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2012 FALL 

ShoE REvIEW

look across the landscape of running shoes for Fall 2012 reveals more product diversity than in any season of the past decade. The potential for confusion points to the need for education, and we cannot stress this message enough: Runners need to know what their feet are like and get the shoes that meet those needs. This knowledge is not static. Rather, it’s a constantly changing equation where factors such as fitness, injuries, aging, and weight gain/loss, among other things, affect where you are on the running continuum. And you must monitor the role your shoes play in that equation.

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Two trends continue, both related to shoe weight. First, 20% of the shoes in this Review are new shoes—all of them in the Performance category—so we know that lightweight shoes are readily available. Second, more than 85% of the updated shoes are both lighter and a bit more expensive than the shoes they replaced. The maxim of the lightweight trend is apparently true: Less is more. That is, less weight costs more. The up-side is that the efforts to lighten these shoes have not compromised performance. Some of the new shoes follow the path of lower-profile geometry, allowing even more running footwear choices. It has never been more important to know the characteristics of your feet and what footwear choices will work for your current fitness level and your biomechanics. It’s our hope that this Review will help you make great choices!

RuNNING NEtWoRK LLC PARtNERS

—Cregg Weinmann, Running Network Footwear Reviewer

American Track & Field www.american-trackandfield.com Athletes Only www.atf-athlete.com Athletics (Canada) www.athleticsontario.ca Austin Fit www.austinfitmagazine.com California Track & Running News www.caltrack.com Club Runningwww.rrca.org/publications/club-running Coaching Athletics Quarterly www.coachingathleticsq.com Colorado Runnerwww.coloradorunnermag.com Get Active! www.healthclubs.com Greater Long Island Running Club s Footnoteswww.glirc.org Latinos Corriendo www.latinoscorriendo.com MarathonGuidewww.marathonguide.com Michigan Runnerwww.michiganrunner.net Missouri Runner & Triathlete www.morunandtri.com Running Journal & Racing South www.running.net RunMinnesotawww.runmdra.org RUNOHIO www.runohio.com Track & Field News www.trackandfieldnews.com USATF s Fast Forward www.usatf.org

Welcome to the Running Network’s 2012 Fall Shoe Review While History Never Repeats was a hit song for the New Zealand band Split Enz in 1981, that’s not exactly true in the saga of performance footwear. In fact, as Cregg Weinmann has shown in his reviews for you over the past 17 years, running footwear theories rise and fall in cycles of popularity. In 2005, I visited the University of Cologne in Germany to see some of the research on the Nike Free. It was fascinating to learn about the science and research that were going into shoes designed to mimic running barefoot. And though this barefoot or minimalist running focus has become increasingly prominent over the last decade, this thinking has been around before. In fact, I remember my coach, Steve Pensinger, having us do 300-meter repeats, circa 1975, in bare feet on the grass oval at DeAnza Community College, specifically to build and strengthen our feet. And Cregg recently reminded me of Herb Elliott’s training with coach Percy Cerutty, who espoused natural form and running barefoot. In fact, Elliott was pictured running barefoot on the cover of Sports Illustrated in late 1958 and again in May 1960. Lightweight or minimalist running shoes are here to stay. The innovations made in materials have enabled manufacturers to lighten shoes, even as their support and performance have been improved. It’s worth repeating that you must always factor your own fitness level and biomechanics into the process of choosing shoes. The lightest weight shoes aren’t necessarily the best for you. Consider your needs as you read the reviews put together by Cregg Weinmann and the weartesters who diligently put new shoes through their paces. Our reviews are the starting point of your search for your perfect shoe. Enjoy your running!

Larry Eder President, Running Network LLC AWARD WINNERS BEST SHOE

BEST SHOE

BEST SHOE

BEST SHOE

Neutral

Motion Stabilizing

Performance

Performance

F A LL 2 012

F A LL 2 012

F A LL 2 012

F A LL 2 012

Brooks  Glycerin 10

adidas Supernova  Sequence 5

K-Swiss Kwicky  Blade Light N

Saucony ProGrid  Kinvara 3

BEST NEW SHOE

BEST VALUE

BEST RENOVATION

FALL 2012

FALL 2012

FALL 2012

ASICS Gel-Lyte 33

Puma Faas 350

Nike LunarGlide+ 4

Reviewer: Cregg Weinmann Project Coordinator/Editor: Christine Johnson Designer: Kristen Cerer Proofreader: Marg Sumner, Red Ink Editorial Services Shoe Photography: Daniel Saldaña, Cregg Weinmann Advertising Sales: Running Network LLC, Larry Eder, President, 608.239.3785, larry@runningnetwork.com Publisher: Larry Eder, 608.239.3785 Website: www.runningnetwork.com For a Media Kit, please visit our website. This 2012 Fall Shoe Review is produced independently by Running Network LLC for its partner publications. All shoes reviewed were tested by experienced, competitive runners who were matched to the biomechanical purpose of each shoe model. Copyright © 2012 by Running Network LLC. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be stored, copied, or reprinted without prior written permission of Running Network LLC. Running Network LLC and its partner publications suggest that, as with all fitness activities, you meet with a healthcare professional before beginning or changing your fitness regimen.

Running Network 2012 Fall Shoe Review—i


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See the full review at www.runningnetwork.com $115 

$115 

$110

$145

BEST SHOE Motion Stabilizing F A LL 2 012

adidas Supernova  Sequence 5 $120

Mizuno Wave Alchemy 12 $110

New Balance 870 v2 $110

New Balance 1260 v2 $100 BEST NEW SHOE FALL 2012

Saucony ProGrid omni 11 $135

adidas adiPure Motion $110

adidas adiZero tempo 5 $110

ASICS Gel-Lyte 33 $85

BEST SHOE

BEST RENOVATION

BEST VALUE

Performance

FALL 2012

FALL 2012

F A LL 2 012

K-Swiss Kwicky Blade Light N $100

Mizuno Wave Precision 13 $110

Nike LunarGlide+ 4 $140

Puma Faas 350 $110

BEST SHOE Performance F A LL 2 012

Saucony ProGrid Kinvara 3 $110

ASICS Gel-Cumulus 14 $140

ASICS Gel-Nimbus 14 $135

Brooks Dyad 7 $100

BEST SHOE Neutral F A LL 2 012

Brooks Ghost 5

Brooks Glycerin 10

Mizuno Wave Enigma 2

Running Network 2012 Fall Shoe Review—ii

Nike Air Pegasus+ 29


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SHOE REVIEW by Cregg Weinmann

