BEST UPDATE: MIZUNO WAVE ALCHEMY 10
Widths: Stand.-2E(M) 2A-B(W)
Weight: 11.9 oz(M) 9.1 oz(W)
WE SAY: With its soft, steady ride, the Alchemy is remarkably lightweight and flexible. Mizuno tricked out this update with a layer of foam cushioning above the plastic Wave plate in the midsole. The plate still does a first-rate job of guiding and supporting the foot, and the extra layer of foam keeps it from feeling too firm and rigid. Testers overwhelmingly liked the fit and feel, but a few noted problems securing the laces tightly. Recommended as a stable everyday trainer and long-run shoe.
WEAR-TESTERS SAY: "Surprisingly comfortable for the support it offered."—Natasha Bliss, 29, San Diego
"The fit was just right, but I had to adjust the lacing to get my heel snug."—Amy Keich, 35, AllentownPUMA COMPLETE VECTANA 2
Weight: 12.5 oz(M) 10.5 oz(W)
WE SAY: Puma slightly widened the sole of this update to create a broader platform to push off from, and the result was a clunky ride for some testers. The problem stems from the thick midsole that offers decent cushioning but not much flexibility, according to our lab tests. Not all was bad, though. Testers liked the shoe's snug fit around the ankle. We recommend the Vectana for bigger runners who tend to land hard on their heels and need soft yet durable protection.
WEAR-TESTERS SAY: "A solid shoe, but it could do without the bulkiness."—Trevor Neeb, 31, San Diego
"It really needs to weigh less and not feel so stifling inside."—Kaylin Belair, 21, East LansingSAUCONY PROGRID OMNI 9
Widths: Stand.-2E(M) 2A-2E(W)
Weight: 13 oz(M) 10.8 oz(W)
WE SAY: The Omni has put on some weight. Saucony updated this version with a thick sole made of fairly dense foam. The result is a shoe that's noticeably firmer and an ounce heavier than the previous model. Testers didn't like running with the extra bulk, but many liked the shoe's supportive feel. And testers with wide feet couldn't stop raving about the fit. Recommended for normal- to low-arched runners as a durable long-run shoe.
WEAR-TESTERS SAY: "The stable platform fostered a secure foot plant."—Chad Austin, 39, San Diego
"While they had a firm ride, the heel support was great, and the upper wrapped the foot well."—Rique Campa, 53, East LansingLet our experts answer your questions with this Running Shoe FAQ
.SAUCONY PROGRID PARAMOUNT 3
Weight: 12.9 oz(M) 10.5 oz(W)
WE SAY: The Paramount offers a plush platform for Clydesdales and moderate overpronators. The shoe's plastic midsole plate, which helps guide the foot through the gait cycle, is a bit more flexible in this version, according to our lab tests, but not noticeably so, in the opinion of our testers. They found the biggest improvement in the upper, which incorporates a wider arch wrap component to lock down the middle of the foot. We recommend the Paramount as a workhorse shoe for big runners.
WEAR-TESTERS SAY: "While they were a bit heavy, I liked the overall comfort. I felt very supported."—Lori Williams, 29, East Lansing
"It fit well, but the arch was a bit rigid."—Michael Weber, 34, San Diego