2016 Spring Triathlon Running Shoe Guide1 of 11
HOKA ONE ONE Constant 2$160 2 of 11
An update to the ultra popular Constant, the Constant 2 continues to be the most stable shoe in the HOKA ONE ONE lineup. Its highly cushioned ride is complemented with dynamic stability through use of HOKA's EVA and RMAT soles. We found this wide platform shoe felt both structured and cushioned--a feature usually lacking in true stability shoes.
The monotongue is an interesting feature--the one piece tongue wraps the foot like a burrito as it stays connected to the inside edge of the upper. While extremely comfortable, we did spend more time in transition adjusting and tying the upper.
Designed for racking up long miles, the Constant 2 is perfect as a go-to trainer and 140.6 shoe.
Weight: 10.7 oz. (Men's Model)
Profile (Heel/Forefoot): 30 mm / 26 mm
Drop: 4 mm
Asics GEL-Noosa Tri 11$125 3 of 11
The latest version of the GEL-Noosa Tri is nearly two ounces lighter than the 10th edition, but maintains a stable and supportive ride. Built specifically for multisport athletes, the seamless upper allows you to go sockless without fear of blisters, but the breathable, perforated mesh liner is comfortable with socks on, too.
This mildly supportive shoe features gel throughout the entire midsole to cushion your gait from heel to toe. The tongue includes two vertical guidance strips that help it stay put, which was one of our favorite features.
Continuing the line's energetic vibe, the shoe offers three bright, fun patterns with glow-in-the-dark features for low-light runs.
During testing, these felt light, quick and ready to take on anything from a sprint to 70.3 triathlon.
Weight: 8.0 oz. (Women's Model)
Profile (Heel/Forefoot): 19.5 mm / 9.5 mm
Drop: 10 mm
Pearl Izumi N0 v2$100 4 of 11
The most minimal offering from Pearl Izumi, the Road N0 v2 is an extremely lightweight road shoe, perfect for tempo runs and fast sprint and Olympic triathlons. The slightly narrow 3-D seamless print upper has a sock-like feel, and the 4.5-millimeter offset sole is responsive with a quick midfoot transition.
Be warned: The lack of cushioning and support is best for experienced runners who have been acclimated to this style of shoe. We found the Road N0 v2 was only ideal for fast, shorter-distance efforts.
Pearl Izumi shoes run notoriously small, so size up half a size for a correct fit or a full size for a more roomy fit.
Weight: 6.3 oz. (Men's Model)
Profile (Heel/Forefoot): 16 mm / 11 mm
Drop: 4.5 mm
HOKA ONE ONE Tracer$130 5 of 11
The Tracer is the lighter, lower-profile cousin of HOKA's many other maximalist shoes, so our first question was whether or not this shoe would be similarly cushioned.
Its soft heel foam lessens the stress of impact, while firmer foam in the forefoot allows for a snappy toe-off. This foam distribution, along with the company's rocker design, makes the shoe speedier than previous HOKA products.
We went back and forth on our feelings about the tongue. The paper-thin design allows the upper to be tied tightly against your foot, but requires some finessing--and patience--to get the fabric to lay perfectly flat each time you put it on. While less of an issue for long distance triathlons, you can't simply pull this shoe on and go, and we felt like it could derail a speedy sprint or Olympic transition.
The Tracer is a light but supportive neutral shoe, versatile enough to be used for anything from speedwork and racing to longer distance 140.6 runs.
Weight: 6.3 oz. (Women's Model)
Profile (Heel/Forefoot): 21 mm / 17 mm
Drop: 4 mm
Newton Motion V$175 6 of 11
A brand rooted in triathlon, Newton's Motion V is a low stability trainer designed for high mileage training and racing.
This fifth edition features fresh updates, including a more flexible and cushioned POP1 platform and a hotspot-free seamless engineered mesh upper that is both breathable and durable. We found the five lug sole took some getting used to, but it did promote a more natural midfoot strike over time. As far as stability goes, we wish the Motion V was a little stiffer--especially for overpronators.
The Motion V is true to size and has a highly customizable, snug fit.
Weight: 9.1 oz. (Men's Model)
Profile (Heel/Forefoot): 25 mm / 22 mm
Drop: 3 mm
On Running Cloudsurfer$150 7 of 11
A maximalist design with a more classic look, the Cloudsurfer is On Running's neutral offering. The unconventional sole of this shoe has 13 "cloud" pods, providing different amounts of cushioning for the areas where you need it most.
The low-profile design lends to a surprisingly quick and agile feel, and the 7-millimeter offset encouraged a smooth heel-toe transition. While not an issue on their thicker stability offering (the Cloudflyer), we're concerned about how long the thin cloud pods on the Cloudsurfer will last.
The Cloudsurfer does run slightly narrow, but the length was true to size.
Weight: 10.4 oz. (Men's Model)
Profile (Heel/Forefoot): 29 mm / 22 mm
Drop: 7 mm
Skechers GOrun Forza$120 8 of 11
If you're an overpronator, the Skechers GOrun Forza may be a perfect fit. The Resalyte medial post increases stability, and the M-Strike technology in the sole promotes a healthy midfoot strike in a cushioned and supportive package.
The upper is made from a combination of 3D printed synthetic material and mesh fabric, so it's both lightweight and breathable, perfect for warm weather runs. While not the quickest shoe we've tested, it was comfortable and durable enough to be used as a daily trainer and for longer distance racing.
The GOrun Forza runs slightly small in length, so size up half a size for a roomier fit.
Weight: 10.9 oz. (Men's Model)
Profile (Heel/Forefoot): 30 mm / 22 mm
Drop: 8 mm
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080$150 9 of 11
One of our favorites on this list, New Balance's Fresh Foam 1080 is a neutral trainer that features the ultra-popular (and super plush) Fresh Foam cushioning.
The 1080's new underfoot design comes from analyzing actual consumer data--the biomechanics, force patterns and wear tendencies of runners, to be exact--resulting in the shoe's perfect balance between lightness and support.
The majority of the shoe is covered in mesh, increasing overall breathability, and the outsole features zigzag flex grooves that provide a more responsive ride. While not the quickest, we recommend the Fresh Foam 1080 for long distance racing or use as an everyday trainer.
Weight: 8.7 oz. (Women's Model)
Profile (Heel/Forefoot): 22 mm / 14 mm
Drop: 8 mm
Skechers GOrun 4$104 10 of 11
Seen on the speedy feet of Meb Keflezighi and Kara Goucher, the GOrun 4 is Skechers' neutral running shoe designed for uptempo runs.
The M-Strike technology in the sole provides stability and cushioning but is highly flexible--perfect for runners with a prominent midfoot strike. The upper is virtually seamless, and we found them to be comfortable during off-the-bike sockless efforts as well. Skechers kept the weight down by removing rubber from the sole, but we were concerned about the shoe's overall longevity--especially if used as a daily trainer.
As with the GOrun Forza, the GOrun 4 ran on the smaller side, so go up half a size for a more roomy fit. Light enough and plush enough for longer distance racing, the GOrun 4 is perfect for quicker 70.3 and 140.6 efforts.
Weight: 6.1 oz. (Women's Model)
Profile (Heel/Forefoot): 27 mm / 19.3 mm
Drop: 8.4 mm