Minimalist Shoes Summer 2012 This review represents our second look at the relatively new category of minimalist shoes. The question of just what constitutes a minimal shoe revolves around three hotly debated characteristics: heel-to-toe drop, support, and overall weight. For the purpose of our reviews, we define a minimal drop as 5-millimeters or less, minimal support as a shoe that can fold down the heel of the upper toward the innersole (or pinch the sides of the heel together) with little midsole/outersole structure, with a weight of under 10 ounces for a men’s size 11. Shoes that satisfy at least two of these three standards we categorize as minimalist. Your use of minimalist shoes will be determined by your fitness, size, and preferences, but all runners can benefit from a minimal shoe for at least some of their running.

Altra Adam/Eve $80 The Adam (and women’s Eve) is the most minimal of Altra’s line of zero-drop running shoes. Designed to provide just a bit of protection, they come with two different innersoles: one that’s quite thin and another that’s more robust to provide a little cushioning. The upper is a thin layer of stretchy fabric with closed mesh over most of the vamp and open mesh over the forefoot. The monosock construction features two hook-and-loop straps to secure the shoe/foot interface. The outersole of tough rubber lies directly under the Strobel lasting board (which is really just a layer of fabric), so the only cushioning comes from the choice you make about which innersole to use. The proprioceptive feedback is as good as it can be while still wearing a shoe. “The Altra shape really fits my foot. Not much to it, even with the ‘support’ insole. They actually are like slippers.” Sizes M 6–13,14,15,16; W 6–11,12 Weight 7.5 oz. (men’s 11); 6.1 oz. (women’s 8) Heel-to-Toe Drop 0 mm

Brooks Pure Connect $90 The Pure Connect is new to the Brooks line and is the most minimal of the four Pure Project shoes. The upper is a wide open mesh covered with a thin, gauzy mesh so there’s good breathability. A bit of support comes from the sandwiched, no-sew overlays and a sturdy heel counter. The midsole features the 4-millimeter heel-to-toe drop geometry shared by this line and is a blend of EVA and Brooks’ DNA polymer instead of the heavier configuration that uses a DNA insert. The outersole is composed of scant islands of rubber that provide durability while allowing increased flexibility, particularly in the narrow gap between the big toe and the rest for a more dynamic toe-off. The combination of quality, versatility, and features earned the Pure Connect our Best Shoe award in the Minimalist category. “Even though these shoes are very light and minimal, the reinforced toe doesn’t lay down on my toes. The roomy fit lets my forefoot play as it wants. The shoe snugs up around the instep nicely. On harder/longer runs, my arches would like just a little more support, but they are getting stronger.” Sizes M 7–13,14; W 5–12 Weight 8.1 oz. (men’s 11); 6.5 oz. (women’s 8) Heel-to-Toe Drop 4 mm

Fila SkeleToes Lite $75 Fila’s SkeleToes Lite is its latest and best execution of minimalism. The upper is composed of two meshes—a smaller weave on the lower half and a more open weave above—constructed as a monosock with stretch at the ankle and a stretchy, elastic speed lace. Minimal overlays offer a touch of support to the laces and midfoot. The toes have individual pockets, allowing better splay and toe-off, though the fourth and fifth toes share a single pocket. The midsole has a grid of segmented pods that cause the foot to supply its own support, thereby strengthening it. The injection-molded EVA has a good, resilient bounce to it. The outersole is nominal carbon rubber only at the highest-wear portions: the toes and heel. “Great fit, especially the toes. Light and comfortable, lets my foot do what it wants. I don’t wear them for every run, but they do well for me when running.” Sizes M 7–12,13; W 5–10,11 Weight 6.9 oz. (men’s 11); 5.4 oz. (women’s 8) Heel-to-Toe Drop 5 mm

BEST SHOE MINIMALIST SUMMER 2012


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K-Swiss Blade Foot Run $90 The Blade Foot Run adapts the established K-Swiss running technologies to minimal proportions. The upper features an overall closed mesh with a little structure, midfoot overlays to secure the foot, and just enough support in the heel to hold its shape. The midsole employs the setup effectively popularized in the Blade Lite and Quicky Blade models from its traditional running line, and the result is a flexible and responsive shoe. A Guide Glide layer and EVA Strobel board add their cushioning, but with zero-drop geometry and a comfortable stack height (how high off the ground you are) of 8 millimeters. The outersole is minimal carbon rubber at the high-wear areas of the heel and under the first metatarsal. Overall, it has a stable feel, with the flexibility and weight of a racer. “Most striking is the stable, balanced feeling of the shoe. They are light, flexible, and better cushioned than I expected.” Sizes M 4–13,14,15 W 5–12 Weight 8.2 oz. (men’s 11); 6.3 oz. (women’s 8) Heel-to-Toe Drop 0 mm

New Balance Minimus Zero Road $110 The second round of New Balance’s Minimus collection adds three zero-drop shoes to the three Minimus shoes introduced last year. The upper is equally minimal with a thinly structured minimesh and a shape that now more accurately mirrors the foot. The upper has no tongue and opens only laterally, supportively shoring up the medial side without adding more support features that would increase weight. Welded overlays give the shoe shape without restricting the foot. The midsole is zero drop, with a small stack height (12 millimeters) to cushion underfoot. The outersole features a new rubber compound from Vibram in the high-wear areas, keeping it light without losing needed cushioning, durability, and traction. The combination of light weight, innovative materials, and execution earned the Minimus Zero Road our award for Best New Shoe in the Minimalist category.

