Today, we’ll be reviewing 15 of the best running shoes for 5k races for men and women.
Whether you’re training to run a 5k, or you’re just running for fun, the right pair of running shoes can help the miles fly by.
This is the 2021 update of this article and we tried to add more shoes so you can choose better.
So, get one of the best 5k running shoes below and you’re good to go.
Side-by-side Comparison of the best 4 5k shoes
The best 4 include Brooks Ghost, Altra Escalante, Saucony Kinvara, Asics Gel Kayano.
Best Running Shoes for 5k Races
In a hurry? The 10 best 5k running shoes include:
- Brooks Ghost 13
- Altra Escalante 2.5
- Asics Meta Racer
- Saucony Kinvara 12
- Adidas Adizero Adios 5
- Asics Kayano 28
- New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2
- New Balance Fuelcell Propel v1
- Reebok Floatride Run Fast Pro
- Nike Zoom Fly
Brooks Ghost 13
A lot of people consider the Ghost to be one of the best running shoes for couch to 5k.
This is a standard neutral daily trainer that has been known by many as a super reliable piece of footwear to wear on pretty much any occasion.
The extremely popular Brooks Ghost 13 is an everyday running shoe that offers reliable cushioning and comfort.
Brooks makes really chill simple laid-back shoes and a lot of people swear by it. So, let’s see why…
Where the Ghost Shines
The Ghost shines at 5ks, daily training, easy runs, and maybe medium runs like steezy pace stuff.
If you’re going to be running a lot of miles and you’re not going to be doing super-fast trackwork, this is a great shoe for you because you’re going to get a lot of bang for your bucks.
Also, even if you’re just training for a 5Km but you’re doing base building, this is great.
This is also going to be a great shoe to go to when you just kind of want a nice supportive neutral soft trainer that maybe allows you to pick up the pace a little bit if you’re feeling good at the end of your runs.
New runners should definitely get the Ghost because your body needs a little bit of extra cushion when you’re first starting out and you’re injury-prone.
It’s not too soft that you feel like you can’t go fast and you feel that it’s limiting you, but it is soft enough that it’s going to give your joints, knees and muscles a bit of a break from that constant pounding.
Brooks makes wider toe boxes. So, if you have a pretty narrow foot, it’s just going to fit you better to go half a size down. The fit is very comfortable in the toe box, the midfoot, and over the ankle.
The lockdown is great, which moves us very well into the upper.
Brooks is implementing a new comprehensive engineered upper mesh material all around the shoe with 3D Fit Print. 3D Fit Print applies structure to specific areas where the foot needs support while keeping weight down.
Brooks is pretty much known for having plush and soft uppers and the Ghost is by no means different. The upper is super comfortable, feels secure on your foot, and you’re going to feel a hot spot.
The tongue is not gusseted at all, which is something they’re going to implement in the next model because that’s the way things are going, at least in my opinion.
But as far as a simple shoe goes, people don’t mind that because the fit is just fine and the tongue does not sway at all over the top of your foot.
Talking about the top of your foot, If you’re that kind of person who has issues with pain on top of your foot, a lot of that can be caused by uncomfortable uppers or cinching your laces too tight.
The shoe also has a fairly sturdy heel counter. I would almost say this is the same heel counter as what was in the Brooks Adrenaline. It’s going to lock your foot down really well.
The good news is you’re not going to run into such issues with the Ghost. The laces are super soft and stretchy and the upper itself is, again, really soft.
Everyone that talks about the Ghost talk about how it’s a pretty supportive neutral shoe and I could see why. It definitely locks your heel down very well and locks your ankle down really well. You’re not going to see a lot of slipping and it just feels like it’s holding your foot nicely.
And that moves us really well into the midsole…
Brooks is using a DNA Loft midsole which I have really been enjoying. It’s not super plush but it’s just soft enough to feel really comfortable when you want to go super slow.
BioMogo DNA and DNA Loft cushioning strikes a good balance between softness, impact protection, responsiveness, and durability.
It’s certainly not as responsive as a racer would be, but you’re going to get a soft landing with each step and you’re not going to be putting too much strain and impact on your body. However, it’s not like you sink into the ground because it’s going to propel you into your next step.
The shoe offers enough rebound that it lets you go fast and have a little bit of energy return and snap when you want to kick it home a little bit when you’re feeling good or going downhill or just working off a tailwind.
I think that’s also partly contributed to the omega flex grooves that really allow your foot to have some nice flexibility in the forefoot and have an extra little snap at the toe-off of your stride.
Even after hundreds of miles, you can still feel the midsole retain its pop and you’ll never go out for a run and feel like the cushioning is feeling hard any time soon.
A higher drop shoe is something to wear on a day where you’re really trying to not stretch out your Achilles, your calves, and stuff like that.
This outsole actually might be the silent MVP of this shoe. It’s pretty thick and I’d say it almost contributes to a snappy feel in the shoe.
The firmness of this outsole and the thickness of it really does kind of allow for a nice hard snap going out from your toe-off.
I thought it was a little hard when I ran in the Adrenaline for it, but they got it super right in the Ghost.
I actually like how responsive this shoe feels on the toe-off for a daily trainer. It kind of encourages you to go fast but only when you want to go fast.
Also, Brooks is using a segmented crash pad on the bottom which is an integrated system of shock absorbers that cushion each step and stride.
If you don’t feel the crash rail, that’s a good thing because it means it is effectively helping you ease the transition from your heel to your toe-off.
The outsole has a really good grip especially if you have issues with shoes being slippery especially in the rain.
