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New 2018 Running Shoes

Shoes You Need to Know About this Season

Nike Zoom Fly


By now you’ve heard all the hype: the Nike Zoom Fly is revolutionary among lightweight training and racing shoes adapted from the race-day fast Vaporfly 4% that was used in Nike’s Breaking2 project. In fact, there’s nothing else out there quite like it.

While the heel to toe ratio is relatively low (8.3 mm offset), you'll feel a cliff-like drop from the stacked heel wedge to the forefoot. It may take some getting used to, but it offers unparalleled forward propulsion from landing to toe-off. Once you're used to it, hang on for a snappy-fast footstrike transition and bouncy ride.

In the shoe, you'll sit atop a semi-curved last that hugs the arch, adding to the dynamic, flexible feel. The low-pro tongue fits well, offers little weight, and even less fuss—another reason this is indeed a performance-specific shoe. When combined with the comfort of the breathable "Flymesh" upper, there’s no way you won’t feel fast wearing the Zoom Fly.

What’s more, it’s whoa durable. One of our testers ran over 450 miles and claims he sees room for even more (good deal for the price, eh?)! One caveat: if you have a higher volume foot, consider taking your Zoom Fly a half size up.

Final thoughts: This is an ideal shoe for tempos, intervals, and even half to full marathon race day. Its durability means you’ll be able to keep it in your rotation for quite a while.

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Mizuno Wave Inspire 14


While the Wave Inspire 14 is a supportive shoe, it's still surprisingly nimble—a stellar combination. Testers praised the Wave Inspire 14’s bounciness and flexibility with toe off combined with the protection of balanced cushioning.

The midsole wraps your foot for a performance-oriented feel and updated “Mizuno Wave” cushioning technology feels fast yet stable. What’s more, the shoe feels dynamically supportive, offering a smooth and guided ride whether you’re out for a recovery jog or a hard effort.

Final thoughts: The Wave Inspire 14 is ideal for marathon training. It offers the right amount of guidance, flexibility, and lightness in a very cushioned and supportive package. Without a doubt, it’s the best of all worlds.

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Karhu Fusion Ortix


The New Karhu Fusion Ortix is available exclusively at Fleet Feet. It's designed with an updated fit thanks to data from Fleet Feet stores across the country, which makes this shoe particularly noteworthy for the technology that went into creating the fit.

Several testers lauded the secure heel and lasting, supportive comfort during long runs. Another tester said the shoes fit so well he didn’t even notice they were there. Now that's a good fit!

When it comes to cushion and ride, Karhu's unique "Directional" cushioning creates a proprietary feel from landing through toe-off, a feature well-liked by testers. It’s a sweet balance between soft cushion and responsiveness. Every tester agreed the heel counter was snug and secure so even the most narrow-footed among them was able to run without slippage.

Final thoughts: The Fusion Ortix is a comfortable trainer with the right amount of cushion and responsiveness for both easy and long training runs.

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Brooks Ravenna 9


You know the shoe that just works? Every run you have with them feels effortless, comfortable, no fuss? Sure, you don’t experience anything revolutionary per se, you just feel good, solid. No matter what. That’s the Ravenna 9. And if you're looking for a classic, dependable feel, look no further.

This iteration is lighter than the previous, more flexible (specifically the women's), and from what our testers could discern, more comfortable than all its predecessors. Wow, for an update, that’s some really good news.

The Ravenna’s heel cup feels soft and secure—a silk-like cushioned fabric sits against your ankle. The midfoot wraps like a glove and opens up into a semi-roomy—yet secure—toe box (precisely what you’d expect from a pair of Brooks running shoes) What’s more, our testers lauded the responsive cushioning that runs throughout the shoe and the stable support they felt with each footfall.

Testers took the Ravenna out for everything from one-mile jaunts to 20-mile marathon training runs ... and, wow, no matter the distance, they felt the same: smooth, light, and bouncy.

Final thoughts: For the normal- to narrow-footed runner in need of dependable cushion and a lightweight, versatile shoe suitable for your first 5K or 100th long run.

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Salomon Sonic RA


Perhaps you’re like us, and when you think of Salomon, you mostly think of Kilian Jornet—arguably the best mountain-running athlete in the world—careening full-tilt down a steep scree field wearing a pair of low-pro (yet grippy) Salomon trail running shoes with quick-tie laces. Well, if that’s the case, push the image out of your mind. In fact, push out everything you think you know about Salomon. Because it’s all about to change. …. Introducing the Salomon Sonic RA—a premium, well-performing road shoe.

If you’ve worn Salomons before, you’ll still notice a hint of Salomon’s classic boot-like feel in the shoe’s stiffness. But even so, it's responsive and light. When testers upped the pace for tempos and intervals, they all agreed unanimously: the Salomon Sonic RA is fast.

You'll feel a wide toe box and snug midfoot atop firm cushioning with a bouncy return. The shoe breathes well, too, thanks to a thin mesh upper. And, an ankle-conforming collar prevents heel slippage and adds to a “premium” out-of-box comfort. What’s more, Salomon’s new “Vibe" technology might even decrease the side-to-side vibration you experience as your foot strikes the ground by up to two decibels. Sounds exciting!

