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Marathon aspirations – the 5 best marathon training shoes of 2024

Paul Freary (Instagram:  @therunningshoeguru) is an accomplished athlete and marathon runner. He also knows a thing or two about running shoes having been in the industry for 30 years and owning his own specialist running store for 22 years.

Here he selects some of the best shoes around for marathon training.

With some lucky runners being successful in securing a place in the 2025 London Marathon ballot they’ll be looking for a new pair of running shoes.

For some runners, this will be their first marathon, while for others, it might be the final part of their Abbott World Marathon Majors journey. Whichever category you fall into, here we take a look at a selection of shoes suitable for training in the coming months.

Brooks Ghost 16

One of the best shoes around for both beginners and accomplished marathon runners is the Brooks – Ghost 16 – £135.00 – www.brooksrunning.com

The latest version features the brand’s premium cushioning technology, DNA3. This gives the Ghost 16 a more responsive feel as well as being more durable, perfect for those marathon miles!

DNA3 is a Nitrogen infused foam and one of the premium types of cushion foam materials now favoured by many of the leading brands. The addition of Nitrogen to the foam creates a softer, springier and more durable cushioning material that elevates the shoe into a more premium performance bracket.

As well as the cushioning now being more consistent and durable, Brooks has used a new outsole material, a recycled silica-infused rubber which extends the life of the outsole meaning more miles for your money!

As always with Brooks, the upper is a top-quality engineered mesh construction and has a fuss-free fit that manages to accommodate a wide range of foot shapes. The Ghost 16 also comes in narrow, standard and wide fits for both men and women, so they’ve got everybody covered!

Asics Gel Kayano 31

If you are a runner who requires a little added support, then the latest ASICS – Gel Kayano 31 – £180.00 might be the shoe for you. www.asics.com

The brand’s most popular and established support shoe sees some all-around updates over the previous model, but luckily for long-time fans of the shoe, it’s an evolution rather revolution.

From top to bottom, the shoes see minor uppers. The upper is redesigned with a focus on fit in the ankle, heel and Achilles area. I found the changes a real positive but must admit I am partial to plush padding in the upper of a shoe. Here, there’s neatly finished padding around the whole ankle area with the upper sitting away from the skin to reduce any contact or friction points. The upper simply hugs the foot beautifully.

For support, ASICS no longer refer to their medial post as such, preferring the ‘4D guidance system’ moniker. Essentially a different area of the FF Blast Plus Eco foam sits beneath the arch, within the 40mm stack of cushioning. The control is more ‘guidance’ than out-and-out control for over-pronators, but it does a reasonable job of keeping most runners in a more natural gait.

A new sole rounds the update off and provides a little more coverage for better traction on the roads.

Hylo Impact

While many brands quote the use of recycled materials within their products, one of the newer brands that are attempting to focus specifically on the eco-credentials of their footwear is Hylo Athletics with the Hylo Impact – £150.00 model.  www.hyloathletics.com

This, the second model from the brand features a supercritical nitrogen-injected foam with a bio-based EVA to create a responsive yet stable ride with good eco credentials.

The geometry of the midsole aims to provide a stable base and make the shoe suitable for a wider range of runners. It’s a soft and welcoming ride and for me sits somewhere between a daily trainer and a lighter-weight racing shoe. Of course, everyone is different with their cushioning preferences, but for me, the shoe has a racy feel with soft, smooth cushioning.

All parts of the shoe feature varying levels of bio-based and recycled content from the laces and upper to the cushioning and outsole.

The outsole is inspired by a car tyre, with the strips of rubber and cut-outs aiming to dispel water in the wet and aid traction.

The thinking behind the shoe is great and definitely considers all aspects of footwear manufacture. Perhaps other manufacturers will follow suit with their full line of products as Hylo aim to do.

Mizuno Neo Vista

If you fancy something a little faster, then the new Mizuno – Neo Vista – £180.00 –

www.Emea.mizuno.comis certainly worth considering.

While many brands have highly stacked cushioning options available, it often comes at the cost of stability. Here, Mizuno has combined a 45mm deep midsole with a broader base to keep things under control.

The ENERZY NXT foam is super-soft and incredibly springy and when married up with a full-length glass-fibre plate, they’ve created a shoe that gives a highly propulsive ride.

The Neo Vista manages to put a racing shoe feel into a daily trainer capable of soaking up the miles on a regular basis. The rockered geometry of the shoe contributes to the smooth and fast ride and the ‘bootie’ upper gives the Neo Vista a distinctive look.

That upper fits very well, with a sock-like snugness around the foot. If you want something that stands out from the crowd a little and is a versatile and lively performer, the Neo Vista is a good choice.

HOKA Cielo X1

Another ‘faster’ shoe and one which features a full-length carbon plate is the HOKA – Cielo X1 – £250.00 – www.Hoka.com

Whilst the brand classifies the shoe as a racing model, it sits a little on the heavier side of the scales when compared to the opposition, but for me, it makes the shoe a more capable daily shoe.

The 40mm stack of cushioning includes a full-length plate that is contoured and curved to add a propulsive feel and control to the shoe. It does this very well and the shoe feels incredibly stable for one with this height and feel.

From stepping into the shoes, the ‘bounce’ is instantly noticeable and as soon as you start to run, the aggressive rocker and plate seem to encourage you to pick up the pace!

For me, it’s the best race shoe yet from the brand, but more than that, probably the best training shoe. I could quite easily wear this 4 or 5 times a week such is the nature of the cushioning. The weight isn’t an issue when using this shoe as a daily trainer and for those that like to vary the pace of training runs, this makes a great one-stop option.

Whichever shoe you choose, there’s never been a better time to tackle the marathon, with brands creating shoes with improved performance from cushioning to propulsion.

The hardest part now is choosing your next pair.

*images show both men’s and women’s colour options in the above models. Where one image is shown this may be a unisex colour.