The field was crowded, the competition fierce—but these sneakers left the others in the dust.
Peter Koch 1 / 7
1. Best Suit Sneaker: Nike Flyknit Racer
This featherweight racer (5.6 oz) gets its structure—not to mention incredible airiness—from the virtually seamless one-piece knit upper, which integrates areas of stretch, support, and breathability where you need them most. That gives it a socklike fit that’s killer for light and fast runs, but also a striking look that pairs really well with a lightweight warm-weather suit, where you don’t want socks to show. This is that rare running shoe that softens the stuffiness of dressing up yet can handle half-marathons—elite runners, like two-time Olympic champ Mo Farah, have raced in them.
Hoka started with trail running shoes and has since added road runners. But it’s this “speed” shoe, the Clayton, that really stands out. This superlightweight (7.3 oz) flagship has a softer heel for protection and a firmer forefoot for speedy push-offs. Coupled with Hoka’s signature rockered shape, it’s as comfortable as a much heavier shoe.
The barely there All Out Crush is insanely light for a trail runner (8 oz) yet full-featured: The M-Select Grip, combined with the airy TPU and mesh upper, allows the foot to breathe while protecting it from mud and grit, and the outsole has flex grooves that eject mud as you run to maintain ground feel. These are built for loose dirt trails (they push corners like never before) and speedy hardpack.
The Cascadia, part of the Brooks lineup for more than a decade, still excels on variable terrain, where its cushioning strikes an elegant balance between bombproof durability and a nimble responsiveness. Pivot posts on each corner offer unparalleled stability, and a forefoot rock shield shrugs off sharp edges. At almost 12 oz, this shoe’s not especially light, but you can be sure it will hold up to however many mud runs you throw at it.
The cushiest dress shoe you’ll ever own, this minimalist model was created by NB’s Tokyo Design Studio for the company’s 110th anniversary. Though it does feature a springy Abzorb midsole, we don’t recommend lacing it up for a run. (Leather’s not very breathable.) But it’s perfect for anyone who feels that formal should also be fashionable.
Every runner needs a workhorse. The Triumph ISO 2 is a plush but neutral shoe that’s been updated with Saucony’s Everun foam—a high-tech material that distributes impact energy better than standard EVA-based foams—to provide softer cushioning and higher energy return. They’re not light (about 10 oz), but we prefer these for the protection and exceptional pop.
Kanye wears these, and fashion designers like Stella McCartney and Kris Van Assche have been lining up to create runway-ready limited releases. But we like this stock version just fine—it’s sharp enough to pair with jeans or slim-fit chinos, yet understated enough to slip the boss’s notice. What’s more, the marathon-ready cush is more than adequate for standing desks and after-work runs. Bonus points if you can score a pair of the rare, match-anything all-white version.