After a few years of focusing on minimalist shoes, many running shoe companies are now turning their attention back to more traditional cushioning and stability models. The result for runners is a new range of footwear that often incorporates what was learned from the minimalist shoe movement with traditional protection and cushioning. Our fall shoe guide highlights some of this season’s best trainers and racing flats.
New Balance 870 V3
$150 Men’s 277 g (9.8 oz), Women’s 221 g (7.8 oz)
Runners seeking uncompromising cushioning with a hint of stability will love the 870 V3. This year, New Balance has added a larger abzorb crash pad that runs from the heel to the midfoot for better initial impact protection. A T-Beam mid-stance stiffener improves the 870 V3’s ground contact and torsional rigidity while also increasing stability. The 8 mm drop creates the right combination of cushioning while still encouraging a faster mid-foot strike. Glued overlays on the upper provide a snug supportive fit without adding excess weight.
Adidas Adistar Boost
$180 Men’s 274 g (9.7 oz), Women’s 232 g (8.2 oz)
As suggested by the name, this shoe uses Adidas’s innovative Boost foam midsole that delivers exceptional cushioning without sacrificing responsiveness (see Adizero Adios Boost on p.83 for more details). For stability, Adidas adds a Formotion heel and Adiprene medial post. A four-way-stretch upper fabric is reinforced with sewn and glued overlays for a secure and comfortable fit.
Asics Gel Cumulus 15
$150 Men’s 323 g (11.4 oz), Women’s 280 g (9.9 oz)
With its exceptional cushioning and mild stability, the Cumulus 15 is a great daily training shoe for mostly neutral runners. Asics employs its gel cushioning in the heel and forefoot as well as its two-layer midsole for traditional comfort, but with surprising responsiveness. An 11 mm drop will be appreciated by runners with a heel-strike stride.
Saucony Guide 7
$150 Men’s 283 g (10 oz), Women’s 252 g (8.9 oz)
Saucony’s popular light stability shoe has been updated with an improved ride, increased cushioning and greater f lexibility – all without compromising the light stability many runners require. Fans of the previous model will appreciate the new full-length and responsive PowerGrid midsole that’s lighter and more durable than traditional eva. Saucony uses an 8 mm offset that encourages a faster midfoot strike while the new more flexible forefoot outsole provides better cushioning and improved toe-off. An src crashpad protects runners during initial ground contact and the new upper delivers a snug foot-hugging fit. This is an excellent update and great shoe for runners wanting some stability during everyday training.
New Balance 880 V3
$150 Men’s 326 g (11.5 oz), Women’s 252 g (8.9 oz)
Aimed at mid-to high-arched-foot runners, the New Balance 880 V3 delivers exceptional cushioning. The shoe’s 12 mm drop and new two-layer midsole is responsible for much of the 880 V3’s durability and plush ride. Up front, New Balance has added a new segmented blown-rubber pod outsole improves cushioning without limiting forefoot f lexibility. Neutral heelstrikers will be impressed with the 880 V3.
Zoot Ultra Race 4.0
$200 Men’s 238 g (8.4 oz), Women’s 223 g (7.9 oz)
As Zoot’s top-end neutral performance running shoe, the Ultra Race 4.0 uses the company’s unique construction details: a seamless interior that minimizes the risk of hot spots even when running sockless and a carbon shank that provides lightweight torsional stability and encourages a powerful toe-off. The most eye-catching feature, however, is the Boa dial closure that provides even tensions across the upper as well as around the heel and collar. The result is a surprisingly snug and supportive fit that can easily be adjusted with simple rotation of the dial. With their 19 mm ride height and 8 mm drop, Ultra Race 4.0 are a good choice for faster runners that still want some protection.
Asics Gel Nimbus 15
$190 Men’s 326 g (11.5 oz), Women’s 266 g (9.4 oz)
This is easily one of the plushest premium neutral cushioning shoes on the market. Asics has increased the gel cushioning in the heel and forefoot while at the same time switching to a softer dual-layer midsole foam. The results are instantly obvious – a significantly plusher ride that’s still relatively responsive. The uppers feature a similar luxurious feel soft padding along the tongue and collar. Neutral runners seeking uncompromising plushness whether they are heel or forefoot strikers, should consider the Gel Nimbus 15.
