Physical Therapists Using Clinical Analysis To Discuss The Art And Science Behind Running and The Stuff We Put On Our Feet

Post Page Advertisement [Top]

DPT APPROVED - Best Running Shoes of 2019 

The quest for the perfect running shoe. What a fun and never ending adventure. 2019 delivered some great shoes from both expected and unexpected companies. Our team of Doctors of Physical Therapy have selected their DPT APPROVED Awards for several categories for the 2019 calendar year. Check out the entire awards list below!


Our DPT APPROVED awards include only shoes that were wear tested by our team during this year.  Our editors made their selections based off of wear testing experience, racing experience in the shoe, and shoe technology integrated within the shoe. Each shoe is brought through rigorous testing and analysis by our editors who all have expert knowledge in biomechanics and footwear from 7+ years of post-graduate education. Each editor was allowed a nomination for each category: trainer, trail, racer, debut, update, and overall. We know that when it comes down to it, there is not a true "best" shoe as there are so many personal factors that make one shoe better for one person than another, so share your thoughts! Check out our Footwear Science page to dig into some factors that makes running shoes unique!

Nathan and David: Reliability is the word for the Wave Rider 23. This shoe provides a consistent snappy ride that doesn't change over hundreds of miles due to the durable rubber outsole and integrity of the wave plate midsole. With all the craze around carbon plates within shoes, Mizuno was one of, if not the first to incorporate a midsole plate of some kind to increase energy storage and return during heel to toe transition. Not only is there great ride, but it is topped with one of the best upper updates of the year! This shoe can handle high training miles and even function as a half marathon and marathon running/racing shoe for many. Check out our Multiple Tester Review for all the details.

Matt: I agree with Nathan and the Mizuno Wave Rider 23 was a great trainer and a close second, but the overall winner for me is the Skechers GOrun Ride 8. The full HYPER BURST midsole in a firmer trainer allows for a versatile ride.  From long runs to repeats I was able to take this shoe through every kind of run.  Although not a speedy racer, this shoe will work as a trainer for some and a marathon shoe for others.  Very light and responsive for a trainer with a comfortable and breathable upper, the Skechers GOrun Ride 8 was also a close second for me for Best Update.  Check out our Multiple Tester Review for more information.

Matt, Nathan, and David: Although our testing sample of trail shoes is small at the moment, the Skechers GOrun Speed TRL HYPER blew the competition out of the water.  The go fast trail racer took our testers to the top of mountains and quickly across rugged terrain.  We were especially impressed by the heel lock system also found in Skecher's new XC racers (Review) as well as the H plate that served both for propulsion and protection.  The lugs provided plenty of traction on both trail and road (as one of our testers accidentally discovered).  The Speed TRL HYPER packed good ground feel with surprisingly good protection, making this a versatile racer/trainer on the trails.  Check out our full Multiple Tester Review for more information.


Matt: One of the most talked about shoes this year, the Nike Vaporfly Next% is my solid choice for the Best Racing Shoe of the year.  For long distance racing, nothing ON THE MARKET (yet) comes close to this shoe.  The incredibly bouncy ZoomX foam combined with a full length carbon fiber plate, the updated lower drop, and more stable ride compared to the previous 4% made this shoe my go to shoe for half marathons this year.  Although able to tolerate short distance racing (5k) the design of this shoe lends itself best for fast paced longer runs.  One of the biggest things that impressed me was how durable this shoe is.  I have over 150 miles on my pair and still use them.  However, 2020 will be the year of many versions of the vaporfly from other companies and this spot is threatened by the other shoes I have had the wonderful opportunity to try early.  So Nike better bring that Alpha Fly to market or they may be in for some real competition.  Full review HERE.

