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Top 10 shoes our testers are loving in July

We tested tons of great shoes this year, but only the very best make the list

Brooks Ghost Max

Our expert testers go through a lot of shoes, but we’ve narrowed it down to the 10 best. Each month we’ll update this list with our absolute favourites in four categories, including race day or speedwork shoes, daily trainers, stability shoes and trail shoes. This way, you can build your perfect shoe rotation. 

Every runner is different, but we loved these shoes and hope that you will too.

Race Day or Speedwork Shoes

Best for runners seeking a fast, responsive training shoe with cushioning
Salomon Phantasm 2

Salomon Phantasm 2

A fast training shoe with propulsive technology

Designed as a go-fast training shoe, the Phantasm 2 delivers the performance and cushioning runners demand during faster running. The shoe features a unique midsole that combines an Energy Blade plate with a two-part foam midsole, creating a responsive, propulsive ride while still retaining sufficient cushioning for daily training. Salomon’s rocker geometry promotes a faster and smoother heel-to-toe transition, which ensures the Phantasm 2 feels fast even at the end of a long run. For the upper, Salomon has spec’d a highly breathable mesh textile with strategically placed padding for exceptional fit and foothold. Finally, the outsole has been updated with more rubber in the forefoot and heel for increased durability.

Best for runners seeking an innovative and lightweight, propulsive shoe for racing
Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2

Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2

A carbon-plated race day supershoe

With its highly-bevelled heel, aggressive rocker shape and propulsive carbon plate, the Wave Rebellion Pro 2 is a great choice for competitive mid- to forefoot strikers. The eye-catching midsole consists of Mizuno Enerzy Lite+ foam on top, a carbon-infused nylon plate in the middle and a final layer of Enerzy Lite foam on the bottom. The combination results in exceptional cushioning without sacrificing the snappy ride runners demand when racing. The midsole works with the shoes’ aggressive Smooth Speed Assist geometry, encouraging a quicker turnover. For the upper, Mizuno specs a lightweight and highly breathable engineered mesh that is bolstered with an internal midfoot reinforcement, which helps maintain the foot over the midsole. Unlike other supershoes that avoid extensive outsole rubber, the Wave Rebellion Pro 2 features a full, thin outsole that ensures excellent long-term durability without excessive weight. From a numbers perspective, the Wave Rebellion Pro 2 has a 36 mm forefoot stack with a 38 mm heel, resulting in a 2 mm drop. While these shoes may not be a top choice for more casual training runs, if you are a midfoot striker looking to set a PB at your next race, you need to check out the Wave Rebellion Pro 2.

Best for runners seeking a nimble daily trainer for faster workouts
Saucony Kinvara 14

Saucony Kinvara 14

A lightweight and responsive neutral shoe

The Kinvara 14 features increased cushioning while maintaining its much-admired low weight and responsive ride. Saucony uses its time-tested PWRRUN EVA-based foam (three more millimetres than the previous Kinvara version) for the midsole, ensuring excellent cushioning and a snappy feel. The updated engineered mesh upper has larger perforations, resulting in improved breathability. For the outsole, Saucony uses two minimalist rubber pads, one at the toe and the other at the heel. The design ensures low weight, but at the cost of some long-term durability. This minor trade-off, however, is easily accepted when you consider the Kinvara’s versatile performance.

Daily Trainers

Best for runners seeking a neutral shoe with maximal cushioning and protection
Brooks Ghost Max

Brooks Ghost Max

A maximal cushioning shoe

Runners who are fans of the Ghost 15, but who want even more cushioning, should check out the Ghost Max. The shoe features a DNA Loft v2 midsole that is 39 mm in the heel and 33 mm in the forefoot, resulting in a 6 mm drop. As would be expected with such a generous midsole, the Ghost Max provides an exceptional amount of cushioning, making it ideal for longer runs or for anyone seeking additional impact protection. Brooks adds its GlideRoll rocker, which encourages a faster and smoother heel-to-toe transition and makes the shoe feel more nimble, considering its maximal proportions. The Ghost Max also features a broad base that improves stability without interfering with the shoe’s neutral ride. For the upper, Brooks has employed an engineered mesh that is lightweight and highly breathable. Finally, Brooks specs a highly durable outsole that ensures runners will get full use out of the Ghost Max.

Best for neutral runners seeking comfort and cushioning
1080 v13

New Balance 1080 v13

A reliable and well-cushioned daily trainer

The New Balance 1080 v13 has 37 mm of soft Fresh Foam X cushioning in the midsole to offer a soft landing and a high-cushion ride. The pronounced rocker makes it feel a little more lively than some max stack shoes, and the solid rubber outsole will ensure this shoe can stand up to big mileage before wearing out. It has a pretty standard mesh upper without too many frills, and at 9.2 ounces, it won’t feel heavy on your foot. It’s the perfect set-it-and-forget-it trainer to get through your training miles.

Best for neutral runners seeking a lightweight max cushion shoe
On Cloudmonster 2

On Cloudmonster 2

A maximal cushioning daily trainer

The dramatic-looking Cloudmonster 2 delivers exceptional cushioning for daily training and longer runs. Built on a substantial dual-density Helion foam midsole with huge CloudTec pods and a nylon Speedboard propulsion insert, the Cloudmonster 2 delivers a plush, protective ride without feeling sluggish. The shoe features a 6 mm drop, making it a viable option for a wide range of runners. ON has updated the upper with a new premium-looking engineered mesh that does a good job of providing ventilating while also ensuring a secure locked-in fit. It’s worth noting that the toe box is exceptionally roomy–a major win for runners with wide feet. Finally, the outsole is significantly more durable than what was used in the original Cloudmonster.

