We started shoegeeks.in with a goal to help the running community in India to find the best running shoes available in the Indian market. Since the time we launched in August 2021, we have been curating, reviewing, and writing about shoes. We are very happy with the warm reception from the running community (based on the stats from our website). Through this journey the running community has played a pivotal role by supporting us through reviews, asking us questions and providing feedback.
2021 has been a transformative year for running shoes, especially in India. In the last 3 years, the running shoes landscape has changed from EVA based midsoles, and rather thin racing flats to high stacks, lightweight foams, and carbon plates. Especially for runners in India, the choices of quality running shoes are plenty now. Brands like Saucony, Brooks, Hoka, Skechers are now very well known among the runners.
We have made a short list of the top running shoes for the year based on two factors.
Given the running shoes are so specialized our awards are further classified into different categories.
We runners love to have one shoe that can do it all - speed, easy or long runs and even more. Versatility is what defines the daily trainers. Our shortlist of finalists for this category includes
Puma Velocity Nitro is very versatile and can handle most of the run training. It’s a mid-weight running shoe that is very durable and has a good grip. Nitro foam is very comfortable and has a good support. Most importantly, it is also very affordable.
Kinvara 12 continues its tradition as a low profile neutral trainer. If you are a midfoot or forefoot runner and are looking for a very versatile shoe that doesn’t interfere with your natural running, then Kinvara 12 is the go-to shoe.
Many runners vouch for the support that is offered by Stability shoes in helping them with controlling the overpronation, thereby reducing injuries. Stability shoes are in the middle of transformation in their evolution. They no longer are bulky and heavy. Modern stability shoes are moving away from heavier midsole inserts to innovative methods like lighter, but harder inserts, and sidewalls (e.g, Brooks Guiderails) etc., Finalists for this category are:
Despite the innovation in stability shoes in recent times, Asics Gel Kayano 28 continues its legacy and is runners' favourite when it comes to support and comfort. Decathlon Kiprun Long 2 is a stability shoe that is in budget and makes a very good beginner shoe for those looking for support.
Speed trainers are traditionally low in profile and lightweight, although it is no longer the case. High profile shoes, but still low in weight and with carbon plates changed the game. Our shortlist includes traditional low profile trainers, and modern high profile shoes. Here is our shortlist of finalists for this category:
Brooks Hyperion tempo is the go to shoe for many when it comes to tempo training. The lightweight and versatility gives confidence. It is a brilliant package for training and racing short to medium distances. Puma Liberate Nitro is a low profile shoe for tempo runs and speed intervals.
What is that one thing that runners look in shoes for those long training runs? Cushioning with a high stack is the most popular answer. For this category, we have considered shoes with a stack of 30mm or more. Here is our shortlist for this category:
ZoomX foam now is well-known for its soft cushioning and very good bounce. Invincible Run is a great package that is tuned for comfort during long runs. Hoka Clifton 8’s design is a balance between cushioning and weight.
Race day is all about bringing everything together that makes you perform at your best. It is now proven from multiple studies, shoes do play a role in getting the best day performance. Carbon plates, PEBAX & gas infused EVA/E-TPU foams are the ones to look for in a race day shoes. Here is our shortlist for best race day shoe with Carbon Plates:
Saucony Endorphin Pro 2, Asics MetaSpeed Sky, Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2, Hoka Carbon X2, and Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2. If you don’t prefer the shoes with carbon plates, most speed trainers do a good job for the race day as well.
When it comes to shoes to get the best race day performance, Vaporfly series is still the dominant. Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 is a clear choice as the winner. Saucony’s Endorphin Pro 2 builds on the success of earlier edition with PowerRun PB foam & rocker bottom, and is fresh in its approach and comes as close second. Read our reviews of Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% and Saucony Endorphin Pro 2
For Indian consumers, value for money is often at the top of mind. That is no different when buying running shoes. Cheaper running shoes by no means are inferior, and the shoe brands are making wise choices to balance the value and features to keep the shoes on budget. Our shortlist of finalists for budget category includes:
Saucony India has the best range when it comes to Running shoes. Cohesion 14 is priced well for beginners looking for their first running shoe. Asics Hyper Speed is an affordable rocker styled running shoe for those looking for speed trainer and a short distance shoe. Read our review of Asics Hyper Speed
There are several brands that made their mark in Indian running scene this year; Brooks with their excellent customer experience and the variety, Puma with state of the art the Nitro foam, and affordable running shoes, Saucony with their world class shoes at Indian prices, and finally Hoka with their cushioned trainers. It is a tough choice to pick up which is the best.
2021 saw Puma’s remarkable come back to distance running. For runners in India, the Nitro series of shoes are affordable and in the top 5 in every segment they are sole. On top of that, Puma India has been very aggressive with pricing and offers that runners really loved. Imagine grabbing a pair of carbon plated trainers under 7k INR. Puma is our first choice for the best brand what they were able to achieve in India.
Saucony India has the best range of shoes in India. Saucony’s range includes budget shoes, trail shoes, stability shoes, and race day carbon plated shoes. We loved their engagement with Runners during the year. Saucony continues to broaden their range, and we are excited about their lineup for 2022. Saucony is the close second choice as the brand of the year.
Prepared by ShoeGeeks editorial team for the love of running