The Sequence is a consistent platform for everyday use and high mileage. Our testers found it felt relatively light on their feet, and the comfort of its somewhat firm midsole and the 3D ForMotion wasn’t compromised-even late in a run or after numerous training sessions. The upper felt durable and the fit is flexible enough to accommodate odd-shaped feet; the women’s-specific features of a larger forefoot platform and added flex grooves for a woman’s gait cycle are also nice touches for this dynamic yet supportive shoe. The Sequence was cushioned, in a performance sort of way, and the flow from heel to toe felt seamless to our testers. We gave this shoe the highest of marks.
Asics GEL-Nimbus 11, $125 / asics.com
Asics is a brand that just gets it-and its time-tested Nimbus has earned a stellar reputation with a broad following of runners seeking plenty of cushioning. The newest version of the shoe, which appeals to both neutral runners and mild over-pronators alike, has a forefoot midsole injected with Solyte cushioning material. The stable, flexible and supportive Nimbus is specifically customized in the women’s model, including a lower density of Solyte to complement a woman’s foot. Our female testers commented on the Nimbus 11’s lighter and more streamlined feel, in comparison with the Nimbus 10. The newest iteration of the shoe features asymmetric lacing, memory foam in the tongue and is a bit lighter than prior versions, thanks in part to the removal of overlays across the toe box.
Brooks Revenna, $100 / brooksrunning.com
*AWARD: Best New Shoe*
Brooks could have called this shoe “the Trick” because of the slight-of-foot required to pack so much into a lightweight package. The Revenna is bursting with comfort, support and a fit that had our testers pleased with this go-to shoe for training and racing. Brooks gave the Revenna moderate motion control by kitting out the svelte shoe with a low-profile, cushioned and responsive midsole that features an injected plastic midfoot unit for torsional balance. The mesh upper includes microfiber construction as well as moisture management materials, and we found it quite comfortable for mid-volume feet, even though the Revenna ran like a racing flat.
Karhu Fast, $115 / karhu.com
Karhu offers another shoe in their performance line featuring their patented Fulcrum footstrike guidance system. The Fast is a neutral shoe for biomechanically sound runners, offering a low profile, responsive feel that was not enough for our testers who appreciated the lack of weight but wanted more forefoot cushioning and support, especially those with higher arches. Other, more competitive runners on the test team noted that it was smooth enough that the “transition from rear-foot to forefoot was seamless.” All found the colors and styling fun and pleasing to the eye.
K-Swiss Run One, $125 / kswiss.com
Why buy two shoes when one shoe with different inserts will satisfy your training needs? K-Swiss’ new Run One is a saver of closet space, thanks to the miSoul Tech interchangeable sole systems that allow you to toggle between a stability trainer and a lighter-weight, more neutral shoe. The plastic molded heel counter and injected urethane support cage gave the shoe rigid support, while the dual-density posting and midfoot plastic shank provided stability. Although our testers were unable to perceive a noticeable weight difference between the different inserts, and found that they altered the shoe’s internal volume by swapping out the insoles, we admired the ingenuity of the customizable system and look forward to K-Swiss’ next novel take on running footwear.
New Balance 1225, $140 / newbalance.com
The 1225 was a big hit among those of the test team who appreciate stability in a cushioned, relatively lightweight and responsive shoe. The 1225 improves on the 1224 with the help of NB’s N-ergy responsive cushioning compound and Stabilicore medial support system to smooth out the heel-to-toe motion with what our testers found to be an unobtrusive level of pronation control in their gait cycle. That, of course, was not the way most testers expressed it. Rather, they smiled and said things like “fluid” or “I didn’t notice these and that is a very good thing.” The 1225 also features a bevy of cushioning, moisture management, structure, comfort and security technologies in a streamlined fit that comes in on the narrow side in the heel, although it is available in a variety of widths so as to accommodate a full range of foot sizes and shapes.
Nike LunarGlide+, $100 / nike.com
Nike likes to push the innovation envelope. You’ve seen it with Waffle, Air and Free and now you see it with a new adaptive midsole system called Dynamic Support, as delivered in the LunarGlide. The system adapts to your gait with each step, supplying you with cushioning and stability, but only as you need it. Thanks to the dynamic properties of the LunarLite foam core, a cushioning material that provides energy return embedded in a firmer foam carriage, the LunarGlide bridges the gap that separates cushioning from stability. The positioning of the medial side midsole is angled to create a deeper cushion in the lateral side, creating a rear-foot and gender-specific wedge that is contoured into a firmer foam carriage to provide stability only if needed. Thus, as our testers affirmed, those who need more motion control get it courtesy of the shoe’s on-the-fly adaptation. A neutral runner who tires late in a run is likely to pronate more and, correspondingly, will get more support from the LunarGlide+. To top off this flyweight shoe, Nike uses its Flywire threads in the seamless upper to keep the LunarGlide+ at its minimalist heft.
Reebok Premier Aztrek, $80 / reebok.com
*AWARD: Best Value*
Somewhere between a training shoe and a racing flat prances the Aztrek, with a lightweight pillowy performance. Although the Aztrek weighs so little, it still packs a big sandwich of cushioning elements in the midsole as well as a transitional bridge for stability and fluid heel-to-toe motion. If you want a tempo shoe, whether for high-speed training or racing, our test team put this one through the ringer to confirm that it can take a pounding. The Aztrek is a one-stop shop… and quite the bargain, too.
Saucony ProGrid Triumph 6, $125 / saucony.com
Building on its award-winning predecessor, the Triumph 6 boasts a more responsive and cushioned EVA midsole and a cushioned, wicking antimicrobial sockliner in the performance shoe of choice for runners who want a neutral, flexible, comfortable trainer. For performance, the Triumph still offers favorite midsole features of full-length ProGrid, EVA and impact-transitioning technologies. The combination of blown and more durable rubbers in the outsole will withstand miles of easy running on these “thumbs-up” shoes that our testers enjoyed because they “just didn’t notice” them, allowing them to “focus on more important things, like running.”
Under Armour Revenant, $120 / underarmour.com
With improved midsole foam, the Revenant received rave reviews from our testers. They applauded the snug fit and amount of arch support of the flexible yet protective and stable trainer. The well-orchestrated blend of support, mild motion control and cushioning was impressive-thanks to medial posting and a midsole suspension system. The plastic-framed midsole materials offered plenty of cushioning and kept our bigger testers happy, thanks to impact-absorbing EVA, polyurethane gel and an additional cushioning compound. The internal sleeved upper was almost overdone to some testers, given the overlays, but overall they liked the hugging fit and one noted: “I enjoyed running in the Revenant because it made me feel light on my feet, yet with support and cushioning.”
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