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Hear that sound? It’s the sound of your pace per mile falling like the autumn leaves along your favorite running trail. Yep, fall is here, and those cooler temperatures mean faster times, longer mileage and—better yet—the perfect excuse for a new pair of running shoes.

We know the options are plentiful and your feet are unique, so we assigned a handful of accomplished runners the task of testing (and testing and testing) the newest sneakers on the block, all in an effort to help our readers make the most educated decision.

Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2.0

Adidas Adizero Adios Pro

If you’re an Adidas fan you’re going to love the Adizero Adios Pro 2.0. The upper is made from partially recycled material (better for the environment), and the sole features two layers of Lightstrike Pro foam (for increased energy return), as well as carbon fiber energy rods. The outsole has great grip—it even tends to feel a bit sticky, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if you’re racing on slick roads (or running through water stops).

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Overall, this is a great carbon-plated racer that provides a very lightweight and bouncy ride. There’s a bit of padding in the heel cup, collar and tongue, but overall it’s pretty bare bones on top, which is how it stays so light. The sizing is unisex, so that might come as a surprise to some runners. For runners with carbon plate experience, it’s very similar to the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2, just a bit less expensive.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “I loved that the upper was made from partially recycled materials.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “I would have liked to see a more breathable fabric upper similar to the update made to the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2. A plasticky upper always feels odd to me.”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Neutral Road

Price: $220

Weight: 7.6 oz.

Drop: 10 mm

Learn More

Adidas Ultraboost 21

Adidas Ultraboost

The Ultra Boost 21 seems like a comfortable lifestyle shoe that also doubles as a running shoe. Serious runners will notice it’s a bit clunky and heavy on initial runs, and the crystal rubber on the outsole provides good traction but is a little loud. The large amount of boost foam in the midsole was nice, though, padding the joints from too much wear and tear and making it the prefect option for slow recovery days rather than longer mileage runs.

Plus, it’s a very good-looking shoe. If you’re able to splurge on an everyday trainer, the Ultraboost 21 is a comfortable, stylist shoe perfect for wearing from the gym to the grocery store to a run and anywhere else you might need to go.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “It’s a great looking shoe. Very comfortable for wearing around the office or going on a recovery day jog/walk.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “The shoe is pretty heavy. I’m hoping future versions find a way to trim down the weight.”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Neutral Road

Price: $180

Weight: 10.5 oz.

Drop: 10 mm

Learn More: Women | Men

Altra Paradigm 6

Altra Paradigm

Usually, when shopping for running shoes, it’s easy to spot the stability options. Big, clunky and corrective, they flag the pronators to the obvious corrective features. However, the Altra Paradigm 6 changes the game for a stability shoe, making it a great choice for those who want to run long distances with speed and comfort. Several features make this a “go-to” shoe for all types of runners.

The first noticeable difference is Altra’s EGO MAX foam in the midsole. The super soft cushioning keeps feet fresh while still providing a springy responsive ride. There is no extra effort required in the turnover; it is soft and secure without that heavy lifting feeling. Creating the stability part of the stability shoes is Altra’s unique GUIDERAIL technology. Providing guidance only when necessary, the bumpers push in where needed, meaning it corrects individually per foot. Often pronation is the major emphasis for stability shoes, but the bumpers help with supination as well. The best part is that it corrects only when needed, so there is not an artificial force creating unnatural balance. This feature makes it great for long runs where running form may start fine at the beginning of a run but then break down over many miles. The INNOVARCH technology can also be customized as the webbing inside of the shoe wraps around the arch and tightens when lacing. Customizable again, runners can lace the shoe differently for more or less arch support.

Lastly, the final design feature seems to break the mold of typical stability shoes: the zero drop and the INNOFLEX grid on the bottom make the sole flexible, light and have an overall natural feeling. While not flashy, it has good color options and is a solid shoe. Overall, the Altra Paradigm 6 truly delivers a custom fit with a comfortable ride.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “The Ego Max cushioning is my favorite feature. Its soft but bouncy ride allows for very lengthy hours and miles on the road.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “While there is not much to improve upon, the upper could be even more breathable.”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Stability Road

Price: $160

Weight: 9.3 oz. (W); 10.8 oz. (M)

Drop: 0 mm

Learn More: Women | Men

Altra Superior 5

Altra Superior

If you like feeling the ground while you run, the Altra Superior 5 is for you. With a super light, low cushion and minimal feeling, it’s about as close as you can get to barefoot running in a trail shoe.

