10 Best Running Shoes for 5K Races in 2023


Today, we’ll be reviewing some 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.

In this 2022 update, we’ve reviewed the latest versions of some shoes and replaced others with better newer models like:

  • Saucony Endorphin Speed 2.
  • Adidas Takumi Sen 8.
  • Altra Escalante Racer.
  • Skechers Razor 3 Elite

Without further ado, let’s dive right into it…


11 Best Running Shoes for 5k

Top Overall Pick | Brooks Ghost 14

Brooks Ghost (Best overall pick)

Neutral Pronation 〉 W: 8.8 oz 〉 M: 10.0 oz 〉 Drop: 12mm 〉 Stack Height: Heel: 36 mm 〉 Forefoot: 24 mm 〉 Road 〉 True to size

With its 12mm heel-to-toe drop, the Ghost is the highest drop shoe in this list. But it is one of the best-selling running shoes and for good reason.

Brooks refined the Ghost series to get the Ghost 14 exactly how runners like it. It’s a great neutral everyday trainer that can handle pretty much any run you throw at it.

Just Me from Amazon says the Ghost helped her cut 2 minutes off of her 5k time. Read her review.

Why the Ghost 14 is good for you

The Ghost shines at 5ks, daily training, easy runs, and maybe medium runs like steazy 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.

This is also going to be great if you 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.

Beginner 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.

The Ghost 14 is not too soft that you feel like you can’t go fast and you feel that it’s limiting you. It is soft enough that it’s going to give your joints, knees, and muscles a bit of a break from that constant pounding.


Top Versatile Pick | Saucony Endorphin Speed

Saucony Endorphin Speed (Best versatile pick)

Neutral Pronation 〉 W: 7.1 oz 〉 M: 7.9 oz 〉 Drop: 8 mm 〉 Stack Height: Heel: 39 mm 〉 Forefoot: 31 mm 〉 Road 〉 True to size

The Speed is part of Saucony’s Endorphin lineup. It’s their tempo trainer with a nylon plate that can even be a race-day shoe.

Murza says the Speed helped him set 9 PRs including 5k. Read his review on Amazon.

Why the Endorphin Speed is good for you

Saucony’s highest-end, high-responsive PWRRUN PB material is the predominant thing in the Speed. It does definitely have that premium race-day type of feel.

When your foot hits the ground, you’re really feeling that foam bounce back as you’re going into that next stride.

The Endorphin Speed is going to be great for tempo days, threshold days, long runs, and race days. While it’s really great for half marathon and marathon efforts, it can also be used for your 5ks as well.

Even though some people find this PWRRUN PB a little bit firmer for their easy-day paces, a lot of people are using it as that everyday trainer that can do kind of everything.

However, the Speed might be just right for your easy days if you’re hitting the ground stronger. This way, you’re not going to have that too-firm-sensation coming from this midsole foam.

Overall, I do feel the Endorphin Speed is a good value because not only can you do a lot of your training and workouts in it, but you can also race in this shoe as well, which is something that I’ve seen both in version 1 and version 2.

I think it’s really going to provide you with a lot of fun running miles.

Check our comparison of the Saucony Endorphin Speed vs Pro and Endorphin Speed vs Shift.

Top Stability Shoe Pick | Asics Gel Kayano

Asics Gel Kayano (Best stability shoe pick)

Stability Pronation 〉 W: 9.3 oz 〉 M: 10.8 oz 〉 Drop: 10mm 〉 Stack Height: Heel: 23 mm 〉 Forefoot: 13 mm 〉 Road 〉 Runs large

The Kayano started in 1993 and has built up an extremely loyal fanbase ever since.

Why the Kayano is good for you

As one of the best Asics running shoes for 5k, I would say the Kayano 28 is obviously for the overpronating runner looking for a premium stability running shoe to provide more support, comfort, and cushioning the Kayano 28 is famous for.

But while Asics are trying to bring the Kayano to the modern running age, the shoe still maintains that classic stability experience.

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.

But what about the Kayano Lite?

In short, if you want to fully maximize your stability, go with the regular Kayano. And if you want something that’s a little bit lighter and a little bit more nimble that feels a little like a neutral shoe that does have some added stability, the Kayano Lite might be for you.

M. Mcconnell ran a great 5k the first time he wore the Kayano. Read his review on Amazon.

Top Zero Drop Pick | Altra Escalante

Altra Escalante (Best zero-drop pick)

Neutral Pronation 〉 W: 7.5 oz 〉 M: 9 oz 〉 Drop: 0mm 〉 Stack Height: Heel: 24 mm 〉 Forefoot: 24 mm 〉 Road 〉 True to size

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.

Nadine loves the Escalante for her 5ks and 10ks. Read her review on Amazon.

Why the Escalante is good for you

As one of the fastest 5k shoes, 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 Hoka Clifton, Nike Pegasus, or the Brooks Ghost.

