Running Shoes Explained

You can tug on laces and lugs, but to really tell how a shoe pulls it all together, just run.

Jun 1, 2004
Outside Magazine
2004 Buyer's Guide : Running Shoes Explained

   Photo: Illustration by Steve Stankiewicz

 •  Running shoes designed for rugged trails have a roomy toe box and a protective toe cap to shield your piggies from harm.

 •  Outsoles made from multidensity rubber and plastic materials provide protection, cushioning, durability, and energy transmission in appropriate areas.

 •  Look for directional lug patterns underfoot that are subtle enough for running on smoother surfaces but grabby enough for all types of terrain.

 •  Newfangled midsoles—everything from compression-molded cushions of triple-density EVA (expanded vinyl acetate) to polyurethane support bridges or TPU (thermo-plastic urethane)—help soften the blow of impact and transfer energy forward to the toe-off phase.

 •  A slim underfoot protection plate, usually nylon, eliminates "stingers" caused by sharp rocks, roots, and other trail detritus—without adding unnecessary bulk to the shoe.

 •  Dynamic lacing systems provide a snug, comfortable fit for a wide range of foot shapes while keeping the laces from tripping you up. A soft, breathable tongue (at least partially gusseted to keep it in place) completes the fit.

 •  Comfortable, moisture-managing footbeds keep your dogs from overheating or drowning in sweat.

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