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How to Breathe While Running for Maximized Efficiency and Minimal Strain

how to breathe while running

You love to run and always have. Of course, you feel this way, because it's great exercise and it really helps you clear your head. Unfortunately, you don't do it more because you have some problems when it comes to learning how to breathe while running.

It's not that you're in bad shape, but you feel like if you improve your breathing patterns, you would be able to run faster and avoid putting strain on your body. And you're right in thinking this.

The truth is that there are breathing techniques that you can practice that will make running much more enjoyable for you. If you have an interest in learning how to breathe while running, this information could change your life!

Common Breathing Mistakes for Runners

There are many breathing mistakes that people make while running. However, there are two common ones that you can easily fix. This is a big part of learning how to breathe while running.

A lot of runners focus on training their legs and hearts when they're running. However, they often make the mistake of ignoring their lungs and diaphragm. You can breathe much more efficiently if you learn to breathe fully utilizing your diaphragm.

The other very common mistake is putting more strain on one side of the body than the other. You can actually remedy this by learning how to utilize rhythmic breathing while you're running.

how to breathe while running man running on dirt road

Source: Pexels

Training, training, and more training

If you want to learn how to breathe while running, one thing you need to do is learn a little bit about the anatomy involved. Basically, you have to learn how to utilize your lungs and diaphragm properly while you're running.

Think about it. Your muscles need oxygen in order to be able to give you optimal running performance. Doesn't it make sense, then, that learning how to breathe while running could be the best possible thing for your performance?

Fully breathing

When you think about breathing, you probably think about your lungs first, right? The truth is that your diaphragm actually does about 80 percent of the work when you take a breath. So the key to learning how to breathe while running actually lies in conditioning your diaphragm more than anything having to do with your lungs.

In fact, it's been shown that runners who have the most strained breathing have the most weakness in their legs and are more likely to become fatigued during a race. If you want to be the best runner you can be, it's important to learn to breathe fully while you're running.

Belly breathing

It's important to learn how to breathe with your belly, rather than your chest. Most runners make the mistake of breathing with their chests instead.

how to breathe while running physically fit woman

Source: Pexels

If you breathe with your belly, you'll be able to inhale more air into the air sacs of your lungs. That will end up delivering more oxygen to your body, including the muscles that you need for running.

There's a fairly simple way to tell if you're breathing with your lungs or your diaphragm. After you've been running for a period of time, put one hand on your chest and one on your abdomen.

If you're breathing with your belly, the hand on your abdomen should be moving, while the one on your chest should be relatively still. Unfortunately, with most runners, the opposite is true. The good news is that you can change this and really learn how to breathe while running!

Coordinate these two things

Did you know that each time your foot hits the ground, the force of impact equals two to three times your body weight? It's also worth knowing that the impact of your foot hitting the ground is the highest when it happens as you're beginning an exhalation.

The reason for this is when you are starting to exhale, your diaphragm and the muscles associated with it relax. That leads to a situation where there is less stability in your core. Less stability in your core at the time when the greatest impact is being forced upon your leg and foot creates a significantly higher chance of injury in that leg and foot.

If you're not practicing rhythmic breathing, chances are that you're exhaling while landing on the same foot each time. That is obviously going to place an uneven amount of strain on both sides of your body. It's also going to subject the side of your body where you're landing as you exhale to a higher risk of injuries.

Have you ever noticed that one of your feet always seems to carry the aches and pains, while the other is almost always fine? Does one side of your body consistently feel more worn down than the other? If you're not mindfully keeping track of your breathing while you're running, there is a very good chance that this could be the why.

How to Breathe While Running: Techniques to Practice

woman wearing smartphone armband and blue earphones

Source: Pexels

The best way to breathe when you're running is a technique that is referred to as diaphragmatic breathing. It's all about learning to use your diaphragm when you're breathing. This way, you'll not only find yourself getting winded much more rarely, but you'll also set your lungs up so that you're able to deliver more oxygen to the muscles of your body that you need for running.

If you practice diaphragmatic breathing, you can strengthen your diaphragm and ultimately make it easier for you to breathe. You can also slow your breathing rate, making breathing less work in general. You'll need less oxygen to breathe, and it'll take less effort and energy overall.

You can practice this technique while you're running. However, in order to get a feel for it, you might want to do it while laying still first. If you want to get a feel for how to breathe while running, it might be best to understand the actual breathing pattern before trying to apply it during your exercise.

If you truly want to learn how to breathe while running, it's important that you learn how to breathe from your diaphragm and how to breathe rhythmically.

1. Position matters

The first thing you want to do is get into position. Lie on your back with a pillow underneath your head and your knees bent. You can put a pillow under your knees to give them support.

2. Hands in place

Put one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your rib cage. This will make it possible for you to feel your diaphragm as you're breathing.

3. Breathe in

Now, it's time to start the actual breathing. Breathe in through your nose, so that your stomach moves up against the hand that's beneath your rib cage. Try to keep the hand on your upper chest as still as possible.

4. Now do this

Of course, every inhale is followed by an exhale. When you breathe out, tighten your stomach muscles so that they move inward. Continue to keep the hand that is on your upper chest as still as you can.

5. Apply what you've learned

After doing this while lying down for a while, you should get a feel for diaphragmatic breathing. You should also see that it actually allows you to breathe more efficiently then working your upper chest as much as you probably do.

Now, it's time to actually employ this technique while you're running. You'll see that learning how to breathe while running is the best thing you could have done for your exercise sessions.

6. It's all about rhythm

Another thing you should definitely try to do is coordinate your breathing with your foot strokes while you're running. Some runners inhale for three steps and exhale for two, for example. This makes your breathing more efficient and injury less likely.

The reason that three-step inhales with two-step exhales is a good idea is that this will prevent you from exhaling on the same foot over and over. Many runners get trapped in a rhythm where they're always inhaling or exhaling as the same foot hits the ground, which is exactly what you're trying to avoid here.

Are You Ready to Run Now?

man running beside street

Source: Pexels

Now that you know more about how to breathe while running, you're probably excited to go on your next run. Of course, you'll need to practice diaphragmatic breathing and rhythmic breathing if you want to see results.

