December 9, 2019
We think the LetsRun.com Better Running Shoe site is pretty awesome. It has thousands of detailed running shoe reviews by the most serious runners on planet Earth, and you can see what type of runner is submitting the reviews and find reviews from runners like you.
We want to start taking the shoe review data and regularly compiling lists of the data in ways that are helpful to you. What are the most durable running shoes? What are the most comfortable running shoes? Those are two things we’ve looked at in the past.
Today, we decided to do something a bit more simpler. What are the most popular shoes on LetsRun.com in 2019?
Love for the Nike Pegasus, HOKA ONE ONE Clifton, Brooks Ghost, and Saucony Kinvaras.
The top 10 most popular shoes (as measured by # of reviews in 2019), actually only come from 5 different shoe lines, as the Nike Pegasus (3 of the top 10), HOKA ONE ONE Clifton (2 of the top 10), Brooks Ghost (2 of top 10) and Saucony Kinvara (2 of top 10) all had multiple entries in the top 10. People love shoes in these lines and keep running in them.
Our top 10 is below. We haven’t done our end of year call for reviews yet, so expect this list to change after we do that later this month. If you want to submit a shoe review do so here.
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35
The Nike Pegasus line is the most popular running shoe line ever. Why? It keeps producing a great neutral, all around trainer that is fairly durable and a good value. Here’s a snippet from a review by a 35 year old male running 55 miles a week who sums up the appeal of the Pegasus line, “I am relatively new to marathons, having only completed four so far at or just under the 3 hour barrier, however the training volume and varied intensity involved requires a shoe which can do it all every day, and without costing the earth.”
While more LRCers reviewed the Pegasus 35, the Pegasus 36 is out (and in our top 10 shoes below) and is preferred by the LRC reviewers over the 35. You can also still get the Pegasus 34 at a great price.
Brooks Ghost 11 - Great Durability
The Ghost 11 is a great neutral, comfortable shoe for every-day running that gets great reviews for durability (2nd most durable shoe on LetsRun in our rankings in September). That helps explain why the Ghost line is Brooks’ most popular line. Check out this review, “I can however honestly say that the Ghost 11 has been nothing short of feet heaven thus far… My takeaway from this short ownership experience is that these shoes are light enough that I don’t notice them as the runs get longer. They are very comfortable without being spongy (I can maintain a relatively fast pace without feeling like the shoes are robbing me of forward momentum).” Available in various widths as well.
HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 6 - Great Cushioning
HOKA shoes are known for their cushioning. Many runners first try HOKA shoes because they feel they need more cushioning and many never go back. The Clifton 6 delivers on cushioning (9.5 rating) and is a good all-around trainer, although some want something more responsive for workouts. Here’s a representative review, “This is the first time I’ve run in Hokas, and I am impressed. I’m a midfoot striker, and run 50-60 miles a week at anywhere from 8:00 pace on easy days to sub 5:00 during workouts. These shoes excel on the easy and moderate runs. While they do surprisingly well on fartleks and speed work, I much prefer a lighter shoe like the Kinvara 10 for most workouts.”
Long-term Clifton runners love the updates in version 6 as it is the highest rated Clifton in a few years.
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36
This is the latest shoe in the Pegasus line and the update was a hit. Of 14 people who directly compared the Pegasus 36 to the Pegasus 35, all 14 preferred the Pegasus 36. The Pegasus 36 is lighter than the Pegasus 35. A lighter shoe with the same cushioning? That sounds like a win to us.
Saucony Kinvara 10 - Highest Rated Shoe of our 10 Most Popular
Of the shoes in our top 10 the Kinvara 10 is the highest rated. Why?
People LOVE this shoe is the simple answer.
One reason might be that while it has many of the characteristics of the others in our top 10, it is the lightest of the bunch and very responsive and can be used for speed workouts and training runs. The only issue with the Kinvara 10 is its durability. Every other shoe in our top 10 had a durability rating of at least 7.7 but the Kinvara 10 got knocked down to 6.6. However, overall it was the #1 rated shoe in the top 10.
Here’s a sample review, “The Kinvara is my all-time favorite running shoe and my current ones are my 7th or 8th pair. The fit is always great right out the box, they’re light and breathable, low heel-toe drop, nice and flexible but still allow you to feel the road, and are great for everything from long trail runs to faster stuff on the roads or track. The only real downside is the durability of the upper.”
Nike Zoom Pegasus 35 Turbo
The Pegasus line has 3 shoes in our top 10 which shows how popular it is. The Turbo version is a premium, more expensive version of the Pegasus. It is lighter (thanks to React and Zoom X foam), springier, but less durable. If you want a Pegasus shoe you can race in as well, this is your best option. Some complain despite being springy the Pegasus 35 Turbo is less responsive. Here is a review from a 20 year old male who loved the shoe, “The Pegasus Turbo should not be called a Pegasus, it just doesn’t do it justice. Aside from the silhouette of the shoe there is nothing in common with the regular Pegasus 35. The upper of this shoe is much more plush than the regular Pegasus model. The react/zoomx midsole also sets this shoe apart from any other Nike shoe.” Since the Pegasus Turbo 2 is now out, you might be able to snag the Pegasus 35 Turbo at a great price (MSRP was $180).
HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 5
Last year’s version of the Clifton line was very well-received with an 8.6 overall rating which is right in the ball-park of this year’s Clifton 6. If you’re trying to overcome an injury, you like many others may love the cushioning of HOKA, “I started running in the Clifton 5 as I came back from a stress reaction in my upper tibia. I had been running in the Adidas Ultra Boost ST and the combination of the shoe’s boost foam midsole and support structure just didn’t work well for my body, and ultimately led to a stress reaction.”
If you are trying to decide between the Clifton 5 and 6, 5/6 people who ran in both shoes said they preferred the Clifton 6.
Saucony Kinvara 9
The Kinvara line is loved on LetsRun and the Kinvara 9 is the 2018 version. The Kinvara 10 is rated slightly higher, but both receive tons of praise. If you are thinking of trying the Kinvara this review from a teenager running 30 miles a week might help persuade you, “When I first got this shoe it felt different from every other shoe I’ve ran in. It was light, springy and so breathable, especially compared to my Asics Gel Nimbus’s which I wore before the Kinvara’s.”
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19 - Only Stability Shoe in Top 10
This shoe is the only one in the top 10 that doesn’t have a sibling also in the top 10 and it is the only stability shoe in the top 10. It is popular because it provides stability without sacrificing comfort. This review by a 39 year old male shows the appeal of the Adrenaline GTS 19: “I’ve spent most of my 20 year running career in stability trainers, but after years of good health I switched to neutral cushion shoes for comfort. After dealing with some injuries over the last year I switched back to stability shoes but hated sacrificing comfort that I’d grown accustomed to. After trying several different stability shoes I tried on the Adrenaline 19, which I ran in for years long ago.”
Brooks Ghost 12
“I have been running in the Ghosts for years now. I am about 185 lbs. and the shoe is durable for me usually up to 400 mi. It is cushioned well for my forefoot running style and balanced from heel to toe,” says a 47 year old who likes wide width shoes.
Most Popular Shoes for Other Brands:
adidas: The adidas adizero Boston 7 is very highly rated and was the 13th most popular shoe on LetsRun.
Asics: The Asics Gel Cumulus 21 was released this year so it didn’t have a full-year of voting but it came in at #28 most popular.
New Balance: The New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon is a popular trainer that was the 15th most reviewed through 2019.
Want to review a shoe? Do so here. We’re going to do our final call for reviews of 2019 soon.