NEUTRAL—3 MOTION STABILIZING—4 PERFORMANCE—5
Finding the best shoe for you has traditionally begun by assessing the characteristics of your feet and gait, and then matching them with the features and properties of a particular shoe. If you had a neutral gait, then your need for specialized shoes was reduced. However, if you rolled to the inside of your foot, called overpronation, the thinking was that you required a more heavily supported shoe. This approach was based on the science and construction-based solutions of 30 years ago. The notion of overpronation, and the thinking behind it, continued until recently. The (oversimpliﬁed) idea was that overpronation was bad and required a design solution to “correct” it. Runners who overpronated risked injury if they didn’t run in shoes that employed a structure to correct the excessive motion. The recent minimalist movement (think: unstructured shoes, thinner/minimal midsoles, zero-drop shoes, etc.) set in motion an exploration and rethinking of these longheld tenets. Yes, the use of geometry and lighter materials have improved running shoes and their performance. But more importantly, this has resulted in a paradigm shift toward the understanding that running shoes by themselves don’t prevent overuse injuries because they can’t control overpronation. This doesn’t mean the accepted stabilizing technologies are unnecessary. They actually help resist the premature breakdown of the shoe’s structure and performance, playing a key role in the comfort of both your runs and your wallet. They just can’t stop the motion that your feet are inclined to take. The motion of general foot types is best served, ﬁrst by certain footwear properties, components, and designs, and, second by an individual runner’s preferences for ﬁt and feel. Of the two, ﬁt and feel trump properties, components, and designs. All feet pronate and some, depending on their movement patterns, pronate more than others. That’s why what we suggest is a starting point within the categories of running footwear styles, but it’s only a starting point. Runners are very fond of their go-to shoes, and a large percentage of runners have been guided toward a particular shoe at the suggestion of a running specialty store. That suggestion starts the learning process for what works for the runners. With all the services your local running specialty store provides, it’s a great place to start your search. — Cregg Weinmann, Running Shoe Reviewer for the Running Network, LLC
FORTIUS Media Group, LLC Partners
2016 Spring Shoe Review Since I ran in my first sneakers 44 years ago, the technology has changed. More brands mean better products and safer, more enjoyable running and racing. My first real running shoes, Onitsuka Tiger Cortez, were followed by adidas Interval track spikes. My brightly colored Nike waffle racers in 1975 were a revelation. Then I broke 5:00 for the mile in Brooks’ Villanova spikes. My first hour-run champs and 10,000m on the track were contested in Nike Pre Montreals. My 1976 Christmas Relays’ leg of 10.6 miles was run in New Balance racing flats. In 1978 I learned about Mizuno and ran in them for a while. In the last couple of years as I built back up to two hours of near-daily walking, I’ve been in HOKA ONE ONE Stinsons, adidas Boost, and Brooks Beast. My first try in Skechers Go Walks were amazing—lighter than ever, yet great for my back! I’m sure that you’ve got your own “scrapbooks” of shoe memories. We hope you’ll read our reviews, then visit your local running store and find the best shoes for your needs.
Larry Eder Publishing Director FORTIUS Media Group, LLC P.S. I’m off to the Olympic Marathon Trials next week! Read about it on the Running Network websites in the sidebar to the right.