You may not see results immediately. After all, particularly with rhythmic breathing, the main results are going to be less strain on one side of your body. If you already have aches and pains, it may take a while for them to go away.

However, it's definitely worth it to practice the techniques described above and see just how they influence your exercise time. Learning how to breathe while running is definitely worth the time and effort. You'll likely be really happy you took the time to practice these techniques when you see just how much easier and more enjoyable running is for you!

Do you have anything to say about what you've just learned about how to breathe while running? Feel free to shout out in the comments section!

Best Running Gloves For Chilly Conditions: Our Top 8 Picks

black running gloves on the table

For someone who's used to running outdoors, treadmill workouts can seem like a punishment. But how do you maintain your routine in the winter when the elements seem to be working against you? Well, investing in the best running gloves will go a long way in helping you stick to your routine.

With running gloves, you shift your focus from your frozen fingers and direct it to where it matters: getting some leg work done. Running gloves are also beneficial because they allow you to keep warm without adding too much weight to your gear.

Any pair of gloves will get the job done, right? Not exactly.

The best running gloves have unique features meant to provide you with maximum protection.

So, how do you identify the best running gloves?

​Comparison Table

The Ultimate Running Gloves Buying Guide

different colors of best running gloves displayed in the shop

​Via Pixabay

You won't need to rob a bank to afford running gloves. Still, you don't want to spend your hard earned money on running gloves that don't serve the purpose.

Here are some of the things you should consider when searching for the best running gloves.


One of the most important things you should consider is the material of the gloves. The most commonly used fabrics for running gloves include polypropylene, fleece, acrylic, and polyester.

These materials are different in terms of breathability, moisture-wicking capabilities, comfort, warmth, and keeping your hands dry.

So let's look at their features so that you can make an informed decision.


Polypropylene is excellent for providing wind and waterproofing. Also, it's excellent for keeping your hands warm and dry. But to enjoy these benefits, you'll have to sacrifice breathability and internal moisture management.


Fleece is super cozy. If you're looking for a comfortable pair of gloves, you won't go wrong with this material. However, it falls short when it comes to breathability and sweat-wicking.

If you can find a pair of running gloves which combines fleece and other fabrics that offer excellent breathability and sweat-wicking properties, you have yourself a winner.


Acrylic running gloves are warm, stretchy, and breathable, but they don't do a great job when it comes to wind and water-proofing.


Polyester offers exceptional breathability and warmth and keeps your hands dry and comfortable. However, this material doesn't have water and wind-proofing properties.


The type of fabric you choose will determine how heavy your gloves are. Luckily, this isn't something you really have to worry about because the best running gloves are lightweight and won't interfere with your workout.


When you're looking for winter running gloves, warmth should be your priority.

Whether a pair of running gloves are warm or not solely depends on a runner's temperature and circulation. While some people might need to have their gloves on for the entire run, others get warm really fast, and they need to remove them.

However, when searching for the best running gloves that offer the most warmth, go for gloves with liners and those that feature fabrics that have excellent warmth.


In most cases, running gloves are thicker on the back side and feature thinner fabrics in the palm and fingers area. This design is excellent for providing wind protection.

However, some gloves are thicker than others depending on the material used and whether or not they have a liner.

If you're looking for maximum warmth, thick gloves are the way to go.


Another essential factor to consider is whether or not the running gloves offer you the protection you need.

You need to find a pair of gloves that is not only windproof but also waterproof. While wind is the primary concern when you're running in a cold climate, it's not the only thing that can get your hands cold. Rain and snow will also make you cold, not to mention how uncomfortable it is to run with your hands wet.

In addition, look for running gloves with moisture-wicking fabrics. Such fabrics will guarantee you have dry hands throughout your run.


If you enjoy running in the dark, safety is critical. So look for a pair of running gloves that have reflective properties. The reflective material will allow motorists to see you, thereby preventing any accidents.

How We Reviewed

a pair of cotton fabric gloves

​Via Pixabay

It can't be easy to select the best running gloves. On your search, you'll be faced with thousands of options and narrowing down to a single pair won't be a walk in the park.

To help you get the best running gloves, we scoured the internet in search of the top options. It wasn't easy, to be honest. We came across a plethora of choices.

To narrow down our search, we considered reviews from experts and users to ensure we give you the best of the best.

Finally, we selected the best running gloves on Amazon with the highest rating.

No matter what your budget is, we believe you'll find a reliable pair of gloves on this list.

The 8 Best Running Gloves on the Market

In this section, we take a look at a handful — no pun intended — of the best running gloves for the money to keep you warm, protected, and dry as you enjoy your run.

Let's get straight to business:

1. Smartwool Merino 150 Gloves

Smartwool Unisex Merino 150 Glove - Merino Wool Touch Screen...
  • WARM LINING: Lock in body heat and keep your hands warm when the temperature drops in the Smartwool Merino 150 Glove.
  • COMFORTABLE FIT: The Merino 150 Glove puts 100% Merino wool next to skin with it’s lightweight Merino jersey fabric,...
  • TOUCH SCREEN COMPATIBLE: The Merino 150 Gloves come complete with touch-screen index and thumb pads, allowing you to...

The Smartwool Merino 150 Gloves are made from a combination of wool, nylon, acrylic. With these materials, you should expect some stretch, warmth, and excellent breathability.

These gloves are most suitable for dry climates because they aren't waterproof. They won't protect your hands from the snow or rain.

However, they're an excellent choice if all you need is a pair of warm gloves to keep you warm in the cold. We also love that the gloves are touchscreen compatible. This means you won't have to take them off to use your phone. But it's only the thumb and index finger that have this feature.

2. TrailHeads Elements Running Gloves

TrailHeads Elements Touchscreen Running Gloves - Black/Grey (Medium)
  • LIGHTWEIGHT FABRIC - Our blend of nylon / polyester / spandex has moisture-wicking technology. This spandex glove dries...
  • TOUCHSCREEN GLOVES - Conductive fabric on thumb and forefinger enables use of touchscreen devices.
  • CONTRAST MESH INSETS - Do you desperately need gloves at the start of a run, but find your hands overheat once you’re...

The TrailHeads Elements Running Gloves are the best running gloves for long distance runners.

