Fall 2012 Running Shoe Review

Adidas Tempo 5


The Tempo 5 is a lightweight and responsive trainer. It excels in hard workouts or races, but can feel stiff at a jog. RW Shoe Lab tests show that this update is 2.5 ounces lighter and sits 3 mm closer to the ground.

Bottom Line:

  • Mild support that works for most runners during races.
  • Height: 30.6 mm (heel); 20.3 mm (forefoot)
  • Weight: 8.4 oz (M); 7.0 oz (W)

More: 5 Ways to Race Faster

Altra The Instinct/The Intuition 1.5


We've been fans of The Instinct and The Intuition since they garnered Best Debut honors in our Spring 2012 Shoe Guide. The midyear tweaks Altra made are minor—hence the half-version designation in the name—but they improve upon an already solid package. Wearers of the original version felt the shoe, with its wide and flat forefoot, ran a little slow.

So Altra added some toe spring—a bit of lift at the front of the shoe to help it feel faster. The forefoot remains roomy, but not baggy. Aesthetically, the shoe still won't be confused for any traditional models in your closet, but gone are the horizontal lines and dull colorways that made the original appear larger than it really was.

Bottom Line:
  • "Zero drop," but with some cushioning for protection.
  • Height: 21.9 mm (heel); 19.8 mm (forefoot)
  • Weight: 10.1 oz (M); 8.3 oz (W)
  • Flat-bottom sole maintains ground contact throughout the gait cycle.
  • The 1.5 adds a slight lift of the toes, to give the shoe a faster feel.

More: How to Improve Running Form

Puma Faas 350 S


Low-slung and responsive, the Faas 350 S is a no-frills training shoe capable of pulling double duty for faster-paced workouts and long runs. The foam-rubber midsole is exposed, while only a minimum amount of outsole is used to keep the shoe lightweight and superflexible. One drawback: limited traction. Wear-testers said the 350 S slips on wet surfaces. Faster runners appreciated how the shoe performed. "The Faas 350 would be among my choices if I were to buy only one shoe for everyday training," says Ulrich Fluhme, 37, of New York City, who has a 2:33 marathon PR and primarily trains in racing flats.

Bottom Line:

  • A good first step for those curious about trying minimal footwear.
  • Height: 23.5 mm (heel); 19.7 mm (forefoot)
  • Weight: 8.7 oz (M); 7.3 oz (W)
  • A lower heel and a 3.8 mm drop promote a midfoot landing.
  • Rubber is limited to high-abrasion areas to save weight.

More: Why Do People Run Barefoot?

Skechers GObionic


The GObionic is the lightest shoe we tested for this guide, thanks to a super-bendy sole with rubber limited to only where it's needed for durability.

Bottom Line:

  • A barefoot-like experience for efficient runners.
  • Height: 15.7 mm (heel); 13.9 mm (forefoot)
  • Weight: 6.2 oz (M); 5.0 oz (W)
More: 2 Ways to Recycle Running Shoes

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