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SPR NG SHOE REVIEW 2017

MOTION STABILIZING—3 | NEUTRAL—4 | PERFORMANCE—5

“The times they are a changin’,” wrote Bob Dylan more than 50 years ago, and that has certainly been the case in the running shoe industry over the past season. Emerging brands have seen some successes, there have been many new shoe launches (as with the most active past seasons, about 35% of this spring’s offerings are new), and changes in materials and construction methods have left their mark on the industry. Today may be the calm before the storm, as 2017 exhibits the hallmarks of significant transition. Much of the anticipation centers on the jump from standard manufacturing to automated processes. This could mean that we’ll be seeing shoes that are customized, quickly delivered, and possibly even made right around the corner from your house. Over the past few seasons we’ve seen new or improved manufacturing techniques and materials for uppers: engineered meshes, full-knit uppers, laminates, and membranes. Every shoe in this Review features one or more of these advances. And at the heart of midsole innovation is the thermoplastic elastomer, also known as TPE. These midsoles vary by ingredients, much like cookie dough recipes. Here, it’s the spongy foam that just may be the secret ingredient that makes a shoe a delight to run in. Brands look for their own special recipes and ingredients, and you are the beneficiary as these blends are all more protective, durable, and responsive than ever. As in much of life, education is your best bet for finding your perfect shoes. Your local running specialty store can capably assist you in this process because they know running and they know shoes. Use our reviews as a starting point. With their assistance and your own good judgment, we’re confident you’ll find success in your shoe search. —Cregg Weinmann, Running Shoe Reviewer for the Running Network, LLC


FORTIUS Media Group, LLC Partners American Track & Field www.american-trackandfield.com Athletes Only www.atf-athlete.com Athletics-Africa www.athletics-africa.com/s/

2017 Spring Shoe Review

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

Welcome to our first Shoe Review for 2017! Even after all these years, the smell of running shoes straight from the box is still exciting for me. My first pair of real running shoes was Onitsuka Tiger Cortez. I purchased them—well, my mom, Marilu purchased them—for $36. She waited a few days to tell my dear father, as we had never spent more than $5 on a pair of running shoes in my first few years of running.

Colorado Runner www.coloradorunnermag.com Florida Running & Triathlon www.flrunning.com Get Active! & Club Business International www.healthclubs.com Hawaii Sport www.hawaiisportmag.com

My white Kmart tennis shoes would be nearly pink from the blood blisters I would develop getting them “broken in.” Hard to believe, but in that era blisters were a rite of passage.

Latinos Corriendo www.latinoscorriendo.com

In today’s performance running world, our RN footwear guru, Cregg Weinmann, assures me that shoes are much better now than then. And I concur.

New England Exchange Zone www.usatfne.org

The key is to find the right pair of shoes for you. Don’t be swayed by social media hype or some blogger who’s paid to write about the shoes. At the Running Network, we review product from more than 40 brands, and about a dozen support our efforts through advertising in our various media platforms. If you see a shoe recommended here, rest assured that Cregg and his tireless wear testers have tried the shoe and taken it through at least 100 miles. All shoes submitted for our testing get the same treatment, whether or not the companies advertise with us. It’s a point of pride that we keep those two undertakings separate from one another. We’re in the process of putting all our content online: on social media and on mobile media as well. We appreciate your patience and support as we work our way through this process. And as always, a special thanks to our fearless team of Kristen Cerer (designer), Marg Sumner (proofreader), Cregg Weinmann (reviewer), and Christine Johnson (project coordinator and editor)—the team that has worked together on our Reviews for more than 15 years. Remember to purchase your running gear from a real live running store. Thanks for your support! 

Missouri Runner & Triathlete www.morunandtri.com 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.MarathonGuide.com www.RunBlogRun.com www.issuu.com/RunDenmark www.RunningProductReviews.com www.SlowTwitch.com www.USTFCCA.org www.WomenTalkSports.com

Larry Eder Publishing Director FORTIUS Media Group, LLC

www.WorldWideRunning.com

Saucony Freedom ISO

Nike Air Zoom Elite 9

NEW SHOE

RENOVATION

Spring 2017

Spring 2017

Project Coordinator/Editor: Christine Johnson, Holding Space LLC 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, fortiusmedia@ gmail.com Ad Manager: Adam Johnson-Eder, 608.556.9164, adamlawrenceeder@gmail.com Legal Counsel: Perry F. Goldust, Esq. This 2017 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.

