Elite-Running-Brooks-Racer-ST-5 copy

It seems like everyone wants to be a runner nowadays, and hey, why not—it’s a great way to get your ass off the couch and into shape. So go ahead, put on your shoes and do your lap around the block. Just know that there’s a difference between the casual runner (you) and the elite one (not you).

The difference? Aside from putting in countless hours on the road, and greater natural abilities, elite runners know the difference between an average shoe, and, well, an elite one.

Just as some runners are faster than others, some running sneakers are designed to be faster than others. So, you can keep running along in your beat up shoes with the outsole ready to fall out from under you. Or you can get serious about this running thing and lace up like a winner. These are The 25 Most Popular Elite Racing Shoes Today.

RELATED: The 10 Best Sneakers for Long Distance Running
RELATED: The 10 Best Trail Sneakers Available This Spring


Elite Running - adidas adizero hagio 2

No. 25 - adidas adiZero Hagio 2.0

Year Released: 2012

With a lightweight, aerodynamic design, the adiZero Hagio 2.0 is built for speed—and lots of it. Elite runners prefer the shoe for its roomy toe box and a lockdown Sprintweb fit. The Hagio 2.0 weighs just 6 ounces, and is designed for runners with a 4-to-6 minute/mile pace.

$90

Elite Running - NB 890v3

No. 24 - New Balance 890v3

Year Released: 2012

A lightweight upper and a REVlite midsole are just some of the key elements of the New Balance 890v3 that have runners foaming at the mouth to get into these neutral running shoes. With an 8mm drop, the shoe is designed to provide a more natural transition from heel-to-toe. The 890v3 makes for a great option for training and race day.

$110

Elite Running - Nike LunarGlide+ 4

No. 23 - Nike LunarGlide+ 4

Year Released: 2012

With Lunarlon cushioning for lightweight comfort, and an adaptive fit thanks to a Flywire upper, the LunarGlide+ 4 is everything you need in a high performance running shoe. It's designed for mild-to-moderate pronators, and features a  three-layer sockliner that offers lasting comfort and support, no matter what the distance. It's no wonder why elite runners Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher lace these up on race day.

$115

Elite Running - Mizuno Wave Eixir 7

No. 22 - Mizuno Wave Elixir 7

Year Released: 2012

Elite runners like to be fast and flashy, so it's no wonder the Mizuno Wave Elixir 7 has been a regular amongst the top of the pack over the past couple of years. There's an updated version of the Wave Elixir available, yet some runners have stuck with the 7 for its air mesh upper enhanced with Dynamotion for a more natural fit. Mizuno Wave technology is combined with AP+ for a cushioned and extraordinarily responsive feel.

$120

Elite Running - adios Boost

No. 21 - adidas Adios Boost

Year Released: 2013

The non-boost version of the Adios is already a proven winner. Now that the popular racing shoe has adidas' latest Boost energy return technology, the shoe is getting a lot of attention despite being unveiled just last month. As soon as the Adios Boost hits the retail market, expect to seen a lot of runners making the switch.

Elite Running - Saucony Type A5

No. 20 - Saucony Type A5

Year Released: 2012

Whether it's a 5K or a marathon, the Type A5 is used to running with the best of them. Saucony's lightest racing flat to date is designed with FlexFilm overlays that help reduce weight on the upper without sacrificing the shoe's integrity. An air mesh construction keeps the feet properly ventilated for optimal performance on race day.

$100

Elite Running - Wave Rider 16

No. 19 - Mizuno Wave Rider 16

Year Released: 2013

In the heel of the Mizuno Wave Rider 16, you’ll find newly introduced SR Touch technology, which provides a high resiliency and quick bounce back, resulting in a smooth and fluid ride--one of the biggest additions to the Wave Rider series, and also one of the biggest reasons why elite runners have made the switch. The shoe also features a contoured flexible outsole with a range of versatility.

$115

Elite Running - Newton Distance

No. 18 - Newton Distance

Year Released: 2011

Newton Running's unique running shoes aren't for everyone. But it seems like there are always a few elite runners rocking the Newton Distance as they cross the finish line. As its name suggests, the Distance is designed for the long haul thanks to a high-rebound EVA midsole highly-breathable open mesh upper. The shoe's Action/Reaction technology in the midfoot helps keeps a runner's momentum forward for efficient running.

