2015 Fall Running Shoe Guide
Adidas Adizero Boston Boost 5$120 1 of 16
The latest edition of the Adizero Boston Boost delivers a firm fit and a light feel. Traction in wet or dry conditions is no issue with this shoe thanks to Adidas' Continental rubber outsole. While this is probably a better fit for people with more narrow feet, the soft tongue and forefoot mesh uppers make the shoe fit like a glove. Overall, this shoe is comfortable and fast and is an appropriate race day shoe.
Adidas Climachill Rocket Boost$120 2 of 16
We love shoes that are so comfortable, we don't want to take them off—and the Rocket Boost fits into this category. The Rocket Boost has a light and springy feel thanks to the durable and supportive cushioned foam soles. The "boost" in the name might be a stretch, but we certainly feel that this shoe is fast. The Climachill name fits, as the material has a snug fit and stays cool for miles. Perfect for the runner looking for an excuse to get out and run: You won't want to stop in these.
Altra Impulse$120 3 of 16
The Impulse retains Altra's signature roomy toe box and zero-drop design, intended to encourage a more natural, low-impact footstrike, but the added stability should appeal to runners who haven't fully bought into the natural running hype. We found the ample toe box to be an initial relief to feet used to being squeezed. Be forewarned, however: Your feet may not quite know what to do with all that extra room. The added toe splay made us feel like our feet were working extra hard to grab at the ground, and we came home with a few blisters. This should neutralize over time, though, as your feet adjust to the setup. Meanwhile, the StabiliPod technology performed well in lateral motion—a nice bonus if you intend your shoes to work as hard in the gym as they do on the pavement.
Asics Gel-Kayano 21$160 4 of 16
The latest update to Asics' Gel-Kayano offers an improved FluidRide technology sole designed for a smooth, stable ride and a lightweight feel. The first couple of miles felt just that, but as the mileage increased, so did our discomfort. The update also includes a new heel construction (the heel of the shoe also comes up a bit high), and we weren't exactly a fan either. For a shoe with such deep high-milage legacy, we were disappointed. Gel-Kayano loyals—make sure you test these new models out before purchase. Runners staying at or under the three- to four-mile range are safe with this one, but longer distance runners should look for other models. While this update works for some, we found ourselves looking back to previous editions.
Asics GT-2000 3$120 5 of 16
Previous GT-2000 models have been reliable for long-distance running, and Asics has introduced an even lighter pair with this version. This edition has also added heel support for a more comfortable fit and smoother heel-toe transition. Providing just the right amount of support for moderate over-pronators, the GT-2000 3 does require some time to break in. Once you do, though, this shoe can be your go-to for both training and race day.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 15$120 6 of 16
The 15th edition of the ultra-successful Adrenaline GTS follows suit with its predecessors—the shoe provides runners dependable support and ample cushioning. One of the most popular stability shoes on the market, the GTS 15 is a reliable go-to trainer for runners looking for adaptive cushioning and more control. The segmented crash pad makes heel-toe transitions smooth and efficient, and the shoe is supportive enough to be used as a daily trainer and quick enough to be used on race day. Order a half size up, though—this edition runs small.
Brooks Glycerin 13$150 7 of 16
The Glycerin 13 offers a cushioned, neutral ride designed to minimize the stress of pavement runs. Holding true to its roots, the shoe looks like a trainer but has a slight "maximalist" ride due to the plush Super DNA midsole and Ideal Pressure Zones. The seamless 3D Fit Print upper provides both flexibility and structure while keeping weight down. The Glycerin 13 is designed for high-mileage and comfort without the extra bulk felt in many training shoes.
HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 2$130 8 of 16
HOKA ONE ONE is a six-year old company focused on maximalist running shoes. Their super popular Clifton shoes are like strapping pillows to the bottoms of your feet and hitting the road. We found that the "rocker" sole encouraged shorter strides—a practice that often goes overlooked but can greatly improve your running efficiency. We flew through a seven-mile run on these puppies and didn't feel the least bit of feet achiness that often accompanies longer runs. Once you get past the non-traditional look, these shoes are ACTIVE.com-approved for both training and racing.
