Best for all runners and newcomers to super-shoes: Brooks Hyperion Elite 2

Brooks Hyperion Elite 2, £210
Brooks Hyperion Elite 2, £210

This updated, 215.5g flagship is a reliable platform for racing or training. They’re not overly springy but are very comfortable, undeniably speedy and a safe bet that will work for many runners – with 28mm of responsive foam under the heel (an 8mm drop), they’re in the mainstream range. The tongue is quite narrow (only just overlapping with the main shoe), and the toe box has a fair amount of room. A trusty companion on track, road or pavement. £210


Best of benefits without extra spring: New Balance London Edition FuelCell RC Elite v2

New Balance London Edition FuelCell RC Elite v2, £220
New Balance London Edition FuelCell RC Elite v2, £220

Instantly noticeable is the beautifully designed upper – one simple seamless knitted piece, so no stitching or material joints rub the skin, plus it’s nice and breathable. These 219g shoes are a pretty snug fit (so choose the wide fit option if you need extra room), but they’ve got serious stack heights (37.5mm under the heel, 29.5mm forefoot), which makes them comfortable yet very stable, plus energy return and propulsion feel great. £220


Best for clocking personal bests: Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2, £224,95
Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2, £224,95

Not only are these the lightest trainers on this list at 187g but the execution of detail is exemplary. The 40mm of ZoomX foam provides a huge level of spring – after a couple of uses and perhaps a tweak of your running style, you’ll quite probably be collecting some new PBs. The padding around the back of the heel area is a mere tab, but adequate and comfortable, plus there’s a wider than normal toe box, and a very breathable knitted mesh upper. £224.95


Best crossover for both training and racing: Saucony Endorphin Pro 2

Saucony Endorphin Pro 2, £190
Saucony Endorphin Pro 2, £190

Nicely lightweight at 213g yet not at the expense of being too pared-back, these are speedy, comfortable and very stable. The upper is a single layer of thin, very breathable engineered mesh, with a gusseted tongue that keeps everything in place. When running, the foot is well cradled, and the shoes ensure good forward propulsion. With a midsole of 35.5mm at the heel and 8mm drop, they’re a great “catch all” for all types of road and track work, as well as race day. £190


Best-value all-rounder: HOKA Rocket X

HOKA Rocket X, £140
HOKA Rocket X, £140

Their ride may fall slightly short of sheer top-end performance (the carbon plate isn’t quite as stiff and the foam not as springy), but these sneakers deliver impressive speed, responsiveness and stability. They’re really versatile – good for all your training and race day itself – and very comfortable; the footbox is really well sized. They have a standard 30mm of foam under the heel but just 5mm heel-to-toe drop, so if you heel-strike, perhaps steer clear. £140


Best for 5km, 10km or half-marathon: On Cloudboom Echo

On Cloudboom Echo, £210
On Cloudboom Echo, £210

Nimble and slimline, with the narrowest footprint of all, these racers are armed with double layers of “Clouds” in the heel area, giving a stack height of 35mm, paired with 27mm in the forefoot, meaning good cushioning and drop. Their ride is energetic – springy and comfortable, although the midsole lends itself to peak performance over shorter- to middle-distance runs. Lockdown on the foot is fantastic, making them very responsive and adding to the speedy sensation. £210


Best for grip and carbon tech: Adidas Adizero Prime X

Adidas Adizero Prime X, £220
Adidas Adizero Prime X, £220

Offering maximal cushioning, these have a staggering 50mm of foam under the heel and are the weightiest on this list. Combined with carbon-infused rods as well as blades in the forefoot and a carbon heel plate, they are very springy with immense forward propulsion. But this can mean an unstable ride – until you get used to them, cornering can be quite hazardous. However, the outsole is the best equipped on our list, with a large Continental rubber pad that gives good grip in the wet. £220

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