The Superior 5 still carries its signature “burrito” tongue, which connects to the upper on one side only, making it easy to slide your foot in. It also helps prevent pesky trail rocks from getting inside your shoe and disrupting your run. The shoe also has a removable stone guard for extra protection.

Traction is not a problem with the MaxTrac outsole and grippy lugs. From slippery wet rocks or muddy fields, the shoe digs in and keeps you upright. Overall, the Superior 5 is a great trail shoe for a runner who wants a fast, responsive shoe with a minimalist feel.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “The wider foot-shaped forefoot. I don’t have a wide foot, but the extra wiggle room for all of my toes felt super comfortable.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “I prefer a more cushion ride. I know it’s not Altra’s style, but my high arches need more than what the Superior gives.”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Neutral Trail

Price: $120

Weight: 7.5 oz. (W); 8.8 oz. (M)

Drop: 0 mm

Learn More: Women | Men

Brooks Aurora-BL

Brooks Aurora

The Brooks Aurora BL is a truly unique shoe. Although the appearance is un-orthodox and somewhat overwhelming with its extremely high stack height and decoupled midsole, it’s worth it for the excellence it delivers in performance. According to the Brooks website, it was created by the BlueLine Lab devoted to “fine-tuning rapid prototypes” with the intent of designing “one-of-a-kind, never-been-done-before” technology.

These shoes lived up to the hype. Every run in them confirmed that they managed to strike that unique balance between maximal cushioning and springy responsiveness. They are a great shoe for just about every type of run, but especially for tempo and longer distances. The cushioning is truly like running on clouds (if clouds were springy and propelled you forward). The design of the mid-sole allows for a natural and energetic stride with smooth, fast transitions (credited to the Glide Roll technology by the website). Additionally, while they feel incredibly light given their somewhat bulky appearance, they are also surprisingly durable with no sign of breaking down from run to run. Moreover, they performed equally well on asphalt, crushed gravel and the treadmill.

All and all, this is an outstanding addition and a significant improvement to the category of maximal cushioning running shoes. While most shoes with this much cushioning can feel soggy and unresponsive, the Brooks Aurora BL manages to make you feel light, free and fast without sacrificing comfort. The innovators at the BlueLine lab have delivered a truly unique shoe that all but beg you to go for a run in them just to see how far and how fast you can go.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “The responsive cushioning. While those are two words not often found together, the Aurora BL manages to make it a reality.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “It’s difficult to find something about this shoe that I would change. The only thing that could possibly be improved is the ease of getting the shoe on, due to the snug, sock-style opening.”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Neutral Road

Price: $200

Weight: 7.6 oz. (W); 8.5 oz. (M)

Drop: 6 mm

Learn More: Women | Men

Brooks Cascadia 16

Brooks Cascadia

Which came first, the Brooks Cascadia or the concept of trail mountain running? For over 16 years, the Cascadia has blazed the trail with its reputation of offering stabilization and support for its runners looking to take on miles of trails through unpaved territory. With age comes wisdom; the Cascadia 16 has learned a lot from its time off the beaten path and is back to show off its latest tricks.

Boasting it’s “5% softer and 20% lighter” is certainly brag-worthy and is made possible with the new DNA loft v2 midsole, which provides an extra 2 mm of cushion, a higher stack and an innovative Ballistic Rock Shield engineered with vertical grooves that not only lets the shoe adapt to the terrain underneath it, but also lends to the shoe’s support for runners that feel they need extra stabilization or protection.

Where previous versions of the Cascadia felt stiff and rigged, the sweet 16 flexes in all the right places and has been designed with a slightly tapered toe to help roll over roots, rocks and variable surfaces while still feeling “locked down” with its comprehensive lacing structure and gusseted tongue. Whether your trail leads you up steep dirt climbs or over slick rocks and drops, runners will love the traction the Trailtack outsole and lugs equip them with.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “The soft yet responsive ride. I loved being able to roll through the trail’s twists and turns swiftly, without feeling the bottoms of my feet take a beating.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “The shoelaces. Even with double knotting, I still had to stop at some point during each run to re-tie and tighten.”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Neutral or Stability Trail

Price: $130

Weight: 9.5 oz. (W); 10.5 oz. (M)

Drop: 8 mm

Learn More: Women | Men

Brooks Ghost 14

Brooks Ghost

The Ghost series dates back to 2008 and already has a loyal fanbase established. The 14 still sticks to the primary pillars of the shoe: a neutral, highly cushioned ride built for everyday training.

