Spring 2013 Running Shoe Guide
Brooks Ravenna 4, $110
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The Ravenna 4 proves that you don't need an oversized, ugly, and expensive shoe in order to get excellent stability. At just 11.1 ounces, the Ravenna delivers an excellent balance of cushioning and pronation control, at a wallet-friendly price.
Bottom Line: For the price, it's awfully hard to beat this balance of features and ride.
Adidas Energy Boost, $150
Best Debut 2 of 15
Adidas is scrapping the standard EVA foam used in most shoes, replacing it with thermoplastic polyurethane found in the dashboards of BMW automobiles. The result is a "springy" midsole with better cushioning than traditional foams. However, for some runners with bigger, wider feet, the Energy Boost's stretchy upper was too snug.
Bottom Line: A bouncy shoe with top-of-the-line cushioning.
Nike Flyknit Lunar 1+, $160
Editor's Choice 3 of 15
Instead of traditionally glued or sewn overlays, Nike used a dense stitching pattern in key areas of the knitted upper to ensure the foot remains locked in place. Nike's Lunarlon midsole foam gets the foot close to the ground while offering plenty of cushioning.
Bottom Line: Looks as good in the coffee shop postrun as it performs on the road.
Altra The Torin, $115
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Proving that zero drop isn't reserved for minimal shoes, the Torin boasts a thick platform of soft foam; the shoe's forefoot rated the softest in this guide. What does this mean for runners? A quicker adaptation to a level platform.
Bottom Line: Try this shoe if you're curious about going to a lower heel-to-toe drop.
Skechers GOrun 2, $80
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Skechers proves once again that it knows how to make a serious running shoe. Like the original version, this update remains lightweight and superflexible, but the midfoot rocker has been reduced in size—you feel less of a "bump" under the middle of your foot.
Bottom Line: Can help a runner develop a forefoot strike.
Saucony Mirage 3, $110
Best Update 6 of 15
Offering a touch of stability, the Mirage joins Saucony’s lightweight collection, Natural Series. With grooves extending much deeper into the forefoot midsole, the Mirage has improved flexibility at toe-off. Lighter materials in the shoe's upper contributed to nearly an ounce of weight savings.
Bottom Line: A good transition shoe to more minimal footwear.
K-Swiss Blade Light Run II, $95
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"Socklike" is how testers described the smooth-fitting upper on the Blad Light Run II. Under the foot, the shoe moves better through the gait cycle, thanks to a repositioning of the blades—grooved sections of midsole that make contact with the running surface.
Bottom Line: A smooth-fitting daily trainer for runners with normal arches.
Newton Gravity Neutral Performance Trainer
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Wear-testers paid attention to Newton's signature lugs. Overlays in the forefoot were repositioned for a soft, secure fit at the metatarsal heads—the joints where the toes meet the foot.
Bottom Line: Runners looking to develop a forefoot strike, start here.
New Balance Minimus 10 v2, $110
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Thanks to a redesigned upper, the Minimus 10 v2 weighs 2.2 ounces lighter than the original. A one-piece design replaces the heavy mesh, thick heel counter, and overlays of the original. The outsole features Vibram rubber patches along the length of the shoe and positioned in key traction zones.
Bottom Line: A high-mileage trainer for runners already adapted to minimal shoes.
Puma Faas 500 v2, $100
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Testers generally appreciated the Faas 500's combination of low weight and good cushioning, while some noted the shoe fit snugly in the toebox. Flexibility has improved because of additional forefoot flex grooves.
Bottom Line: A solid daily trainer but might feel slow at faster paces.
Saucony Hurricane 15, $140
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After a major overhaul in the previous version, the Hurricane 15 remains largely unchanged. The midsole and outsole are the same, offering a smooth ride and plenty of support to slow movement of an overpronating foot, while the upper received minor cosmetic tweaks.
Bottom Line: Stable footing for larger or injury-prone runners.
Mizuno Wave Elixir 8, $120
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Though the design would fit right in at a motorsports track, the Elixir 8 is equally at home burning up the pavement in a 5K. Wear-testers say the shoe feels fast underfoot. The midsole and outsole are the same as the previous version's, but the upper features lighter materials.
Bottom Line: An everyday trainer or marathon-racing shoe for light runners.
Asics Gel-Lyte 33 2,? $90
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The sole of this shoe features what Asics is calling its new FluidAxis technology—basically a repositioning of flex grooves on an angle instead of running from side-to-side. This is intended to make the shoe move better with the joints of the foot.
Bottom Line: High-quality cushioning in a lightweight package.
More Gear Items for Runners
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