Buy the best running shoes for you in 2016
So, you've decided that this is the year you take on a marathon, a half marathon or maybe you're just thinking about getting in shape. Whether you're tackling a road marathon or a just a normal run, the first thing you need to do is find a decent pair of running shoes.
From Nike and Saucony, to Salomon and Asics, with so many brands and styles to choose from, finding the perfect pair for your running style can be a challenge. It's vital that you work out what's best for you.
How to buy the right running shoes?
Here are three tips from T3's resident ultra-runner to help you whittle down your options:
1. Get your gait tested
Drop into a shop like Sweatshop.co.uk or Vivobarefoot stores and you can get a full gait analysis test done that'll help you identify the type of running shoes and support that's best for your style. You'll also get some handy hints on how to improve your technique along the way.
2. Think about your terrain
Where you plan to run is important.
3. Racing versus training
In a lot of cases you might want to choose a training shoe for longer mileage and a race shoe that's lighter but better used for shorter periods of time, like a four-hour race. Either way, it's important that you've worn your shoes in before you hit race day, or put in the longer runs.
Now that you know your style, it's time to choose. Every pair of shoes on our list has been worn, tested and put through its paces. Leaf through the list of the latest tech-filled trainers for your perfect running shoes.
Punted as Asics' best shoe yet with four new patents and five new technologies, the MetaRun is made for anyone that takes running seriously. This shoe is aimed at long distance runners and performs brilliantly for fit, stability, weight and cushioning.
Three years in the lab has produced a FlyteFoam light midsole, AdaptTruss carbon reinforced stability, Sloped Duomax for adaptive motion, an optimised glove-like upper, MetaClutch exoskeleton heel and X-Gel comfort. Availability is not widespread, so snap up a pair if you find one.
£200 | Buy ASICS MetaRun
Nike Flyknit Lunar Epic
The word epic might be overused these days, but then so will the Nike Flyknit Lunar Epic runners be too, thanks to a super comfortable fit.
That boot-like upper is called "Vanishing Fit" and results in a totally comfortable feel. Coupled with pressure mapped outsoles and a layered Lunarion midsoles, you'll either find it hard to stop running or just end up wearing these all the time.
£150 | Buy Nike Flyknit Lunar Epic
Saucony Kinvara 7
Saucony somehow manages to keep adding new tricks to the already near perfect Kinvara range.
Now, in the seventh version, there's an Everun heel insert to centre the foot, a new Tri-Flex outsole for better ground contact and a smoother run, plus a temperature regulating upper to offer greater stability and comfort.
£100 | Buy Saucony Kinvara 7
ASICS Fuze X
ASICS, the big specialist name in running, offers the Fuze X as an entry-level offering for runners. Thanks to its neutral running build it should help to ease in most pavement pounding wannabes.
The Fuze X also offer a lightweight construction and shock absorption to make pavement running less impactful on the joints. The affordable price is just a bonus.
£100 | Buy ASICS Fuze X
Adidas Ultra Boost ST Limited Edition
This limited edition version of the Adidas Ultra Boost is an excellent running shoe, with comfortable Primeknit upper and advanced energy returning soles, but there's also clearly a lot of appeal here for those wearing these trainers for fashion.
They're so comfortable, they work as day-to-day trainers, and the colourful rainbow yarn on the upper gives a nicely unique look.
APL Windchill Energy
The Advanced Propulsion Labs Windchill Energy are, in fact, so advanced that they were banned from the NBA.
With an advanced energy return system, and an open-air mesh for channeling out heat to keep feet cool and dry, these feature a solid rubber outsole for stability and claim to let you use less energy to achieve more.
$150 | Buy APL Windchill Energy
inov-8 Roadclaw 275
The clue to what these runners are about is in the name. They weigh in at, you guessed it, 275g which is light considering they're built for any road conditions.
The other name give-away is the claw-cleat lug design that offers super grip and stability. The Powerflow midsole offers 15 per cent better energy return compared to standard midsoles, meaning plenty more energy for running.
£110 | Buy inov-8 Roadclaw 275
These Swiss made running shoes are built for comfort but also offer stability and are impressively lightweight. All the essentials then. They feature the company's CloudTec system that offers Zero-Gravity foam, they're not able to let you fly sadly, but they are light enough to avoid weighing you down.
The Cloud name extends to the brand new soul design that sport innovative cloud shapes, placed intelligently where they're needed to mould to the foot on the move. These aim to adapt to personal running styles, making a positive impact whatever your gait.
£130 | Buy ON Cloudflyer
Best for: High mileage
The Swiss are best known for watches, cheese, great tennis players and now tech-filled running shoes can be added to that illustrious list. The CloudCruiser weighs less than 200g and aims to offer excellent cushioning while adding significant impact protection.
It’s all down to the special Cloudtech cushioning on the sole that cushions vertical and horizontal forces. The chief benefit here is that it should help reduce the impact on the body and help create a more barefoot running style with the more natural takeoff. That should also mean putting in some speedier running times as well. All while still offering plenty of protection when your foot hits the concrete.
