This definitive guide to the best new running shoes of 2018 explores everything you need to know before buying new running shoes this year, including shoes from Brooks, Altra, Adidas, Asics, Mizuno and more. These twelve shoes are worth tracking down this year.


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Table of Contents
Introduction

Editors’ Picks

 

Editor’s Choice: On CloudX


The first thing I noticed when I slid these on (besides the bright red color) was the arch support. As a runner who leans towards structured shoes, I somehow wasn’t used to feeling the arch quite so distinctly. However, they were lightweight and helped me survive through six 1000s (for the non-track runners, that’s six 1000-meter loops on a track or a set course). For road running drills, these were superb. The cloud-like pillows on the sole of the shoe helped support my calves without adding extra bulk. And they don’t look too bad either.

Weight: 8 ounces
Heel Height: 16 mm
Forefoot Height: 10 mm
Pronation: Neutral

 

Best Budget Pick: Altra Solstice


I’ve run in Altras on trails, but I haven’t done quite as much road running in them, so I was pleasantly surprised with the performance. The low profile was most immediately apparent in my testing. The tight upper reminded me of Nike’s Flyknits, and the ventilation was perfect for the bizarre spring weather New York got in January. As one of the lightest shoes I tested by the numbers, it felt like the most agile shoe by far.

Weight: 6 ounces
Heel Height: 23mm
Forefoot Height: 23mm
Pronation: Neutral

Introduction

New year, new you, new running shoes. The fitness movement flexes all its muscles on January 1 (when all of us make new year resolutions that we will inevitably break), and athletic brands have capitalized on this. It seems they all release new shoes (or at the very least a new colorway of a popular shoe) at the beginning of the year.

So, like in years past, a flurry of new running shoes was launched January 1. We’ve braved the cold, the snow, the rain, unseasonably warm weather and one or two bouts with illness to test each of the most important launches.


Table of Contents
Introduction

The Best New Running Shoes of 2018

Best for Gym-Going and Running: Adidas AlphaBounce Beyond


Ideal for gym use, these shoes run miles on the treadmill before stomping over to the weight room to hold steady during deadlifts, and then over to the turf for quick feet. For the classes where you don’t know what to wear (how much running do I need to do? Are there sprints?) these shoes are great. Whether your instructor makes you run laps around the block, or do suicides on the turf, these shoes will hold tough throughout all that and more. The continental soles are also superb for keeping your grip on quick turns.

Weight: 12.2 ounces
Heel Height: 27 mm
Forefoot Height: 18.3 mm
Pronation: Neutral

 

Best Budget Pick: Altra Solstice


I’ve run in Altras on trails, but I haven’t done quite as much road running in them, so I was pleasantly surprised with the performance. The low profile was most immediately apparent in my testing. The tight upper reminded me of Nike’s Flyknits, and the ventilation was perfect for the bizarre spring weather New York got in January. As one of the lightest shoes I tested by the numbers, it felt like the lightest shoe by far.

Weight: 6 ounces
Heel Height: 23mm
Forefoot Height: 23mm
Pronation: Neutral

Best Lightweight Max Cushioning: Asics Gel Nimbus-20


While Asics might not always make the best looking running shoes out there, you can always depend on them to support your ankles, knees and hips, no matter how many miles you log in them. The Gel Nimbus-20 is no different. It has a FlyteFoam midsole (ultra-cushy) and gel cushioning in the rear and forefoot (which you can see). Compared to many max cushioned shoes I’ve tested, these are featherweights.

Weight: 10.7 ounces
Heel Height: 23 mm
Forefoot Height: 13 mm
Pronation: Under-Pronator

Best for Maximum Cushion and Protection from the Road: Brooks Transcend 5


The Brooks Transcend 5 carried me through a short recovery run along Boston’s Charles River — and also through a rainstorm without getting super soaked and losing all grip. The extra padding helps on days when your legs are sore, but are also handy if you just need a little boost off the ground. Though I haven’t used them in one, I could even see using them for a longer distance race like a half marathon.

Weight: 10.8 ounces
Heel Height: 24mm
Forefoot Height: 16mm
Pronation: Over or Under

Best for Best Trail/Road Mixer: Hoka One One Challenger ATR 4


After an initial skepticism about the cushioning on these shoes, they proved to be just as lightweight as something with way less cushioning (just nine ounces!). With a nice wide toebox, the Challenger ATRs offered plenty of room for toe splay and I could still feel the road beneath my toes. If you’re a midfoot or heel-striker, you might not be able to feel it as much, as the cushioning is pretty thick. These fit pretty true to size, while still providing ample space for foot swelling (which makes sense coming from Hoka, who has a big audience of ultra runners). In testing, I felt like I go forever, have my feet expand and the shoes would still fit well. While they are built for all-terrain, I liked them on the road as well.

