2011 Spring Shoe Guide

ASICS GEL-KAYANO 17

Price: $140

Widths: Stand.-4E (M) 2A-D (W)

Weight: 12.1 oz (M) 10.5 oz (W)

Contact: 800-678-9435; asics.com

We Say: The well-balanced Kayano puts a soft feel on some heavy support. The wide, stable heel holds gobs of cushy foam and Gel, offering the resiliency of a neutral-cushioned shoe at heel-strike and a smooth transition through toe-off. Asics tweaked the shoe's lacing pattern slightly so it faithfully follows the topline of the foot. Testers couldn't say enough about the soft cushioning and outstanding fit of this shoe. Of course, like most stability shoes, the Kayano is still on the hefty side, and that's why we recommend it for bigger runners.

Wear-Testers Say:

"The heel felt like it had a big drop from rear to front."

—Karen Haley, 56, East Lansing

"The amount of support and stability in this shoe is perfect for me."

—Peter Butler, 49, San Diego

BROOKS SWITCH 4

Price: $85

Widths: Standard

Weight: 11.7 oz (M) 9.6 oz (W)

Contact: 800-227-6657; brooksrunning.com

We Say: The Switch delivers a touch of stability and modest cushioning for a decent price. Our lab tests show the shoe's cushioning to be slightly less springy than other Brooks shoes in this category, but it is generally soft. Several testers didn't like the ankle collar, however. It's a little low on padding, so it has an odd fit. Recommended as a good, basic trainer for all but fast, high-mileage runners.

Wear-Testers Say:

"The shoe was comfortable and easy to run in, but in less than 100 miles, I felt the cushioning starting to break down."

—Kendra Cheruvelil, 35, East Lansing

"Overall a solid trainer that provides ample support, but the top of the ankle collar causes some discomfort."

—Kate P. Desiderio, 31, Allentown

BROOKS TRANCE 10

Price: $140

Widths: B-2E (M) 2A-D (W)

Weight: 11.9 oz (M) 9.8 oz (W)

Contact: 800-227-6657; brooksrunning.com

We Say: This update is unabashed in its traditional approach to stability, delivering an underfoot feel that's a tad firm and stiff (especially in the forefoot), according to Shoe Lab tests. The midsole offers overpronators gentle correction, and the segmented crash pad and pillow of soft foam in the heel absorb slow, pounding miles. What got many of our testers excited about the Trance was the new lacing feature that keeps the tongue from shifting midrun. Recommended as a supportive trainer for average and heavyweight runners.

Wear-Testers Say:

"It fit like a glove and was stable with every run."

—Ted Gray, 61, East Lansing

"The cushioning is on the thin side, but that did not bother me one bit."

—Erin Dry, 29, Allentown

Discuss This Article

Follow your passions

Connect with ACTIVE.COM