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So hot you’re tempted to run in sandals? Give your feet the air—and support—they need with the Cardrona. Thin, open-weave mesh means your dogs can feel every cool mountain breeze that blows their way, and vents in the midsole actually let air circulate beneath your feet. The design works…

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…

Mild Stability Old perceptions die hard, and a few of our testers initially scoffed at the idea that Puma, better known in other sporting arenas, is making legitimately high-performance running shoes. The Concinnity III changed that. At under ten ounces, it’s a remarkably fast and agile shoe.

Tough Guy This is a stand-up pack—literally. Thanks in part to its extremely heavy-duty fabric (“Like Carhartts,” said one tester), the 29.5-liter Pit Boss stands up straight, on its own, even when empty. But the truly unique feature is the pack’s three interconnected zippers. Two close the lid over the…

Size, Price: 68 oz, $24; 96 oz, $26Flow Rate: 3*Funk Fighter?: Roll-top opening for easy cleaningFilter-Compatible?: YesValve Shutoff?: YesGotta Love: DoubleShot valve doubles the flowBummer: Dual rubber valves are slick, hard to biteSplat Test: Survived *Ratings: 1=Average, 3=Excellent…

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…

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…

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…

Heartily cushioned, especially in the heel, this stability shoe is customized for women, with a narrower last, lower heel height, and more flexible forefoot than the men’s version. 9 oz; reebok.com…

Mountain Maniac Can a shoe give you superpowers? With the amount of confidence the Raptor inspired in our testers, it came pretty close. The most protective and stable—but still fairly lightweight—shoe in our test, the Raptor let us ignore the terrain and just run. The extremely grippy proprietary rubber and…

Why They’re CoolLet the marathoners worry about shoe mechanics—here’s a fat-foot Cadillac for the rest of us. » Reebok’s top-of-the-line cushioning road shoes padded my peds like a down pillow. But it was the perforated heel that sold me. The innocuous-looking row of holes along the outer heel reduced skidding…

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…

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…

HARD-CHARGER Good for Technical TrailsFor a debut shoe from a brand-new company, the Ignition gets enthusiastic Rookie of the Year props. It handled technical, rocky trails with aplomb, but unlike many other burly mountain-running shoes, it also felt remarkably light and nimble. Large, well-spaced lugs on the outsole clung…

Good for Trails At a mere seven-plus ounces—almost half as much as the sturdiest trail runners—this feather­weight flat initially seemed like it would be too flimsy for everyday running. Even though it’s designed for elite trail racing, we midpack runners still loved its fast and incredibly spry…

Wave Runner “It feels like a racer with more cushioning,” said one tester. Indeed, this neutral trainer may not be as feathery as the Kinvara (page 50), but at a mere ten ounces it’s no slogger, either, thanks to a redesigned TPU “wave plate” (Mizuno’s springy cushioning device) and new,…

TAKES IT EASY Good for Packed Trails If cushion is king for high-mileage training or heavier runners, then the Supernova reigns supreme. Its pillowy crash pad is perfect for cruising on mellow trails. And despite its speedy geometry—the shoe is tilted slightly forward—the forefoot foam doesn’t feel gutted.

SEAMLESS DREAMTrot out the Lizards for trail-running where the term “trail” is generous. Seams in the uppers won’t blow out from abrasion—because there aren’t any. Even the synthetic-leather trim is heat-welded rather than stitched. A fat rubber toe cap provides further armoring. Serious shoe abusers, such as adventure racers and…

A quick-connect hose makes these reservoirs easy to refill (you can remove the reservoir without rethreading the hose and bite valve through the pack's hydration port). 48–100 ounces; nalgene-outdoor.com      …

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…

Mild Stability If the 769 were a coffee drink, it’d be a quadruple espresso. That highly caffeinated feel is due in part to a lightweight midsole compound and deep flex grooves under the toes. Which is not to say it’s jittery: A midfoot shank and a dual-density…