BEST NEW SHOE MINIMALIST SUMMER 2012

“What a fit! Like a sock with laces. Flexible, light, a touch of cushion; it’s just what I have been looking for.” Sizes M 6–13,14,15; W 6–11 Weight 6.6 oz. (men’s 11); 5.1 oz. (women’s 8) Heel-to-Toe Drop 0 mm

Skechers GoRun $80 The new GoRun features a number of approaches that fit well with the minimal philosophy. While these approaches aren’t new, they are a new combination that’s available at a reasonable price. The upper is a breathable mesh with little support; it is secure with excellent flexibility. The midsole is a cushy layer of EVA with columnshaped forms arranged around the perimeter. The result is a flexible design with little support and a geometry that encourages a midfoot strike. The outersole consists of several disc-shaped rubber pads on the ends of the main columns, managing the highest-wear areas. Though you’re unlikely to duplicate his efforts, Olympic marathoner Meb Keflezighi’s results validate the GoRun’s performance. “Great fit. Midsole shape took a little getting used to, but the responsive ride more than made it worth trying.” Sizes M 6.5–13,14,15,16; W 5–10,11 Weight 7.2 oz. (men’s 11); 5.6 oz. (women’s 8) Heel-to-Toe Drop 4 mm

Skora Base $125 Meticulous and specific planning has brought new brand Skora to the minimal footwear market with two models. The Base is the textile version. (The Form is fashioned from goatskin.) Its upper of open stretch mesh features a framework of supportive overlays positioned to secure the foot without getting in its way. A clever, criss-crossed, hook-and-loop closure design secures the foot comfortably. The midsole is zero drop with a 13-millimeter stack height, providing a bit of cushion while encouraging a midfoot strike for footstrike efficiency and foot strengthening. Though thin, the outersole is a generous, tough layer of carbon rubber that provides both durability and good traction. “Snug but accommodating fit with good toeroom. It has a very balanced feeling and a responsive ride. Well made and very durable.” Sizes M 7–12 Weight 9.2 oz. (men’s 11) Heel-to-Toe Drop 0 mm

Vivobarefoot Breatho Trail $90 Vivobarefoot emphasizes barefoot-style running by reducing the cushioning layer and toughening the outer protective layer. In the Breatho Trail, the upper is a closed-mesh barrier that protects from both trail hazards and the weather, with supportive overlays, ghilley lacing, and a monosock design that hugs the foot. It also has the zero-drop geometry that encourages a flatter midfoot landing, no midsole, and only a thin innersole and DriLex Strobel board to which the sturdy rubber outersole attaches. An array of lugs supplies both traction and a bit of cushioning as the shoes flex and deflect, offering more protection from puncture than any shoe in this review. Devotees will find it excellent for their trail needs, and those looking for the most minimal of the minimal in stack height will likely find it here. “Fits well. Secure, but with room for my toes. The traction was great, and off-road performance is its strength. It takes some getting used to the zero drop, but it’s worth the effort.” Sizes M 7.5–13; W 5–10 Weight 9.9 oz. (men’s 11); 7.6 oz. (women’s 8) Heel-to-Toe Drop 0 mm CREGG WEINMANN is footwear and running products reviewer for Running Network LLC. He can be reached via e-mail at shuz2run@lightspeed.net. Copyright © 2012 by Running Network LLC. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be stored, copied, or reprinted without prior written permission of Running Network LLC. Reprinted here with permission.


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SHOE REVIEW by Cregg Weinmann

Racers Summer 2012 Racing shoes are for faster running efforts, and this is our annual look at the new and newly updated racing shoes for 2012. Here we examine eight models designed for speed, and run the gamut of accommodating differences in feet and racing distances. Biomechanics and racing distances differ, so we recommend a range to assist you in your choices. If the distances you race vary widely, it may be necessary to wear more than one style, making sure that you always choose based on your foot shape, footstrike, and foot motion.

adidas adiZero Adios 2 $115 For more than a decade, the Adios has been an effective racer in the adidas line. This second round from the adiZero line is perhaps the best Adios yet. The upper is an open mesh similar to that in the last round, but it loudly trumpets the 2012 bright orange theme of adidas racing. The microsuede overlays are soft, adding support without restriction or extra weight. The midsole is EVA with a newly reshaped adiPrene crashpad and a full forefoot of adiPrene+ that adds to the resilient feel. A new TPU Torsion device—three prongs that run from the shank into the forefoot and release an uncoiling effect as it returns to its original shape—adds a touch of overall stability and responsiveness to the flex. Somehow adidas even managed to fit a miCoach slot into the shank to collect data from your race or run. The outersole is very different from previous adidas racers. Though the heel is familiar adiWear, up front are two “quickstrike” zones with the remaining forefoot of Continental® rubber. The upgrades, performance, and fit earned the adiZero Adios our Best Renovation award.

BEST RENOVATION RACERS SUMMER 2012

Sizes Men 6.5–13,14,15; Women 5–12 Weight 8.6 oz. (men’s 11); 7.3 oz. (women’s 8) Shape semi-curved Fit roomy forefoot, snug heel For medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics Range Efficient runners: up to marathon or beyond; Heavy strikers: up to 25K or beyond

ASICS GEL-DS Racer 9 $100 The GEL-DS Racer was overdue for a major makeover, and that wait is now over. The DS Racer 9 starts with a tough, closed mesh upper sandwiched between supportive strapping and an open and soft polyester mesh lining. These thin layers contribute just enough to enclose and secure the foot. The redesigned midsole sports a medial support of DuoMax that has been lengthened to just forward of the new Trusstic shank, improving the overall stability of the shoe. The ride is the expected blend of cushioning and stability for which the dual-density Solyte compound is known, enhanced by a touch of Gel cushioning in the heel. Drainage holes through both the midsole and outersole keep the foot cool, while addressing the needs of triathletes. The outersole features AHAR carbon rubber in the heel, just as before, but the forefoot has adopted the lattice of blown AHAR rubber similar to that used in the HyperSpeed, but with medial and lateral grooves for better flexion. The stability, cushioning, and performance earned the GEL-DS Racer 9 our Best Racing Shoe award. Sizes Men 6–13,14,15; Women 5–12 Weight 8.3 oz. (men’s 11); 6.8 oz. (women’s 8) Shape semi-curved Fit roomy forefoot, snug heel For medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to mild overpronation Range Efficient runners: up to marathon; Heavy strikers: up to 25K or beyond

