Top 5 Running/Athletic Shoes

Adidas Springblade

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.

  

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Boost your energy with Springblade technolgy from adidas

Most of our readers have probably seen ads for the adidas Springblade, which are the first running shoe with individually tuned blades engineered to help propel runners forward with one of the most effective energy returns in the industry. Right when we put these shoes on for a test run, we couldn’t believe the explosive energy from the Springblade shoe! Unlike standard EVA midsoles, which deliver energy return in a vertical direction, Springblade features 16 forward angled blades made out of a high-tech polymer. The highly elastic blades instantaneously react to any environment, compressing and releasing energy to create an efficient push-off that feels like you have springs under your feet. The feeling is so unique and new that you really feel like you are experiencing something from the future.

For all the serious runners out there, it’s important to know that each blade is precisely tuned in geometry, thickness and position for each phase of a runner’s stride to provide support and a full range of movement. Additionally, Springblade’s flexible construction was designed to hug the top of a runner’s foot, locking it in to harness the energy returned from the springs on the outsole. After six years in the making, aIT (adidas Innovation Team) tested hundreds of materials to ensure each spring produced maximum energy efficiency with every step and conducted rigorous ballistics tests to maintain long-lasting durability For top performance in all environments, Springblade is seven times more temperature resistant than shoes with adidas’ standard EVA cushioning. Aside from all of the technology under your feet, these new Springblade’s look incredible and will grab attention from folks of all walks of life.

The adidas Springblade is available for $180 and has been on sale since August 1 at adidas.com and retailers nationwide, including Finish Line, Foot Locker, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Eastbay and select running specialty stores.

  

Reebok unveils the highly-anticipated ATV 19 running shoes

reebok

For those always looking for the latest high-tech running shoes, there’s something special about the all-new Reebok ATV 19s. We recently tested a pair in all-black, and from the time you first check out these new kicks, you can tell they are going to be like nothing you have ran in before!

reebok2

You’ll first notice the irregular lug pattern outsole technology that features 19 large size ATV lugs to help provide traction and agility on various surfaces. The ATV 19 also boasts a full-length IMEVA midsole that is designed to provide earth-shaking traction and durable comfort. The support that I felt in the ATV 19 is as good as any running shoe tested to date! Check out the video below featuring Dallas Cowboys linebacker Demarcus Ware and UFC fighter Rampage Jackson to see for yourself how the ATVs hold up in tough conditions.

The bottom line here is that Reebok’s ATV 19 provides maximum ground contact that can rip through any surface because its irregular sole gives you a banked feel for incredible traction. The ATV 19s are available today for $90 at key retailers, including Finish Line and Reebok.com.

  

Looking for motivation to run? Sign up for a race (and pick up some cool gear too)

It’s amazing how quickly expectations can change and perceived limitations can be expanded. I remember crossing the finish line of my first half marathon in 2010 and thinking there was no way I’d ever run a full marathon. “If somebody told me to go do that again right now,” I said to my wife after the 2010 Columbus Half, “I’d punch them in the throat.” A little extreme, perhaps, but at the time, it was an honest reaction to the horrifying thought of finishing a 13.1-mile race and turning around to do it all over again. Not a chance.

Soon after Columbus, though, I signed up for my second half marathon and started to more seriously consider running a full. What changed? Eventually, the exhaustion and nausea from that first race faded and I realized that I was now as intimidated by the thought of running a full marathon as I initially had been by the thought of running a half. Once I began training for Columbus, though, and my mileage started creeping toward double digits, that 13.1-mile target felt less and less daunting. I understood that race day would still be a challenge, especially if I had any chance of hitting my target time, but with each bump in mileage during my training, my confidence continued to grow. With that experience under my belt, I knew the same thing would happen while training for a full marathon.

That faith convinced me to take the plunge and sign up for the 2011 Chicago Marathon. Shortly after clicking “submit” on the online entry form, my faith had vanished. What had I just done? I could barely drag my carcass across the line for a half marathon; what made me think I could double up for a full? But I was committed, thanks in no small part to the $145 entry fee, so I mapped out my training plan and set to work. Sure enough, once my long runs crept up to 12, 14 and 16 miles, that faith returned and then grew in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, race day went unexpectedly awry for a couple reasons, but I finished. A few weeks later, with the bad taste of the disappointing race still in my mouth, I signed up for the Phoenix Marathon in January, and a couple days after that, I received an invitation to run the Tokyo Marathon in February as part of the international press tour. Sure, why not?!

Within about a year, I went from being terrified by the thought of running a full marathon to finishing three in the span of four months. The idea seemed crazy at the time, but I stayed true to my training and finished Phoenix and Tokyo with relatively respectable times. Now I know that, with the proper time and amount of training, any goal is possible. However, it seems I’m only able to carve out the time needed for the proper training when I click that “submit” button and sign up for a race. It worked for Columbus and Chicago, and it worked again when I signed up for the Akron Half Marathon recently. I had intended to take a short break after Tokyo to allow my body some time to rest up, but that “short break” wound up lasting about five months. I kept trying to kickstart my training again but there were always more important things to do.

Then I promised a friend that I’d run the Akron Half on September 29 if he signed up as well. It would be his first half marathon, my fifth, and that promise wound up being the motivation we both needed. I only squeezed in about two months of training so I wasn’t in the kind of shape I’d like to be in for a big race, but I still finished pretty well this past weekend and, more importantly, I challenged myself again and thoroughly enjoyed the race.

