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SMOOTH OPERATOR Don’t mistake the minimalist Streak for a beefed-up road shoe—it’s more like a big-mountain shoe that’s been eating mostly salad. Though it has the airy mesh upper of a pavement pounder, underneath is a pliable plastic rock guard and sticky dual-density outsole that can handle full-speed switchbacks. With…

AN IPOD-READY STABILITY SHOE If rock and roll is integral to your running—and we mean either the Flaming Lips or the instability caused by pronation—then you’ll want a pair of iPod-compatible, supportive Equalons. Testers raved about this shoe’s stability and heel-to-toe cushioning. But the real genius of this soft-flexing shoe…

SLOW AND STEADY The Structure Triax creates fortresslike heel stability via three densities of foam: a rigid medial post that tempers foot rolling, a medium-density foam to absorb heavier heel strikes, and a supersoft crash pad that channels foot plants forward from the moment of impact. Amazingly, despite all the…

OFF TO THE RACES Designers got out their knives—very sharp ones at that—and stripped the 790 down for speed: It’s a full five ounces lighter than some shoes here. Not surprisingly, the featherweight design didn’t impress any testers in the cushioning or armor departments, and it’s probably not the best…

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” may work as a guiding principle for, say, can openers, but not running shoes. Brooks took a popular, high-quality cushioning shoe and went back to the drawing board, producing the new and improved Radius 06. It’s a lighter and more generously padded runner…

HIGH-MILEAGE CUSHION If you’ve followed a marathon training program, you know what a grind it can be to crank out those 18- to 22-mile runs about a month before race day. Not so with the dreamy Praya NC, a lightweight trainer that derives cushioning from a thick foam midsole and…

LONG-DISTANCE PLAN Some trail shoes make you cringe at the thought of training for anything longer than a 10K. Not the Cascadia. With plush cushioning and easy flex, this shoe is perfect for high-mileage runs on mellow terrain. The combination of a unique trail-stabilizing system—foam wedges at mid- and forefoot…

SUPERLIGHT AND SUPER-SECURE The lacing system on this shoe swerves so radically you might think it’s a factory blooper. It’s not. Less than a mile into a training run along the Boulder Creek Path, it was clear that the Concinnity’s off-center lacing system pulls double duty: It helps provide an…

MOTION CONTROL LITE Runners whose mild or moderate heel rolling doesn’t warrant a fat, heavy heel brace will find smooth striding in the new Gel-3000. The wide, stable heel features a moderately cushy foam—offering the softness and sprightliness of a neutral-cushioning shoe at heel strike. But as the shoe rolls…

SMOOTH, CUSHIONED VERSATILITY Lucky number 13? It is if you count a commitment to research as good fortune. The 13th version of this all-purpose favorite is the result of years of accumulated R&D. This Kayano boasts thicker gel cushioning units in the heel than previous models, resulting in an even…

Like a restaurant with an “Under New Management” sign out front, Etonic deserves a fresh look. After licensing out its running-shoe division for several years, the company has brought the brand back inside and created the ultra-comfy Jepara SC. The midsole’s dual-density EVA cushioning and proprietary rubber results in a…

1. The Triumph is like the best hotel mattresses: soft and springy but not mushy. Articulated outsole lugs and a five-layer sandwich of foam, rubber, and thermoplastic in the heel absorb the impact of each foot strike while retaining a remarkable responsiveness. And thanks to its forward-leaning tilt, the…

VERSATILE AND FAST We’re not saying you were the kind of kid who got chased home from school. We’re saying if you were that kid, this shoe could have saved your ass. With a snug fit and low-to-the-ground design, the Zoom inspires high-speed running on everything from hard-packed dirt trails…

CUSTOM FIT We were on high gimmick alert when testing the Paris Trainers, which use a pneumatic pump to create a custom rear-foot fit. Not all testers felt the benefit (those who did liked the snugness), but we downgraded the alert to low when, even without the pump, the shoe…

LOVES LONG RUNS If neutral shoes are sedans and stability shoes are SUVs, then the Infiniti is a minivan. It’s part of Brooks’s new “guidance” line of shoes, which are designed to be a bit less structured than stability shoes but not quite as minimalist as trainers. To wit: The…

1. Most shoes are either racers or trainers. The lightweight SpeedCross 2 manages to be both: Shock-absorbing rubber outsole lugs compensate for the minimal midsole cushioning. And because it’s soft-flexing, with a low-to-the-ground profile, it “hugs” all types of terrain. 2. Salomon designers took inspiration from the legendary…

Motion-control shoes have a rep for feeling big and clunky, but this agile cruiser defies the stereotype. The key component is the detached heel-strike pad, which moves independently of the rest of the midsole. The design isolates shock absorption from the rest of the shoe and stops mild pronation in…

FROZEN GRIP Live in Minnesota, Montana, or Maine? This is the winter training shoe for you. With 16 carbide-tipped spikes protruding from the outsole, these sturdy snowcats provide reliable, no-slip traction on iced-over trails and snowpacked roads. “Amazing,” said one tester, “I’ve never felt so confident going downhill on icy…

