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This spring’s 4 best shoes for long runs

These shoes are in it for the long haul, no matter where your long run takes you

As the weather starts to warm up and the days get sunnier, there’s no better way to while away a few hours on a weekend than going for a nice relaxing long run. Even if you’re not training for something specific, a long run is an excellent way to get outside, enjoy the sunshine and explore a new area of your town or city. Wherever your long run takes you, it’s important that your shoes keep up. Check out our top picks for the best long run shoes from the March and April 2021 issue of Canadian Running to help you make sure your shoes will last mile after mile.

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Photo / Matt Stetson

NIKE REACT INFINITY RUN 2 

Category: Stability
Men’s: 302 g (10.7 oz.)
Women’s: 244 g (8.6 oz.)
Drop: 8 mm
Price: $190

The React Infinity Run was created to address the need for stability without the rigidity of traditional medial posting, and it’s been updated with an even greater focus on injury prevention. The shoe’s stability comes via a wider platform at the front, and, as with the ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit (reviewed here), the shoe’s rocker geometry helps you glide smoothly through transitions. 

Based on feedback from runners, the brand has beefed up the toe area of the upper so it doesn’t wear through as quickly. There’s more generous padding in the heel collar, and the brand’s unique Flywire cables perform the same function as overlays in other brands, adding structure and enhancing fit and lockdown. The stretchy tongue contributes to a comfy, socklike feel that will stay with you throughout your run. The React foam in the midsole, which manages to be soft and durable at the same time (the perennial quest for shoe brands) means the shoe retains that feeling of cushy comfort for a lot of miles. This highly versatile shoe works well for easy runs, long runs and tempo sessions for runners of all levels.

Photo / Matt Stetson

BROOKS GLYCERIN 19

Category: Neutral
Men’s: 289 g (10.2 oz.)
Women’s: 255 g (9.0 oz.)
Drop: 10 mm
Price: $200 

The Glycerin is Brooks’ plushest trainer, and so instantly light and comfortable, you won’t need any breaking-in time. With a nice stack of DNA LOFT cushioning material through the length of the midsole, you get a smooth, comfortable ride in just about any conditions. You also get more than acceptable energy return and you can expect the 19 will last as long as previous iterations. The 19, which comes in a variety of colours, has all the features Glycerin fans have come to expect from this very successful shoe: excellent comfort, great energy return and reliable durability. It now has even more cushioning, a slightly modified upper to enhance fit, and a spongy heel collar. There’s not much that’s sexy about the Glycerin – but that’s why diehard runners keep coming back to it. Overall, an excellent choice for a daily trainer or long run shoe.

Photo / Matt Stetson

PUMA DEVIATE NITRO

Category: Neutral
Men’s: 268 g (9.5 oz.)
Women’s: 218 g (7.7 oz.)
Drop: 8 mm
Price: $200 

Puma is a well-established brand in the sports world, but the new, maximalist Deviate Nitro (one of a suite of shoes using the brand’s innovative midsole cushioning material) proves it’s serious about running. With a thin mesh upper, an embedded carbon composite plate and a 32 mm nitrogen-infused midsole, the Deviate is a very springy, propulsive shoe designed to take you through long training runs efficiently and with significantly less wear and tear on your legs. For runners accustomed to the feel of better-known plated shoes, the Deviate has a similar pop at toe-off, but without the noticeable rocker, making for more natural-feeling (but just as smooth) transitions. It’s also a tiny bit closer to the ground than its competitors, which means less instability when turning corners. The outsole is a grippy, high-traction rubber that both hugs the road on rainy days and prolongs the shoe’s life. 

The Nitro line recognizes that women’s feet aren’t just smaller versions of men’s feet – they’re proportioned altogether differently, and the narrower heel in the women’s shoe reflects that. In short: the Deviate Nitro is fairly light, comfortable and fast and makes a great long run shoe, or even a race shoe for longer distances.

Photo / Matt Stetson

ASICS GLIDERIDE 2

Category: Neutral
Men’s: 323 g (11.4 oz.)
Women’s: 252 g (8.9 oz.)
Drop: 5 mm
Price: $200

The Glideride was built to help you achieve an optimally efficient gait (i.e., one that requires as little energy output as possible). It accomplishes this via a marked rocker in the sole (the brand’s GuideSole Technology), combined with stiffness in the forefoot and a reinforced plastic plate. The theory is that all those things, along with a reinforced heel cup, help propel the foot through the gait cycle and minimize excessive side-to-side movement in the ankle (which compromises efficiency). 

This new update succeeds well. For those who like a nice, firm, responsive ride, the shoe delivers. And those who are accustomed to a squishier ride but are still looking for great energy return should consider giving this model a whirl, since the shoe’s stiffness is offset by the rocker in the sole. The update also has a super-tough Ahar rubber outsole, which means you can put a ton of miles on it without wearing it down. The tradeoff is that, despite the deep cutaway in the sole, it’s a little heavier than comparable fast trainers, so you may decide to opt for something lighter for your faster workouts. Just don’t be surprised when your coach asks why your long runs have suddenly gotten faster.

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