14 Best Easy Day Running Shoes – Soft, Dense, Fast, Slow…

best-easy-day-running-shoes

Today, I’m going to be reviewing 14 best easy day running shoes in 2022.

For easy days,

  • Some people want to baby their legs and make the landing as soft as possible.
  • Others want their easy-day shoes to be able to pick the pace a little bit.
  • Others want zero-drop shoes to help them stretch out their Achilles, soleus, and all of those lower leg muscles so much.

The good news is we’ve got all of these runners covered in today’s article.

Excited enough? Let the scrolling begin…

Best Easy Day Running Shoes

Best Neutral Easy Day Shoes

Asics Novablast 2

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asics-novablast-2

Neutral Pronation 〉 W: 8.3 oz 〉 M: 9.7 oz 〉 Drop: 8 mm 〉 Stack Height: Heel: 30 mm 〉 Forefoot: 22 mm 〉 Road 〉 True to size

The excess squishiness and the unstable ride that people complained about a lot in the Novablast 1 have been resolved. Once you start running in the Novablast 2, you’re going to be constantly reaching for it again and again. 

The FF Blast midsole foam is what the Novablast 2 is all about. It is a super squishy foam that squishes but comes back fast in a pleasant way that makes running feel nice and snappy.

Related: Asics Novablast 1 vs 2

Why the Novablast 2 is good for you

With the FF Blast midsole, you’re getting a lot of impact absorption during your easy runs, which is what your feet and joints need while you’re still able to turn the legs over and get some active recovery in after a really tough and long workout.

However, The Novablast 2 doesn’t feel like a pure easy day or a recovery day shoe because it does surprisingly feel very happy to pick up the pace even though there is a relatively high stack height. I just feel like I’m getting a little bit more pop off the toe thanks to that trampoline effect underfoot.

So, during your easy runs where you want to throw some strides a little bit towards the end of it, the Novablast is definitely able to pick up the pace even though it’s not a speed shoe.

While the Novablast 2 can do almost everything from easy up to long run and tempo day in between, I would not use it for a threshold day and I would not use it on the track for intervals because I think it would feel unstable turning so sharply.

Related: Asics Novablast vs Nike Invincible

Midsole & Stability

Asics is using their FlyteFoam Blast material and giving you two extra millimeters of foam under your foot. FlyteFoam Blast really got Asics on the map again. This foam is really soft, bouncy, responsive, and it’s really fun to run in.

One of the major fatal flaws for the Novablast 1 was the stability. People’s feet were collapsing inward so much that even a neutral runner would feel the instability in the Novablast 1.

The good news is the Novablast 2 definitely has gotten a lot better and the forefoot feels a bit wider and a bit flatter. So while you’re gaining two millimeters of stack height, Asics also reduced the drop from 10mm to 8mm, which means you’re just a little bit lower to the ground, which helps with the stability elements of the shoe.

Again, with the Novablast 2, you’re getting more stability, you’re getting more cushioning and the shoe is still able to maintain that fun bouncy soft ride.

If you think you need some support through your foot strike, these are some of the best stability running shoes in 2022

Upper

The upper of the Novablast 2 is completely redesigned from the first version. Asics is using a two-layer jacquard mesh which is slightly more breathable and more comfortable than the Novablast 1.

The heel counter is very sturdy and it’s certainly going to hold your ankle and heel in place. The Novablast 2 is also more flexible and softer and less stiff than before. It’s just better in every way, shape, and form. The tongue is nice and padded and it is now gusseted.

Overall, kudos to Asics for listening to their customers.

Related: Asics Novablast vs Hoka Mach 4

Outsole

The outsole is the really durable AHAR Plus rubber. This rubber does great on damper days, dry days, grass, pavement, and whatever the case is.

I think whether you’re an experienced seasoned runner or a beginner runner and you’re looking for one of the softest running shoes that’s able to do a lot of stuff, I think this can still get the job done.

Related: What are Neutral Running Shoes?

New Balance Fresh Foam More v3

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new-balance-fresh-foam-more-v3-running-shoes

Neutral Pronation 〉 W: 8.8 oz 〉 M: 10.8 oz 〉 Drop: 4 mm 〉 Stack Height: Heel: 38 mm 〉 Forefoot: 24 mm 〉 Road 〉 True to size

Why the More v3 is good for you

The More v3 is one of the best everyday running shoes that’s also great for easy days. It’s going to baby your feet and absorb all that shock and impact from all those road miles. The More also comes into play if you’re looking for a shoe to give you a little bit of extra comfort on those recovery days,

If you want something for your long-run PR’s, this is your shoe. But if you have some strides or some speedwork to do, that’s not what this shoe is designed for.

Related: New Balance Fresh Foam More vs 1080

Midsole

The More has tons of Fresh Foam X more than you could ever imagine or ever desire. The midsole feels incredibly soft and incredibly comfortable. It is just like running on a pillow.

Thanks to the rocker geometry, you’re going to get a little help from the shoe when getting into your next stride and that’s definitely not something I expected from this shoe. The rocker sensation on the More reminds me of what this feature used to be on Hoka shoes.

I wouldn’t say the More is incredibly responsive and you’re not going to get a ton of bounce in the midsole. But you are going to get a lot of protection and cushioning, which is exactly what you need on a longer easier run or just a day where your legs feel totally trashed. I think this is the number one shoe to grab in that sense.

Upper

The Fresh Foam More v3 is utilizing an engineered mesh upper. It’s pretty structured, which does help with lockdown, but I didn’t find it to be super breathable. It’s not the worst but something that I definitely did notice and I wish that it was slightly better in terms of breathability.

The heel counter is extremely sturdy and has a stitched-on overlay to create even more rigidity. So, I think your ankle and your heel will be held in place.

In terms of fit, it’s true to size and you have the perfect amount of room lengthwise in the toe box. If you have a narrow foot, you’ll just have a little bit of extra room, but if you’re a person who has a wide foot, then you might actually like the way this feels.

The non-gusseted tongue is extremely padded and very comfortable. The upper is super comfortable and I do like the way this shoe feels on top of my foot. I also think the wideness is going to help a variety of different kinds of runners with different foot types to be able to enjoy this shoe as well.

