You know what you want from your running shoes: light weight, cushioning, support, and a comfortable fit. Of course, the most important part of any shoe is your experience over the hundreds of miles you’ll take it on. To help you find your next great pair, and to get a sense of how updates to your favorite road or trail shoe may change how it fits or performs, we review hundreds of men’s and women’s shoes each year. Scroll farther for longer reviews of our 25 top picks, a look at how we test and select these models, and helpful buying tips and insight from our gear experts.

How We Test Shoes

Runner’s World has the most comprehensive shoe testing process in the industry. We work with more than 350 local runners of all abilities, ages, and sizes for real-world wear-testing on paved roads, dirt paths, and rocky singletrack. After a month of running more than 100 miles in their respective pairs, our testers report back their findings on features like fit, comfort, performance, and ride. While they’re putting miles on the shoes, the same models undergo a battery of mechanical tests in our RW Shoe Lab, where we objectively measure each shoe’s cushioning, flexibility, sole thickness, and weight. Our test editors combine their own experience in the shoes with data from the lab and feedback from our wear testers to create reliable, useful reviews of every pair we run in.

Footwear, Shoe, Hiking equipment, Shelf, Room, Collection, Athletic shoe, Skate shoe, Closet,
In addition to running hundreds of miles in each test model, we measure shoes in our lab and cut them apart to see how they’re constructed.
Trevor Raab

Does a Shoe’s Cushioning Matter?

Some runners care a lot about weight, and research shows that you expend more aerobic energy with heavier shoes. Lighter shoes typically have less cushioning, which can make them feel faster, but new midsole foams now make a plush ride possible without adding much heft to the shoe. If you’re going long distances, some extra cushioning might be a better option, as it provides impact absorption.

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To test softness, we go to our Shoe Lab to take individual measurements of both the heel and forefoot, since the overall experience can vary based on where a runner touches down and toes off. The cushioning scores are given on a scale of 1 to 100, with one being the firmest. (A harder-feeling shoe won’t necessarily lack cushioning, and according to some biomechanical research, a midsole that’s too soft can actually increase peak impact forces.) In addition to those key stats, we also look at the shoe’s stability features, flexibility, and energy return to help you find one you’ll love.

brooks glycerin 19
DNA Loft is Brooks’s softest cushioning.
Lakota Gambill
adidas ultraboost 21
Adidas’s Boost foam keeps its bounce no matter how cold it is outside.
Lakota Gambill

What Does “Drop” Mean?

A shoe’s drop—sometimes referred to as offset—is the difference between the heel and the forefoot measurements, or how much your toes “drop” below your heel. It’s important because a higher drop can lead to more heel striking and also transfers some strain away from the lower leg and up toward the knee. Conversely, a lower offset will shift that load farther down the chain of motion during your gait cycle to the calf and the Achilles. Neither option is necessarily better than the other; when deciding on a shoe’s drop, choose what feels most natural and comfortable to you, taking into account your personal running mechanics and injury history. Many shoes have a drop between 8 and 12mm, but some shoes have less than 6mm. A few based on minimalist designs have no drop.

altra rivera
Altra’s Rivera has an equal heel and forefoot stack height, which translates to zero-drop.
Lakota Gambill
brooks trace
In contrast, Brooks’s Trace has a 12mm heel-to-toe drop.
Lakota Gambill

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adidas superstar first copy mumbai live score Mach 4

Mach 4
adidas superstar first copy mumbai live score
$130.00

Weight: 8.2 oz. (M), 6.8 oz. (W)
Drop: 5mm

After testing the Mach 4, runner-in-chief Dengate said that it is “the best Mach yet, and perhaps the best current Hoka.” It’s so good that he ran in nothing but the Mach for six weeks straight. Our other testers agreed. One declared that it was her new favorite cushioned road shoe. And another, a first-time Hoka wearer, said the shoe impressed her after a single run. We already loved the light weight and explosive rebound of the first three Machs. But Hoka went next level, adding design features borrowed from the Carbon X and Rocket X. In this way, the Mach 4 is like Saucony’s Endorphin Speed or the Brooks Hyperion Tempo—a dynamic training shoe that’s more versatile than the pure racers in each brand’s line. Don’t be shocked if you’re compelled to zoom while running in the Mach 4. It owes this giddyup to the responsive Profly foam and early-stage Meta-Rocker (a slightly curved sole shape) that feels like it catapults you forward. This shoe is generously cushioned without turning your run into a slog, so you can rock it for everything from easy jogs and recovery runs to an interval session on the track. The upper is woven with heat-pressed TPU embroidered yarns, and hugs your foot more securely than the Mach 3. balon adidas brazuca price philippines live news.—A.F.

