ASICS GEL-KAYANO 16Price: $140
Widths: Stan.-4E (M) Stan.-2A (W)
Weight: 13 oz (M) 11.1 oz (W)
WE SAY: The Kayano's plush, foot-hugging comfort is a pleasant surprise in a shoe that offers so much impact protection. The heel packs a heap of Gel cushioning, providing a supportive landing pad for the foot and helping to make this update one of the heaviest shoes in this guide. Testers loved the Kayano's support and fit but were split in their opinions of the off-set lacing system, with an equal number loving and hating the way it wrapped the forefoot. Recommended as a stable, well-cushioned everyday training shoe.
WEAR-TESTERS SAY: "It had an excellent fit, but I didn't like the lacing." —Rique Campa, 53, East Lansing
"Good bounce, but there was too much going on over the top of the forefoot." —Peter Vuong, 26, Allentown
BROOKS SWITCH 3
Weight: 11.6 oz (M) 9.3 oz (W)
WE SAY: This affordable shoe features a touch of stability and modest cushioning. Brooks reworked the heel of this update to ease the foot's impact and transition. Several testers felt the cushioning was actually firm, but the Runner's World Shoe Lab shows it to be softer than average. You can chalk up the difference between perception and the lab to the midsole and sockliner, which supply decent impact absorption but aren't made of the resilient foams found in pricier shoes. Recommended for runners with normal arches looking for a good, basic trainer.
WEAR-TESTERS SAY: "I liked the snug fit, but it could use more cushioning." —Robin Pearsall, 37, Allentown
"Good support; it snugly held my foot." —Wendy Murphy, 53, San Diego
BEST BUY: MIZUNO WAVE NEXUS 4
Weight: 11.2 oz (M) 9 oz (W)
WE SAY: The Nexus offers a fair amount of stability with few frills. The upper is roomy in the toebox and snug through the arch, and the shoe uses a lot of padding in the tongue and collar to snugly hold the heel and ankle. Testers liked the overall fit, but some noted their displeasure with the stiff forefoot, which is softer than previous versions but still the firmest in this guide, according to our Shoe Lab tests. That's why we recommend the Nexus as an affordable everyday trainer for runners with medium builds.
WEAR-TESTERS SAY: "Great fit. The weight-to-stability ratio was fantastic." —Don Rochford, 39, East Lansing
"Good heel-to-toe transition, but the forefoot needs cushioning." —Kevin Myers, 35, Allentown
MIZUNO WAVE NIRVANA 6
Weight: 12.7 oz (M) 10.2 oz (W)
WE SAY: The Nirvana has an outstanding fit and a firm ride. Mizuno has surrounded this update's Wave plate with more resilient midsole foam and added a thick sockliner to make it cushier than the previous version. It also made the upper out of stretch mesh to keep it from bunching at the top of the foot. Testers appreciated the slipperlike fit of the upper but not the heel cushioning. Our RW Lab tests show it to have one of the firmest heels in this guide. Recommended for bigger runners looking for a durable trainer.
WEAR-TESTERS SAY: "I liked the support, but the heel is too hard." —Donna Frantz, 34, Allentown
"The upper was very comfortable." —Alycia Sedlacek, 21, East Lansing