From the first wear, the cushioning is immediately noticeable. While most runners tend to think of cushioning as being in the soles, Brooks also pads the tongue and collar to creates a soft feel in 360 degrees. While this isn’t the ideal shoe for race day—Brooks offers the Hyperion line for that—this is a reliable trainer that finds its sweet spot during the long/slow day, recovery runs and walking. Despite the superior cushioning, these shoes aren’t overly squishy in a way that robs the runner of power. And while the segmented crash pad isn’t new to the 14, the midsole cushioning has been updated. Those two work in tandem to create a smooth transition, allowing the stride to flow without the feeling of braking with each foot strike.

The Ghost isn’t just a suitable running shoe. It’s an on-your-feet-all-day kind of shoe. With plenty of neutral color choices, these can easily be worn with jeans, scrubs or anything in between. For those planet-conscious runners out there, Brooks also claims this to be its first completely carbon neutral shoe by using recycled materials, generating less waste and purchasing carbon offsets, helping us to feel slightly less guilty when throwing our paper cups on the ground after each aid station.

Brooks’ shoe lines give you the option of neutral or stability when it comes to your fit. If you’re looking for more support when running, consider the Ghost 14 GTX.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “The comfort! It’s not just the underfoot cushioning; the tongue and heel are also super cushioned—ankle bliss.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “Its strength is its weakness: More cushioning creates a shoe that’s not as springy. For the Ghost’s primary purpose, though—an everyday trainer—it’s hard to find a flaw.”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Neutral or Stability Road

Price: $130

Weight: 9.0 oz. (W); 9.9 oz. (M)

Drop: 12 mm

Learn More: Women | Men

Brooks Levitate 5

Brooks Levitate

The Brooks Levitate 5 is a strong all around training shoe, ideal for everyday miles or a beginning runner looking for a do-it-all style. Its DNA AMP midsole continues to deliver the energized ride runners have come to expect from the Levitate line, and the redesigned mesh upper makes this pair airier than previous iterations.

The ability to choose “Classic” or “StealthFit” allows runners to choose the ankle and heel support that’s right for them. Unfortunately, the shoe is heavier enough than previous iterations to be noticeable, which hampers the energized ride to some degree. The arrow-point pattern on the outsole doesn’t provide great grip. Our tester experienced some slipping in wet conditions. However, if you’re looking for an everyday trainer that will do it all, and then some, the Levitate 5 is a great option to consider.

Brooks’ shoe lines give you the option of neutral or stability when it comes to your fit. If you’re looking for more support when running, consider the Levitate 5 GTX.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “The redesigned upper. The 5s are a little roomier than the 4s felt, and a little more breathable, too.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “I’d love to see the outsole have the grip I’m used to from other Brooks models. I just don’t want to be slipping and sliding out there!”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Neutral or Stability Road

Price: $150

Weight: 9.6 oz. (W); 10.4 oz. (M)

Drop: 8 mm

Learn More: Women | Men

HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 8

Hoka Clifton

HOKA’s flagship Clifton line has come a long way from its earliest days of maximal shoes with bulky, heavy cushioning. The latest iteration trimmed its weight down by 15% from its predecessor by incorporating a new EVA midsole foam, making for a running experience that strikes a nice balance between protection from road impact with overall ride. Maximal shoes will never be the fastest nor the most versatile shoes on the market, but they do need to be consistent and a reliable go-to option for long-distance training efforts or recovery runs. The Clifton 8 fits the bill better than most, with a smooth heel-toe transition and a soft, predictable ride that helps you find your natural pace and stay in the sweet spot.

Besides the runner-approved midsole, the gusseted tongue, longer heel collar and a well-designed upper holds the foot nicely in place without being too constrictive or too loose. These shoes are also priced modestly—at $130 you’re going to get a durable shoe with lots of protection that’ll encourage miles and miles of injury-free running.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “For being a maximal shoe, the lightweight feel is impressive despite having a significant amount of volume in the midsole.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “I wish there was a bit more support in the arch. This wasn’t a major issue and is something that can be solved by using your own inserts, though.”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Neutral Road

Price: $130

Weight: 7.2 oz. (W); 8.9 oz. (M)

Drop: 5 mm

Learn More: Women | Men

HOKA ONE ONE Rincon 3

Hoka Rincon

The Rincon 3, like its predecessor, is an excellent, versatile shoe that truly balances light weight, cushioning and responsiveness. As HOKA is known for its maximal cushioning approach, the Rincon 3 doesn’t disappoint. It is not only a great shoe to run on a variety of surfaces (road, crushed gravel, treadmill and non-technical trail) it’s also suitable for a variety of paces and workouts. It fits the foot well, provides a smooth, stable ride and has just enough pop when you need it. As a bonus, it’s so comfortable that you can walk around in it after your run, too (without feeling like your feet are suffocating).

