A 10k run is a popular choice for many reasons. It’s a gateway for runners who eventually aspire to run half and full marathons; it gives you an idea of what longer races feel like. Even when not racing, a 10K training run is an excellent workout distance to build stamina without testing the limits of your body.
Depending on the pace, running a 10K involves being on your feet anywhere between 30 minutes to a little over an hour. If your target is a sub-40 minute 10K, that means you’d want (not need, though) a shoe that feels fast.
On the other hand, if finishing a 10K takes an hour or more, then you need a shoe with sufficient cushioning in its foam reservoir. In other words, a running shoe needs to meet the speed and endurance requirements of a 10K run.
If you’re already wrapping up 10K runs under 40 minutes, then you should read our buyer’s guide for 5K races. Those models will do just fine for fast 10K paces.
Given the context, we’ve put together a list of recommended shoes that work for both categories of runners. So regardless of whether you’re running a 37 minute or an hour-long 10K, these shoes will do a splendid job.
There’s another reason to consider this list. You can also use these shoes for half marathons, a distance where thinner racing flats (otherwise suitable for 5K races) may not offer adequate ride comfort.
Our selection criterion is relatively straightforward. The shoes listed below have a good blend of cushioning and fast; in other words, they’re lightweight trainers with enough midsole to go the distance.
From a category point of view, these shoes are the middle ground between regular trainers like the Saucony Ride 15 and traditional racing flats.
Here’s our pick of the top 9 shoes for running a 10K, sorted alphabetically. If we had to pick just two, those would be the adidas adios 6 and Asics Metaracer.
1) adidas Adizero Adios 6
The newest version of the adios 6 is packed with functional updates, but it retains the quick yet cushioned ride character of the previous shoe. Our detailed write-up can be read here.
The familiar feel is the result of combining soft and firm foams that create a functional blend of cushioning and speed-friendly support. The firm EVA foam called Lightstrike creates a supportive foundation under the softer Lightstrike Pro wedge.
A stiff Torsion shank connects the rearfoot with the forefoot to make the quick transitions possible. The Continental rubber outsole has also been completely redesigned to include aggressive ‘ribs’ that deliver excellent traction.
The snug and breathable upper keeps the foot locked down during the fast runs. The retro racer-inspired upper has an inner sleeve as well as a padded tongue and heel, so there’s none of the scratchiness that plagued the vintage adios models.
2) adidas SL20.3
The SL20.3’s midsole is based on the Lightstrike EVA foam that’s also used on the adios 6.
However, unlike the adios 6 that uses Lightstrike only partly, the entire midsole of SL20 is made of Lightstrike EVA. From a performance perspective, that translates into a speed-friendly ride with sufficient comfort for 10K runs.
The firm Lightstrike EVA and Continental rubber outsole add an element of stiffness that’s conducive for high speeds. The outsole is split into four pieces, so it works together with the midsole during the transition process.
Though the 8-ounce SL20.3 would be categorized as a low-profile speed trainer, there’s ample ride comfort due to the 19 mm front and 27 rear stack. The midsole lacks the business-like harshness of the adios 6, so the SL20 is more versatile.
The racer-like upper is secure and breathable. For the SL20 V3, adidas has modified the design of the first three lacing rows to make the fit (more) accommodating than the SL20 2. There’re also fewer fused overlays on the forefoot mesh; that frees up some room and improves the ventilation.
3) Asics DS-Trainer 26
The DS-Trainer 26 is one of the very few ‘stability’ speed shoes left in the wild, with the other two being the New Balance 1500V6 and Saucony Fastwitch 9. Even the New Balance FuelCell Prism is from the same category; but it’s a much softer running shoe that may not be the best fit for fast 10K paces.
Though the midsole has a tiny medial post, the overall effect of the firmer wedge is placebo-like. It isn’t noticed during the runs at all.
The low-profile Flytefoam midsole (and the insole above it) provides sufficient ride comfort for 10K runs while delivering fast and efficient transitions.
A couple of years ago, Asics updated the DS-Trainer 24 with a smooth and soft mesh upper, and the 26 has a similar feel and feel. With a padded tongue, heel, and soft mesh, the insides do not feel as spartan as a racing flat.
4) Asics Gel-Noosa Tri 14
The Noosa Tri 14 is a unique product – not only within Asics’s running shoe line, but even when considered from an overall industry perspective.
The ‘Tri’ part of the shoe’s name pertains to the shoe’s triathlon-friendly features like the breathable and quick-drying mesh along with a very visible color scheme.