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adidas store in ajman pakistan today news | New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v11

Fresh Foam 1080v11
New Balance zappos.com
$149.95

Weight: 9.1 oz. (M), 7.4 oz. (W)
Drop: 8mm

Last year’s 1080 earned NB an Editors’ Choice award, and this update was a hit with our test crew too. That’s because it’s almost identical to last year’s model. Perhaps the biggest change is v11’s knit upper, which has a stretchier forefoot that makes the shoe fit better for runners with wide feet. That change also makes the shoe a little more breathable. But a few wear-​testers noted that the upper creates extra pressure through the midfoot, making the shoe a little uncomfortable on long runs. The sole remains unchanged, except for a slight cosmetic tweak to the dot pattern on the sidewall. You still get the thick slab of Fresh Foam X, which boasts higher energy return and comfort than the classic Fresh Foam. On the run, it doesn’t feel overly soft or slow, which we like because that boosts the shoe’s versatility. Those small tweaks might make the new version a better option for some runners; if not, you can probably find last year’s equally good model at a deep discount.—J.D.

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Brooks Glycerin 19

Lakota Gambill
Glycerin 19
Brooks zappos.com
$149.95

Weight: 10.2 oz. (M), 9.0 oz. (W)
Drop: 10mm

In a past life, the Glycerin may have been relegated to recovery runs, but it’s gradually metamorphosed into an everyday, every-run workhorse. Proof lies in our most recent testing, when wear-testers raved about the 19’s versatility, donning the shoe for both long runs and speedier efforts. We found we were reaching for the Glycerin more often than the ever-popular (and award-winning) Brooks Ghost. The most appealing feature is the shoe’s DNA Loft midsole, which makes the trainer softer than earlier models without sacrificing energy return. The ride feels smooth and bouncy instead of squishy, as one might expect from Brooks’s most-cushioned shoe. Testers who were nursing injuries found the Glycerin’s cushioning supportive and helpful in rebuilding their base. But softness is not sequestered to the midsole alone; the bootie-like interior provides surrounding comfort. However, you might want to size up before making a commitment. The shoe felt quite snug, and testers reported a mix of minor discomforts, from a slightly cramped toebox to rubbing at the Achilles to a too-narrow midfoot that caused pins and needles. But nail the size and your feet will feel like they’re cradled in springy memory foam.—A.F.

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Asics EvoRide 2

Lakota Gambill
EvoRide 2
Asics amazon.com
$119.95

Weight: 8.3 oz. (M), 6.9 oz. (W)
Drop: 5mm

Looking for a shoe that gives you a snappy turnover for half marathons or tempo runs at 10K pace? The EvoRide 2 may be it, thanks to its FlyteFoam midsole and GuideSole geometry. Asics uses a lightweight and noticeably firm midsole foam, but it’s protective enough for lightweight runners at quick speeds. Testers appreciated that the foam feels consistent along its entire length—some shoes tend to be squishier under the heel or forefoot. “I immediately liked the amount of spring,” said one female tester who runs 30 miles per week at 7:45 pace. “It felt responsive with fast strides, not like a marshmallow that absorbed energy.” Some of that is attributable to the shoe’s GuideSole feature, which basically gives it an exaggerated round shape underfoot to help it roll more smoothly from heel to toe-off. (You’ll find the same extreme toe spring on the beefier MetaRide and GlideRide models, but the EvoRide is the fastest of the trio.) Those underfoot features are the same ones found on the debut version, but Asics improved the upper on this one. The most obvious fix is the tongue, which was ridiculously thick and plush a year ago. The update is just thick enough to reduce lace pressure and wraps comfortably over the top of your foot.—J.D.