Mizuno Wave Musha 4 $90 Mizuno has a reliable and effective racing shoe line, and the Musha offers performance and economy, as well as some glitzy racer attitude. While the mesh upper is subtly different than the previous version and sports minor variations to the overlays, it continues with the same purpose—to wrap the foot securely. The color choice is a snappy green for “go” instead of last season’s “watch out” red. The lacing is better articulated, allowing a sort of folding halfway down the eyestay to better flex with the foot. The midsole sculpting has minor alterations, as has the wave plate itself, but the resilient ride, along with its excellent flexibility, has been retained. Similarly the outersole, while sporting new flex grooves and adjustments, continues with the X-10 carbon rubber in the heel and its effective expanse of blown rubber in the forefoot. Though the price has been bumped up $5, the value remains. Sizes Men 7–13; Women 6–11 Weight 9.6 oz. (men’s 11); 7.7 oz. (women’s 8) Shape semi-curved Fit roomy forefoot, snug heel For medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics Range Efficient runners: up to marathon; Heavy strikers: up to 20K or beyond

BEST SHOE RACERS Summer 2012


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New Balance RC1600 $110 The RC1600 is a brand new, high-end racer for New Balance. The effectiveness of its RevLite compound has raised the performance for all the shoes that use it, but its execution in the 1600 is the crowning jewel. The upper is an engineered mesh with great conformity to the foot and just a bit of stretch, but smooth-fitting and adaptable. No-sew overlays offer additional support, and the soft, sueded heel fit is comfortable against the skin. The midsole is light—really light—but offers a resilient bounce that’s durable enough for the racing season, and goes farther (and further) than expected. The density of the midsole has been increased to add durability, but because it’s thin, it also provides a bouncy feel. The outersole alternates between regions of toughened blown rubber at the heel and ball of the foot, with a bit of road-grade EVA in the medial heel and some smaller regions of TPR backed by plastic, creating great traction in the forefoot. Sizes Men 7–13; Women 5–12 Weight 5.9 oz. (men’s 11); 5.0 oz. (women’s 8) Shape semi-curved Fit close-fitting forefoot, snug heel For medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics Range Efficient runners: up to marathon; Heavy strikers: up to 20K or beyond

Newton MV2 $125 The MV2 (mass x velocity squared) offers two firsts for Newton: It’s the first Newton shoe with zero-drop geometry and the first to crack the 7-ounce barrier. The upper is wide open mesh for cooling and has a close fit that offers good, though minimal, support. The midsole is a thin layer of EVA, only 15 millimeters in both heel and toe. The Reaction membrane of Newton’s other shoes has been replaced here by a foam chamber that takes the deflection of the lugs directly, instead of the small open space that allows the elastic membrane to do its thing as in other models. The outersole is on the sparse side. The forefoot has a modified version of Newton’s actuator lugs: two large rounded lugs and three smaller rectangular-shaped lugs that articulate with the metatarsals as the foot flexes. A small heel wedge is included so that you may add it to the insole to make the transition to its zero drop geometry a little less dramatic. The Newton message preaches form and adaptation, so allow extra time for that process. The result is a light and minimal racer for efficient runners. Sizes Men 6–14; Women 4.5–12 Weight 6.6 oz. (men’s 11); 5.5 oz. (women’s 8) Shape semi-curved Fit roomy forefoot, snug heel For medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics Range Efficient runners (with cautious adaptation): up to marathon or beyond; Heavy strikers: up to 8K or beyond

Nike Zoom Streak 4 $90 The Streak has been the epitome of Nike racing. Round 4 focuses on the fit and ride of this standard bearer of Nike racing shoes. The upper is a familiar open mesh with synthetic leather overlays at heel and toe. A supportive saddle lines up the foot over the midsole in a no-sew configuration with additional welded supports in the forefoot. The lobes of foam in the heel give a snug feel without hindering or irritating the foot. The midsole is full-length Phylon (EVA) with a Zoom Air bag adding cushioning in the heel. The outersole continues as a thin layer of BRS 1000 in the high-wear area of the heel; under the metatarsals, three narrow strips of Duralon blown rubber lend a light and surprisingly durable performance to the overall feel of the ride. Sizes Men 4–13,14,15 (unisex) Weight 7.8 oz. (men’s 11) Shape semi-curved Fit close-fitting forefoot, snug heel For medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics Range Efficient runners: up to marathon; Heavy strikers: up to 25K or a bit beyond

Scott Race Rocker $110 The Race Rocker is a new shoe to the Scott running line. The upper is a typical, stripped-down mesh with an ultra thin synthetic suede tongue and minimal welded overlays. The smooth interior adds comfort and the option of barefoot use, especially for triathletes looking for rapid transitions. The midsole is the same very lightweight AeroFoam compound introduced in Scott’s award-winning MK4, making it well suited to the mid- or longerdistance races. The flexibility aids in stride efficiency and delays a breakdown in biomechanics over the course of a race. The outersole is a sparse framework of carbon rubber distributed over the high-wear areas of the sole. Inset in the forefoot is a fabric-backed array of polyurethane nibs that provide excellent traction on all but the wettest roads, and keep the weight down while adding a bit more cushioning. Sizes Men 5–13 (unisex) Weight 7.8 oz. (men’s 11) Shape semi-curved Fit wide forefoot, snug heel For medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics Range Efficient runners: up to marathon; Heavy strikers: up to 25K or beyond

Zoot Ultra Speed 2.0 $110 The Ultra Speed cycles through its first update with the upper featuring the same compression fabric of the original. This time, however, it’s been shored up with overlays in the heel that are secure and supportive, while retaining the record transition times for triathletes. The overall volume is relatively low, though the design stretches well enough to accommodate more feet than expected, but it may be uncomfortable for some runners with higher volume feet. A try-on will provide your answer (and you may want to amp up the store’s treadmill and note the effects). The midsole is a thin layer of Z-bound EVA, now with wings in the medial and lateral heel that add a touch of support, but it’s surprisingly resilient given its low profile. The carbon fiber shank remains, adding a bit of torsional stability while making the ride a little snappier, as well. The same thin carbon rubber outersole keeps the weight down and offers surprisingly durable performance. The overall effect is a light racer that has a better range than its predecessor without losing its focus on speed. Sizes Men 7–12,13,14; Women 6–11 Weight 8.0 oz. (men’s 11); 6.4 oz. (women’s 8) Shape semi-curved Fit close-fitting forefoot, snug heel For medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics Range Efficient runners: up to marathon; heavy strikers: up to 15K or beyond CREGG WEINMANN is footwear and running products reviewer for Running Network LLC. He can be reached via e-mail at shuz2run@lightspeed.net. Copyright © 2012 by Running Network LLC. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be stored, copied, or reprinted without prior written permission of Running Network LLC. Reprinted here with permission.