It’s a pretty nimble shoe which is going to run wherever you want to run and how you want to run. From slower paces to faster paces, the Escalante will just disappear and let you have a great time running.

What’s also really nice about EGO foam is that it is dual-nature. So, 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.

Something else I didn’t expect about this shoe is that there is a little bit of a rocker sensation to the front of the shoe.

So, as your foot goes through the gait cycle, the back part of your foot is going to lift up a little bit faster because of that mild rocking sensation. This is going to help you to just pick up your foot a little bit faster and get through the gait cycle a little bit quicker.

Top Super Shoe Pick | Asics Metaracer


Asics Metaracer (Best super shoe pick)

Neutral Pronation 〉 W: 6.2 oz 〉 M: 7.3 oz 〉 Drop: 9mm 〉 Stack Height: Heel: 24 mm 〉 Forefoot: 15 mm 〉 Road 〉 True to size

In the midst of the carbon plate hype, Asics brought out their take on what the elite distance road racing shoe should be. The goal of the Metaracer is to be as light and as minimal as possible while still being comfortable.


Why the Metaracer is good for you

You can use the Metaracer anywhere from a road 5k to a half marathon. But I just don’t know if I would be taking this amount of stack height to the marathon distance. On the elite end, though, I can see some go up to a marathon.

It’s also going to be great if you love ground contact feel or prefer lower stack heights because you don’t want to feel wobbling out in your racing.

The real story here is the carbon fiber plate. When you’re running, you’re going to feel that carbon plate and a very strong rocker sensation which is going to pick up the back of your heel so that way when you hit the ground, you’re getting through your gait cycle really nice and fast.

Overall, the carbon fiber plate, the FlyteFoam, and the super minimal upper are all working in conjunction really well and giving you a very strong push-off sensation.

Brooks Ghost 14


Brooks Ghost 14


Brooks is using DNA Loft which is their softest cushioning to date. It’s basically a blend of EVA foam, rubber, and air to give you that perfect balance between responsiveness, cushioning, impact protection, and durability.

Compared to the Ghost 13, the Ghost 14 now features a full-length DNA Loft compound from heel to toe. This gives you a much more consistent feel as you go through your stride.

Although DNA Loft is very soft, it’s not unstable or mushy. It’s just soft enough to feel really comfortable when you want to go super slow. So, if that’s something that worries you, I wouldn’t be too concerned.

The midsole 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.

The omega flex grooves 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.

DNA Loft is 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.


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. It’s also a balance between the stretch and the fit of the upper to allow it to be more accommodating and more comfortable

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 really substantial heel counter. I would almost say this is the same heel counter as what was in the Brooks Adrenaline. The heel collar is extremely well-padded and extremely comfortable.

Overall, Brooks refined the upper to make it fit more foot types and just provide a better overall experience.


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 heels and ankles down really well. You’re not going to see a lot of slipping and it just feels like it’s holding your foot nicely.


Brooks Ghost 14 – Improved Arch Rubber

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 Ghost 14 has quite a bit of rubber coverage from heel to toe. The grooves themselves are quite deep, which should help with traction and durability.

Brooks did make some minor tweaks to the outsole itself. They added some rubber in the midfoot section and the forefoot section between the flex grooves.

The whole point of this is to stiffen up the midsole and provide a more stable and controlled experience as you’re going through your stride.

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.

At this price, The Brooks Ghost 14 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.

Carbon Neutral

This is Brook’s first carbon-neutral shoe. So, if you’re someone who’s looking to make a purchase that doesn’t harm the environment or is looking to be a little more sustainable, this is your shoe.

Last but not least, a lot of runners consider the Ghost to be a great couch-to-5k shoe.


  • A ton of durable rubber works on any surface
  • Do-it-all running shoe (handles slow runs, fast runs, long runs, and short runs)
  • Abundance of quality cushioning
  • Premium upper material holds your foot very well
  • One-piece DNA Loft and not having any dual densities or playing around with the crash pads is a huge step in the right direction
  • Smooth yet very stable ride even on light trails
  • Brooks’ first carbon-neutral shoe
  • Comes in a wide variety of widths and lengths.
  • Great traction & grip
  • Fits the bill for this neutral daily trainer


  • Not a light shoe (not in the heavy category either)
  • No gusseted tongue (but still doesn’t slide from side to side)

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Saucony Endorphin Speed 2



The Endorphin Shift is meant for those slow days, longer days, and recovery runs. The Speed is their tempo trainer with a nylon plate that can even be a race-day shoe. The Pro is their carbon fiber plate racing shoe designed for those elite races or very quick days.


The PWRRUN PB midsole is the exact same as the Endorphin Speed 1. PWRRUN PB is not a soft and squishy foam, but it’s not a firm midsole foam, either. It kind of sits in between.

While the midsole kind of looks like Adidas Boost, it’s completely different. PWRRUN PB is much lighter than Adidas Boost and it is Saucony’s lightest most bouncy performance foam to date, which is why people seem to love it so much.