ASICS Gel-DS Trainer 22

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3

adidas Supernova Boost

Motion Stabilizing

Performance

Neutral

Spring 2017

Spring 2017

Spring 2017

2017 Spring Shoe Review­— 2 — FORTIUS Media Group, LLC

Copyright © 2017 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. 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.


MOTION STABILIZING 361º Sensation 2

120

$

Experience is an asset, and it’s helped the team at 361˚ make considerable progress in this Round 2 update. The upper trades the traditional overlays of Round 1 for lighter weight and welded support. The forefoot offers good toe room and light support with its own welded overlays. The midfoot has a lightweight saddle that segues into a thicker layer in the rear-quarter and onto a thermoplastic external heel counter that’s stitched for added support. The lace throat is articulated, which adds some give to the laces, and the top half has heavier welded overlays to anchor the laces. The midsole retains its two-layer system: a Qu!kfoam layer that’s been completely retooled (though retaining its responsive characteristics) and the lightly touched lower layer of EVA with a small medial post through the arch. With its good stability and cushioning, the ride continues to impress. The outersole is essentially unchanged: blown rubber in the forefoot and durable carbon rubber in the heel, with plenty of segmentation for good articulation. Put it all together, and the Sensation 2 is a solid performer.

“Fits well, especially across the toes, with good flex. Nicely cushioned—bouncy even—and a good, stable base.”

The Gel-DS Trainer has been one of ASICS’ most versatile shoes, thanks to its light weight and good stability. Round 22 (I know, right?) incorporates the new Flyte Foam, making a light shoe even lighter, while preserving its stability and cushioning. The upper has a new, closed stretch mesh, with minimal, welded overlays. The thermoplastic Heel-Clutch support offers a snug fit, without adding much weight. The midsole is dual-density Flyte Foam, though the second density of medial foam is less noticeable than on previous versions. The outersole features AHAR carbon rubber in the heel, articulated for a smooth touchdown, and a new forefoot configuration of DuoSole/DuraSponge to improve both the grip and the cushioning, characteristics that go back to the beginning of the DS-Trainer franchise. The combination of good stability, responsive ride, and design execution earned it our award for Best Shoe in the Motion Stabilizing category.

“Super versatile. So light, smooth, and comfortable. I love running in this shoe!”

The Ravenna straddles the worlds of cushioning and stability so beautifully that it has fans from both parties. Round 8 picks up where Round 7 left off—and then pushes the envelope. The upper is a similar semi-open, criss-crossed mesh without the forefoot welded overlays. The shoe extends the traditional stitched overlay at the toe, which allows for more toe room, while welded overlays create a full rand at the base. This saddle features a sturdier fabrication, maintaining the ghilly lace loops over the midfoot. The DNA foam has been subtly reshaped to streamline the midsole, though it doesn’t noticeably alter the ride. This round’s tooling assists flexing and directing the foot’s path, guiding the foot throughout the gait. The outersole and midsole grooving in the forefoot have more noticeable lateral flex grooves that provide more flexibility without sacrificing stability. Runners in search of cushioning and stability will definitely find it here—as fans of the Ravenna know.

“Great fit, secure and [with] room for my toes. The ride is about as good as it gets in both support and cushion.”

The Transcend is Brooks’ top-of-the-line Motion Stabilizing shoe. Round 4 is a catch-yourbreath round: some material improvements, but nothing earth-shattering. The majority of improvements are in the upper, beginning with the 3D-printed overlay supports that run along the surface in a linear pattern. At the toe, the upper is secured by a traditionally stitched toecap; at the heel, the foam-and-molded-thermoplastic counter adds some pizzazz. The lace throat is molded as well, securing the laces and the midfoot together. The midsole is Super DNA, just as before, with a long-lasting, springy ride, and the Guiderails still flare up from the midsole to discourage side-to-side motion. The outersole is heavily grooved to add flexibility, with directional grooves in the outersole to guide the foot forward. The Transcend is the epitome of Brooks’ combination of stable cushioning so if that’s your holy grail, give it a look.