The updates made to the Rincon 3 didn’t significantly alter the design from previous iterations but perhaps got rid of some unnecessary elements, like the oversized heel tab, and even a little weight. Although the change to a non-padded tongue may be a concern for some runners, it is a relatively small price to pay for the weight exchange added with the additional rubber in the outsole that improves durability. For those who loved the Rincon 2, the great majority will be more than satisfied with its updated version. For those who have not yet tried HOKA’s Rincon line, the 3 is a very versatile shoe that delivers on its promise to provide a best-in-class cushion-to-weight ratio, comfort and performance.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “The versatility. If I only had to have one shoe, this would be at the top of the list. It feels just as good on easy days when I am tired as it does on the days I am ready to go for it.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “The durability. Although it has great cushioning and seems to have held up better than the Rincon 2, I still observed some noticeable wear on the outsole after only a few runs.”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Neutral Road

Price: $115

Weight: 6.5 oz. (W); 7.7 oz. (M)

Drop: 5 mm

Learn More: Women | Men

Merrell Agility Peak 4

Merrell Agility Peak

When you think of Merrell, trail running probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Most likely, it’s hiking. The Merrell Agility Peak 4 is here to change your mind. It’s a well-cushioned, wide-toe-boxed and grippy trail shoe that will have you double checking the label—is this a HOKA?

The Agility Peak 4 shines on rugged, rocky terrain. It has a Vibram Megagrip outsole that makes sure you’ll stay upright on the wettest rocks, as well as a rock plate for protection. There’s a price to pay for the extra cushion and grip, though: extra weight. If you are looking for a fast trail shoe, the Agility Peak 4 may not be for you; it’s better suited for someone looking for comfort over speed or for longer distances. Overall, the Agility Peak 4 would be a good fit for anyone hitting the trails, and it especially shines in harsh conditions and gnarly terrain.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “The cushion. I look for comfort over everything, and the Merrell Agility Peak 4 is very comparable to my favorite HOKAs.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “The heaviness. I know extra weight comes with the cushion and heavy duty lugs, but running on sections of pavement made my feet feel as heavy as steel-toe work boots.”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Neutral Trail

Price: $130

Weight: 11 oz.

Drop: 6 mm

Learn More: Women | Men

Mizuno Wave Rebellion

Mizuno Wave Rebellion

Mizuno was one of the earliest brands to include a plate in its shoe designs, and it’s taken this tech one step further with the new Wave Rebellion shoe. It has Mizuno’s new wave plate that runs from the heel and forks out under the forefoot, and it claims it’s over 1,000 percent “snappier” than its standard wave plates. Even the most casual runner will notice the sole is undoubtedly stiffer with a very mild heel-toe flex, and while this would generally be a negative for a neutral runner, it works surprisingly well. This is due to the excellent ENERZY LITE foam in the midsole that adds a significant amount of cushion and underfoot protection for being so lightweight. The juxtaposition between the stiffness of the glass fiber-enforced wave plate and the plush midsole foam makes for a responsive, stable and springy ride that promotes a natural heel-toe transition through the stride, no matter the pace.

The outsole is also a highlight—the full coverage of the super grippy “G3” resin helps the shoe really connect with the pavement, even in wet conditions. While $180 is a steep price for a pair of running shoes, the Wave Rebellion is an excellent high-performance addition to Mizuno’s catalog and should be considered by avid runners who train and race around the 10K to marathon distances.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “The ENERZY LITE midsole is amazing—it’s a nice blend between “cushion” and “pop” that doesn’t get old, no matter the distance.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “The tongue is paper thin, with almost no cushion. It sometimes bunched up on longer runs, especially since I had to cinch the laces down more than usual because the upper and toe box are a tad wider.”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Neutral Road

Price: $180

Weight: 7.4 oz. (W); 8.8 oz. (M)

Drop: 8 mm

Learn More: Women | Men

Mizuno Wave Sky 5

Mizuno Wave Sky

The Mizuno Sky Wave 5 is advertised as being lighter, more responsive and having an improved fit from previous iterations. Our testers agree that the fit is undoubtedly one of the highlights of this shoe. It is a surprisingly comfortable and supportive neutral option, especially for runners with slightly narrow feet. The layers of foam surrounding the ENERZY core contribute to a cushioned yet sufficiently bouncy ride for longer training efforts and even recovery runs. The standard lacing system along with the padded tongue and heel provide a secure, locked-in feeling that don’t require any mid-run adjustments. The laces stayed put, and there is no heel slippage or underfoot hot spots, even during multi-hour endeavors.