Saucony Hurricane ISO 2 NEW SHOE
American Track & Field www.american-trackandfield.com Athletes Only www.atf-athlete.com Athletics-Africa www.athletics-africa.com/s/ Austin Fit www.austinfitmagazine.com California Track & Running News www.caltrack.com Club Running (RRCA) www.rrca.org/publications/ club-running Coaching Athletics www.coachingathleticsq.com Colorado Runner www.coloradorunnermag.com Footnotes (Long Island, NY) www.glirc.org Get Active! & Club Business International www.healthclubs.com Hawaii Sport www.hawaiisportmag.com Latinos Corriendo www.latinoscorriendo.com Michigan Runner www.michiganrunner.net Missouri Runner & Triathlete www.morunandtri.com New England Exchange Zone www.usatfne.org Outdoors NW www.outdoorsnw.com Out There Monthly www.outtheremonthly.com Race Packet DC www.racepacket.com RunMinnesota www.runmdra.org Running Journal, Racing South www.running.net RunOhio www.runohio.com Track & Field News www.trackandfieldnews.com Winged Foot (NYC) www.nyac.org Winged M (Portland, OR) www.themac.com Youth Runner www.youthrunner.com www.ePodismo.com (Italy) www.ePodismo.com/USA www.HalfMarathon.net www.JumpingTheGun.com www.MarathonGuide.com www.RunBlogRun.com www.issuu.com/RunDenmark www.RunJumpThrow.com www.RunningProductReviews.com www.SlowTwitch.com www.USTFCCA.org www.WomenTalkSports.com www.WorldWideRunning.com
Project Coordinator/Editor: Christine Johnson Reviewer: Cregg Weinmann Designer: Kristen Cerer Proofreader: Marg Sumner, Red Ink Editorial Services, LLC Shoe Photography: Daniel Saldaña, Cregg Weinmann Advertising Sales: FORTIUS Media Group, LLC Publishing Director: Larry Eder, 608.239.3785, email@example.com Ad Manager: Adam Johnson-Eder, 608.556.9164, firstname.lastname@example.org Legal Counsel: Perry F. Goldust This 2016 Spring Shoe Review is produced independently by FORTIUS Media Group, LLC for its partner publications and websites. All shoes reviewed were tested by experienced, competitive runners who were matched to the biomechanical purpose of each shoe model.
adidas Ultra Boost ST
Nike Lunar Tempo 2
Copyright © 2016 by FORTIUS Media Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be stored, copied, or reprinted without prior written permission of FORTIUS Media Group, LLC.
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080
2016 Spring Shoe Review— 2 — FORTIUS Media Group, LLC
FORTIUS Media Group, LLC and its partner publications and websites suggest that, as with all fitness activities, you meet with a healthcare professional before beginning or changing your fitness regimen.
NEUTRAL 361º Shield
HOKA ONE ONE Vanquish 2
The running line from 361˚ continues to broaden, adding more shoes in key categories. The Shield debuts in the Neutral category and is geared toward providing performance without breaking the bank. The upper is open mesh in the rearfoot with engineered mesh in the forefoot. Overlays at the toe and saddle shape and support the upper, and articulation at the lacing allows the shoe to conform to the midfoot and securely wrap the instep. The midsole features a new configuration of EVA and 361˚’s Qu!kfoam. The EVA makes up most of the midsole with a framework for the Qu!kfoam in the full heel and the forefoot’s center for added cushioning under the highest-pressure areas. The result is effective shock attenuation that’s durable enough to stand up to serious training. The outersole is a thin layer of rubber, well textured for grip, and segmented into nearly a dozen islands to flex as required as the foot twists and bends through the gait. The quality of the cushioning, fit, and durability at this price makes the Shield an excellent value.
“Good fit and cushioning. Impressed with the cushioning and performance. You can put them on and forget about them.”
HOKA ONE ONE’s acknowledged strength has been its maximum cushioning. The Vanquish 2 carries high the banner established by the Mafate and other models that launched the brand. The upper is closed mesh with 3D-printed overlays and splashy graphics. The fit is closer than some of its other models, but it’s pretty true to size. The midsole is two layers: a cradle of High Cushion EVA nestled into a High Rebound EVA cage. The 30-millimeter stack height (platform) offers protection, while the 5-millimeter geometry (the height difference between heel and toe) encourages efficiency. The outersole features thin carbon rubber at the perimeter of heel and forefoot and in a strip down the center of the forefoot. The remainder is toughened EVA. The cushioning is obvious, making the shoe great for recovery runs, but the Vanquish 2 is light for its size so it also rolls well at faster paces.
“Fits well, but not super roomy. The cushy ride was what impressed. Really cushioned, but not mushy. Always surprised by how light they are.”
