Everyone’s feet are different (variety!) which is why we’re somewhat hesitant to bestow a best running shoe superlative to a single pair of kicks. But we will, with the caveat that you should probably consult a pro who can identify the best running shoe for your particular needs. That said, the Brooks Ghost 15 nabbed our award for the best nice, normal running shoe and a great pick for most people, especially those who aren’t seasoned runners. It comes in a variety of widths and features a thick and bouncy midsole that makes for a smooth, comfortable stride.
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Homing in on the best Nike shoes is worth the grunt work. Since setting up shop in the mid-’60s, the Portland-based juggernaut has churned out one hit sneaker after another, expanding into lifestyle footwear while upholding its commitment to athletic excellence each step of the way. Today, the Swoosh sells just about everything tangentially related to the sporting life, but its sneakers remain the crown jewel of the business. The best Nike shoes prove why the brand is still miles—and many, many dollars—ahead of the competition.
Nike’s long been the brand for hype sneakers and hardcore athletic shoes. But when it comes to dad shoes, the Swoosh wasn’t quite cracking it—until 2018 when the Vomero got a redux in cahoots with the modern label A-Cold-Wall*. The shoe’s origins date back to 2011 as a running shoe, but Nike’s methodically released new colorways since the ACW link-up. The result? The It Sneaker of the moment.
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If you’re Team Stripes through and through, there’s plenty of options to choose from. Adidas remains a reliable source for classic sneakers (think Sambas, Superstars, and Stan Smiths), the type of perennial best-sellers that still inspire countless imitations today. More recently, the German sportswear giant has stepped on the gas, rolling out smash-hit collaborations with designer powerhouses like Prada, cult-loved labels like Wales Bonner, and globally-adored megastars like Bad Bunny. All of which means there’s no better time to take stock of the company’s roster of men’s sneakers.
And if we’re talking about the best Adidas shoe right now, there’s no question that it has to be the Samba. The ascendence of soccer-inflected style, countless hot colorways and a heap of juiced-up collabs have placed the Adidas Samba front and center of the sneaker conversation, but the classic white colorway will be a forever classic even when the trends turn toward other sneakers (someday). The Samba is so dominant that it could have easily taken the crowns for the best white sneaker and even best sneaker of the year, but we’ll be good and save those hot takes for later.
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New Balance Sneakers
Over the years, New Balance has evolved from a geriatric standard to a purveyor of genuine cool-guy staples, cooking up new models (and roping in a who’s who of notable collaborators) for sneaker enthusiasts of every stripe to lust over. At first the brand’s popularity seemed rooted in irony, a nod to normcore stylings, but wear anything long enough and the appreciation starts to become sincere. And with Aimé Leon Dore honcho Teddy Santis in charge of the company’s premium Made in USA sub-line, the Boston-based brand continues to keep its pedal to the cushy, orthotic metal.
New Balance’s flagship 990 series is what shouldered the brand to the upper echelons of sneakerdom, but these days the the trendy 2002R feels like it’s taken the 990’s seat. It originally debuted in 2010 and after a recent reboot is only now getting its flowers. It’s got a similar DNA to the 990v3 but with more complex mesh, leather, and suede panelling that should make it a better playground for color combinations and collaborations.
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