The number of athletic shoes available is utterly mind boggling. With well over 600 options from just the five brands listed below—finding the best shoe is a daunting task. First, to select the right shoe it is important to know more information about your feet and your gait: do you have a high arch, normal arch, or are you flat footed? Do you supination, pronate, or over-pronate when you walk? These questions are outside the scope of this article, but can be addressed easily by any shoe specialist in a reputable shoe store carrying higher end shoes. Once you have an idea what size/type of shoe is right for you, discuss with your shoe specialist the following top-rated shoes to find the best for you.
5. New Balance Minimus HI-REZ
The New Balance Minimus HI-REZ is a lightweight, barefoot-style running shoe with independent cushions on the outsole moving along with the foot’s natural motion. This delivers superior flexibility and a connection with the ground that is not possible in traditional running shoes.
If you prefer traditional running shoes, check out the New Balance 990v3. The 990v3 is a new release of the classic Made in USA 990—this shoe can do it all. For an absolute cutting edge traditional running shoe, have a look at the New Balance 2040.
4. Adidas Springblades
Adidas has taken a revolutionary approach to the barefoot running trend with the Adidas Springblades. These shoes quite literally have 16 polymer “blades” which articulate individually and hold onto the energy from your stride—in order to give you a little “spring” into your next stride. The Wall Street Journal did a great write up about these shoes. The shoe is reported to have a sock like fit and is in high demand this fall. For a more “traditional” barefoot shoe from Adidas, consider the Adidas Adipure Crazyquick.
If you just do not want a barefoot style shoe, try on a pair of Adidas Energy Boost shoes.
3. Asics Gel Kayano 20
The latest and greatest shoe from Asics is the Asics Gel Kayano 20. Improved technology adapts to the users foot creating a glove like fit, and with all kinds of features aimed at providing excellent stability and cushioning with a lightweight competition-ready running shoe—this shoe is tough to beat.
If you prefer a barefoot running shoe, the Asics Blazingfast shoe should get a look.
2. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14
The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14 is a new shoe from one of the old-guard in running. A new lace design evens out lace pressure to create a very secure fit, and Brooks improved their Segmented Crash Pad by adding full ground contact for a better transition. Combined with a no-stitch design for great looks, this shoe offers the best in support, balance, and cushion.
For a great barefoot running shoe, look at the Brooks PureConnect series.
1. Nike Free Trainer 5.0
The Nike Free Trainer 5.0 is an amazing shoe with some incredibly unique and innovative features. Starting with the laces—this shoe has a dual-pull lace system that wraps around the bottom of the foot and attaches to the midsole; with the sidewall wrapping up to cradle foot—making for a very good fit. The flex grooves in the midsole and forefoot allow the foot to move easily and engage better during stride—giving it a barefoot style feel. The no-stitch construction adds to the minimalist feel. But the real kicker is that this shoe can be totally customizable! With NIKE iD you can choose the colors of the shoe and even customize the traction pattern to fit your needs best. Mind. Blown. Can’t quite figure out how you want to stylize your new Free Trainers? Check out the Nike iD section over at Sneaker News.
For a more traditional shoe option, the Nike Pegasus lineup consistently gets rave reviews.
After learning more about your feet and stride, and armed with this top 5 list, you should be able to navigate the endless sea of shoe options and narrow down your shoe search in short order. Any shoe in this list is worth trying on, and will serve quite well as each has its own strength…but that Nike Free Trainer 5.0 is an amazing combination of looks and features which would make any shoe enthusiast smitten at first sight.