Durability-wise, the Ghost can hold up to 550 miles until it starts to not feel great under your foot.
At this price, The Brooks Ghost 13 is a pretty solid shoe. The shoe offers plenty of versatility especially if you’re one of those people who likes a shoe to just wear for everything.
Brooks knows how to make a shoe feel stripped down, simple yet perfectly reliable.
The Ghost 13 is a little bit on the heavy side of the spectrum.
- Related: Best Running Shoes for 10k Races
Altra Escalante 2.5
The Escalante has been this huge hit for Altra, and it just blew up. It’s a shoe that a lot of runners really love because it not only performs well, it also feels and looks great.
Altra certainly took the feedback from runners and tweaked the Escalante a little bit and made a brand-new shoe that I’m sure you’re going to love.
This iteration of the Altra Escalante has a 20mm stack height in the heel and obviously 20mm in the forefoot because it’s a zero-drop shoe.
Where the Ghost Shines
The Altra Escalante 2.5 is for anyone looking for a great shoe for their 5k and tempo runs. I feel it’s a more up-tempo shoe rather than a daily trainer like the Nike Pegasus, the Hoka Clifton, or the Brooks Ghost.
It’s also great if you’re looking to go fast, looking for comfort, or if you’re just looking to walk around in a really comfortable shoe.
It’s really easy to pick up the cadence in the Escalante.
Zero-drop Ego Midsole
Although the Escalante is zero drop, it’s far from zero cushion. The midsole is always runners’ favorite section in shoes.
The Escalante 2.5 features an EGO midsole that’s quite rubbery, it has quite a lot of rebound, and it is compression resistant.
What’s really nice about this foam is that it’s going to feel the same from mile one to 26. It just does not pack down or bottom out.
What’s also really nice about EGO foam is that it is dual-nature. What that means is that when you’re going slower, it’s going to feel softer, and then when you start to pick up the pace, it’s going to be a little bit more responsive and a little bit firmer.
Over a multitude of different surfaces and terrain and a variety of different paces, the Escalante is really enjoyable and a quite forgiving ride.
The Escalante is really responsive and has quite a similar feel to the FuelCell Rebel and the Beacon from New Balance.
I certainly felt the zero-drop feature promoting a slightly faster cadence than normal. There’s some good energy return and some good protection underfoot from that Altra EGO midsole material.
You don’t have wild compression in the midsole as you get in a shoe with ZoomX or FuelCell. It’s a little bit more of a dense and robust compression with quite a lot of bounce and rebound.
In the trail category, we talk a lot about door-to-trail shoes, and the Escalante is a great run-to-brunch-to-run shoe.
Last but not least, the zero-drop feature is going to help absorb shock and provide a natural running motion while being gentle on your Achilles.
This feature also helps off-load pressure on the ball of the foot, which makes the Escalante one of the best running shoes for Metatarsalgia pain.
Comfortable and accommodating are certainly the two words I would use to describe the upper on the Escalante.
This design is actually going to hold your foot down a little bit better especially when you’re turning or going side to side. That’s going to give you a little bit more stability but retain that sock-like feel that you love.
They’ve also added some perforations to give you more breathability while keeping the upper seamless throughout to help with less irritation against your foot.
Another thing Altra has done with this upper is they’ve added a little bit of thickness to the tongue to make it a little bit more comfortable.
They’ve also added this new Dri-Lex Dri-Freeze material. That Dri-Lex upper is actually going to cool your foot down as you sweat in the Escalante; that’s a very cool material.
All these new tweaked did not change the shoe’s philosophy, a natural foot shape design to give your toes plenty of room for comfort.
So, the upper has a lovely wide toe box, which is really quite apparent when you first put the shoe on. It’s got loads of room for your toes to move around, which is something that’s quite lacking in running shoes of recent time.
When you’re running, your toes splay out and it just feels a little bit more stable.
If you’ve got a wider foot and your toes are always squeezed together, this is going to be ideal for you.
When you cinch up the laces on the Escalante, you’re certainly going to get a glove-like fit. The fit is very flexible and the shoe offers great lockdown.
You’ve got this really intriguing foot-shape outsole and traction is very good on paths and roads.
Altra actually has decoupled the outsole more with InnerFlex technology to make it a little bit more flexible and durable as well.
There are some cutouts on the outsole, and I think those invested in keeping their outsole debris-free may feel a little challenged.
To be honest, I think the Escalante is smashing value. I think you can even get away with wearing these just casually, and if you fancy bursting into a run at some point, it’ll be ready to rock.
All in all, if you don’t like the way some brands invest more on aesthetic design rather than performance, the Altra Escalante is just the bare bones.
This is perhaps the Telecaster of running shoes.
It feels like you’re doing the running rather than the shoe, which is probably going to open up a few doors and opportunities for runners to improve their running form, fitness, and just generally enjoy running.
- The zero-drop feature takes some getting used to.
This is a video to help you transition to zero-drop shoes if you’ve never run in one before.
This one of the best 5k racing shoes.
In the midst of the carbon plate hype, Asics has brought out their take on what the elite distance road racing shoe should be.
The goal of the Meta Racer is to be as light and as minimal as possible while still being comfortable. I would say that is essentially what the upper is.
Everything you need and nothing you don’t and that’s a double negative, but you get what I mean.
The upper is heavily weight-reduced and it’s exceptionally lighter.
We have a single-layer mesh upper that is the definition of breathable. There is ventilation throughout the entire toebox and around the side of the shoe including the flat racer-style tongue.