One of the things we love about these gloves is the fact that they have visibility swatches. With this feature, you can rest assured that motorists can see you when you're running in the dark.

We also love that the gloves have a tight fit, which helps you maintain efficiency, especially on long distance runs.

The gloves are also lightweight and feature a mesh lining that allows your hands to vent out once they get too warm. At the beginning of your run, you might feel a bit chilly because of the mesh lining, but you'll be grateful for it after running for a while.

These gloves are water-resistant but not wind-proof, which means they may not be the best for frigid climates.

3. TrailHeads Men's Power Stretch Gloves

TrailHeads Men’s Running Gloves - Black Touchscreen Gloves - Power...
  • 4-WAY STRETCH POLARTEC POWER STRETCH PRO FABRIC - features a smooth, durable outer layer that is wind resistant. Our...
  • TOUCHSCREEN GLOVES- conductive fabric on tips of thumb and forefinger enables use of touchscreen devices. Use our...
  • SILICONE PALM GRIPS - The diamond-shaped grips enhance dexterity and these black gloves have a terry cloth brow wipe on...

Another great option by TrailHeads is the Men's Power Stretch Gloves.

Several things make these gloves stand out.

For starters, we love that these gloves have moisture-wicking and wind-resistance properties. These features make them an excellent choice for icy conditions.

The gloves also have a tight fit, and they're lightweight, which means you can focus on your workout without thinking of adjusting your gloves every single time.

As if that's not enough, the gloves feature touchscreen compatibility. And unlike the Smartwool gloves, you get this feature on all fingers. How cool is that?

You'll also not have to worry about your phone slipping from your hands because the gloves have palm grips.

Unfortunately, the gloves aren't moisture-resistant, but they dry very fast.

4. Outdoor Research Running Gloves

Outdoor Research Running Gloves have an excellent combination of materials. It features polyester and fleece which work together to keep your hands dry, comfortable, and warm.

But that's not the only thing that makes these gloves stand out.

They also have silicone grip pads on the palms and fingertips to ensure nothing slips off your hands. What's more, the gloves are quick-drying.

5. Lanyi Running Gloves

LANYI Running Gloves Lightweight Cycling Sports Work Black Gloves Men...
  • COMFORT AND LIGHTWEIGHT GLOVES: This touchscreen winter gloves compression stretch fabric makes the mens gloves provide...
  • HIGH SENSITIVITY TOUCHSCREEN GLOVES: Mens gloves are coated with premium conductive fabric on the thumb and index...
  • MULTI-FUNCTIONAL GLOVES: Our mens gloves not only perfect for running, walking, cycling, riding, hiking, driving,...

The Lanyi Running Gloves are among the best running gloves on Amazon and for good reasons.

First, these running gloves feature polyester and fleece material which keeps you warm, comfortable, and dry throughout your workout. Besides, the gloves have an anti-slip palm design to ensure you have a tight grip on our devices. You'll also enjoy using your phone or iPad with these gloves on because they have touch screen compatibility.

The gloves also feature a four-way stretch that provides a snug and flexible fit.

And if you have sweaty palms, the gloves have a moisture-wicking capability that ensures your hands stay dry.

6. PRISAFETY Handlandy Running Gloves

PRISAFETY Handlandy Lightweight Running Gloves, Touchscreen Jogging...
  • CONTRAST COLOR DESIGN - Bright fluorescent running gloves make you the most fashionable one in the jogger, Keep your...
  • THERMAL LINING - The thermal running gloves linner fleece-like lining keeps your hands warm and dry in the colder...
  • TOUCHSCREEN COMPATIBLE - Touchscreen fingertip on thumb and index fingers enable to use your iphone X and touchscreen...

Another excellent option for individuals who love running at night or early in the morning is the PRISAFETY Handlandy Running Gloves.

These gloves feature bright fluorescent colors that will ensure you stand out on the track. But that's not all they have to offer.

The gloves also feature a thermal lining that ensures your hands stay warm throughout your run. What's more, they have a great stretch which provides a tight and comfortable fit to give you a hassle-free experience.

In addition to this, the thumb and index fingers of the gloves are touchscreen compatible to enable you to use your devices without exposing your hands to the cold.

Amazon buyers can't stop raving about these gloves.

7. Adidas AWP Shelter Gloves

adidas AWP Shelter Gloves, Black/Camo, Medium-Large
  • Climawarm engineered shell adds breathable warmth
  • Multiple touchscreen conductivity points
  • Supple inner provides soft touch with breathability

You've got to expect a lot from Adidas since they've been in the industry for such a long time and they're among the top brands when it comes to sporting gear.

When it comes to the Adidas AWP Shelter Gloves, the company doesn't disappoint.

These gloves are among the best running gloves for women and men.

One of the reasons they stand is the fact that they feature reflective accent styling, which gives you the confidence to run at night. What's more, the gloves have an inner that provides comfort and breathability. To add to this, they have extended cuffs which are excellent for preventing updrafts.

The gloves also have several touchscreen compatible points and excellent grip.

8. New Balance Lightweight Running Gloves

If you're looking for the best running gloves in 2020, the New Balance Lightweight Running Gloves should also be at the top of your list.

New Balance combines polyester, spandex, and fleece to give you a high-quality pair of gloves that provides, comfort, warmth, and protection against the elements.

The gloves are also anti-microbial and have touchscreen compatible tips on the thumbs and index fingers to make using your devices possible.

These gloves are also very stylish and come in three colors.

Fight the Cold with the Best Running Gloves

a girl in a cold weather wearing gloves

​Via Unsplash

You don't have to give up your precious time outdoors because of the weather change. Buy one of these running gloves and get your fitness goals on track this winter. Based on what customers have to say about these gloves, we are confident you'll enjoy using them.

Have you tried any of these gloves? Did they meet your expectations? Please share your views in the comments section below.

​Featured Image Source: Unsplash

How Should Running Shoes Fit? Things To Know Before Lacing Up

a runner tying his shoe

We've all been there, trying on shoes at the store and asking ourselves "How should running shoes fit?" You don't want to get the wrong pair. That means blisters and possibly a sprained ankle.

So, do you guess? Nope.

Instead, learn how to fit shoes the right way.