MBT is shorthand for Masai Barefoot Technology, a brand known for its foot-strengthening designs. The GT16 is the first of three new shoes by MBT developed specifically for running. The upper is a breathable mesh with no-sew, fused overlays supporting the foot with an assist from a traditional toecap and TPU heel counter. The midsole is a maximally cushioned design. But more than that, it’s adapted the MBT concept to a midsole design that features three zones: a cushy heel, a firm pivot beneath the arch, and a rockered forefoot. The outersole is thin, tough rubber that’s got good traction and durability. Where the original walking shoes and sandals were very soft in the heel and firm underfoot, the GT16’s heel is well cushioned but firmer and rocks smoothly to the toe on each stride. The result is a pretty versatile recovery shoe that can handle some serious mileage.
“Good fit with a pretty plush interior. The heel is nicely cushioned, but the best thing about the ride was how the foot rolls with the shoe.”
Exhibiting some New England pragmatism, New Balance has done the inevitable, combining its best foam with its best Neutral shoe, resulting in the new Fresh Foam 1080. The upper is a closed mesh with a traditional saddle, featuring decoupled eyelets to wrap the foot effectively and securely. A smooth lining and plush ankle collar foam provide a deluxe feel against the foot. The midsole features Fresh Foam, with its lively feel and good protection. The shoe’s interior benefits from EVA Strobel board construction and a cushy polyurethane sockliner. The outersole is a full-length, hexagonal-shaped rubber compound that offers durability and good grip, while lateral flex grooves make this Fresh Foam configuration more flexible and responsive. A carbon rubber heel cap completes the deal. The sum of all this is an effective distance trainer. In fact, it’s so effective, it earned our award as the Best Shoe in the Neutral category.
“Really pleased with the fit, and the feel was premium. Great cushioning and responsiveness. I could get used to this.”
Pearl Izumi’s EMotion flagship, the N2, has been a reliable performer, and Round 3 stays true to that mission. The upper is a stretchy, closed mesh, completely supported by no-sew overlays. A new foam layer in the tongue softens the feel, while its large open spaces offer good ventilation through the mesh outer layer. Though the supporting overlays have been pared back slightly, their 3D-printed placement continues to hold the foot effectively. The midsole has been known for being pretty firm, which is why it has a responsive feel—it transfers energy efficiently—and its proven design continues without change, which will be good news to its fans. The outersole continues with Round 2’s fullcontact design, which does two things: It improves the friction between the shoe and the ground, providing better traction and it offers maximum stability throughout the contact. The lateral midfoot—not coincidentally the area of lowest wear—is the only area of the sole which is toughened foam. The result is a smooth-riding, high-mileage shoe.
“Comfortable, smooth fit that tempted me to go without socks. Protective but in a subtle way, not a marshmallow.”
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080
Neutral Spring 2016
Pearl Izumi N2 v3
2016 Spring Shoe Review— 3 — FORTIUS Media Group, LLC
NEW SHOE Sizes: Men 8–13,14; Women 6–12 Weight: Men 11.2 oz. (size 11); Women 9.1 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics
Updates the Vanquish Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15; Women 5–11 Weight: Men 11.5 oz. (size 11); Women 9.2 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, perforated EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics
NEW SHOE Sizes: Men 6–14; Women 5–13 Weight: Men 11.5 oz. (size 11); Women 9.2 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics
NEW SHOE Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15,16 B,D,2E,4E; Women 5–11,12 2A,B,D,2E Weight: Men 11.3 oz. (size 11); Women 9.2 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics
Updates Pearl N2 v2 Sizes: Men 7–13,14; Women 5–11,12 Weight: Men 11.2 oz. (size 11); Women 9.1 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics
MOTION STABILIZING adidas Ultra Boost ST
Motion Stabilizing Spring 2016
Altra Provision 2.5
The design and engineering of adidas’ Boost material have provided a ride that has great cushioning. Now with the introduction of the Ultra Boost ST, it has a shoe with stability to match. The upper is a stretchy, engineered mesh with different “zones.” The forefoot offers the most stretch with a band-like, bunion-friendly region over the metatarsals. The midfoot features a supportive TPU saddle that cradles the foot and anchors the lacing. The heel features the same thermoplastic heel counter and pull-on tab seen in its sibling, the Ultra Boost. The midsole is also the same: all Boost foam with bouncy, durable cushioning. The medial side is filled in beneath the arch for extra support on contact. On the medial sidewall, a thermoplastic support links the saddle to the outersole, stabilizing the ride without affecting the cushioning. The outersole is a Continental rubber compound that stretches elastically to keep the sole’s shape consistent through the gait. Its combination of a resilient ride, good stability, and accommodating fit earned the Ultra Boost ST our award for Best Shoe in the Motion Stabilizing category.
