Shoe Reviews

The shoe is the most important piece of equipment a runner owns, and choosing the right shoe can prevent injury and lead to a long and successful running career.  If you’re looking to buy your first pair of real running shoes, use our guide below to find those that are right for you.  Then, refer to our Shoe Review Menu to find a great pair.

Choosing The Shoe That’s Right For You

Choosing the right shoe can be difficult for a novice runner, but following a few basic guidelines can make your decision much easier.  Please review below our guide to the most important aspects of choosing a running shoe; wearing the right shoe can save you from many aches and pains later on!

  • Pronation – This refers to the natural inclination of your foot to roll inward or outward.  To determine your foot’s pronation, a very simple walking exercise with a friend is all you need.
  • Arch Height – To find the height of your foot’s arch, follow Runner’s World’s “Wet Test”, outlined here.  Arch height may be the single most important aspect in determining the comfort level of your shoe.
  • Foot Size – Knowing the correct length and width of your foot is essential to appropriately choosing a running shoe.  Consult any shoe store employee to determine these figures, and always ask whether a shoe you’re about to buy runs big or small.  NEVER buy a shoe without trying it on first!

Runner’s World’s “Wet Test”

Determining the height of your arch is very simple thanks to an easy test featured on the website of Runner’s World UK magazine called “The Wet Test”.  Knowing your arch height can tell you what type of shoe to get, making it much easier to understand and relate to our shoe reviews.

The Normal Foot
Normal feet have a normal-sized arch and will leave a wet footprint that has a flare, but shows the forefoot and heel connected by a broad band. A normal foot lands on the outside of the heel and rolls inwards slightly to absorb shock. It’s the foot of a runner who is biomechanically efficient and therefore doesn’t need a motion control shoe.
Best shoes: Stability shoes with moderate control features.

 

 

The Flat Foot
This has a low arch and leaves a print which looks like the whole sole of the foot. It usually indicates an overpronated foot – one that strikes on the outside of the heel and rolls inwards (pronates) excessively. Over time, this can cause many different types of overuse injuries.
Best shoes: Motion control shoes, or high stability shoes with firm midsoles and control features that reduce the degree of pronation. Stay away from highly cushioned, highly curved shoes, which lack stability features.

 

 

The High-Arched Foot
This leaves a print showing a very narrow band or no band at all between the forefoot and the heel. A curved, highly arched foot is generally supinated or underpronated. Because it doesn’t pronate enough, it’s not usually an effective shock absorber.
Best shoes: Cushioned (or ‘neutral’) shoes with plenty of flexibility to encourage foot motion. Stay away from motion control or stability shoes, which reduce foot mobility.

Source: Choosing a Shoe: The Very Basics, RunnersWorld.co.uk, accessed 9/5/2007

Amby Burfoot, the former executive editor of Runner’s World magazine and the winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon, has outlined the basics of choosing a shoe in a brief statement in his book, Complete Book Of Running.  It’s two minutes well-spent before making a decision on your new shoes.

The following is an excerpt taken from Runner’s World magazine’s Complete Book Of Running, edited by Amby Burfoot, and published in 1997.  The passage was written by Burfoot himself.

With dozens of different companies and models to choose from, and exciting new shoes hitting the market every day, selecting your pair of running shoes remains a tough choice.  I’ve found that the process is much simpler if you follow these guidelines.

Stick with proven shoes.  New shoes are like new cars and new computers.  You should keep away from them for a couple of years until the bugs are all worked out.

Talk to other runners and knowledgeable retail salespeople.  Virtually every office and neighborhood in America has experienced runners with a collective knowledge of running shoes.  Ask them what shoes they have had good luck with.  Evaluate how these runners’ needs are similar to or different from your own needs.

When you get your new shoes home, wear them first on short runs.  After you’re confident that they’re broken in and don’t cause any blisters or other abrasions, you can use them on longer runs.

Wear your running shoes for running only.  They weren’t intended for basketball or mowing the lawn, and they’ll give you more miles of comfortable, injury-free running if you only use them for running.

Keep your shoes as dry as possible.  Whether they’re damp with sweat or wringing wet after a workout in a downpour, they’ll recover fastest and best if air-dried.  (And they won’t stink.)  Don’t put your shoes in the clothes dryer, which is too hot.  A small fan does an excellent job of drying our shoes.

Remember that your shoes need replacement after 400 to 500 miles.  Even if you don’t see much cosmetic deterioration, the shoes’ midsoles will have lost their cushioning and resiliency.  It’s time for a new pair.