Outsole

The outsole is using some rubber in the forefoot and some in the heel for durability. It’s also using New Balance ground-contact foam for the exposed parts to cut down on weight a little bit.

I found that this shoe holds up just fine on asphalt, concrete, gravel, grass, you name it.

More vs Invincible vs Bondi

The More has a wide platform on the bottom, which gives people who have overpronation problems the ability to enjoy this shoe. I’ve been using the More v3 and the Invincible for the majority of my runs recently, and while I like them for different things, I do like the stability of the More a lot better.

Compared to the Hoka Bondi 7, the Bondi is a bit more narrow but the More v3 feels lower to the ground and feels a lot more cushioned. The Bondi feels a bit more responsive and a little bit firmer, but it’s just not the same softness and same cushy sensation that you’re going to get in the More v3.

The Bondi used to be my favorite recovery/easy day shoe, but honestly, I think the More v3 has taken the crown.

Again, if you’re looking for a top-tier easy day cushy shoe, the Fresh Foam More v3 is your shoe.

Hoka Clifton 8

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Hoka-clifton-8

Neutral Pronation 〉 W: 8.0 oz 〉 M: 8.9 oz 〉 Drop: 5 mm 〉 Stack Height: Heel: 29 mm 〉 Forefoot: 24 mm 〉 Road 〉 True to size

This is a daily trainer that’s been at the core of Hoka’s road running shoe offerings. In the 8th version, Hoka is focusing on maintaining a light and smooth run while also improving on durability.

The Clifton 8 is lighter and smoother than it’s ever been, which is a trend Hoka have been pushing for the Clifton.

Over the years, the Clifton has trimmed down and focused itself into becoming a shoe that’s just become a really great daily trainer that has a little bit more cushion than the average daily trainer might.

Related: Hoka Clifton 7 vs 8

Why the Clifton is good for you

The Clifton 8 is great for your everyday runs, easy runs, even up to your long runs. You can also use it as a recovery day shoe when you just want to get out there and get the legs moving and really not worry about the pace at all.

It’s also now nimble enough that it can handle strides in your runs. So, if it’s a longer workout with some pace changes and you just want to throw in some quick little bursts of energy, I think the Clifton 8 is still up to the task of picking up the pace a little bit for those kinds of workouts as well.

Also, for those of you who are marathon training or logging a lot of road miles or light trail miles, this is pretty much the kind and amount of cushion that you want in your daily trainer. It’s not too bouncy and it’s not too squishy. It just feels like a running shoe should feel like underfoot.

Related: Hoka Clifton 8 vs Hoka Mach 4

Midsole

Hoka has thrown in a brand-new EVA compound for the Clifton 8’s midsole. They say it’s one of their lightest and most energetic foams to date. There’s also an early-stage meta rocker which is a rocker technology that is supposed to help you get up on your toes and just roll you forward into your next stride.

Honestly, I feel that meta rocker technology less and less with recent Hoka shoes.

If you love the plush ride of the Clifton and you love the 7 and that’s just your trusted shoe, then you’re going to feel right at home and you’re going to really like the way the foam feels underfoot.

I do think this is going to check the boxes for a lot of people who are looking for a soft reliable daily trainer that they can take on their moderate-distance runs and their super long-distance runs.

Related: Clifton vs Hoka Bondi

Upper

The upper is an engineered mesh which I didn’t find to be particularly breathable through the toe box. I think the reason for that is the engineered mesh is double layered and seems to be blocking those ventilation holes.

The Clifton does have a gusseted tongue that does help with lockdown across the midfoot. The tongue is also a little bit more built-up than the Clifton 7 with more padding and it just feels slightly more substantial.

In the back, we have a redesigned heel tab that Hoka is saying is a bit extended for easier entry into the shoe. The heel counter is pretty sturdy to keep you locked in place.

The heel counter and tab are a little bit thicker and more substantial. I think the more padding and the more sophisticated upper from the Clifton 7 is what’s causing the extra amount of weight in the shoe.

But with all that said, the upper of the Clifton 8 is pretty comfortable and it does feel nice on foot because the materials are a bit more premium despite the lack of breathability.

Related: Hoka Clifton vs Arahi

Outsole

Hoka is using their high abrasion rubber. They’ve switched up the pattern from the 7 and they’ve added a little bit more rubber, which probably also contributes to the weight. But the pattern that they’re using kind of goes in a diagonal direction and dips into the midfoot a bit.

Again, if you’re a Clifton lover, you’re going to love the 8. And if you are looking for an entry into max cushion shoes for your easy days, this is a solid option.

Brooks Glycerin 19

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brooks-glycerin-19-running-shoes

Neutral/Stability〉 W: 8.5 oz 〉 M: 9.9 oz 〉 Drop: 10 mm 〉 Stack Height: Heel: 26 mm 〉 Forefoot: 16 mm 〉 Road 〉 True to size

First off, there are now two versions of the Glycerin. There’s the neutral Glycerin 19 and the Glycerin GTS 19 with Guide Rails for people who need some stability through their footstrike. 

Some brands believe that change is good. However, Brooks believes in consistency and their best-sellers like the Ghost and the Glycerin only receive minor changes to each update.

The Glycerin has been using the same DNA Loft midsole foam since version 16 with only very subtle changes in midsole foam density.

Related: Brooks Glycerin 19 vs Glycerin GTS 19

Why the Glycerin is good for you

The Glycerin 18 was a pure easy-day shoe. But the Glycerin 19 is now a daily trainer, middle-distance shoe, long-run shoe, and easy-day shoe. It’s just a little more pep under step.

The Glycerin is obviously not going to be a tempo day or a threshold-day shoe and it’s certainly not the fastest shoe. But if you want to go out and log a lot of comfortable miles and you want to have an opportunity to pick up the pace just a little bit from time to time, I think you can do it pretty comfortably in the Glycerin 19.

Related: Brooks Glycerin vs New Balance 1080 

Midsole

The midsole is a full-length DNA Loft material which is the softest midsole material that Brooks makes and it feels like it. This is a super comfortable midsole that feels really comfortable the entire run.

