The draw: Zero-drop short-distance speed
The ST-2 is a low-to-the-ground minimalist model, but it doesn’t have a barely there feel. It has a modest amount of midsole foam that allows for great foot-to-ground proprioception while providing just enough cushioning and protection for longer runs and 70.3s. What makes this shoe special is how easily it flexes, and its mildly reinforced stretch mesh upper that conforms to any foot shape.
6.7 ounces | 0mm heel-toe offset
Note: All shoe weights are listed for a men’s size 9.0.
The draw: Long-distance comfort
The all-new Razor is a lightweight neutral cushioned shoe engineered to run fast or long. It’s built on a semi-soft and very lively single-density midsole and features a new multi-segment flat-knit upper that’s surprisingly supportive. Those elements combined with a molded internal heel counter for stability and support make these the signature training shoe of elite marathoner Meb Keflezighi comfortable for training runs up to 15 miles and beyond.
7.7 ounces | 4mm heel-toe offset
The draw: Cushion and pep in one
The new Gemini 3 proves Under Armour is coming on strong in the running world. This lightweight performance trainer is built on an energetic midsole foam chassis that offers great long-haul comfort, durability and protection with ample responsiveness for tempo-paced runs. The third edition has been vastly improved with a new upper and more snug mid-foot/forefoot fit, plus it’s nearly half an ounce lighter than the previous version. It fits a wide range of foot sizes and shapes, rides great and looks good.
9.8 ounces | 8mm heel-toe offset
The draw: Dries in a flash
The popular Kinvara continues to evolve for the better with a few more tweaks that have given it more versatility and energy return. The newest version serves up an even more responsive ride, thanks to a new full-length layer of resilient foam. It also has a re-engineered mesh upper with laser-cut perforations that offer a very breathable—and quick-drying—featherweight sensation, and thin film overlays for support and a snug fit. Light, fast and cushioned, the Kinvara can do everything.
7.9 ounces | 4mm heel-toe offset
*Best in Class*
The draw: Understated looks, multipurpose performance
This popular tri shoe has undergone a massive overhaul since you last saw it. ASICS not only gave a new look to the 12th edition of this lightweight trainer/racer (gone are the wild, multi-colored graphics in exchange for more of a two-tone motif), designers also upgraded it with lightweight and responsive foam and gave it a modern, engineered mesh upper that adds to the support at the arch. The result is a more energetic and versatile performance trainer that can do just about anything you ask of it, from 70.3s to tempo runs. It also has tongue and heel pull tabs for quick access in T2 and on brick days, plus a wet-grip outsole rubber for great traction on wet roads.
8.8 ounces | 10mm heel-toe offset
The draw: Durability and versatility
Built with plenty of cushioning and durability to be a go-to daily trainer, the Launch 4 has evolved with a bit more responsiveness to give it versatility (think tempo runs, progression runs, etc.) and put more energy into your long runs and recovery days. The latest incarnation is slightly lighter, has some aesthetic changes and a new subtly reinforced breathable mesh upper.
9.0 ounces | 10mm heel-toe-offset
The draw: Fast and sleek for blasting short courses
The magic of this model comes from improved concave and convex dimples in the midsole foam that enhance the ride—it’s smoother and more responsive than previous versions. The third version also has a newly engineered mesh upper that adds durability and helps provide a more accommodating fit for wider feet. Bottom line: It’s one of the most versatile performance trainers we’ve tested and a steal at $100.
8.6 ounces | 6mm heel-toe offset
The draw: A fun, daily workhorse
Although this brand is relatively new to the U.S., 361 Degrees is one of the world’s largest athletic footwear manufacturers, specializing in running and basketball, and was an official apparel supplier for the Rio Olympics. Now the brand is starting to turn heads with its running shoes. The updated Sensation 2 is chock-full of soft, energetic cushioning that comes from its midsole’s thick layer of encapsulated foam, and also has a twinge of medial support. For an everyday workhorse trainer, it provides a peppy ride that will put a spring in your step. Best for 10K to marathon distances and runners with wider feet.