Weight: 9 ounces
Heel Height: 29 mm
Forefoot Height: 25 mm
Pronation: N/A

Best Everday Stability: Mizuno Wave Inspire 14


As much as these reminded me of tennis shoes, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the support they provided. I felt the ground, but yet my heel felt perfectly cushioned. The shoes have an optical illusion where they look small, but after wear testing, fit just about true to size. The cushioning and foam offers a similar feel to what Asics has in its shoes. A jaunt over the Brooklyn Bridge was a breeze with these.

Weight: 11 ounces
Heel Height: 31mm
Forefoot Height: 12mm
Pronation: Moderate

Best Lightweight Short Distance Runner: New Balance Zante V4


In the mere four years since it launched, the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante has developed something of a cult following, which, in running circles, essentially means that people have very, very strong feelings about every change that’s made to it, however minute. Version one was a huge success right out of the gate — a lightweight, uptempo shoe with a soft feel, a wide toe-box and a pronounced toe-spring that made you feel a whole lot faster than you probably are. Then versions two and three got slightly firmer and heavier, and some cried foul. With the newly released V4, though, that softness has returned (still no sign of the dramatic toe-spring, which is a bummer). There’s also a new engineered mesh upper and a material New Balance calls Hyposkin, which they employ across the midfoot to ensure a proper fit. The V4 will work for a lot of people — as a speed workout shoe for mid-packers, or an everyday trainer for faster, more efficient runners. — Mike Conklin

Weight: 8.6 ounces
Heel Height: 16 mm
Forefoot Height: 10mm
Pronation: Neutral

 

Editor’s Choice: On CloudX


The first thing I noticed when I slid these on (besides the bright red color) was the arch support. As a runner who leans towards structured shoes, I somehow wasn’t used to feeling the arch quite so distinctly. However, they were lightweight and helped me survive through six 1000s (for the non-track runners, that’s six 1000-meter loops on a track or a set course). For road running drills, these were superb. The cloud-like pillows on the sole of the shoe helped support my calves without adding extra bulk. And they don’t look too bad either

Weight: 8 ounces
Heel Height: 16 mm
Forefoot Height: 10 mm
Pronation: Neutral

Best Lightweight Around-Town Runner: Puma Ignite Flash Evoknit


These shoes are incredibly lightweight, with a super thin and breathable upper. Perfect for weekends where you’re running around from workout to grocery shopping to the bar. These will do the trick. The flexible form-fitting upper and white cushy sole are bendy enough to touch the toe to the laces. While we wouldn’t recommend putting in long runs on these, the casual runner will find them comfortable and cushioned.

Weight: 8 ounces
Heel Height: 24 mm
Forefoot Height: 12 mm
Pronation: Neutral

Best Studio to Street Runners: Reebok 6000


These lightweight running shoes look like they could be commuter shoes, but don’t be fooled. The construction is similar to that of the Adidas Ultraboosts (which should come as no surprise since Adidas owns Reebok), so there’s no detached tongue and it’s all one sock-like upper. It makes for a snug fit, but also makes them a little tough to loosen, so be sure to try them on in a store before you pull the trigger. If you’re looking for something to log loads of miles in every day, perhaps it’s best to check out the Floatride Run — the 6000 is a great shoe to throw in your gym bag for weekend trips where you don’t want to bring multiple sneakers.

Best Shoe No One Seems To Know Exists: Saucony Breakthru 4


Saucony gets a whole lot of attention for shoes at opposite ends of its product line: the super-cushioned Triumph ISO and the long-standing favorite of speedsters everywhere, the Kinvara. But there are two shoes in the middle of its lineup that people don’t ever seem to talk about: the Zealot ISO, which sits just beneath the Triumph in terms of cushioning, and the Breakthru, which sits just above the Kinvara, occupying a space that should earn it far more discussion than it does. The Breakthru 4 is a no-nonsense shoe that offers just enough cushioning, a nice dose of responsiveness thanks to a newly added layer of Saucony’s proprietary EVERUN foam and a fit that doesn’t skew too narrow or too wide. And at only $100, it’s a hell of a bargain. — Mike Conklin

Weight: 8.6 ounces
Heel Height: 25mm
Forefoot Height: 17 mm
Pronation: Neutral

Best Daily Runner: Saucony Liberty ISO


I was a bit skeptical about the Liberty ISOs fitting right out of the box. They seemed extremely tight when I put them on, but once I got running, they seemed to fit just fine. The upper was a bit shallow, so on downhills I could feel my toes sliding forward. For an on-road track practice, they were light, yet solid enough to keep my feet from getting tired.

Weight: 9.7 ounces
Heel Height: 22 mm
Forefoot Height: 18 mm
Pronation: Light to Moderate
Table of Contents
Introduction

Best Winter Running Shoes

Don’t want to stop running outside, despite the cold? These five running shoes conquer ice and snow better than any other shoe on the market. Read the Story

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