2011 Spring Shoe Guide

MIZUNO WAVE INSPIRE 7

Price: $100

Widths: Standard

Weight: 11.6 oz (M) 8.9 oz (W)

Contact: 800-966-1211; mizunousa.com

We Say: A flexible shoe, the Inspire has a fast feel that belies the amount of corrective support it provides. Our Shoe Lab tests show it to be firm underfoot, especially in the heel. Testers appreciated the shoe's relative lightness, but some didn't like how tight the upper wrapped their toes—there just didn't seem to be enough wiggle room. We recommend the Inspire for runners with normal to low arches as a durable trainer for moderate-distance and tempo runs.

Wear-Testers Say:

"The shoe was a great blend of support and cushioning, but the forefoot felt a bit snug."

—Brian Kester, 27, Allentown

"The shoe really had a great fit and rolled well from heel to toe."

—Marie Quinn, 54, Allentown

NEW BALANCE 860

Price: $105

Widths: Standard

Weight: 12.2 oz (M) 10.1 oz (W)

Contact: 800-253-7463; newbalance.com

We Say: The sequel to the 760 boasts ample stability for overpronators and Clydesdales. New Balance reshaped the shoe's outsole to put the foot in contact with the ground longer, and added soft rubber to improve cushioning. Despite these changes, the shoe is somewhat firm and rigid, especially in the forefoot, according to Shoe Lab tests. Testers noted the stiff ride and praised the shoe's snug heel, but a few felt the toebox was too wide. Recommended as a stable shoe for big trodders.

Wear-Testers Say: "The shoe has great arch support, and it still looks new after more than 140 miles."

—Cheryl Miller, 42, East Lansing

"It was supportive without the bulk, but I wish it had stay-tied sausage laces."

—Nicole Graf, 40, East Lansing

EDITOR'S CHOICE: NIKE ZOOM STRUCTURE+ 14

Price: $100

Widths: Standard

Weight: 11.5 oz (M) 10.1 oz (W)

Contact: 800-595-6453; nikerunning.com

We Say: The Structure is a huge step forward for stability footwear. Its midsole design is ideal for runners who start off pronating only slightly but end their run needing maximum support. It's substantially softer and more flexible than other shoes offering this much stability. Testers couldn't get enough of its springiness or its balanced fit—thanks to a new Flywire upper that holds the arch and heel of the foot firmly in place. Recommended as a plush everyday trainer for long runs.

Wear-Testers Say: "Superb stability and yet a total lack of chunkiness."

—Jon Saunders, 28, East Lansing

"I was able to use this shoe without my orthotics, which was nice."

—Judy Hanson, 53, East Lansing

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