When it comes to choosing the right running shoes, there's more to think about than you might realize. With the right information, you can choose a pair of shoes that will let you run like the wind -- and do it safely and comfortably.

How Should Running Shoes Fit?

tying the lace of the shoe

​Via Pixabay

So, how should running shoes fit? While you can guess at your shoe size and do the old "Feel the tips of your toes" routine, there is a better way to find the perfect fit. You can size your feet properly and look for a snug fit. Also, check out the arch, the collar, and the flexibility of the shoe.

Can you find a good shoe just by trying it on for a few seconds? Theoretically, anything is possible, but running shoes are not something you want to take chances with. That's why you need to learn how running shoes should fit before you hit the store.

Running Shoes and Your Feet

Feet wearing the black pair of shoes

​Via Pixabay

Here's something you may not have known until now: when choosing running shoes, think about foot mobility.

That is, how flexible is your foot? Some people have springy feet that can bend and arch with no problem. Others have rather stiff feet. Knowing your foot mobility will go a long way towards answering the question "How should running shoes fit?"

The more inflexible your foot, the more flexible the shoe you need.

That's just one thing to look out for. You need to make sure that your runners fit well because you don't want to live with painful heel blisters after each run. Even worse, a shoe that doesn't fit well could result in a rolled ankle. Ouch.

Let's dive right in.

How to size your feet

The first and most obvious, thing to look for is the right shoe size. But how do you know what size your feet really are?

Well, you can use the little foot measuring tool found at many shoe stores. Unfortunately not every retailer has one. Also, if you're ordering online, you'll need an alternative. But there's another way to measure your foot accurately.

Take a piece of paper and place it on the floor. Keep your socks on your foot and place your foot flat on the paper. Keep your body weight on that foot. Then bend down and trace an outline of your foot with a marker.

Now you can step off the paper. Next, take a ruler and measure down the length of your foot trace. This is your foot length. Measure the width of your foot across the thickest part. This is your foot width.

But it gets harder because shoe sizes in America don't follow actual measurements.

Shoe size and width

Wondering what your foot size looks like in shoe size? You're in for a confusing time, because there is no standard and each manufacturer interprets market trends in their own way.

The closest thing you can do is to approximate using the following information:

​Men's Shoe Size Conversion

  • 9 1/2 inches = size 7.5
  • 10 inches = size 8.5
  • 10 1/2 inches = size 10
  • 11 inches = size 11
  • 12 inches = size 14

​​ Woman's Shoe Size Conversion

  • 8 1/2 inches = size 5
  • 9 inches = size 6
  • 9 1/2 inches = size 7.5
  • 10 inches = size 9
  • 10 1/2 inches = size 10.5

As for width, if you're a woman and your foot is over 3 inches wide, you'll want to go for a wide fit. If you're a man and your foot is more than 4 inches wide, get a wide fit.

Shoe material

Are you ready to learn how should running shoes fit based on what they're made with?

You see, materials play a big part in the comfort and performance of running shoes. You want something that matches the weather you'll be running in. Also, you need a shoe that will absorb sweat. For these reasons, synthetic and real leather should be avoided.

If you're running in a gym or in warm weather, go with nylon material. It's light and breathes easily. Something like the Nike Roshe One for men and women works perfectly in this case. Of course, you don't want nylon on a cold winter run.

In that case, you want to go with a warm, padded runner that includes thick, grippy rubber treads. The Under Armour Charged Reactor is one of the best winter running shoes you can buy today. These shoes are available for both men and women.

Heel drop

There's one last thing to look for in running shoes. If you want to know how should running shoes fit, check out the heel drop.

Heel drop is basically how thick the shoe's heel is. The thicker the heel, the greater the angle from the heel to the toe. This is the "drop." As natural minimalist running gets popular, shoes with minimal heel drop gain in popularity. The difference is actually quite extreme.

Get this.

Thicker shoe heels force you to run heel first. It's the first point of contact with the ground. On the other hand, less heel drop allows you to run on your midfoot, spreading the impact energy through your foot instead of up your leg.

Tips for Trying on New Running Shoes

hand holding a black shoe thinking how should running shoes fit

​Via Unsplash

Now you know a few things to look for in your next pair of shoes. Once you get to the store, you want to know how should running shoes fit. We've got some tips for you.

First, remember that everyone is different. Your feet are not the same as the person next to you (twins excluded). That's why foot mobility is so important.

Also, don't skimp on style. You can find some great deals on running shoes, but you want it to match your personal tastes. If you hate orange, don't buy orange shoes just because they were the cheaper option.

Wear socks

The first tip is always to wear socks when trying on shoes. You'll be running with socks on, so you want to know what the shoe will feel like with socks on.

If you can wear the same type of socks, you run in, even better.

Also, remember your foot will swell as it heats up. You don't want your socks and the shoe to be too snug when you're at comfortable room temperature.

Wiggle those toes

The next tip when deciding how should running shoes fit is to make sure you have room to wiggle your toes.

The area of the shoe from the last lace to the tip is called the toebox. You want a toebox that doesn't rub against your toes. It needs to be spacious enough for your foot to swell and spread out as you run.

Wiggle your toes and make sure they don't touch the sides.

Collar your ankles

Are you ready for another great tip? Of course, you are!

Here it is.

You know the padding around the opening of the shoe that sits around your ankles? That's called the collar. It's supposed to hold your ankles in place so your heel doesn't move around. Some shoes use thick padding to accomplish this. Some others hope a funky shape will do the job.

The collar is the worst part of the shoe. If it slips and slides while you're running expect heel blisters. Even worse, your Achilles tendon can get rubbed raw.

When you're trying on shoes, strap them to both feet and seriously walk around quite a bit. Does the collar slip and slide? Does your heel feel loose inside? Pay attention.

Feel the saddle

The area of the shoe that wraps from the laces on the top, down the instep, to the arch of your foot is called the saddle. In a way, it resembles a saddle.

This is a key area of the shoe. It's what holds it all together and also what holds your foot firmly inside the shoe. If it's too tight, you end up with severe pain and bruising. If it's too loose, you're looking at blister city.

Instead, it should feel comfortable and secure. It should make the shoe feel like a part of your foot. There should be no slippage. That being said, it should be flexible enough to allow the arch of your foot to naturally dome and spring back with each strike on the ground.