“Plush feel. Stable, protective, and durable.”

The new Arahi takes a different approach to design; the result is a successful blend of light weight and ultra stability, which is Hoka’s most stable lightweight shoe yet. The upper is a thin, closed stretch mesh supported by 3D-printed overlays with fused overlays in the highstress areas. The upper’s support and flexibility are excellent, hugging the foot comfortably and securing it over the sole unit. The midsole features the typical Hoka setup with its oversized foam—a measured 32mm-stack height—for cushioning. Its more significant feature is the J-Frame, a second-density foam in the shape of a J, designed to shore up the shoe’s medial side and stabilize the heel by encircling its perimeter with a firmer layer. The outersole is primarily toughened foam with a skeletal arrangement of rubber spread between the forefoot and the heel. The smooth ride, good stability, and comfortable fit make the Arahi a great choice for recovery and high-mileage running.

“Snug in the heel with a stretchy feel and roomy in the forefoot. Light, stable, and well-cushioned. Great to run in.”

Updates the Sensation Sizes: Men 6–13,14; Women 5–12 Weight: Men 12.2 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 moderate pronation

ASICS Gel-DS Trainer 22

Motion Stabilizing Spring 2017

120

$

Updates the Gel-DS Trainer 21 Sizes: Men 6–13,14,15; Women 5–12 Weight: Men 8.9 oz. (size 11); Women 7.2 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to mild pronation

Brooks Ravenna 8

120

$

Updates the Ravenna 7 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 pronation

Brooks Transcend 4

160

$

Updates the Transcend 3 Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15 (D,2E); Women 5–12 (B,D) Weight: Men 11.9 oz. (size 11); Women 9.6 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with mild to moderate pronation

HOKA ONE ONE Arahi

130

$

2017 Spring Shoe Review­— 3 — FORTIUS Media Group, LLC

New Shoe Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15; Women 6–11 Weight: Men 10.5 oz. (size 11); Women 8.6 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, perforated EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with mild to moderate pronation


NEUTRAL adidas Supernova Boost

Neutral Spring 2017

130

$

This update to the Supernova Glide Boost moves the franchise forward to the next generation. This near-complete overhaul adopts features from the entire Boost range. The upper is an engineered bi-layer mesh with stiffer support provided by internally welded layers at the toe. The midfoot has a saddle created by the logo stripes, as before, adjusted to better conform and support. An external, split heel counter effectively supports the heel, and a flared heel tab (both migrated from the UltraBoost) keep tension off the Achilles tendon. Smooth interior linings improve comfort. The midsole features a new geometry that’s better cushioned in the heel and has a smaller, more effective EVA frame in the forefoot. The outersole is the Continental rubber compound that’s successfully used across the Boost line, though here it has a wider profile to make it more stable and durable. The result is a smooth-riding, high-mileage cruiser that’s protective and responsive. The ride, durability, and value earned the Supernova our Best Shoe award in the Neutral shoe category.

“Great cushy ride, but much springier than expected. The fit was smooth, roomy, and really good, for tons of my mileage.”

Altra debuted with the Instinct (and the women’s Intuition) and receives an attentive update to its successful design. The upper is completely new, with an engineered mesh that adjusts well to the foot. The lining is smooth, offering support while snugging up comfortably. The footbed has a cushy feel, thanks to the polyurethane insole and EVA Strobel board—not entirely unique, but effective for comfort. The midsole is full-length EVA with a top layer of Altra’s A-Bound foam, and its zero-drop geometry lowers the foot’s position to a neutral plane from heel to toe. The well-segmented outersole offers a good degree of flexibility. The tough full-rubber compound—FootPod in Altra’s parlance—offers a reliable grip, and its fullcontact design adds stability. This update retains the heritage it began with and advances the performance it has always delivered.

