2011 Spring Shoe Guide

NEUTRAL-CUSHIONED

ADIDAS ADISTAR RIDE 3

Price: $130

Widths: Standard

Weight: 12.4 oz (M) 10.1 oz (W)

Contact: 800-448-1796; shopadidas.com

We Say: Adidas tinkered with the cushioning of the latest Ride, adding a light, springy foam to the midsole, but kept the same stability unit for a consistent feel when the heel first hits the ground. The result is still a firm, protective shoe. The upper wraps the foot without being tight and provides plenty of wiggle room in the forefoot. Testers overwhelmingly like the fit, but some thought it was a bit dense underfoot. Recommended for mid- to large-sized runners looking for mild support.

Wear-Testers Say: "They felt very lightweight, but I would like a bit more cushioning for longer runs."

—Scott Rowlands, 45, Allentown

"The shoe fit perfectly. It was as if I was running barefoot."

—Stephanie Norman, 28, Allentown

EDITOR'S CHOICE: BROOKS DEFYANCE 4

Price: $100

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

Weight: 10.9 oz (M) 8.9 oz (W)

Contact: 800-227-6657; brooksrunning.com

We Say: The Defyance is a soft, low-slung trainer ready for high-mileage days or tempo runs. Built on the sole of last year's Adrenaline GTS (minus the firm support post), this update is flexible yet firm underfoot and snug in the heel. The upper provides a secure, articulated wrap through the arch that testers absolutely raved about. A few didn't like the lack of forefoot cushioning—a result of the shoe's low profile. Recommended for beginners or any runner looking for a versatile training shoe.

Wear-Testers Say: "Overall it provided comfort without any glitches, though it could use more cushioning."

—Janice Trudgeon, 54, East Lansing

"The upper held firm, but not so much that it kept my foot from working."

—Martha Andrews, 48, East Lansing

MIZUNO WAVE RIDER 14

Price: $100

Widths: Standard

Weight: 11.3 oz (M) 8.6 oz (W)

Contact: 800-966-1211; mizunousa.com

We Say: The Rider has put on weight due in part to more materials added to the sole. This update is two ounces heavier than the previous version. While this change has improved the shoe's stability, it has also made it firm underfoot, according to our lab tests. It's now less of a go-fast shoe and more of a go-long trainer. Several testers noted problems with the shoe's fit, pointing to the toebox, which is shallow. Recommended as an everyday trainer for runners who don't mind a tight forefoot.

Wear-Testers Say: "The upper felt cramped and never really loosened up."

—Mike Nowak, 38, East Lansing

"While the ankle collar was high, I felt the shoe on the whole had the stability I needed without the extra weight."

—Martha McGonegal, 31, East Lansing

Test your glute strength

To watch video of this routine, visit runnersworld.com/glutes.

NEW BALANCE 1080

Price: $135

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

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

Contact: 800-253-7463; newbalance.com

We Say: Updated and renumbered (was previously the 1064), the 1080 is a Clydesdale's best friend. Its beefy midsole, thick heel, and firm cushioning do a great job of reducing the impact of heavy footfalls. The ride is a bit stiffer than most cushioned shoes, according to our lab tests, but wear-testers didn't mind it—chalk it up to the plush sockliner covering up the dense heel. Testers embraced the shoe's durability and protective qualities, as well as its secure upper. Recommended for heavier runners as an everyday trainer.

Wear-Testers Say: "It had the stability and support I needed."

—Bonnie Stickel, 48, Allentown

"I like a shoe with more cushioning, but it had excellent stability."

—Mindy Spadafore, 30, East Lansing

Discuss This Article

Follow your passions

Connect with ACTIVE.COM