Roll your feet

Finally, check how flexible the shoe is by rolling your feet around.

By this, we mean roll your left foot onto its left side, and then your right foot onto its right side. Balance on your heels and feel how comfortable the shoe is rolling back and forth.

If your foot stays anchored inside, and the shoe was flexible enough to roll with your feet, then you may have found the perfect pair of running shoes.

Get Running!

A woman running in complete gear

​Via Pixabay

There's only one thing left for you to do. Get running!

How should running shoes fit? They need to be comfortable and secure. Now that you've got yourself a great pair of runners, it's time to hit the pavement (or the treadmill) and get that heart rate up.

We love running. And with the right pair of running shoes, we know that everyone can love running, too!

​Featured Image Source: Unsplash

Altra Running Shoes Review: A Zero Drop Pair Designed To Fit Perfectly

altra running shoes review: Altra AFM1837F Men's Torin 3.5 Road Running Shoe

You can’t get very far into an Altra running shoes review without coming across two of the most mysterious words in the multi-billion-dollar business of sporting goods.

Zero drop.

Sounds a little like something a football coach might yell at his star wide-receiver, right? Actually, zero drop refers to a specification that's widely discussed in the running shoe industry -- by manufacturers, exercise physiologists, and runners alike. It describes a "flat" shoe where there is no difference in height from the heel to the toe.

It's otherwise known as flat-footed or pretty darn close to it.

The philosophy behind zero drop shoes aim to correct a perceived mismatch between standard shoe design (which historically have the heel higher with cushioning than the toe) and the shape of our feet (which, as you're probably quite aware, do not).

In recent years, some in the industry have theorized that the modern design of shoes, where the heel sits higher than the toe, contributes to a significant number of common running injuries. By eliminating that difference, zero-drop shoes are intended to enable what some experts see as a more natural running form that puts less stress on the joints.

According to Forbes, the founders of Altra helped popularize "zero-drop" shoes, almost into a category of their own. The company's founders are even associated with the creation of the term "zero-drop." The company offers a wide variety of zero drop shoes for men and women running both on trails and the road.

You'll find the concept of "zero-drop" discussed at length in nearly every Altra running shoes review you read. Ours is no different.

So What’s Deal with the Drop? 

ALTRA AFM1837F Men's Torin 3.5 Running Shoe, Black/Neon - 7 D(M) US
  • Completely revamped upper with integrated tongue
  • More breathable mesh
  • Synthetic Nubuck Heel
ALTRA AFW1733G Women's Escalante Running Shoe, Gray/Blue - 5.5 M US
  • FootShape Toe box with Fully Cushioned Zero Drop Platform
  • Stack Height: 25 mm
  • Midsole: Altra EGO with Innerflex

First, though, let's consider what we know about the "drop spec" in shoes as it is a source of ongoing debate within the running community.

Hardcore runners like to evaluate shoes at least in part based on the difference between the height of the heel and the height of the shoe’s forefront. This is commonly referred to as the “heel-to-toe” offset. Virtually every shoe sold includes an offset measurement as one of its advertised specifications.

The significance of the offset measurements comes in relation to your running form. Runners in shoes with a higher offset tend to be people who strike the ground first with their heel. Lower-and-medium shoes encourage mid-foot strikes, according to REI Cooperative.

Shoes with a lower offset tend to have less cushioning, which is designed to direct your foot toward a more natural gait. Higher offset shoes have more cushioning in the heels, REI says.

The most significant advantage of a zero-drop or lower drop shoe is a reduced risk of injury, say proponents. But recent research raises questions. A study described by Runner’s World found no difference in injury rates in groups of runners wearing zero drop shoes or others with a taller offset.

Whether you buy the research or not, fans point out that zero-drop or low-drop shoes have plenty of advantages. They tend to be lighter, feel more natural on foot, and provide greater stability.

One issue that both proponents and critics agree on: if you’re used to running in a more traditional shoe with a higher offset, you should switch to a zero-drop shoe very carefully. A transition to zero drop may take months, according to The Wired Runner.

The best rule of thumb:: Go slow and listen to your feet. And read this Altra running shoes review to learn even more.

Altra Running Shoes Review 

Altra's founders have helped drive zero-drop shoes into the consciousness of the running public. Marathoner Golden Harper and partners believe, then and now, that the flatter the shoe bed, the fewer the injuries. Given the growth of the company, since sold to the parent company of the North Face, he may have a point.

In addition to zero drop, Altra shoes also provide a toe box area that's wider. That allows the foot more space in the shoe and for the toes to sit normally and do the jobs they are intended to do in terms of keeping the foot stable.

Altra took the principles of building shoes around the natural design of feet even further in its shoes for women. The company developed what it calls Fit4Her technology, which aims to capture the unique nature of the female foot. Altra says the female foot is narrower in the heel, points to a higher instep, and a offers a longer arch.

One matter to make clear, as Harper tells Forbes: The term "zero-drop" has a very specific meaning when it comes to Altra shoes. Some have come to view zero drop as synonymous with "barefoot running" or "minimalist shoe" -- flat, with little or no cushion.

Altra believes in cushion, Harper tells Forbes. The company just believes it should be designed into the shoe as a flat.

As the company has evolved, it has begun to offer zero-drop shoes for other uses than running. However, that's probably not what you're here for. As this is an Altra running shoes review, let’s look at some of models you might be interested in wearing.

For the men 

ALTRA AFM1837F Men's Torin 3.5 Running Shoe, Black/Neon - 7 D(M) US
  • Completely revamped upper with integrated tongue
  • More breathable mesh
  • Synthetic Nubuck Heel

Are you someone who prefers the long distances? Take a long hard look at the Altra Torin 3.5.

Built with a synthetic mesh upper, the Torin 3.5 weighs about a half a pound -- very light for a well-cushioned shoe. It also offers an integrated tongue so you won't have to worry about the tongue migrating during your run and distracting your focus. If you don't mind a little extra weight, choose the knit version.

The Altra Torin 3.5 sells online for between $85 and $95. It gets 4.6 stars out of 5.0 on Amazon and is available in four different colors. Runner’s World calls it the most approachable shoe in the Altra line.