DNA Loft also continues to be soft even in those below-freezing temperatures, which is very impressive.

Even though the Glycerin is plush, soft, and highly cushioned, it still has got plenty of responsiveness in that midsole material and I found it to be a real pleasure to run.

Upper

The upper is a mesh material with 3D Fit Print overlays to give it a seamless secure fit. The toe box has lots of perforations to give you plenty of airflow and help keep your feet cool and comfortable on those warmer days.

The toe box provides lots of room for you to be able to splay your toes. The upper has got some stretch to it, which makes it form-fitting. So if you do have a wider foot, I think it’s going to be accommodating for that.

If you have narrow feet, you need to cinch the laces up pretty close together and maybe use the runner’s knot in order to get a secure lockdown feeling.

The heel counter has a ton of structure, which just gives it a little extra stability and makes your ride a little more comfortable when you’re logging in tons of miles. There’s also tons of padding around the heel collar and the tab to give you a nice cushioned ride.

The tongue is well padded and it’s gusseted so you don’t have to worry about the tongue migrating around.

I wouldn’t say the padding is overly done. It’s just about right, which also goes for the length of the tongue as well.

Overall, Brooks do know how to make uppers that offer an extremely comfortable ride and in-shoe feel.

Outsole

The Glycerin has plenty of blown rubber around the heel and tons up in the forefoot. The outsole also has these omega flex grooves simply to give you a nice smooth transition through your gait cycle and I did find it to be the case.

The outsole is soft and comfortable no matter how you strike the ground. From that respect, the Glycerin is going to be comfortable underfoot for a lot of different styles of running that are out there.

Overall, the Brooks Glycerin 19 is a great max cushion daily trainer. While it’s not designed necessarily to be the quickest shoe, it is designed to give you a lot of comfortable miles for your easy days.

Saucony Triumph 19

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saucony-triumph-19

Neutral Pronation 〉 W: 8.9 oz 〉 M: 10.7 oz 〉 Drop: 8 mm 〉 Stack Height: Heel: 38 mm 〉 Forefoot: 30 mm 〉 Road 〉 True to size

The Triumph series has been one of my favorite shoes in my daily training line in the past couple of years.

We don’t see huge changes in this version, but that’s a good thing because the Triumph 17 and 18 were so dialed in and only needed small tweaks to become an even better version with the Triumph 19.

The first thing that they really focused on with the Saucony Triumph 19 vs. the 18 was reducing the weight making it a full ounce lighter.

Related: Saucony Triumph vs New Balance 1080

Why the Triumph is good for you

The Triumph 19 is an easy-day shoe 100% for me. It is still that soft plush luxurious and slightly responsive daily trainer that’s going to be fantastic for your easy-day training.

It’s also fantastic for everyday runs, recovery runs, and for those longest runs as you’re getting ready for those half marathon and marathon training blocks because it feels so cushioned underfoot.

  • If you want to buy only one shoe, it’s going to go the distance for you.
  • If you do need to pick up the pace for some strides, it can do that.
  • If you do need to go on a long run, it can do that.
  • If you just need to feel comfortable after a hard workout the day before, it can take care of you there too.

Related: Saucony Triumph vs Hurricane

Midsole

The Triumph still has the full-length PWRRUN+. PWRRUN+ is a TPU-based pellet form that they put into the cavity of the midsole to create a really durable resilient material that offers a little bit of pop at toe-off. The midsole is pretty soft underfoot and has everything you need for long miles on the road.

We’re also going to have a top layer of PWRRUN+. This top sole is pretty thin and it offers nice initial step-in while also further enhancing the shoe’s responsiveness.

Related: Saucony Triumph vs Brooks Glycerin

Outsole

The outsole is XT-900 rubber which is a really durable material that’s going to withhold the miles that you’re putting on the shoe. The outsole is the same design we saw in the Triumph 18 and it still offers all the durability and traction you need for pretty much any of your daily running needs.

We also have the same flex groove setup and this is what really helps create that smooth ride. There’s just a hint of flex that feels good as you go through your gait cycle.

Related: Saucony Triumph vs Ride

Upper

There’s an all-new 3D engineered mesh. The upper material is a little bit thinner and a little bit more breathable, which does help create just a little bit lighter weight design.

I also think it does enhance the fit a little bit. The fit is amazing and the upper just seems to disappear on foot.

Nike Invincible Run

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nike-invincible-run

Neutral Pronation 〉 W: 8.1 oz 〉 M: 9.3 oz 〉 Drop: 9 mm 〉 Stack Height: Heel: 39 mm 〉 Forefoot: 30 mm 〉 Road 〉 True to size

A lot of people were hoping that the Invincible would kind of be a replacement of the fan-favorite Pegasus Turbo.

The Turbo could go the distance but also could pick up the pace. While the Turbo had some Zoom X and some React, the Invincible is full-length Zoom X foam.

Why the Invincible is good for you

Despite the fact that Zoom X is supposed to be a high-performance foam for Nike, the Invincible will do really well even on your easier days.

I just love the Nike Invincible Run on days when there’s going to be easy paces, some moderate paces, and maybe a couple of strides in there. It could do all of those things really well.

So, whatever your pace is for your easy days and for your steazy days, I think that this shoe is going to be great for that. I mean there is so much cushioning under your foot that I have no doubt that this shoe can do double-digit runs with ease.

You can also go on longer runs in the Invincible and your joints are definitely going to feel the benefit of all that Zoom X foam.

Midsole

The Invincible has Nike’s coveted Zoom X foam and there is a whole bunch of it. Basically, Zoom X is pretty responsive and it’s Nike’s highest performance foam. 

It is made of a Pebax material that is extremely soft and extremely bouncy especially from the midfoot to the heel. You do get that same sensation in the forefoot, but it is slightly less intense than it is in the rest of the shoe.

The midsole is not as fierce and as propulsive of a ride obviously because there is no plate to go along with it, but I think on its own it really does get the job done just fine.

In terms of stability, Nike did try to make the Invincible a little bit wider for overpronators and people who need stability shoes. However, it’s not the best for that.