This may not seem like a big deal, but overheating feet for a longer duration run is never fun. So, we appreciate the thought that Asics gave us because summertime will be here before you know it.
The mesh keeps a pretty secure fit. It’s snug through the midfoot and actually has enough toebox room to where you won’t complain.
While the mesh is accommodating, the heel of the shoe is more structured and maintains a good lockdown. It’s not too stiff or invasive and not too sloppy with the heel slipping around too much.
There’s just a tad of internal padding around the top of the ankle collar and around the heel. The padding is nice to have and doesn’t seem to add much weight.
From all the uppers that I’ve tried in carbon plated shoes, the Meta Racer is the best overall, or at least so far. It’s light, minimal, effective, and super breathable.
Even the small things like the texture of the laces is a nice addition.
So, as far as I’m concerned, the upper is a solid A+.
We have a full-length use of Asics’ FlyteFoam foam technology. There’s a variety of flavors of FlyteFoam. Some FlyteFoams are firmer like in the Asics Evo Ride and then some softer like in the Glide Ride.
The FlyteFoam in the Meta Racer sits somewhere in between but maybe a bit more on the bouncier end.
Asics say FlyteFoam is eco-friendly foam, which is great and all. But as far as the feeling, it feels similar to what FuelCell feels like for New Balance.
Under the layer of FlyteFoam, you have the actual carbon plate in which in turn means that this carbon plate is a bottom-loaded plate.
Typically, with high stack height carbon plate shoes, the plate needs to be sandwiched between either the midsole or above the midsole to make the carbon plate more useful.
But the stack height of the Meta Racer is nowhere close to what the other brands are doing, which made it possible to have the plate bottom-loaded and still provide a springy toe-off when getting into your stride.
It looks like there’s a lot of rubber and it is. One of the main purposes is to keep the carbon plate in place.
When you see how much rubber the shoe has, you might think this is going to add a bunch of unnecessary weight, but once you have it on foot, it feels much lighter than expected.
Many carbon plate shoes have very little rubber on the outsole to keep the shoe light, but in this case, you got a lightweight shoe with added traction.
Asics call it their Asics Grip outsole, which I guess makes sense.
As far as on the road, granite, and track it does just that. It’s better on road than dirt and gravel. The Meta Racer is built for the road and I think it performs best on that.
Traction is really great on roads and for 5ks, I think this is really going to be a winner in terms of wetter conditions.
All in all…
The overall ride is smooth and fast and the lower stack height gives the shoe a bit more of a stable controlled feel.
It goes as fast as you go without holding you back and the cushioning is enough to where you don’t feel beat after a longer or faster effort.
The lower stack height really helps the shoe feel a bit more engaged. I am very aware of shoes like the Vapor Fly and the Alpha Fly that are leading the way of carbon plate shoes, but for some, the amount of squish you get in those shoes can be a bit much for 5ks at times.
The Meta Racer splits that middle between cushion and a more natural response, which is my personal preference.
So, depending on what you prefer and what works for your running, it will be a matter of what you like, how fast you are running, how far you are running, and of course, what fits the best.
I can see most people using the Meta Racer from anywhere from a road 5k to a half marathon. On the elite end, I can see some go up to a marathon.
The only negative I have is that this shoe may not be enough cushioning for that average elite jogger to go the entire 26.2 miles. Now, the half marathon and down would be the sweet spot of the Meta Racer.
Asics Gel Kayano 28
The Kayano is one of the best Asics running shoes for 5k.
The first thing to say is that there have been some major updates to Asics premium stability shoe. But the ethos of the Asics Gel Kayano 28 hasn’t really changed from the previous models.
It’s still a very comfortable and very stable shoe to run in.
Who is it for
I would say the Kayano 28 is obviously for the overpronating runner that needs some stability and looking for a shoe to provide more support but also wants the comfort and the cushioning the Kayano 28 will provide.
Of course, with that new FlyteFoam Blast midsole foam, you’re also getting the bounce and a bit more oomph to the shoe and responsiveness as well.
If you’re someone that has run in the Kayano before and you’ve loved running in Kayanos, I don’t think you’re going to be disappointed with the 28.
Because it is a stability shoe, let’s start by talking and showing you how they provide the stability.
You’ve got this foam on the medial side of the shoe called Dynamic DuoMax. It’s a higher-density foam. So, when you run and land, this foam is limiting the amount that your foot is turning inwards.
Also, you’ve got a sturdy external heel counter which has been redesigned in the 28.
Finally, you’ve got the Trusstic System which you can see part of it in the center of the midfoot area of the outsole. The Trusstic System actually goes all the way to the edge on both sides.
These features are all about stopping this shoe from twisting to keep you very stable as you run in it.
The biggest update is in the midsole area.
The Kayano still has the Asics Gel both at the heel area and the forefoot area, which gives you a lot of shock absorption when you’re landing on it.
The midsole used to be FlyteFoam Propel and now it’s FlyteFoam Blast, which really changed the way that this Kayano feels.
It’s still really comfortable and really cushioned, but you’re getting some really good bounce and responsiveness to it.
This new foam material was first seen in the Asics Novablast and now they have introduced it into the Kayano.
It’s 23mm in the heel and 13mm in the forefoot for men and the women’s version is 25mm in the heel and 12mm in the forefoot.
The women’s version still features the women’s specific cushioning so it’s going to be a little bit softer on their foot. The men’s version still offers the standard Asics 10 mm drop while the women’s has a 13 mm drop to offer that little bit extra support for the Achilles.