Shoe Review Menu

RunVassar’s coaches and athletes have worked together to bring you this exclusive collection of running shoe reviews.  Written mostly by Alex Booth, these reviews offer detailed insight into many different shoes.  Runner testimonials also give you an idea of whether or not the shoe is right for you.  New shoes will be added constantly, so check back often.

Asics 2120

Retail Price: $95

Stability, Moderate Cushion

The 2000 series has been the most popular running shoe on the market for the last several years.  The fit is wide in the toe box, narrow to regular in the midfoot, and wide in the heel.  Many runners experience slipping in the heel due to its width.  The feel is somewhat soft, thought firmer than previous models, and the shoe has a medium to high arch.

Brooks Adrenaline

Retail Price: $95

Stability, Moderate Cushion

The fit of the Adrenaline is narrow in the toe box, regular in the midfoot, and narrow to regular in the heel.  This shoe has a unique box-like feel as it does not taper in the width and has a smaller toe box compared to most of its closest competitors.  The feel is medium to firm and the shoe has a fairly low arch.  The shoe has a very low profile, so many runners feel closer to the ground in this shoe.

Saucony Omni

Retail Price: $100

Stability, Moderate Cushion

In its latest update, the Omni has become one of the top selling shoes in its class along with the Asics 2000 series and the Brooks Adrenaline.  Its recent success is due to an incredibly soft feel and is accepted as the softest stability shoe on the market.  The fit is narrow in the toe box, wide through the midfoot, and has a low but hugging heel.  The Omni also incorporates Saucony’s traditionally high profile with a medium arch.  This causes the foot to sit higher off the ground than its competitors.

Asics Cumulus

Neutral, Moderate Cushion

Like its name suggests, the Cumulus is a well-cushioned, soft shoe. Although generally a narrower cut, the meshy upper allows the shoe to stretch in the width, making it seem as if its wider than it is. With a fairly high arch, narrow heel, and flared toe box, the Cumulus works well for a foot with a high arch and wider front, especially runners who experience bunions or other similar problems.

Asics Nimbus

Neutral, Maximum Cushion

The Nimbus is a step up in cushion from the Asics Cumulus, something for the heavier or less efficient runner or a heavier striker. The cut of the Nimbus is also wider, having a very stretchy mesh that causes too much movement for a narrower foot. The Nimbus is commonly considered the most comfortable shoe on the market, however many more efficient runners complain that it is too soft for faster running.

Brooks Glycerine

Neutral, Maximum Cushion

The Glycerine is a maximum cushioned, however slightly firmer shoe. Characterized by its low arch, the Glycerine is commonly worn by those neutral runners with a lower arch who prefer a firmer feel. The shoe is also unique because while its heel and lacing is standard in terms of width, the toe box is substantially flared, giving the shoe much more room in the toe box than in the rest of the shoe.

Mizuno Rider

Neutral, Moderate Cushion

The Rider is one of the firmest neutral shoes in the market, perhaps only outdone by the Mizuno Creation. Characterized by its incredibly high arch, the shoe fits fairly standard in the heel and narrower in the lacing and toe box. Many runners have to go up at least half a size in the Rider because it does run short and narrow in the front.

Mizuno Creation

Neutral, Maximum Cushion

Commonly referred to as the firmest cushion shoe on the market, the Creation employs a unique cushioning system, using two large waves in the heel that enclose an empty area between the foot and the ground. Because of this tunnel in the heel, the shoe uses less EVA foam in its construction, making the shoe the lightest in its class. This unfortunately decreases its lifetime, however any runner with a narrow foot and high arch who enjoys a firm feel will love the Creation.

Saucony Trigon Ride

Neutral, Moderate Cushion

Because of Saucony’s grid cushioning system, the Ride sits high off the ground. With its soft foam, the Ride is one of the softest shoes on the market. A low, wide heel is the most unique characteristic of the shoe. The shoe is also cut medium to wide in terms of width, has a small, tapered toe box, and has a medium arch.

Saucony Trigon Guide

Stability, Moderate Cushion

The Guide features the same makeup as its sister shoe, the Ride, however incorporates a stability post giving the shoe a light to moderate amount of support. Less support than the Saucony Omni, the Guide is a good shoe for an over-pronating runner needing less support than the Omni.

Saucony Triumph

Neutral, Maximum Cushion

Saucony’s version of the neutral maximum cushion shoe is the incredibly soft and high-profile Triumph. A fairly wide cut with a medium to low arch, the Triumph is great for the runner looking for all cushion. Because the shoe sits so high off the ground, its users are more prone to pronation than in other neutral shoes, thus it is best for a runner with stiff or supinating feet.

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