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Adidas UltraBoost 21

Ultraboost 21 Shoes
adidas adidas.com
$180.00

Weight: 12.0 oz. (M), 10.9 oz. (W)
Drop: 10mm

Less than a decade ago, Adidas upended running shoes when it introduced Boost, launching today’s foam wars. In the years since, new compounds have delivered insane levels of comfort without the weight penalty of Boost. Adidas itself has moved on to other lightweight materials; Boost is steadily disappearing from its performance line. But the material retains all its plush glory in the UltraBoost. In fact, the 2021 version actually gets 20 percent more Boost than the original and 5 percent more than UB19. The shoe signals a commitment to performance running, and its new design departs from the silhouette that has been embraced for lifestyle and casual wear. Another big update is the company’s use of recycled materials. The Prime Blue upper is made from 92 percent recycled ocean plastic. Speaking of plastic, the darn cage is back for midfoot support, but, fear not, it isn’t really a bother. All of our testers praised the shoe’s soft, luxurious upper, which cradles your foot and secures it to that extra-thick sole. It’s a heavy shoe, no doubt, which means you’ll reserve this tank for easy jogs and recovery days.—J.D.

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Brooks Trace

Lakota Gambill
Trace
Brooks zappos.com
$99.95

Weight: 8.9 oz. (M), 7.9 oz. (W)
Drop: 12mm

Testing a new shoe like the Trace can be thrilling but also a little unsettling: You don’t know what you’re attaching to your body, how it will perform, and whether it will make you soar (or sore). Brooks made a bold move etching a “1” into the tag on the tongue—indicating there’s more to come—but this rookie is a top pick. For both minimalists who want a bit more cushioning and Ghost loyalists seeking a soft and speedy option like the Saucony Kinvara, the Trace delivers. The new model has adequate cushioning, enough flex at toe-off, a responsive midsole, and all-around comfort. There is ample wiggle room in the toebox, and our testers reported that the padded heel collar helped reduce blistering. One said that the shoe nicely cradled their foot. It’s also sufficiently durable. And several noted how it held up after strenuous workouts in tempestuous winter weather. Given the Trace’s price and solid performance, we’d love to see Brooks release a stability version with guide rails for runners who would benefit from this shoe but need a little more support; overpronators noticed just a bit more wear on the bottom of the heel. We expect that the Trace is here to stay, and have our fingers crossed as we hope for that stability follow-up.—A.F.

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MBT Huracan-3000

Lakota Gambill
Huracan-3000
MBT zappos.com
$159.96

Weight: 13 oz. (M), 9.5 oz. (W)
Drop: 11mm

Masai Barefoot Technology, or MBT, makes some of the most maximalist shoes. Sporting aggressive rockered soles, thick cushioning, and stack heights that dwarf Hoka’s, they’ll feel overbuilt to some runners. For seekers of the ultimate maximalist style, the Huracan is the Holy Grail. On MBT’s three-level system, it’s in the top tier, offering the most pronounced rocker sole; the “rocking” experience comes mainly from its middle two layers of foam. MBT scoops out the heel, creating a fulcrum that dovetails with a shock-dampening heel pad. The result is a cushioned landing that rolls the foot through toe-off for a uniquely supportive ride. Forefoot-, midfoot-, and heel-strikers all tested the shoe and found that their fondness for the rocker-bottom sole wasn’t connected to strike pattern or gait; it really came down to their personal preference. Regardless of where our testers landed, some found the shoe’s turnover “easy and natural,” while others felt they had to adjust their strides and work harder to engage the rocker.—M.P.

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Altra Rivera

Lakota Gambill
Rivera
Altra altrarunning.com
$130.00

Weight: 8.3 oz. (M), 6.7 oz. (W)
Drop: 0mm

This new shoe is ultralight and impressively soft without a thick midsole. It’s one you can use for workouts on the road and on the track. Replacing the Torin Mesh, the Rivera has the same 26mm stack height as that model, but Altra gave it a new, streamlined last that fits snugly around your foot while still preserving the brand’s signature wide toebox (read: no squished toes). “The seamless knit upper has no hot spots,” said one tester, “and there is ample lateral room in the toebox.” To keep weight down, Altra uses less outsole rubber, a design choice that also provides better ground feel. A springy Ego midsole boosts cushioning without adding bulk. This combination suits tempo runs; still, testers found that support wore down over time, especially on runs beyond 10 miles. One more thing to note: Ease in before upping the pace. Even though I have previous experience running in zero-drop shoes, the Rivera’s close ground feel required me to give extra attention to my footwork—one time I didn’t and tumbled in the first mile of a six-mile run. Testament to the Rivera’s appeal: I got back up to run those next five.—A.F.