Size, Price: 70 oz, $28; 100 oz, $30Flow Rate: 3*Funk Figher?: Antimicrobial treatmentFilter-Compatible?: Yes, with $7 adapterValve Shutoff?: YesGotta Love: Angled mouthpiece puts bite valve where you need itBummer: Tricky to drySplat Test: Survived *Ratings: 1=Average, 3=Excellent…

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…

If you’re one of the lucky ones who can trot out the front door and weave together a perfect run on a mix of trail and pavement, stop gloating and buy a pair of Odysseys. At first glance the toothy tread appears to be trails-only, but the low-profile lugs, four-density…

Thanks to a full-length TPU Flexion Plate that instigates forward motion, we simply felt fastest in these light stability shoes. In other words, they’re pricey but worth it. And you can run them hot: The breath­able mesh is treated with temperature-regulating material that actually seems to work. 10 oz;…

The most gender-specific shoe in our test, the Wave Rider accommodates a woman’s unique biomechanics. The result is a nimble, comfortable, impressively breathable, neutral trainer that’s also ready to race. 8 oz; mizunousa.com…

Cool Runner We have to admit, the Ravenous surprised us. Columbia is new to the running market and debuts with this breathable, lightweight, perfectly competent trail shoe. It’s best on rocky terrain and—with its particularly breezy open mesh—begs to be unleashed in humid climes. The traction ranked high on dry…

Why They’re CoolThe translucent outsoles are made of a house-brand polymer that, according to Brooks’s R&D crew, lasts 30 percent longer than that supersticky rubber you see on approach and climbing shoes. It also improves wet and dry skid resistance by 20 percent. In the lab, anyway. » The road…

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…

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…

ROCK AND ROAD Sometimes run roads, sometimes trails? This hybrid combines ample cushioning and a road-shoe-like fit for pounding pavement, with a bi-directional tread that gripped even the sloppiest terrain. Though pillowy, it’s still responsive. Faster testers appreciated the smooth transition from heel strike to toe off. The tight mesh…

Good for Trails If you run both roads and mellow trails, be good to your budget: Buy one shoe that can handle both. The Boulder Canyon has the guts of a neutral road shoe—a single-density EVA foam provides ample cushioning on pavement. But it also has grippy,…

Saves Some for Later Last fall, we picked Nike’s amazing LunarGlide+, with its unique Dynamic Support midsole, as our Gear of the Year. Nike built the new LunarEclipse+ on the same platform but opened up the toe box, and took its stability one notch further, bracing the heel with a…

Size, Price: 64 oz, $23; 100 oz, $25Flow Rate: 2*Funk Figher?: Yes, with cleaning tablets, sold separatelyFilter-Compatible?: YesValve Shutoff?: YesGotta Love: Big Bore wide opening: Throw in the ice!Bummer: Rigid valve can be tough on teethSplat Test: Survived *Ratings: 1=Average, 3=Excellent…

BRING ON THE BREEZEYou don’t know ventilation until you’ve experienced the GCS Pro. The uppers are like a screened-in porch—take off the shoe and look straight through it to read your watch, if you wish. But its real worth comes with every stride; on a warm fall day in the…

Gaping openings make for fast, thorough cleaning. 70–100 ounces; deuterusa.com      …

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…

Mild Stability Which sounds more like your morning ritual: Trying to set a new PR, or trying not to hit snooze again? If it’s the latter, the SyncroPace III is your shoe. Like most of Pearl’s running shoes, it has a remarkably comfortable, seamless upper and a…

Why They’re CoolThese resilient and abrasion-resistant runners feel like breezy track shoes. Thank the wire-mesh box under the arch and instep. Adidas calls it the ClimaCool, a.k.a. the CC, but you can call it an underfoot airshaft that vents and drains. » A flexible plate of TPU saved my feet…