SPEEDY BUT GRIPPY Fact: The Italians make great shoes. Lesser known fact: They dominate competitive mountain running. That combined mastery is evident in the Crosslite, which is all about getting through the rough stuff as quickly as possible. A race-ready shoe with a minimalist design, the knobby-lugged Crosslite combines the…

ROAD-TO-TRAIL WONDER Admit it: For most of us, the odds of running wilderness trails 100 percent of the time are about the same as the likelihood we’ll win the Leadville 100. Which is why the Wave Ascend 2 received high marks from testers who ran on a mix of trails,…

LOTS OF CUSHIONING The Testament II was a bit too sluggish for our most gazelle-like testers but well received by our heavier and slower (read: normal) runners. Impact energy is centered by a cushy, concave heel and transferred smoothly down a springy plastic shank to the luxuriously soft forefoot. “It…

STABILITY IN MOTION Ever watch a caterpillar crawl over your knuckles? The weather-resistant, soft-shell Shadow Dragon takes a page from the little bugs: the outsole’s 12 protruding lugs, which gave us a noticeable boost in stability on the small rocks, roots, and other obstacles of Boulder’s Mesa Trail. 11.5 oz;…

Boing, boing, boing . . . I couldn’t quite hear the springs in this shoe as I bounced down Boulder Creek Path, but I could feel their bounce. Spira sneaks metal springs into the EVA midsoles, and it’s no gimmick. The lively two-inch-diameter coil in the heel puts a noticeable…

This Bond-worthy shoe hides a secret weapon in its midsole: A springy thermoplastic plate—or wave—mechanism runs the length of the shoe, yielding consistent rebound and smooth transition at moderate and fast speeds. I cranked out a marathon-pace tempo run and felt like I was running downhill with the wind at…

CAN TAKE THE HEAT The 874 is built like an elite road racer: a slender torso atop a powerful lower body. A weird physique for a shoe? Perhaps, but the combination of an almost lacy, two-layer mesh upper wedded to a thick midsole and luggy tread works extremely well on…

DO YOUR RUNS BECOME CLIMBS? La Sportiva’s heritage is in climbing shoes and mountaineering boots, and you can see the alpine influence in nearly every aspect of the Fireblade: the impeccable fit, the sticky rubber outsole, the double-stitched seams on high-wear areas of the upper, the reinforced toe bumper and…

CAN HANDLE HEAVY STRIKING The Elixir is like a Ferrari with all-terrain tires. It combines the barely there mesh upper of a race shoe with the full-foam midsole of a distance trainer. A snug heel cup and soft forefoot flex promote maximum thrust at toe-off, while a thermoplastic spring mechanism…

SPEED AND SOUND The Pegasus is like your favorite pair of jeans—soft, comfortable, and versatile enough to wear just about anywhere. And by anywhere, we mean both pavement and slushy trails. Like a true road shoe, its narrow shape and flexy construction inspire speed, especially on flat trails, dirt roads,…

Looking to set a new personal best? The Redemption can help with a less-is-more approach reminiscent of a racing flat. Plus midsole thickness descends dramatically from heel to toe—putting you in a forward-leaning position and encouraging quick leg turnover. The effect? I ran the Rock ‘n Roll Arizona Half Marathon…

1. An awkward name may be the J S3’s only weakness. It has a perfect blend of agility and support: An airy top half made from a durable, ultralight mesh nylon keeps weight down—and debris out—while an innovative wraparound tongue provides an exceptionally secure fit. 2. Flexibility is key…

FASTER THAN IT LOOKS “Much livelier than I was expecting” is how one tester described the Manifesto Beater. Sure, this beast features a firm, no-roll heel and rocks-be-damned protection, but it also boasts relatively soft forefoot flexibility, a generously padded tongue, and a responsive fit. “It feels very light given…

STABILITY ON AND OFF THE TRAIL This shoe is like the SUV—er, make that the all-wheel-drive wagon—that you drive to work on weekdays, then load up with gear and take to the mountains on weekends. The versatility lies in this stable shoe’s adaptive midsole and deep, supportive heel design, which…

HEAVY SUPPORT, LIGHT FEEL Even the best shoes can’t turn a severe overpronator into a neutral strider. But the AdiStar Control makes trompers feel like bounders. Sure, it offers a wide base, rock-solid medial posting, and a beveled, decoupled-heel crash pad that will serve heavier runners or severe overpronators. But…

BACKCOUNTRY VOYAGERS The Mercury rolled over everything in our path: Its sturdy construction includes a nearly punctureproof upper reinforced with PU nubuck and abrasion-resistant toe and heel bumpers. And during soggy runs in Rocky Mountain National Park, the Gore-Tex XCR liner kept our feet dry. 14.5 oz; vasque.com Bonus:…

Don't let the dark of winter slow you down. We tested two dozen next-gen lights to bring you the six best and brightest.

Whether you're an urban fitness junkie or a mountain racer, we've got your feet covered

A new shoe promises more efficient running by taking a page from Isaac Newton

In the Store: Don’t know what kind of arches you have? Dunk your foot lightly in some water and then step on a paper bag. See almost your entire foot? You’re an overpronator. See very little? You’re an underpronator (this is less common). ยป…

The latest all-mountain jackets keep you toasty on lift rides and cool on out-of-bounds hikes

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