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Diadora Mythos Blushield Volo

Mythos Blushield Volo
Diadora holabirdsports.com
$135.00

Weight: 10.5 oz. (M), 8.6 oz. (W)
Drop: 11mm

We say don’t buy running shoes based on looks, but it’s hard to deny the small joy of lacing up a stunner. With Italian styling and a nod to its artisan founders, Diadora fuses art and daily mileage. An earlier Mythos shoe, the Blushield Elite TRX, felt too cumbersome for running—a women’s size 7 weighed more than 10 ounces. The Volo weighs much less, thanks to a new nylon air mesh upper, and retains its Blushield cushioning, a gel-like midsole layer with a series of protruding nubs. That sits on top of a layer of standard EVA to create a ride that our testers found supportive but not especially plush or fast—ideal for daily training or recovery jogs. Given the shoe’s high drop and ample-yet-firm cushioning, one tester noted that the Volo felt similar to an early Brooks Ghost, though not quite as smooth. “But I was amazed,” she said. “The cushioning and shock absorption kept me coming back.”—M.P.

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New Balance Leratoadidas caflaire grey trainers for boys shoes

new balance lerato
Lakota Gambill

Weight: 11.5 oz. (M), 9.7 oz. (W)
Drop: 10mm
Available: June 1

Lerato is a Zulu word meaning “love.” None of our testers used that word to describe their time in this new shoe, but a few did mention “confusing,” which may be a more appropriate description. New Balance designed this trainer to let you run more often and feel less beaten up. It’s a noble goal that shoes like Nike’s Vaporfly Next% meet—you bounce back faster after hard workouts and races. But we didn’t quite experience that in the Lerato. This shoe isn’t speedy like that marathon racer, but it has some similarities, including a super-soft and bouncy midsole foam and a carbon-fiber plate that stiffens the forefoot. We found those two components were often at odds, however. The heel is luxuriously soft when you make contact with the road, but the stiff forefoot (combined with a lot of slappy rubber on the sole) makes for a jarring transition to your toes, especially if you’re a lightweight, faster runner. Larger testers who put more force into the shoe and those who reserved it for slower efforts found that the ride smooths out and remains comfortably cushioned for long efforts. All of our testers lauded the fit, thanks to a generously roomy toebox and snug, secure hold through the back half of the shoe.—J.D.

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FAST


Saucony Kinvara 12

Lakota Gambill
Kinvara 12
Saucony saucony.com
$110.00

Weight: 7.5 oz. (M), 6.5 oz. (W)
Drop: 4mm

The 12th version is a fantastic homecoming for the Kinvara. The 11 felt stiffer and heavier than its predecessor, and we got fairly strong “daily trainer” vibes from the super-plush tongue and thick upper. The 12, however, nudges the Kinvara back toward its racing roots. It’s a touch lighter and much more flexible, like the shoe’s early models, with a snug midfoot and new blend of Pwrrun foam. Saucony tweaked the foam’s mix of EVA and polymers to boost energy return, and while it doesn’t pack the punch of the brand’s Endorphin series, it does feel firmer and more responsive. A slim layer of softer TPU-based Pwrrun+ sits on top to keep the shoe comfy as a daily trainer—long runs included. That means it’s lightweight and speedy yet able to withstand a ton of miles. “All in all, the versatile cushioning has made the Kinvara my go-to shoe,” one tester said. “Whether I’m going short or long, going out for a leisurely run or for speedwork and hills, this shoe is game.” Just don’t look too long at the exposed foam outsole—it’s sufficiently grippy for dry road running, but gets dirty and looks worn after a few miles.—Test Editor Morgan Petruny