The Noosa 14 and 13 differ greatly from the 12. The Noosa 12 was based on the low-profile midsole from the DS-Trainer 25 (same as the DST 26). That made the Noosa Tri 12 a firm, racer-like trainer. Also, the V13 was the first time the Asics Noosa Tri wasn’t based on a midsole with a medial post.
Instead, the Tri 13’s new midsole was borrowed from the Evoride 2 – a neutral running shoe with a rocker midsole; aka the ‘Guidesole.’ The Noosa Tri 14 has the same midsole as the 13, so very little has changed except for the upper. The inner gusset prevents tongue slide, and the large loop makes the shoe easy to put on and off.
Hence, though the Noosa Tri 14 isn’t as ‘fast’ as the 12, it offers a higher level of ride comfort for runs of 10K and beyond.
5) Asics Metaracer
The Asics Metaracer is an excellent running shoe for 10K, and one of our favorite models.
Not only is this low-profile speed shoe very cushioned, but also has a Carbon plate that’s exceptionally well integrated with the midsole.
The soft Flytefoam layer provides plenty of cushioning comfort, whereas the stiff plate makes the turnovers quick and economical during the gait cycle. These attributes make running a 10K distance fast, yet enjoyable.
There’s plenty of comfort inside the well-ventilated upper; that keeps the foot cool during high-cadence sessions. The outsole may not have an aggressive lug design, yet it grips well due to Asics’s proprietary sticky rubber compound.
6) Asics Hyperspeed
If the HyperSpeed looks familiar, that’s because its silhouette mirrors the more expensive Metaracer. Given its $90 MSRP, it’s understandable that the HyperSpeed lacks a plate or Flytefoam in its repertoire. We tested and reviewed the excellent Hyperspeed to break down its pros and cons.
It does, however, possess ample cushioning and speed-friendly manners for 10K distances. The EVA foam stack provides plenty of ride comfort while maintaining a fast feel.
And just like the Metracer, the engineered mesh is smooth, comfortable, and well-ventilated on the inside. The semi-collapsible collar goes easy on the Achilles as well.
7) Brooks Hyperion Tempo
The Brooks Hyperion Tempo feels like a refined version of a Skechers running shoe with a Hyperburst midsole.
The Hyperion Tempo is extremely lightweight and has a firm cushioning character that feels enjoyable at 10K-worthy speeds.
The ‘DNA Flash’ midsole is made of Nitrogen-infused EVA foam, thus creating a lightweight midsole that is cushioned yet firm – just the ingredients that one needs for a speedy medium-distance run.
8) Nike ZoomX Streakfly
Ideally, a running shoe for 10K distance needs to have just the right amount of ride comfort, but served with a sense of urgency.
If cushy plus fast is the mantra, then the ZoomX Streakfly makes a strong case for itself. For our review, we actually tested the Streakfly during a timed 10K race to see how it does.
This shoe reminds us of the Reebok Run Fast 3 and Run Fast Pro. Both those shoes had a lightweight PEBA-based midsole, except that the Run Fast 3 was more supportive than the Streakfly because of its firmer EVA rims.
The low-profile midsole is made entirely of the soft and lightweight ZoomX foam, and a flat forefoot plate adds an element of quickness. Thanks to its lightweight upper and sole, the Streakfly weighs next to nothing.
All these attributes make the Nike ZoomX Streakfly an excellent pick for 10K training runs or races. Unfortunately, the availability is scarce, so you’ll need to keep trying your luck on Nike’s website.
9) Skechers GoRun Razor+
To the outside world, Skechers is known as a family footwear brand. Its website presents a vast assortment of affordable athleisure shoes for everyday use.
But now and then, Skechers shows everyone what it’s truly capable of. Many gems have come out of the Californian brand over the last several years, and the GoRun Razor+ is one of them. It’s a follow-up shoe to the critically-acclaimed GoRun Razor 3.
Skechers calls its midsole material HyperBurst – a lightweight and responsive material that is based on a CO2-infused EVA foam. It has an excellent ground feel and helps the Razor+ achieve an incredible 6.4-ounce (181 grams) weight. The Razor+ is a shoe that feels at home at faster paces than it does at lower speeds.
The Razor+ has a fit snug and is true-to-size for a racer – that said, some runners may need to buy a half-size larger for comfort. Admittedly, Skechers isn’t exactly a brand on everyone’s radar when looking for a cushioned road racer, but this shoe packs serious street cred.
To sum up, it’s a great pick for running a 10K road race.