Stability Shoes

Best for runners seeking a daily training stability shoe with cushioning
Salomon Drx Bliss

Salomon DRX Bliss

A stability shoe with plenty of cushioning

Unlike traditional stability shoes that employ ridgid posts and plastic inserts to control excessive pronation, the Drx Bliss achieves the same goal with its innovative, vibrant orange Active Chassis panels. These firmer panels are sandwiched in the centre of the Energy Foam midsole and provide exceptional linear stability and control without compromising the shoe’s cushioning or responsiveness. The midsole clocks in at 34 mm in the heel and 26 mm in the forefoot, resulting in a 9 mm drop–a sweet spot for many heel-striking runners. For the upper, Salomon has used an engineered mesh with overlays and mated it to a midfoot lacing system that provides an exceptional locked-in fit. Larger runners seeking a nimble stability shoe will appreciate the Drx Bliss.

Best for runners seeking a plush stability shoe for daily training
Hoka Gaviota 5

Hoka Gaviota 5

A well-cushioned stability shoe

The latest version of the Gaviota delivers improved cushioning and less weight, while still providing the stability required by runners who overpronate. Hoka achieves these qualities by employing a new H-Frame base that allows for the use of a softer EVA midsole foam. The Gaviota 5 also features a wider base, which further aids stability. Up top, Hoka has spec’d a creel jacquard upper that offers a foot-hugging fit and excellent breathability. It should be noted that the Gaviota 5 offers a roomy forefoot, something wide-foot runners will particularly appreciate. For the outsole, Hoka has used a generous amount of durable rubber, ensuring excellent wear while maintaining a reasonable weight. Finally, the Gaviota 5 has a 6 mm drop that should appeal to runners with a variety of footstrike patterns.

Trail Shoes

Best for runners seeking a responsive, moderately cushioned shoe for technical trails
Salomon Sense Ride 5

Salomon Sense Ride 5

A versatile, all-around trail running shoe

With the current iteration of the Sense Ride, Salomon has upped the cushioning with an Energy Foam midsole while still retaining the responsive ride that runners appreciated in the fourth edition of this shoe. Underfoot Salomon has spec’d its All Terrain Contagrip outsole with 3.5 mm lugs for solid and consistent traction in a variety of wet and rocky trail conditions. Salomon also includes a Profeel Film in the forefoot for additional foot protection against rocks and roots. Up top, the Sense Ride 5 has a breathable 3D mesh upper, as well as Salomon’s Quicklace closure. This time-tested combination provides a secure, foot-hugging fit that inspires confidence when running on challenging trails. Finally, the Sense 5, with its 21.3 mm forefoot stack height and 29.6 mm heel stack, offers an 8 mm drop, which many consider to be the sweet spot for most runners.

Best for runners seeking a versatile shoe with a wide forefoot.
Altra Outroad 2

Altra Outroad 2

A hybrid road-to-trail shoe for packed trails and paved surfaces.

Altra shoe fans already know that the brand offers a unique wide forefoot shape that encourages a runner’s foot to splay when running, and the Outroad 2, with its roomy last, is no exception. The shoe bridges the gap between the current crop of trail-specific and road-specific shoes, offering a one-shoe solution for runners who spend their time training on the road and trails. The Outroad 2 achieves this dual-personality performance primarily through the use of a MaxTrac rubber outsole, which features densely spaced mid-size lugs for solid traction on the road and gentle trails. The midsole consists of Altra’s AltraEGO foam that delivers protective cushioning while remaining sufficiently responsive for faster-paced training. The upper is an engineered mesh that does a good job of maintaining breathability while keeping out dirt and trail debris.

Products reviewed in this article:

Best for runners seeking a fast, responsive training shoe with cushioning

Salomon Phantasm 2

Salomon Phantasm 2

Buy Now - Men's

Buy Now - Women's

Buy Now - Men's

Buy Now - Women's

Best for runners seeking an innovative and lightweight, propulsive shoe for racing

Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2

Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2

Buy Now - Men's

Buy Now - Women's

Buy Now - Men's

Buy Now - Women's

Best for runners seeking a nimble daily trainer for faster workouts

Saucony Kinvara 14

Saucony Kinvara 14

Buy Now - Men's

Buy Now - Women's

Buy Now - Men's

Buy Now - Women's

Best for runners seeking a neutral shoe with maximal cushioning and protection

Brooks Ghost Max

Brooks Ghost Max

Buy Now - Men's

Buy Now Women's

Buy Now - Men's

Buy Now - Women's

Best for neutral runners seeking comfort and cushioning

New Balance 1080 v13

1080 v13

Buy Now Men's

Buy Now Women's

Buy Now Men's

Buy Now Women's

Best for neutral runners seeking a lightweight max cushion shoe

On Cloudmonster 2

On Cloudmonster 2

Buy Now - Men's

Buy Now - Women's

Buy Now - Men's

Buy Now - Women's

Best for runners seeking a daily training stability shoe with cushioning

Salomon DRX Bliss

Salomon Drx Bliss

Buy Now - Men's

Buy Now - Women's

Buy Now - Men's

Buy Now - Women's

Best for runners seeking a plush stability shoe for daily training

Hoka Gaviota 5

Hoka Gaviota 5

Buy Now - Men's

Buy Now - Women's

Buy Now - Men's

Buy Now - Women's

Best for runners seeking a responsive, moderately cushioned shoe for technical trails

Salomon Sense Ride 5

Salomon Sense Ride 5

Buy Now - Men's

Buy Now - Women's

Buy Now - Men's

Buy Now - Women's

Best for runners seeking a versatile shoe with a wide forefoot.

Altra Outroad 2

Altra Outroad 2

Buy Now - Men's

Buy Now - Women's

Buy Now - Men's

Buy Now - Women's

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