Have you been thinking about running a full or half marathon, or even just a 5K or 10K, but haven’t found the courage to hit that “submit” button? You’ll be amazed by how motivated you become when you finally sign up for that big race, and even more surprised by the surge in confidence you’ll enjoy once you fully commit to your training and start logging those miles.

In my preparation for the Akron Half, I had the pleasure of trying out a few different products that added a little something extra to this round of training. The latest, greatest gizmo or accessory won’t magically turn you into a world-class runner, but it can definitely help you improve along the way or just make the training seem a little less grueling.

PYLE GPS SPORTS WATCH

The majority of my competitive running came during my high school days, long before the advent of GPS devices, so I always measured my training runs the old-fashioned way: by driving the route and hoping for the best. I started using GPS apps on my iPhone for more accurate tracking but found that to be a hassle, particularly when I needed to check my mileage during the run. This Pyle GPS Sports Watch proved to be the perfect solution.

The watch comes with a 2.4 GHz digitally coded wireless heart rate monitor that you strap to your chest during a run, bike ride or other physical activity. For me, though, the GPS tracking and customizable displays were the biggest draws. The watch has four main modes: Compass, Time, Navigation and Workout. Workout mode works with the navigation system to record and display information such as distance traveled, average pace, workout duration, calories burned, heart rate and more. Even better, you can choose what data is displayed in each of the three main zones of the workout mode. For example, knowing what I needed to average per mile in the Akron Half to hit my target time, I programmed the watch to display my pace in the main zone, with the overall time in the top zone and the distance traveled at the bottom. This kind of customizable functionality makes the Pyle GPS Sports Watch that much more useful for whatever activity you have planned.

Water resistant up to 30 meters underwater and containing a rechargeable lithium polymer battery, this compact wrist computer made my training much more effective and precise. You can even use the watch to help plan your route and then analyze your workouts afterward. It takes a while to get the hang of all the bells and whistles, but you’ll soon see that it’s all time well spent.

JAYBIRD WIRELESS BLUETOOTH HEADPHONES

Some people enjoy running with music, and some people simply can’t stand running without the distraction that their music provides. I, on the other hand, find the distraction…well, distracting. I often zone out if I’m listening to music during my runs and find at the end of my workout that my pace is typically slower in those cases. That’s not such a bad thing when I am simply putting in some long miles where pace doesn’t matter much and the distraction would be welcomed, though, and it was on one such run where I popped on these wireless Jaybird Sportsband Bluetooth headphones, paired them with my iPhone and hit the pavement.

I initially was worried that the headphones would become uncomfortable after such a long run and maybe slide out of place, but they sat snugly and comfortably on my ears throughout. Integrated controls on the Sportsband allow you to easily control the music (play, pause, skip and volume control) with a click, and it’s equipped with apt-X audio codec for pristine sound quality with plenty of kick. The Jaybird comes with a lifetime warranty against sweat, its rechargeable battery allows for up to eight hours of music time, and with its concealed microphone, it can also be used as a Bluetooth headset for your phone. In short, these sleek headphones are awesome whether you’re on a run, cutting the grass or just taking care of some chores around the house.

ADIZERO FEATHER 2

Runners are particular; about their training schedules, their pre-race meals, the kind of energy gel they use, their choice of socks, their race-day routine, you name it. Most significantly, though, they’re particular about their running shoes. I’m no different: I find a shoe that I like, and I usually stick with it. If they hold up well to all the miles, if they’re comfortable and, of course, if I remain injury-free while using them, I’ll keep coming back to the same shoe company, and often the same shoe, for years. So in the interest of full disclosure, I am not an Adidas runner. I generally like Adidas for my everyday tennis shoes but had never run in a pair when the 6.7-ounce adizero Feather 2 arrived at my front door.

Obviously, the weight of the shoe first caught my eye. I love a lightweight running shoe, particularly near the end of a long training run or race, and these adizero Feathers are lighter than my beloved trainers of choice by a full pound. Wow. In fact, they’re one of the lightest everyday running shoes on the market thanks to the SprintWeb mesh construction, which significantly reduces weight while combining excellent breathability with support and comfort. As the cherry on top, the adizero Feather 2 comes in eight slick color combinations — I love the flash of my blue/orange pair, and there’s bound to be a color combo perfect for you.

With so much going for it, the adizero Feather 2 certainly grabbed my attention. I can’t claim that I’m ready to make the switch – what can I say, I’m stubborn – but the lightweight makeup, comfort and style of the adizero Feather 2 make it a trainer to be reckoned with.

  

RealFlex: Reebok’s natural movement runner

Reebok has been on a roll lately with recent entries into the sportingwear market like the huge hits of EasyTone and ZigTech shoe lines. While most companies would sit back and enjoy these successes Reebok chose to expand their formidible lines even further with the RealFlex footwear.

The RealFlex technology is inspired by the barefoot/natural/minimalist running movement that is recognized nationally and is becoming the hottest technology in the running world. Our test pair were the RealFlex Run edition that weigh in at 9.2 ounces sporting 76 “sensors” underfoot that give you an incredibly “natural” feel when running.

“Barefoot or natural running makes a lot of sense from a biomechanics standpoint because all the shock absorption happens in your muscles, not your joints,” said Reebok’s Head of Advanced Innovation, Bill McInnis. “The problem is that natural running works best in the natural world, not on man-made surfaces. In creating RealFlex technology, we took everything that works with natural running and made it work in today’s world. Simply put, RealFlex is natural movement perfected.”

  

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