BEST BUY: NIKE AIR PEGASUS+ 27
Weight: 11 oz(M) 8.6 oz(W)
WE SAY: The Pegasus delivers a terrific balance of value and comfort. Nike tinkered with the cushioning a bit with this update, but otherwise left it alone. The forefoot has been retrofitted with a springier foam compound, and the heel now features a Zoom Air cushioning unit. Both changes deliver a soft resilient ride, according to Shoe Lab tests. Testers loved the shoe's bounce, and several really liked how snugly the upper wrapped their arches and ankles. We recommend the Pegasus for normal- to high-arched runners as a marathon-training shoe.
WEAR-TESTERS SAY: "It's heel felt peppy and the upper hugged me tight."—Tiffany Volpe, 27, Allentown
"The shoe fits snugly around the arch."—Nick Stanko, 29, East Lansing
NIKE LUNAR GLIDE+ 2
Weight: 11.1 oz(M) 9.2 oz(W)
WE SAY: For a relatively lightweight shoe, the Glide boasts excellent cushioning and stability, thanks to its narrow heel design and sloped support post in the midsole. Nike didn't change much in this update, leaving the sole the same and reshaping the Flywire upper with a crosshatch pattern to better secure the foot. Our testers raved about the springy Lunar-foam cushioning, but many questioned the shoe's minimal upper support. Recommended for runners with normal to low arches who want to try a soft, flexible shoe.
WEAR-TESTERS SAY: "Great mix of soft flexibility, but the toebox felt wide."—Natasha Roberson, 27, East Lansing
"I liked the lightness and comfort, but it could use a bit more stability."—Cari C. Cravotta, 27, East Lansing
PUMA COMPLETE VELOSIS 2
Weight: 13 oz(M) 10.9 oz(W)
WE SAY: This Clydesdale special pours on the cushioning, especially in the heel, making it more than capable of handling the heavy footfalls of larger runners. Puma decoupled the heel to improve the shoe's impact attenuation and added a plush sockliner to smooth out the ride. Unfortunately, all these changes have also made the Velosis thick, heavy, and a bit inflexible—attributes many of our testers weren't fond of. Recommended as a sturdy trainer for orthotics-wearers and bigger runners.
WEAR-TESTERS SAY: "It was a tad heavy, but it ran well for me."—Jessyca Henman, 21, San Diego
"A solid shoe for high-mileage runners who are a little heavier."—Bryan Foltz, 39, East Lansing
REEBOK AZTREK 2
Weight: 11.1 oz(M) 8.9 oz(W)
WE SAY: This lightweight update offers a comfortable ride with a touch of stability. Our lab tests show that the cushioning is on the soft side, which is likely due to a thicker-than-average midsole. A consequence of this design is a slightly less-flexible shoe. Fit-wise, the shoe is built on a new last that curves a bit in the forefoot for a smooth toe-off. Overall, testers liked the feel of the Aztrek, and many raved about its cushy ride. Recommended for runners on a budget with normal to high arches.
WEAR-TESTERS SAY: "The shoe was lightweight and breathable, but the toe box was a little roomy."—Sarah Ford, 29, East Lansing
"The shoe was comfortable and supported my arch well."—Jeremy McCallum, 26, East Lansing
SAUCONY ECHELON 2
Weight: 12.7 oz(M) 10.3 oz(W)
WE SAY: The Echelon is a big guys' cushion shoe with a snug, welcoming interior. This update is built on a wider last to accommodate orthotics, and it has an extra layer of cushioning that puts the heel much higher off the ground than the forefoot. This design shifts a runner's weight to the forefoot quickly, causing a sensation of being propelled forward. Some testers liked this sensation, and others thought it felt awkward. Recommended as a durable trainer for heavy heel-strikers.
WEAR-TESTERS SAY: "The Echelon 2 felt comfortable from the start and had the stability and support I need."—Pete Hohnemann, 62, San Diego
"One of the most comfortable and supportive shoes I have ever worn."—Jeff Kovan, 48, East Lansing