The Kayano has got an engineered mesh upper with some added ventilations on the toe box. There’s some structure provided to the upper from the Asics logo around the side.
The tongue is plush, the heel collar and ankle area are very plush and the lockdown is solid.
On the medial side, they continued with some internal taping to really hug and support your foot as it goes through motion. They’ve even taken the tiger stripes away from the medial side of the shoe.
Just like a lot of Asics shoes, the Kayano 28 has the AHAR+ (Asics High Abrasion Rubber+) on the heel area to really allow for a durable heel strike.
The rubber on the Kayano series had always been really hard-wearing until the Kayano 27 where the rubber in the middle area of the forefoot wore down really quickly.
I’m hoping that it’s fixed in the Kayano 28.
Asics have reduced the depth of the rubber a little bit, which explains the slight reduction in weight in the Kayano 28.
Something else that I have found with the Kayano 28 compared to Kayano 27 is that the width for the base of the outsole has actually got narrower and a little bit longer.
I don’t think this affects the upper at all because the inside doesn’t feel narrower or loner. It’s just that you’re landing on a more narrower base than you had in the 27.
Bear in mind that you always tend to pay a little bit more when you’re buying a stability shoe from a neutral shoe and that’s because of the technology and the features that they put into the shoe to make it stable and support your foot better.
Overall, I think all the improvements have all added to the Kayano 28 rather than taken away from it.
The upper is not very breathable for summertime, but it’s nice and cozy in the wintertime.
Saucony Kinvara 12
Read the full review of the Kinvara 11
The Kinvara series has been around for years and it’s truly become a classic in the running shoe world. It is back with a few tweaks and Saucony seems to be changing up their shoes a lot in their updates, including the Kinvara.
Where the Kinvara shines
It’s simple, it’s lightweight, it has everything you need for a wide variety of running needs from daily training to 5ks to tempo runs.
It can even work as a session shoe if you want or even a race day shoe for someone who wants that little bit of cushioning.
Taking a look at this shoe, it does look a little bit different than past versions. It’s got that almost Saucony Endorphin-like treatment, but don’t worry, I think this shoe is going to continue to maintain that Kinvara feel that loyalists are going to enjoy.
Overall, if you don’t want to go into a carbon shoe or maybe you want to keep the price down, I think the Kinvara is in a nice sweet spot with the cushioning and the responsiveness.
Getting the shoe on foot, it feels very much what you would expect in a Kinvara. It’s simple, it’s got the full-length PWRRUN midsole with that PWRRUN+ topsole.
This combination is really soft underfoot especially on landings, which maybe hadn’t been the norm from the Kinvaras of recent.
The shoe is really smooth and poppy through the transition and to toe-off when you’re trying to pick up the pace in the Kinvara.
It’s got a little bit of bounce and it’s fairly light. However, I’d say if you’re looking for something a little bit more responsive, you might want to go with a shoe like the Saucony Freedom 4 which features that PWRRUN PB midsole.
But for the Kinvara, it’s very in line with what you would expect.
The midsole is a little bit on the firmer side. Definitely, some of the earlier versions were a little bit softer, but I don’t think it is too jarring and it actually feels even a little bit smoother as you are going through your gait.
I think some of the small features like the split heel and flex grooves are really going to help create that smooth ride really at any pace.
The midsole also has this Endorphin-like look and you might think, “does the Kinvara 12 have a plate in it? No, it’s going to continue to be just that simple midsole that just feels very flexible and very natural on foot.
Let’s move on down to the outsole…
We talked about the change in the flex grooves and we’re also going to continue to see that strategic rubber in the heel and the forefoot and then again lots of exposed material throughout the midfoot.
I feel like durability is never going to be a strength with the Kinvara. You would expect to get about 250 to 300 miles out of the Kinvara 12, which is the norm for the Kinvara line.
Overall, the outsole is pretty much what I’d expect. You get a little bit of traction and everything you need for the roads.
When things get a little wetter, you might get not quite as good as traction as some of the other shoes, but really durability and traction haven’t been anything to be too concerned about.
The Kinvara 12 continues to maintain that simple philosophy. The upper is still lightweight. It’s a nice breathable mesh, it’s really comfortable on foot, and it gives you a nice midfoot lockdown.
This mesh is similar to what we have in the latest update in the Saucony Triumph 17.
It’s not a super tight race upper so it has a little bit of room in the forefoot without being too roomy. So, it’s a really nice lightweight upper.
Typically, the feel of the upper won’t change too much from year to year, but this Kinvara does feel different in one way – the padding.
Saucony seems to have added just a bit more padding around the heel cup and to the tongue. This update might seem to make the shoe feel stuffy, but you won’t be bothered by it because Saucony didn’t actually go overboard.
The feeling of the upper leans more towards how a traditional type trainer would feel. The heel cup is sturdy, the laces stay locked down, and the fit of the upper is secured but still allows for a bit of stretch near the toe box.
It is going to be a little bit on the narrower side because it has that performance fit, but really with only small changes in the overlays, it is going to continue to be that simple Kinvara experience that you’ve come to know year after year.
Overall, the Saucony Kinvara 12 continues to be a staple within the line.
Well, it’s not maybe the most exciting shoe currently in the line with these fancy plated shoes and highly responsive performance trainers, but the Kinvara continues to be a very simple shoe that can do a lot of things very well.
At this price point, there’s very few shoes on the market that deliver as much value as this shoe.
New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2
Where the Rebel shines
These are great daily trainers and one of the best 5k racing shoes. Runners love these for speed stuff, but to be honest, I took it on a moderate, and it absolutely shone like a diamond.