A 5-star reviewer on Amazon describes the Torin as the best Altra shoe yet. Less pleased was a customer from 2018, who found the shoe narrower than he expected and noted that it started wearing away quickly after a few months.

For the women 

ALTRA AFW1733G Women's Escalante Running Shoe, Gray/Blue - 5.5 M US
  • FootShape Toe box with Fully Cushioned Zero Drop Platform
  • Stack Height: 25 mm
  • Midsole: Altra EGO with Innerflex

The Altra Escalante is Altra’s best-selling shoe and might offer just the right option for the female runner. First, how can you resist the cool raspberry color? It also comes in teal, blue, and four other cool colors.

The shoe weighs only about six ounces and comes with a knit upper. It also, of course, includes the patented Fit4Her technology, which aims to capture the unique structure of the woman’s foot.

The Altra Escalante 1.5 sells online for between $60 and $130. It scores an overall review of 4.5 stars out of 5.0 on Amazon.

One pleased runner described the Escalantes as "great shoes" that kept her free of rubbing or blisters. On the flip-side, a two-star reviewer said she felt she developed severe hip pain after wearing the shoes.

How We Reviewed Altra and Zero-Drop Shoes 

Where else do you start evaluating running shoes except for Runner’s World? It’s a specialty magazine, for sure, but offers content to appeal to all types of runners – the hard-core multiple marathoners as well as the couch-to-5K runner.

Putting together our Altra running shoes review also required a deep dive into Altra’s site. We wanted to understand what types of offerings the company puts out for runners. And we wanted to know about its zero-drop philosophy.

We expanded our Altra running shoes review from there. To select alternative shoes, we looked at reviews and articles in different publications and web sites, such as REI.com, runningshoesguru.com, runningwarehouse.com, and others.

Finally, we dove into the websites of shoes that provide zero-drop alternatives to the Altra line. All in all, our search was more than, not less than, zero.

We absolutely had to include this brand as a viable alternative in our Altra running shoes review. Not only does it get good reviews from customers, but the shoes themselves have zero in their name.

Xero zero-drop shoes from the appropriately named Feel the World Inc. of Colorado are built around the concept of natural -- natural feel, natural fit, natural motion. They promise wider toe boxes and flexible soles, including a patented "FeelTrue" material.

Our choice to look at in comparison to Altra was the Xero Prio, a minimalist shoe billed as suitable for running both on trails and the roads. The shoe is very lightweight, at just over a half a pound, and comes available in six different colors or styles.

In the Zero Prio, your foot will hover close to the ground, the way many believe it's supposed to.

Available for men and women, the Prio sells online for between $50 and $95. Reviewers at Amazon give the Prio a rating of 3.9 stars out of 5.0. One reviewer indicated that wearing the show helped him re-organize his running mechanics and encouraged a stronger core.

A less enthusiastic customer was unhappy with the shoe’s durability, writing that they started to fall apart after just 40 miles. You might say she felt she got zero for Xero.

Fits like a glove 

Merrell Women's Glove 4 Trail Runner
  • Mesh Upper, Breathable mesh lining
  • Zero Drop/4MM Cushion; 3mm lugs
  • Trail Protect pad offers underfoot protection

The next alternative in our Altra running shoes review wants you to believe its shoes fit a little like a second skin. The Merrell Vapor Glove, available for women and men, is geared for use on trails.

They may well feel like a second skin – and you may not feel them at all. The men’s shoe weighs a whopping six ounces. Since trails present a different set of challenges, the shoe comes with a protection pad in case you step on unexpected obstacles.

Merrell's Women's Vapor Glove, now in its fourth edition, is available in many attractive and fashionable colors, such as "very grape" and "Persian red."

The Vapor Glove can be found online anywhere from $40 (if you’re lucky) to as high as $90. The shoe gets better reviews than Xero – scoring a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5.0 from Amazon customers.

One reviewer of the women’s shoe found it to be incredibly lightweight and flexible, but with an underlying structure that some zero-drop shoes can’t offer. An unhappy reviewer criticized the shoe’s fit; while another reviewer was driven to distraction by the shoe’s squeaking.

All we can say is that we’ll take a squeaky shoe if it’s comfortable.

Brooks Pure Cadence 

Brooks Women's PureCadence 7 Black/Purple/Multi 9.5 B US
  • Surface: Road. Differential: 4 mm. Stretch mesh and synthetic upper materials. 3D Fit Print upper utilizes strategic...
  • The Brooks PureCadence 7 running shoe lets you connect to your run with incredible responsiveness and flexibility,...
  • Predecessor: PureCadence 6.

No wordplay in the next alternative in our Altra running shoes review. It's just an alternative to the zero drop. You don't have to go all the way to zero drop to get the benefits that enthusiasts champion.

The Brooks Pure Cadence is an attractive-looking shoe with a 4mm drop – perhaps giving you just enough ramp while keeping your foot in a natural position. Pure Cadence is mainly for women. However, you might also find men's sizes if you look hard enough.

Weighing less than half a pound, the Pure Cadence will appeal to runners with a medium to flat arch. The shoe has a rounded heel and a woven upper to allow for flexibility in your stride. The rounded heel assists in keeping your body and stride aligned, which eases pressure on your joints.

The Brooks Pure Cadence sells online for anywhere between $50 and $110. The line gets a rating of 4.3 stars out of 5.0 from customers on Amazon.

One customer who has run in the shoe praised it for accommodating her unusually narrow feet. Another positive review said the shoe helped clear up repeated problems with shin splints.

A less favorable wearer felt that the shoe was too tight for her liking. Others related problems with fits, finding the show too big for their needs even in their own personal sizes.

Keep the Pure Cadence and other minimal drop shoes on your list when trying to find a shoe that works.

Don't Drop the Ball 

It's time for our verdict before closing our Altra running shoes review. Having experienced our own foot troubles from running, we admit to being skeptical about zero drop.

Running styles matter. And in the later miles of a long race, we feel that extra cushion and stability can help us through the tough end miles of a long race. Zero drop shoes might not be for everyone.

But we can't turn away from zero drop entirely. For our money, we would stick with the original in the field, the company that continues to innovate: Altra.

Do you have a pair of Altra shoes, or perhaps another zero drop shoe you're in love with? Tell us about it in the comments!