“Consistent comfort, fit, and ride. Room for my toes and feels good on the foot. Cushy, and just enough of it.”

For many Hoka fans, the Bondi is the definition of maximum cushioning so getting its update right was crucial. Fortunately for all involved, our testers found that Round 5 got it right. The upper is closed mesh with 3D-printed overlays, putting Hoka’s bold graphics on full display. The fit is spare with the thin material, but plush enough where it counts most—in the ankle collar and tongue. The midsole is the Max, Hoka’s cushiest stack height, and it has a smooth ride, which feels firmer than you’d expect, but is as protective as you’ll need. The outersole is thin rubber, well-articulated in the forefoot, toughened foam in the midfoot, and well-placed carbon rubber in the heel. While the Bondi is designed for protection, its geometry, fit, and features make it a first-rate running shoe equipped for your high-mileage needs.

“High-mileage training shoe with a lot of cushion. The upper is slightly stretchy and very comfy. If you like road feel, these won’t be your go-to shoes, but they were great for my long runs.”

The Waverider introduced runners to Mizuno’s Wave plate technology, and 19 updates later it has legions of fans who depend on its unique ride. The good news about Round 20 is that all is well, and the Waverider’s tradition lives up to expectations. The upper features a new engineered mesh, with traditional overlays at the lace throat and, significantly, at the toe cap where the upper rides comfortably above the toes. The Runbird logo and internal band combine to support the midfoot, and a sturdy counter anchors the heel. While the midsole features new tooling that gives a deceptively low-profile look to the shoe, the underfoot feel is substantial enough to stand up to daily mileage, thanks in part to the U4ic Strobel board and resilient polyurethane insole. The Wave plate has been tweaked (the shank features new molding to stiffen it a little), while the rebound remains firm, but springy. The outersole is functionally the same—even with the new molding in the lugs that provides more surface to meet the road—but feels much the same as in Round 19. The result is a reliable daily trainer that can handle the mileage.

“Good daily running shoe. Good cushioning and fit. Plenty of shoe for long runs. They were what I needed: comfortable, with good flex and cushion.”

The 1080 is that rare combination: both a workhorse and a showpiece of New Balance’s running line, thus last season’s successful merger of Fresh Foam and New Balance’s best Neutral shoe offers no surprises. The upper features some subtle changes: The engineered mesh now extends from toe to heel, and the ankle collar gets some love, allowing better conformity to the foot. Minor tweaks to the rear of the saddle also smooth the rearfoot fit by extending the overlay into the heel counter. The ankle lining goes from smooth to smoother, for those with sensitive feet. The Fresh Foam receives some attention as the cells in the foam’s surface have been slightly reworked, and new shaping improves the ride. The EVA Strobel board construction and the cushy polyurethane sockliner remain unchanged. The outersole continues the full-length hexagonal-shaped rubber compound. Reshaped lugs and flex grooves improve the grip and durability slightly and conform better through the gait. The adage Don’t Mess with Success has been closely followed here, and fans as well as those looking for durable cushioned comfort are the beneficiaries.

“Fit really well, plush and smooth. Cushioned and protective. This is what I look for in a high-mileage shoe.”

Updates the Supernova Glide Boost Sizes: Men 6.5–13,14,15; Women 5–11,12 Weight: Men 11.7 oz. (size 11); Women 9.3 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics

Altra Instinct 4.0

111

$

Updates the Instinct 3.5 Sizes: Men 7,8–13,14,15; Women 5.5–11,12 Weight: Men 10.4 oz. (size 11); Women 8.3 oz. (size 8) Shape: semistraight Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to very mild pronation

HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 5

150

$

Updates the Bondi 4 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

Mizuno Waverider 20

120

$

Updates the Waverider 19 Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15; Women 6–11 Weight: Men 10.3 oz. (size 11); Women 8.3 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to mild overpronation

