Sneakers are many things to many people — from professional athletes who need the latest tech to the sneakerhead who stacks boxes high just to have a few pairs on ice. But one defining aspect is that they are the most comfortable shoes in a field full of uncomfortable footwear.
But finding a sneaker that stays secure without being overly tight, offers all-day support that won’t fade, and doesn’t feel like a sweatbox is not an easy task. Not to mention, our feet contain about one-quarter of all the bones in the human body, and arch height, foot width, and pressure points vary wildly. Point being: not every sneaker will be comfortable for every person.
With that in mind, however, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most comfortable shoes on the market that you should consider picking up right now. From New Balance and adidas to the most comfortable Nike shoes on the market. Scroll on for a selection your feet will thank you for.
Shop the Most Comfortable Sneakers of 2021 Below.
New Balance 2002RI
New Balance, in general, is at the crest of the dad sneaker trend, but its reputation for comfort is not a passing fad. The recently-relaunched New Balance 2002 combines a soft, high-quality leather upper with a sole unit taken from the 860v2, promising sustained comfort. To understand just how comfortable the 2002 is, you need to know that the sneaker was developed in 2010 as a “boss-level” sneaker, designed to sit on the feet of CEOs and the like. No expense was spared, which resulted in a hefty price tag a decade ago. Luckily for you, this ultra-comfortable sneaker is available for much less than its original $250 price.
adidas Ultraboost 21
The adidas Ultraboost was already one of the most comfortable sneakers on the market when it first dropped in 2014. In 2019 the silhouette got an update, making it even more comfortable. And, just when we thought adidas wouldn’t — no, couldn’t go any further — the German sportswear giant unveiled the Ultraboost 21. This iteration features an advanced Primeknit upper with Tailored Fiber Placement technology, as well as an optimized Boost midsole for ultimate comfort. It’s hard to believe, but you wouldn’t be making a mistake swapping your OG Ultraboosts for a pair of DNAs.
Nike React Infinity Run 2 "Berlin"
After its one-year hiatus, we figured we needed to do something special in our home city for the Berlin Marathon. The Highsnobiety x Nike Berlin Fast Capsule Collection is a celebration of the locals returning to compete and long-distance runners everywhere. If you are up for a bit of competition in 2021, you're going to need the right gear and, most importantly, the right shoes.
Enter the Nike React Infinity Run 2 "Berlin." The Infinity Run 2 is designed to shield you from injuries. The sneaker is comfortable and breathable thanks to a combination of its Flyknit material and springy React foam. The sneaker's wide forefoot and flared midsole give you proprioceptive cues — this helps to stabilize your stride. It's a shoe that will keep you comfortable on racing days or while simply trekking around the city.
On The Roger Cloubhouse
Swiss sportswear brand On is known in running circles for its CloudTec cushioning, which is heralded as one of the best on the market. The Roger Clubhouse is the brand’s best entry into the lifestyle market to date. Backed by tennis legend Roger Federer, his eponymous sneaker combines the aforementioned CloudTec with a classic tennis shoe aesthetic. The result is a clean sneaker that can be dressed up, down, and worn all day. Performance All Day sis On’s motto when it comes to The Roger, which blends On’s performance know-how with a more stylish and street-ready aesthetic. The simple, yet highly comfortable sneaker features a sleek upper.
ASICS Novablast Sneakers
ASICS has been doing its functional thing for ages now, but as the world of style turns closer and closer to the engineered, performance designs that brand like ASICS have been pumping out for years, these brands take on a new life. With n diminished comfort or functionality, silhouettes like the ASICS Novablast have hit the big time in 2020 and we foresee a strong few years in this arena.
Nike Air Force 1
The Nike Air Force 1 is one of the most recognizable sneakers in the game and, thankfully, one of the most comfortable Nike shoes as well. The comfort fresh out of the box is questionable, but after a couple of wears, it’s undeniable. The substantial sole doesn’t degrade and contains a hidden Air pocket for all-day comfort. While they’re a bit on the heavier side, they aren’t so clunky they become obstructive. For close to $100, you can’t ask for much more.
adidas YEEZY Foam Runner
One of the newest and most memorable YEEZY iterations, the adidas Originals YEEZY Foam Runner is a definite eye-catcher. In typical 'Ye style, it looks set for space-age future, but it’s also one of the most comfortable shoes YEEZY has to offer thanks to its sustainable algae upper and the holes that offer supreme breathability. Sometimes YEEZYs aren’t just all about the hype.