Brooks Glycerin 11
$180 Men’s 334 g (11.8 oz), Women’s 272 g (9.6 oz)
Positioned as a premium cushioning shoe, the Glycerin 11 offers neutral runners an incredibly smooth experience. Brooks uses a full-length dna midsole that provides adaptive cushioning based on the runner’s weight and foot strike. The extended Caterpillar crash-pad outsole encourages a smooth heel-to-toe transition, while the no-sew upper provides a comfortable foot-hugging fit. Brooks uses a 10 mm drop, which provides plenty of protection and a traditional ride.
Pearl Izumi Road N1
$140 Men’s 263 g (9.3 oz),Women’s 246 g (8.7 oz)
Pearl Izumi’s latest cushioning shoe provides an incredibly responsive ride thanks to its new Dynamic Offset midsole. The midsole’s unique shape helps promote a faster and more efficient toe-off that’s easily noticeable for most runners. For cushioning, Pearl Izumi employs a high quality eva that offers a plush ride and helps keep the weight down. A seamless upper hugs the foot and minimizes the risk of hot spots during longer runs.
Merrell Bare Access 2 (Men’s) Bare Access Arc 2 (Women’s)
$110 Men’s 198 g (7 oz), Women’s 155 g (5.5 oz)
With its zero-drop construction and balanced 8 mm rise, the Bare Access 2 and the Bare Access Arc 2 are great minimalist shoes for runners that still want something to protect them when training on paved surfaces. Merrell uses a Vibram rubber outsole for excellent grip and durability.
Inov-8 F-Lite 195
$145 Men’s 195 g ( 6.8 oz)
With their 195 g weight and 3 mm drop the F-Lite 195s are ideal for minimalist runners that still want something separating their feet from the pavement. The extremely flexible mid/outsole helps runners strengthen their feet during workouts, while the bonded overlays on the upper ensure a secure and stable fit.
Sketchers GOrun 2
$110 Men’s 187 g (6.6 oz), Women’s 147 g (5.2 oz)
This super-plush and super-f lexible minimalist shoe encourages a midfoot strike and is a good option for runners looking to transition to even more minimalist footwear. The 4 mm drop will appeal to runners coming from more conventional shoes, while the soft midsole makes for confident footfall.
$135 Men’s 243 g (8.6 oz), Women’s 221 g (7.8 oz)
This zero-drop neutral shoe offers runners cushioning and comfort thanks to its 28 mm stack height. The Torin’s two layer midsole provides plenty of protection when running on hard surfaces while still feeling responsive. Alta uses a unique foot-shaped last that encourages a forward footstrike and appropriate toe-splay.
Adidas Adizero Adios Boost
$160 Men’s 226 g (8 oz), Women’s 187 g (6.6 oz)
This season, Adidas updates its classic racing shoe with a new full-length Boost foam midsole. The midsole material consists of small thermoplastic polyurethane (tpu) pellets that are molded together and deliver a softer ride than eva without compromising responsiveness. The fact that the Boost midsole is light, retains its performance qualities throughout the life of the shoe and is unaffected by temperature changes makes this midsole-material a top choice for racing shoes like the Adios. Adidas has stuck with a proven 10 mm drop and added a lightweight and highly breathable upper. The minimalist outsole delivers solid traction and reasonable durability thanks to the Continental rubber compound.
New Balance RC1400 Glow in the Dark
$130 Men’s 201 g (7.1 oz), Women’s 161 g (5.7 oz)
This lightweight and low-to-the-ground performance shoe is an update this season with a unique upper that provides unparalleled visibility. New Balance combines bright colours with ref lective highlights and luminescent accents, ensuring runners remain visible and safe during low-light autumn workouts. The rest of the 1400’s performance is unchanged, ensuring that it remains a top choice for speed work or racing.