Speed Roll

Another important thing to note about the midsole is the Speed Roll rocker geometry. This basically means they make the foam in a curved fashion so when you’re toeing off, your foot rocks forward.

While the Speed has a pretty generous 8mm heel drop, that Speed Roll helps keep everything flowing nice and smooth through the gait cycle. It just does help give you that quick snappy toe-off feel.

Nylon Plate

The Speed has a full-length nylon plate from heel to toe. The plate really does stiffen up the midsole for quick snappy rides and transitions as you’re going mile after mile. Compared to a nylon plate, a carbon fiber plate is much stiffer and much more rigid.

Some people prefer nylon plates because they give you a little more flex and move a little bit more with your foot while others prefer that super-rigid carbon fiber plate. It really comes down to your personal preference.

The downside to the Endorphin Speed and the nylon plate is that you’re not getting all that propulsion and that springiness that you get from the carbon fiber plate in the Endorphin Pro.

But on the plus side, that rigid carbon plate makes the overall running experience in the Pro feel a little bit more firm and stiff.

So, while the Endorphin Speed still feels like a very fast shoe, it’s a little bit softer and a little bit more forgiving. I feel like it’s a lot easier to live with both for your training and even for your racing.


The Speed has a FORMFIT upper which is supposedly inspired by the mesh that’s on their track shoes.

This upper is a fine layer of mesh and has some fused overlays that provide some additional structure to the mesh which is really pretty pliable and can move around fairly easily.

Saucony also completely redesigned the heel counter for a better lockdown and a more secure fit from what they had on the first version.



The outsole is Saucony’s durable XT-900 carbon rubber. You get quite a bit of rubber in the forefoot section while the rest of the rubber just outlines the bottom of the shoe with a little more in the high-impact heel zone.

All in all,

If you’re looking for a well-cushioned plated shoe that’s good for tempo training and/or race days, I highly recommend the Saucony Endorphin Speed.

The midsole is fast and snappy and you have enough cushioning to push into some of those longer runs and even marathon days.

The Endorphin Speed is going to be a shoe you’re going to reach for multiple times a week just because it’s so much fun to run in.

FYI, this is a neutral runner and there’s not a lot in the way of pronation control. So if you do need a stability shoe, I recommend you use an insert or just go with a different kind of shoe.

Overall, if you’re not wanting to get into the carbon-plated racers or if you don’t think that you’re ready for that yet, I think the Speed is a really great way to test the waters in terms of having that higher-end race shoe.


  • PWRRUN PB is Saucony’s lightest & most bouncy performance foam to date
  • Cushioning is lightweight & responsive
  • Midsole is not squishy but not stiff, either
  • Nylon plate is softer and a little bit more forgiving
  • Plate provides a fun, peppy ride & smooth rockered transitions
  • Speed Roll technology helps this 8mm drop shoe flow nice and smooth
  • FORMFIT upper is pretty breathable & pliable and can move around fairly easily
  • Offers more flexibility than other carbon-plated shoes
  • Upper and improved lacing system provide great lockdown & foot security
  • Durable XT-900 carbon rubber outsole


  • A bit slippery on wet roads
  • Minimal stability & support

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Asics Gel Kayano 28



Because the Kayano is a stability shoe, let’s dive more into the stability elements of the shoe…


Instead of that classic medial posting, you’ve got this dual-density Dynamic DuoMax foam on the medial side to prevent overpronation. When you run and land, this foam is going to limit the amount that your foot is turning inwards.

You’ve got the Trusstic System which is a plastic piece that keeps the shoe from twisting even though the Kayano 28 features less plastic than the Kayano 27.

In addition to the dual-density cushioning, you also have something called 3D Space Construction.

What that means is that there’s geometric shapes that are designed to collapse in a certain way within the midsole that guide your foot in a natural and stable manner. This is the same technology that was featured on the Kayano Lite.


Asics did a lot of updates here. They replaced the old FlyteFoam Propel with the new FlyteFoam Blast which originally debuted in the Asics Novablast.

On the Kayano, you’ve got a huge chunk of FlyteFoam Blast in the forefoot and a small sliver as it goes towards the heel area.

This means the Kayano is more energetic, cushiony, and bouncier as you go through your stride compared to the Kayano 27.

Because it’s the Gel Kayano, you do get quite a bit of Gel in the heel and a circle right underneath your forefoot for more shock absorption when you’re landing.

So the midsole is still really comfortable and really cushioned, but you’re getting some really good bounce and responsiveness to it.


The Kayano 28 is 23mm in the heel and 13mm in the forefoot for men while 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 and so it’s going to be a little bit softer on their feet. The men’s version still offers the standard Asics 10mm drop while the women’s has a 13mm drop to offer that little bit of extra support for the Achilles.

Overall, the Kayano is one of the best stability running shoes for 5k.



The Kayano 28 still has that dual-layered engineered mesh upper with some plastic overlays as you get near the laces area for added durability. The upper is really comfortable, fairly breathable, and pretty easy to move around.

