Purpose This study focused on the effects of shoe energy return and shoe longitudinal bending stiffness on the energetic cost and biomechanics of running. Methods The energetic cost of running and biomechanical variables altering running economy (ground contact times, stride frequency, vertical and leg stiffness, ground reaction force impulses, alignment between the resultant ground reaction force and the leg) were measured for nineteen male recreational runners. Participants ran overground under their ventilatory anaerobic threshold (10.8 ± 1.1 km h −1 on average) using four shoe prototypes with features combining low or high magnitudes of energy return and longitudinal bending stiffness. Results Neither the energy return, nor the longitudinal bending stiffness, or the interaction of these shoe features altered the energetic cost of running. High energy return shoes induced significant increased ground contact time from 274.5 ± 18.3 to 277.1 ± 18.7 ms, and significant decreased stride frequency from 1.34 ± 0.05 to 1.33 ± 0.05 Hz. High bending stiffness shoes induced significant increased ground contact time from 273.8 ± 18.2 to 277.9 ± 18.7 ms, significant increased vertical stiffness from 23.2 ± 3.4 to 23.8 ± 3.0 kN m −1 , and significant decreased net vertical impulse from 245.4 ± 17.2 to 241.7 ± 17.5 BW ms. Conclusions Increased energy return and longitudinal bending stiffness induced subtle changes in the running biomechanics, but did not induce any decrease in the energetic cost of running.