This spring, runners can swarm the pavements and trails in a host of new shoe offerings to match their terrain and stride. Gus Alexandropoulos of Canadian Running Magazine reviews a selection, from traditional stability models to barefoot-mimicking lightweight styles
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1. STABILITY Asics 2160, $160 This season, Asics updates this hugely popular shoe with a heel-to-toe Guidance Line groove that encourages a more efficient transition from heel strike to toe-off. Asics also adds a plusher forefoot midsole and memory foam in the collar for increased comfort during long runs. Ideal Runner: Mild to moderate pronators wanting a smooth, efficient ride without compromising comfort or the secure, foot-hugging Asics fit. It?s perfect for anything from 10K runs to marathons. No wonder this continues to be the go-to shoe for so many runners.
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2. MINIMALIST Saucony Hattori, $120 With its zero-drop-height midsole and diaphanous uppers, the Hattori embodies what the minimalist shoe movement is preaching: Less is better. Saucony reduces weight by using a Velcro-style closure and eliminating the outsole except in high-wear contact areas. While most lightweight racing flats come in at about 200 grams, the Hattori weighs a shockingly low 127 grams. Ideal runner: Fast, lightweight runners seeking a highly flexible shoe with minimal cushioning.
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3. NEUTRAL CUSHIONING New Balance 890 RevLite, $150 New Balance delivers a racing-flat weight without compromising the plush ride desired by most neutral runners. The RevLite merges these previously incompatible traits by using a new midsole foam that offers the durability and responsiveness of midsoles weighing up to 30 per cent more. A seamless, foot-hugging upper provides support without adding weight, making the 890 RevLite one of the lightest shoes in the neutral cushioning category. Ideal Runner: Neutral runners wanting an everyday trainer with race-day weight.
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4. TRAIL RUNNING New Balance Minimus Trail, $130 The Minimus Trail is one of this year?s most radical trail-running shoes. Intended to be worn without socks and offering only a four-millimetre heel-to-toe drop, this shoe brings the barefoot-running ideal to the trails. Surprisingly, this minimalist approach works. The shoe feels agile on technical terrain, and the low-profile Vibram outsole is shockingly sticky on smooth, wet surfaces. Ideal Runner: Trail runners wanting a fast and agile minimalist shoe, while still maintaining some impact protection.
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5. ROAD/TRAIL CROSSOVER Salomon XR Crossmax, $140 Salomon has a reputation for building some of the best serious trail-running shoes available. Unfortunately, the qualities that make the shoes so sure-footed on challenging trails hinder their performance on pavement. The new XR Crossmax solves this dilemma by providing a lighter and more flexible platform suitable for both road and trail running. Runners get great cushioning on the road without sacrificing control and traction on the trails. Ideal Runner: This is a great shoe for anyone who has to run on pavement before hitting the trails. Perfect for urban trail runners.
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6. RACING Adidas adiZero Adios, $150 Adidas adds a lightweight upper to a thin midsole and creates the quintessential road-racing shoe. But unlike other lightweight minimalist shoes that lack laces, or require a radical shift to a forefoot-strike gait, the Adios looks and feels like a more conventional running shoe. Ideal Runner: Light, biomechanically efficient runners looking for a no-compromise marathon shoe.