Other features include an easy-entry lacing system so you're not fiddling about with it pre or during a race plus there’s a woven band to add better protection for the all-important heel area.
Brooks Glycerin 13
Best for: A cushioned ride
This brand of running shoe will be more familiar with our friends Stateside, but that doesn’t mean you have to rule them out as the next pair you lace up. The new Super DNA midsole design is the key ingredient here providing 25% more cushioning than its predecessor.
The adaptable material used can alter when you demand differing levels of cushioning during a run. Think of it as tailored cushioning. It also harnesses the company's IDEAL Pressure Zone technology that creates an outsole to evenly distribute the pressure from the heel strike through to the forefoot. This should provide great stability in and better body alignment to get the most from your running style.
Brooks is sticking with its seamless upper and 3D print design for that custom fit while a woven mesh and new colour combinations will have fellow runners staring down at your feet in envy.
From £78 I Buy Brooks Glycerin 13
Pearl Izumi EM Road M2 V3
Best for: Road runners
The EM Road M2 as the name suggests, is a running shoe built for those who spend more time on concrete than hitting the trail. Especially if you’re not putting in those big runs on a regular basis. The EVA Energy Foam in the heel and forefoot provide the necessary cushioning for initial impact, absorbing the energy and sending it back to the runner.
That’s coupled with the rubber forefoot and carbon rubber crash pads around the sides of the shoe, which also aids overall cushioning. The 3D print upper helps to reduce the overall weight of the shoe and a more hugging fit, while the Transfer Dry mesh throughout the design helps keep things cool. The inside of the shoe is not neglected here either with a high-density design that’s built to help control pronation and ultimately improve stability.
From £96 I Buy Pearl Izumi EM Road M2 V3
Adidas Climachill Cosmic Boost
Best for: Higher mileage
When you cherry picking the best features from the Adidas running shoe range, you get the Cosmic Boost. A shoe that provides comfort and keeps you cool for those long hot runs in the summer. From Boost, you get that cushioning midsole technology and grippy outsole to promote a more efficient running style.
When you move to the upper, you’ll find that Primeknit design, which along with the bootie construction gives you that snug fit. Last and by no means least is the climachill tech. You’ll find this built into the mesh on the front of shoe with its perforated fabric offering all-round ventilation and quicker drying when you plunge into that random puddle.
If you want something that fits like a sock and can actually pass as an everyday pair of trainers, then the Cosmic Boost ticks all the important boxes. You can get certain styles of it pretty cheap now, too.
From £76 I Buy Adidas Climachill Cosmic Boost
Nike Zoom Air Performance Vomero 11
Best for: Cushioned ride and higher mileage
The Vomero 11 aims to offer something for everyone. It promises a shoe that’s light but also with enough cushioning for those heavy impact runners. It sounds like the impossible, but Nike believes it’s found the perfect balance. That’s mostly down to the innovative Lunarlon foam midsole, which provides enough cushioning for your running stride all without adding considerable bulk to the design.
The rubber outsole aids that comfort and offers a little extra grip for those slightly slippery surfaces. The softening of the impact your heel and forefoot makes with the ground should ultimately kick up running speed, utilise the energy more efficiently and encourage a more neutral running style overall.
To aid comfort, the Flymesh upper provides more breathability, while the Flywire cables are integrated into the laces for an extra layer of durability. When you slip your feet into the Vomeros, there’s an internal boot to help give you that snug sock-like fit.
ASICS Gel Kayano 22
Boasting a whole load of tech, this pair of running shoes is more akin to a computer than a fitness accessory. First off is the Impact Guidance System, which helps your toe strikes, while FluidRide cushions the foot and improves durability. A multitude of gel, both at the front and rear, keeps the foot comfortable too, even on a long run.
£145 | Buy ASICS Gel Kayano 22
Puma Mobium Elite Speed v1.5
Made specifically for midfoot and forefoot strikers who run at speed, the second generation Mobium Elite boasts the Night Cat reflective print for improved visibility when sunlight is nowhere to be found. The fit has also been improved and a new elasticated band added to move in time with your tendons.
From £72 | Buy Puma Mobium Elite Speed v1.5
Saucony Triumph ISO2
Triumph by name, triumph by nature. These Saucony runners do everything you could want except pushing you out the door to put in those training miles. Saucony Everun Topsole is a tech these trainers use to provide a cushioning that offers more responsive feedback while being thinner than ever for greater weight advantages. But it doesn’t stop at the underside, there's a new tri-flex outsole, Isofit upper and welded bottom eyelit for top comfort levels on the run too.
From £102 | Buy Saucony Triumph ISO2
Adidas Energy Boost 2
Designed for all types of weather, the Boost tech built into these shoes retain energy when you run and then returns it to the foot. The Techfit upper gives a natural, comfortable fit, that almost feels like a sock and the molded overlay increases foot support no end. It’s miCoach compatible, too.
From £60 | Buy Adidas Energy Boost 2