The heel counter has been completely redesigned. Instead of that large piece of plastic directly on the back of the heel, the Kayano 28 has a low-profile plastic heel counter.

On the inside, you do get quite a bit of padding, especially at the Achilles area to keep you nice and comfortable.

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 hard-wearing AHAR+ (Asics High Abrasion Rubber+) on the heel area to really allow for a durable heel strike.

Asics have reduced the depth of the rubber a little bit, which explains the slight reduction in weight in the Kayano 28.

As an important side note, the Kayano 28 is actually a thinner shoe compared to Kayano 27 and the Kayano Lite.

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.

Regular Kayano vs Kayano Lite 

Now with the Kayano Lite in the markets, what’s the difference between the regular Kayano and the Kayano Lite?

The regular Kayano packs more technology to provide a better stable experience. The Kayano Lite is just one block of foam that has some cool shapes to provide stability.

So, 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.

Overall, if you want to just buy one shoe and just use it day in and day out, the Kayano 28 definitely checks all the boxes.


  • Heel counter, lacing system, and upper all work together to give you a comfortable ride
  • Solid lockdown
  • Really durable with a ton of AHAR+ rubber on the outsole
  • FlyteFoam Blast, Gel, and 3D Space Construction provide a stable ride without jolting your foot into the correct position
  • Bouncier and more responsive than the Kayano 27
  • Women’s version is a little bit softer than the men’s


  • Upper is not very breathable for summertime (nice and cozy in the wintertime)
  • FlyteFoam Blast in the forefoot might be a little soft if you want a true max stability experience. 

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Altra Escalante 2.5



Natural Approach

The Escalante is supposed to be a little bit more natural in terms of what your body wants to do and what your body responds to.

The wide foot-shaped toebox is also designed to have a natural running style and something that can really complement what your body wants to do naturally.

It’s just going to give your toes enough room to spread out and help you to provide your own sense of stability and push off as you’re hitting that gait cycle. 

Zero Drop EGO Midsole

Minimalist shoes and Altras aren’t necessarily the same thing. The Escalante certainly is not a minimalist shoe because while it is zero drop, it’s far from zero cushion. There is 24mm of stack height from heel to toe.

The midsole is always runners’ favorite section in shoes. The shoe features an EGO midsole that’s quite rubbery. It has quite a lot of rebound and it is compression-resistant.

The EGO foam is going to give you a nice combination of impact protection on the road and energy return while also making sure that the ride feels nice and snappy.

The midsole feels a lot like React foam except for when you’re bouncing it, it comes back a little bit slower. Not only that, but EGO just does not pack down or bottom out.

Over a multitude of different surfaces and terrain and a variety of different paces, the midsole is really enjoyable and a quite forgiving ride. It is really responsive and has quite a similar feel to the FuelCell Rebel and the Beacon from New Balance.

However, 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.

Overall, the zero-drop feature is going to:

  • Help absorb shock
  • Provide a natural running motion
  • Be gentle on your Achilles
  • Help off-load pressure on the ball of the foot, which makes the Escalante one of the best running shoes for Metatarsalgia pain.

However, zero drop does require some getting used to.


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.

Again, 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 it comes to lockdown, cinching up the laces on the Escalante is going to give you a glove-like fit for sure. So 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.


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, and fitness, and just generally enjoy running.


  • Zero-drop Ego midsole is minimal yet has a lot of rebound & softness
  • Decent amount of cushioning
  • Compression-resistant midsole that doesn’t bottom out
  • Has a natural foot shape design
  • Really responsive, enjoyable, & quite a forgiving ride
  • Has a good energy return
  • Promotes a slightly faster cadence than normal
  • A great run-to-brunch-to-run shoe
  • Helps off-load pressure on the ball of the foot
  • Seamless, comfortable, & soft sock-like knit upper
  • Upper is breathable and stretchy and accommodates all foot shapes
  • Traction is very good on paths and roads
  • Looks great


  • The zero-drop feature takes some getting used to
  • Upper might feel sloppy at really speedy runs 

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Asics Metaracer




We have a full-length use of Asics’ FlyteFoam technology. Some FlyteFoams are firmer like in the Asics EvoRide and some are softer like in the GlideRide. The FlyteFoam in the Metaracer sits somewhere in between but maybe a bit more on the bouncier end.

Asics say FlyteFoam is eco-friendly foam. But as far as the feeling, it feels similar to what FuelCell feels like for New Balance.

The real story is the carbon fiber plate. Under the FlyteFoam, you have the actual bottom-loaded carbon plate.

Typically with high stack height carbon plated 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 Metaracer is nowhere close to what the other brands are doing, which makes it possible to have the plate bottom-loaded and still provide a springy toe-off when getting into your stride.

The softness of the foam is going to give you just the right amount of cushion and springiness to keep you forward and going into your next foot strike.