Upper

Another day, another Flyknit shoe that feels different from the last. The overlays in the midfoot are pretty minimal, but if you go to the back of the shoe, the heel counter is very sturdy. So I do think that your heel will be locked in there pretty securely.

Compared to the Flyknit on the Tempo Next%, it’s literally completely a different material. The Flyknit on the Invincible feels more like a stiff thicker knit. In terms of breathability, this is not going to be the most breathable shoe.

I do think though that the rigidity of it does keep you in place on the platform in the midfoot. Lengthwise in the toe box, you have plenty of room and I do think that widthwise, this also does open up a little bit so there is some room on the sides as well for your foot to breathe.

The tongue is wide and very thick but it is comfortable. It’s also gusseted and it gives you a really nice fit through the midfoot and keeps you locked down.

Outsole

Nike is using a waffle pattern of blown rubber. Traction is pretty good and it doesn’t make the shoe feel stiff or anything negative like that.

It really doesn’t get in the way and you won’t have to really think about the outsole too much, which is nice.

I guess we could lose some of this rubber so that we could cut down on weight, but this is supposed to be a daily trainer that’s for the long haul.

Overall, the Nike Invincible Run is really fun and a great option if you’re looking for a long-distance and easy-day running shoe.

It is a perfect versatile shoe if you just want one shoe for your long days and some of your speed days.

Nike Pegasus 38

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nike-air-zoom-pegasus-38

Neutral Pronation 〉 W: 8.5 oz 〉 M: 10.2 oz 〉 Drop: 10 mm 〉 Stack Height: Heel: 27 mm 〉 Forefoot: 17 mm 〉 Road 〉 True to size

For years, the Nike Pegasus has arguably been the epitome of daily trainers. It has been around for a long time as one of those lineage lineups that is very popular among Nike fans. But I’m happy to say that the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 can still stack up to its younger competition.

Why the Pegasus is good for you

The Pegasus 38 is a daily trainer that’s basically good at everything from short runs to long runs and from slow runs to fast runs. It kind of does it all almost like a Swiss army knife.

Over the past couple of years, we’re seeing a trend where the Pegasus seems to be a shoe that’s geared more towards shorter easy runs and faster workouts.

It’s not exactly a speed shoe, but it’s slowly trying to get closer to fill the gap that not having a Pegasus Turbo has left. You could get up to speed and stay there in a really controlled and easy way.

The Pegasus is not a max cushion shoe and it’s not a minimalist shoe by any means, but it really does have cool Nike technology in the midsole…

Midsole

In the forefoot, you have a large Air Zoom bag. It’s literally an inflated air pocket in the front of the shoe.

So when you’re towing off, you get that Air Zoom feeling and it’s pretty cool. Previous versions of the Pegasus had it throughout the entire midsole, but the 38 just has it in the forefoot.

The rest of the midsole is React foam which is Nike’s highly durable foam for energy return, cushioning and responsiveness.

React is a little dense compared to Zoom X but it makes it much more durable, which is nice to see in an easy-day trainer since people typically use these things as workhorses day in and day.

Upper

The upper has been completely redesigned from the previous Pegasus 37. The midsole and the outsole are completely the same and all the updates are contained with the upper, lacing, and tongue.

So instead of just having a single layer of mesh, you have a piece of fabric covered by that top layer of mesh for some additional comfort.

The toe box was a bit tight on the Pegasus 37 and so Nike expanded it to give people a little bit more wiggle room in the forefoot.

Then, you have these cool interlacing systems that go to the very bottom of the shoe for a better lockdown and secure fit.

The tongue is semi-gusseted, but once you get halfway in, it just connects in with the rest of the shoe. In the back, you have the typical Nike heel flare which you see on a lot of their shoes.

Outsole

The bottom has the same full rubber coverage pattern design from heel to toe and the grooves are actually pretty deep. The rubber isn’t too hard nor too soft and seems to last quite a while over the course of the shoe.

Overall, I think the Nike Pegasus 38 is a highly successful iteration by Nike with a lot of great technology. If you want a daily trainer that’s going to be able to do it all from slow, fast, long, to short days, this is the jack of all trades that is certainly up to the task.

While it’s not perfect for any one situation, a lot of people seem to love it because if you can only pick one shoe, the Nike Air Pegasus has been that shoe for many people.

New Balance Beacon v3

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New-Balance-Beacon-v3-running-shoes

Neutral Pronation 〉 W: 7.0 oz 〉 M: 8.0 oz 〉 Drop: 6 mm 〉 Stack Height: Heel: 29 mm 〉 Forefoot: 23 mm 〉 Road 〉 True to size

Why the Beacon is good for you

The Beacon v3 is a daily trainer rather than a speed day shoe. It’s good at your easy days, but I’d say it probably prefers going on faster runs than it prefers going on very long runs or recovery runs.

It’s not a squishy shoe that you’re going to sink in to and you’re definitely going to feel like you’re bouncing off the ground a little bit more.

The firmness also gives you responsiveness that when you do need to change the pace quickly, it’s very eager to do that. And if you want to stay at those faster paces, it’s able to get up to those faster speeds and stay there also really easily.

For longer runs, I hope New Balance puts a little bit more material underfoot in version 4 of the shoe. But if you’re a person who doesn’t like having a ton of cushioning under your foot for longer runs, then this could be perfect for you.

Midsole

You have a full-length slab of Fresh Foam X. Fresh Foam X is fun to run in, it’s protective, and it’s pretty energetic. It’s not as energetic as FuelCell is, but it gets the job done and it gives you the ability to do a lot of different types of runs in the Beacon.

The Beacon is pretty versatile because it’s lightweight and because of the amount of cushioning underfoot.

Upper

New-Balance-Beacon-v3-wide-version

The upper is an engineered mesh. I’d say it’s the perfect amount of breathability where it’s breathable and comfortable in the summer months, but in the winter months, your foot’s not going to be completely frozen.

The shoe does have some overlays and that logo in the midfoot to help with structure. If you go to the back, we have this crazy weird-looking heel called the Ultra Heel.

The Beacon does have solid lockdown around the midfoot area and that’s interesting because this shoe does not have a gusseted tongue.

