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fall shoe review 09 OHIO2:Spring Shoe Review 09 8/2/09 11:08 PM Page ii

2009 FALL

SHOE REVIEW T

his fall, three major trends continue among running shoes: gender specificity, ever-lighter shoes, and incorporation of innovative solutions in shoe development. Gender-specific design is becoming a best practice with each brand adapting its technologies and design to make its shoes better suited to consumers. The old “Shrink It and Pink It” approach won’t cut it anymore. All consumers, but especially women, expect that shoes will cushion or flex appropriately for their size, weight, and gait. New materials that provide the same or better quality but weigh less are resulting in shoes lighter than their predecessors. New compounds and components continue to migrate from other industries and shoes will improve as a result. These materials also are more durable; in fact, fully a third of the Performance shoes in this Review can handle the rigors of daily training. Innovations and approaches to biomechanical challenges are raising the bar for the industry as a whole. Some of these innovations have come from the automotive and aerospace industries, but more of the brands are finding opportunities and adaptations to refine their own technologies. This creative engineering and continual search for chemical solutions for all BEST RENOVATION FALL 2009 shoe components has resulted in more effective foot BEST RENOVATION 2009 protection andFALLimproved shoe performance. —Cregg Weinmann BEST NEW SHOE FALL 2009

BEST NEW SHOE FALL 2009

Award Winners BEST SHOE BEST RENOVATION FALL 2009

BEST SHOE Motion Pearl Izumi Cruise Stabilizing BEST SHOE Motion Best Stabilizing Shoe—Neutral

Neutral

BEST F A L SHOE L 2009 Neutral FA L

L 2009

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BEST F A L SHOE L 2009

FA L

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Neutral

Motion Stabilizing

FA L

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ASICS Gel-Pulse Nike Air Pegasus+ 26 Best Value (tie)

L 2009

Nike Lunar Glide Best New Shoe

BEST NEW SHOE FALL 2009

Saucony ProGrid Omni 8 Renovation Motion Stabilizing

BEST RENOVATION

BEST SHOE

FALL 2009

Neutral FA L

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, 920.563.5551, ext. 112, larry.eder@gmail.com Publisher: Larry Eder, 608.239.3785 Website: www.runningnetwork.com For a Media Kit, please visit our website.

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California Track & Running News www.caltrack.com Club Running www.rrca.org/clubrunning Coaching Athletics Quarterly www.coachingathleticsq.com Colorado Runner www.coloradorunnermag.com Get Active! www.getactivemagazine.com Greater Long Island Running Club’s Footnotes www.glirc.org Latinos Corriendo www.latinoscorriendo.com Michigan Runner www.michiganrunner.net Missouri Runner & Triathlete www.morunandtri.com New York Runner www.nyrrc.org 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

The Winged Foot www.nyac.org

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.

The Winged M www.themac.com Youth Runner www.youthrunner.com

FALL 2009

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Austin Runner www.austinrunner.com

Copyright © 2009 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.

BEST NEW SHOE

Performance

Athletics (Canada) www.otfa.ca

USATF/New England’s Exchange Zone www.usatfne.org

L 2009

BEST SHOE

Athletes Only www.atf-athlete.com

This 2009 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.

BEST SHOE Best FA L

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Larry Eder President, Running Network LLC

American Track & Field www.american-trackandfield.com

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Performance FALL 2009 Neutral

Performance

t’s the last weekend in July, on a Sunday night at about midnight. I’ve spent the last few days meeting with athletes, coaches, fans, and agents at one of the largest athletic meets in the world, the Aviva London Grand Prix. On Friday, I witnessed Usain Bolt run a 9.91 for 100 meters into a 1.7 meters-per-second headwind! The crowd of 16,000 went absolutely nuts. On Saturday, Tyson Gay ran 20.0 seconds for 200 meters despite a sore groin and after two weeks of not running. Later that day, Bernard Lagat lead 11 men under 4 minutes in the Emsley Carr Mile, one of the most famous mile races in the world, dating back to 1953. Afterwards, Lagat stood in front of the crowd and said, “I have wanted to win the Emsley Carr race for several years, but most importantly, I wanted to thank the fans. Without you, we, the athletes, could not do what we do.” Whether at track meets, marathons, or road races, we all celebrate our ability to run, jump, and throw. You may remember an ad from a few years ago that claimed, “It’s all about the shoes.” I’m not certain it’s all about the shoes, but it’s certainly a lot about the shoes. We each need to find a shoe that works for us and our particular event. And now more than ever, your specific biomechanics need to align with the specifics of a particular shoe. For the past decade, the Running Network LLC has called on its footwear reviewer, Cregg Weinmann, to test, evaluate, and review the latest shoes on the market so that we can provide you with this Shoe Review. We believe it’s an important starting point on your journey to find your best running shoe. And after you’ve had a chance to read Cregg’s reviews, head on over to your favorite local running store to try them out. As one of the 750,000-plus readers of a Running Network member publication, we thank you for reading this Review and we echo Lagat’s sentiments: We couldn’t do our work without your support.