“The stability converted this skeptic. Fit well, great cushion, and stable.”
Known for its zero-drop platform, Altra has a number of shoes over multiple categories. The Provision 2.5 is an intermediate update—Altra’s nod to a partial overhaul. In this case it’s the upper that gets the attention, with closed mesh and no-sew overlays providing support over the toes and through the saddle and with a stitched toe bumper shaping the height of the forefoot. The midsole is A-BOUND, a resilient foam that’s deeply segmented over a full-contact bottom to stabilize the foot by conforming to the running surfaces. A taller medial sidewall hinders too much inward roll. The outersole is a tough rubber compound that’s intersected by myriad flex grooves that also add traction. If you’re looking for a zero-drop shoe to add to your rotation, the Provision 2.5’s generous fit, stability, and geometry make it worthy of your consideration.
“Great toe room and cushioning. They were protective and durable. Still getting used to the zero drop.”
The 2000 series is well known for its decades-long reputation for smooth cushioning and stability. This update, Round 4 since its numerical reset to 2000, continues to provide the expected performance. The upper is now a slightly stretchy mesh with small openings instead of the closed mesh of its predecessor. No-sew overlays make the interior a bit smoother, without giving up the shaping or needed support of the upper. A new saddle shores up the midfoot, and its medial side is composed primarily of traditional overlays to handle support duties. The midsole is still FluidRide: several layers and densities, including GEL in the lateral heel and DuoMax in the medial arch, with a topmost layer of foam next to the foot. The outersole has the usual minor changes, but the flex grooves between the rubber pods follow the same path as Round 3. The best news is that the stability, ride, and fit have been well maintained in this high-mileage training shoe.
“Very stable, well cushioned, and for me, the ASICS fit is predictably good.”
The Ravenna is the most versatile shoe in the Brooks lineup, neatly splitting the difference between cushioning and stability. The upper features only no-sew overlays to smooth the upper more than Round 6, simplifying the design in the process. The saddle continues with the effective strap and Ghilley lace setup to snug the midfoot, and the closed mesh does a surprisingly effective job of allowing the foot to breathe. The midsole tooling is smoothed, though the sidewall shaping and compression lines deliver the same feel. The reworked outersole is sparser, with few areas of solid rubber, and the weight savings is significant—almost an ounce! The flex grooves give the shoe better flexion without compromising stability. Runners new to the Ravenna and longtime fans alike will find much to be praised in this solid shoe.
“Secure fit, nice and stable, plenty of cushion. What more could I ask?”
The Inspire has faithful followers because it has consistently delivered the ride and stability they expect from Mizuno shoes. The upper is open minimesh, similar to several of its recent predecessors because it breathes well. A return to traditional overlays in the rearfoot better supports the foot, and they work with the sole shape to keep the foot lined up. The midsole continues with U4ic foam and sports a new heel crashpad of U4icX, a livelier compound. A PU insole and foam Strobel board work with the midsole to give the ride a plusher feel. The outersole is still carbon rubber in the heel and blown rubber in the forefoot, though fewer flex grooves on the bottom and more in the sidewall make the cushioning and flexibility more effective than before. Large runners and those who steamroll shoes will find the Inspire is brawny enough to roll right back.
“I have worn them for over 3 months. They grip well and put up with my Clydesdale punishment. They don’t interfere with my mechanics during running, they just keep going.”