It’s just able to get a good lockdown fit just using the lacing system. I do have a little bit of heel slipping but it’s nothing that the last loophole on the shoe wouldn’t fix.

This Ultra Heel design is not uncomfortable, it’s not jarring, it doesn’t take away anything from the shoe, and it is able to lock you down really well.

Outsole

New Balance is using their Fresh Foam ground contact material. Basically, it’s just the Fresh Foam with a little coating over it to make it a little more durable.

Despite the shoe having basically no rubber at all, the traction is pretty good. The Beacon does great on wet surfaces, dry surfaces, pavement, grass, and dirt.

Again, the New Balance Beacon v3 is a versatile firm responsive easy-day trainer that’s not shy about going fast.

Hoka Rincon 3

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hoka-rincon-3

Neutral Pronation 〉 W: 6.2 oz 〉 M: 7.3 oz 〉 Drop: 5 mm 〉 Stack Height: Heel: 29 mm 〉 Forefoot: 24 mm 〉 Road 〉 True to size

The Hoka Rincon 3 is an extremely light max cushion daily trainer with one of the best weight-to-cushion ratios in the game right now. And as an added bonus, it’s now a vegan shoe.

The Rincon 2 felt like a little bit of a lackluster update. But I think the subtle changes that they made to the Rincon 3 are exciting and are more valuable because of the gap that the Adidas Boston has left by turning into something that’s more like a racer trainer than it is like a tempo day shoe.  

Why the Rincon is good for you

The Rincon 3 is a great choice for your easy-day efforts. It’s going to help baby your legs a little bit and go a little softer underfoot and let your tendons, ligaments, and bones adjust a little bit to that pounding.

While it is great for daily training, it can work for tempo days. But it’s a little soft and so you might have to do a little extra work through your footstrike.

Also, If you’re just getting off the couch for the first time in a long time but you want a running shoe for a 5k or 10k local road race goal, I would consider getting the Rincon and use it for training and racing.

Related: Hoka Rincon vs Clifton

Weight

A lot of people were disappointed that the Rincon 2 put on some weight, but the Rincon 3 has lost about half an ounce, which makes it very light and one of the lightest Hokas available right now.

Midsole

The Rincon has a compression-molded EVA foam which is very light and provides great impact protection, which is why, again, the Rincon has one of the best weight-to-cushion ratios.

With the Rincon 2, the durability and longevity just wasn’t there. The foam bottomed out and really didn’t last as long as we were expecting.

To address those concerns, Hoka revamped the shoe itself and so this foam is now softer and more durable than the Rincon 2. It is now more closely aligned with the foam that’s on the Clifton 8.

They also retooled the midsole to provide a better ride. The midsole now has these three cutouts on the sidewall towards the rear of the shoe, which changes how the foam compresses as you run.

You also get a swallowtail setup. This is a decoupled heel with a groove that goes right down the middle. This feature is supposed to provide a better cushioning experience especially for people who are landing on their heel and just gives them a better overall ride.

Compared to the Clifton 8, the Rincon 3 is going to be a firmer of a ride. But the firmness at easy paces melts away and instead, what you have is a shoe that’s absorbing a lot of impact from the road.

For those of you that don’t like a lot of road feel for tempo or speed days, this is one that I think you should really look at. It’s doing such a good job of being a very cushioned ride.

But because the whole shoe is designed to be a lightweight package that fits very snug, you won’t feel like it’s something that’s extra squishy and you won’t feel like you’re trying to run really fast in a max cushion or even a daily trainer type of shoe.

Rocker

The Rincon also has an early-stage meta rocker. What that means is the geometry in the shoe is curved towards the front and rocks you up on your toes and keeps you going.

This also means the transition zone of when you roll up on your toes is behind the metatarsal heads and your foot, which provides for snappier quicker transitions than a late-stage meta rocker where the transition zone is ahead of the metatarsal heads in your foot.

Outsole

Hoka actually added more rubber, which is surprising because the overall weight of the shoe actually went down.

Rubber tends to be one of those areas where companies try to cut on weight. But with the Rincon 3, Hoka realized durability was a big issue for the Rincon series.

The shoe has three flex grooves in the forefoot, which just helps with the flexibility especially in that forefoot to give you a more natural turnover and ride.

The heel area also features this large cutout or groove that is done to cut down on weight and create a trampoline effect where your heel is able to kind of sink down a little bit more and then pop back out while being supported by the rest of the foam in the heel area.

It is a really unique idea and construction method. It’s not necessarily the foam itself that creates that trampoline effect, rather it’s the tooling and just overall construction of the heel region.

Again, Hoka retooled and reformulated the midsole to deliver better performance and they added more rubber to provide more durability and traction.

Upper

The upper is a single layer of engineered mesh. It’s extremely light and very breathable because of these laser cutouts that extend from the toe box all the way through the midfoot on both sides.

I wouldn’t say the Rincon is extremely breathable, but it definitely gets the job done well.

The tongue is asymmetrical but non-gusseted. It is extremely thin and it just keeps with the overall theme of the shoe to allow for that extremely lightweight cushioned ride.

The ankle and Achilles region has actually a surprising amount of padding especially for a shoe that’s trying to be a very lightweight trainer. The heel is pretty flexible up top, but once you get further down the heel counter, it becomes very stiff and rigid, which should help with the overall lockdown.

Regular & Wide

Compared to the Rincon 2, the Rincon 3 is a little bit thinner and more in the toe box. However, for the first time ever, the Rincon 3 will be coming out with a wide version if you do need or want some extra room.

So, the Rincon 3 fits really well especially for people who like a really snug secure fit. The narrow midfoot and the snug toe box really make sure your foot stays in place especially when pushing on those faster paces. However, there is a wide version that you can go to if you do like a little bit more room.

Overall, the Rincon 3 is probably one of the best Rincon models that Hoka has ever made.

You can also pretty much use it for any run that you want especially in such a lightweight package. It does really well on those fast days and can actually help out on those slow easy days just because it has a lot of cushion for the pushing.

