Are you a runner who just can’t get enough of ultrarunning? Be it the practice sessions before training for your marathon or the actual ultramarathon itself, if you want shoes that generate comfort, wear longevity, and great value, you could be disappointed by the options the market has.
The fix? Getting the best road ultra marathon shoes that can help you cover long distances while your feet benefit from user-specific sizes, wide toe boxes, more expansive uppers, and much more.
Whether you suffer from swollen feet halfway through the sessions and hence need something exceptional or you are someone who is looking for less pizzazz from your shoes, experienced or inexperienced runners and almost everyone in between will have their desired pair from this article.
So if you want to take the afternoon cruiser and break your marathon PR, let’s begin!
- 6 Best Road Ultra Marathon Running Shoes for Long Distance
- Best Overall: Under Armour Men’s Charged Assert 8 Running Shoe
- Editor’s Pick/Best for Wide Feet: ASICS Men’s GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe
- Best for Diabetic Runners/Older Runners: Brooks Men’s Ghost 13 Running Shoe
- Best for Supinators: Brooks Men’s Ghost 12 Running Shoe
- Best for Narrow Feet/Overpronation: Mizuno Men’s Rider 23 Running Shoe
- Also See: Salomon Men’s Speedcross 5 GTX Trail Running
- Buying Guide for Ultrarunners
- Final Words
6 Best Road Ultra Marathon Running Shoes for Long Distance
Below is the list of 6 best marathon shoes for beginners and experienced runners:
Best Overall: Under Armour Men’s Charged Assert 8 Running Shoe
For complete breathability in a shoe, there is hardly any pair that can back you up like Under Armour; and this holds especially true when you have to run 50-100 miles in ultramarathons. Here are the key features of the Assert 8.
- The pair is made of 84% Polyester and 16% Elastane and it comes with a Synthetic sole.
- When it comes to the shaft measurements, you have it at an approximate low-top from the arch.
- This is a neutral shoe and is made for runners who require both cushioning and flexibility.
- The mesh upper features a 3-color digital print in almost all the color options.
- You also have leather overlays on the shoe used for locking in your midfoot.
Those who have to keep standing on hard surfaces for long hours and runners who are frequently practicing can vouch for the comfort offered by these shoes.
The pair has excellent cushioning along with a great, snug fit and can survive extended wear.
You’ll find the Charged Cushioning soles having patterned groves from a compression molded foam to provide you with a solid grip and responsiveness.
Editor’s Pick/Best for Wide Feet: ASICS Men’s GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe
Compared to the Under Armour Men’s Charged Assert 8 Running Shoe, if you need something that is more performance-driven and athletic, here’s your chance with ASICS. For shoe quality that by far exceeds the price and for highly active ultrarunners, this is a pair of your dreams!
- 100% Synthetic-made shoes with an outsole made of rubber.
- This pair is made to be outdoor-ready with its mesh upper and underlays that feature a brushstroke pattern.
- On the rearfoot of the shoes, you get ASICS veneered GEL cushioning.
- It also comes with a removable sock liner that is good for those with medical orthotics.
- You get trail-specific outsoles and rubber AHAR outsoles to help you survive critical high-wear areas during the run.
This trail running aka multi-surface running shoe fits great and feels great even if you want to hike, run, or walk 1000 miles in within months and still have them hug your feet comfortably.
You need only 2 days to break in these with your wide feet and they can save your feet in heat and cold too. If your local trail is steep and narrow with trees, rocks, and roots all over the place, this shoe can make you feel unstoppable.
The grip almost feels like you have cleats on, and you feel a thing beneath your feet despite the crazy terrain type!
Best for Diabetic Runners/Older Runners: Brooks Men’s Ghost 13 Running Shoe
Picky about your running shoes? Not anymore with Brooks! Making shoes that fit like socks and give you optimal room to run long miles, here’s what these summer running shoes aka the Ghost 13 have to offer.
- Made from a 3D Fit Print, with newly engineered Air Mesh uppers and rubber soles.
- Certified PDAC A5500 shoe for diabetic patients with the APMA Seal of Acce
- Cushioning makes it perfect for running/cross-training and working out.
- Features BioMoGo DNA and DNA LOFT in the underfoot for responsiveness and durability.