But I wouldn’t say that it’s like the super plush experience you’re getting with the Vaporfly or ZoomX foam.

At slower paces, you might even think that it’s a little bit stiff of a foam, but once you’re getting up to kind of race pace in those faster speeds, then it tends to balance out and work out to be just the right amount for that extra force you’re using to push off.


The upper is heavily weight-reduced, it’s exceptionally lighter, and it’s as transparent as an upper can be with no unnecessary padding anywhere. 

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 and some areas of the heel cup. Even the toe cap has a hole in it so that more air can get through.

This may not seem like a big deal for some, 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. The Metaracer seems snug towards the top of the feet, but it ends up being completely fine when running. The toe box is surprisingly roomy for something that’s intended to be a racer.  

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 Metaracer is the best overall, or at least so far. It’s light, minimal, effective, and super breathable.

So, as far as I’m concerned, the upper is a solid A+.



The outsole is absolutely stunning and the wavy pattern just screams fluidity and motion. It looks like there’s a lot of rubber and I think Asics are trying 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 and that’s why Asics call this a Grip outsole.

As far as on the road, granite, and track, it does just that. The Metaracer is built for the road and I think it performs best on that.

So, traction is really great on roads and for 5ks, I think this is really going to be a winner in terms of wetter conditions.

Metaracer vs EvoRide

The Metaracer reminds me a lot of the Asics Evoride. Just like the Metaracer, at slower paces and recover paces, the EvoRide feels a bit awkward, but once you start getting some tempo paces into that shoe, that shoe really starts to shine.

So, I would get the EvoRide for a lot of your faster long days and then the Metaracer for racing, time trials, and for when you’re getting ready for a race

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.

The Metaracer 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.


  • Secure and breathable single-layer mesh upper
  • Bouncy full-length FlyteFoam midsole
  • Bottom-loaded carbon plate provides springy toe-off
  • Plate provides smooth and efficient transitions
  • Lightweight rubber outsole with added traction
  • Smooth, surprisingly soft, fast, & cushioned ride
  • Streamlined design & lower stack height gives the shoe a bit more of a stable controlled feel
  • Half marathon and down would be the sweet spot of the Metaracer for non-elite runners


  • May not be enough cushioning for average elite joggers to go the entire 26.2 miles
  • Footbed & midfoot might feel narrow for some

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Saucony Kinvara 12


Neutral Pronation 〉 W: 6.3 oz 〉 M: 7.5 oz 〉 Drop: 4mm 〉 Stack Height: Heel: 28.5 mm 〉 Forefoot: 24.5 mm 〉 Road 〉 True to size

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.

Why the Kinvara is good for you

The Kinvara is 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 or even a race-day shoe for someone who wants that little bit of cushioning.

The Kinvara 12 has got that almost Saucony Endorphin-like treatment, but it is going to continue to maintain that Kinvara philosophy and 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.

AnonD uses the Kinvara for 5ks, track repeats, 15k, and half marathons. Read his review on Amazon.


The Kinvara 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. It is really smooth and poppy through the transition and toe-off when you’re trying to pick up the pace.

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 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.

It’s not a super tight race upper so it has a little bit of room in the forefoot without being too roomy. 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 secure 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 we’ve come to know year after year.



We’re 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, which is the norm for the Kinvara line.

You get a little bit of traction and everything you need for the roads. However, when things get a little wetter, you might get not quite as good traction as some of the other shoes.

Overall, while it’s not maybe the most exciting shoe currently in the line with these fancy plated shoes and highly responsive performance trainers, 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 the Kinvara.

Read the full review of the Kinvara 11.


  • Really lightweight, comfortable, and breathable mesh upper.
  • Upper is secure but still allows for a bit of stretch near the toe box.
  • Really nice combination of PWRRUN midsole and PWRRUN+ topsole.
  • Really smooth and poppy through the transition and toe-off.
  • Strategic rubber in the heel and forefoot with lots of exposed material throughout the midfoot.


  • Non-durable outsole (250 to 300 miles)

New Balance FuelCell Rebel v3


Neutral Pronation 〉 W: 5.8 oz 〉 M: 7.4 oz 〉 Drop: 6mm 〉 Stack Height: Heel: 26 mm 〉 Forefoot: 20 mm 〉 Road 〉 Run small

As one of the best 5k racing shoes, the Rebel v3 keeps a lot of what made the v2 fun. It even improves upon the platform while maintaining its lightweight springy goodness. I can already envisage this taking over the Hoka One One Mach 4 in my daily trainer lineup.

Why the Rebel is good for you

The Rebel v3 is built for short fast or race scenarios while now being a solid choice for medium-length runs as well. It truly has become an all-day everyday trainer.

So while this is more of your speed-day shoe, I did find the Rebel v3 surprisingly capable at easy runs.

So for me, it’s also going to get a lot of daily use as well and I’m going to use it in a wide variety of applications.