Nike Vomero 16

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Nike-Vomero-16

Neutral Pronation 〉 W: 8.4 oz 〉 M: 10.3 oz 〉 Drop: 10 mm 〉 Stack Height: Heel: 29 mm 〉 Forefoot: 18 mm 〉 Road 〉 True to size

If you’re in the US, you’re probably wondering what happened to the Vomero 15. According to Nike, the Vomero 15 was only available in markets outside the United States. So for us in the US markets, we’re going from the 14 to the 16.

The Vomero 16 sits in a really unique position. I personally see it as a premium version or a high mileage version of the Nike Air Pegasus.

Related: Nike Vomero vs Pegasus

Why the Vomero 16 is good for you

You’re going to enjoy the Vomero most on steady runs and slightly faster than easy pace. It’s a shoe that you pick up if you want one of the most durable running shoes that can handle a variety of paces.

The large thick forefoot Zoom Air unit provides a springy pop during toe-offs and it makes you want to run fast. It’s really easy to pick up the pace and you’re going to enjoy how snappy the Vomero feels. Tempo paces are easy to hold despite how heavy the Vomero feels in hand.

Midsole

The Vomero 16 is now a supportive yet snappy shoe and you get some nice cushioning technology in this shoe.

You have a Nike Air Zoom bag placed directly underneath your forefoot. You have Nike Zoom X which is in the middle of the midsole surrounded by a carrier foam compound called SRT to really encapsulate that Zoom X cushioning. SRT is much more dense and more stable so you don’t get that sloppy ride if you’re not familiar with Zoom X.

Zoom X is Nike’s bounciest and lightest foam they have in their arsenal right now. But if you’re not familiar with Zoom X, it’s all featured on their premier elite super shoes like the Vaporfly and on daily trainers like the Invincible Run.

Again, this is a really unique job by Nike by positioning the Vomero 16 between the Pegasus and the Invincible with that max cushion Zoom X foam.

The Vomero is not a stability shoe, but you get this big chunk of foam on the medial side, which makes for a relatively stable ride that is not mushy.

Upper

Nike placed the mesh strategically to allow for maximum breathability, but I don’t think this has made the shoe more breathable. It really isn’t the most breathable because of that internal sock liner and that really thick mesh on top of it.

The other thing to note about the upper is that you do get a little bit more room as far as width goes in the toe box area. The tongue on the shoe is extremely thick and well-padded and it almost puts Asics or Brooks to shame.

The back has an external heel counter that really helps provide a nice solid lockdown. Behind that, you get an internal heel counter as well. So, the heel counter is really well-built and very rigid.

The upper material, the fused logo overlay, the lacing system, and the gusseted tongue all give you that really secure midfoot feel.

Overall, it seems like they went all out with kind of the plush comfort nature of the shoe with that super thick tongue and really well-padded Achilles area.

Outsole

The bottom has full coverage of high-abrasion rubber which does feel really stiff and so it should last you a while.

The outsole has a great traction pattern similar to what we see on the Nike Pegasus with lugs through the midfoot and then a unique design as you get to the lateral side.

Overall, the Nike Vomero 16 is built like an absolute tank. You get two external heel counters plus an internal heel counter and there’s tons of rubber. The midfoot section has so many materials and it just really does provide a solid lockdown.

If you’re really looking for a solid comfortable daily trainer for those easy days and those-high mileage days with tons of padding in the tongue and the Achilles area, this will be right up your alley.

Again, the Vomero is great if you want something a little more substantial and a little more premium than the Nike Pegasus. It has the same fit and feel almost if you like that Nike running shoe experience but has a really nice plush ride.

Skechers Max Road 5

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skechers-max-road-5

Neutral Pronation 〉 W: 6.8 oz 〉 M: 8.7 oz 〉 Drop: 6 mm 〉 Stack Height: Heel: 39 mm 〉 Forefoot: 33 mm 〉 Road 〉 True to size

Skechers proved that it just doesn’t need to be a Nike, a Saucony, an Asics, or a New Balance to be a really good shoe.

Why the Max Road is good for you

This is a neutral responsive high-cushion training shoe for any distance from a 5k to a marathon. It’s great for easy days, middle-distance runs, and daily training.

The cushioning and the lightweightness make the Max Road a nimble shoe that just gives you the ability to do long-distance runs.

It also gives you the ability to go a little bit faster when you want to pick up the pace a little bit. I almost want to say this is also a tempo-day shoe, but that’s just a bridge too far because of the weight.

Shoes that are marketed as max cushion tend to be a little bit stiff and rigid, but the Max Road 5 is very flexible. So if you want your easy-day shoe to flex with your foot, then you’re really not going to have a problem at all.

However, the one negative to the flexibility is that the shoe is extremely neutral and it can tend to make you overpronate a bit if you have weaker arches.

Let’s move to where the magic happens…

Midsole

The Max Road 5 features Skecher’s Hyper Burst foam which feels really nice underfoot.

Hyper Burst just feels different to me in every single shoe that I run in and I don’t know why. In the Max Road 5, this Hyper Burst feels the best out of any Hyper Burst shoe that I have tried so far.

I don’t know if that has to do with this H plate technology that’s in the shoe. This is a carbon plate but not exactly a full-length carbon plate you get in racing shoes. The plate just sits in the forefoot and gives you a nice spring and toe-off to help that Hyper Burst just a little bit more.

The midsole is so versatile because you have a decent amount of cushioning underfoot. It’s not like a sink-in sensation like the Asics Novablast 2 or the Nike Invincible Run. It’s a more resilient and energetic alive feeling foam that really does get you into your next stride.

Overall, I think this midsole is great for the person who does want a little bit more cushioning but doesn’t like that sink-down feel that so many of the running shoes in this class have.

Upper

The upper material is fairly breathable, which is actually very nice in the winter months because a lot of shoes are really breathable and they’ll be great in the summer but they’re not great in colder months.

As far as fit goes across the midfoot, it feels very comfortable and not overly snug. The toe box isn’t the widest and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this shoe to wide-footed people, but it provides enough room for your toes to spread out and do their thing.

I think the upper is really more like your average-to-narrow end of the spectrum.

Outsole

I would be a little bit cautious when taking the Max Road 5 out on a super inclement weather day although this is supposed to be Goodyear rubber.