- Comes with a Segmented Crash Pad for shock absorption in every step and heel-to-toe transitions.
Whether you are past that retirement age or not, these Brooks shoes can help you run on mixed surfaces, covering anything from asphalt to cobbles or sand without any calf pain whatsoever.
A slow run for 2 miles or a few thousands in a trail race will be enough to show you the speed you have from these. For shoes that don’t react to odd landings, this is a great neutral trainer with good support, lightweight, speed, and bounce.
So if you want something that is particularly good for trail running, then this can be a good choice.
Best for Supinators: Brooks Men’s Ghost 12 Running Shoe
The predecessor of the Brooks Men’s Ghost 13, the Ghost 12 is for large runners who have very high arches that need support and soft, balanced cushioning. Let’s take a look at its important features:
- Comes with Biomogo DNA and DNA loft cushions that create softness without letting the footloose reactivity.
- Features a fluid stride with high shock absorption for smooth transitions from heels to toes.
- Has new generation mesh uppers and 3D prints which strategize the stretch and structure.
- The sock liner is removable so you can replace it with plantar fasciitis insoles for sturdier arch support.
- You get reinforced patches in the big toe area to prevent ruining the trainers through poking while running.
If you are someone with a wide foot who also has high arches and a high instep, this shoe is for you. This works great for those prone to supination, offering good support and preventing your foot from going over on the outside of your foot.
If you want to cushion without the shoes being too heavy for some speed work for you, this is a balanced pair that is responsive and light.
Any type and level of running you throw at it, ultramarathon or short sprints, this pair is here to stay!
Best for Narrow Feet/Overpronation: Mizuno Men’s Rider 23 Running Shoe
You thought we have suggestions for supination/underpronation, but we would forget runners susceptible to overpronation? Not really. Mizuno’s Rider is here for those trail runners who see a lot of wear and damage on the inside of their shoes. Here are the key features of the Rider 23:
- This shoe is made of textile and features a rubber sole.
- The shaft measurement is at an approximate low-top from the arches.
- It features a Wave Cushioning Technology which provides you with ultra-soft comfort and a secure fit.
- You get a breathable mesh upper here that helps you to control the foot temperature.
- A dual compound midsole that uses the U4ic and U4icX technology that can give you excellent responsiveness.
If you prefer shoes that have roomier toe boxes, a stable base, and are lightweight, this is a solid running shoe.
This is great for medium to long-distance runs and can even go on as a good racing shoe. Since this has a stiffer sole compared to most running shoes, those who do not prefer too much cushioning would love it.
Be it running half marathons or going for a stroll, this pair fits and performs perfectly with a great toe fit. And the best bit?
You can come home without bruises all over your narrow feet after a run or workout and feel completely refreshed by the pair!
Also See: Salomon Men’s Speedcross 5 GTX Trail Running
The last one on the list from Salomon ill remind you of the ASICS Men’s GEL-Venture 5 with its all-synthetic build. But what else does the GTX have to offer to ultra runners? Let’s see.
- 100% Synthetic construction featuring a rubber outsole.
- Comes with weather protection in the form of the new Gore-Tex Construction which reduces the bulk of the shoe and improves wearer comfort.
- Features an aggressive grip called The Contagrip which is an aggressive lug design that on the sole improves shoe grip on wet ground, snow, or mud.
- Gives you the precision Speedcross fit along with the Quicklace adjustment which maintains a comfortable hold on your foot.
- You also get a floating tongue on the pair that helps you to improve your fit.
When it comes to precise fit, a lot of factors have gone into making the 5 GTX one of the bests.
Giving you the benefits of its renowned grip and snug fit, this men’s shoe makes a great winter running/wet running shoe. You can cover many miles of snow trails without this one disappointing you.
Even with the neutral design, you have enough cushioning here to protect the sides of the shoe from natural elements when you are running and it also has one of the best water resistance on road.
Buying Guide for Ultrarunners
You can use the following guide to get yourself the best road marathon shoes:
Pair That Fits
Your shoes should fit your feet and your ultramarathon course. Buy a pair that can comfortably fit your feet when you will be busy covering the thousands of steps per mile during your runs, and that makes you feel good.
Length and Width
If you feel tight around the toes or restrictive, you need to recheck the dimensions you got the pair in. The tips of your toes should never rub against the front of the toe box. The width of your shoes also should not spill out to the sides of the shoe.