11.4 ounces | 9mm heel-toe offset
The draw: A buttery smooth, short-distance ride
Although the new Cloudflow is low to the ground and very light, it has ample amounts of cushioning from its 18 uniquely shaped “Cloud” pods under each shoe. The pods are different sizes, shapes and densities, and each contributes to a smooth, natural ride with soft landings and energetic toe-offs. The upper’s woven mesh material accommodates to the slight nuances of foot shapes, especially in the forefoot, and also provides enough mid-foot support from thin but strong saddle-reinforcement straps. It’s best for shorter distance workouts and races, from track intervals to 10K.
7.8 ounces | 12mm heel-toe offset
The draw: A do-everything high-mileage trainer
For its 20th edition, Mizuno completely revamped this legendary shoe. It’s versatile, light, cushioned and protective enough for long runs, responsive enough for faster workouts like tempo runs and longer intervals and, for some, is agile enough to be the race-day choice for racing from 10K to the marathon. The new three-part mesh upper and plush interior create a comfortable, secure fit for a wide range of foot sizes. If this is the only pair of shoes in your quiver, it would definitely serve you well in all regards.
9.6 ounces | 12mm heel-toe offset
The draw: Encourages quick turnover
While it’s hard to believe Newton is already celebrating its 10-year anniversary, the latest version of the hallmark Gravity trainer reinvigorates the innovative vibe around which the brand was launched. Most prominently, a new layer of foam—aptly called Newtonium foam—adds to the already energetic and lively ride which comes from Newton’s five-lug propulsion system in the forefoot, designed to discourage heel striking. A new, flexible mesh tongue enhances comfort.
8.1 ounces | 3mm heel-toe offset
The draw: Zero-drop middle-distance comfort
Altra has never let up from its zero-drop mantra and foot-shaped designs—all of its shoes are built on a level platform and have roomy toe boxes—but it has continued to develop innovative shoes. The lightweight Instinct’s neutral performance has evolved with a new engineered mesh upper, an updated two-layer foam midsole with a de-coupled heel that smooths the transition phase after foot strike. The interior got tweaked to accommodate both wider and narrow feet. It’s an ideal tool for running or racing all distances from 5K to the half-marathon.
9.4 ounces | 0mm heel-toe offset
The draw: All-around speedster
The ultimate speed shoe for just about any distance, the revamped Zoom Elite 9 serves up a nimble ride with a lightweight chassis that offers plenty of cushioning and protection. The upper has an airy sensation, but it also helps provide a secure and surprisingly supportive fit. Although it’s a great choice for tempo runs and track workouts, it also has a very low-profile knobby patterned outsole for traction that makes it ideal for running through soggy aid stations at Olympic-distance and 70.3 races.
7.9 ounces | 8mm heel-toe offset
The draw: Ultra plush springiness for long distances
Adidas has revamped the design and shortened the name of the reliable high-mileage trainer formerly known as the Supernova Glide. More importantly, it has added 20 percent more of its revolutionary Boost foam to this version, creating an enormously springy and responsive ride. While the interior remains as plush and comfortable as ever, the new segmented rubber outsole adds to the soft, smooth and resilient ride by improving its flexibility and lightening its load without sacrificing traction.
10.7 ounces | 10mm heel-toe offset
The draw: Max cushioning
Hoka’s original super-cushioned road running shoe has continued to evolve for the better. The latest version is still thick on cushioning and fairly light, while retaining the rocker (or slightly convex) profile that creates a rolling sensation from heel strike to toe-off. A slightly revised forefoot shape and a newly engineered mesh upper make the Bondi 5 more accommodating for a wider range of foot shapes and more breathable than previous editions. The midsole foam configuration has also been slightly revised for more energy return and improved long-wearing durability. Although it’s not a quick shoe, it provides a soft, smooth and resilient ride perfect for recovery runs or survival during the final miles of an Ironman.
10.0 ounces | 4mm heel-toe offset
– Running shoe reviews by Brian Metzler