Featured Image Source: Amazon

The 8 Best Running Shorts for Comfort on Your Journey

female runner using the nike lunarglide women's and a the best running shorts

From the aesthetic benefits to the mental perks, there is no doubt that running is one of the best forms of exercise. But things can go south very quickly if you don't have the best running shorts. With the wrong pair of shorts, you'll have to deal with wedgies, riding up, and chafing -- everything you wouldn't want to experience while trying to enjoy a good run.

Best Running Shorts Comparison Table

Fortunately, the market has a variety of options for both men and women. From long baggy shorts to the compression type, there is no doubt you'll find a pair for your needs.

Finding the best running shorts can however be challenging. With so many options to consider, narrowing down to one can seem impossible.

That's where we come in. Stay with us as we share all the information you need to purchase the right pair of running shorts.

Select the Best Running Shorts for Your Needs

When it comes to running shorts, everyone has different tastes and preferences. Some prefer long and baggy shorts, and others would rather wear short and tight ones.

However, no matter what your preferences are, there are certain things you need to consider to ensure you choose the best running shorts for you.

Let's find out what these considerations are:

Style is everything

On your quest to find the best running shorts, the first thing you need to consider is the style. Style is essential because it determines the fit, leg seam, and length of the shorts.

So what are your options?

Running shorts come in three primary styles.

Compression shorts

man running wearing one of the best running shorts

Image Source: Unsplash

These type of shorts are tight-fitting, warm, and in most cases provide muscle support. They also stretch to allow more flexibility, and they're the best for preventing chaffing. There are compression shorts for both men and women, but they mainly differ in length.

Women's shorts are shorter compared to men's compression shorts and can be worn on their own. Men's compression shorts, on the other hand, are longer and are most often worn under a pair of loose shorts.

Split shorts

Split shorts are other option. These shorts are loose-fitting, and the leg seams have an upside down v cutout at the bottom. The shape of these shorts is created by how the front panel overlaps the back.

Split shorts are the best performance shorts because they offer the greatest range of motion.

V-notch shorts

These are the most popular type of running shorts. Like the split shorts, they also have v cutouts on the outer leg seams that enable the user to have an excellent range of movement.

V-notch shorts are also loose-fitting and are available for both men and women.

Consider gender-specific features

While shopping for the best running shorts, you'll also notice that there are men's, women's, and unisex running shorts.

It's vital to know the difference between these three types of shorts to choose the right pair.

Men's shorts are designed specifically for the male body -- they have longer inseams and a built-in liner to offer support for the groin area and prevent chaffing and discomfort.

Women's shorts are cut to fit the hips, waist, and thighs more accurately with little room in the groin region. They also have shorter inseams.

The unisex running shorts combine the cut in women's and men's shorts without the specific-support features. For this reason, they're not the most comfortable and may not be the best for long runs.

Fabrics and why they matter

setting up at the starting point

Image Source: Unsplash

The other decision you'll have to make when trying to find the best running shorts is the fabric you need your shorts to have.

You have two choices: natural and synthetic fibers.

Most synthetic fiber running shorts are made of polyester, nylon, or polyester and spandex blend. Polyester blends are the best because they provide stretch, excellent fit, and most importantly moisture management which prevents discomfort and chaffing.

On the other hand, natural fibers include fabrics like cotton which offer good movement and stretch. But these aren't the best fabrics because they don't hold moisture well which can cause chaffing. In addition to this, when natural fibers are frequently used primarily in high heat, they tend to break down faster.

Therefore, if you're looking for a high-quality, long-lasting pair of running shorts, synthetic fabric is the way to go.


I know what you're thinking, "I can choose any of my favorite colors for my running shorts."

While you have the freedom to choose any color you want, it's vital to think of your safety first, especially if you intend to run during the night.

To ensure motorists and other people can see you as you run, you need to go for running shorts with reflective strips or bright colors with excellent visibility.

Additional features

It's also important to consider other features you may need your shorts to have. For instance, if you run for many hours, it may be a good idea to consider getting shorts with pockets where you can carry a snack or your phone in case you need it.

Overall Price Range of Running Shorts

Running shorts come in a variety of prices. The cost mainly varies depending on the features, brand, and retailer.

How We Reviewed

To identify the best running shorts, we considered the price, features, and style of each. What's more, we read customer reviews to find out how each of the shorts performed.

Top 8 Running Shorts You Won't Regret Buying

If you've been trying to find the best running shorts without any luck, we have eight of the best for you. We have shorts for different budgets, men and women, and various styles for different tastes and preferences.

Let's get straight to business:

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5/5 Stars

If you're a distance runner, you need running shorts that excel in the area of comfort and breathability. It's also crucial to have some storage space for a snack, cash, or keys. The ​Athlarel Workout Yoga Shorts fit this description perfectly.

One of the things we love about these shorts is that they have a light and breathable fabric. With this type of material, you can run for many hours without worrying about discomfort from heat buildup.

Furthermore, the shorts feature a waistband with a back pocket which can be used to store keys, a snack, or cash. The shorts also have a mesh liner that not only protects your privacy but also gives the shorts a snug fit.

You'll also love that the shorts come in a variety of colors and are quite affordable. 

Amazon buyers believe these are the best running shorts for women. They rated them 4.4 out of 5 stars.

RIBOOM Women Workout Fitness Running Shorts, Double Layer Elastic...
  • NOTE : All " RIBOOM " brand products are sold only by the seller " RIBOOM ", please pay attention to choose sold by "...
  • Qwick-dry technology for fast drying moisture wicking athletic shorts, Elastic inner layer design and openning hems, let...
  • Lightweight running shorts, soft elastic waistband, giving you maximum comfort, perfect workout running shorts

4.5/5 Stars

An airy blend of polyester and spandex plus opening hems is what you need for days when it seems too hot to run. The ​Riboom Workout Shorts offer you these features and so much more.

One of the things that make these shorts one of the best running shorts is that they feature a fast drying moisture wicking fabric which makes them perfect for long runs. Also, the shorts feature opening hems that allow you to make free and long strides without any restrictions.

You'll also never have to worry about the waistband getting loose because the shorts also have a drawstring to ensure everything stays put as you run.