$155

Elite Running - Mizuno Wave Universe 4

No. 17 - Mizuno Wave Universe 4

Year Released: 2011

If the Wave Universe 4's fierce design isn't enough to get you pumped up for race day, then maybe its 3.8-ounce weight will. Featuring Mizuno's Wave cushioning technology, the Universe 4 has a shock-absorbing midsole that holds tough on long runs. It has a lightweight Air Mesh upper for a comfortable fit, and a G3 rubber outsole that offers ground-hugging traction on the road.

$125

Elite Running - Nike Flyknit Racer

No. 16 - Nike FlyKnit Racer

Year Released: 2012

Before the Nike Flyknit Racer came to be, few runners had ever imagined a shoe made from yarn. Now that the incredible potential of knitted footwear technology has been realized, elite runners have ditched their old shoes (and socks) in lieu of the Flyknit Racer. The 7.7 ounce Flyknit relies on unique construction to promote flexibility, breathability, and support— all properties essential to a comfortable run.

$150

Elite Running - adidas Supernova Sequence 5

No. 15 - adidas Supernova Sequence 5

Year Released: 2012

At just over 11 ounces, the adidas Supernova Sequence 5 isn't as light as some of the other elite racing shoes other. But what it lacks in the weight department, it more than makes up for it when it comes to stability. The shoe features all the top adidas technology, including an Adiprene midsole, Adiwear outsole, and an anatomical Geofit construction for a lockdown fit.

$115

Elite Running - Saucony Kinvara 3

No. 14 - Saucony Kinvara 3

Year Released: 2012

Hailed as one of the best running shoes of all time, the minimalist-friendly Saucony Kinvara 3 is one of those shoes that just makes you want to run as soon as you put them on. Whether it's a short distance race or a marathon, the Kinvara 3 can be spotted in bulk amongst the herd. Even with the Kinvara 4 out on the market now, expect the Kinvara 3 to continue to please elite runners all over the globe.

$75

Elite Running - Asics Gel Noosa Tri 8

No. 13 - Asics Gel-Noosa Tri 8

Year Released: 2012

Some runners lace up the Asics Gel-Noosa Tri 8 for its psychedelic looks, others do it for its sheer performance potential. Either way, you win. The shoe features a perforated sockliner and open mesh upper that optimizes moisture drainage and breathability. Gel cushioning in the heel and and a DuoMax support system combine to give runners lasting support and stability.

$130

Elite Running - Mizuno Wave Ronin 4

No. 12 - Mizuno Wave Ronin 4

Year Released: 2011

The Mizuno Wave Ronin 4 offers just the right amount of flexibility and traction that elite runners look for in a top-tier racing shoe. The Wave Ronin 4's Smoothride Engineering is designed to give runners the most natural heel-to-toe transition possible. Wave midsole technology provides impact resistance throughout the entire race. The updated Wave Ronin 5 has also found its way on the feet of some top runners.

$105

Elite Running - Asics DS Racer 9

No. 11 - Asics Gel-DS Racer 9

Year Released: 2012

Elite runners who have a tendency to over pronate go crazy for the Asics Gel-DS Racer series. The ninth edition of the shoe is everything you want in a race day sneaker: it's flexible, comfortable, and incredibly speedy. And with an open mesh upper construction, the shoe helps regulate temperature so you perform at your best.

$79

Elite Running - Mizuno Wave Ekiden

No. 10 - Mizuno Wave Ekiden

Year Released: 2012

Named for the legendary Japenese relay races held during medieval times, the Mizuno Wave Ekiden is a no-nonsense racing sneaker that falls somewhere between the Wave Universe and Wave Ronin (both of which are also on this list). The shoe has been a runner favorite in Japan for quite some time, but in recent years, the shoe has made its way to the States, and more importantly, on the feet of some of the best elite runners.

$115

Elite Running - adizero Boston 3

No. 9 - adidas adiZero Boston 3

Year Released: 2012

When the competition gets tough, more often than not, elite runners look to the adiZero Boston 3 to help them get an edge. The premium racing shoe from the Three Stripes features a Formotion design for a smooth ride, as well as Adiprene in the forefoot for a more efficient toe-off.