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v7

150

$

2017 Spring Shoe Review­— 4 — FORTIUS Media Group, LLC

Updates the Fresh Foam 1080 v6 Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15,16 (B,D,2E,4E); Women 5–11,12 (2A,B,D,2E) Weight: Men 11.5 oz. (size 11); Women 9.3 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics 


NEUTRAL Nike Air Zoom Vomero 12

140

$

The Zoom Vomero was introduced as a deluxe cushioned, neutral, high-mileage shoe. Round 12 keeps this focus front and center. The upper is much like Round 11: engineered mesh with support from welded internal layers. The midfoot has a row of webbing straps connected by Flywire to add support and lacing options to the lace throat. The gusseted tongue keeps the foot comfortably in place. The reshaped midsole eliminates the heel crashpad, and a new longitudinal groove around the perimeter in the lower half directs the deflection of the sole. A firm outer shell encases a softer inner foam layer that surrounds the heel and forefoot Zoom Air units. The outersole features rounded pods, arranged like a two-lane road extending on the lateral perimeter around to the arch. The medial forefoot is similarly composed, but with three sections of pods separated by flex grooves. The combination of heel and forefoot pods offers both extra cushion and grip. The result? A deluxe cushioned, neutral, high-mileage shoe.

“Great cushion, really pampers the foot. Fits really well.”

The Salming line has expanded with each season, as it steadily establishes its presence in the U.S. market. The enRoute is a high-mileage training shoe, one of three or four of its models that straddle the Neutral/Performance categories, depending on the criteria used. The upper features a dual-layer mesh, sandwiching synthetic leather straps that extend around the foot at the eyelets to secure the fit. The midsole is a healthy chunk of injection-molded EVA, a compound they named Recoil. The resilient ride offers plenty of protection from the road. The outersole is tried-and-true carbon rubber in the heel, with a blown rubber forefoot, a reliable combination that’s done well. The execution, materials, and performance place the enRoute on par with shoes in its price range and above. For those looking for a responsive ride and good flexion, it’s more than capable of meeting your training needs.

“Snugged the foot comfortably with a near-perfect fit. Responsive ride, almost didn’t notice I was wearing shoes, almost.”

The new Noosa FF joins the ASICS lineup as a performance trainer with a speedy feel, and the shoe’s triathlon roots point to its purpose. The upper is both snug-fitting and beefy enough for serious training. Welded overlays support the forefoot, and there’s plenty of toeroom. The rearfoot is anchored by a stiff heel counter, paired with a soft lining. The mesh breathes well, flexing effectively with the foot. The midsole is Flyte Foam, a durable compound that derives its responsive ride from the fibrous strands throughout the foam that flex and contract through the gait. The outersole is a tough carbon rubber compound in the heel and around the perimeter of the forefoot, while the center of the forefoot has a layer of blown rubber to soften the toe-off. The Noosa’s execution and performance will impress, especially if ASICS has been a go-to brand for you.

“Light and great-fitting. It had a good distance range for me, including longer races and tempo runs.”

Updates the Air Zoom Vomero 11 Sizes: Men 6–13,14,15; Women 5–12 Weight: Men 11.8 oz. (size 11); Women 8.4 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics

Salming enRoute

155

$

New Shoe Sizes: Men 7–13,14; Women 5.5–10.5 Weight: Men 10.1 oz. (size 11); Women 8.1 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics Recommended for: low- to medium-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to excessive pronation

PERFORMANCE ASICS Gel-Noosa FF

140

$

New Shoe Sizes: Men 6–13,14,15; Women 5–12 Weight: Men 9.6 oz. (size 11); Women 7.7 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics       

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3

Performance Spring 2017

100

$

Thanks to its performance and fit, the Zante has amassed a considerable following. The upper fit has been refined with each update, but this season’s is the best yet in adapting to its curvy last. The engineered mesh may be responsible for some of the feel as it holds the foot more supportively. The saddle is thoroughly dialed in, extending into the heel counter for great support. The ankle collar foam package contours well, securing it into a softly lined heel. The midsole is low-profile Fresh Foam, featuring new sculpting of the cells, which provide improved deflection in the midfoot as well as a smoother ride. The outersole features a similar tread pattern, though it’s been updated. The lugs have been rotated 45 degrees for better grip, and some have been resized to flex better as the foot passes over them. The numerous minor refinements have taken a really good shoe to the next level, all while maintaining the really good price. And that’s why the Zante 3 has earned our award for Best Shoe in the Performance category.