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Brooks Trance 9 Best Shoe—Motion Stabilizing

BEST VALUE BEST RENOVATION BEST SHOE FALL 2009

BEST SHOE

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LL 200 Performance Neutral

Performance FA L

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adidas adiZero Aegis BEST SHOE Performance BestBEST Shoe—Performance Neutral SHOE

BEST NEW SHOE FALL 2009

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Welcome to the Running Network’s 2009 Fall Shoe Review!

Running Network LLC Partners

Neutral—ii | Motion Stabilizing—iii | Performance—iv

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NEUTRAL

ASICS Gel-Nimbus 11

$125

Puma Complete Velosis

With a well-deserved reputation for consistent performance, protection, and quality, the Nimbus 11 keeps the edgy aspects of the Nimbus 10 while integrating some new strengths. The upper features asymmetrical lacing (though it has been altered from last season’s version), subtly providing the same contoured fit without overlays to irritate the foot. The midsole has a lower profile, the heel cradle and large Gel units provide excellent cushioning, and the transition is smooth thanks to the well-spaced segmentation of the heel. The forefoot flex grooves have slightly wider spacing to improve the toe-off. The similarities are a story here, as well, as the responsive ride and great protection have been preserved and for that, we’re sure the fans of comfort and outstanding cushioning thank ASICS. “Every time I put them on, I felt the familar feel of a quality running shoe! Comfortable cushion, I like the cushion. Good feel in weight, not really light but very comfortable for training. I have been so impressed with the shoe that I am thinking of using them for Rock ‘n’ Roll this weekend.”

SOFT Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to very mild overpronation • Sizes: Men 6–14,15,16 (D); 7–14,15,16 (2E,4E); Women 5–13 (B); 6–13 (AA,D) • Weight: Men 13.5 oz. (size 11); Women 11.2 oz. (size 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, Solyte Strobel board (heel)

ASICS Gel-Pulse

$85

As the entry-end of a line that culminates in the Nimbus and Cumulus, the new Pulse has a lot to live up to. The SpEVA midsole demonstrates that there’s plenty of life left in this proven elastomer, and in the Pulse it’s ably assisted by a generous Gel pad, a combination that provides effective and responsive cushioning. The upper is wide open, breathable airmesh that has a comfortable, if not plush feel, and it’s roomy and flexible. The outersole is standard carbon rubber in the high-wear areas, blown rubber in the forefoot, with well-placed flex grooves to keep the ride smooth. The performance and very reasonable price of the Gel-Pulse earned it a tie for our Best Value award.

$120

The Velosis is the first of two new models that lead Puma shoes in a new direction. Well, maybe not entirely new. Perhaps it’s more of a return to the original Complete series shoes. Built on a new comfort last, the shoes put a Puma spin on many of the industry’s best practices. The upper is breathable airmesh with a plush, but snug fit that runs about a half-size shorter than most shoes. The ankle and heel fit is enhanced by a memory foam collar and an external TPU heel counter. The midsole is cushy—partly due to the ld Cell Strobel board and Ortholite innersole—but it’s still fairly responsive. The outersole has well-placed flex grooves arranged in a radial pattern making the transition through the gait very smooth.