However, although the Wave Sky 5 is comfortable, supportive and highly cushioned, it doesn’t feel like a particularly fast shoe. Additionally, the upper, while suitable for many conditions (especially cooler early morning conditions) might be a little hot for higher temperatures or humidity. Save the Wave Sky 5 for when it performs best: moderate paces for longer training runs.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “The fit. The plush, snug fit locks my narrow foot in nicely.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “I wish the springiness of the heel translated across to the entire feel of the shoe. It feels like it is so close to having a really nice ride, but there is something off about the transition.”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Neutral Road

Price: $170

Weight: 9.8 oz. (W); 11.8 oz. (M)

Drop: 10 mm

Learn More: Women | Men

New Balance Fresh Foam 860v12

New Balance 860

The New Balance 860v12 is a reliable workhorse in the New Balance lineup. It has a traditional medial post and offers a lot of stability for runners who over pronate. The shoe feels a bit rigid in the rear foot and heel, but it’s a durable and consistent option for everyday miles. The upper features special embroidery meant to improve the shoe’s lockdown and keep the foot in place, especially later in the run when form might start to get sloppy.

The 860 is one of the brand’s most popular shoes—and for good reason. It’s reliable, dependable and a bit cheaper than some of the other stability options. But because you’re saving a few bucks (about $20), you do lose some of the extra cushioning that you see in the Vongo or 1080. This shoe is a great choice for easy or marathon-pace miles but might prove to be too stiff for faster running or shorter races.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “I liked the embroidered mesh upper–toward the end of my longer runs it kept my foot in place, and I felt like the fit stayed consistent.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “I’d love to see a slimmer profile on the heel cup, similar to the New Balance 1080.”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Stability Road

Price: $140

Weight: 8.9 oz. (W); 11.4 oz. (M)

Drop: 10 mm

Learn More: Women | Men

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v5

New Balance Vongo

Overpronators of the world, rejoice! The New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo v5 is back, reimagined and ready to steal the hearts of runners needing stability in their lives.For the past two years, the team at New Balance has been hard at work to right the wrongs of the v4 and proudly released a stability runner that doesn’t sacrifice comfort.

From the moment you slip into the shoe, you’ll love how the combination of the heel counter and reinforced midfoot anchors you in and provides a locked-and-loaded feel without making you feel stuck or immobile. Mimicking the attractiveness of its sister shoe, the 1080 v11, you’ll find this model has the same ultra-breathable Hypoknit upper and innovative Fresh Foam midsole to provide a comfortable ride but coupled with an incredible medial post that provides the right amount of support without coming across strict and over-correcting.

The Vongo v5 is proving that stiff and stompy stability shoes are a thing of the past. This new iteration provides a slight forward-rocking motion to keep you feeling light on your feet, no matter how long you’re on them.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “Definitely the Hypoknit upper. It’s nice and flexible but still hugs the foot where other knit shoes can tend to get sloppy.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “I’ve read that the Vongo is meant to be a more supportive version of New Balance’s 1080, and I wish it had the same heel cup.”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Stability Road

Price: $150

Weight: 7.8 oz. (W); 9.9 oz. (M)

Drop: 8 mm

Learn More: Women | Men

Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit

Nike Invincible Run

The Vaporfly and Alphafly are race day shoes. Nike’s ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit adds additional cushion, without a carbon plate, to create a great everyday option. The midsole is made of ZoomX cushioning and is very soft. It’s a little heavier than other models yet maintains a fair amount of responsiveness, giving you the ability to run at slightly faster paces. Durability has always been a concern in this line of shoe, but after 50 miles, this doesn’t seem to be a problem.

The upper offers a very plush heel and a soft tongue. The shoe fits true to size and will feel normal to any runner familiar with this line of Nike trainer. The Flyknit fabric in the toe is soft and offers plenty of space for those who like to spread their toes out while running. One minor concern, though, is the knit fabric and plush heel pad can absorb sweat and water, making it a bit soggy after longer efforts in higher temperatures or rainy conditions.

