2013 buyer's guide running shoes.
Finding the right running shoe is always a challenge. Experts often suggest that once you find something that works, stick with it. Shoe manufacturers typically revamp their model line up every year, but usually make only minor improvements rather than dramatic changes to the line. That appears to be the case in 2013, as many of the shoes we looked at come in lighter and offer more features than previous models, typically making a good thing even better.
Adidas adizero F50 2
Weighing just 274 g, the adizero F50 2 manages to provide a surprising amount of cushioning and support in a lightweight shoe. The breathable air-mesh upper makes this a great option for hot weather racing.
Ecco Biom EVO Racer
One of the original manufacturers of shoes that promote a natural running style, Ecco is introducing a new version of the biom this spring – the evo Racer. This lightweight (220 g), minimalist shoe provides anatomical support to promote that natural running style and uses a polyurethane midsole, which will provide lots of cushioning, but last much longer than shoes using an eva midsole.
Asics Gel Noosa Tri 8
A mainstay in the triathlon racing world for years, the latest version of the Gel Noosa trims 28 g to weigh in at a svelte 230 g. As always there’s lots of moisture movement and breathability thanks to the open mesh upper and perforated sockliner, while the optional elastic lace and heel and tongue grips make this a quick shoe in T2. Add in a surprising amount of support and you have a great shoe for triathlons of any distance.
Nike LunarGlide 4
Offering more support than its predecessor, the LunarGlide 4 still manages to come in 10 per cent lighter thanks to a lighter upper and less rubber on the outsole. While it offers lots of stability and motion control (the Flywire cord system helps support the midfoot a bit more, too), the LunarGlide features lots of f lexibility and feels easy to run fast in, so it will remain a popular option for neutral runners, too.
Merrell Mix Master Move
For those looking for the feel of running barefoot, but want a bit more cushioning, Merrell offers the Mix Master Move. With 9 mm of cushioning and a 4 mm drop from heel to forefoot, the Mix Master Move is low to the ground and has many of the characteristics of the popular Vibram outsoled and rearfoot sling shoes in Merrell’s barefoot line, but with more support and cushioning.
Pearl Izumi Project E:Motion Road M3
Thanks to the seamless upper that makes this a barefoot-friendly racing and training shoe, the M3 manages to provide a surprising amount of stability while also providing a lightweight and quick feel. Comfort is enhanced by the Transfer Dry spacer mesh that will keep your feet cool and dry even in the hottest conditions. There’s a high-density post on the inside of the midfoot to provide some pronation control, too, making this a great shoe for those who might need a bit more control.
Zoot Ultra Kiawe
Zoot shoes have always been particularly triathlete-friendly and the Ultra Kiawe continues that trend. Olympic silver medallist Javier Gomez helped develop the shoe along with multiple Ironman champion Jordan Rapp, so you know this is a shoe built for performance running. This barefoot- friendly shoe weighs just 195 g and uses Zoot’s CarbonSpan+ technology to support and guide your foot through each foot plant and toe off. The limited 6 mm drop enhances the speedy feel of the shoe.
It’s hard to believe that a shoe this light (199 g) can provide as much support and cushioning as the Virrata. The shoe offers an extremely cushioned feel, but is extremely easy to run fast in because of the f lexible sole and relatively flat feel. A good combination of a racing and training flat, the Virrata is an excellent training and racing option for triathletes of all shapes and sizes.
New Balance 890 V2
At just 261 g, the latest version of New Balance’s popular 890 shoe is a lightweight trainer that can serve as an excellent shoe for interval workouts or triathlon races. The synthetic mesh upper with welded seams is extremely lightweight and comfortable, making sockless running a realistic option. A truly neutral trainer, most triathletes will find this an excellent option for training and racing, especially longer distance events.