BEST VALUE FALL 2009

“Very comfortable to run in. Well padded everywhere; by far one of the more comfortable pairs of shoes I’ve had. Puma did something right when it came to the cushioning. I like the overall look and fit of the shoe.” Recommended for: medium to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to very mild overpronation • Sizes: Men 6.5–14; Women 3.5–10.5 (sizing runs about a 1/2-size short) • Weight: Men 13.8 oz. (size 11); Women 11.6 oz. (size 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, ld Cell Strobel board (heel), second density (forefoot)

“A great-fitting trainer. There are so many shoes that I have to be careful how I tie to make sure they feel good for longer runs. These feel comfy every time. The cushioning is good; the midsole compound is responsive. Just a little lighter than the average trainer. Overall, a very good shoe. Holds up well to day-after-day training.”

SOFT Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to very mild overpronation • Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15,16; Women 5–13 • Weight: Men 12.5 oz. (size 11); Women 10.1 oz. • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board

New Balance 758

$90

The 750 series continues to offer good performance at a reasonable price. The 758 follows the weight-savings trend by switching to the N-ergy elements in the new crashpad and changing from polyurethane to Abzorb innersoles. The midsole now feels more resilient and has a snappier response. The outersole has a sleeker heel, a better supported shank, and additional blown rubber in the forefoot, which add up to a smoother transition. The upper has the supportive feeling of an extended saddle since overlays have been added between the N-lock webbing and the metatarsals—the security is noticeable. Without veering too far from its lineage, the 758 is a significant overall improvement over the 757. “Actually fit okay, but the arch was not quite in the right spot. Cushioning was quite good, and they were fairly stable for a cushioned shoe. A good shoe, which surprised me since New Balance has not been quite right for me in the past. I may have to rethink things.”

SOFT Reebok Premier Verona KFS II

SOFT

Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to very mild overpronation • Sizes: Men 6–13,14,15 (B,D,2E); Women 5–12,13 (AA,B,D) • Weight: Men 11.9 oz. (size 11); Women 9.9 oz. (size 8) • Shape: semicurved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, Abzorb Strobel board

BEST Nike Air Pegasus+ 26

$85

BEST VALUE

Updating the silver anniversary edition of the Pegasus was approached with care. The midsole and outersole have been retained intact. The resilient and protective cushioning provided by Cushlon and encapsulated Air has been little heralded, but we think it’s about as good a system as you’ll find. The ride is smooth and the cushioning is very good—fine-tuned between cushy and responsive. The upper sports a few changes, mostly shaving a bit off the overlays here and there, but somehow they found a way to reduce the weight of the shoe by more than 2%. The fit is unaffected; it’s still secure and effective with good toe room. Maintaining the price, along with its performance and quality, earned the Air Pegasus+ 26 a tie for our Best Value award.

FALL 2009

“Overall, a good training shoe that feels good on and good, as well. Pretty good cushion. Not really BEST NEW looks SHOE

“I found the fit was secure and comfortable. The cushioning was almost bouncy and seems very durable. With over 100 miles in them, they are still very comfortable. They have a light and bouncy feel to them. I have been very happy with them.” Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to very mild overpronation • Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15 (D,4E); Women 5–12 • Weight: Men 12.3 oz. (size 11); Women 10.3 oz. (size 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board

Pearl Izumi Cruise

squishy, but absorbs shock well.” FALL 2009 Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to very mild overpronation • Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15; Women 6–11 • Weight: Men 13.7 oz. (size 11); Women 11.4 oz. (size 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, DMX Foam Strobel board

SOFT

$110

The Pearl Izumi running line has been missing a high-mileage, neutral trainer. Not anymore. Meet the new Cruise. The upper has a distinctive sublimated graphic and features the seamless construction that contributes to the unique feel of Pearl Izumi’s shoes. The midfoot gets good support from the webbing structure that extends from the eyelets into the midsole and the forefoot leaves room for the toes without feeling too loose. The midsole cushions effectively thanks to the solid Skydex hemispheres in the heel and the Skydex bag in the forefoot. The outersole features carbon rubber in the heel and high-wear areas of the forefoot and surrounds blown rubber inserts in the forefoot to add to the cushioning. The smooth ride, protective cushioning, and accommodating fit earned the Cruise our top honors in the Neutral category. “They fit well, the lacing is different, but I liked the fit. They have a light sensation, even though they are pretty average weight for a trainer. The cushioning in the heel was really good, and the flexibility in the forefoot makes them roll well. I was surprised by how well they did for me.”