Ultimately, the foam layer throughout creates a soft, forgiving shoe that is a good addition to the Nike family and a good addition to the Invincible lineup for anyone looking for a sturdy, everyday trainer that will hold up over long miles.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “The ZoomX foam. It makes for a soft, cushioned run.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “The Flyknit fabric and cushion absorb sweat and become a bit hot and soggy.”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Neutral Road

Price: $180

Weight: 8.2 oz. (W); 11.1 oz. (M)

Drop: 9 mm

Learn More: Women | Men

Nike Zoom Pegasus 38

Nike Pegasus

It’s difficult to get to No. 38 without doing something right. The Pegasus is Nike’s longest-running model and has continued to be a staple in the running world since its first iteration in 1983. The newest Peg builds on the 37 with slight tweaks to the lacing system, a slightly wider toe box and added foam to the tongue—all with the purpose of increasing comfort. Returning from the 37 is a breathable upper and a low-cut top line, allowing for comfort in the heat. It also retains the grippy tread pattern—something that’s lacking on a lot of road shoes these days—that makes this a solid all-weather choice. The React foam from the previous version still remains as well.

For those unfamiliar with the different types of foam Nike uses, the ZoomX is found in the Next% models and is its lightest and fastest available. The React foam used on the Pegusus trades maximum speed for maximum durability. This is where the shoe finds its purpose. It’s a workhorse shoe for everyday mileage that can last through an entire season. With that said, it’s not a slower shoe either. The midsole delivers a strong energy return that allows for a rolling stride with smooth toe-offs. Training runs don’t necessarily have to be slow, but the Pegasus lets you save your race day shoes for race day.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “The price. I don’t want to put training miles in my Alphaflys, and the Zoom Pegasus 38s allow me to stay in the Nike family with a reasonably priced shoe for everyday runs.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “I love the glove-like fit of the Pegasus. However, for those in the need-room-for-my-toes-to-spread crowd, this shoe might feel too constrictive—even with wide sizing options available.”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Neutral Road

Price: $125

Weight: 8.2 oz. (W); 10 oz. (M)

Drop: 10 mm

Learn More: Women | Men

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2

Nike Vaporfly

If we could run in one shoe for the rest of our lives, it would be the ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2! Yes, really. The amazing energy return, great fit and sleek look of the shoe are a runner’s dream. The full-length carbon plate and ZoomX foam keep the wearer’s legs feeling fresh, even after a long race or training effort. The only (significant) downsides are the price and the shelf life. The shoe is only good for about 100 miles.

The new iteration features an update to the upper while the bottom of the shoe stays pretty much the same. However, the upper update is big—Nike replaced the plasticky material with a mesh upper, making it a lot more breathable. The shoelaces also have a perforated design, which helps them remain tied, and there’s added cushioning on the heel cup and tongue as well.

Wearing this shoe exaggerates the forward tipping motion of running, so it’s great if you’re a forefront striker but might feel off if you aren’t. The Vaporfly Next% is one of the OGs in the world of carbon-plated racers, and thanks to some solid upper updates, it maintains its place at the top.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “The carbon plate and ZoomX foam offer an amazing energy return.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “Nothing! This shoe is perfect.”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Neutral Road

Price: $250

Weight: 6.6 oz. (W); 6.9 oz. (M)

Drop: 8 mm

Learn More: Women | Men

On Cloudstratus

On Cloudstratus

The On Cloudstratus is an incredibly cushioned shoe that still offers great responsiveness. It has enough spring in its step, thanks to On’s Speedboard, to make speed work fun and easier on the legs. The dual layer of CloudTec and Helion cushioning makes this a great pair for long or recovery runs for runners looking for a comfortable ride.

Runners unfamiliar with On’s cushioning technology should be advised that it feels quite different than comparable shoes on the market, and they might be worth a test run before purchasing. The Cloudstratus’ double cushioning makes it a tall shoe, with little feel for the ground. Our tester found it a little challenging to find her footing on grass and gravel but was perfectly comfortable on concrete and asphalt.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “While the cushioning is great, I love the spring the Cloudstratus offers. It made speed work really fun.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “While these shoes are by no means heavy, they are bottom heavy in a way I haven’t experienced before. It’s a strange feeling and hard to describe, but the weight distribution feels off.”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Neutral Road

Price: $170

Weight: 8.75 oz. (W); 10.76 oz. (M)

Drop: 8 mm

Learn More: Women | Men

Reebok Floatride Energy 3

Reebok Floatride Energy

In a market where specificity reigns supreme, there’s something to be said for a simple, modern, do-it-all running shoe. The Reebok Floatride Energy 3 has become that option for many runners who are looking for a healthy blend of versatility, style and price. At $100, it’s easily one of the most affordable shoes on this list, and while you won’t be getting the quickest, most supportive or lightest package, you’re getting a whole lot of shoe for the money.