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Puma Deviate Nitro

Lakota Gambill
Deviate Nitro
Puma puma.com
$160.00

Weight: 9.3 oz. (M), 7.5 oz. (W)
Drop: 10mm

Behind the scenes, Puma has worked to re-establish itself as a manufacturer of serious running shoes. The Deviate Nitro is the first indication that the company is on the right track. Like just about every other brand, Puma wanted a shoe with a carbon-fiber plate to earn some cred. This is that shoe. It also has a lightweight, bouncy foam—it’s TPE, not the pricier, springier Pebax that some other brands use and which makes you really want to kick your heels to your butt. The foam is nitrogen-infused, however, giving it a responsive sensation underfoot, and it proved durable in our testing. Puma’s foam choice means the shoe doesn’t feel quite as fast as some of the latest top-end racing shoes, but at just $160, it’s an affordable, versatile option that you can use for training and racing. “These shoes blew me away,” gushed one tester. “I wore them for everything from a 9-minute-per-mile cruise to a 10K PR, and they felt fully capable doing both.” The one knock: Padding on both sides of the heel is a bit high and thick, which could create a little slippage for some runners.—J.D.

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adidas superstar first copy mumbai live score Carbon X2

Lakota Gambill
Carbon X2
adidas superstar first copy mumbai live score hokaoneone.com
$180.00

Weight: 8.4 oz. (M), 7.0 oz. (W)
Drop: 5mm

When we initially ran in it a year ago, the Carbon X had us going fast over mid- to long-distance runs. But after our wear-testers clocked hundreds of miles, we determined that midfoot-strikers got the most out of the shoe. A heel-to-toe roll propelled by the early-stage Meta-Rocker (Hoka’s construction of a slightly curved sole) felt quite aggressive to some testers, especially heel-​strikers. Those runners won’t feel left out with this update, though. A protruding heel, which is similar to Hoka’s TenNine (though not as massive), absorbs shock and provides stability for runners who touch down on the back of their foot. “If I raced a marathon or less, I’d go with the Saucony Endorphin Pro,” said a heel-​striking tester. “If I raced a 50K or more, I’d use the Carbon X2.” As a heel-striker and tester of the Endorphin Pro, I agree. As in the Endorphin Pro and Hoka’s other racing shoe, the Rocket X, a carbon-fiber plate in the midsole promotes quick and snappy transitions. The X2 feels hardy for longer mileage, as well as versatile enough for speed training. Our test team liked the refined upper—the reinforced lacing and engineered support zones made it feel
more secure.—Test Editor Amanda Furrer

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Asics MetaRacer Tokyo

Lakota Gambill
MetaRacer Tokyo
Asics
$199.99

Weight: 6.7 oz. (M), 5.5 oz. (W)
Drop: 9mm

Just when you thought Asics’s legacy was solely stalwart daily trainers, the brand surprises with the MetaRacer, its first carbon fiber-plated race shoe. This Tokyo model is a limited-edition release of the standard model and dons a crimson upper to celebrate the 2021 Olympics city, but the rest of the shoe is unchanged. It pairs a rocker-style midsole with an aggressive toe spring that’s designed to help reduce excess movement of the ankle, saving runners some energy. That, plus the carbon-fiber plate in the forefoot, help improve your efficiency—increasing your pace wasn’t Asics’s priority. So, when you’re digging for that second-half speed in a marathon, you’ll still have some gas left in the tank to negative split. It helps that the shoe is radically light as well, weighing about the same as the benchmark Nike Vaporfly. “Normally, Asics’s cushioning feels way too soft for me—but these were comfortable to go 26.2 miles without being too cushy,” one tester said. “And wow, I felt fast—like I was ready to put a big race on my calendar.”—Runner-in-Chief and Senior Test Editor Jeff Dengate