ASICS GT-2000 4
Brooks Ravenna 7
Mizuno Wave Inspire 12
2016 Spring Shoe Review— 4 — FORTIUS Media Group, LLC
NEW SHOE Sizes: Men 6.5–13,14,15; Women 5–12 Weight: Men 13.1 oz. (size 11); Women 8.9 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted Recommended for: low- to medium-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to excessive pronation
Updates the Provision 2.0 Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15; Women 5–11,12 Weight: Men 11.4 oz. (size 11); Women 9.2 oz. (size 8) Shape: semistraight Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: low- to medium-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to excessive pronation
Updates the GT-2000 3 Sizes: Men 6–14,15,16,17 B,D,2E,4E; Women 5–13 2A,B,D,2E Weight: Men 12.0 oz. (size 11); Women 9.8 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with excessive pronation
Updates the Ravenna 6 Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15 D,2E; Women 5–12 B,D Weight: Men 11.7 oz. (size 11); Women 9.5 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with mild to excessive pronation
Updates the Wave Inspire 11 Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15,16; Women 6–12 Weight: Men 12.3 oz. (size 11); Women 9.8 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with mild to excessive pronation
MOTION STABILIZING Saucony Hurricane ISO 2
RENOVATION Spring 2016
The Hurricane has undergone more change in two generations than it has in most of the previous 16 combined. It starts with an update to the ISO fit saddle (aptly named ISO 2). Minimesh and fused overlays complete the forefoot, and an external thermoplastic heel counter secures the foot over the sole. But it’s in the midsole where the magic begins. A new compound that Saucony calls Everun puts a layer of blown TPU foam near the foot and a more resilient foam in the midsole. The compound’s flexibility allows better flexion with the foot’s motion and has a great feel to it. The outersole is a newly designed chevron pattern that adapts to a variety of angles, eliminating much of the stiffness experienced in many motion-controlling shoe designs. The stable ride, cushioning, and fit combine to earn the Hurricane ISO 2 our award for Best Renovation.
“I’ve been impressed with the Hurricane for years. This round is like a whole other level: comfy, durable, great fit. Now I’m really impressed.”
The Skechers GOrun line adds a new shoe designed for cushioned stability. Called the Forza, it’s Kara Goucher’s shoe of choice. The upper is a closed stretch mesh supported by no-sew overlays, and a saddle of thicker, fused film secures the foot effectively through the lacing. The midsole is a bouncy foam formulation with a 30-millimeter stack height that lends a cushy feel. A second density of foam and the full-contact geometry offer their own effective stabilizing properties. The outersole is carbon rubber from heel to midfoot, and the forefoot is primarily toughened foam with rubber in key wear areas. The fit, stability, and cushy ride make the Forza well suited to both regular training and recovery runs.
“Hadn’t tried Skechers so didn’t know what to expect. Good fit, cushion, stability. That’s a good running shoe!”
Updates the Hurricane ISO Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15 D,2E; Women 5–12 B,D Weight: Men 11.5 oz. (size 11); Women 9.2 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, TPU Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with mild to excessive pronation
NEW SHOE Sizes: Men 7–13,14; Women 6–10,11 Weight: Men 11.9 oz. (size 11); Women 9.8 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, PU Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to excessive pronation
PERFORMANCE Brooks Neuro
HOKA ONE ONE Tracer
Mizuno Wave Catalyst
The Neuro is a new Brooks shoe that’s both lightweight and adaptable, designed for maximizing fast, efficient running. The upper is a dual-layer, engineered mesh. The outer layer is a tough, gauze-like mesh supported by 3D-printed overlays while the inner layer is a light and breathable open mesh. Ghilley lace loops sandwiched between the mesh layers secure well while still adjusting to the moving foot, providing an adaptive fit. The midsole is a segmented arrangement of BioMoGO foam, with round Propulsion pods in the rearfoot and with Guidance Plates along the medial and lateral sides (taller ones medially and more uniform laterally) that flex as the foot passes over them. The 6mm geometry and flexible feel contribute to its go-fast purpose. The outersole is a collection of carbon rubber islands whose spaces allow the shoe to flex with the foot as it twists through the gait. The Neuro’s lightness and flexibility make it well suited to faster running, longer races, and speedwork.
“Really flexible. Let my foot feel free to run. Nice fit, plenty of cushion. They can really move.”