“The fit was good, [it’s] now even better. Wellcushioned, fast, and fun to run in.”

The Zoom Elite has undergone a “right-sizing”—an effective weight-loss makeover—for a featherweight shoe designed for protection. The upper is a thin, engineered Flymesh with minimal welded supports at the heel, toe, and lace throat. The lacing is supported by thin internal Flywire strands that offer multiple lacing options as well as supporting the midfoot if left as is. The midsole is sculpted Cushion LT, with a new geometry that lowers the ramp angle for better efficiency. A Zoom Air bag is bottom-loaded into the forefoot to cushion the landing with a less noticeable feeling against the foot. The outersole is a thin layer of tough rubber, arranged in a series of pentagons throughout: concave in the rear foot, flat in the midfoot, convex in the forefoot. To save weight and improve flexion, the foam is exposed through small openings in the outer sole in the forefoot, medial midfoot, and the center of the heel. The result is a shoe that’s tough enough for regular training, a go-to shoe for tempo runs, and even good for the long racing duties. The design, features, and performance earned the Zoom Elite 9 our award for Best Renovation.

“Wow! This is a ‘Go Fast’ shoe, but with enough foam underfoot and a secure-but-barely-there feel.”

Updates the Fresh Foam Zante v2 Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15,16 (D,2E); Women 5–11,12 (B,D) Weight: Men 9.2 oz. (size 11); Women 7.3 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics

Nike Air Zoom Elite 9

RENOVATION Spring 2017

120

$

2017 Spring Shoe Review­— 5 — FORTIUS Media Group, LLC

Updates the Air Zoom Elite 8 Sizes: Men 6–13,14,15; Women 5–12 Weight: Men 8.8 oz. (size 11); Women 7.1 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics


PERFORMANCE On Cloudflow

140

$

The new Cloudflow is almost racer-light and its performance purpose is apparent in your first steps. The upper is engineered mesh in the vamp, pieced to a stiffer, closed mesh in the heel and supported by welded external overlays throughout. The lining of the forefoot and heel are smooth against the foot, the gusseted tongue is thin and conforming—aided by the asymmetrical lacing—and well-ventilated via the mesh. The midsole is a thin layer of Zero Gravity EVA foam molded into the Clouds, On Running’s unique cushioning system, all lasted to the Speed Board, which adds snap to the ride. The outersole is thin carbon rubber on the heel Clouds and textured rubber on the forefoot Clouds, with exposed Clouds in the midfoot. The Cloudflow is the lightest training shoe in its line and its performance is first-rate. The attention to detail really pays off.

“Toe to heel, the shoes simply fit great. [I’m a] big fan of the tongue and the collar padding. Nice lightweight trainer that provides great cushioning.”

The Freedom ISO is the first new shoe since Saucony’s EverRun midsole foam began transforming the brand’s running line. The upper is a uniform stretch mesh with the latest version of the ISO fit lacing system, which adjusts the fit with the foot while it moves. With its integrated design, the lacing doesn’t require a cage around the midfoot, so the feel is softer and smoother. The midsole is full-length EverRun foam, the first of the Saucony shoes to introduce it, and the ride has an almost bouncy feel to it. The outersole is full-length Crystal rubber, which gives an interesting appearance to the bottom of the shoe since the midsole is visible through the sole. Its durability has been greatly improved since it debuted a generation ago and is now on a par with carbon rubber. The sole’s texture is versatile enough to handle the roads, with a bit of bite for the occasional off-road portions or dirt roads you might encounter. The fit, ride, and overall performance of the Freedom earned it our award for Best New Shoe.

“Put these on and the fit disappears on your foot. You feel the cushy midsole that is great, even after a marathon. That’s a good shoe.”