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Salomon S/Lab Phantasm

Lakota Gambill
S/Lab Phantasm
Salomon salomon.com
$180.00

Weight: 7.0 oz. (unisex)
Drop: 6mm

The S/Lab Phantasm received a lot of hype late in 2020 as Kilian Jornet attempted to break Yiannis Kouros’s ultra-stout 24-hour world record. It isn’t the first road-racing shoe from the company better known for its trail runners, but it is Salomon’s most minimal. Ultimately, Kilian missed the record, but you can’t fault the shoe. The featherweight design gives you just enough material to keep the S/Lab Phantasm stuck to your foot and going fast. One tester agreed that, even though there are lighter options out there, somehow this shoe feels like it weighs less. That lightweight design, however, makes the shoe better suited for shorter road races than marathons or ultras. The midsole is a thin slab of “Energy Surge” foam, which combines EVA with a copolymer compound that makes it more bouncy and softer than EVA alone. Even so, the Phantasm has a pretty harsh, if smooth-rolling, ride. And the single-layer mesh upper is so thin that I can look through the shoe and see details on my socks. Of course, it breathes well—you’ll be cold on winter runs—and that lack of structure means you need to make sure the shoe fits.—Video Producer Pat Heine

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STABLE


Asics Gel-Kayano Lite

Asics
Gel-Kayano Lite
Asics amazon.com
$159.95

Weight: 10.2 oz. (M), 8.6 oz. (W)
Drop: 10mm (M), 13mm (W)

The Kayano is a titan, lasting through 27 iterations. So you don’t mess with that name (or shoe) without some serious forethought. It delivers boatloads of cushioning and stability, but not every runner needs that level of protection. For those who want something less beefy, there’s the “Lite.” Unlike its namesake, the Lite uses just a single piece of midsole foam to provide cushioning and stability; the standard model has a dual-density post on the medial side plus a hard plastic Trusstic bridge in the midfoot. To help guide a pronating foot, Asics scallops the Lite’s lateral (outer) edge while bolstering the foam’s medial side. The design helps the sole compress on landing, and then provides extra resistance as you roll to midstance. Our wear-testers, including longtime Kayano wearers, felt the shoe delivered in both areas and felt faster underfoot. Even neutral runners like myself found the shoe less intrusive than a traditional post—I could feel a little extra pressure under my arch, but nothing that was irritating. We also like that the shoe retains some of the Kayano’s premium qualities like a soft tongue and collar, which dial up comfort for long runs.—J.D.

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Brooks Launch GTS 8

Launch GTS 8
Brooks zappos.com
$99.95

Weight: 8.8 oz. (M), 8.1 oz. (W)
Drop: 10mm

You’re not wrong if you thought “GTS” stood for “Go-To Shoe.” This year, Brooks is simplifying its naming convention by pairing stability shoes to its neutral siblings and tacking on GTS—now redefined as “Go-To Support.” The next Transcend and Bedlam, for example, have been named the Glycerin GTS and Levitate GTS. And, in the case of the Ravenna, it’s now being called the Launch GTS—a light stability shoe that’s speedy like the neutral Launch. Testers appreciated the comfortably firm cushioning and found Brooks’s holistic guide-rail system (firm foam along the medial and lateral sides of the heel serve as bumpers to align the knee and ankle) supportive. The most noticeable revamp—besides the name—is the new air mesh upper. Testers liked that it was light and breathable, yet some wished for a more traditional padded heel collar instead of the oddly shaped one here. “It felt to me that the heel collar was too high on my ankle,” said a tester, “and it rubbed my lateral ankle bone, causing discomfort.”—A.F.

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361 Degrees Strata 4

Lakota Gambill
361 Degrees Strata 4
$154.95 amazon.com

Weight: 11.0 oz. (M), 9.7 oz. (W)
Drop: 8mm

Now one of China’s top sportswear companies, 361 initially needed a hit to establish itself among American runners. The original Strata stability shoe delivered. Now in its fourth version, the shoe still uses an old-school medial post for support—even as other brands gravitate toward newer tech like guide rails. But there’s innovation here, too: Its midsole uses two foams underfoot: 361’s original EVA-based QuikFoam wrapped in polyurethane for durability, plus a newer QuikSpring+ formulation that feels a touch softer, bouncier, and lighter. On the upper, a redesigned tongue wraps the foot from the medial side with three stretchy nylon cables to personalize the midfoot fit. The foam and fit updates made a huge difference: Testers who found the Strata 3’s ride overwhelmingly stiff and the fit too narrow said the 4 feels smoother, yet just as supportive and durable. “I am a bigger runner with a strong heel strike,” said one tester. “I’ve had some trainers that are completely shot in the lateral heel after 150 miles, but these still look and feel fantastic.”—M.P.

