Heart and sole of top running shoe
THERE is a huge selection of running shoes on the market and you can spend hundreds of dollars on a pair. But is the price always worth it? We asked a keen runner to put four training shoes to the test – from a $ 39 pair from Big W, right up to just under $ 200 for a style from Brooks. Running is a way of life for Sue Thompson. With husband, Olympian and Commonwealth champion Andrew Lloyd, and sports- mad 11- year- old twin sons, the working mum shares a very active household. She clocks up an average 80km every week in training for races and family mountain biking events. “I’ve competed in hundreds of events over the years, from 5km races to six- day adventure events,” says 45year- old Thompson. “I still compete occasionally but these days I’m mostly just trying to keep up with my boys Jackson and Cooper and trail running with my border collies.” Here’s what she had to say.
ADIDAS ENERGY BOOST 2 TECHFIT, $ 180, ADIDAS. COM. AU
“This is a very well- cushioned shoe with good support,” she says. “Most shoes these days are lightweight but this one is a little more robust than the others. The tread and sole make them great for off- road running.” Verdict: “Good fit all around and will last a long time. Someone who runs a lot would get good use out of them.”
NEW BALANCE FRESH FOAM ZANTE, $ 150, NEWBALANCE. COM. AU
“I love these shoes and could run in them forever,” says Thompson. “The shoes use a new foam technology which makes them extremely supportive, flexible and comfortable. The toe box is generous so your feet don’t feel cramped. As comfortable as slippers.” Verdict: The winners! “Incredibly comfortable to wear but I think the tread could wear out quite quickly.”
BROOKS PUREGRIT 3, $ 199.95, BROOKSRUNNING. COM. AU
“This is a cross- country shoe and awesome on the trails. Quite light and cushioned but they are a little stiff in the midsole. This is a ‘ low- drop shoe’ ( a minimalist style with less cushioning).” Verdict: “Good but I would recommend getting used to low- drop styles slowly.”
BIG W MITRE TRAINING SHOE, $ 39, BIGW. COM. AU
“The shoe feels supportive when you first put it on, however once running it feels quite different. There feels less support and stability than the other shoes.” Verdict: “I would use this shoe for walking.” Sports podiatrist Owen Stewart of Shire Podiatry says the more running you do, the more supportive your shoes should be. “A poorly fitted pair of shoes not only reduces the life span of the shoes, they can cause injuries to toes, feet, legs, knees and even the lower back,” he says.
HECTIC PACE: Mother of two and marathon runner Sue Thompson with her border collies.