Spring 2014 Running Shoe Buyer’s Guide

Photo: Scott Draper | Competitor

Brooks Transcend, $160

12.2 oz. (men’s); 10.1 oz. (women’s)

30mm (heel), 22mm (forefoot)

Fit: While the buzz of this shoe is mostly about the cushioning, it also offers a superlative fit. Wear-testers loved the secure heel, snug midfoot and spacious toe box.

Feel: With an extra-cushy footbed, tongue and interior, the Transcend oozes luxurious comfort from the moment you slip your foot inside. Brooks set out to create a shoe with the “ultimate float” feeling and our wear-testers considered it a mission accomplished. But it’s also a super stable shoe too, thanks to firm rubber guide rails that run the length of the shoe on each side of the foot. For a maximally cushioned shoe, it feels pretty low to the ground and provides a more responsive ride than some of our wear-testers were expecting.

Ride: With 25 percent more plush foam than any other Brooks shoe, there’s no question the Transcend serves up a cushy ride. While its considerable girth results in a lack of agility and reduced feel for the ground, it provides an exquisitely smooth ride from heel to toe that is also surprisingly stable. “It’s best of both worlds—a soft and sturdy ride,” said one wear-tester. Still, the rather stiff midsole takes some getting used to, and might be a turnoff for more nimble runners.

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