Mizuno Wave Enigma 5$120 9 of 16
The Wave Engima was created with long distance runs in mind and features more maximum cushioning compared to other neutral Mizuno models. Touted as a high-mileage shoe, the Enigma features Mizuno's wave technology that provides maximum shock reduction for a smooth and pleasant foot strike. The fit was comfortable and soft, but also quite tight. With some simple lacing adjustments, we were back in the game and feeling good. We recommend this shoe for very narrow feet, as the toe box isn't quite as wide as we would have preferred.
Mizuno Wave Rider 18$150 10 of 16
The latest edition of the Wave Riders is the best yet. These neutral shoes have been a personal favorite of ACTIVE's running editor and they continue to impress as a lightweight trainer. While the Wave Riders are built for a more narrow foot, the fit is incredibly comfortable and made us not want to take them off at the end of our runs. With improved features over the Rider 17—what the company calls both a hit and a miss—the 18 offers increased forefoot cushioning and a firmer midfoot to encourage an overall more efficient stride. We found the shoe to be all around supportive and easy, allowing us to focus on running, not the shoe.
New Balance 860v5$120 11 of 16
The 860v5 is a reliable stability shoe designed to provide sustained and responsive cushioning over long distances. The shoe has less flex in the midfoot and arch than most, but provides extra support in these places. The multiple density sole, however, still allows for a smooth heel-toe transition. The 860v5 features no-sew overlays and a lacing system that cinches down the midfoot appropriately, and the wide toe box gives toes plenty of room. Not being the quickest shoe on the market, the 860v5 is most appropriate for long-distance training runs and races.
New Balance Vazee Pace$110 12 of 16
This new offering from New Balance is a neutral cushioning shoe designed as a fast-paced trainer. The REVlite midsole foam is firm, yet comfortable, and the shoe features a heel-toe curve to accentuate the fast feel. The bootie style uppers gave the shoe a light, sock-like feel and the lacing system comfortably hugs the midfoot. The smaller heel-toe drop may take some getting used to, but the Vazee Pace is a snappy, responsive ride that can handle both training and tempo runs.
Nike Air Zoom Odyssey$150 13 of 16
If you want to talk about cushioning, the Air Zoom Odyssey is a great place to start. These shoes are incredibly soft and supportive not only for running, but a variety of activities. Whereas many shoes have a noticeable cushion variance on different parts of the shoe, the Odyssey felt streamlined and supportive across the entire sole. The toe box is rather large, making this a great shoe for those with wider or generally larger feet. A triple-density foam midsole and Dynamic Support platform slow pronation, providing stability where over-pronators need it most.
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 32$110 14 of 16
Nike's 32nd iteration of the Zoom Pegasus is a stylish option for runners without going over the top. The shoe is lightweight and breathes easily with its mesh design. The flywire cables on the sides allow the Pegasus to hug the midfoot for a secure fit, but the heel cup isn't quite as snug as the midfoot. The sole does a nice job of absorbing footstrike impact to make your run a little smoother, and we think this works best for anything from a fun 5K to a half marathon. The Nike Zoom Pegasus 32 is designed for runners with a neutral stride, so if you require a little extra stability you'll want to consider a different model.
Nike LunarGlide 7$125 15 of 16
The seventh edition of the Lunarglide is the King (or in this case, Queen) of heel cushioning. While the forefoot is less cushioned than the heel, the shoes felt quite comfortable and durable during short- to mid-range runs. The uppers were also reasonably soft, giving the shoes a sock-like feel. We even tested these shoes on the treadmill and they stood up to the demands of the so-called "dread-mill," and actually made the run semi-pleasant. The heel cup could be tighter, but this is a small detail that didn't count too negatively against our overall shoe opinion. The tongue was a little large and distracting for our preferences, but this is a minor detail that can be easily overlooked.