It’s a reliable grab-and-go trainer with a midsole that’s responsive and springy enough for most paces and distances without being too firm. The upper wraps the foot nicely due to a well-designed lacing system, heel counter and tongue, and this is paired with a square-knit material that’s one of the most breathable we’ve tried (plus, it has an eye-catching retro flair to the design, too). The outsole’s full coverage of carbon rubber is another strength and seems to strike an uncompromising balance between durability and grip. Overall, the Floatride Energy 3 shouldn’t be overlooked if you’re a runner on a budget, or someone who wants to simplify their collection of running shoes.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “The breathability is great—the square-knit material is breathable to the point where you can feel the breeze through the upper while running.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “I wish there was a bit more protection in the midsole under the forefoot. The shoe has a nice road feel, but it can be fatiguing at times.”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Neutral Road

Price: $100

Weight: 7.1 oz. (W); 8.5 oz. (M)

Drop: 9 mm

Learn More: Women | Men

Salomon Predict 2

Salomon Predict

The Salomon Predict 2 is a lightweight, flexible and breathable shoe with an integrated tongue design that doesn’t bunch or twist. Though Salomon calls it a “maximum” cushion pair, it is still quite firm, with a harder zone on the outside of the foot. The shoes run big in length and are narrow in the upper at the ball of the foot, so you might want to give them a test drive before purchasing to find your perfect fit.

The Predict 2 is a year-round shoe, offering both good traction and a breathable upper. The shoe is light enough to pull out for a long run or longer race for runners who don’t need extra cushioning at those distances and could perform well for track workouts or tempo runs for runners looking for a leaner shoe with good responsiveness as well.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “I love the weight! It’s so rare to get enough comfort for my bad knees in a lighter shoe.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “There is stiffness in the outer side of the sole. That part of the shoe felt different underfoot once I was a few miles in.”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Neutral Road

Price: $160

Weight: 9.0 oz. (W); 9.7 oz. (M)

Drop: 8 mm

Learn More: Women | Men

Salomon Ultra Glide

Salomon Ultra Glide

Salomon is synonymous with trail running. Traditionally, though, Salomon has had more of a minimalist approach to shoe design with lower stack heights and lighter cushioning. The Ultra Glide is Salomon’s introduction into the comfort world. Over 32 mm of glorious cushion separate the runner from the ground, making this an uncharacteristically comfortable trail shoe. Despite the surplus of underfoot cushioning, this shoe manages to feel balanced and stable without the tendency to roll outward. In fact, it’s as simple as saying that it grips and handles off-road terrain like a Salomon.

Despite a bulkier appearance, the Ultra Glide hits the scale at a very reasonable weight. By comparison, it’s slightly heavier than the S/Lab Sense but lighter than the S/Lab Ultra, which are both cornerstones of Salomon’s lineup. The Ultra Glide also retains a couple of common features seen on other Salomon models. The Quicklace system, which functions and looks similar to speed laces in triathlon shoes, keeps laces from ever coming untied on the trail. Securing the ride underfoot is the Contragrip outsole that retains great traction and grip; the lugs are well spaced and not bulky or overdone, and the sole provides protection while still allowing the wearer to feel the ground. It’s a perfect blend of feeling the ground you’re running on but not the rocks and roots. It should also be noted that, while this is a not a zero-drop shoe, it does hit the lower end of this metric with only 6 mm of heel-to-toe drop. Salomon’s Energy Surge midsole and rocker design helped to compensate. In test runs, this shoe didn’t feel flat-footed, and the toe-off came naturally.

When looking for an all-day, everyday trail shoe, the Salomon Ultra Glide is a perfect choice for long distance efforts. From top to bottom, Salomon created a maximum cushioned shoe that doesn’t have the bulk of other brands. The Ultra Glide delivers a light and responsive ride that protects against the elements while allowing for a quick turnover and a smooth ride mile after uneven, rocky mile.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “The energy return can’t be beat! With its Energy Surge Foam, the whole midfoot section hugs and supports without feeling constrained or weighted all while experiencing great cushioning.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “It’s hot! Yes, the uppers are mesh, but it’s a thicker mesh and isn’t very breathable.”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Neutral Trail

Price: $140

Weight: 7.7 oz. (W); 9.1 oz. (M)

Drop: 6 mm

Learn More: Women | Men

Skechers GOrun Speed Freek

Skechers Speed Freek

With more shoes incorporating both cushion and carbon plating, the Skechers GOrun Speed Freek is a nice option for those wanting more return and responsiveness with the same great smooth ride. The fun camo-style pattern of the soft upper breathes well and has a durability that won’t tear or rip easily. After splashing through a few puddles, the water rolls off quickly and doesn’t seem to saturate the fabric—an unexpected bonus. In fact, the whole upper is barely noticeable, and the lack of creeping rubber on the top end of the toes means no rubbing or confining edges.