When the Kinvara was introduced in 2010, it revolutionized the category because it was the most reasonable running choice in a sea of minimalist slipper-like shoes­—and at a reasonable price. Eight versions later, it’s still an excellent choice because it has kept to its purpose: performance. The upper is engineered mesh, with an effective midfoot support strap (formerly called ProLock), which was the inspiration for the ISO fit system now used in Saucony’s top-end shoes. The midsole features the second round of EverRun over a soft injected, molded foam—EVA+—for a great ride. The outersole is a minimal, thin, tough rubber in the highest wear portions: heel, toe, and the ziggy path the typical foot follows from heel to toe. The EVA+ is a mixture of EVA plus rubber and is tough enough to manage both your cushioning and durability needs. If the Kinvara has been your shoe, you’ll still like these; if you’re looking for a light, sleek, and fast shoe, give the Kinvara a try.

“Each version of the Kinvara has worked well for me. This update fits securely and has a great ride.”

To run a fast marathon, you need a good tempo shoe. The GOmeb Razor is Meb Keflezighi’s tempo shoe, and for good reason. The upper is GoKnit, Skechers’ onepiece knitted construction, with a smooth and conforming feel and welded overlays that offer good support. Thin, dense foam with smooth linings in the ankle collar and tongue give the fit added comfort. While on the minimal side, the 5GEN midsole provides a responsive and well-cushioned ride, in part because of the thin laminate that encapsulates the heel and midfoot. The heel-to-toe offset of 18mm (heel)/14mm (midfoot) of stack height offers plenty of protection, even handling our testers’ midrange training runs with ease. The outersole, which is a thin layer of carbon rubber co-molded to the midsole (with some exposed midsole areas), adds to the grip and sufficiently manages abrasion. The long and short of matter? Whether you use it for faster workouts, races, or tempo runs, the GOmeb Razor will not disappoint.

“Fit great with a snug heel and roomy toebox. The firm heel and springy toes make it feel fast.”

The GOrun’s performance validated Skechers’ performance as a “real” running shoe brand. Round 5 continues the momentum with an exclamation point. The upper is GoKnit, a circular knit one-piece design that breathes well, flexes well, and conforms well. Minimal structure is provided by internal welded layers that keep the fabric above the toes. While this tongue isn’t gusseted, it has a similar feel because two stretchy straps over the tongue keep the lace throat tight and support the fit. The construction includes a memory foam Strobel board, which elevates the shoe’s comfort. The midsole shares its tooling with the Razor, though without the laminated outer layer so the ride is more cushy than responsive. That said, it doesn’t bottom out and was comfortable for the miles we put it through. The minimal Parametric Web outersole is thin and light without being flimsy. The versatility of the GOrun 5 makes it a valuable tool for your faster running success.

“The fit, durability, and weight were great! I was impressed with the cushion offered in a pair of shoes that weighed so little, but for higher mileage I’d prefer something with a bit more support.”

New Shoe Sizes: Men 7–13,14; Women 5–11 Weight: Men 8.9 oz. (size 11); Women 7.1 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics

Saucony Freedom ISO

NEW SHOE Spring 2017

160

$

New Shoe Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15; Women 5–12 Weight: Men 10.2 oz. (size 11); Women 7.9 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics

Saucony Kinvara 8

110

$

Updates the Kinvara 7 Sizes: Men 5–12,13,14; 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

Skechers GOmeb Razor

110

$

New Shoe Sizes: Men 7–13,14; Women 6–11 Weight: Men 8.7 oz. (size 11); Women 7.1 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, memory foam Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics

Skechers GOrun 5

105

$

2017 Spring Shoe Review­— 6 — FORTIUS Media Group, LLC

Updates the GOrun 4 Sizes: Men 7–13,14; Women 5–10,11 Weight: Men 8.8 oz. (size 11); Women 7.2 oz. (size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, memory foam Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics

2017 spring shoe review  

“The times they are a changin’,” wrote Bob Dylan more than 50 years ago, and that has certainly been the case in the running shoe industry o...

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