$95

The Premier Verona KFS II looks sleeker than round one, but the improvements are more than skin deep. The upper features a stretchy airmesh not unlike the previous version, but the Kinetic Fit panel allows a better fit across the metatarsals, and the midfoot has better support from the Vector stripes. The midsole is responsive and has a lower profile. The crashpad is softer, as well as more effective, thanks to its articulation. The shank has been redesigned—it looks lighter and thinner RENOVATION though we can’t measure it to be certain—and now FALL 2009 incorporates a strip of the outersole to lend some of the support. The flex grooves are more pronounced and the toespring makes the transition fairly energetic, which was applauded by some of our weartesters. Runners looking for responsive cushioning and an accommodating fit should be sure to try on a pair.

SOFT

Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to very mild overpronation • Sizes: Men 7–13,14; Women 5–11,12 • Weight: Men 13.3 oz. (size 11); Women 11.1 oz. (size 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board

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MOTION STABILIZING

adidas Supernova Sequence 2

BEST RENOVATION

$100

ASICS Gel-Evolution 5

FALL 2009

The Supernova Sequence 2 keeps its focus on fit, cushioning, and stability, with minor adjustments to dial-in the performance. The upper shifts to a breathable, but more closely woven mesh with softer overlays in the toe, a stretchy “bunion window” in the women’s version, and more pliable tongue padding. The chassis is virtually unchanged with only the slightest lengthening of the medial Pro-Moderator support—a change that isn’t enough to alter the ride for most and might be an improvement for a few. With its stable, cushioned ride, the Supernova Sequence 2 is a quality high-mileage trainer. “Surprisingly fast for such a well-cushioned trainer. Excelled in cushioning especially—on the highest level. Superbly smooth transfer of weight and energy from heel-strike to toe push-off. Good enough for road racing.” and “Great, snug fit, but still room for toes to wiggle. Good cushion, but not a lot of bounce. Good, but not overwhelming stability; not as stiff as the earlier version.”

BEST NEW SHOE FALL 2009

Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with mild to moderate overpronation • Sizes: Men 6.5–13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20; Women 5–12 • Weight: Men 12.7 oz. (size 11); Women 11.1 oz. (size 8) • Shape: semicurved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, adiPrene Strobel board

Brooks Trance 9

MODERATE

$140

The Trance 9 telegraphs change. Up top, the fit is closer, the prominent saddle has been reduced to improve flexibility, and new overlays provide support without restriction. The midsole and outersole feature more pronounced segmenting of the lateral pods that improve flexibility and contribute to an overall weight reduction of 6%. The durable and responsive BioMoGo foam has proven that sustainability and performance are not incompatible. The well-cushioned ride provides supportive protection with a bit more responsiveness. A completely reworked Progressive Diagonal Rollbar, Brooks’ effective multi-density medial sidewall, improves stability. Enhanced cushioning, stability, and improved performance garnered the Brooks Trance 9 our award as the best shoe in the Motion Stabilizing category.

BEST SHOE

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“The shoe fit well. There are no pressure points and no loose or sloppy areas that allow excess movement. These shoes continue to maintain their soft pillowy feel when first putting them on. From heel-strike, to load, and through the pushoff, I feel secure in this shoe.”

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Recommended for: low- to medium–high-arched feet with moderate to maximum overpronation • Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15,16,17 (D,2E); 8–13,14,15,16,17 (4E); Women 6–13 (B,D) • Weight: Men 14.4 oz. (size 11); Women 11.8 oz. (size 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, Solyte Strobel board (heel)

“The fit is snug. I haven’t developed any blisters or hot spots so far while running. The cushion is great, it’s bouncy and I don’t feel any sinking, squishy feelings. They have good stability and feel as if the shoes are part of your feet. They held up well and felt great.” Recommended for: low- to medium-arched feet with mild to moderate overpronation • Sizes: Men 8–13,14,15; Women 6–11,12 • Weight: Men 11.9 oz. (size 11); Women 9.9 oz. (size 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, S257 Strobel board

BEST SHOE

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Performance

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Mizuno Wave Alchemy 9

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L 2009

$110

The Wave Alchemy continues to provide reliable support, cushioning, and stability. The size of the stretchy Dynamic Fit insert has been increased to effectively follow the foot’s movements. Improved stretch in the breathable open forefoot mesh better accommodates the metatarsals and an Ortholite innersole adds an extra layer of cushioning. A synthetic leather strap shores up the rearfoot while allowing an overall reduction in overlays. The midsole has a lower-profile look and feel to it, along with a more pronounced toespring. The reconfigured outersole also amps up the performance, especially in the women’s model, by improving flexibility. The Wave plate is the more stable asymmetrical configuration which does an excellent job of providing a solid rearfoot feel. By deftly straddling stability and cushioning, the Wave Alchemy continues to exemplify versatility.

