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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:…

MAKE TRAINING FEEL LIKE RACING Sometimes you float through your training runs like a butterfly, while other times every step stings like a bee. But since you’re no Muhammad Ali—sorry, you’re a midpack dude prepping for a charity marathon—you’ll like this smooth-riding, ultra-comfy trainer. On both good and bad days,…

RIDGE RACER Most of us stick to established trails when we run. For those who don’t, or whose “runs” end atop toothy peaks, may we suggest the Cooper’s Hill? With an extremely pliable forefoot and easy-twisting torsional rigidity, this shoe remains stable even while blasting up steep, scree-covered slopes. “The…

TOUGH, LIKE THE ROCKS YOU RUN ON Thankfully, a little dirt will tone down these kicks to an acceptable level of garishness. And then you can tell your friends that the Fruity Pebbles-colored upper is reinforced with a nylon mesh that’s tough as chain mail, and that the outsole might…

Ever since that heroic, fatal dash from Marathon to Athens, runners have been looking for an edge. Here’s a guaranteed advantage, whether you’re going 26 miles or two. ASICS’s Gear of the Year–winning Gel-Kinsei adjusts to various foot types and running styles, while improving performance across the board. The…

LONG-DISTANCE TRAVELER Like a full-suspension mountain bike, the Arnuva can barrel over rocky, undulating trails with utmost comfort. The upper is armored against trail debris, and the ultrarunners on our crew deemed it an excellent choice for even the harshest high-alpine trails in Colorado’s Indian Peaks. A Gore-Tex liner keeps…

LONG-HAUL COMFORT Most runners will either love or hate these flashy kicks on looks alone. But please, don’t be so superficial; there’s grit beneath the glam. Testers loved this shoe’s shock-absorbing heel pad, snug fit, and even flow through toe-off. The Triumph excelled on long, slow, base-building runs; several testers…

ROUGH AND STABLE Meet the grizzly bear of trail runners. The XT Wings are tough, unstoppable in rugged terrain, and, best of all, faster than their heft suggests. A broad heel base and medial pronation support provide stability on both flats and descents, while the pull-cord lacing delivers a snug…

ALL-WEATHER, ALL-TERRAIN Finally, a forecast-be-damned trail shoe that doesn’t make your feet feel like they’re in a sauna. The Trail Sensor’s water-resistant, breathable upper—a synthetic fabric with Nano-Tech treatment—kept our feet warm and dry even on sloppy fall runs in Boulder, while the fully gusseted tongue kept out grit and…

Not every run is a race. For long-distance training at a slow pace, this stability shoe delivers a surprisingly smooth ride for runners seeking firm support. All testers—even those who don’t pronate—scored the 857 high for protection, cushioning, and durability. Stability is enhanced by stiff support under the arch and…

LIGHT AND NIMBLE If you crossed a mountain goat with a ballet dancer, the offspring would wear these shoes. The lightweight and easy-flexing 800 is especially nimble for a trail runner, delivering a smooth heel-to-toe transition on flat terrain. It has plenty of cushion for long runs, and the aggressively…

1. A handful of shoes boast construction this light, but most are minimalist racing flats without much structure. Not so with the 902. Thanks to new-tech, lightweight materials—in the cushioning, foam, and even the breathable mesh of the upper—the 902 supports your foot better than many midweight shoes. 2.

SPEED DEMON “My initial response after trying these on was ‘Wanna race?’ ” one tester said of the aptly named Streak. With a flyweight construction, socklike fit, and soft yet energetic midsole, it’s basically a racing flat with just enough guts for daily training. The relatively generous heel cushioning and…

BEST FOR ADVENTURE RACING You run where others walk? Then this is the shoe for you. After cruising up Colorado’s wickedly steep Mount Sanitas Trail, one tester gave the Active Trail Pro props for its reinforced sides, protective toe cap, and branch-busting undercarriage. Plus the Vibram sole adhered to everything…

“Just right” is not exactly a technical attribute, but that’s what testers kept saying about this shoe after subjecting it to a variety of conditions. It’s simply the most versatile runner of the bunch. The Syncro Pace has sufficient motion-control mechanisms to combat mild pronation, it’s light and flexible enough…

1. With its fully gusseted tongue and a smooth sock liner, the Aether Tech just fits great. The easy-to-adjust Boa Lacing System provides a uniform snugness all around the foot—no pinching or pressure points. The foot-sculpting midsole is made from just the right amount of soft, single-density foam to…

ENERGY SAVER If we had an award for efficiency, this shoe would win it uncontested. No shoe here converted downward heel impact into forward propulsion as well as the Testament, and testers reported a significant rebound leading up to the toe-off phase of every stride. Credit the springlike hard plastic…

TRIATHLON-READY With a pronounced heel tab, quick-pull laces, and sole drain holes, the Tempo is designed to speed up your switches from bike to run. But the first-ever road shoe from the triathlon-apparel company Zoot is also a highly advanced, lightweight trainer for everyday roadies. The midsole’s dual-density foam and…

BUILT FOR SPEED Last year’s X-1 was like a thoroughbred—fast, but hard to handle. So Teva tamed it just a little. The result, the still respectably light X-1 Control, is a versatile, high-energy trail shoe that’s just as comfortable grinding up switchbacks as it is opening it up on fifth-gear…

What do you get when you cross a running shoe with the British military? Sounds like a joke, but that’s actually what UK Gear did to come up with the PT-03, the toughest road shoe we’ve seen. Using the British Army Physical Training Corps for testing, designers gave the PT-03…

A TRAIL SHOE FOR ROADIES Sometimes you drive to the trailhead; other times you just run there. This is your shoe. Built to have the same smooth heel-to-toe transition as ASICS’s road shoes, the lightweight Attack is sufficiently cushioned for gravel roads and packed dirt, yet it still feels responsive…

SPEED ABOVE ALL Let’s put it this way: If all the other shoes reviewed here are full-suspension bikes, the Wave Creation 8 is a hardtail. The stiffness, which makes this shoe startlingly lively, is the result of two suspended plastic plates embedded underfoot. Some break-in time might be required: “At…

MID-MILEAGE WORKHORSE If the true test of a stability shoe is how comfortable it is during your last month of marathon training, then the heavily cushioned Kendari is the champ. “It felt great out of the box,” remarked one tester, “and just as good 100 miles later.” The comfort stems…

FAST AND CUSHIONED Isn’t it disheartening when you spot a chunky-looking guy at the starting line—inside you think, Well, at least I won’t come in last—and then he pulls away, leaving you sucking wind? The Lava Run is that guy. “They look like they’d be clunky,” said one tester, “but…

A running shoe without foam? Nothing but air here. That’s what the flashy Air Max 360 brings to the table 27 years after Nike first began using air in running shoes. The full-length air cushion and integrated outsole combine to create supple heel-to-toe transitions and a smooth overall ride. Choose…

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…

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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). »…

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