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Triathlete’s Summer Run Shoe Review

Chase a new PR in the season’s new styles.

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Chase a new PR in the season’s new styles.

Neutral Trainers

Saucony Zealot ISO
$130, Saucony.com
Amazingly light and peppy for such a well-cushioned shoe, the Zealot features a two-layer, almost-maximalist foam midsole and plush interior that combine to serve up a buttery-soft ride and seamless heel-to-toe gait cycle. Saucony’s new ISOfit—an integrated mid-foot saddle and lacing system—locks down the mid-foot and creates an adaptive, near-custom fit. Our wear-testers reported an energetic sensation, and the low-profile heel facilitated quick stride turnover, making it ideal for everything from long runs to tempo efforts.
Heel-toe offset: 4mm

Nike Lunar Tempo
$110, Nike.com
This super-light trainer (6.8 ounces for men’s; 5.9 ounces for women’s) offers enough cushioning and protection for long runs in a svelte package that’s agile enough to run interval workouts on the track. It’s built on a thick layer of Nike’s Lunarlon midsole cushioning, but our wear-testers found it infinitely flexible and yet still fairly low to the ground in the forefoot for quick-cadence running. The stretchy engineered mesh upper and the Flywire cords adapt to all foot shapes to provide a secure, performance-oriented fit.
Heel-toe offset: 8mm

Zoot Del Mar
$140, Zootsports.com
Zoot has expanded its line of race-ready tri shoes to include everyday trainers. The Del Mar’s premium two-layer midsole produces a soft (but not mushy) shock absorption and a good amount of responsiveness too, making it an ideal shoe for long training runs to slow recovery sessions. A secure heel cup, subtle upper overlays and an effective lacing system offer a cohesive fit throughout. Our wear-testers loved the interior of this shoe, both for its seam-free comfort and its snugged-down connectivity to the ground.
Heel-toe offset: 8mm

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Stability Trainers

ASICS GT-2000-3
$120, Asicsamerica.com
One of the most popular running shoes ever made, the 2000 has been reborn into a lighter, more agile incarnation without losing its much-loved stability. The reduced weight comes from a reconfigured midsole which incorporates super-light and very dynamic foam materials. Our testers loved this shoe’s fit, responsiveness and dependable support as a workhorse trainer. Although it lacks the agility to run fast for extended periods of time, the lighter makeup was noticeable and appreciated by our wear-testers.
Heel-toe offset: 10mm

Skechers GoRun Strada
$130, Skechers.com
Skechers has primarily made lightweight, minimally constructed shoes since getting into the performance running sector five years ago, but the Strada bucks that trend with steadfast support and stability in this smooth-riding long-distance trainer. The stability comes from reinforced foam “pillars” in the midsole/outsole that cradle the foot as it rolls through from footstrike to toe-off. Despite the exceptional support, our wear-testers felt that it encouraged an efficient stride and quicker-cadence running.
Heel-toe offset: 8mm

Brooks Ravenna 6
$110, Brooksrunning.com
This reliable stability trainer has a soft, bouncy, responsive and seamless ride, making it an ideal pick for long weekend runs as well as longer road racing applications. Significant changes to the upper—lighter, sleeker forefoot support overlays and new arch-locking saddle support bands—have improved the fit, breathability and comfort over the previous edition. A reinforced midsole, segmented heel crash pad and deep flex grooves create a very stable ride with a bit of charismatic flow more typical of a neutral shoe.
Heel-toe offset: 10mm

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Racers

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante
$100, Newbalance.com
The Zante is a lightweight, flexible performance-oriented trainer that offers enough cushioning for high-mileage training, but it’s also suitable for faster workouts and racing. New Balance engineered the foam undercarriage with an optimal balance between cushioning and stability, then added toe spring to further encourage quick-cadence running. If you’re looking for versatility in a shoe, our wear-testers raved about the Zante as a remarkable do-everything option.
Heel-toe offset: 6mm

Altra 3-Sum 1.5
$130, Altrarunning.com
A lightweight race-day shoe with elastic laces, the 3-Sum encourages an efficient stride with a zero-drop (or flat) platform and superior proprioceptive “feel” for the ground. It has just enough cushioning under foot to provide ample protection and comfort, plus it has a breathable and quick-drying airy mesh upper and a seamless interior. Drain holes in the undercarriage keep it light amid aid-station sloshing, while a slightly wider forefoot allows toes to effectively splay without sacrificing on performance.
Heel-toe offset: 0mm

Newton Distance IV
$155, Newtonrunning.com
One of the mainstays in the Newton Running line, the updated version of this flyweight trainer/racer serves up improved flexibility and a more locked-down fit. As with most Newton shoes, it now features the new five-lug Action/Reaction Technology, which, aside from creating a slightly wider, more balanced base, also returns more energy through a very resilient membrane. Similar to most Newton Running models, it’s definitely a shoe intended for an efficient, mid-foot/forefoot gait.
Heel-toe offset: 2mm

RELATED: How Often Should I Replace My Running Shoes?

Trail Shoes

Montrail Fluidflex ST
$95, Montrail.com
This light, flexible and low-to-the-ground trail runner has been updated to offer a bit more support and protection than the original version. It’s still very quick and agile, but it’s more versatile and has a more snugged-down fit to keep the foot from sloshing around. A two-layer toe bumper and a forefoot rock plate make this shoe much more apt for semi-technical terrain without sacrificing the supple and energetic ride, ample but not overwhelming cushioning and a distinct feel for the trail beneath your feet.
Heel-toe offset: 4mm

The North Face Ultra TR II
$110, Thenorthface.com
This versatile, ground-gripping trail fiend has been updated with a new lighter, ripstop upper inspired by the fit, feel and look of cross-country running spikes. Its multi-lugged Vibram rubber outsole offers reliable traction and smooth ground conveyance on all types of terrain, from flat dirt paths to extremely rocky routes. Our testers liked this shoe for its traction, low-to-the-ground ride and slightly wider fit in the toe box.
Heel-toe offset: 8mm

Hoka One One Challenger ATR
$130, Hokaoneone.com
An off-road version of Hoka’s lightweight and energetic Clifton model, the Challenger is fairly nimble and quite stable for such a well-cushioned trail shoe. While it doesn’t offer the proprioceptive “feel” for the trail like lower-to-the-ground models, our wear-testers appreciated the significant protection and cushioning without it feeling clunky. The Challenger has a “rockered” profile that produces a smooth, rolling sensation no matter how or where the shoe strikes the ground.
Heel-toe offset: 5mm

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