David: The Skechers GoMeb Speed 6 HYPER is a speed demon. At just 5.2 ounces, the shoe is primarily designed for shorter distances for most, but can be taken to half and full marathon as well (just ran 1:08 half in them recently). A full length hyperburst midsole coupled with a PEBAX midfoot plate makes this shoe incredibly responsive with just enough cushioning to take you the distance. The shoe also features GOODYEAR outsole for lasted durability on the road. If you're looking for a flat from 5k to full, this may be it! ONLY THING: ORDER A HALF SIZE UP. That's all. Full review here!

Matt: A close battle between the Hoka Rincon and CarbonX.  The Rincon wins due to lighter weight and slightly better durability.  The Rincon was a huge surprise as it actually filled the spot as a truly lightweight, cushioned Hoka racer/trainer.  At 7.7 oz (men's size 9) the amount of cushion is incredible while still maintaining a ride that can handle fast and long miles alike.  A great option for half, full or ultra marathon racing for those that want a simple, smooth cushioned ride.  The fit was also breathable and just right, with a hair extra room to accomodate any swelling on longer outings.  Check out our Full Review for more information.

Nathan and David: The 361 FANTOM was a highlight of the year from 361. A softer blend of their QU!KFOAM offers a more cushioned ride while still remaining on the firm, durable, and stable end of the spectrum. It is light, breathable, and can tackle pretty much every scenario possible. The QU!KFOAM is also quite responsive when the pace is picked up and is topped with a comfortable and secure knit upper. This also is the first 361 shoe to incorporate a slight rocker sole and heel bevel, which made for a much smoother landing and transition from heel to toe. A great debut and can't wait to see where it goes. Check out our full multiple tester review HERE


Matt: The Saucony Fastwitch series has never gotten as much attention as it deserves.  Consistently the lightest mild stability racer out there, the Fastwitch 9 was a complete overhaul and update.  A smooth, low riding, super fast ride for those needing a bit of stability from 5k-10k races, this update blew me away.  The upper is comfortable against bare skin, the mild medial post is subtle but does the job and the weight dropped a significant amount to 6 oz.  Also FINALLY they fit true to size!  Check out our full review HERE.

Nathan and David: Welcome to a completely new feel to the Mizuno line. For as long as human have had feet, Mizuno has rolled out their shoes with a midsole directed by a wave plate. The Wave Sky Waveknit 3 provides a new way to "ride the wave". It is the first shoe to change their midsole to their XPOP and Foam Wave cushioning system. And by golly, it worked. A plush, cushioned, and bouncy ride, this update is a huge change and a great addition to the options Mizuno has out there. Check out our full multiple tester review HERE.

Nathan: The Reebok Forever FloatRide Energy has almost everything you'd want in a shoe. It has the smoothest ride out there, a balanced midsole foam that provides cushion and responsiveness, and has no problem with tempo runs and longer races. This is a shoe that disappears on your foot and is so quiet on the pavement, so it is a joy to run in. Plus it's all in a nice $100 package. This shoe carried me to a 5K, 10K, and half marathon PR this year. Check out our full review HERE.

David & Matt: The Skechers GoRun Ride 8 Hyper is one the most versatile daily training shoes that have ever come to the market. The shoe is fit for hard workout days (David ran 27:00 5 mile tempo in them), daily training miles (Matt with over 200 miles on them already), and everything in between. The shoe features full hyperburst midsole that is both cushioned and responsive, as well as a snappy and durable GOODYEAR outsole. A shoe worthy of elite training and recreational racing! Check out the full review here!


2019 has been a hallmark year for Doctors of Running. Our team has grown to include three Doctors of Physical Therapy who have a passion for running and expert knowledge in biomechanics. We've reviewed over 40 different shoes this year and have developed new partnerships with several staple running shoe companies. We are thankful for all our partners and readers. 

If you are a footwear rep and would like to partner with us, please email us at

Our continued hope is to bring cutting edge shoe reviews and evidence based running and footwear articles to help our communities run happy, healthy, and fast. Thanks for being a part of helping us make that happen!

Bottom Ad [Post Page]

// ]]>