MAXIMUM New Balance 1225

“Good comfortable fit; better in the heel. Nice amount of cushioning, the spongy insole adds quite a bit to the feel. The stability really keeps the foot lined up well, but it feels a bit hard in the heel. They did well for me overall; a good improvement over last year’s shoe.” Recommended for: low- to medium-arched feet with moderate overpronation • Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15,16 (D,2E); Women 6–12 (AA,B) • Weight: Men 12.9 oz. (size 11); Women 11.0 oz. (size 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted

Saucony ProGrid Omni 8

$110

BEST RENOVATION FALL 2009

“I really love the fit; snug around the arch and ankle with plenty of toe space. Great cushioning. They’re bouncy and feel great! I felt plenty of stability, and they had good traction whether running on trails or pavement. Especially comfortable and well-fitting from the first run.”

“Great comfortable fit, no pressure on my bunion. Good support, good stability, but also quite cushy. Got me through training for the San Francisco Marathon very solidly. I was quite satisfied with the upgraded feel, and think it is better than the previous version, which I also liked.” Recommended for: low- to medium-arched feet with mild to moderate overpronation • Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15; Women 5–12 • Weight: Men 12.9 oz. (size 11); Women 11.0 oz. (size 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, HRC Strobel board

BEST NEW SHOE

MODERATE

Recommended for: low- to medium-arched feet with moderate to maximum overpronation • Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15,16 (B,D,2E,4E); Women 6–12,13 (AA,B,D) • Weight: Men 13.7 oz. (size 11); Women 11.6 oz. (size 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, Abzorb Strobel board

FALL 2009

$120

Somnio is a new brand that customizes the fit and function of its three models (Stability, Neutral, and Motion Control) with 12 interchangeable parts to match your foot shape and biomechanics. The Exact Change is its moderate motion-stabilizing model built on a semi-curved last. The upper is airmesh in the forefoot with tight mesh and overlays in the rearfoot. The dual-density CM-EVA midsole features chambers in the medial forefoot and lateral heel that can be filled with one of three densities of foam. The FEAT (Functionally Engineered Adaptable Tricomponent) system does its best work inside the shoe with three innersole choices that allow you to select more or less volume and cushion. Overpronation can be offset by choosing from three thicknesses of Varus wedges. Authorized running dealers (www.somniorunning.com/about-the-shoes/dealer-locator/) can measure and set up a runner in 5 to 10 minutes. So, how do the shoes run? Think high-quality training shoes adapted to you. “Adaptable system made the fitting better than any shoe I’ve used. Was able to adapt the shoe to my foot—just right on the cushioning—instead of my foot to the shoe. Same with stability: a little was built in, the rest was up to me. Performed as well as any of my recent shoes.”

$140

The 1225 features small but important fit changes. The medial forefoot has improved metatarsal shaping and the top lace eyelets now cinch down at a more comfortable angle to improve security and work effectively with the N-lock system to provide a better volume fit. The DTS crashpad is upgraded to N-ergy and the TS2 variable-density sidewall has been replaced by Stabilicore, a thermoplastic component that reduces overpronation as well as weight. In fact, this shoe is almost 4% lighter, a big change in a maximum motion-stabilizing shoe. The ride is more dynamic now that the elements interact better with your foot motion. Runners looking for support and stability will be pleased with the responsive ride and quality feel of the 1225.

MODERATE

This update keeps the classic Saucony fit going for runners who need stability. The upper has the open airmesh of the Omni 7 but fewer obstructions over the toes, better ventilation, and reduced overlays that are strategically positioned for effective support. The innersole is still made of cushy polyurethane, but it’s now perforated to breathe better and molded for improved fit and better cushioning. The midsole is functionally the same, though the medial second-density is topped with a softer layer of ProGrid which feels better against the plantar fascia. The reshaped and lightened shank still provides the necessary structure. The outersole looks different, but it’s the same effective combination of blown rubber in the forefoot and durable XT-900 carbon rubber in the heel. The overall feel, quality, and performance of the ProGrid Omni 8 earned it our Best Renovation award.

