From road to trail and back again. 

buyers guide

Skechers Gorun 4

This soft, low runner has a stretchy knit upper and a vibe that’s so slipperlike, you’ll be tempted to ditch your socks. (The shoe was designed for it.) Given the lack of structure and floppy heel cup, the fit is easygoing, if a bit less secure than the other roadies on this page. Think of it as a minimalist trainer for midfoot strikers who want more smoosh than slap. 4 mm drop

Price $105  Weight 5.2 oz

Mizuno Wave Catalyst

We can’t figure out if the brand-new Catalyst is a low-riding speed shoe or a lithe, stable trainer. We love it either way, especially for medium-long runs. The firm heel sacrifices plushness for a ton of energy return, and the midfoot shank adds structure without slowing things down. Best for mild heel strikers who value efficiency and protection without the weight. 10 mm drop

Price $110  Weight 8 oz

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Salomon Sonic Pro

The Sonic Pro brings the formfitting last, snappy forefoot, and quick-pull laces of ­Salomon’s trail shoes to the road. It’s quick and responsive, thanks to new midsole ­materials, though the shoe felt firmer and less forgiving than we expected. Still, we loved the low-weight, quick-stepping giddyup. 8 mm drop

Price $140  Weight 6.7 oz

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running shoes
(Pearl Izumi)

Pearl Izumi Trail N1v2

Pearl has one of the best trail lines going, and the N1v2—its lowest-profile neutral option—is among our favorite all-terrain shoes. We credit the seamless upper and ­moderately low, rock-plate-reinforced ­midsole, which is both lively and protective enough for a 50K. Even on steep, technical descents, the N1v2 felt secure and rolled smooth. 4.5 mm drop

Price $115  Weight 8.4 oz

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women's running
(Hoka One One)

Hoka One One Challenger ATR 2 

The Challenger is a blimp that’s surprisingly quick, with deep, leg-saving foam. It’s an ­effortless high-mileage and recovery shoe that moves fluidly on pavement or dirt. The narrow, snug-fitting midsole on the second-gen Challenger boosts its technical chops, although it’s still better for all-afternoon comfort than all-mountain agility. Its genius truly shines on epics. 5 mm drop

Price $130  Weight 7.8 oz

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running shoes

ASICS Gel-Fuji Endurance

At first the FujiEndurance wooed us with its narrow fit, low ride, and water- and mud-shedding upper. Rock hopping, especially, was a blast. But the relationship wasn’t without drama: the ride felt clunky at times (a plastic heel cradle can be constrictive for heel strikers), and the thin tongue tended to bunch. Buy this shoe if you mostly run technical trails. 8 mm drop

Price $180  Weight 9.9 oz

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The Best Road Running Shoes of 2016

This is the year of maximum cushioning, with major brands far and wide trotting out brick-thick models. Sure, fat shoes are luxuriously comfortable, inviting higher-impact runners and recovering athletes to land on dreamy pillows of puff. But every pitch has its catch. And while deep cushioning spares your legs, it also slows you down, sucking energy from every step. Corpulent kicks also tend to be much pricier. And even moderately fat shoes must strike a balance between cushion and efficiency, although the very best deliver on each of those fronts. We picked seven that represent the apogee of both persuasions,

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The Best Trail Running Shoes of 2016

It begins, as it must, with fit. Nothing matters more when picking a running shoe. Unlike a road shoe, a trail runner needs to lock your foot securely against the footbed, so there is no slipping forward on downhills or squirreliness over rocks. Next decision: Thick sole or thin? A svelte, close-to-the-dirt shoe will be nimbler and less prone to rolling, but your feet and legs will pay the price when the miles stretch on. Finally, think about cushioning. A firmer, more responsive shoe will be faster and more supportive, and offer great protection, but soft foam saves legs, especially

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The Best Women's Running Accessories of 2016

(Merrell) Merrell All Out Crush Light Shoes  For burly trail kicks, these are surpris­ingly light, thanks to an airy mesh upper and zero bells and whistles. Five-millimeter lugs and a thick toe cap offer protection in rough stuff, but we flew along buffed-out forest roads, too.  Price $90 Buy Now Tracksmith Harrier Tank  This top, made from silky merino wool and cut like a vintage gym tee, works just as well for intervals as it does with jeans. Break it out on the hottest days and enjoy the breeze.  Price $65 Buy Now (Bkr) Bkr Madly

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The Trail Running Essentials of 2016

(The North Face) The North Face Runners Hat  Trucker hats block sun and look rad. The North Face took it a step further, adding a mesh sweatband around the rim to keep sunscreen out of your eyes. Price $30 Buy Now (Nathan) Nathan ExoShot Bottle  By pairing a soft flask with an internal spine, Nathan made a 12-ounce bottle that doesn’t feel like a jellyfish. The insulated sleeve adds grip and has a pocket big enough to hold a Patagonia Provisions bar (below).  Price $35 Buy Now (Hilly) Hilly Twin Skin Anklet Socks The wrong socks can destroy a run. These anklets have two layers of

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