Whether you're clocking in miles and training for a marathon or sharpening your sprinting skills, finding the best lightweight running shoes is an essential part of preparing for a your run. There are a number of factors to balance when it comes to choosing a running shoe, including comfort, how and where you run, and your personal foot health needs. Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping.
When you're choosing a sneaker, weight matters. One study found that lighter running shoes can actually increase your speed. But keep in mind that you can't run fast if you're in pain. That's why it's important to find lightweight running sneakers that don't skimp on cushioning. In fact, some options these days come with multiple layers of foam for extreme comfort. Here's where things get tricky: there is no official weight for what is considered a “lightweight" shoe, though some say a lightweight running shoe weighs 11 ounces or less. All of the shoes on this list weigh less than 11 ounces, and one ultra-light pick weighs just 5.2 ounces.
A running shoe should never squeeze your toes together and should allow for a thumbnail of space between your toes and the end of the shoe. Roomy tox box widths will help keep your feet comfortable even if they swell during your run, while helping to prevent foot injuries. If you have wide feet, search for sneakers that are available in wide sizes. And don't make the mistake of not measuring your feet before a shoe purchase. I included a foot measuring device so that you can measure your heel-to-toe length and foot width without leaving your house.
Know your foot's arch and shop for a running shoe that cradles and supports it. There are three types of arches: low, high, and neutral. A low arch causes your foot to overpronate and roll inward, a high arch causes your foot to roll in just a bit and underpronate, while signs that you have a neutral arch include landing on your heel with an arch that collapses inwards and absorbs impact.
It's time to prep for your next run. This list of lightweight running shoes includes picks that are highly respected in the running community and boast hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of stellar reviews.
We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.
1. The Overall Best Lightweight Running Shoes
These ultra lightweight running shoes are a Runner's World Gear of the Year award winner in 2019. They weigh just 6.4 ounces — though it's important to note that this is the weight for a size 9 men's shoe and weight differs slightly, depending on shoe size. They feature speed-lace construction, which means you won't have to waste time tying them, and are designed to be springy, giving you the ability to bounce from step to step, but with a rubber outsole that provides traction on rough terrain, cooling mesh fabric on the upper, and a fabric lining that allows your feet to breathe.
This shoe has a medium arch height that's best for neutral arches, with a medium toe box. The midsole is designed with cushioned foam for extreme comfort and a molded heel adds additional support without the bulkiness you'd find in other shoes.
Helpful Review: “The foam is the secret ingredient in this shoe—the more it compresses, the more it releases. I have over 300 miles on them and they feel like new.”
- Available Sizes: 7.5 Women-15.5 Women (Men's sizes also available)
- Available Colors: seven, each with 3D-printed graphics on the side
2. The Best Lightweight Long Distance Running Shoes
This 9.3 ounce running shoe achieves a balance between comfort and responsiveness. Three layers of foam, soft tongue padding, and cushioning that molds to your foot make it an ideal shoe for running long distances. That extra cushioning means this may be your ideal sneaker for mile work. The shoe is made of synthetic and breathable mesh to keep your feet cool and has a medium tow box width. Although this is a stability shoe that is designed for neutral arches, reviews also say if you have a slight flat arch these shoes can support you.
Some reviewers mentioned that the shoe runs a bit small, specifically when it comes to width. They note that even the wide sizes were narrower than some of their other running shoes, which is important to keep in mind if you have wider feet. A men’s version of this style is also available.
Helpful Review: “These sneakers give me excellent support and I can wear them all day.”
- Available Sizes: 5-12 (Wide sizes also available)
- Available Colors: four, including blue, black, jackalope, and gray/coral
3. The Best Lightweight Running Shoes For Sprinting
If speed is your game, these lightweight running shoes that weight just 5.2 ounces and are the lightest on the list are for you. The flexible midsole allows you to move more quickly and, unlike some other speed shoes, this running shoe is praised for its additional stability around the toes, as it has a toe-shaped toe box that provides plenty of wiggle room. The shoe has extra no-slip grip located at the toe and ball of foot to help with accelerating.
This is a zero-drop shoe, which means the height is the same from toe to heel. If you’re someone who needs a little extra support, especially in the arches, this shoe may not be for you. While this shoe is admired by reviewers with wider feet, most agreed to size up as they run a little small length-wise. They are available in men's sizes, as well.