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Saucony Guide 14

Lakota Gambill
Saucony Guide 14
$130.00 saucony.com

Weight: 10.5 oz. (M), 9.4 oz. (W)
Drop: 8mm

Saucony’s versatile stability shoe now looks race-ready with 3D-print overlays adorning the engineered-mesh uppers and sharing the same color scheme of the racier Kinvara. The Guide has plush padding in the heel collar and gusseted tongue. This stability version of Saucony’s Ride has a lightweight TPU medial post and sturdy heel counter to lend support, which testers found comfortably supportive. One tester even had a revelatory moment wearing the shoe. “I often lean toward more cushioned shoes with the assumption that, being a ‘curvier’ runner, the weight striking the hard surface was the cause of some injuries,” she said. “The Guide gave me some cushioning, but the shoe’s stability helped fix my pain.” This shoe is still soft, though, thanks to Saucony’s Pwrrun midsole, combined with a top layer of Pwrrun+. The latter is composed of a lightweight foam that promotes a springier step while absorbing impact.—A.F.

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TRAIL


Saucony Peregrine 11 ST

Saucony
Peregrine 11 ST
Saucony zappos.com
$129.95

Weight: 11.2 oz. (M), 9.2 oz. (W)
Drop: 4mm

One might guess that “ST” stands for “Stability” or “Speed Trainer,” but Saucony actually uses it here to designate that this version of its popular trail shoe is tuned for “Soft Terrain”—though its ride would make those other guesses accurate, too. A wide platform and low drop give the Peregrine its stable feel, and an upgrade to premium Pwrrun+ cushioning this year offers more go-fast energy return. But you’ll also find that on the standard model. What sets the ST apart is its muck-loving outsole and upper, which are built for a full send along swampy singletrack. The toothy lugs are 1.5mm longer, with more spacing between each to shed mud quickly, and the upper is switched to an abrasion-resistant mesh outfitted with quick lacing. To secure the shoe, just cinch the skinny bungee cords and stow them inside the tongue—there’s no fiddling with wet bunny ears. Plus, the entire shoe is cloaked in its own mud guard. If that’s still not enough splatter protection, you’ll find additional loops to add your own gaiters. “The Peregrine was exceptional across the board,” said one tester, “wonderfully responsive and capable across deep mud and loose gravel to snow, with an amazing fit that needed none of my usual lacing tricks.”—M.P.

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Altra Lone Peak 5

Altra
Lone Peak 5
Altra rei.com
$130.00

Weight: 10.0 oz. (M), 8.1 oz. (W)
Drop: 0mm

Though heavier than the speedier Superior, the Lone Peak has more rugged protection for rock-strewn surfaces and provides reliable traction over slushy paths. Altra gives the fifth iteration a new Ego midsole—the shoe previously used two layers of EVA. This switch is a boon for runners who want more cushioning without extra weight. “The midsole provided many happy miles of running on technical trails,” said one tester, “but it’s not overcushioned like some shoes that feel heavy or clumsy underfoot.” The spaced-out chevron lugs and grippy rubber outsole were locked onto trails muddied from rain and melting snow. It’s a capable and well-rounded trail shoe for anything you throw at it. “It easily handled fast, flowy trails and technical, rocky terrain,” said one tester. The upper has laser-perforated holes near the toe and sides to aid airflow. Getting the lacing just right for a good heel lock, however, was trickier than on most other shoes. Some testers said the initial fit felt loose and required some “messing around with the laces” to achieve a secure hold.—A.F.

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Topo Athletic Ultraventure Pro

Topo Athletic
Ultraventure Pro
Topo Athletic zappos.com
$106.23

Weight: 10.4 oz. (M), 8.2 oz. (W)
Drop: 5mm

Take the wide and well-cushioned Ultraventure, make it a little firmer and more secure, add a rock plate for more protection, and keep the grippy Vibram outsole with its pronounced lugs. The end result is the stout Ultraventure Pro, meant for tackling harsh, rocky, wet terrain. The rock plate in the forefoot safeguards your foot when stomping over boulders and roots. The Zipfoam cushioning, though sufficient on trails, left some testers wanting a little more comfort when they jogged road miles to a trail head. “Particularly on longer runs, my foot began to feel sore in places,” said a tester more accustomed to the beefier adidas superstar first copy mumbai live score EVO Mafate and Challenger ATR. “But these excel at mid-range distances.” An external TPU heel counter provides stability, keeping ankles in check should you need to skirt around obstacles. The tacky Vibram Megagrip outsole held fast to loose mud. I did have to pick out some dry clumps of dirt, but this didn’t affect my run, nor did it slow down my pace.—A.F.