Somnio Exact Change

$120

The best of the ASICS motion-stabilizing shoes, the Gel-Evolution 5 has an unchanged dual-density Solyte midsole that provides good cushioning, heavy-duty stability, and durable, effective traction. The upper has received a bit of refining. The fit is improved by shaving off a few millimeters of PHF ankle foam and slightly extending the BioMorphic Fit panels to enhance the comfortable feel. Performance has been enhanced by a 2% reduction in the overall weight—not big numbers, but definitely a move in the right direction. The shoe feels better balanced thanks to an update in the Gel cushioning elements. Bottom line? Runners who expect ASICS’ best IGS performance will get comfortable fit, stability, and cushioning from the Evolution 5.

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MAXIMUM

Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with mild to moderate overpronation • Sizes: Men 7–13,14; Women 5–11,12 • Weight: Men 13.6 oz. (size 11); Women 11.5 oz. (size 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted

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FALL 2009

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BEST SHOE

adidas adiZero Aegis

“Great fit, roomy toe box, snug heel. Fairly neutral feeling...no wobble, good stability for something so light. Durable, no observable signs of wear at 75–100 miles. These are fast, light, awesome.” Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to very mild overpronation, for faster-paced running • Sizes: Men 6.5–13,14,15; Women 5–12 • Weight: Men 10.3 oz. (size 11); Women 9.5 oz. (size 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted

Brooks Launch

Motion Stabilizing

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$110

The Aegis splits the difference between a racer and a trainer. Stability and running efficiency have been improved with a new very low-profile midsole. The upper is a thin airmesh with synthetic overlays providing support. The tongue is open only on the lateral side, with a webbing loop at the top of the medial side and an elastic band inside to secure the foot; the logo stripes provide additional support. The very low-profile midsole has a particularly responsive feel to it, and the ForMotion cassette and flat contour of the sole make for a noticeably smooth transition. Consider easing into the Aegis with shorter, periodic runs. The improved fitness and efficiency that develop as your muscles adapt make this small (and temporary) accommodation worthwhile. Its fit, light weight, and ride earned the adidas adiZero Aegis top honors as our best shoe in the Performance category.

$90

The Launch is Brooks’ new speed shoe and that’s clear right from the get-go. A thin, light airmesh is particularly well vented in the forefoot. The midsole is BioMoGo with Hydroflow in the heel and offers a nicely cushioned, flexible ride. For the über-efficient runner, the low-profile Launch may be used as a cushy daily trainer. Whether you race or train in it, nearly all neutral-footed runners will recognize its fast feeling. The outersole is durable HPR, Brooks’ carbon rubber formulation, with enough blown rubber in the forefoot to offer a bit more cushioning than is typical in a speed shoe. Runners looking for a fast, versatile, neutral shoe should consider the Launch. “Great shoes! I like them light, and these were light and well cushioned. They are perfect for the track or tempo runs. I wore them for a half marathon and plan on using them for long races.”

BEST SHOE PERFORMANCE

Neutral

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Nike Lunar Glide

BEST SHOE Performance FA L

L 2009

$100

This may be Nike’s most versatile shoe yet. The key to the Lunar shoes is the very resilient Lunar Lite foam which requires supportive containment in a firm Phylite shell. The newPerformance idea? Reshape the shell and the foam to work with the biomechanics Neutral of the foot. Basically, the firmer shell is thicker medial side to curb overF A L on0 0the 2 is9thicker on the lateral side to pronation, while the Linlay cushion heelstrike and allow for lateral release. The upper is plush, breathable mesh with a saddle of Flywire and a premolded, external heel counter. The two-part midsole works for all runners whether they overpronate or not. Its flexibility and weight make the shoe ideal for faster running, but its stability and cushioning make it great for high mileage. Its resourceful approach, use of materials, adaptability, and reasonable price earned the Lunar Glide our Best New Shoe award.

BEST SHOE

“Super comfortable; snug fit; very smooth ride. Don’t ‘sink’ into cushion; good balance between feel of road and cushioning. Not crazy about how they pick up gravel: on one run 7 pieces got stuck in the grooves. Couldn’t really feel them through the cushion, though.”

