Road Shoe Awards
Following on from my Trail Shoe Awards, here are my top three road shoes in the categories of Support, Neutral and Transition. When choosing a shoe, unless you know which type you need, I recommend taking my shoe fit guide to find out which type is best for you. Kicking things off, we have the best three Neutral Shoes:
Neutral shoes are for neutral runners - i.e. those who do not over-pronate. They should contain a decent amount of cushioning, and help guide the foot through as smooth a gait cycle a possible. With that in mind, my top three Neutral shoes for SS14 are:
3: Brooks Ghost 6
The Brooks Ghost 6 is a supremely cushioned shoe, that remains fairly stable. By using a combination of DNA and BioMoGo foam in the midsole, as well as their patented Caterpillar Crashpad, you get a smooth transition from heel to toe. Combine this with a fairly roomy toe box, and a form fitting upper, the end result is a shoe that offers just the right amount of structure.
2: Asics Gel Cumulus 15
The Asics Gel Cumulus 15 is a highly cushioned shoe, that uses all of its technology to produce a smooth end result. Using Asics' IGS (Impact Guidance System), it combines all parts of the shoe to guide your foot through the most efficient foot strike. This means that from the second your heel hits the pavement, to the second you lift your toes, you are guided forwards. Using a combination of a heel counter, Gel cushioning, a Guidance Line and Trustic, and a flexible upper, this IGS philosophy is certainly delivered.
Find my thoughts on the Asics Gel Cumulus 15 in my mini review, found here
And the winner is....
Mizuno Wave Rider 17
Mizuno have completly altered their previous Wave Rider, and come out from the wilderness with this edition. It had starte to become a little lost, and since making the switch to AP+ foam, had lost a lot of stability, making it a difficult shoe for a lot of people to run in (myself included). However, with a redesigned Wave plate, a new midsole compound (U4ic foam), a reworked Smooth Ride system, and a complete revamp into a seamless upper the shoe is once again one of the lightest, most comfortable and flexible neutral shoes on the market. If you've been put off by the lack of stability in previous versions, I urge you to give this a try. You might find yourself a convert...
Support shoes are for those of you who over-pronate. Over-pronation is where your foot rolls inwards beyond vertical, and can cause a whole host of problems, including shin splints and runners knee. With that in mind, here are my top three support shoes for SS14:
3: Saucony Guide 7
The Saucony Guide 7 is the update to what is now Sauconys most popular shoe. It is also their most developed shoe, spending three years in development, and the result is a light, comfortable, supportive, yet flexible shoe. The midsole has been upgraded to a PowerGrid insert, their highest grade foam, and uses a Dual Density midpost to prevent over-pronation. Add in the fact that it uses an 8mm heel to provide a more optimal gait, and a more flexible outsole, and you end up with an excellent support shoe, that doesn't feel like you're being held back.
2: Asics GT2000 - 2
The Asics GT2000-2 is the latest arrival from the popular 2000 range. It uses a new midsole compund called FluidRide, that is lighter, and provides just as much cushioning as before, resulting in a slightly more flexible, and natural feeling shoe. It uses a Dynamic Duomax Dual Density midpost for support, and combines this with a Guidance line and Guidance Trustic toguide you through a natural gait cycle, and blends in Gel in the heel and forefoot to make it feel like you were born to run.
Find out my thoughts on the Asics GT2000-2 in my Video Review by clicking the link
And The Winner Is...
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14
The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14 is a hugely technologically relevant update to one of the most popular shoes in the running industry. They have rebuilt it from the ground up, taking anything out that wasn't quite perfect. They've taken a lot of advice from consumers, and have updated ever aspect of the shoe, whilst keeping it to the very high standards people have come to expect from this shoe. Updates include a full length ground contact for a smoother more stable gait, an improved fit with printed overlays, a more secure lacing system, and a redesign of the eyelets to produce a more comortable fit. They have also given it a facelift, to bring it up to date.
Transition shoes are great for people who want to learn how to run with a mid-forefoot style. This can have a whole host of benefits, including higher efficiency, and lower risk of injury, if done correctly. It is a good idea to transition down into a more minimal shoe, as the technique change can take a long time. To promote this more efficient movement, a shoe with a slightly lower heel, but one that still contains plenty of cushioning is a good start. With that in mind, here are my top Transition shoes for SS14:
3:Saucony Triumph 11
The Saucony Triumph 11 is a neutral shoe, however has a reduced heel height of 8mm, making it easier to get your feet underneath you. They are also very light, which means that when you are changing your technique, it isn't difficult to pick your feet up. They are also very flexible, meaning that your feet are not restricted, so you get a smooth, natural movement. However, they contain plenty of cushioning, and are fairly stable, so are fine for when you revert to your heels. Using Saucony's Powergrid cushioning, they are certainly soft, and have a decoupled heel to promote a more natural feel when landing.
2: Inov8 Road-x 255
Inov8 aren't a brand most people would associate with road running, however, with their new series of road shoes, their philosophy that your feet control the shoe remains intact. The Road-x 255 has a 9mm heel, but is very close to the ground, and offers just enough cushioing, that it remains responsive. This results in an ability to feel the floor, whilst remaining protected when you land on your heels. They are very flexible, and have a spacious toe box to allow your toes to spread and take away some of the impact forces.
Find out my thoughts on the Inov8 Road-x 255 in my Review by clicking the link
And The Winner Is...
Those of you who are familiar with the site will know there could only be one winner. The Mizuno Sayonara is a new shoe from Mizuno, and it replaces both the Precision and the Elixir series. The result is a stable, neutral, low profile shoe that is equally good in training as it is in races. The U4ic midsole is light, whilst providing a lot of cushioning, and the upper is spacious to give your toes enough room to move. Although the heel is 10mm, the shoe is light and flexible enough to allow your foot to do whatever it wants, whilst still having enough stability and cushioning under the heel to heel strike.
Find out my thoughts on the Mizuno Wave Sayonara in my Review by clicking the link
Congratulations to Mizuno and Brooks who take the top spots in their categories, and to all other shoes who came in the top threes. It's going to be a big year in running, and I am looking forward to what the future holds for the next generation of shoes.