Regardless, on a normal day when there’s no rain, snow, sleet, or what have you, you’re not going to have any problems with this outsole.

Hoka Bondi X

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hoka-bondi-x

Neutral Pronation 〉 W: 9.5 oz 〉 M: 10.2 oz 〉 Drop: 5 mm 〉 Stack Height: Heel: 33 mm 〉 Forefoot: 28 mm 〉 Road 〉 True to size

It’s fair to say that the Bondi series has really changed over time. No longer is it that super lightweight minimal upper with the really plush cushioned midsole. It’s sort of like that but it’s not quite the same.

So, Hoka took the godfather of max cushioned shoes and did something that I’m pretty sure none of us asked for. They put a carbon plate in it.

With the Bondi X, you’re losing a lot of the clunkiness of the Bondi 7 but you’re keeping a lot of that plush comfort.

The Bondi X is a super-premium max cushioned carbon plated trainer and it’s the first of its kind for Hoka.

Why the Bondi X is good for you

In terms of the foam used, I think this is some of the best EVA foams that I’ve seen Hoka implement in any shoe. It’s got a kind of sponginess to it that’s really pleasant especially at easy and moderate paces.

At easy paces and recovery paces, the Bondi X is just so smooth and so nice to run in. There is a giant large crash pad and an immense amount of softness in the back if you’re heel striking.

But with the rocker that’s in the Bondi X, it makes it feel like the shoe lifts itself up in terms of the heel as you’re going through each footstrike. So, there’s softness and then smoothness that immediately follows it.

Plus, once you add in a thick stack height with a little bit of carbon fiber plate, you have a really nice recipe for a little bit of pop even though you’ve got a lot of stack height.

The carbon fiber plate isn’t as aggressive as some of the other carbon fiber plates that you might see in some of the other super shoes.  

Again, the Bondi X is a shoe that you can easily see yourself reaching for whether it’s an easy run, a recovery run, or a long run, especially if you want an easy-day shoe with a carbon fiber plate.

Midsole

Hoka claims that this is the softest midsole foam they’ve ever used. I find that claim to be true because the Bondi X definitely feels like the plushest and the most cushioned shoe in the Hoka range. It’s now on par with the Brooks Glycerin, the Triumph, and other max cushioned trainers.

This giant oversized max cushioned midsole provides plenty of protection from the ground, but it feels a bit bulky for faster-paced efforts because of how big it is.

The Bondi X is an unlikely combination of components with its giant oversized max cushioned midsole and its stiff carbon plate.

Bondi X vs Bondi 7 vs Carbon X

In my opinion, the Bondi X is a much better shoe than the Bondi 7. Right out of the box, the Bondi X is a lot more fun to run in because it doesn’t have that signature Hoka bucket seat that pokes into your arch.

The Bondi 7 feels firm and doesn’t feel like a max cushion trainer. People even prefer the Clifton over the Bondi because it feels plusher.

I was pleasantly surprised with how much softer, more comfortable, wider, more versatile, and more stable the ride of the Bondi X was than the Bondi 7.

The carbon plate in the midsole makes the shoe flex up in the forefoot. The forefoot is a little bit less flexible than the Carbon X 2 and the Rocket X because of how thick the Bondi X midsole is.

In terms of the outsole, the high-wear areas on the rearfoot and forefoot are covered with rubber and there’s some exposed midsole foam on the midfoot. There’s less rubber on the outsole of the Bondi X than the regular Bondi 7 and this saves some weight.

However, there’s a lot more rubber on the Bondi X compared to the Carbon X which doesn’t have any rubber on its outsole at all, which makes the Bondi X a lot more durable than the Carbon X 2.

Upper

The upper is mesh with 3D hotmelt yarns that provides impressive breathability, durability, and lockdown. It kind of reminds me a bit of the Rincon 1’s upper but it’s more flexible and softer.

The Bondi X has a racing-inspired asymmetrical tongue and it’s gusseted. But I found it to be a bit on the shorter side. The heel tab and the collar are padded but the padding isn’t as dense as the Bondi 7’s padding which is memory foam.

In terms of fit, the Bondi X is true to size and it has a spacious midfoot and toe box, which is really uncharacteristic for Hoka.

Again, if you’re a runner who wants a carbon-plated shoe which is stable, highly cushioned and not cumbersome, and suitable for slow-paced running, then the Bondi X is the shoe for you.

Best Zero Drop Easy Day Running Shoes

Altra Paradigm 6

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altra-paradigm-6

Stability 〉 W: 9.2 oz 〉 M: 10.3 oz 〉 Drop: 0 mm 〉 Stack Height: Heel: 30 mm 〉 Forefoot: 30 mm 〉 Road 〉 True to size

If you’re not familiar with the Altra brand, it’s a little bit different than most other running shoes on the market.

Altra shoes are zero drop meaning your heel is level with your forefoot. So on the Paradigm, the heel and forefoot are 30mm off the ground giving us a zero-drop platform or as Altra likes to call it their balanced approach to the shoe.

Why the Paradigm 6 is good for you

The Paradigm 6 is a max stability max cushioned daily trainer.

It’s really a great option for easy days if your feet need some stability through your footstrike. It’s also great for bigger runners because the Paradigm is built like a tank.

Related: Altra Paradigm vs Provision

altra-provision-vs-paradigm

Midsole

The midsole has been completely refreshed and is arguably the most impactful update (pun intended) to the Paradigm 6.0.

The shoe now features an Ego Max midsole. The Ego Max foam is the same kind of foam featured on the Torin 5. According to Altra, this is currently their bounciest most plush foam to date, which is great for your easy-day efforts.

But compared to other super plush midsole compounds, Ego Max isn’t a mushy foam. It’s pretty dense and will provide enough responsiveness and cushioning while you’re running without sacrificing stability.

So, while it’s not the bounciest foam on the market, it definitely is an improvement compared to the Altra Paradigm 4.5 or the 5.0.

Stability

altra-paradigm-6-guide-rails

The midsole also features an update to the stability mechanism. It now features something called Guide Rails on both sides. This is similar to what Brooks does in their stability versions of their shoes like the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 and 22.

