We’re nearly halfway through 2017, so it’s a good time to compile this list. In 2016, we chose the Glide 8 Boost as the running shoe of the year. This time around, we thought it would be a better idea to pick multiple shoes which best represent their respective category.
Like most lists, this is fairly subjective, a combination of our selection criteria and feedback from crowdsourced reader reviews. Also, June and July are going to see the release of many new shoe models so expect this list to be updated before winter.
We’ve stuck to mainstream brands for the most part. Solereview gets readers from all over the world, and brands like On, Altra, Salming, and Salomon are sparsely distributed outside the United States.
For this curated list, solereview chose one shoe for each of the following categories:
|Neutral - soft cushioning||adidas Supernova M||Amazon|
|Neutral - medium soft cushioning||Nike Pegasus 33||Amazon|
|Neutral - lightweight||Saucony Freedom ISO||Amazon|
|Road racing||adidas Takumi Sen 3||Amazon|
|Stability - maximum support||Brooks Beast '16||Amazon|
|Stability - medium support||Saucony Guide 10||Amazon|
|Stability - lightweight support||New Balance 1500V3||Amazon|
|All-around trail running||Nike Zoom Wildhorse 4||Amazon|
1) Best neutral shoe, soft cushioning: adidas Supernova M
The Supernova used to be a somewhat firm shoe until last year, but no more. A new midsole increases the softness levels while delivering responsiveness. There’s more room inside the upper, and the Continental rubber outsole has the durability you’ve come to expect.
And why did we choose the Supernova over the Energy or Ultra? For starters, the Supernova is cheaper than both. Secondly, both the Energy and Ultra have snug fitting uppers which might not appeal to some runners.
2) Best neutral shoe, medium-soft cushioning: Nike Zoom Pegasus 33
Many runners literally grew up with the Pegasus, Nike’s dependable and versatile workhorse. Though the Pegasus feels like a bit long in the tooth these days, it still offers a cushioned and responsive ride at a good price-value. The sleeved upper fits well, as it always has.
(Note: This entry will be updated once we review the Pegasus 34 and the Saucony Ride 10 )
3) Best neutral shoe, lightweight cushioning: Saucony Freedom ISO
This spot was a tie between the adidas Boston 6 and the Freedom ISO. We went with the Freedom ISO because of its unadulterated Everun experience and a more comfortable upper.
If you need a higher heel offset (the Freedom is a mere 4 mm), then go for the adidas adizero Boston 6.
4) Best road racing shoe: adidas adizero Takumi Sen 3
The Takumi Sen gets a lot of things right, such as a breathable and lightweight upper, an exceptionally grippy DSP outsole, and a high quality of cushioning provided by the Boost forefoot. These characteristics make the Takumi a great shoe for road races up to 10K.
If you’re running anything longer than a 10k, then we suggest that you get the adidas adios 3.
5) Best running shoe, max stability: Brooks Beast ’16
The Brooks Beast 16 might have lost its DNA Gel midsole with the version ’14, but it remains the stability heavyweight it always was. Featuring an extremely supportive and broad midsole, the Beast has all the stability you need, and then some.
It’s got a narrow upper fit, so make sure to get a 2E width or wider.
6) Best running shoe, mild stability: Saucony Guide 10
We’re huge fans of support shoes which deliver a balanced ride without the lopsided compression which comes with a few ‘motion control’ shoes. Despite having a firmer medial post, the Guide 10 feels supportive on either sides.
The Everun component isn’t a significant part of the midsole (it’s only a topsole), but it gives a touch of responsiveness to the Guide 10’s otherwise firm ride.
7) Best running shoe, lightweight stability: New Balance 1500V3
The 1500 has been our top pick ever since the series made its debut a couple of years ago. The upper has an excellent fit quality, the medial post does not feel intrusive, and there’s ample cushioning for distances up to a half marathon.
8) Best all-around trail running shoe: Nike Zoom Wildhorse 4
The popular pairing of the Nike Wildhorse and the Terra Kiger has won many admirers over the past few years. So which one should you get – the Wildhorse or the slightly more expensive (and lower drop) Terra Kiger?
Your decision depends on the use-case. The Wildhorse has a heel Zoom Air unit with Nike’s forefoot rock plate; on the other hand, the Kiger does not have a rock plate and have forefoot and heel Zoom Air bags instead. So there you have it – the Kiger is good for longer trail runs of a non-technical kind (due to the lack of a rock plate) while the Wildhorse is a durable do-it-all shoe.
While the ideal thing to do would be to buy both shoes, we would recommend you pick the versatile Zoom Wildhorse 4.