The Tracer is a first for HOKA ONE ONE—a speedster with a traditional stack height—so expect a few double-takes when you wear them. The upper is a two-layer mesh composed of an open underlayer covered by a minimesh, with splashy graphics to identify the shoe. Fused overlays lend a measure of support so the mesh of the upper holds its shape well. The fit leans toward the snug side so size accordingly. The midsole is two densities, which HOKA calls Pro2Lite, and it’s a novel approach as the forefoot is quite firm while the heel is softer to manage the cushioning and spring needed by each part of the shoe. Like its HOKA siblings it features what has become a sort of midrange geometry, here 4mm of drop. The outersole is tough carbon rubber that’s thin and spaced sparingly, though sufficiently. The Tracer’s combination of light weight, springy and cushioned ride, and racerlike fit cater to faster running and racing.
“Once again, HOKA brings a shoe that was not what I expected. Fit nice and snug, races well, but with enough underfoot for any time I want a fast feel.”
Mizuno’s new Catalyst is a welcome addition to its line, slotting into the void left by the Elixir. The upper is a two-layered mesh: wide open underneath, minimesh on top. Traditional overlays support the toe, medial rearfoot, and lace throat with the Runbird logo forming a semisaddle and no-sew overlays running the length of the lateral side. The midsole has a substantial feel, low-slung but firm, especially in the heel, and the fan wave plate provides support and stability. The U4ic foam formulation has a responsive feel and good protection for long-distance runs. The outersole is X-10 carbon rubber in the heel and the lateral forefoot, which is great news for midfoot/forefoot strikers. Blown rubber covers the medial forefoot and toe. The combination of good stability and a light, responsive feel makes the Wave Catalyst suited to daily training, tempo runs, and even longer races.
“Love running in this shoe. I get a feel of the road with adequate cushioning and a springy feel.”
2016 Spring Shoe Review— 5 — FORTIUS Media Group, LLC
NEW SHOE Sizes: Men 7–14; Women 5–12 Weight: Men 10.8 oz. (size 11); Women 8.7 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics
NEW SHOE Sizes: Men 7–13,14; Women 5–11 Weight: Men 8.5 oz. (size 11); Women 6.9 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, perforated EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics
NEW SHOE Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15; Women 6–11 Weight: Men 10.9 oz. (size 11); Women 8.8 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to excessive pronation
PERFORMANCE The Fresh Foam Zante’s introduction last year turned more than a few heads, and ushered in some speedier profiles for the brand. Round 2 throws in a few needed tweaks and keeps rolling down the fast track. The upper continues with its adaptable stretch mesh with little structure, and no-sew overlays lend support to shape the upper. The new design of the midfoot and lace throat permits the laces to adapt independently to secure the foot, and the roomy forefoot has been maintained. The midsole is Fresh Foam—its comfortable ride is the real strength of the shoe—and the sculpting fine tunes Round 1. The outersole is a thin, full-contact, rubber layer with different-sized hexagons and texturing delivering traction. The size and positioning of the hexagons create multiple flex points in the sole and have improved the traction over its predecessor. The Zante is a light, flexible shoe that’s well suited to faster running, whether long races or tempo runs, while being durable enough for daily training.
“Great cushioning and flexibility. Light, fit just right, and fast.”
Now in its fifth iteration, the Gravity has been the archetype for the Newton line for almost a decade. Round 5 maintains its technological core while freshening up the appearance and materials. The upper features an engineered stretch mesh for flexibility at the toe. Over the metatarsals they’ve used a smooth, closed mesh that’s supported by streamlined no-sew overlays for a forgiving stretchy feel in the bunion window. A new tongue offers a better feel and is anchored to the eyestay to prevent it from slipping side to side. The rearfoot has a stiffer mesh, with no-sew overlays tying into the logo stripes for support in a mini saddle-like design below the lace throat. The midsole has been resculpted to improve the ride, with better flexibility and cushioning. The contours of the insole have ameliorated the uneven feeling some runners experience in the area of the action/reaction membrane and lugs. The outersole has been retooled with attention to placement: The forefoot lug unit is inset into the midsole for a better foot/ground interaction, and new texturing of the rubber provides a bit better grip. This update succeeds in improving the overall ride and feel of the shoe.
“The Newtons have been a favorite fast-paced shoe for me, and I was really impressed with this update. [They] fit great. Smoothest ride yet. I haven’t found a downside in performance.”
