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If you’ve ever unboxed a fresh pair of running shoes, you know the feeling of that first run in new kicks. The first time I strayed from an old and trusty pair that I had been wearing ever since I first started running, I fell in love at first stride. Remembering this moment inspired me to think about some of my favorite running enthusiasts and wonder what they might be wearing at this moment.

I am very new to running and cling to the treadmill, not ready to run outdoors yet. I rarely make it past the 3-mile mark but the experts I’ve chosen have run everything from 5ks to marathons so I am very interested in learning from the pros who are truly going the distance. As regulars on the track, treadmill, or running trail most of the runners featured here have been through dozens of styles. However, according to them, these 9 running shoes are the absolute best.

I’ll go first. The first time I saw these sneakers, they were being worn by my gym-style crush. I can’t be the only person who walks into the gym and always notices this one person’s outfit dying to ask where it’s from. I never had the guts to ask this woman where she shops for her activewear but luckily the heavy black check that marked her shoes led me to this pair with an easy google search. To my dismay, it was sold out but I wanted them so bad that I asked for a notification when they returned to stock. They came back and during my first time running in them, I noticed a difference immediately. Run don’t walk to them because they’re bound to sell out once again.

“I am in love with the HOKA Bondi 7 because they make me feel like I’m running on clouds. They allow me to clock more miles with less strain on my body – a true dream!” —Taryn Brooks

“It was hard narrowing this down between HOKA Clifton 8s and HOKA Arahi 6 as my go-to shoes. Although both feel super comfortable, the HOKA Clifton 8s are one of my personal favorites. Visually, I love the different color waves for this shoe but the performance and durability sell me every time. This shoe has a great meta rocker, doesn’t rub against my wide feet, and is great to train in for my shorter runs and the marathon distance. I’ve been a loyal HOKA Clifton series wearer for a bit over 4 years because of the comfort that this shoe offers me and how it helps for my specialized mobility needs.” —Latoya Shauntay Snell

“This is my go-to running shoe by HOKA because of the carbon plate and max cushioning in the Bondi X. I feel supported on my runs with the soft cushion in the Bondi X, plus it really helps me get through long distances since it feels like I’m running on clouds.” —Kate Glavan

“These are great for my long runs which are now around 17 miles each weekend and these are my go-to shoes for races. The design of the sole gives you cushion and bounce where you need it without sacrificing your freedom to move. These make me feel so powerful when I put them on, maybe because all of my PRs have happened while wearing a pair. Elite Runner and world record holder Eliud Kipchoge wore a similar pair when he broke the 2-hour mark running a full marathon, making history. I’ve currently got them in the purple colorway and I appreciate the color since I often wear black or neutral workout clothes.” —Kira West

“The APL Zipline is my favorite shoe aesthetically, it’s simple and the colorways are dope. The all-white sneakers with marble bottoms look amazing in person! I typically use these for short and medium distances. More important than how much I love the simple elegance of the design, I’ve found them to be like running on clouds, they’re super comfortable.” —Kira West

“I second Kira. These running shoes are well worth the investment. Though I don’t wear them every day, shorter runs in order to allow them to last longer, when I have a long run planned, Nike’s Air Zoom Alphaflys are my go-to. I swear they cut 30 seconds at least off my mile time and they keep your feet from feeling absolutely tortured after pounding the pavement for miles and miles.” —Eliza Huber

“I just bought a second pair of my favorite runners —  the Asics Magic Speed. I love how light they are, but also how they are designed to propel you forward with the carbon forefoot plate. This means that it gives you a nice push without being too foamy/soft. Something I personally dislike in runners and think it can do a disservice, especially when trying to propel faster.” —Thea Hughes

“Running is downright fun—yeah, I said it—when I’m wearing Hoka’s Clifton 8 sneakers. My runs improved pretty much the second these super-thick soles hit the pavement and I noticed that I could run longer and keep a faster pace without veering into injury territory. I made the switch a little over a year ago and am already on my third pair if that tells you anything.” —Anna LaPlaca

This color combo is so chic.

Can you tell I like neutrals?

All-white is a vibe.

This pair might be more for walking than running but you will still love them.

I’ll trust Stella McCartney on this one.


Now that I heard Asics are a good running shoe, I’m adding this one to my cart.

I’ve never seen a prettier pair of Hokas.

This color is so good.

I’m so in love.

Having Tory Burch sneakers is such a flex.

Every fashion girl needs these.

Up Next: A Podiatrist Convinced Me to Toss These 4 Shoe Trends and Buy These Instead

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