The original minimal movement and natural running got joggers quick stepping on the track and trail. Then came the backlash: those saying minimalism leads to injury, hurting more than it helps. Today, manufacturers are pushing shoe tech to find sacred middle ground — offering lightweight, responsive shoes with enough cushion and stability to prevent injury. These 10 are the best of the new breed.
More Shoe, More to Love
Is “maximalist” the next big thing in running? There’s certainly a lot to love. GP puts rubber to the pavement to see how seven different options stack up.
Today in Gear: Patriotic kicks, Grado headphones, smart bulbs and more.
Collectively we spend a lot of time running: we’re Ironman finishers, ultramarathoners, trail runners, joggers and ad-hoc sprinters, police fleers (seldom to never) and woman chasers (only when we know her). 2013 was a good year for running shoes of all stripes and three of them stood out to us. These shoes — the New Balance Minimus Hi-Rez, Hoka One One Rapa Nui 2, and Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra ($120+) — are drastically different in design, but each is free of gimmicks and encourages a natural running stride.
The antithesis of the treadmill
After a long day stuck in the office or boardroom, sometimes pounding pavement just doesn’t cut it. The right shoes make the difference between enjoying the boulder field at 10,000 feet and calling it a day at the first stream crossing. Whether you’re training for the Sky Running Race of Champions or just looking to trade your tried and true 5k evening run in for some time on gravel and dirt, GP’s testers have a shoe for every off-road run.
Run Like You Mean It
Summer heat waves are on the edge of winding down, and that’s good news: you can run without your shoes melting to the road. If you’ve been stuck all summer plodding along on a treadmill in the gym or running in the predawn hours to avoid scorchers, now is a great time to reassess your aging kicks and consider an update. We could go on about minimal vs. conventional, the merits of cushioning and drop angles and tread patterns, or we could just find the best shoes of the year to help you with one thing: working on your fast. Our search for the best running shoes of the year yielded more than a few contenders, and unless you plan on leaving them in your closet to collect dust, there’s not a single shoe here that won’t help you get to the front of the pack.
Go forth and perform
Warm weather: we can’t say enough good things about it. There’s something noble about putting on cold weather gear and sticking it out all winter, but running in the summer, sweat pouring off your brow, hat and clothing looking like the Bonneville salt flats, the first sip of Heed after a 20 miles in the scorching heat, runner babes in short shorts — this is pure, unadulterated sport pleasure. Here’s the gear we’re wearing. If you’re prepping for a race or just like to hit the pavement for an hour after work, this stuff has performance written all over it.
Shoes for the year-round runner
Winter in the Northern Hemisphere lasts four months, but for all intents and purposes the conditions it imposes on runners — cold winds, snow, ice, mud and generally unpredictable terrain — are good for another two. That’s half a year on a treadmill or cross-training in another discipline. That won’t do for most runners. Aside from the functional pre-race advantages of running on roads and trails, exercising in the cold has been associated with all kinds of health benefits, from increased calorie burn to improved stress-coping capacity.
Fortunately, there’s a battery of winter running shoes that perform and protect, many of them incorporating positive design elements from the minimalist running movement — shoes that are, in other words, more than glorified lightweight hikers. We’ve got the 10 best here. Lace up, put the law offices of Jim Sokolove on speed-dial, and get outside.
Everything you need to live it up
Looking to make your extended weekend celebration extra memorable? Well, our editors have culled through our latest posts to help provide some last minute inspiration for your Memorial Day weekend, whether the festivities are at your place, or elsewhere. You can thank us by throwing another burger on the grill. Two slices of cheese, please….
It’s safe to say that winter is finally over, which means it’s time to put some color back into your wardrobe. Swathed in a bold blue, the New Balance MS620BL will have you diving into spring, feet first. And with its traditional mesh and suede construction, this classic foot holder is equipped for everything from…
A primitive step for trail running
The barefoot running revolution is headed off-road and companies are scrambling for a foothold. The New Balance Minimus Trail or MT10 ($105) is just as the name suggests: minimal. As in only a 4mm drop from heel to toe; a traditional running shoe by comparison is about three times that. The Vibram designed outsole means…
These shoes were made for pubbing
In celebration of the New Balance 576′s, NB has created a limited production run called the “Pub Pack” and as you can imagine each shoe features pub-inspired design. Before you think these are shoes you should get sloppy in, keep in mind New Balance has made the collection with full grain leather, metal lace keepers…
Black Navy & Pine
If you know your New Balance history you’ll recall that the 1400′s, originally released in 1994, have previously only been available in Japan – making them a covet for enthusiasts (this guy). J.Crew has collaborated with New Balance to bring back an exclusive run of the New Balance 1400 ($130) in two exclusive Fall-ready colors:…
Nothing Like Your Dad's Pair
Those not tuned in to the sneaker scene might be surprised to see a pair of New Balances “peacocking” with such a bright street inspired color package. Especially with the classic 850 shoe which was originally produced back in 1991. Well we’re here to enlighten you that this runner’s staple brand isn’t always about plain…
Lightweight (9.5 ounces) and designed for the runner looking for a mid-level of stability control, the 902LW is an ace choice for training and running. It features New Balance’s ACTEVA premium ultra light weight midsole and the TS2 transitional support system for optimal transition from heel strike to toe-off. N-LOCK integrated lacing and webbing will…