In terms of using the Rebel as a daily trainer, I think it would be ideally suited for your regular easy runs and medium-length runs. I’m not sure this is something I want to take for the longest runs of my marathon training block.

So, from workout day to day training and even race day, people are going to really enjoy wearing the FuelCell Rebel v3.

Thomas says the Rebel is great for 5k training. Read his review on Amazon.


Probably the most important part about this shoe is going to be the price point. I don’t think there’s another shoe on the market that delivers this much performance, this much responsiveness, this amazing of a foam at this great of a price point.


The good news is the FuelCell Propel v3 still has that extremely responsive FuelCell foam that gives the shoe its magic feel.

The Rebel 3 has got full-length FuelCell cushioning and this is going to be the same compound we saw in the Rebel v2 and in the RC Elite v2.

So, this is that autoclaved processed midsole which is very responsive, very soft, and just provides an amazing pop at toe-off.

The Rebel v3 is about 2 millimeters higher than the Rebel v2, which means it’s potentially a little bit more cushiony underfoot. However, it doesn’t feel too much more cushioned and it still feels very nimble and just that perfect blend of cushioning no matter the distance.

The bigger change with this is going to be the slightly more democratic feel that we’re going to see with the FuelCell Rebel v3. The net bases have been widened out just a little bit more and so it should be a little bit more inherently stable.


The Rebel 3 is going to continue to offer a very thin and lightweight experience. In the forefoot and then moving into the midfoot, we’re going to see these large breathable holes that are just going to create a very breathable on-foot experience.

The Rebel offers a fairly narrow performance fit in the heel and into the midfoot, and then as you get into the forefoot, it opens up just a little bit more. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a roomy forefoot, but it offers just the right amount for a fast-performance trainer.

The material is also going to continue to be extremely thin and very lightweight and it’s what helps round this shoe together and helps keep it in that 7.4 oz range.



There’s some strategic rubber in the forefoot and in the heel, which is going to offer all the traction and durability you need for those miles.

Just like the Rebel 2, the v3 has plenty of exposed midsole in the midfoot to continue to help keep that weight at a minimum.

Overall, the Rebel v3 is going to continue to be that fast performance shoe, but those slightly wider bases are just going to make the shoe a little bit more accessible to an even wider range of runners and make it an even more versatile shoe for any day of the week.

It has taken a lot of those key characteristics that people loved in version 2 and further elevated them to be an even more versatile performance trainer. So, I think the FuelCell Rebel v3 should be a part of any serious runner’s daily training lineup.


  • See-through super-thin breathable upper.
  • Great comfort and lockdown.
  • Paper-thin tongue slightly sits offset so it wraps nicely around the top of your ankle.
  • Has 2mm more cushion than the v2.
  • Super-soft full-length FuelCell midsole is very responsive, very soft, and just provides an amazing pop at toe-off.
  • Ndurance rubber on the outsole.
  • Wider net base than the v2.


  • Stiffens in cold temperatures

New Balance FuelCell Propel v3


Neutral Pronation 〉 W: 7.7 oz 〉 M: 8.9 oz 〉 Drop: 6mm 〉 Stack Height: Heel: 30 mm 〉 Forefoot: 24 mm 〉 Road 〉 True to size

The FuelCell Propel came out in 2020 and it was that faster slightly more versatile and really value-oriented performance trainer. It was just a fun shoe to run in.

Why the Propel is good for you

First off, the Propel v3 is a great price. It is 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 Propel v3 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 Propel v3 is great for easy days and everyday training. You could also take it out on a middle-distance or long run. It might be a little more challenging for a tempo day because it’s a little heavy and just not incredibly responsive for that.

Again, the Fuelcell Propel v3 is a comfort-oriented shoe and it’s not a performance racer like you might have with the Fuelcell Rebel.

Chris runs 5x 5ks a week in the Propel. Read his review on Amazon.


Midsole & Outsole

The midsole has the same FuelCell foam as the previous versions. It is extremely comfortable and really soft. It has a very noticeable rebound and tons of cushioning to handle your daily training while also having a close enough feel to the ground to pick up the pace. The midsole actually deflates and kind of pumps you back forward.

It’s also interesting to note how wide the heel platform is, which allows this very soft midsole to actually be very stable.

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 to provide enough durability to just keep getting the miles in day in and day out.

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.


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.

FuelCell vs Other Foams

Fuelcell is much more exciting than Nike’s React foam and it kind of has a lot more bounce than the Epic React.It 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 but denser feel to it as well. Compared to other New Balance foams such as Fresh Foam, Fuelcell is much more forgiving and exciting.


The Propel has a new synthetic mesh upper that has a bootie construction and a wide toe box with absolutely no overlays. The upper is light, comfortable, and it looks great. I feel like it adds even more value to an already great price shoe.

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 an 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.


