Just because the temperatures start to drop doesn’t mean outdoor running has to. When it comes to shoes, fall running doesn’t always have to look different from the warmer months, but you have to make some room for adjustment. In fact, most runners, both serious and casual, generally prefer the cooler climes of fall (between about 44 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit). While there are still some warm days left in most of the country during the fall, preparing for fall weather is certainly on the menu. You should also account for more inclement weather during the fall months, so additional protection might be part of your running shoe equation.
Of course, you don’t need waterproof or warm running shoes this fall, and standard running shoes will do the job nine times out of ten. Just know you don’t have to stop when things get wetter and colder. We’ve curated a strong set of fall running shoes that run the gamut from indoor workouts to road running and even trails. Most of these are new entrants into the running shoe market, while others are well-cemented in runners’ arsenals. Get yourself shod with a good pair, and get out there.
Brooks Ghost 14
What can we say about the Ghost 14 that hasn’t already been shouted from the rooftops? Brooks’ best-seller and easily one of the best all-around running shoes made today is now more sustainable than ever, including the dyeing process and the recycled upper mesh. The 10-ounce average weight is a little on the heavy side, but what you get is a richly made upper, great cushioning with balanced firmness, and a forefoot that provides plenty of snap for great responsiveness. It’s a great stability shoe that works well for those long fall runs.
On Running Cloud X
For mixed workouts, the On Cloud X is one of the most versatile and stable running shoes you can find. They eschew the new trend of huge amounts of cushioning and opt instead for excellent stability with moderate cushioning. The drop is only 6mm, and they weigh in at about eight-and-a-half ounces. Less for long distances and more for HIIT, cross-training, and indoor workout classes as the weather gets chilly, the Cloud X is agile, supportive, and laterally about as stable as a running shoe can get.
La Sportiva Bushido II
For those with narrower feet who also want top-notch foot protection for rocky trails and climbs, the Bushido II is ideal. The traction delivered by its grippy outsole helps you clamber over the tough stuff this fall. They’re not the most breathable shoe, which could be a huge plus when temperatures drop a bit. The Bushido II is a neutral shoe with medium cushioning and good stability, but its greatest strength is managing uneven and somewhat precarious terrain where lesser shoes fear to tread.
Hoka One Rincon 3
The third coming of one of Hoka’s most renowned shoes is in top form. Hoka managed to drop the Rincon 3’s weight without compromising the excellent balance of cushioning and firmness. The midsole is still properly chunky, but there’s plenty of speed to extract from the Rincon 3s. They boast the best cushioning-to-weight ratio of any shoe. The lightness comes from a redesigned and highly breathable sandwich mesh upper, a slimmed down tongue, and high-abrasion rubber in strategic contact zones. The Rincon 3’s ability to provide both speed and full compression means they can manage fast short runs and longer distances with aplomb. The cost for this level of performance is impressive, too.
Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield
Saucony’s latest weapon against cold, wet running conditions is the Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield. Not only is it a fast running shoe, but it’s also water-resistant and warm, so you can face colder temps without freezing your dogs. There’s a responsive nylon plate to help with speed work, and there’s ample cushioning for longer runs. The sublimated printing of the upper provides for a lighter weight than the non-water-resistant Endorphin Speed 2, and it also makes use of recycled materials for the earth-conscious runner. Finally, they’re neutral and have a larger toe box to accommodate a wider range of foot shapes.
Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit
When it’s dark outside because the sun is as tired as you are, and you know you need to get a long run in, the ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit will put some real spring into your step and help you log those miles. The high foam provides ample cushion and tremendous bounce, and the wide forefoot and toe box make for superb comfort. The big waffle sole delivers superb traction on most surfaces, too. It’s the one shoe that will give you the energy return needed to go longer than you thought you could.
New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro V6
Here’s a trail-running champ that uses NB’s remarkable Fresh Foam midsole that’s both light and super-soft, but the Hierro V6 also doesn’t sacrifice traction or toe protection in the pursuit of comfort. The tough Vibram outsole manages all manner of terrain, and there are even TPU threads in the upper to provide guard your toes from rocks and bramble. The colorful upper has laser perforations for ventilation, and the bootie style keeps the shoe secure. Finding the right fit shouldn’t be an issue since the Hierro V6 comes in standard, wide, and extra-wide.
Asics Gel-Kayano 28 AWL
When the conditions are truly cold, the Gel-Kayano 28 AWL (All Winter Long) running shoes have you covered. The uppers are water-resistant but still breathable. In terms of cushioning, they’re softer and more compliant than ever thanks to FF Blast cushioning in the midsole. These shoes are for neutral runners or for overpronators, and the renewed heelcap aids with providing more stability. Last but not least, the grippy outsole ensures great traction even when things get wet and slick.