So for me, it’s going to get a bit of speed work, but it’s also going to get a lot of daily use as well.
I can already envisage this taking over the Hoka One One Mach 4 in my daily trainer lineup.
We’ve got this synthetic mesh upper which runs all the way around the shoe. It looks like we’ve got two different styles but the upper is super thin you can see right through it.
The upper is fantastic, lovely, and breathable and it works really well.
You can see right through the upper and it is a super lightweight but very comfortable upper.
There’s a few little extra bits and pieces of material in there to give a bit more stability and shape to the heel counter area.
Having said that, it’s still a relatively flexible heel counter but not too flexible. The extra material does provide enough shape and comfort for your ankle to slot in and feel nice and comfortable.
What I really like about this shoe is the cut-out around the Achilles area. It’s quite a deep groove which comes up quite high at the back of the Achilles but doesn’t rub at all. It does give that nice secure fit.
The ankle collar has enough padding there to give you a nice secure locked-in feeling.
As for the tongue, it’s a lovely offset tongue meaning the tongue slightly sits offset so it wraps nicely around the top of your ankle.
It is a paper-thin tongue and it is nice and stretchy material. There’s a little bit more padding as you go further down to cover the top of the foot, but on the whole, it is very thin.
The lacing system is a bit of a strange one with lots of bits and pieces going on. The eyelets are reinforced with an overlay so that when you tie them tight, they don’t fray or anything.
The lacing is very odd but you’re going to get such a secure lockdown feeling.
Let’s move to my favorite part…
The FuelCell midsole has been one of my favorite things about recent New Balance shoes. It’s absolutely incredible and in this shoe, it is no different.
This FuelCell midsole is super soft and possibly one of the softest New Balance shoes I’ve tried.
There’s enough foam to give you that lovely soft bounce but not too much to make it too much of an unstable ride.
I think on the wrong feet, it could be because it’s so soft, but it’s not a massive stack. Therefore, you’re going to feel secure at all times if that makes sense.
Overall, the midsole is just a super comfy cushioned ride.
And then we have this Ndurance New Balance rubber on the outsole covering the majority of the high-wearing areas of the shoe with a bit of exposed midsole in the midfoot.
If you are in the normal size range, you should size up half because it is quite short and your toes are going to be pretty much at the end.
Also, if you’re going downhill, your toes are definitely going to be bumping at the end.
Width-wise, it’s fine but length-wise, it just comes up a touch short.
Overall, the upper feels comfortable and super breathable, the lockdown is great, the comfort is great, the midsole is fantastic, and I think the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2 is going to last a long time.
If anything’s going to go in the shoe in terms of durability, it’s going to be the midsole foam compressing because I have a feeling this rubber outsole is going to last a long time.
New Balance Fuelcell Propel V1
This is a brand-new shoe from New Balance. It’s a close cousin with more cushion and no forefoot plate to the Fuelcell Rebel. It’s really amazing if you’re a midfoot to forefoot striker.
The Fuelcell is great for 5ks, 10ks, and all the way up to a half marathon to get your new PR because it’s light and fast.
The midsole has this other super foam from New Balance called Fuelcell. The midsole is extremely comfortable. It’s a really soft midsole with a very noticeable rebound and tons of cushioning. It actually deflates and kind of pumps you back forward.
New Balance tells us it has a minimum of 39% more rebound than their RevLite which is often found in their performance shoes.
It’s also interesting to note how wide the heel platform is, which allows this very soft midsole to actually be very stable. This also allows the quite full coverage really well-decoupled outsole to be very stable as well and also to move along really fast and smooth.
The Fuelcell Propel is a very flexible shoe and maybe a bit too flexible for some. However, it’s a very comfortable ride.
FuelCell vs Others
The Fuelcell foam is much more exciting than Nike’s React foam and it kind of has a lot more bounce than the Epic React.
Fuelcell is actually quite close in feel to Nike ZoomX. However, it’s not quite as sprightly or springy but definitely approaches it.
I would say the Fuelcell is softer than Skechers Hyper Burst foam which has kind of a springy feel but denser feel to it as well.
Compared to other New Balance foams such as Fresh Foam, Fuelcell is a much more forgiving and exciting foam.
The Fuelcell Propel is a comfort-oriented shoe. It’s not a performance racer like you might have with the Fuelcell Rebel.
The wide toe box has absolutely no overlays so most foot types should fit very comfortably in it.
The tapered-out Achilles collar is functional to make the rest of this shoe really relatively unstructured upper work super well in a roomy fashion.
The Fuelcell has a jacquard mesh upper that has a bootie construction. The upper is very neat and amazingly simple with what New Balance calls Trace Fiber. These are stitched-in support designed to provide midfoot and heel support.
A lot of shoes only have the knit construction by the ankle and call it a bootie construction. The Fuelcell, though, really goes all-in with the bootie construction and you have the full knit upper that really hugs on your ankles just like a sock would, but it’s not tight or uncomfortable.
The eyelets are completely woven into the upper so you can still pull tight but you still have that really lightweightness up top.
The outsole is crystalized rubber in the forefoot and then a little bit in the heel. So the outsole does not have a ton of rubber and I think the rubber placement is on the right areas.
On the lateral side of the midsole, there’s a wedge, which is the other big story about the Fuelcell. Most shoes people run in do not have such a feature and most runners just feel curious about it.
But what is it good for?
Simply, when you’re rounding your corners going quickly, you’ll be really glad that you have this wedge. This feature is there to provide extra traction and durability on the lateral side of the outsole.
