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Our Favorite Running Shoes of Spring 2019

The men's On Cloudswift in rust

The first three months of 2019 were busy for the companies that make your favorite running shoes. With updated models, first-time releases and new technologies, there are a lot of shoes to be excited about.

We tested dozens of running shoes this spring to see how they fit and how they ride—and we weren’t disappointed.

From shoes that were completely overhauled to kicks that (thankfully) didn’t change much, here are some of the best road running shoes we wore this spring.

Our Favorite High-Cushion Running Shoes

When you’re logging big miles during marathon training or just want a little extra protection along the way, a high-cushion running shoe can make the miles more comfortable. So far this year, we love the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 21 and the Brooks Glycerin 17.

A pair of ASICS GEL-Nimbus 21 running shoe

ASICS GEL-Nimbus 21

Launch: January 15, 2019

ASICS didn’t make many changes when they released the next edition of the popular GEL-Nimbus early this year. Now in its second decade, the GEL-Nimbus 21 still looks and feels like the iconic long-distance trainer it’s always been. But that doesn’t mean ASICS left it entirely alone: Designers filled in the outsole to give the shoe full ground contact for a smoother ride.

Fleet Feet testers say the shoe feels bouncy and responsive on long training runs, and it’s lighter than its cushion would have you believe. ASICS didn’t change much about the Nimbus 21, which suits us just fine.

ASICS GEL-Nimbus 21 Review

Brooks Glycerin 17

Launch: March 1, 2019

The Brooks Glycerin is one of the top-selling running shoes year after year because it’s a supremely soft. The Brooks Glycerin 17 is no exception.

Brooks used a full bed of DNA Loft foam in the midsole. Designed to be Brooks’ softest foam technology, the cushion soaks up ground impact without soaking up all your energy. Even one of our testers who prefers firmer cushioning loved how the Glycerin made each step softer without leaving him feeling like he was running in sand.

Aside from a few aesthetic tweaks to the shoe’s upper, Brooks didn’t make any real changes to the Glycerin 17. It’s still the plushest trainer around.

Brooks Glycerin 17 Review

Our Favorite Running Shoes for Speed Workouts

The best running shoes for speed workouts and uptempo runs are typically lighter and less cushioned than everyday training or distance shoes. Three of our favorite speedwork shoes are the updated New Balance 890v7, the refreshed Saucony Kinvara 10 and the consistent Nike Epic React Flyknit 2—these babies were designed to go fast.

New Balance 890v7

Launch: April 1, 2019

While some new running shoes on this list didn’t change much from one model to the next, the 890v7 looks like a different shoe.

New Balance replaced the engineered mesh on the outgoing model with a knit upper for a streamlined look and feel, and they trimmed most of the rubber off the outsole to cut weight. The changes dropped about two ounces from the already light men’s and women’s models.

Our testers love the updates to the 890. The knit upper is soft and stretchy, making the toe box feel roomy, and the teensy weight is almost unnoticeable on your feet. We think the 890v7 is ideal for speed workouts or race day.

New Balance 890v7 Review

Saucony Kinvara 10

Launch: February 1, 2019

The Kinvara celebrated its 10th birthday this year, and Saucony gave it a makeover to get it ready for the next decade.

Designers retooled the look of the engineered mesh upper for an improved look and added a FORMFIT contoured footbed to keep you foot in the middle of the shoe. The outsole is purposefully bare, leaving most of the midsole exposed to cut down on weight.

Fleet Feet runners say the shoe feels firm and light but doesn’t sacrifice bounciness to get that feeling. The EVERUN topsole and flexible midsole make it just as comfortable for heel-strikers as it is for midfoot runners, so every athlete gets a smooth ride.

Saucony Kinvara 10 Review
A pair of the Nike Epic React Flyknit 2

Nike Epic React Flyknit 2

Launch: February 1, 2019

Nike’s second iteration of the Epic React Flyknit puts React foam in the spotlight again, and it’s as good as we remember.

The cushy platform of foam makes the Epic React the bounciest running shoe on the list. But even with a generous portion, the foam doesn’t ever feel mushy; our testers say it’s light, responsive and fast.

There are only a few subtle differences between the first version and the second, but the Epic React Flyknit 2 still excites us every time we lace it up.

Nike Epic React Flyknit 2 Review

Our Favorite Everyday Trainers

The shoes you log most of your runs in are your everyday trainers. The qualities that make the best everyday training shoes—protective cushion, light weight, comfy fit—make them the workhorses of your shoe closet. The classic New Balance 880v9 and brand new On Cloudswift checked those boxes for us.

New Balance 880v9

Launch: March 1, 2019

There isn’t much to say about the New Balance 880v9 that hasn’t been said before. That’s because New Balance didn’t make any major changes to the classic neutral running shoe.

Structurally, the ninth edition of the 880 is the same as the eighth: the midsole, outsole and overall silhouette are practically identical. Designers refreshed the engineered mesh upper, but it’s essentially the same shoe it was before—and there’s nothing wrong with that.

"The 880v9 just works, and it works every year," says one of our testers. "In fact, I’ve yet to put on a version of the shoe I didn’t like. It always fits well. It always lasts. It always feels perfect when I’m tired and need some easy recovery miles, or when I’m doing a long run on the pavement."

New Balance 880v9 Review

On Cloudswift

Launch: March 15, 2019

The On Cloudswift is a brand new release for the Swiss company, and it comes with a more advanced midsole foam.

In the Cloudswift, On debuted its Helion midsole foam. The company describes Helion as a “superfoam” for its big weight-to-energy return ratio—and our testers felt it. The shoe feels light and fast thanks to Helion, and it gets a boost from On’s propulsive “speedboard” technology sandwiched between the topsole and the midsole.

The nimble ride combined with a soft feel made the On Cloudswift one of our favorite running shoes so far this year.

On Cloudswift Review
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