The carbon-infused forefoot winglet plate with its high stiffness-to-weight ratio creates a nice rocker effect, propelling the foot forward and creating a faster turnover without any instability. Particularly noticeable is how well the Hyper Arc technology combines with the carbon plate across the midfoot, providing better running efficiency and economy, as well as smoother rolling, especially on downhills. As a note, the fit of midfoot seems like an especially great feature for those with higher arches, but still works for all needs. However, it’s a narrower shoe across the toe box and midfoot, so upsizing is suggested.

While foamy cushioning seems to dominate run shoe conversations, the Hyper Burst foam is stiffer yet still comfortable, making it more long lasting. The Hyper Burst doesn’t wear down as easily as other cushioned shoes. With all of Skechers’ effort at creating more speed in a lightweight shoe, the GOrun Speed Freek is a good choice for a race day or training.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “The soft upper on the shoe feels so light and not clunky—there’s no extra weight.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “Because of the soft fabric, it needs a grip at the heel counter to help pull it on; the fabric crumples a bit.”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Neutral Road

Price: $200

Weight: 5.8 oz. (W); 8.4 oz. (M)

Drop: 4 mm

Learn More: Women | Men

Under Armour Flow Velociti SE

Under Armour Flow Velociti

The FLOW Velociti SE is similar to the Velociti FLOW Wind in many aspects, including its lightness, the one-piece construction of the midsole and the traction of the rubber-less outsole. However, there are significant differences in the upper that some runners may appreciate more than others. The stretchy knit upper is designed to increase comfort and lock in fit. However, the stretchy mesh may detract from a snug, supported feel for some runners. Additionally, the change from a more traditional construction of the heel and the tongue to a sock-like bootie may prevent a more supportive, locked-in feel in the heel and the top of the foot. If you’re a fan of a sock-like design, though, the Velociti SE is definitely the shoe for you.

As far as the ride is concerned, the firm, responsive midsole really connects to the road and propels you forward at faster paces. Runners who enjoy a more minimal feel but still like a slightly higher heel-toe offset (8 mm) will appreciate this aspect most. And, like the Velociti Wind, it connects easily with the UA Map MapMyRun app, providing real-time coaching and post-run data to help improve running form. In all, the Velociti SE is a lightweight yet durable shoe built for snap and speed.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “The lightness. Like the Velociti Flow Wind, the Velociti SE has a light, snappy feel—especially for faster running and interval sessions.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “The knit upper did not provide a secure feeling through the foot and bunched up under the laces.”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Neutral Road

Price: $130

Weight: 7.8 oz. (W); 8.3 oz. (M)

Drop: 8 mm

Learn More: Women | Men

Under Armour HOVR Mega 2 Clone

Under Armour Hovr

It’s hard to take a fresh approach to a running shoe design that doesn’t feel too contrived, but Under Armour hit the mark with the HOVR Mega 2 Clone. The upper is the most unique aspect of the shoe—UA built it with its “Clone” material that has an elastic feel that really wraps the foot and keeps it centered in the shoe. It’s definitely snug, but it’s designed to be, and while we recommend sizing up, it’s important to expect this unique sock-like feel. Despite the midsole being pretty sizeable (especially in the heel), the HOVR foam manages to make a slightly heavier trainer feel impressively responsive. It’s softer in the heel and firmer in the forefoot, which makes for an ultra-smooth heel-toe transition that promotes a more rapid turnover in the stride.

The heel cup is an interesting feature, too—the collar is super padded and has rigid braces on each side to keep your foot where it needs to be, but this might be slightly over-engineered for some. Runners who love looking at data will appreciate that the HOVR Mega 2 Clone includes built-in Bluetooth sensors that connect to the UA MapMyRun app to track and analyze running metrics like cadence, pace and stride. Overall, it’s a non-traditional, feature-packed daily trainer that’s extremely versatile and would do well as a do-it-all shoe for the average runner.

The Bottom Line

  • One Favorite Thing: “The midsole is excellent—it does a great job reducing road impact without reducing energy return, and making changes in pace feels natural with these.”
  • One Area for Improvement: “I found the outsole to lack grip when the pavement is wet, so these wouldn’t be the shoes I reach for when it’s raining.”

Nuts & Bolts

Style: Stability Road

Price: $140

Weight: 9.3 oz. (W); 10.9 oz. (M)

Drop: 8 mm