spring shoe review 2012 2-pager:Spring Shoe Review 09 2/20/12 5:32 PM Page i

2012 SPRING

SHOE REVIEW A

ll things are relative to their frame of reference. This simplified explanation of relativity pairs well with a quote attributed to Albert Einstein, who had a passing acquaintance with the topic: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Our frame of reference, from a running perspective, was explained almost 225 years ago by Isaac Newton. Newton observed, theorized, and described gravitation and the three laws of motion (among many other things). Simply speaking, our frame of reference is about running on Earth, where the mass of the planet is greater than ours, so we are pulled toward it. We apply a force to the Earth and it gives back an equal force. In this Review, we’ve looked at and weartested shoes in the three basic categories of motion stabilizing, neutral cushioning, and faster-paced/performance running. We describe their attributes and point out if and how the familiar has been changed, and we share some of our weartesters’ feedback. So whether you’re trying to find out what’s new, what’s changed, or what’s best for you, we’ve got you covered. As we’ve said many times before, knowledge is your best ally. To make good choices for you, you must know the shape of your feet and understand the way they move. If you don’t, you may find your local running specialty store to be a source of good advice and information. There are many shoes appropriate for your running, but if you know your foot shape, foot motion, and footstrike, you can focus on shoes that meet your needs, not someone else’s.

RUNNING NETWORK LLC PARTNERS

—Cregg Weinmann, Running Network Footwear Reviewer

American Track & Field www.american-trackandfield.com Athletes Only www.atf-athlete.com Athletics (Canada) www.athleticsontario.ca Austin Fit www.austinfitmagazine.com California Track & Running News www.caltrack.com Club Running www.rrca.org/publications/club-running Coaching Athletics Quarterly www.coachingathleticsq.com Colorado Runner www.coloradorunnermag.com Get Active! www.healthclubs.com Greater Long Island Running Club’s Footnotes www.glirc.org Latinos Corriendo www.latinoscorriendo.com MarathonGuide www.marathonguide.com Michigan Runner www.michiganrunner.net Missouri Runner & Triathlete www.morunandtri.com Running Journal & Racing South www.running.net RunMinnesota www.runmdra.org RUNOHIO www.runohio.com Track & Field News www.trackandfieldnews.com USATF’s Fast Forward www.usatf.org USATF–New England’s Exchange Zone www.usatfne.org The Winged Foot www.nyac.org The Winged M www.themac.com Youth Runner www.youthrunner.com

WELCOME TO THE RUNNING NETWORK’S 2012 SPRING SHOE REVIEW I just returned from the 2012 U.S. Open, an indoor track meet held in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Among the performances there were the fastest women’s 50 meters in 12 years (6.08 seconds, Veronica Campbell-Brown), the second-fastest men’s 50 meters ever (5.64 seconds, Asafa Powell), and a spirited battle over the mile between Silas Kiplagat and Bernard Lagat. Kiplagat prevailed, 4:00.65 to 4:00.92. Two weeks before, I witnessed the first Americans to make the 2012 Olympic team in our sport. Meb Keflezighi surprised everyone but himself and his coach, Bob Larsen, by running with Ryan Hall and Abdi Abdirahman for 23 miles, and then pulling away to win. On the women’s side, Shalane Flanagan and Desiree Davila dueled for 24 miles before Shalane gained some daylight. Kara Goucher held on for third, after being challenged by the surprising Amy Hastings, who finished fourth. Most of these athletes, as well as local road races and running events, are sponsored by the very companies featured in our 2012 Spring Shoe Review. While companies like adidas, ASICS, Brooks, Mizuno, New Balance, Nike, PUMA, and Saucony are major sponsors, all 44 brands we monitor put back into the sport that they market to—to the tune of over $100 million a year! As you look over this Spring Shoe Review to determine what shoe you’ll run in over the next few months, we ask that you visit your local running store—that bastion of the running community— and support the brands that support your local running. And please, follow your local heroes in our sport. Several of them will be big surprises in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials for Track & Field in Eugene, Oregon June 22–July 2. See you on the roads and at the track!

Larry Eder President, Running Network LLC Reviewer: Cregg Weinmann Project Coordinator/Editor: Christine Johnson Designer: Kristen Cerer Proofreader: Marg Sumner, Red Ink Editorial Services Shoe Photography: Daniel Saldaña, Cregg Weinmann Advertising Sales: Running Network LLC, Larry Eder, President, 608.239.3785, larry@runningnetwork.com Publisher: Larry Eder, 608.239.3785 Website: www.runningnetwork.com For a Media Kit, please visit our website. This 2012 Spring Shoe Review is produced independently by Running Network LLC for its partner publications. All shoes reviewed were tested by experienced, competitive runners who were matched to the biomechanical purpose of each shoe model. Copyright © 2012 by Running Network LLC. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be stored, copied, or reprinted without prior written permission of Running Network LLC. Running Network LLC and its partner publications suggest that, as with all fitness activities, you meet with a healthcare professional before beginning or changing your fitness regimen.