Adidas Adizero Adios 5
The Adidas Adios 5s are one of the best running shoes or 5k and 10k.
Many of you probably know this, but in case you don’t, over the last 6 to 7 years, the Adios lineup has been at the top of the leaderboard for a lot of the major marathons as far as the elite competition.
Some of the winners of the biggest marathons in the world have raced in the Adios lineup.
Also, the Adios 5 is actually the 7th iteration in this lineup. It’s not the 5th because there were two pre-Boost models.
Who is the Adios for?
If you’re looking for a 5k, 10k, half marathon shoe and you love ground contact feel, the Adios 5 is a great choice for you.
I’d probably say that you should be in the ballpark of being a runner for somewhere around a year or more before you pick up this shoe.
This isn’t meant to be all of your runs. This is meant to be some of your runs. It’s for racing, it’s for your fast tempo runs, it’s for your faster brick runs…
The shoe feels more nimble so good work Adidas on dropping the weight of the upper in this Adios 5.
It’s an open mesh upper. I will say the highlight of the upper is the tongue and it’s gusseted, which is a good step in the right direction from the Adios 4 which was semi-gusseted.
It’s a very comfortable tongue and it lays on top of the foot just perfectly.
Overall, the upper is very breathable and I think this could be a really great shoe for let’s say above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
You got a LightStrike midsole. LightStrike was in the Adidas SL 20 and now it’s present in the Adios lineup. Plus, there’s a little wedge of Boost material through the heel.
So, if you like the Boost midsole feel, this might be a shoe for you to consider.
For the comfort through the midsole, I think I need at least two more millimeters there through the forefoot especially if we’re talking about a road half marathon or marathon shoe.
But the good thing is the cushioning in the forefoot is enough for your 5k races.
If you want to run a marathon in these and you are a forefoot striker, make sure you are a resilient runner, your feet are strong, your ankles are strong, and you basically are an injury-free runner.
The outsole features Continental rubber and a torsion plate just like the SL 20. The outsole is not quite identical but very reminiscent of the SL 20.
I like the new tread pattern on the Adios 5 over the 4. It almost looks a little narrower through the landing compared to the Adios 4.
Most similar lightweight shoes just have outsole, midsole material, exposed foam through the outsole and they don’t actually have tough rubber because that adds weight.
In this case, the Adios has that tough rubber. So, making such a lightweight shoe while still having a ton of rubber, good job Adidas. It’s fast on the road and it’s also decent for trails.
Historically, a lot of lightweight trainers have just been strictly minimal, whereas the Adios 5 has a plate that’s in the middle that tends to give a little snap back.
For the fit and comfort, I wish I would have gone a half-size down. My toes were swimming just a little bit as far as the length of the shoe, especially for a racer.
The Adios 5 is definitely not plush, but the inside of the shoe is very comfortable. It’s just a nice inner lining inside the shoe.
I would compare these to something like the Hoka Carbon shoes and the Saucony Fastwitch.
So, as far as a road racing flat goes, this is probably one of the better all-around racing shoes that I’ve seen in a long time.
The Adios sits in between traditional lightweight trainers and those super high-end carbon trainers.
Nike Zoom Fly 3
The Zoom Fly is one of the best carbon plate shoes for 5km from Nike. So, what does the Zoom Fly has to offer?
Let’s find out.
The upper of the Zoom Fly is made up of Fly mesh. Like it’s the case with many other Nike shoes, the Zoom Fly is lightweight, breathable, and is able to support your foot without any major irritation.
The shoe also uses FlyWire to secure the fit in place, which works pretty well.
The heel cup has some structure to it and is actually supportive. It doesn’t cause any irritation or rubbing and you won’t have any issues with the shoe slipping.
The upper is fairly simple and that’s the beauty of it. There’s not much to it but it works. It keeps the shoe light and it feels fantastic.
The midsole uses Nike’s Lunarlon foam. Lunarlon is typically known for being on the softer side of cushioning.
Considering the shoe is supposed to be a bit more on the performance side, using Lunarlon, which isn’t necessarily the most responsive, seems to be a mystery here.
But while running on the shoe, you’ll still feel the response is still there somehow, which is strange for a shoe with such a stack height.
The shoe features a carbon-infused nylon plate. This plate almost acts as a layer that creates a slight propulsion effect.
The shoe gives you a slight push forward with every step you take. It kind of puts you on the midfoot and really helps you maintain momentum.
The fit of the Nike Zoom Fly is pretty true to size and it’s great for longer runs when your feet need that extra space.
The outsole uses the Rubber Traction Pattern that grips well and it seems very durable. It covers the entire forefoot and parts of the heel area of the shoe.
The shoe is not very flexible at all, but in the way the shoe was designed, it really doesn’t hinder the ride. The shoe still feels fast, still feels comfortable and it definitely gives that performance running feel.
Now, could you use the Zoom Fly as a daily trainer? Sure. But I think it would perform well more as a faster tempo day shoe.
For those who like a more natural ride, the shoe may have one issue. The nylon plate isn’t too evasive, but you can tell that it’s there.
With all that said, the Nike Zoom Fly is light, fast, cool, and it works for most runners.
The toe box is a bit roomier for narrow feet.
With a 10 mm heel-to-toe offset, the Hyperion is one of the best racing flats for 5k designed for the neutral to underpronating runner.
It is one of Brooks’ iconic racing flats. Those who have known Brooks for a while, Brooks had a Hyperion racer way back in the day and they’re paying homage to that amazing racing flat.
