was its air quality, with the lowest possible grade of 1/10 which was easily the worst of all the top ten cities. Sydney’s CO2 emissions from traffic were another factor that scored poorly. Ultimately, it was Sydney’s stunning beaches that resulted in its high ranking, with a picturesque coastline creating great motivation for runners trying to get some extra kilometres in.

If you’re looking to go on a running world tour with stops in each premier destination, HOKA’s list of the best cities for runners can be found below:

By Cayle Reid

Cayle Reid is a fan of everything sports and fitness. He spends his free time at the gym, on his surfboard or staying up late watching sports in incompatible time zones.

More From

Gather Round
Faultless footy, cutting-edge cars, and an atmosphere like no other: a weekend in Adelaide for Gather Round

Faultless footy, cutting-edge cars, and an atmosphere like no other: a weekend in Adelaide for Gather Round

If there’s one thing Adelaide is known for, it’s turning it on when major events and festivals come to town. During the 2024 edition of the AFL’s Gather Round – otherwise known as the festival of footy – the city didn’t disappoint. Men’s Health was on the ground to soak it all up, exploring the city in select Toyota vehicles. Similar to the round itself, the cars from the AFL’s premier partner live up to the hype.