Room for Movement
When you take the normal stance, even before the running, you may have good room inside the shoe for toe movement. But if it changes when you run, you will harm your natural running gait and the shock absorption will be poor.
If you are subject to pronation during landings and toe-offs from the ground, you need to make sure that you have enough arch support from a well-fitted shoe.
Swelling and Sizing Up
Ultrarunners sometimes need to accommodate swollen feet due to running long distances. However, the swelling may depend on the runner’s medical conditions, the running course itself, and/or temperature.
Therefore, sizing up should be thought of before going all out.
Some people prefer a stiff sole while others prefer a lot of cushions.
If you are the latter and want minimal ground contact during the ultramarathon, you can try highly cushioned shoes.
Your ultramarathon can be on 100 miles of gnarly terrain (cue Hardrock 100), or 100 miles down paved roads (cue Keys 100). Your shoe naturally requires you to be course-specific for that matter. So you can pick from the following:
Trail Running Shoes
For aggressive treads where you need a good grip on the trails with rocks, wet mud, and soft sand, trail shoes are the OG.
These can durably tolerate off-road running without tear and with support. They also help you to guide your feet against the unpredictability of the trail and allow lateral movements, accidental rock kicking situations and gaiter traps. These are also weatherproof.
Road Running Shoes
Great for paved roads, indoor/outdoor tracks, dirt roads and fine gravel trails, shoe grip is of least concern when you have road running shoes. These are the simplest running shoes you can get from the market.
Waterproof or Not
You don’t need waterproof shoes for most trail-running ultramarathons. While these do keep your feet dry when you’re running on dewy grass parks or shallow puddles, they are best used if you will be frequently running on wet grounds or your marathon is scheduled for winter.
Another reason to add them in your shoe quest is when you need additional warmth around your feet in windy weather. But then again, for warmer weather and for those who have particularly sweaty feet, these are not so great.
If your feet are prone to swelling later during the race, you may fare well with a shoe change. Or maybe when the course terrain changes rapidly in the middle of the race and will continue that way for a long time, even in that circumstance, having an additional pair that can support trail running is a good decision to make.
If you’ll be running the JFK 50 miler, you’ll come across a variety of trails including rocky, mountainous ridge sections from the Appalachian Trail, followed by flat and unpaved gravel which finishes with paved roads.
Again, if you run the Hell Hole Hundreds in South Carolina, you’ll know that this course may have your shoes go from wet to muddy to slippery surfaces with the change of loops.
You can keep an additional pair with you if you want to change shoes before each new loop begins.
Which brands make the best shoes for road running?
ASICS GEL, BROOKS, and MIZUNO’s Rider range make some of the best shoes for road running.
What brand makes the fastest road running shoes?
Brooks with its line of shoes from Ghost, Aurora, and Hyperion makes some of the fastest running shoes for ultrarunners.
Can I use trail runners on the road?
Yes, you can use trail runners on the road. There are less-hardcore versions of trail shoes that you can use on paved roads that can also sustain slight changes in the course, proving you ample support on the hard surfaces and enough shock absorption in moderately wet and rocky surfaces.
What are road running shoes?
Road running shoes are shoes that are commonly used by trainers as running shoes. They are highly impact-absorbing and cut down the risk of injuries of the foot and are hence preferred by runners taking the morning/afternoon cruiser for a comfortable ride.
How do you break in your marathon shoes?
You can break in your marathon shoes if you practice running in them for a couple of weeks. Wearing them often during your short runs can help you go along with them at the right time.
As you saw, running long distances is not that hard when you have the best road ultramarathon shoes, whether you are young or old, with natural or over/under pronation or with/without diabetics.
Be it running shoes you want to pick or trailing shoes, this list has an option for all. The best one has been the Under Armour Men’s Charged Assert 8 Running Shoe that holds up well in pavement and gravel with lots of treads left even after running 100s of miles in these.
Also great was the Brooks Men’s Ghost 12 Running Shoe as a sturdy running shoe that fits perfectly and can take up any course you throw at these!
But even with the best shoes up your feet, don’t forget that running the best marathon also depends on how you run, your physical fitness, and your goals. There is no single best pair for all, but there is surely one that is right for you.
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