One Of These Running Shoes Could Be Your New Sole Mate
Running shoes are having a moment. From fashion-forward designs that incite ‘sneakerheads’ to queue overnight, through to trail shoes and thin-soled barefoot runners, the choice has never been greater. Or, for that matter, more confusing. But if you count yourself among the millions of runners now regularly hitting our roads, selecting the correct pair is critical.
Not only will a sub-par set of kicks trip up your endurance, they can also cause significant injury. And with most road running shoes designed to withstand no more than 800km of wear, it’s probably time you upgraded your exhausted footlocker, anyway.
In this trial we’ve left fashion to Yeezy, and foregone fads in favour of road-ready performance. We’ve analysed everything from heel cushioning to sole flexibility. These runaway winners are fit for recreational athletes and those seeking a sub-three-hour marathon alike. What’s more, with studies from Iowa State University showing that each hour-long run correlates to seven more hours on your lifespan, these are an investment in longevity, too.
Make faster fitness a shoe-in with these road warriors.
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Race Ready - New Balance Vazee Prism 2
Think Fast: The Vazee Prism V2 marks itself out as a fast-run specialist; testers noted it feels lighter than previous NB offerings. This racing model might not come with go-faster stripes, but it will serve you well with a 10K PB on the line.R2099 at Totalsports
Expert Verdict: The midsole remained bouncy and durable, even when given a pounding by heavier runners, and flexibility is excellent. Be warned – the toebox is a little narrow. Maybe stick a precautionary plaster on your pinkies.
Speed Slippers - Adidas Ultraboost Laceless
Lace-Free Gains: A true rulebreaker, these shoes may seem like a gimmick at first and the fit compromised – but it’s the opposite. This offers a snug, comfortable (but secure) fit, thanks to the Primeknit upper and the thick band across the midsole. R3299 at Adidas
Expert Verdict: The Boost tech may be five years old now, but it’s only got better. This Ultraboost can handle almost any distance; the cushioning is super-responsive, and the outsole is very grippy, thanks to the Continental rubber.
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Comfort Zone - Nike Air Zoom Vomero 12
Training Uptick: As you’d expect from any Swoosh product, there are plenty of ticks – in this case, slipper-like comfort, a secure midfoot fit, and lateral stability when cornering. The Lab also reported a commendable cushioning-to-flex ratio. R1299 (was R2099) at Takealot
Expert Verdict: This would have been a top contender had Nike sweated the details a little more. The dense upper, ever-so slightly pinched toebox and lack of ground feel proved minor missteps. Best suited to recovery or easy runs.
All-Rounder - Under Armour Charged Bandit 3
New Contender: We haven’t done a Under Armour running shoe review before, and this has been an epic start. The Bandit offers the perfect mix of cushioning for both long-run comfort, and fast response feel for speedwork and sprints. R1999 at Zando
Expert Verdict: It offers a snug, comfortable fit thanks to the knitted upper and the external heel clip. It’s moderately soft, and versatile enough to handle long and short distances. We’re also fans of the sleek silhouette and punchy styling.
Light Speed - Puma Speed Ignite NetFit
Net Gains: Puma’s ‘fastest shoe yet’
has a new forefoot outsole for a snappy toe-off, plus dual-layer midsole infused with Ignite foam for lasting cushioning. The net cage also allows custom lacing to suit your foot type. Plus it looks cool. R2749 at Zando
Expert Verdict: A choice shoe for men looking to balance support and speed. The reshaped outsole is durable while also giving greater traction; and – thanks to the variable lacing styles – the lighter upper won’t slip up on stability.
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