BEST RENOVATION Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neu2009 for faster-paced tral biomechanics to moderate overpronation,FALL running and everyday training • Sizes: Men 6–13,14,15; Women 5–12 • Weight: Men 11.7 oz. (size 11); Women 9.6 oz. (size 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board

Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to very mild overpronation, for faster-paced running • Sizes: Men 8–13,14,15; Women 6–11,12 • Weight: Men 10.2 oz. (size 11); Women 8.3 oz. (size 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, S257 Strobel board

BEST NEW SHOE Brooks Ravenna

$100

FALL 2009

The Ravenna is a new shoe from Brooks, but many will see a strong resemblance to its grandfather, the Axiom. The upper is airmesh with sparse overlays. A pair of elasticized eyelets across the instep improve the shoe’s ability to move as the foot moves. The interior has a smooth, comfortable feel. The BioMoGo midsole has a low but not a super-low profile, and features a small but effective second-density through the arch to provide support. True to its heritage, the Ravenna is stable, responsive, and light. Though not designed as a racer, we think it can be an excellent choice for longer races and is definitely suited to faster training. Many runners will find that it meets their daily running needs. “Fit well, close and tightly around the middle of my foot (which I prefer). Well cushioned with decent stability, pretty light for this much shoe. Versatile enough for daily training even speedwork, like it says on the heel: a go-to shoe.” Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to mild overpronation, for faster-paced running and everyday training • Sizes: Men 8–13,14,15; Women 6–12 • Weight: Men 11.3 oz. (size 11); Women 9.6 oz. (size 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, S257 Strobel board

Mizuno Wave Precision 10

BEST SHOE

Neutral

Motion Stabilizing

FA L

FA L

L 2009

L 2009

$95

When updating the award-winning Precision 9, the Precision 10 kept what worked in the mid- and outersole, while improving comfort and support up top. Retained are the plush interior of the heel and tongue. The airmesh is functionally the same, but the overlays have been consolidated, the Runbird logo is larger and takes on more supportive duties, and is now repositioned below the Dynamotion insert for a better fit. Down under, the midsole and outersole are indistinguishable from the Precision 9 and that’s a good thing, as it continues to provide a great blend of responsive cushioning and protection. The Precision 10 will satisfy runners looking for a durable, lightweight, neutral shoe, and Precision fans have an even better shoe to look forward to. “With the roomy toe box, the cushion from heel to toe, and the flexible bee-hive (honeycomb), breathable fabric, these shoes kept my feet secure whether I was scrambling up a dirt hillside or pounding asphalt downhill. These have been my go-to shoes for any type of training.” Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics, for faster-paced running • Sizes: Men 7–13,14; Women 6–11 • Weight: Men 11.4 oz. (size 11); Women 9.5 oz. (size 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted

Newton Sir/Lady Isaac

BEST SHOE

$149

With the new Sir and Lady Isaac, Newton Running broadens the scope of its shoes by making the technology originally developed for forefoot strikers now available to heel strikers. This was done by modifying the Action/Reaction membrane so that it’s a little sturdier to accommodate the increased impact of heel strikers, and tapering the shape of the forefoot actuators just a bit. Carbon rubber has solved the durability issues of the forefoot outersole seen in previous models. The upper features the quality, stretchy airmesh used in other Newton shoes, with good support provided via the well-placed overlays. This has added a little weight, though they are still among the lightest training shoes available. The midsole is well cushioned EVA shaped to encourage rolling onto the toes for take-off. Now heel strikers have a tool to improve their gait’s efficiency. (Men’s pictured.) “Very comfortable fit, good room in the toes. Light shoe, but I wouldn’t say light like a racer. At first, I didn’t particularly enjoy running in this shoe, but the more I ran in it, the more I liked it and got used to the feel/ride of the shoe. Sometimes while running I felt as if the shoe helped with a quick turnover. Made me feel faster and as if I was helped being ‘moved along’ or ‘propelled forward.’ ” Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics, for faster-paced running • Sizes: Men 6–13,14,15; Women 5–11 • Weight: Men 11.3 oz. (size 11); Women 9.3 oz. (size 8) • Shape: semi-curved • Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board

iv | Running Network 2009 Fall Shoe Review

BEST SHOE

BEST SHOE

Performance

Performance Neutral

FA L

L 2009

FA L

L 2009


Running Network’s2009 Fall Shoe Review