  • FuelCell midsole is extremely soft, comfortable, and cushioned, and has a noticeable rebound.
  • Crystalized well-decoupled rubber outsole provides enough durability.
  • Very flexible and more stable than the Propel v2.  
  • Has a wedge in the lateral side to provide extra traction when you’re rounding your corners.
  • Light and comfortable synthetic mesh upper with a bootie construction and a wide toe box.
  • Stitched-in Trace Fiber technology to provide midfoot and heel support.
  • Comes at a price that’s hard to beat.


  • Collar rubs ankle because of the shoe’s high Achilles.

Adidas Adizero Adios 6



Neutral Pronation 〉 W: 7.8 oz 〉 M: 8.6 oz 〉 Drop: 8mm 〉 Stack Height: Heel: 32 mm 〉 Forefoot: 24 mm 〉 Road 〉 True to size

While it looks to continue on the Adios legacy, the shoe has some very similar features but we’ve got that new-age foam that’s just going to provide a little bit more pop to your step.

Why the Adios is good for you

You can use the Adios for 5k to 10k, and then we’ve seen record attempts all the way up to the marathon. The Adios 6 isn’t meant to be all of your runs. It’s for racing, fast tempo runs, and faster brick runs…

LightStrike is a foam that feels kind of firm at lower speeds. However, once you really start to hit and push off on the ground a little bit harder, it loosens up a little bit and it gives all that force back to you as you’re picking your foot up off the ground for the next stride.


We’ve got a fairly low-to-the-ground design and we’ve got two foam compounds. In the heel and then moving up slightly into the forefoot, we’ve got a LightStrike foam which is going to be light and responsive.

Then, up in the forefoot at that top layer, we’ve got the ultra-responsive LightStrike Pro. This is Adidas’ lightest and most bouncy midsole compound.

We’ve seen it in the Adios Pro 2 and now it’s featured partly in the Adios 6. LightStrike Pro is like this puck of premium foam material toward the forefoot where you’re going to be landing on some of your faster runs.

Actually, LightStrike reminds me a lot of DNA Flash in the Brooks Hyperion Tempo.



The Adios 6 has Continental rubber in the heel and the forefoot. Then, there’s a torsion system. Initially, the Adidas’ torsion system was something that was just meant to provide a little bit of rigidity and prevent the shoe from twisting around too much.

However, it’s evolved over time. While it still serves that function, it also has a little bit of a propulsive effect where it can get loaded and then snap back as you’re taking off for your next stride.

Continental rubber is doing a fantastic job in terms of grip. Compared to the Adidas Prime X and the Boston 10, the rubber on the Adios 6 seems to be very thick and it also seems to be very dense. There’s still quite a bit of exposed foam and there’s lots of cutaways to help cut down on weight.

So, making such a lightweight shoe while still having a ton of thick rubber, good job Adidas. This outsole is fast on the road and it’s also decent for trails.


On the upper, there’s a simple layer of Prime Green mesh which is this very ventilated mesh that is very strong. This mesh design actually reminds me a lot of past versions of the Adios.

There’s a couple of suede overlays over the toes and some underlays as well that provide some additional structural support.  The upper has got some suede overlays in the forefoot and heel.

The tongue is very thin and has a couple of strategic little pads on the top just to prevent the lacing system from putting too much pressure on the top of your foot.

The fit is really good and strikes that balance between having enough room that your toes don’t feel crunched but also feeling snug and locked down enough for your workouts.

In conclusion, the Adios series is that tried-and-true Adidas racer. 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.

The Adios definitely reminds us of the Boston 9, but it’s different than a lot of the Adios shoes of the past.

The Adios 6 is definitely taller than previous Adios shoes and that’s a change that I can certainly appreciate. Overall, with version 6, we’re going to see that same traditional design but in a little bit more of a new-age package.

Last but not least, the Adidas Adios 6 is also great for 10k races.


  • LightStrike and LightSrike Pro midsole is ultra-responsive, and light.
  • Torsion system prevents twisting, gets loaded, and then snaps back.
  • Thick and dense Continental rubber does a fantastic job in terms of grip.
  • A lot of exposed rubber and cutaways help cut down on weight.
  • Lightweight and well-ventilated Prime Green mesh upper.
  • Upper and tongue are comfortable on top of your foot.


  • Thick outsole might collect tiny pebbles.
  • Cinching down the laces might cause pressure on the top of the foot because of the thin tongue.

Adidas Takumi Sen 8



Neutral Pronation 〉 W: 6.8 oz 〉 M: 6.8 oz 〉 Drop: 6mm 〉 Stack Height: Heel: 33 mm 〉 Forefoot: 27 mm 〉 Road 〉 True to size

In 2022, it seems like 5k/10k super shoes are going to be the norm, and the first company to release theirs is Adidas. The Takumi almost seems like the Adios Pro 2 got hit with a shrink ray.

The Takumi Sen is back and it’s been revamped from top to bottom. We’re seeing carbon fiber plates, we’re seeing maxed-out stack heights, but now with the Takumi Sen, we’ve got a very unique option that’s going to offer that super foam design.


