Grading 2018's Boston Marathon Shoes

Brands got creative with their special-edition footwear for this year's race

(Courtesy New Balance)

It has become somewhat of a tradition for running shoe companies to release special editions of their most popular models ahead of big-city marathons. With the 2018 Boston Marathon happening next week, a profusion of flashy, over-the-top road-running shoes are hitting the market. Some are complex masterpieces full of historical symbolism, while others are cultural odes. Who knew you could expect so much from a pair of shoes? We couldn’t resist grading our favorites—using rigorous scientific criteria, of course.

Brooks Boston Launch 5

Womens Motofish Spring 18 l Launch 5 120266 417 Global Boston Ma
(Courtesy Brooks)

Bean Town Tribute: 4/5

Flashiness: 3/5

Potential to Educate About a Rare Marine Species: 5/5

For its take on the Boston Marathon shoe, Brooks found inspiration in one of New England’s most majestic sea creatures: the blue lobster. The brand decked out its popular midcushion Launch 5 road shoe with a graphic of rope coils, nautical chart contour lines, anchors, and the aforementioned lobstahs.

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Altra Escalante Racer

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(Courtesy Altra)

Bean Town Tribute: 0/5

Flashiness: 5/5

Reminding You What Year You Ran Boston: 4/5

To celebrate road marathon season, Altra is releasing a special-editon version of its acclaimed Escalante road shoe: the Escalante Racer. The Escalante Racer will be available in custom graphics for some of the country’s biggest marathons. The Boston edition features a blue-and-yellow colorway with the number 18 (short for 2018) printed on the side.

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Saucony x Dunkin’ Kinvara 9

saucony-dunkin-kinvara-9_h.jpg
(Courtesy Saucony)

Bean Town Tribute: 3/5

Flashiness: 5/5

Broadcasting Your Love for Sweets: 5/5

This Saucony x Dunkin’ Donuts collab wins for uniqueness. No blue-and-yellow colorways here. The Kinvara 9 gets spiced up in all white with a doughnut-and-sprinkles decal on the heel. The partnering of running shoe and coffee brands does seem fitting—after all, what more does a runner need besides a good pair of shoes and a cup of pre-race coffee to, ahem, get things moving.

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Adidas Adizero Boston 7

Adidas Production
(Courtesy Adidas)

Bean Town Tribute: 3/5

Flashiness: 3/5

Looking Like a Member of a Semipro Running Club: 4/5

Adidas, head sponsor of the 2018 Boston Marathon, took a classic approach to its special-edition kicks: dark blue, with the iconic Boston Marathon unicorn in yellow on the heel and the classic Adidas stripes on the side.

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New Balance 890v6 Boston

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(Courtesy New Balance)

Bean Town Tribute: 5/5

Flashiness: 1/5

Consulting When You Get Lost: 2/5

Perhaps the most subdued of this year’s crop, the New Balance 890v6 comes in dark blue with a subtle light-blue pattern meant to invoke the Charles River. Bonus: The insoles are printed with a Strava heat map of the most popular running routes around the Charles. If you get lost, just take off your shoe and pull out the insole.

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Asics Gel-Nimbus 20 Boston

Bean Town Tribute: 0/5

Flashiness: 5/5

Telling Everyone You Ran Boston: 4/5

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(Courtesy Asics)

In case anyone missed the part of the conversation where you said you were about to run Boston, these shoes will do the job for you, courtesy of the bright-blue fabric and huge “BOSTON” lettering on the side. Did you mention you were running Boston?

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Newton Special Edition Boston Fate 3

Bean Town Tribute: 5/5

Flashiness: 2/5

Historical References: 5/5

newton-special-edition-boston-fate-3_h.jpg
(Courtesy Newton)

The British are coming! Heartbreak Hill is looming! Newton’s special-edition Boston Fate 3 is perhaps one of the most inventive of the bunch. It features a graphic of Paul Revere’s famous ride in muted blues.

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