We're also crazy about the unique color combinations that these shorts come in. There is no doubt you'll stand out on the trail while wearing these shorts.

Amazon customers can't stop raving about these running shorts. They rated them 4.5 out of 5 stars.

BALEAF Women's 8" High Waist Workout Yoga Shorts Tummy Control Side...
  • Moisture-wicking, breathable and stretchy fabric provides complete coverage
  • High-rise, wide waistband for no muffin top and maximum coverage while bending and stretching
  • Big side pockets are available for 4",4.7",5",5.5" Mobile Phone

4.3/5 Stars

If you prefer a tight fit, the Baleaf Workout Shorts are the best running shorts for you.

Our favorite feature on these running shorts is the high waistband. The waistband not only prevents muffin tops but also provides maximum coverage as you run. We also love that the shorts are a blend of polyester and spandex material. This material offers a great stretch and excellent breathability that you'll enjoy as you run long distances.

The shorts also have side pockets that are big enough to accommodate your phone, keys, or a snack.

Amazon buyers rated them 4.3 out of 5 stars.

CRZ YOGA Women's Workout Running Shorts Sports Gym Athletic Shorts...
  • Drawstring design,ensures the comfortable fit
  • Built-in briefs,for support when exercising
  • Reflective strips of leg side, improve safety

4.4/5 Stars

The ​CRZ YOGA Workout Shorts are the best running shorts if you prefer running early in the morning or at night.

These shorts feature reflective strips on the sides that are essential for improving safety. But that's not the only thing that makes them stand out:

They also have a drawstring design to ensure a comfortable fit without cutting your circulation. In addition to this, they have built-in briefs that provide maximum support while you run.

And that's not all:

The shorts also have an inside and back zipper pocket you can use to store small items like keys and cash. You'll also enjoy the lightweight fabric that makes running on a hot day a breeze.

To get these running shorts, you'll have to part with $20 to $25.

Amazon buyers are very pleased with the CRZ shorts. They rated them 4.4 out of 5 stars.

1994Fashion Men’s Running Shorts 7” Quick Dry with Mesh Liner...
  • MATERIALS: The Workout Shorts is made by 100% polyesters. Breathable, Super Lightweight but durable fabric running...
  • FUNCTIONAL DESIGN: Built-in Mesh Brief provides better support, breathability and sweat absorption when you are running...
  • DEEP ZIPPER POCKETS: Two-side Deep Zipper Pockets provide a much safer place to store your keys, cellphone, earphones,...

5/5 Stars

The ​1994Fashion Men's Running Shorts is a solid choice for male runners. These shorts aren't only well-made but also very comfortable and affordable.

They feature 100 percent polyester material that wicks moisture away keeping you cool and dry even in hot weather conditions. What's more, the shorts have a built-in mesh liner that offers additional sweat absorption, breathability, and support where it's needed most.

The shorts also feature an elastic waistband and inner drawcord to ensure your shorts stay in place while you're running.

Amazon customers have no complaints about these running shorts. They believe these shorts deserve a rating of 5.0 out of 5 stars.

BALEAF Men's 5 Inches Running Athletic Shorts Zipper Pocket Black Size...
  • Lightweight, Quick-Dry fabric helps keep you dry and comfy
  • Built-in mesh briefs provide a supportive, breathable fit
  • Two side pockets and rear Zip pocket for convenience

4.5/5 Stars

The ​Baleaf Men's Woven Running Shorts are the best running shorts for summer trails or any other off-road adventures you have in mind. Their quick-dry fabric ensures you stay dry and cool throughout your training session.

These shorts also feature an inner drawcord that ensures the shorts don't slide down while you're running. Furthermore, they feature a built-in mesh liner that offers additional support and breathability.

Another feature that sets these shorts apart is the storage. They feature side pockets and a rear zip pocket that makes it easy to carry your phone and other small items with ease.

You're also guaranteed improved safety thanks to the reflective logo that's on the shorts -- what else could you ask for?

Amazon shoppers are crazy about these shorts; they rated them 4.5 out of 5 stars. 

Under Armour Men's Raid 10-inch Workout Gym Shorts, Black...
  • HeatGear fabric is ultra-soft & smooth for extreme comfort with very little weight
  • UPF 30 protects your skin from the sun's harmful rays
  • 4-way stretch construction moves better in every direction

4.4/5 Stars

One of the downsides of running is that you expose yourself to harmful UV rays. Even if you wear sunscreen, it's always a good idea to go for additional protection because there's nothing like too much protection.

With the ​Under Armour Raid Shorts, there's a guarantee of additional protection from harmful UV rays. These shorts feature UPF 30 protection that safeguards your skin against the sun's harmful rays.

The shorts are also very comfortable. Their 100-percent polyester material provides excellent stretch, allowing you to have unrestricted natural movements. The fabric also wicks moisture away to ensure you stay dry even on the hottest day.

What's more, these shorts have anti-odor technology that prevents odor microorganisms from growing. That feature can come in pretty handy.

Amazon customers love these shorts as much as we do. They gave them a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars.

Neleus Men's 8 inch Compression Shorts,6010,3 Pack:Black,L,EU XL
  • Please ignore the size chart provided by amazon,check the size chart of the third picture to select the appropriate size
  • Streamlined made of soft,lightweight fabric,tight Fitting,like a second skin
  • Constructed with moisture wicking four-way stretch fabric that moves with your body while eliminating sweat

4.2/5 Stars

Last on our list of the best running shorts are the ​Neleus Performance Compression Shorts.

These are support shorts designed to go under a loose pair of running shorts. But what makes them one of the best running shorts?

For starters, they offer good elasticity and compression that's needed when running. What's more, they have a quick-dry polyester and spandex material that keeps you dry and cool as long as you have them on.

They also have a good length that provides coverage where you need it.

These shorts have a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars.

Did We Find the Best Running Shorts for You?

The running shorts on this list are the best you'll find on the market. Based on what users have to say about these shorts, we're confident you'll also enjoy wearing them on your daily run.

Our favorite is the Under Armour Raid Shorts. These shorts have so much to offer from UV protection to odor prevention, and they also deliver on comfort.

Which one do you plan to purchase and why? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!