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…

This versatile shoe goes from road to trail—and October to April—with ease. Midsole cushion is pillow-like on rocky trails and flexy enough for roads, and the upper breathes well and resists minor weather (but isn’t waterproof). It’s best for narrow-footed mild pronators. 10 oz; brooksrunning.com…

This futuristic, iPod-compatible shoe—put the wireless chip in the sole and go—is chock-full of women-specific features. Most notice­able are flex grooves that are aligned relative to a woman’s lower center of gravity, resulting in a more efficient gait. 10 oz; nikerunning.com…

The women-only PDQ is a minimalist shoe that’s great for agile runners with good biomechanics. We love the use of partially recycled materials and reduced use of glues and parts overall, though we did notice some early wear and tear. 5 oz; endfootwear.com…

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…

Why They’re CoolIf you’ve had double ACL repairs or are minus some meniscus, you could be a candidate for the ultrasupportive 3D Grid Hurricanes. » On a day when my knees verged on mutiny and I detected squawking from strange little muscles that had never made their presence known, I…

SMOOTH OPERATORS Testers loved this shoe’s comfort and smooth heel-to-toe transition. Credit a combination of silicone-based cushioning pads, a stable heel, and a springy midsole compound called MoGo, which we found responsive and highly shock-absorbing. Best for neutral runners to mild pronators. 9.1 oz; brooksrunning.com Bonus: The eco-friendly…

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…

DIRTMONGER The Wildwoods are designed to work equally well on dirt as on pavement. And while we found the Wildwood isn’t fluid enough for the road, it shined in hilly, rugged terrain. The outsole feels secure in the steeps, while an underfoot protection plate defends against sharp jabs. Ultra freaks,…

Good for the Road If you’re like the vast majority of runners, you’re looking for a shoe that offers a touch of stability and ample cushioning but don’t want to pay the price in extra weight. Voilà: We give you the Ravenna. Its lean construction (10.1 ounces)…

Shock Therapy While many shoes are exploring new territory, this one seems to be tending the home fires—an unapologetically traditional, cushy stability shoe that sits high off the ground. But among its megacushioned kind, the Adapt was our favorite. The standard dual-density midsole posting offers overpronators tried-and-true support, and an…

Size, Price: 70 oz, $23Flow Rate: 2*Funk Fighter?: Zip top opening for easy cleaningFilter-Compatible?: Yes, with $4 adapterValve Shutoff?: NoGotta Love: Dump an ice try in the zip topBummer: Pre-hike test of zip seal is criticalSplat Test: Splatted *Ratings: 1=Average, 3=Excellent…

Ever had one of those days when your feet felt so light it’s like they weren’t quite touching the ground? The X-1/C is the next best thing to bottling that feeling. The secret is shaving every possible gram while still retaining the essentials: cushion, traction, and stability. The Encapsulated…

If you train like a mailman—neither rain nor sleet will stop you—reach for these submersibles. The seamless upper is sealed with a Gore-Tex XCR liner and reinforced with a see-through TPU rand, which toughens the shoe without marring its clean look. The masochists among our crew raced up Colorado’s…

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…

Moderate Stability Think of the Triax+12 as a Mini Cooper. While wider-footed testers found the cockpit a bit cramped, everyone else raved about the shoe’s fast and in-control feel. Credit the Triax’s ample cushioning for heavy heel-strikers and nimble, low-to-the-ground profile. A sturdy medial post provides a…

Why They’re CoolWhy They’re Cool: They’re high-performance, but not so overdesigned that you’re afraid to get them dirty. » Tecnica named these 26-ouncers after their three-part midsole: You get swaths of shock-absorbing rubber for the heel strike, denser EVA to keep you from rolling inward, and a mid-density EVA layer…

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,…

Tackle the trickiest winter trails with this all-conditions shoe, thanks to a tough toe cap, sticky rubber outsole, and rigid midfoot support. ASICS’s signature gel pockets in the heel minimize pounding, and testers loved the smooth transition from heel strike to toe-off. 11 oz; asics.com Bummer: Check…