“Good fit overall. Started out as my speed day shoe, but with plenty of cushion and good traction, it ended up handling more of my training than that.”
The Lunar Tempo was a descendant of the Lunar Elite and Luna Racer, and Round 2 continues that genetic link to performance. The upper is a tighly woven Flyknit with no-sew overlays to lend a touch of support, shaping the toe for a more effective fit than Round 1. Adjustments have been made to the Flywire, reducing the number from five to four, and a reshaped eyestay gives a little more material to snug the top of the foot. The conforming upper has little structure, so your foot can settle in as is its wont, and the lightness and performance of Round 1 is untouched here. The midsole is a tough and resilient shell, with a softer cushioning layer inside. Though the Tempo’s midsole appears almost fragile, it most certainly is not, with a durability that contradicts its appearance. The outersole is just a few squares of rubber in the highest-wear portions—three in the heel, six in the toe, three on the lateral forefoot—with toughened foam making up the remainder. The combination of these components in a shoe that’s almost racer light, but with the toughness to handle faster training, earned the Lunar Tempo 2 our award for Best Performance Shoe.
“Started as my everyday trainer, graduated to my marathon shoe. I need another pair. These are awesome.”
The Cloudflyer is the second shoe for which On has converted its Cloud technology to an EVA platform. The result is a Swiss-engineered delight, a well-cushioned, sturdy shoe, that’s lighter than expected. The upper is semi-open mesh over the toes with closed mesh over the tongue and saddle, extending around the heel. A no-sew toecap gives the toes plenty of room, and since it links to the bottom of the eyestay, the laces have an extra criss-cross to snug the midfoot. The midsole is two densities of EVA, softer in the forefoot, with eight of the cloudtec Clouds, and firm over the heel with four Clouds. The ride exhibits the attention to detail for which On is known, hitting the sweet spot of resilience and protection, without giving up the necessary durability. The 7mm geometry makes it more efficient, to boot. The outersole is a thin rubber layer over the heel and angled across the toes, with toughened foam under the arch. Its performance, versatility, and design earned the Cloudflyer our award for Best New Shoe.
The Kinvara has been the heavyweight of the lightweights—not in weight, but in heft. Round 7 shows no sign of changing that, with new materials and improved performance. The upper is a mixture of closed mesh over the vamp and rearfoot. There’s open mesh over the toes and no-sew overlays where extra support is needed without contributing much extra weight. The midsole is lightweight, but with enough underfoot for fasterpaced training, tempo runs, and long races. Round 7 steps up the performance further with the introduction of Everun—a new construction—and the introduction of a blown TPU layer that gives the shoe another level of protection to go with its snappy ride. The outersole is still sparse: a well-placed pattern of rubber chevrons on lateral rearfoot and medial forefoot, the rest toughened foam. The bottom line? The Kinvara 7 is a lightweight, tough shoe for faster running and racing that can also handle a good share of daily training for efficient runners.
“A shoe this light that fits well and works for long runs is great. This one is a real upgrade.”
New Balance Fresh Foam Zante 2
Newton Gravity V
Nike Lunar Tempo 2
Saucony Kinvara 7
2016 Spring Shoe Review— 6 — FORTIUS Media Group, LLC
Updates the Fresh Foam Zante Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15,16 D,2E; Women 5–11,12 B,D Weight: Men 9.3 oz. (size 11); Women 7.4 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics
Updates the Gravity IV Sizes: Men 6–13,14,15; Women 5–12 Weight: Men 10.5 oz. (size 11); Women 8.5 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics
Updates the Lunar Tempo Sizes: Men 6–13,14,15; Women 5–12 Weight: Men 7.9 oz. (size 11); Women 6.3 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics
NEW SHOE Sizes: Men 7–14; Women 6–11 Weight: Men 10.7 oz. (size 11); Women 8.7 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to moderate pronation
Updates the Kinvara 6 Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15; Women 6–11 Weight: Men 8.7 oz. (size 11); Women 7.1 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, TPU Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics
Published on Mar 21, 2016
Finding the best shoe for you has traditionally begun by assessing the characteristics of your feet and gait, and then matching them with th...