Merrell Moab Flight
Before asking your trail-running bestie what shoe you should buy, consider the voices of 50 million trekkers of the great outdoors. Yep, you heard that correctly! After 20 years of success with its Moab collection, Merrell is taking the fan favorite and extending it to a new line of shoes that can travel farther and faster.
The Moab Flight is a light weight yet ultra-padded runner that wants to take you through miles of terrain without wear and tear to your feet. Equipped with Merrell's proprietary FloatPro midsole and protected by a Vibram 3 mm lugged EcoDura outsole, wearers can run assured in knowing that no gravel, rock or even muddied single track can come within close contact to harming their feet or slowing their stride.
Furthermore, the Merrell has placed environmental sustainability at the forefront and presents a shoe that's equally durable to its competitors yet engineered with 30% recycled materials so you can continue protecting the very scenery you love exploring for years to come.
One Favorite Thing: "Anytime I see a trail shoe has partnered with Vibram to create its sole, I know I'm in luck! The extra bonus here is that this shoe's outsole is made of 30% recycled materials and is still just as durable and gritty as any other Vibram sole."
One Area for Improvement: "The steep drop wasn't for me. I had some trouble with blisters and shin pain, which is usually only present in shoes with a greater drop than I'm used to—5 mm on average."
Type: Neutral Trail
Weight: 8.11 oz (women); 9.52 oz (men)
Drop: 10 mm
Mizuno Inspire 17
At its core, the Mizuno Wave Inspire 17 is a traditionalist road shoe. Those who have moved exclusively to a zero drop, minimalist, or maximalist style likely wouldn't have this shoe in their gym bag. On the other hand, it will appeal to those who have remained true to the classic running shoe feel, and Mizuno was able to maintain that classic design while maximizing comfort, breathability and responsiveness.
This fits the role as your everyday base miles and long slow day option, yet it also feels natural and fast for walking, which is good news for ultramarathoners and those who incorporate run/walk intervals into training. Mizuno is using a new, more responsive foam technology that provides a cushioned yet reactive feel. The breathable mesh upper makes it suitable for summer days or as a well-draining shoe in the rainy season. Unlike some mesh patterns, the overall construction is solid and doesn't appear like it will negatively affect durability. Because of this, expect to see it as a workhorse for high mileage.
A surprising feature that's often unseen in road shoes, this model features an extremely grippy carbon rubber outsole—Mizuno calls this technology "X10"—that gives this shoe versatility for traction on dirt or in the snow while not feeling like a distraction on concrete. Plus, due to its comfort and good looks without being obnoxiously flashy, this could easily serve as a recovery shoe to wear with jeans while running errands.
One Favorite Thing: "The tread pattern. Finally, a road shoe that puts on emphasis on traction! This was my go-to shoe during Snowmageddon 2021, and I felt extremely confident on slick surfaces."
One Area for Improvement: "It's a little heavy at 10.9 ounces for the men's version, but that's actively looking for an area to improve. For its primary function—an everyday training shoe—it's hard to find a fault."
Weight: 9.2 oz (women);10.2 oz (men)
Drop: 12 mm
Mizuno Wave Horizon 5
One word comes to mind when reviewing the Mizuno Wave Horizon 5: complete. It's an extremely well-balanced and well-built running shoe, designed to provide support for long-distance training and racing. While there's a lot to love, a few features really make this shoe stand out.
The midsole strikes an impressive balance between energy return and stability, which makes the gait feel extremely smooth and comfortable. Plus, the outsole is both grippy and can withstand a ton of wear and tear, and it's clear this shoe is built to last. To top it off, the updated heel collar is excellent—super secure yet surprisingly plush. At $160, it's on the higher end of the price spectrum, but you're getting a shoe that will likely outlast its competitors both in durability and fit and feel. It's also a slightly heavier shoe, but the compromise is worth it for the top-shelf features built into the design.
One Favorite Thing: “The midsole cushioning is easily the stand-out feature—it isn't as fatiguing as other stability shoes, and it the smoothness of the ride promotes a healthy gait for long distance running.”
One Area for Improvement: “While it strikes a nice balance between durability, breathability and support, the upper could use a bit more airflow, especially for warmer runs.”
Type: Stability Road
Weight: 9.7 oz (women); 11.6 oz (men)
Drop: 10 mm
New Balance 1080v11
The New Balance 1080v11 is supremely cushioned yet lightweight and durable. It's rare to find all three of these traits in a shoe. The Ultra Heel technology cups the heel and prevents slipping and blisters, and the top of the foot has a unique lacing pattern for a great fit. The upper is knit feels almost like a sock—in a good way! Our tester wore the shoe for 13 very sweaty treadmill miles and didn't experience any chafing or blisters. It's a great everyday trainer that's perfect for long runs and recovery jogs. You can even wear it for tempo miles—it's that versatile. Overall, the 1080v11 is the perfect shoe for runners who love a bit of cushioning or are looking for something to get the job done when it comes to higher mileage.
One Favorite Thing: "The heel! It was streamlined, comfortable, and didn't budge during my run."
One Area for Improvement: "The tongue is a bit uncomfortable. Sometimes it shifts while running, and the pointed sides will rub against your skin if you're wearing shorter socks."
Type: Neutral Road
Weight: 8.1 oz (women); 9.3 oz (men)
Drop: 8 mm
New Balance Hierro v6
New Balance's Hierro v6 features a combination of Fresh Foam midsole and Vibram outsole, giving runners a cushioned ride and great traction for the trails. The mesh upper is breathable and gets bonus points for sustainability, thanks to its composition of recycled materials. If you don't mind a bit of extra weight, the Hierro is a great option for trails or even slick roads.
One Favorite Thing: "I loved the Vibram outsole—very grippy, and it looked stylish! The bit of cork on the tongue was also unexpected—in a good way!"
One Area for Improvement: "The weight of the shoe bogged me down a bit, although based on some research I did, this iteration is lighter than past versions."
Type: Stability Trail
Weight: 9.9 oz (women); 11.9 oz (men)
Drop: 8 mm
Buy Now: Coming soon!
New Balance 880v11
The 880 is the shoe most likely to please the greatest number of runners. It has a traditional 10 mm drop, moderate cushioning and is lightweight. It works for everything from a 5K or 10K up to a marathon race. It's comfortable enough for the casual runner and durable enough for those who log higher mileage. Plus, the new double-jacquard mesh upper looks really stylish.
If you've worn past iterations of the 880, v11 is a great upgrade. Our tester moved on from the style a few years ago, but some of the latest changes, including the Fresh Foam sole, brought her back to the 880 family. We wouldn't necessarily wear it for a track or trail race, but it's a great workhorse shoe. If you only buy one shoe, the 880 will serve a lot of purposes.
One Favorite Thing: "If you're a heel striker, the 10mm drop will cushion some of that impact."
One Area for Improvement: "I would love to see the heel be made similar to the Ultra Heel technology in the 1080."
Type: Neutral Road
Weight: 8.6 oz (women); 10.5 oz (men)
Drop: 10 mm
Buy Now: Coming soon!
Check out more shoes on page three!