YEEZY Foam Runner 'Mineral Blue'
HOKA ONE ONE Kaha Low GTX
If there’s one thing HOKA ONE ONE is known for, it’s its sneakers’ huge midsoles, which make them some of the most comfortable sneakers around. While most HOKA shoes could have made this list, we’ve opted for the Kaha Low GTX, due to the fact that it’s a casual hiker. Anyone who has ever been hiking before knows that you’re on your feet a lot when hiking and that comfort and the right fit is paramount. They may not look it, but hiking shoes are some of the most comfort-oriented designs out there. The Kaha Low GTX is no different, featuring HOKA’s signature bulky sole, which is paired with a relatively subdued upper that has been treated with GORE-TEX weatherproofing technology. Seriously, give these a chance.
ASICS GEL-Kayano 14
While ASICS’ Novablast above represents the brand’s modern-day foray into the world of ultra-comfortable sneakers, the Japanese brand also has some comfy cozy kicks from back in the day. One such is the GEL-Kayano 14, which exists as more of a lifestyle shoe today. Thanks to its mixed-material upper and GEL-infused sole unit, the sneaker balances comfort with durability.
Reebok Zig 3D Hydro Storm
One of Reebok’s most comfortable (and stylish) sneakers is the Zig 3D Hydro Storm. The name comes from its distinctive zigzag silhouette, which is intentional. The shape and the sole optimize energy return and use a three-part system to elevate performance. Floatride Fuel provides an everyday cushiony feel, the Zig Energy Shell uses and returns kinetic energy, while the Zig Energy Bands make the outsole expand and contract in a super responsive way.
Crocs Classic Clog
The Crocs Classic Clog is not the sexiest option on this list, but it’s probably one of the most comfortable. Similar to the YEEZY Foam Runner, the Crocs Clog is made out of one rubber and can be slipped into with or without socks. In recent years, the brand has turned itself from meme to big-time collaborator, tapping the likes of Justin Bieber, Post Malone, ALIFE, and more for high-profile projects.
Saucony Shadow 6000
Sneakerheads are probably well-versed in Saucony’s lifestyle and heritage line, and it’s a classic model that makes our list. The Shadow 6000, once the go-to sneaker for Saucony collaborators, has recently been relaunched and will be a big focus for the brand over the next 12 months. There’s a reason sneakers such as the Shadow 6000 are popular and stick around for so long. Design, history, and heritage all play a role, but the most important factor is comfort.
New Balance 992
Pretty much every New Balance sneaker is comfortable, so it was hard to settle on just one sneaker for this list. Ultimately, we decided to go for one pair of lifestyle sneakers and one pair of performance sneakers (below). The New Balance 992 enjoyed a big year last year and the 991 is celebrating its anniversary in 2021. Either would have been a solid choice, but we settled for the 992 thanks to its slightly more modern design. The fact that the sneaker is also one of the most comfortable on the market — and a great walking shoe — is almost secondary.
New Balance Fresh Foam 880v11
New Balance Fresh Foam is the brand’s premier performance running technology. It’s soft as clouds and looks interesting too. What sets New Balance’s performance shoes apart from its competitors is the rounded heel at the back, which cradles your Achilles and prevents the wearer from getting blisters. The engineered mesh upper adds to the overall comfort thanks to its breathability and lightweight design.
Salomon sneakers are usually comfortable, yet sturdy trail beasts. The Phantasm, however, is more of a street running model that goes all-out when it comes to comfort. It’s incredibly lightweight — when you slip it on you’ll be tempted to double-check that you’ve even got something on your feet — and the overall curved geometry of the shoe gives the sensation that you're floating over the ground as opposed to barreling down with each step.
adidas adiZero Prime X
Are you trying to add a little oomph to your step? Because that’s exactly what the new adidas adiZero Prime X looks like it would do, thanks to its extra-thick midsole. Make no mistake, this sneaker is designed with speed and racing in mind. That being said, a lot of performance sneakers are used exclusively as casual lifestyle shoes, so why not an ultra-high-tech runner?
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