Why the Takumi Sen is good for you

The Takumi Sen 8 has got some of those plate features that offer those efficiency benefits but in a little bit more stripped-down package. It is going to be great from 5k potentially up to the half marathon.

It works quite nicely for longer intervals and fartlek sessions and you may even still be happy with it during the rests between your reps. I wouldn’t necessarily go for an easy jog or an endurance run because there are better shoes for that. 

Coming in at 6.8 oz, the Takumi Sen is a nice step down from the Adios Pro 2. It’s a little bit lighter, a little bit more aggressive, and it’s one of the short-distance running shoes.

Athletes breaking records in the Adidas Takumi Sen 8.


The midsole has got a full-length LightStrike Pro foam material that runs from the forefoot to the heel. This is the same compound we see in the Adios Pro 2, but it’s going to be stripped down a little bit more.

We’ve got 33 millimeters in the heel and 27 millimeters in the forefoot for a 6-millimeter heel-toe-drop. This is going to be about 7 millimeters lower than the max stack Adios Pro 2.

This means the Takumi Sen 8 is just a little bit lighter, more nimble, more flexible, and a little bit more geared to those faster races.



The first thing you’re going to see on the outsole is that energy rod plate kind of peeking out. We saw the energy rod in the Adios Pro 2 and it’s designed to deliver that stiff torsional rigidity.

But as opposed to a standard carbon fiber plate, it’s going to be just a little bit more natural and a little bit more adaptive. Adidas use the energy rod setup and it seems to be working really well for the athletes.

The outsole features Continental rubber up in the forefoot and a little bit on the medial side. Then as you move over the lateral side, you’re going to see that tacky outsole material kind of go down through the midfoot into the heel.

This tacky material is what we saw in the Adios Pro 2 and it’s going to be a little bit lighter weight than the Continental rubber, but it is going to come at the expense of maybe not being quite as durable.


The Takumi Sen 8 has that mesh 2.0 design. We keep seeing it in the Adizero product and there’s a good reason for it. It’s extremely light, extremely breathable, and extremely thin. This might be the thinnest material on the market and it really is built for race day.

The upper has a nice lockdown in the midfoot, but this shoe is very minimal in the heel. There’s pretty much no heel counter because this is built to be as light as possible.

Now, where does the Takumi Sen 8 fit in a racer’s lineup?

With the Takumi Sen, you get a lot of the benefits of super shoes on the market specifically the Adios Pro 2. However, the Takumi is stripped-down, it’s lighter, it’s more aggressive, and it really is built for the 5k and 10k, which is the distances that I tend to do the most.

Moving into 2022, we may see more shoes in the super shoe department that are a little bit more stripped down and a bit more geared towards those shorter distances, but now, this is going to be the only shoe on the market and I think it’s safe to say that this is going to be the best 5k/10k shoe.


  • Same LightStrike midsole on the Adios Pro 2.
  • Lighter, more nimble, more flexible, and a little bit more geared to those faster races than the Adios Pro.
  • Energy rods technology delivers stiff torsional rigidity, but it’s more natural and a little bit more adaptive.
  • Continental rubber on the outsole and tacky material on the lateral side.
  • Mesh upper is extremely light, extremely breathable, and extremely thin.


  • The Takumi Sen 8 is going to confuse many runners who are familiar with the previous models.

Where to buy these shoes




















5k Running Shoes – FAQs

Which shoes are best for 5 km running?

These are some great options: Brooks Ghost, Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2, Asics Metaracer, ASICS Metaspeed Sky Plus, Altra Escalante, Saucony Endorphin Speed, Adidas Takumi Sen, Adidas Adizero Adios 6.

Can you run a 5K in basketball shoes?

You should definitely avoid wearing basketball shoes during your 5k races. Long distances require shoes to be able to provide support, comfortable cushioning, and a lightweight package.

What is a 5K running in miles?

A 5K run is 3.1 miles.

Is it okay to run a 5k in Vans?

Vans are skate shoes. They’re designed to have a hard sole to provide better support and a solid landing platform for skateboarders. However, they’re not suitable for running and it’s advised not to run in them.

What is a good 5K time?

The chart below gives you average times based on age and gender.

Age groupMenWomen
0 to 1534:4337:55
16 to 1929:3937:39
20 to 2429:2736:22
25 to 2931:0936:16
30 to 3431:2738:41
35 to 3933:4437:21
40 to 4432:2638:26
45 to 4933:1339:19
50 to 5434:3041:20
55 to 5937:3345:18
60 to 6440:3345:49
65 to 9942:5950:13

So there you have it, if you have run a 5k and swear by your shoes, please share your experience in the comments section below.

Until then, I hope you’re staying safe out there and see you in the next one 🙂

About Eric Barber

Eric Barber is a happy father of two little angels, a husband, and a runner. He eats, sleeps, and dreams anything foot related: running shoes, walking shoes, sneakers, you name it. It all started when Eric was a shoe store specialist watching and fitting people's feet day in and day out.

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