Final thoughts: If you’re looking for a solid neutral training shoe that performs equally well during recovery runs as it does during speed sessions, this might very well be your ticket.

Salomon also offers two other models in the RA (Running Avenue) line. One, the Sonic RA Pro, is an even lighter race-ready shoe and, two, is the Sonic RA Max, a slightly beefier version of the Sonic RA that also provides dynamic support.

ASICS Nimbus 20


The updated Nimbus 20 takes the classic tried-and-true favorite to new heights, er widths, with a larger toe box and midfoot to accommodate a higher volume foot. Several testers—who had previously never worn ASICS—stepped into the Nimbus 20 with ease and surprise. It’s safe to say this version offers a dependable and versatile fit.

The upper is flexible and stretchy, yet wraps the foot and holds even the most narrow of feet in place. And the midsole gel offers the same, pillowy ride you’ve come to expect from the Nimbus line. Testers went so far as to call it “luxurious" on the run.

... And not that looks matter when it comes to the right shoe (or at least we’ve been trained to think that way), but several testers applauded the 20’s color combos (especially the women’s models)—a pop of color without overwhelm.

Final thoughts: This is a dependable, durable, and sturdy shoe for the new or casual runner looking for a pillowy soft, premium-feeling ride.

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New Balance 1080 v8


The New Balance 1080 v8 is a noteworthy update. Our testers loved the sturdy (and wide) platform combined with plush “Fresh Foam” cushioning. While overall the shoe fits wide, the heel is snug, and the laces adequately secure the midfoot. So, despite often being thought of as a shoe for wide feet, several narrow-footed testers experienced no problems with the extra room. In fact, they encountered the opposite: excessive foot movement was a non-issue.

What’s more, the 1080 v8 is durable, built to last, and the ride is exceptionally smooth. “This is the Chevy Tahoe of running shoes,” said one tester. “Big, comfortable, and reliable.” Sounds good!

Again, style points go to New Balance for their top-notch choice of spring colors—several testers didn’t want to get their shoes dirty.

Final thoughts: Wear this shoe for both easy recovery days and long runs when extra cushioning feels oh so pampering.

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On Cloudflow


The futuristic-looking Cloudflow is a shoe of opposites. It feels minimal without actually being minimal (the heel-to-toe drop is 9.5 mm). Plus, it’s flexible and firm. It offers ground feel and cushioning. It feels supportive and lightweight … so lightweight in fact that you might even forget you have it On (pun intended). It is, in almost every way, nothing you’d expect. And testers loved it for that.

They felt fast, secure, and stable—an incredulous feat for a single shoe. On’s proprietary “Cloud” cushioning system feels bouncy underneath “zero-gravity” EVA foam. Plus, a rocker plate enhances forward propulsion, an internal sock-liner provides next-to-foot comfort, and an antimicrobial and breathable mesh not only keeps your feet comfortable but also ensures an odor-free ride for hundreds of miles.

Final thoughts: It’s a good shoe for everything from easy runs to speed workouts and races.

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Altra Intuition (women’s) and Instinct 4.5 (mens)


Leave it to Altra—a company that prides itself on personalized fit—to continue to carry gender-specific models of this popular trainer. Like all Altras, it’s also zero drop (meaning there is no difference in the stack height between the heel and forefoot; it’s like your standing barefoot).

Despite ample cushioning both underfoot and around the ankle—that at first left testers weary about weight—the Intuition and Instinct truly perform well. They feel light, agile, and surprisingly responsive in their class as an everyday trainer.

The shoe fits like a classic Altra—wide. Still, narrow-footed testers felt secure with some extra lace syncing around the midfoot.

Final thoughts: The Altra Intuition and Instinct 4.5 is a reliable everyday shoe for runners who like a minimal feeling shoe (zero drop) with the cushioning of a traditional trainer.

HOKA ONE ONE Mach


It’s a brand-new shoe in HOKA ONE ONE’s Fly Line … sort of. If you wore the Clayton before, you will notice a similar fit with the Mach. It's light without cushion sacrifice. Based on tester feedback, no other shoe seemed to perform equally as well for both training runs and races.

Perhaps it’s the midsole design (softer cushioning in the back and springier cushioning in the front), or maybe it’s lightweight mesh upper with performance-enhancing overlays that help to hold the foot in place. Our testers unanimously agreed that it's a performance-enhancing ride. You can comfortably run an easy 20 miler and a fast 5K workout on the track with zero compromises on fit, feel, and performance. Plus, several testers praised the shoe’s longevity, squeezing out more miles on a single pair than expected.

Final thoughts: The Mach is the ideal trainer and racer for the runner in need of a high-performance shoe that lasts. Plus, if you’re interested in HOKA shoes and speed, the Mach is a good intro at a very, very low weight.

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stay tuned for our trail shoe review coming out FRIDAY, MARCH 2.