The key with road runners is matching the shoe to your stride.
The key with road runners is matching the shoe to your stride. (Dustin Sammann)

The Best New Road Running Shoes

Some like to boogie. Others like to cruise.

The key with road runners is matching the shoe to your stride.

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There's no such thing as the perfect shoe. The key with road runners? Matching the footwear to your stride.

Thick + Easy

(Hoka One One)

1. Hoka One One Bondi 5 ($150) 

The Bondi is a classic softy—the most cushioned shoe from the brand that popularized foamy overdosing. This generation drops almost half an ounce through a more minimalist upper but retains the buttery rockered roll and bottomless landing it’s known for. The top sole is heavily contoured, which helps keep your foot from sloshing around, but those same contours gave some of our testers hot spots. Midfoot- and heel-strike agnostic, this is a tremendous high-mileage cruiser, plus a hell of a lot of fun. 10 oz; 4 mm drop

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2. Saucony Triumph ISO 3 ($150)

This Triumph is a cruise ship—plush, slow, and great for taking in the view. Saucony layered on more of its bouncy Everun foam this year, but don’t expect a sprightly ride. The mid­sole is still damp and soft, albeit thin enough so you don’t feel out of touch with the road. Midfoot strikers will appreciate the moderate eight-millimeter ramp angle. Despite the 30-millimeter-thick heel (putting this shoe in Hoka territory), it doesn’t feel like a fatty. Aggressive heel strikers might even find the foam a little thin. 10.5 oz; 8 mm drop

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3. Mizuno Wave Horizon ($160)

Need some pronation help? Soft, flimsy shoes won’t do, but neither will brickish control kicks. The Horizon is a smart compromise. Well structured and stable, with a prominent medial post to correct heel strikers’ pronation, it serves up both support and cushioning without feeling overbuilt. While the midsole initially seemed a touch harsh on im­pact, it relaxed a bit after a few miles, and the upper was unwaveringly comfy from the outset. Expect a nicely padded tongue and a foot-hugging fit that doesn’t make you feel squeezed. 11.5 oz; 12 mm drop

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Light + Low


4. ASICS DynaFlyte ($140)

Soft, meet swift. ASICS has built an empire on plushy cruisers, but the DynaFlyte is a welcome departure. With a pared-down upper, roomy fit, and ample cushioning in the heel, it’s a quick, flexy trainer that marries a soft landing with a reasonably responsive toe-off. (It has a softer, less severe feel than the others here, but it’s by no means sluggish.) There’s not enough struc­ture for high-mileage regimens, and a bit of lace pressure, but overall it’s the best lightweight model the Japanese giant has produced. Think of it as an everyday shoe for quick everyday runs. 9.3 oz; 8 mm drop

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5. Brooks Launch 4 ($100)

Four generations in, our testers are still raving about the Launch. It remains one of the best roadies for dedicated runners looking for a peppy and responsive shoe. The new version drops 0.8 ounce and adds beefier lugs on the rubber outsole in the forefoot—making toe-off a hint more springy—but there’s still the same narrow, performance-­oriented fit and mildly heel-striking ride of its sires. The Launch “puts a hop in your step,” as one tester explained. Heavy landers and cush­ion junkies should take heed—the heel is no softie. 9 oz; 10 mm drop

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6. Salomon Sonic Pro 2 ($140)

Known primarily for its top-tier trail runners, Salomon is pushing hard to break into the road market. The Sonic Pro 2 applies lessons learned in the mountains to the pavement. This is a snappy, lightweight trainer that caters to either midfoot or mild heel strikers, with a narrow fit and a flexy upper that locks down like a compression sock courtesy of the no-frills speed laces. While the ride is energy efficient, casual runners might find it a bit stern—there’s not much padding, and the shoe feels some-what slappy on concrete. 10.2 oz; 8 mm drop

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From Outside Magazine, April 2017 Lead Photo: Dustin Sammann

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