Now they’re calling their new lightest fastest shoe on their line the Hyperion.
The Hyperion features a completely woven upper which makes it very thin, close to foot, lightweight, and super soft on the inside.
The upper just prevents the foot from getting too hot alleviating blistering. It also has no seams and has laser-etched perfs just to make sure that you’re getting that breathable snug sock-like fit experience ideal for your 5K race day needs. There’s also a padded collar for additional comfort.
Utilizing a lightweight BioMogo DNA midsole, this racer offers reliable cushioning that dynamically adapts to every step along the way.
On the inside, there’s a soft fabric lining for a great next-to-skin feel. There’s a foam footbed that provides extra comfort and support down there.
Down at the bottom, there’s a durable outsole. A midfoot transition zone creates a fast foot transition while the forefoot propulsion pods give the shoe a springy ride and promote optimal energy return.
Also, the omega flex grooves allow for more natural forefoot movement and fluidity.
Leave your opponents in the dust with the fantastic Brooks Hyperion racer.
Not a good option for runners who need more arch support like overpronators.
A bit narrow for wide feet.
New Balance 1400v6
The purpose of the New Balance 1400v6 is for racing 5Ks and half marathons. And if you need a speed shoe for a typical training or something for the tracks when you don’t want to wear spikes, these are likely to get the job done.
The 1400 series has been one of the best road racing shoes around. The 1400V5 was probably one of the best racing shoes out, but New Balance seems to improve upon that with this newest model.
So let’s see what this newest model is all about.
The 1400V6 uses an Air Mesh upper that provides amazing breathability while keeping the foot secure in a natural feeling way.
Some shoes keep your foot locked in with the use of excess overlays or external cages, but the support in the 1400 is built-in seamlessly within the mesh upper.
It seems that New Balance have found that sweet spot of keeping the shoe simple and functional without all the extra nonsense.
The fit of the upper is also nice. Some racing-style shoes can get a bit snug at times, but the midfoot on the 1400v6 is secure but not tight and the toe box is wide enough for a comfortable fit.
The tongue feels a little bit thinner compared to the V5, but this really doesn’t cause any issues. Though it’s thinner, you won’t notice any irritation or tightness from the laces.
The hook-up is supportive and there’s a little padding around the heel which adds to the comfort of the shoe.
The midsole uses New Balance’s Revlite foam. This foam is considered to be the more responsive faster foam that New Balance has.
Revlite in New Balance shoes can vary as far as how it feels. In some models, it’s ok, some are good and some are just bad.
As far as feel, comfort and the ride of the 1400V6, New Balance know what they’re doing.
The shoe is responsive without being too hard or stiff and it has just enough give to give you that impact protection. It also allows you to maintain your momentum once you get up to speed.
The transition during foot strike is satisfying.
The heel cushioning has a slight give but then the midfoot provides just enough bounce for a springy toe-off. Going fast in this shoe is fun and it just feels right.
Although this is a racing shoe, it works great for all kinds of speed work including on the track.
The outsole uses blown rubber throughout the bottom. While the outsoles on road shoes are typically nothing to get too excited about, the traction on this shoe grips very well on the road.
There’s also extended rubber around the high-wear areas of the shoe.
In many times, having this much rubber would bring on extra weight, but it’s something you wouldn’t notice on the 1400v6. This shoe still actually feels right.
When thinking about the negatives, I pretty much had to nitpick. For those who wear wide-fitted shoes, I don’t think this comes in wides.
For those who like to run in lower heel-to-toe offset shoes, the 1400’s 10-mm offset might be too high of a drop for you. But besides that, that’s it.
Reebok Floatride Run Fast Pro
The Run Fast Pro is one of the fastest 5k running shoes.
Maybe it’s just me, but when I think of running shoe brands, Reebok isn’t really what comes to mind first.
This is a shoe that’s so light that it barely even feels like it’s on your foot. It has a super airy upper with that Pebax midsole which can only be described as awesome.
When I first saw the upper of the Floatride, I could see that this
… because it has a very similar knit material on the upper that creates a sock-like construction. I wouldn’t say that Reebok copied Adidas with this idea, but since Reebok is technically an Adidas company, I would say it’s fair game to share this technology.
So instead of calling it Primeknit, they’re calling it Ultra Knit. The Ultra Knit is light, stretchy, and super breathable that you can even see your socks through the knit if you look close enough.
Because of this, I wouldn’t recommend running in the rain or wet grass. Your feet will likely get soaked and it would be a sad day.
The cage that goes around both side of the shoe offers a bit more security and support than the Ultra Boost. You’ll definitely feel more confident picking up the pace knowing that your foot will stay in place.
The heel clutch is made up of a foam-like material and it’s kind of secure and comfortable. The combination of the UltraKnit and the heel support makes for an awesome match. This is one of the best uppers I’ve tried yet.
The outsole is very basic rubber. There are ridges on the outsole that grip well and you will not have any issues on typical surfaces. The ride of the Floatride is so smooth.
The Floatride feels much lighter than Boost but it gives you a similar sensation. You’d almost forget you’re wearing a pair of shoes.
The Run Fast Pro Fro Reebok is bouncy and soft but it doesn’t make you like you’re walking on the cloud, as many would love to put it.
Last but not least, the Reebok Run Fast Pro is one of the best racing flats for 5k.
A bit pricey.
New Balance 890v6
The 860 is one of the best running shoes for 3-5 miles.
The 890V6 is technically the replacement for the Vazee Pace series which replaced the 890V5 prior.
