EDITOR'S CHOICE: BROOKS GHOST 3Price: $100
Widths: Stand.-2E(M) 2A-D(W)
Weight: 11 oz(M) 8.9 oz(W)
WE SAY: Although the original Ghost was a performance trainer, each update has moved the shoe more firmly into the neutral-cushioned category. It's still light and zippy while being supportive enough to protect your legs on long runs. The heel is now segmented to isolate impact forces and ease the foot through toe-off. This update is built on a last similar to the Adrenaline GTS, and testers enjoyed the snug fit through the heel and midfoot. We recommend it for runners with a relatively efficient stride looking for plenty of arch support.
WEAR-TESTERS SAY: "Great support, and my feet didn't overheat in them."—Karen Mirras, 58, East Lansing
"It wasn't too heavy, yet it supplied enough underfoot for longer runs."—Duane Brown, 37, East Lansing
BROOKS SUMMON 2
Weight: 10.7 oz(M) 8.5 oz(W)
WE SAY: The Summon throws a lot of springy cushioning underfoot, which was good in some ways and bad in others. It provides excellent impact protection, but it's a tad rigid and raises the foot a bit higher than most of our testers preferred. According to their comments, the shoe's jacked-up ride gave it a clunky feel, despite its resilient, lightweight build. Like the Ghost, the Summon is built on a new last, offering a snug heel fit that testers liked. We recommend it for heavy heel-strikers looking for an everyday workhorse shoe.
WEAR-TESTERS SAY: "I was surprised by how much cushioning this shoe had."—Hillary Hartzell, 26, Allentown
"A good fit, but I needed more support on longer runs."—Tammy Chick, 43, East Lansing
NEW BALANCE 730
Widths: Stand.-4E(M) Standard(W)
Weight: 10.7 oz(M) 8.8 oz(W)
WE SAY: This stripped down, lightweight shoe gets the basics right, offering a responsive ride that isn't too mushy. Unfortunately, it lacks the sculpted fit and fancy foam accents—plush sockliner, memory-foam collar—to supply outstanding comfort to the foot. Several testers commented that the shoe felt boxy and didn't hug their feet like it should. Still, many appreciated the firm feel and overall ride of this shoe. Recommended for normal-arched runners looking for good support and cushioning at a reasonable price.
WEAR-TESTERS SAY: "A classic, no-nonsense shoe that worked like a basic running shoe should work."—Sharon M. Becker, 39, East Lansing
"Great support, but the heel fit loose."—David Woodbury, 31, East Lansing
NEW BALANCE 759
Widths: Stand.-4E(M) 2A-D(W)
Weight: 11.1 oz(M) 8.9 oz(W)
WE SAY: The 759 isn't fancy, but it hits the cushioning sweet spot without being too firm and inflexible. The biggest difference from the previous version is in the upper. New Balance got rid of the sausage laces and N-Lock system that secured the instep and replaced it with a less complicated design that seems to be just as effective at anchoring the arch, at least according to most of our testers. Recommended for runners with normal arches looking for a durable lightweight trainer.
WEAR-TESTERS SAY: "The forefoot of the shoe needed more cushioning, but the heel felt just fine."—Janice Spodarek, 56, East Lansing
"I'm a bigger guy, and this shoe still provided enough stability."—Rich Adams, 62, Allentown