If you thought that marathon you ran last weekend was tough, it’s time to put on your big boy shoes and try something a little more challenging—an ultramarathon.
Unlike traditional marathons, which are always the same distance (26.2 miles), ultramarathons can go from anywhere from 50 miles, to 100, and sometimes even beyond. And unlike standard 26.2’s, ultramarathons vary in terrain, and almost always require a heavy amount of off-road running—up steep hills, over and around obstacles, and through some of the most rugged backcountry you may ever come across.
With that said, make sure you train your ass off—oh, and get a pair of shoes that can handle the distance. To help, we’ve put together a list of the best shoes equipped to go the distance. These are The 10 Best Sneakers for Ultramarathoners Available Now.
No. 10 - adidas Supernova Riot 5
Weight: 12.3 ounces
adidas already has the road racing sneaker category on lock, but the Three Stripes also makes some solid do-it-all shoes as well. The Supernova Riot 5 features a Continental Rubber outsole for ground-hugging traction, even on wet and rugged terrain. The shoe’s Torsion system and Adiprene offer lasting comfort and stability all the way through the last (ultra) mile.
No. 9 - La Sportiva Ultra Raptor
Weight: 12 ounces
Rugged terrain calls for an equally rugged shoe. One that is durable, offers lightweight protection, and can get you get over, around, and through any obstacle that you may run into in the backcountry is preferable. The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor happens to fit that mold perfectly. Great for ultra marathons heavy on the off-road stuff, the Ultra Raptor is reinforced with a wrap-around toe bumper on the forefoot, and a compressed EVA Rock Guard for maximum protection against debris.
No. 8 - Saucony Peregrine 3
Weight: 9.9 ounces
At first glance, the Peregrine 3 from Saucony may not look like it can hold up to the rigors of an ultra marathon. Don't let the low-profile EVA midsole fool you—it is designed to maximize rebound while keeping the weight down. The shoe features a flexible and breathable FlexFilm upper, paired with a lugged pattern on the External Bedrock Outsole. Perfect for minimalist runners looking for a bump up in traction.
No. 7 - Hoka One One Stinson Evo Trail
Weight: 11 ounces
Minimalism might be the hot trend, but the Hoka One One Stinson Evo Trail is a maximalist's dream. The shoe features a monstrous midsole featuring vertical sidewalls with an adaptive decoupling zone to help take off some of the load on the body. The Stinson Evo have twice the volume in the midfoot of a traditional running shoe, a wide base for increased stability, and at just 11 ounces, is surprisingly lighter than it looks.
No. 6 - New Balance Leadville 1210
Weight: 10.3 ounces
Inspired by the legendary Leadville 100 race, it's safe to say the New Balance namesake running shoe has ultra marathon running through its veins. The Leadville 1210 features N2 cushioning and a REVlite midsole for comfort that will last the distance. The shoe features an 8mm heel-to-toe drop, along with a medial post on inside edge of shoe to help prevent over pronation. A high traction Vibram outsole holds everything securely in place.
No. 5 - Brooks Adrenaline GTX
Weight: 11.8 ounces
Running an ultra marathon requires the most protection possible in the lightest possible frame. Of course, the shoe has to be comfortable and supportive too. A house favorite here at Sneaker Report, the Adrenaline features a Gore-TEX upper for all-weather protection, while a unique mesh upper still allows air to penetrate for temperature regulation. The Adrenaline is one of the most comfortable shoes ever tested by our team, period.
No. 4 - Inov-8 Trailroc 255
Weight: 9.9 ounces
The Inov-8 Trailroc 255 is a great option for ultra marathons that are about 50/50 road and trail. The shoe packs a big punch in a small package. Its 6mm heel-to-toe offset offers a natural stride on the road, while a high traction outsole uses three types of sticky rubber for ultimate traction. An anatomical last conforms to the foot for a snug, comfortable fit.
No. 3 - Asics Gel-Noosa Tri 8
Weight: 9.9 ounces
The Noosa 8 proves a great choice, weighing in at just 8.1 ounces, with an improved Dynamic DuoMax support system. After eight editions the Noosa continues to provide a great option for runners look to pack on some extra miles.
No. 2 - Brooks Ghost 5
Weight: 10.7 ounces
The Brooks Ghost 5 is one of those shoes that gets more and more impressive with each mile you run. The shoe's DNA midsole and Caterpillar Crash Pad combine to provide ultra marathoners with lasting cushioning and stability. The shoe caters to neutral runners, and promotes a natural gait cycles thanks to a reduced midfoot shank. The Ghost 5 is by far one of the smoothest running shoes, whether its on the road or the trail.
No. 1 - Salomon S-Lab XT 5
Weight: 8.5 ounces
When the going gets tough, you can count on Salomon to have your back (or in this case, feet). While the brand offers a heavy dose of all-terrain running shoes, the S-Lab XT 5 ranks at the top of the list. It's extremely agile, protective, and can transition from mild to sever terrain without a hitch (the S-Lab label means its been tested under extreme conditions). If you're serious about this ultra marathon business, this is the shoe you want.
Gurvinder Singh Gandu is a New York City-based writer with west coast roots. A resident wear-tester for Sneaker Report, and contributor to Complex Media, follow him @GurvinderSG for the latest in performance footwear and gear.