It’s kind of confusing, isn’t it?
Anyway, the Vazee Pace V2 is one of a lot of runners’ favorite running shoes of all time. An now that the 890V6 is here, rejoice.
The 890V6 has an improved engineered mesh that really gives it that breathable open feel. That seems to be the trend with these new models, which is a very good thing for runners and their feet.
The shoe cradles your foot with a midfoot saddle piece that brings the shoe together for a nice snug midfoot lockdown. It really works nicely once you get the lacing right.
The heel cup is pretty structured and helps to keep the foot locked in. The overall comfort of the upper is pretty similar to the Vazee Pace series, which is a good thing.
The midsole uses a New Balance Revlite cushioning system which is responsive and more springy cushioning. The Vazee pace V2 felt just about perfect as far as being a fast training shoe by allowing a lower-to-the-ground feel but still providing that smooth ride.
In the 890V6, New Balance seems like they wanted to stack a bit more Revlite cushioning to add to the comfort.
The outsole of the shoe is pretty solid. As far as protection, it has you covered like Statefarm Insurance.
The blown rubber really protects the shoe and provides great traction on the roads and on the track. I’m thinking maybe because the rubber is so thick that the shoe feels a bit stiff. But I can appreciate that knowing durability won’t be a concern.
I think the New Balance 890v6 a good all-around shoe and feels better at faster paces.
A bit on the heavy side compared to previous versions.
Skechers GoRun Razor 3 Hyper
The GoRun Razor 3 is a great shoe for someone looking to get that nice racing sensation without sacrificing cushioning under your foot. It has a really nice toe spring design just to get you that heel-to-toe motion a lot quicker.
You could use this shoe for 5ks up to a marathon. It’s also considered a do-everything shoe that’s great for anything from recovery efforts, daily training, long runs, to even workouts.
The Razor 3 has a Hyper Burst midsole, which is brand-new to Skechers. The midsole is light, responsive, and kind of hits all the marks.
Hyper Burst technology gives you great comfort, durability, and protection no matter if it’s your first step or your last step in a race.
So whether you’re a heel, midfoot, or forefoot strikers, you’re going to get the same cushioning and durability throughout.
What is Hyer Burst?
The Hyper Burst technology is extremely lightweight and kind of sets Skechers apart from a lot of other companies out there with their midsole technologies.
It’s really durable and it’s super protective for the runners’ foot. It’s the same durometer of foam from heel to toe so you’re getting consistent cushioning whether you’re a heel striker, midfoot striker, or forefoot striker.
The other benefit to the Hyper Burst technology is that the shoe itself isn’t affected by temperature as much as traditional EVA.
So whether you’re running in the summertime, the shoe is not going to get soft on you. And if you’re running in the wintertime, the shoe is not going to get firm on you.
It’s going to stay the same durometer, the same cushioning level no matter what season you’re running in offering you great cushioning and protection.
The Hyper Burst technology debuted in the GoRun Razor 3. Skechers will be incorporating this technology on other models coming out throughout the year including the GoRun Max Road 4 Hyper.
On the outsole, we’ve got a little bit more exposed Hyper Burst along with some strategic rubber just to add a little durability and a little traction.
For the upper, Skechers uses a really lightweight Mono mesh with some heat-welded overlays to give it a little bit of structure without adding too much weight to the shoe.
The upper is seamless and it’s got a little stability in the heel.
The insole itself is actually glued into the shoe due to it being more of that racing performance shoe.
How To Run A Fast 5K
While it’s fun to race, turning up to a 5K every week isn’t really going to get you that super fast time you’re after. You might see improvements to begin with, but after a while, your times may plateau.
So the best way to improve your time is by including some specific sessions aimed at improving your speed and threshold levels.
I would generally recommend doing a speed and tempo run per week.
A speed session is as it says really. It’s a session designed at improving your running pace. You want to do this on a flat and smooth course which does lend itself to an athletic track, but a smooth trail will do just as well.
For this speed session, I recommend you do 8 lots of 1-minute hard above your 5K pace with a 1-minute walking recovery between each.
They’re designed with short reps so that you can get the best speed out of yourself. As you progress, you can increase the duration and the number of reps.
So the next step would be something like 6 lots of 2 minutes with 1-minute recovery.
I’m fairly sure you have experienced this a few times that when you get that surge of lactic acid it can be pretty hard.
When you’re pushing yourself to the limit and your muscles become overwhelmed with lactic acid, it just begins to slow you down.
So the idea of the tempo run is to bump up the point at which you start to produce that lactic acid. Hopefully, you won’t get that burning leg feeling quite as quickly.
Let’s take an example. For a runner whose 5K pace is 3.40 per kilometer, we can calculate that their tempo pace should be somewhere around 4 minutes a kilometer – that’s around 10% of his/her 5K pace.
For this session, you can do 2 lots of 3 kilometers at tempo with a 3-minute walking recovery between each rep.
You can track your pace with a watch like the Garmin GPS watch. For those that don’t have a GPS watch, you can always run by feel and I would recommend something around 7 out of 10. This should feel hard, struggle to breathe, but manageable. So if someone added 1 kilometer at the end of the rep, you could do it.
- Try not to set a new PR at your local 5k every week.
- Start doing a tempo session and a speed session variation.
- You need to look at your running technique.
- Your pacing can make a big difference to your overall 5K time.
So there you have it, these were some of the best running shoes for 5k. If you have run a 5k and swear by your shoes, please tell us about it in the comments.
How to Run a Fast 5K – Infographic