Helpful Review: "They are so light, flexible, cushioned, roomy toe box, and ahhh just right. Perfect for short to mid distance and track shoe."
- Available Sizes: 10-11
- Available Colors: two (black and raspberry)
4. The Best Lightweight Running Shoes For Wide Feet
People with wider feet say this running shoe fits like a dream. It comes in 14 additional wide sizes, allowing you to order true to size and have enough room to run comfortably. This affordable option offers flexibility and responsive cushioning, thanks to a compression molded foam that provides bounce and energy return. The 8.15 ounce shoe is ideal for neutral arches, with a breathable mesh upper, leather overlays for stability, a rubber outsole, and an EVA sockliner for even more comfort. Reviewers say the generous toe box allows for wiggle room around the toes.
Helpful Review: “I love these shoes. I have wide feet and it is hard to find nice shoes that fit well ... They look great and feel great! I'm very happy with the price as well. The lowest I could find for these particular shoe.”
- Available Sizes: 5-12 (wide sizes available)
- Available Colors: 13 shades
5. The Best Lightweight Running Shoes For High Arches
At 9 ounces, this running shoe is lightweight, but cushioned and supportive. The soft sockliner contours to the curves of your foot and provides extra arch support. It has a rubber sole, cushioned underfoot, and roomy toe box. A ventilation system with breathable mesh keeps heat and humidity from slowing you down. Reviewers say these shoes fit true to size and this is the only shoe on the list that is available in both wide and narrow sizes.
Helpful Review: “LOVE this shoe. Perfect fit, good arch and toe box! I have several arch and toe problems, and after a long search and purchasing other brands, I finally found my shoe ! I cross train and run! PERFECT ! I'm ordering another pair!”
- Available Sizes: 6-12
- Available Colors: three, including gray/clover, aquarius/white, black/silver
6. The Best Lightweight Running Shoes For Flat Arches
If you have flat arches, this 9.9 ounce running shoe provides support and comfort. This sneaker keeps your mid-foot stable, an important feature if you are an overpronator and have a flat arch. It has a removable insole that allows you to insert orthotics if needed, with a breathable mesh upper and moisture-wicking interior. Although this is one of the heaviest lightweight shoes on the list, it's very light compared with most running shoes for flat arches.
Helpful Review: "I’ve always worn Saucony running shoes. I have flat feet and these are super supportive and easy to break in, a great product."
- Available Sizes: 5-12 (wide sizes available)
- Available Colors: four shades
7. The Most Stylish Lightweight Running Shoes
You can score a lightweight running shoe that fits well, supports your feet on long runs, and looks stylish. This choice from Brooks offers neutral support for runners with a medium to high arch and is ideal for medium width feet. It features a lace-up closure and a flexible knit upper that cradles your ankle. These 9.9 ounce shoes are light and springy, filled with cushioning that provides one of the best energy returns, according to reviewers. And you'll find hidden features galore, including a plush wraparound heel collar and soft suede heel tab.
Helpful Review: "These have a cool bottom that my teenage son said looks like chrome. They are stylish and comfortable. I've worn them to work out in several times already and they are worth every penny."
- Available Sizes: 5-12
- Available Colors: 10 shades and print options
Nice To Have: A Home Foot Measuring Device
Finding a running shoe that fits properly means first finding your exact foot measurement — and this foot measuring device makes it possible to do just that at home. Unlike many other at-home measurers, this one measure both length and width for adults and children. It was given the "Seal of Acceptance" by the American Podiatric Association.
Helpful Review: "I was so pleased to find this one that can not only give us accurate sizes for our WHOLE family, but also help us figure out the width sizes! I'm not sure how we ever did it without this ... such a great product for any family with growing children."
Also Consider: Foot Inserts
If you need extra support for your arches or cushioning for your feet, these synthetic sole inserts can fill a loose shoe, give your feet extra cushion in the arch area, and offer pain relief from painful foot conditions and help prevent blisters, according to reviewers. For half sizes, reviewers recommend sizing up and trimming the insole to fit. They are accepted by the American Podiatric Medical Association and their shipping weight is 1.6 ounces, so they won't add a significant amount of weight to your sneaker.
Helpful Review: "I have mildly flat feet and I like a high arch insole that I can feel. I use these in my Brooks gym shoes. I can walk around in my shoes with the sole insoles for hours with no foot pain."
- Available Sizes: 5.5-16 (men's sizes also available)