2011 Spring Shoe Guide

SAUCONY PROGRID JAZZ 14

Price: $85

Widths: Stand.-2E (M) Stand.-2E (W)

Weight: 11 oz (M) 8.7 oz (W)

Contact: 800-365-4933; saucony.com

We Say: Not much has changed over the years in this basic, no-nonsense trainer. Like a station wagon, it offers a reliable ride that's ideal for tooling around town at a modest pace. Testers found it to be comfortable, but there were some comments about the upper being stiff. Still, the soft underfoot feel and snug heel fit make the Jazz a good deal for the price. Recommended for runners who have mid to high arches and are looking for a reliable trainer.

Wear-Testers Say: "It had the right amount of cushioning while maintaining a lightweight feel."

—Donald Richmond, 25, East Lansing

"The shoe had good support and fit well through the arch and toebox."

—Budd Coates, 53, Allentown

SOMNIO PACEMAKER 2.0

Price: $125

Widths: Standard

Weight: 11.8 oz (M) 9.6 oz (W)

Contact: 866-966-7861; somniorunning.com

We Say: The Pacemaker is all about customization. Each shoe comes with interchangeable parts—footbeds, foam plugs, insoles—that can be tailored to your own cushioning, support, and pronation needs. (A specially trained fitter should assemble the shoe.) The Pacemaker does lack a medial post, a feature of stability shoes—and that's why we've classified it here. While finding the ride to be firm, most testers felt the ability to adjust the shoe outweighed its stiffness. Ideal for chronically injured runners with special requirements.

Wear-Testers Say: "Felt great after the fitter added more arch support."

—Robert Reingruber, 40, Allentown

"The roomy fit and lack of cushioning didn't bother me once I got used to it."

—Betsy A. Daly, 34, Allentown

Adidas AdiZero Aegis 2

Price: $110

Widths: Standard

Weight: 9.3 oz (M) 7.9 oz (W)

Contact: 800-448-1796; shopadidas.com

We Say: With its wafer-thin midsole and highly flexible forefoot, this minimal racer is ideal for mileage junkies who like to go fast. It offers modest cushioning and a low-slung ride. At 9.3 ounces, this shoe is light, and testers sure noticed and appreciated this—although those needing a supportive shoe felt a little exposed. A few noted problems keeping the thin laces securely tied. Recommended for efficient runners as a fast-paced trainer or a supportive racer.

Wear-Testers Say: "It was comfortable for short runs, but it didn't have the support I need for longer runs."

—Jason Lounds, 39, East Lansing

"I loved its responsive ride. My only complaint is that I had to double-knot the laces to keep them tied."

—Duane Brown, 37, East Lansing

ADIDAS ADIZERO TEMPO 4

Price: $100

Widths: Standard

Weight: 10.9 oz (M) 9.0 oz (W)

Contact: 800-448-1796; shopadidas.com

We Say: The Tempo has a zippy feel. This isn't solely due to its weight, but also its moderately firm heel. While you'd think the firmness would harm the shoe's efforts to deliver a fast ride, the Tempo's soft, flexible forefoot more than makes up for it. Testers found that the difference between the heel and forefoot densities resulted in a fast, responsive feel. Recommended as a distance racing shoe or as a daily trainer for lighter overpronators.

Wear-Testers Say: "The thin soles made the shoe lighter and gave me a stable connection with the ground."

—John Hunter, 59, San Diego

"I still felt there was ample support in this shoe given the low weight."

—Wendy Murphy, 54, San Diego

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