A 10k run is a popular distance 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 you’re running sub-40, 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 enough cushioning on tap. In other words, a running shoe needs to meet the speed and endurance requirements of a 10K run.
If you’re wrapping up 10K runs in under 40 minutes, then perhaps you’d like to 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 35 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) are found lacking in cushioning.
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 13 and near-flat road racers.
Here’s our pick of eleven best shoes for running a 10K, sorted alphabetically. If we had to pick just two, those would be the Reebok Floatride Run Fast 2 and New Balance 1400V6.
1) adidas Adizero Adios 5
Compared to the adios 4, the adizero adios 5 looks like a changed shoe. However, the basics stay the same.
The low-profile midsole still has full-length Boost foam – the only difference is that the Lightstrike EVA foam covers the forefoot and part of the midfoot.
With this arrangement comes a functional blend of cushioning and speed-friendly support. The softer Boost core keeps the ride cushioned whereas the firmer sidewalls help quick transitions and the overall stability.
The space mesh upper is now equipped with sleeve, so the narrow fit keeps the foot locked down during fast runs. The outsole uses a grippy Continental rubber along with a Torsion shank for midfoot rigidity.
2) adidas Adizero Boston 9
The adidas Boston is a more cushioned version of the adios 5. Thus, it makes sense that the Boston features on this guide rather than the one for 5K runs. With more cushioning than the adios, the Boston 9 is less punishing on the feet than road racing shoes.
The combination of the soft Boost foam and firmer EVA rims is what makes the Boston a perennial favorite.
There’s just enough Boost in the midsole to keep runs comfortable. The low-profile stack manages to feel ‘fast’, and this ride character is helped by the firmer EVA casing around the Boost.
Though the upper is devoid of creature comforts like an overly plush tongue or soft mesh, the Boston is comfortable enough. The heel padding is minimal yet delivers an effective and padded hold. The all-mesh upper breathes well while locking the foot down.
Though there’re no functional differences between the Boston 8 and 9 due to the midsole and outsole sharing, we prefer the versions prior to the 8/9. The Boston 7 had a firmer forefoot and heel due to the closed Continental outsole design. Both the Boston 8 and 9 rely on a generously latticed – and softer – outsole that takes a bit more effort to transition through.
But we’re nitpicking here. The Boston 9 is a great all-rounder for most runs, 10K’s included.
Also see: The adidas SL 20
3) Asics Lyteracer 2
The Asics Lyteracer 2 is, ahem, a racer. However, this isn’t your typical all-out racing flat. There’s a fair bit of foam padding contained with the Flytefoam midsole, and you also get a proper rubber outsole complete with a midfoot shank.
The firm cushioning of the Lyteracer is speed-friendly as it assists quicker turnovers. At the same time, the foam layers keep the foot protected during high-cadence runs.
The synthetic suede and spacer mesh recreates a classic racer upper that fits narrow for a secure lockdown. Fused logos and high-density printing add a modern touch to the retro design.
4) Asics DS-Trainer 25
In the past, the DS-Trainer used to be an entirely different shoe altogether. The firmer medial post was more noticeable, both from a visual and functional standpoint. It was also a bit clunky.
Not any more.
The re-imagined DS-Trainer 25 (and 24) is a low-profile speed trainer with a near-neutral character. The last few years have produced several ‘light stability’ trainers like the Saucony Fastwitch and the New Balance 1500. And all of them share one thing in common – like the DS Trainer, their medial posts are not intrusive.
Here, the Flytefoam delivers a firm cushioning that is fast friendly yet sufficiently comfortable for 10K runs. The superlative upper has the most comfortable interior in its class. The heel and tongue use a soft, padded lining while the lining is buttery smooth. It fits snug without causing any discomfort.
The outsole has great traction due to the dense colony of small lugs under the forefoot.
5) Asics Gel-Noosa Tri 12
The Asics Noosa Tri 12 is an interesting product. It’s built on the same platform as the DS-Trainer 25, so the midsole delivers the familiar firm and supportive Flytefoam-based cushioning that feels quick yet comfortable enough for 10K runs and beyond.
What differentiates the Gel-Noosa from the DS-Trainer is its upper. The suffix ‘Tri’ in the shoe’s is short for Triathlon, so the upper is purposely designed with that end in mind.
For example, the large-pored mesh is breathable and quick-drying. Also, the Noosa 12 doesn’t have standard laces. In their place are elastic cords that make the shoe easy to wear. The grab-hole on the tongue flap helps get into the shoe faster.
And – the Noosa is perhaps the most colorful shoe in Asics’ line-up, if that’s what you’re looking for.
6) Mizuno Wave Shadow 3
For those who are missing the Sayonara – version 2 to be specific – the Wave Shadow 3 is its spiritual replacement. The low-profile cushioning feels fast and snappy because of the Wave plate and the firm midsole.
The Wave Shadow 3’s smooth yet form-fitting interior keeps the foot locked-down during speedy runs.
7) New Balance 1400V6
The Revlite foam midsole is adequately cushioned for 10k distances without sacrificing the ‘fast’ feel. The mesh upper has a snug yet smooth interior that blends comfort with a secure fit.
8) New Balance Fresh Foam Tempo
This shoe is easily the softest on this list. So if ride comfort is a priority, then getting the Fresh Foam Tempo is a good idea.
That being said, the term ’softness’ is purely relative.
The ride softness doesn’t come at the cost of speed-friendly manners. Sure, it doesn’t feel as ‘fast’ when compared to shoes such as the NB 1400 or the Asics Lyteracer.
The Fresh Foam Tempo is as close as one gets to the original Zante formula, so this is a trainer that balances tempo-friendly manners with the ride and fit comfort. Even the upper has an easygoing nature; it doesn’t fit as narrow as how traditional racers do.
9) Nike Zoom Streak 7
We featured the Streak LT4 – a lightweight road racer – on our list of shoes for 5K races. The Zoom Streak 7 is a more ‘cushioned’ version of the LT4, though that’s purely in a relative sense.
The Streak 7 has more midsole volume than the LT, so that makes it more comfortable while delivering a speedy ride experience. The airy upper has a smooth and secure fit.
10) Reebok Floatride Run Fast 2
This 2020 release is the second edition of this model. The ride is identical to the V1. The upper gets a new mesh and additional layering – courtesy of the classic Reebok Vector logo.
Since the Floatride foam’s first use in a sports-casual model, the Floatride foam has found its way into the performance section of Reebok’s running line.
We see the Reebok Floatride Run Fast as a lighter and faster version of the adidas Boston Boost. The shoe features an EVA rim over the Floatride midsole for stability.
The Floatride foam works as advertised, and on the Run Fast there’s just enough of it for speed-friendly cushioning. The outsole is completely covered with granular lugs for a best-in-class grip.
The Run Fast’s narrow upper fit is standard fare for running shoes of this category, so no surprises here. Reebok (and adidas) should offer widths though.
11) Skechers GoRun Razor 3 Hyperburst
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 3 Hyperburst is one of them.
Skechers calls its midsole material HyperBurst – a lightweight and responsive material that is based on EVA foam. It has excellent rebound properties while helping the Razor 3 achieve an incredible 6.5-ounce weight. The Razor 3 is a shoe which feels at home during faster paces than it does at lower speeds.
The Razor 3 Hyperburst has a fit snug and is true-to-size for a racer – that said, some might need to go a half-size up 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.
All in all, it’s a great pick for running a 10K road race.
Also see: Skechers GoMeb Speed 6 Hyper.