Looking back at the 50-plus pairs of running shoes I’ve reviewed in 2023, I wouldn’t say it’s been an outstanding year for new shoes. Most of the picks in my best running shoes round-up are actually older shoes. Shoes like the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 and Puma Velocity Nitro 2, which did not get updates in 2023 and are yet to be surpassed by new shoes in their category.
However, a lot of great shoes have come out this year, and narrowing down the shoes I’ve tested to my five favorites was not easy. It’s been a good year for brands playing catch-up with their carbon plate running shoes, with Hoka, On, Under Armour and Mizuno all finally launching a quality racer, and another big trend this year has been max-cushioned shoes, with loads of easy day cruisers with 40mm-plus stack heights coming out.
There has also been a proliferation of ‘super-trainers’, daily training shoes that use some tech from a brand’s super-shoe like a particularly springy foam or a carbon plate. For me most of these have disappointed, compared with the Endorphin Speed 3, but a new super-trainer is one my favorites of 2023.
The list below contains my five favorite new shoes of 2023. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best running shoes for everyone, they’re just the ones that have particularly excited me or become a regular in my rotation long after I finished testing them.
My Top Five Shoes Of 2023
Here are my top five new shoes of 2023, in reverse order.
One of the most interesting and exciting carbon plate shoes to come out in a couple of years, the Wave Rebellion Pro is incredibly bouncy and fun to run in. The heel cut-out and exaggerated rocker mean it won’t work for all runners, and I had to steer clear of it at times myself while dealing with Achilles tendinopathy, but it’s a terrific racer and it will be interesting to see where Mizuno goes next with its super-shoes.
Read my review of the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro
A lot of max-cushioned shoes have come out this year and there are others which have proven more popular with runners like the Asics Gel-Nimbus 25, but my favorite is the Magnify Nitro 2. It’s lighter than most max-stacked shoes, not to mention cheaper, and has a comfortable ride for daily training and an excellent outsole for gripping on wet or even icy pavements.
Read my review of the Puma Magnify Nitro 2
Another carbon plate racing shoe, and the first super-shoe from Hoka that’s able to compete with the best on the market like the Nika Vaporfly. The Rocket X2 is lighter and faster than any past Hoka shoe, with a bouncy PEBA-based midsole foam, and a bit more stable than many super-shoes. It also has a great outsole for a racing shoe and has become my go-to option for sessions on rainy days. I’ve also enjoyed racing in it several times in 2023.
Read my review of the Hoka Rocket X2
The best all-rounder to come out in 2023, the Boston 12 is outstandingly versatile thanks to its dual-density midsole and the rods that run through it to add some extra pop to your stride. Aside from the upper, which I didn’t find that comfortable, I love everything about the Boston 12 and have used it for a wide variety of runs this year, from slow, easy plods to 400m reps.
Read my review of the Adidas Adizero Boston 12
The latest version of Nike’s famous carbon racing shoe is not to everyone’s tastes—some prefer the firmer feel of the Vaporfly 2—but I think it’s a more or less perfect super-shoe. It’s springy and comfortable enough for the marathon, while being lightweight and aggressive enough for short-distance events. I used it to run the London Marathon and a 4.8km relay leg during my testing, and would say there’s no shoe I’d prefer to have on my feet for either. Though the upcoming Nike Alphafly 3 might change my mind about that.
Read my review of the Nike Vaporfly 3
Get the Coach Newsletter
Sign up for workout ideas, training advice, reviews of the latest gear and more.
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.