While this trainer may not serve up super-stability or piles of cush, we appreciated its simplicity, light weight, and ability to comfortably take on miles. It’s a good choice for neutral runners to mild pron­ators, as the medial post does offer a tinge of support, which is plenty for…

No shoe is perfect for road and trail, but this one comes close. Gel cushioning in the heel and a flexible forefoot make the 2140 pavement-friendly, while traction (beefier than last year’s model) and good side-to-side stability help it perform off-road. 10 oz; asics.com…

Trail Cheetah Training on rocky, technical terrain? This shoe is your superstable running partner. One-pull Kevlar laces lock down tight, securing the cradle around your foot and creating lateral stability and even tension throughout for an agile feel. Cushioning is on the firm side, which we thought was just fine…

Can bike specialist Pearl Izumi really make a top-quality running shoe? In a word, yes. The Pace is the Syncro line’s first lightweight stability shoe, designed for a slightly overpronating woman. The Pace sports a firm thermoplastic polyurethane frame, a cushy TPU heel, and a bouncy, injection-molded EVA midsole.

DELUXE RIDE Cushy, comfy, and extremely breathable, these shoes are like a Mercedes convertible for your feet. The midsole offers good stability and major cushion that, combined with a seamless transition, had me on cruise control during long runs. Best for neutral runners. 10.3 oz; saucony.com Bonus: Moisture-wicking liners…

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…

BREATHES EASY Biggest surprise of the test: In light rain and on moist trails, the Chinscraper’s soft-shell upper blocked out water just a well as Gore-Tex but breathed considerably better. Plus it felt smooth on moderate terrain and in snow, even paired with snowshoes, though not as much on rocky,…

Good for the Road This affordable neutral shoe had testers raving about its plush cushioning. It was easily the softest of our test but somehow found a way to impress everyone, from our heavier, slower runners to our faster, svelter ones. The reason: For all the shock…

If you’re determined not to let icy trails get in the way of your workout, consider the Attla. Its spiked lugs are almost imperceptible, but they dig into hardpack like tractor tread. For even more bite, slip the included carbide-studded rubber “webs” over the toe and heel, between the…

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…

This shoe will make a convert of even diehard roadies. With aggressive tread perched on top of road-shoe-like gel cushioning, and a flexibility that allows the smooth heel-to-toe roll that roadies are accustomed to, the Eagle Trail makes for an easy transition to dirt. Already a trail fan? Get…

Trail, road, trail, road: Like other 2006 standouts, this shoe understands your dilemma and solves it with a mix of cushioning, stability, and traction. Sportiva’s climbing-shoe heritage shows in the sticky FriXion AT outsole, and the sharper-than-average heel cut provides good braking on steep descents. Unlike some of the grippiest…

With all due respect to Martha Stewart, this shoe is the ultimate control freak. With close-to-the-ground feel and gravity-defying weight, the Highlander is like a racing flat for trails. Speed fanatics will love the stiff sole, and mud wrestlers will envy the aggressive Gryptonite tread, which shook off glop better…

Moderate Stability Unlike most stability or control shoes, which use a stiff medial post near the heel or arch to correct an overpronator’s foot roll, the ProGrid Stabil’s post runs the entire length of the shoe—heel to toe. Although you’d think that might stiffen the shoe, Saucony…

Why They’re CoolThe treads—made of softer tacky carbon and resembling mini-cleats—behave like knobbies, plowing through gunk instead of caking up, while a perimeter ring of harder carbon-rubber lugs gives good grip. » After a stretch of riverbed mudflats, I sprinted up an embankment, yet didn’t end up falling on my…

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…

Live in a mild climate? These breathable mesh trail shoes (read: not winterized) are light and nimble, yet the grippy outsole allowed us to run confi-dently on loose terrain and packed dirt. The solid external heel counter adds stability, as does the no-slip fit. The feather-weight cushioning is best…

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