$110

Elite Running - Brooks T7 Racer

No. 8 - Brooks T7 Racer

Year Released: 2011

Ask anyone who's had the liberty of running in the Brooks T7 Racer, and they'll tell you just how amazing of a shoe it is. The T7 is everything you could ever want and need in a cross country racing flat. It's ultra-light, breathable, well-cushioned, and above all, fast. Made to burn up the road, the shoe features a streamlined design that promotes speed reserved only for serious runners.

$85

Elite Running - Nike LunarRacer+ 3

No. 7 - Nike Lunar Racer+ 3

Year Released: 2013

The well-cushioned Nike LunarRacer+ 3 has become a top choice for elite middle-to-long distance runners, and it's no surprise why. The latest version of the shoe features Flywire technology for support and a custom fit. Beneath it is a engineered no-sew mesh upper that is equally as comfortable with or without socks. A Lunarlon sole provides soft, responsive cushioning that keeps your feet happy as you make your way to the finish line.

$110

Elite Running - NB 1600

No. 6 - New Balance 1600

Year Released: 2012

The NB 1600 has quickly become a favorite amongst elite runners. Among the plethora of performance technology imbedded in the shoe is a highly-responsive REVlite RC midsole for support and comfort. With a FantomFit construction, the sneaker has a seamless design to eliminate distractions on race day. The traction on this shoe keeps runners stable as they race to the finish line.

$110

Elite Running - Brooks Green Silence

No. 5 - Brooks Green Silence

Year Released: 2010

It may be named Green Silence, but this high performance racing shoe from Brooks Running is anything but quiet on the road. The shoe's midsole feature a polymer alloy foam, which provides responsive cushioning, high energy return, and reduces foot fatigue. Made of recycled, post-consumer materials, the Green silence is perfect for environmentally conscious runners and speed demons alike.

$69

Elite Running - Nike Zoom Streak 4

No. 4 - Nike Zoom Streak 4

Year Released: 2012

Designed with insight from a team of world-class runners, the Nike Zoom Streak 4 is for serious road competition. The shoe has excellent lightweight cushioning thanks to a full-length Phylon midsole with a Nike Zoom heel insert that comes in handy when you're looking to go the distance. The Zoom Stream 4 has a supportive midfoot strap that provides a glove-like fit, combined with a single-layer open mesh upper for proper ventilation. A Duralon-reinforced rubber outsole holds everything in place, offering sound traction and foot support.

$90

Elite Running - Brooks Racer ST 5

No. 3 - Brooks Racer ST 5

Year Released: 2011

The Racer ST 5 has been so successful in the elite racing scene, that Brooks hasn't bothered to change it up in its 2+ year existence. After all, why mess with a good thing? No matter what the distance, the shoe features just the right amount of support and durability. The Racer ST 5's versatility allows it to double as a race day shoe, as well as an everyday trainer.

$90

Elite Running - adidas adizero Adios 2

No. 2 - adidas adiZero Adios 2

Year Released: 2012

Most notably worn by the world marathon record holder Patrick Makau, the brilliance of the adiZero Adios 2 speaks for itself. Lightweight at 7.4 ounces, the Adios 2 features an extended Torsion system for balanced midfoot and forefoot support, perfect for racers. With an air mesh upper for comfort and a Continental rubber outsole for traction, its no wonder Makau put up an insane time of 2:03:38 at the 2011 Berlin Marathon.

$115

Elite Running - Nike Zoom Streak 3

No. 1 - Nike Zoom Streak 3

Year Released: 2010

On the retail market, the Zoom Streak 3 has been replaced an upgraded model (see slide___). But elite runners who know the unmatched potential of the shoe still find a way to get their feet into a pair for the biggest races. Released back in 2010, the Zoom Streak 3 remains the go-to choice for elite marathoners like Tsegaye Kedebe because of the lightweight support and cushioning the shoe offers. No matter what the race, expect to see more of the Zoom Streak 3 on race day.

$65

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.

RELATED: The 10 Best Sneakers for Long Distance Running
RELATED: The 10 Best Trail Sneakers Available This Spring