AWARD WINNERS BEST SHOE

BEST SHOE

Neutral

Performance

SP

RIN G 201

adidas Supernova Glide 4

RIN G 201

2

Mizuno Wave Elixir 7

BEST SHOE

BEST NEW SHOE

Motion Stabilizing

SPRING 2012

SP

RIN G 201

2

Nike Lunar Eclipse+ 2

Brooks Pure Cadence

BEST RENOVATION

BEST RENOVATION

SPRING 2012

SPRING 2012

Saucony PowerGrid Hurricane 14 i | Running Network 2012 Spring Shoe Review

SP

2

Scott MK 4


spring shoe review 2012 2-pager:Spring Shoe Review 09 2/20/12 5:33 PM Page ii

see the full review at www.runningnetwork.com $115

$110

$120

$115

BEST SHOE Neutral SP

RIN G 201

2

adidas Supernova Glide 4 $135

Brooks Defyance 5

K-Swiss Blade Max Glide

$110

$120

Mizuno Waverider 15 $120 BEST NEW SHOE SPRING 2012

New Balance 1080 v2 $80

adidas adiZero F50

ASICS Gel-Noosa Tri 7

$120

$110

Brooks Pure Cadence $105

BEST SHOE Performance SP

Li-Ning Liede $130

RIN G 201

2

Mizuno Wave Elixir 7

New Balance 890 v2

$130

$120

Nike Zoom Elite+ 5 $110

BEST RENOVATION SPRING 2012

Pearl Izumi Kissaki $115

Scott MK 4

Under Armour Charge RC

$135

$100

$140

BEST SHOE

BEST RENOVATION

Motion Stabilizing

SPRING 2012

SP

Mizuno Wave Inspire 8

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12

RIN G 201

Nike Lunar Eclipse+ 2

2

Puma Faas 800

ii | Running Network 2012 Spring Shoe Review

Saucony PowerGrid Hurricane 14


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SHOE REVIEW by Cregg Weinmann

Summer Shoes 2012 The summer season is here, and so is our guide to more running shoes from which to choose. The selection is a nice cross-section of offerings: three Performance shoes, three Neutral shoes, and one shoe each from Motion Stabilizing and Hybrid Trail. Always make sure you know what type of shoe works for you by knowing your foot shape, foot strike, and foot motion. Check the shoe widget at www.runningnetwork.com for updates and, for additional shoe information, click the banner for Running Product Reviews.

ASICS GEL-Instinct 33 $100 The Instinct is the first shoe of the 33 series designed for the trail. The upper, like its cousin the Speedstar, uses a no-sew TPU lattice that completely covers the upper and is light as well as supportive. It uses the same midsole as the Speedstar, though here it’s just a bit livelier thanks to the 33 series’ Propulsion Trusstic, which offers energy return from the material’s recoil. The outersole effectively splits the difference between trail traction and road performance. The combination of characteristics makes a successful hybrid trail shoe that’s light enough for faster running with plenty of cushioned protection. HYBRID TRAIL Sizes Men 7–13,14,15; Women 5–12 Weight 11.7 oz. (men’s 11); 9.6 oz. (women’s 8) Shape semi-curved Construction Strobel slip-lasted, SpEVA (EVA) Strobel board Recommended for medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics

Karhu Forward3 fulcrum–ride $130 Karhu has evolved its Fulcrum technology several times since its introduction in 1985. The Forward

3 introduces the latest iteration. Previously constructed of molded foam, it’s now a Pebax device that provides both midfoot support and the unique ride that the Fulcrum offers in forward motion. Now the midsole foam conforms around the Fulcrum and offers a cushy ride in both the heel and the forefoot. The outersole is a thin layer of durable carbon rubber in the heel with blown rubber up front for a bit more cushion. The upper is lined with moisturewicking mesh. On the outside, an open mesh fabric wraps the foot comfortably and secures it with plenty of toeroom. The performance is effective, representing the best execution yet of the Fulcrum concept.

PERFORMANCE Sizes Men 8–12,13,14; Women 6–11 Weight 11.2 oz. (men’s 11); 9.3 oz. (women’s 8) Shape semi-curved Construction Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics

Nike Zoom Vomaro+ 7 $130 The Vomaro continues as the flagship of Nike’s neutral running line. Round 7 makes some changes while maintaining its most important strengths. The upper is still a closed mesh, but alterations have been made to the midfoot supports. The thermoplastic saddle has been replaced by straps reinforced with Flywire that overlap and attach directly to the lacing, effectively locking the foot over the midsole. The midsole has a firm and resilient ride, just the type of shoe for high-mileage training. The encapsulated Zoom Air configuration offers a ride that is both hard to beat and hard to match. The outersole is segmented to allow good flexion and reduce weight, and is much the same as previous versions of the Vomaro. You can expect the same kind of cushioning and performance the Vomaro has been known for. NEUTRAL Sizes Men 6–13,14,15; Women 5–12 Weight 12.4 oz. (men’s 11); 10.1 oz. (women’s 8) Shape semi-curved Construction Combination Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board (forefoot) Recommended for medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics


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On Cloudsurfer $139 On Running has consistently grown its line of uniquely cushioned shoes. The Cloudsurfer is the latest of its updated models, receiving adjustments all around. The upper has benefitted from refinements to the last that have brought it more in line with accepted sizing standards. (Previously, they were a little short.) Retained is the breathable open mesh and the secure wrap of the foot, though now with a bit more toeroom. The midsole remains pretty consistent—cushiony with good flexibility. The outersole lugs are a bit thicker and harder, so that while still providing a unique ride, they’re more durable. The resulting combination of foam and the compressable lugs provide a ride that’s effective and certainly worth a serious look. NEUTRAL Sizes Men 8–14; Women 6–10 Weight 12.9 oz. (men’s 11); 10.4 oz. (women’s 8) Shape semi-curved Construction Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for mediumto high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics

Reebok ZigNano Fly II SE $100 Reebok updates its running focus for ZigTech with the ZigNano Fly II SE. The upper is more of a color-up, as the fit and mesh are all but the same as the original: open mesh with minimal synthetic leather overlays. The midsole offers the same offsets, flexibility, and ride featured in Round 1, with the exception of adjustments to the segmentation in the heel plate between the midsole and upper. This improves the articulation in transition, which was a bit of a problem in earlier versions of ZigTech shoes, including the ZigNano Fly. The minimal carbon rubber has been retained largely intact, still aimed at balancing weight and durability. Fans can celebrate the improvements, while those seeking a reliable neutral road shoe will find it in the ZigNano Fly II SE. NEUTRAL Sizes Men 7–13; Women 5–11 Weight 11.7 oz. (men’s 11); 9.4 oz. (women’s 8) Shape semi-curved Construction Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for mediumto high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics

Saucony Mirage 2 $105 Round 2 of the Mirage aims at continued performance while freshening the shoe overall. The upper switches from its open two-layer mesh to a relatively closed, engineered mesh that breathes well, while adding a small measure of protection and support. It also makes the fit just a little closer. The midsole is much the same as before—a responsive layer of cushioning with geometry that drops only 4 millimeters from heel to toe—so it encourages a midfoot strike. The outersole, also unchanged, sports just enough rubber in the highest wear portions of the sole to boost durability. The sum of these parts is a light, well-cushioned shoe that’s great for a mix of faster running and regular training. PERFORMANCE Sizes Men 7–13,14,15; Women 5–12 Weight 10.4 oz. (men’s 11); 8.3 oz. (women’s 8) Shape semi-curved Construction Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for mediumto high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics

Spira Genesis X $130 This version of the Genesis shows the real progress Spira has made in recent seasons. Its cushioning technology is provided, in large part, by steel springs that are well incorporated in traditional foam. The upper is its best effort yet: Elasticized lace eyelets move with the foot and stretch mesh better hugs the midfoot, while allowing room in the forefoot. The midsole has been shaped to allow the foot to flex, while providing cushioning and allowing the function of the spring as well. The outersole is a typical and effective carbon rubber heel with a blown rubber forefoot. Though just a bit on the heavy side, the stability and cushioned ride of the midsole compensate well for the extra weight. MOTION STABILIZING Sizes Men 7–13,14,15 (D,2E widths); Women 6–11,12 (B,D widths) Weight 15.3 oz. (men’s 11); 11.9 oz. (women’s 8) Shape semi-curved Construction Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for medium- to high-arched feet with mild to moderate overpronation

Zoot Ultra TT 5.0 $140 The TT 5.0 is the update to Zoot’s multipurpose trainer designed to handle both triathlon training as well as the running duties in longer triathlons. The stretchy monosock upper fits closely, though it’s pretty roomy over the toes. Elastic laces snug the midfoot, which is a nice blend of responsive EVA and Zoot’s Z-bound inserts. The outersole is a thin layer of carbon rubber in the heel, while the forefoot has fabric-backed TPU treads for grip and durability. The success of the TT series is advanced by Round 5, producing a long racer that serves well for tempo runs, speedwork, and even a little motivation on regular training runs. PERFORMANCE Sizes Men 7–12,13,14; Women 6–11 Weight 9.8 oz. (men’s 11); 7.8 oz. (women’s 8) Shape semi-curved Construction Strobel slip-lasted Recommended for medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics

CREGG WEINMANN is footwear and running products reviewer for Running Network LLC. He can be reached via e-mail at shuz2run@lightspeed.net. Copyright © 2012 by Running Network LLC. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be stored, copied, or reprinted without prior written permission of Running Network LLC. Reprinted here with permission.


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SHOE REVIEW by Cregg Weinmann

Track Spikes Summer 2012 Once again, the Olympic Games are responsible for stimulating new products for track & field. Eight brands offer new looks and some new technologies, with much more to come after London’s champions are crowned. Here are eight representatives of the current track & field market, tested by our weartesters for your benefit. All are event-specific and, though aimed at the upper levels, athletes hoping to access the advantages afforded by technical track & field equipment will be interested as well. Use this sampling as a starting point in your search for track & field excellence, and follow up by checking the shoe widget at www.runningnetwork.com for periodic updates. As with anything, if you haven’t done much running in spikes, allow yourself time to adapt to their minimal support, structure, and cushioning.

adidas adiZero MD 2 $110 The approach of the London Olympics signals a new rollout of high-end spikes for adidas for all the track events. (Field event shoes have received color-ups.) The MD received a redesign from top to bottom. The upper (called Sprint Web), which was a smooth, synthetic leather, moves to a very breathable, closed minimesh. A matrix of welded overlays provides support without adding much weight. The redesigned Sprint Frame spikeplate adds a touch of support with a trio of spines that support the shank more effectively than the previous version. The plate is still as flexible as necessary, and the addition of a screenlike TPU array of teeth on the heel adds traction to your touchdown. The proven 6-spike configuration provides effective traction. This is a quality product that delivers performance. UPDATED Sizes unisex 4–13,14,15 Weight 6.4 oz (w/spikes, men’s 11) Spikes 6, replaceable Upper minimesh, welded synthetic overlays Innersole sheet EVA Midsole CM-EVA heel Outersole full-length thermoplastic spikeplate Recommended for 400m to 2 miles, on synthetic surfaces

ASICS Japan Lite-ning 4 $120 The need for speed and a new look has influenced this update for ASICS’ top sprint spike. The effectiveness of its spikeplate has been proven for sprinters looking for a nimble and flexible feel, which is maintained in this version. The main focus is on the upper where the use of a synthetic leather material wraps the foot securely while providing a streamlined profile and aerodynamic surface. The stretchy tongue is anchored on both sides beneath the innersole and the lacing via the “discrete eyelets” that permit the upper to flex with the foot independently, providing both security and a more natural movement while in full flight. The thin, full-length layer of EVA continues to add comfort to the shoe, though it’s perhaps more noticeable with the improvements to the fit of the upper. UPDATED Sizes unisex 6–12,13 Weight 6.3 oz (w/spikes, men’s 11) Spikes 6, replaceable Upper synthetic leather Innersole sheet EVA Midsole full-length EVA Outersole full-length thermoplastic spikeplate Recommended for 100–400m and hurdles, on synthetic surfaces

Brooks Wire 2 $100 This update keeps the Wire’s best features intact while making some innovative upgrades. Thanks to an experienced design/development team, the midsole chassis and spikeplate were well done in the initial round, so the 5-spike setup and sharkskin heel remain intact. The upper receives the attention here. Previously a wholly adequate mesh and synthetic leather combination, it now sports a new woven mesh with fibrous strings lending support to a gauze-like minimesh. Welded overlays and a minimum of stitching provide the main exterior structure, a soft (but grippy) fabric lining offers comfort to the heel fit, while a synthetic suede band softens the midfoot security. The result is an effective performer that’s much lighter than Round 1. UPDATED Sizes unisex 5–13,14,15 Weight 4.3 oz (w/spikes, men’s 11) Spikes 6, replaceable Upper mesh, synthetic overlays Innersole sheet EVA Midsole full-length sheet EVA Outersole combination Pebax spikeplate/thermoplastic sharkskin heel Recommended for 800–10,000m and steeplechase, on synthetic surfaces