The Guide Rail stability technology is unique in the way that if you need stability, it’s there for you to use it. And if you don’t need stability, you don’t really interact with it at all.

The whole point is if you supinate or overpronate, you’ll hit that Guide Rail and it’ll guide your foot back into a more correct state of running.

Also, there’s no stability pods, no plastic, and no torsion bars. The stability elements are delivered only through those two walls of Ego Max.

Upper

The upper is pretty much just your standard engineered mesh upper with some ventilation areas in the toe box and on both sides of the shoe.

Also, in the toe box area, you do have this small plastic guard that wraps around the entire toe area to basically support the mesh upper and give you some added protection.

The tongue is non-gusseted and it’s your typical medium padded tongue. I’m very happy to see it’s not that plastic thin tongue that’s on the Torin 5 that everyone seems to hate as it kind of cuts your leg up.

There’s no internal heel counter that really provides a ton of structure to that heel region. You do have those Guide Rails that are kind of towards the rear of the shoe that will keep your foot in place, but as far as the heel goes, it’s pretty flexible and not that sturdy.

The Paradigm is supposed to be shaped like your foot and give you a little bit more room in the toe box so your toes can spread out naturally once they hit the ground and give you a more natural running style. This is one of the big points for Altra in their running shoes.

Lacing System

In terms of the lacing system, it’s pretty standard except for one interesting feature. On the medial side, you have this piece of material that sticks up from the upper itself.

altra-paradigm-6-inside-lining

The reason it’s so unique is you get this inner liner just on the medial side because the tab on the lacing system connects to the bottom of the shoe.

So, when you tie this piece and pull it tighter, it wraps around your foot and that’s why they have that kind of liner in there to prevent irritation while giving you a more secure fit.

Outsole

altra-paradigm-6-outsole

You have these lines of rubber that are supposed to mimic the bones and metatarsals in your foot and you do have three flex grooves in the forefoot that do help with the flexibility although this is a much stiffer shoe than the Torin 5, which is something you want in a stability shoe.

The rubber coverage is pretty substantial and so durability should not be an issue. The only part of exposed foam is in the rear midfoot section.

Overall, the new improved Ego Max is more durable, provides a little bit more bounce, and is lighter compared to previous versions.

The Guide Rails are also a great step in the right direction just because they allow neutral runners who want a stable shoe to use it because, again, they’re there if you need them and they kind of disappear if you don’t.

However, if you do need a stable experience, the Guide Rails do a great job of keeping your foot in the correct motion of the correct gait and giving you that stable ride and experience people are coming to this shoe for.

Altra Torin Plush 4.5

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altra-torin-plush-4.5

Neutral Pronation 〉 W: 7.4 oz 〉 M: 9.1 oz 〉 Drop: 0 mm 〉 Stack Height: Heel: 28 mm 〉 Forefoot: 28 mm 〉 Road 〉 True to size

Like all Altra shoes, the Torin Plush 4.5 has got the classic Altra wide toe box and zero-drop platform. It now weighs in at the exact same weight as the standard Torin.

The 4.5 has become softer and taller, but on the contrary, it has shed a full ounce compared to the Plush 4.0, which is really nice. It’s just a very comfortable experience down to the insole.

Why the Plush 4.5 is good for you

The Plush 4.5 is a neutral daily trainer and 100% easy-day shoe.

It’s also great for your 5ks, 10ks, or half marathons. It is a little more responsive and a little snappier through that foot strike than the Clifton 7.

However, I would not recommend the Plush for faster efforts, but if you needed to, I think you might even take it a little bit on a tempo day especially if you don’t love going on tempo runs with a shoe that squeezes your toes together.

This is definitely a comfortable shoe and the step-in comfort is certainly there. On a recovery-run day, this shoe feels great to put on your foot.

Midsole

The Plush features a zero-drop Quantic midsole that provides a really nice and plush ride for those easy days.

With that zero-drop platform where your heel and forefoot are set on the same trajectory, you can feel it stretching your arch as you’re walking.

So, if you have Plantar Fasciitis and need a little bit more support but maybe you’re a neutral runner and have really high arches, this is a great shoe for you to try out.

But the Plush 4.5 is a neutral shoe and so it’s not a firm super aggressive stability arch, but it just has a higher natural arch to it in general.

Upper

The Plush has a very classic stretchy knit upper and one of the most comfortable tongues.

Altra took away some of the bulky padding that was in the tongue of the Plush 4.0 and they’ve made it just a little bit thinner but still more padded than most tongues out there.

The upper is not the most breathable, but it’s good for the cold winter months.

There’s no structure and everything is floppy and pretty nimble through the heel counter, but you’re not going to be swimming around in the back of the shoe because they added extra padding around your heel cup so you are feeling a little more secure in the back.

With the Torin Plush 4.0, a lot of people with narrow feet had to go a half size down because the toe box is especially wide. But with the Torin Plush 4.5, you can actually go true to size.

Related: Altra Torin vs Escalante

Wide Toe Box Benefits

The bonus of this extra roomy toe box is it just lets your toes relax a little bit more on easy days.

Another interesting thing about the wide toe box is this shoe is great for conditions like Morton’s neuroma, meaning somebody that gets that burning tingling numbness or discomfort that may come through that third and fourth metatarsal.

Outsole

The foot pod outsole has got some thick rubber to help with durability. The outsole is a bonus because the Torin Plush is going to shine for you if you want to feel confident on slippery surfaces because the grip is fantastic even on wet grass.

You’ve got these metatarsal-specific shaped rubber pods that are supposed to mimic the metatarsal bones in your feet and help with your overall foot mechanics. Maybe they’re helping and maybe they’re not, but it’s really hard to be sure of anything.

The outsole also has these InnerFlex grooves to help with a more natural foot splay through your gait cycle. It is really durable and provides great grip on different surfaces.

That’s it for this article. These were 14 best easy day running shoes. We tried to cover super plush shoes, denser shoes, responsive shoes, fast shoes, and zero-drop shoes. I hope you could find the one that most resonates with your running style and goals.

See you on the next one 🙂

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