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adidas samoa grey and purple color chart images

Lakota Gambill
Sense Ride 4
Salomon salomon.com
$120.00

Weight: 10.2 oz. (M), 8.3 oz. (W)
Drop: 8mm

The previous version of the Sense Ride was incredibly comfortable, reliable, and durable for everyday trail running and racing, and you can see from the silhouette of this update that Salomon didn’t mess with it. Updates on the 4 largely center around fit and comfort in the upper, as well as reducing some weight. Our favorite feature remains the shoe’s traction—4mm diamond-shaped lugs bite into soft dirt and mud but are made of sticky rubber that grips both wet and dry ground. One tester said the new model boosted her confidence. “I can run downhill and not have to worry,” she raved. “They did well on the rocks and leaves.” The upper continues to make use of minimal overlays and stitching to reduce the risk of hot spots, though there is more coverage over the toes for protection than in the 3. The soft, mesh upper has a tongue that wraps around the midfoot like a sleeve—a design that Salomon fans love. There is less fabric around the upper part of the heel, but cushioned pods lock your foot in place and limit unwanted sliding.—P.H.

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Brooks Caldera 5

Lakota Gambill
Caldera 5
Brooks zappos.com
$139.95

Weight: 10.6 oz. (M), 9.4 oz. (W)
Drop: 4mm

Hitting gnarly trails? You’ll appreciate the BioMoGo DNA midsole in the Caldera 5. Its softness rivaled adidas superstar first copy mumbai live score’s Speedgoat 4 GTX for one tester, who had formerly declared herself “a loyal Hoka gal.” That foam, made of durable and lightweight EVA, conforms to your foot, providing a responsive ride and a thick-enough sole that buffers rugged terrain without a stiff rock plate. While testers lauded the shoe’s softness, I wish Brooks had returned to the low weight of the Caldera 3. For faster efforts, the Caldera 5 feels heavy; if you’re looking for a lighter shoe that can even be used for racing, look at something like the Catamount or Topo Athletic’s Runventure. However, the Caldera 5 presented a different kind of service that I hadn’t expected: It kept me running in spite of the seasonal elements, shielding my feet when I broke through ice-covered snow and keeping me upright over slippery patches post-snowstorms. Other wear-testers said the shoe allowed them to run confidently over slick surfaces, and they appreciated how the tread gripped mud without collecting dirt or pebbles. “This is proving to be a very solid and durable shoe that I believe I will enjoy for many miles to come on sloppy or rocky trails,” said another tester.—A.F.

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Columbia Escape Ascent

columbia escape ascent
Lakota Gambill

Weight: 10.5 oz. (M), 8.3 oz. (W)
Drop: 8mm
Available: March 26 (women’s), May 17 (men’s)

Columbia started out as a tiny hat company before expanding to apparel in 1938 and then to hiking boots in the ’90s. More recently, its trail runners have rounded into solid shape, and the Escape Ascent makes a promising debut, though with a few kinks to work out. The outsole is exceptionally “grippy and sticky,” in the words of one tester, but unfortunately we found it wears down quickly, and the 4mm lugs aren’t quite aggressive enough to tackle some muddier trails. Instead, the shoe is more adept as a road shoe that transitions well from slick tow paths to wet gravel, though the bar-shaped forefoot lugs feel a bit too obtrusive for strictly road running. Luckily, Columbia’s experience in outdoor apparel helped the brand nail the upper. It’s seamless and comfortable, and the lacing system provides a snug wrap around the navicular bone on top of the foot, giving the Ascent a locked-in fit and extra stability. The wavy, 3D-printed overlays add support without rubbing or adding weight.—M.P.

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