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Mizuno Tokyo 7 $105 Round 7 of the Tokyo brings much of the same to the table for Mizuno—sprint performance. The very gradual changes that Mizuno is known for are apparent here, as things haven’t been significantly altered since Round 5, but there’s much that’s worth noting. The full-length spikeplate introduced in version 6 has been retained intact, thanks to its pliable, yet rigid characteristics. Six removable spikes allow customization for traction and 3 permanent pins directly behind the toes provide the rest. The upper features multiple hook-and-loop straps—a familiar trait of the Tokyo—that provide numerous fit options, security without laces, and lighten the shoe. The tongue secures on both sides of the shoe, making it flexible and smoothly aerodynamic, characteristics that apply to the upper as a whole. A thin layer of CM-EVA provides a touch of cushioned protection for the fastest running. UPDATED Sizes unisex 5–13 Weight 7.2 oz (w/spikes, men’s 11) Spikes 6, replaceable; 3, permanent Upper synthetic leather Innersole sheet EVA Midsole full-length CM-EVA Outersole full-length thermoplastic spikeplate Recommended for 100–400m and hurdles, on synthetic surfaces

New Balance WR 800 $100 New Balance introduced the 800 last year as a high-end middle-distance shoe in gender-specific versions. Last year, we focused on the men’s, so here we look at the women’s. This season, the shoe received a minor tweak to the upper, while maintaining its best features. The lightweight, full-length spikeplate and its carbon fiber insert under the forefoot are unchanged, since its effectiveness was proven in competition. The upper uses a new closed mesh with a smooth interior, providing a bit more security with its uniform, nonstretch fabric keeping the foot over the spikeplate. The narrower women’s last makes the fit among the best of the middle- and long-distance spikes designed for female runners. The midsole—molded ACTEVA Lite—is well executed, providing enough cushioning for the longer races without slowing the middle-distance speedsters. UPDATED Sizes women 5–10,11 Weight 4.4 oz (w/spikes, women’s 8) Spikes 6, replaceable Upper mesh, welded synthetic overlays, synthetic suede tongue Innersole sheet EVA Midsole full-length, molded ACTEVA LITE (EVA) Outersole full-length Pebax spikeplate, carbon fiber insert (forefoot) Recommended for 800–5000m (or beyond) and hurdles, on synthetic surfaces

Nike Mamba 2 $115 The second round of the Mamba has seen some changes, but it maintains the performance of the original. The upper has veered from a simple minimesh to an engineered—though uniform—monomesh well-suited to support and breathe, in addition to providing the excellent drainage that’s required for the steeplechase. The arch band is synthetic suede and the ankle collar features a lobe of memory foam that each contribute to a secure and comfortable fit. The sculpted midsole and spikeplate are retained for their performance, which are as good as it gets in a distance spike. The carbon fiber shank provides a touch of rigidity and needed traction while reducing weight and allowing the minimal, three-fingered spikeplate design to flex with the foot. UPDATED Sizes unisex 4–13,14,15 Weight 4.5 oz (w/spikes, men’s 11) Spikes 5, replaceable Upper mesh, welded and synthetic overlays Innersole sheet EVA Midsole full-length Phylon (EVA) Outersole Pebax spikeplate, thermoplastic sharkskin heel insert Recommended for 800–10,000m and steeplechase, on synthetic surfaces

Puma Bolt Faas 007 LTD $125 Usain Bolt’s exploits and equipment attract attention, thanks to his prodigious talent. Not surprisingly then, the Faas 007 LTD is designed to provide performance while also turning a few heads. Tweaked to perfection, the fulllength spikeplate carries over from shoes stretching back to the Theseus. Its effectiveness has been proven on the largest stage in track & field. This round adds carbon fiber under the metatarsal region for improved spring and flex. The upper has a dimpled surface in the synthetic leather, perhaps to disrupt the air molecules and create better aerodynamics or maybe just to give it a cool appearance—either way, they enhance performance. The smooth interior wraps the foot effectively, making it both secure and comfortably positioned over the spikeplate to transfer power down the track. The sum of these parts is a successful platform for fast sprinting. NEW Sizes men 7–12,13 Weight 6.7 oz (w/spikes, men’s 11) Spikes 8, replaceable Upper mesh, synthetic suede overlays Innersole sheet EVA Midsole full-length CM-EVA Outersole full-length Pebax Recommended for 100–400m, on synthetic surfaces

Saucony Endorphin LD3 $90 Each version of the Endorphin series has delivered on its promise of high performance. The LD3 anchors the line, shaving valuable weight, as well as providing effective traction and cushioning, while securing the foot over the spikeplate. The upper has pared back all but a thin skin to secure the foot. The combination of engineered mesh, welded film overlays and synthetic suede make for a very light, but secure upper that provides a very comfortable fit. The previous spikeplate was a full-length, 4-spike plate; it’s now redesigned to a minimal, multifingered plate under the forefoot with a small sharkskin heel insert. The midsole is a molded, cushion-y layer of responsive EVA that’s well suited to the firm synthetic tracks of the major track & field venues. UPDATED Sizes men 7–13,14; women 5–11,12 Weight 3.6 oz (w/spikes, men’s 11); 3.1 oz. (w/spikes, women’s 8) Spikes 4, replaceable Upper mesh, synthetic suede, welded synthetic overlays Innersole sheet EVA Midsole CM-EVA Outersole Pebax spikeplate, sharkskin heel insert Recommended for 800–5000m or longer, on synthetic surfaces CREGG WEINMANN is footwear and running products reviewer for Running Network LLC. He can be reached via e-mail at shuz2run@lightspeed.net. Copyright © 2012 by Running Network LLC. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be stored, copied, or reprinted without prior written permission of Running Network LLC. Reprinted here with permission.

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