ZOOT ALI’I 16 NEW BALANCE WOMEN’S FRESH FOAM VONGO ASICS GEL HYPER SPEED 7
THE FALL IS A GREAT TIME TO WORK ON YOUR RUNNING, WHICH WILL BE A LOT MORE FUN WITH A NEW PAIR OF SHOES. TO HELP YOU DECIDE WHICH PAIR WILL BE BEST FOR YOU, WE OFFER UP THIS GUIDE WITH SOME OF THE LATEST MODELS THAT PROVIDE LOTS OF SUPPORT AND CUSHIONING TO ENSURE YOU’LL GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR TRAINING AND FALL RACING.
With its rich Kona history (Zoot got its start on the Big Island of Hawaii in the 1980s), Zoot has long produced comfortable and fast triathlon-specific clothing and shoes. The Ali’i 16 continues that tradition with a Boa closure system that allows you to literally dial in a comfortable, snug fit in seconds as you hit T2. The moulded 3D heel counter has an integrated heel pull tab to help that fast transition and provide lots of heel support. In keeping with the triathlon-specific nature of the shoe, the Barefit lining and breathable mesh upper make this a very comfortable shoe to wear barefoot. There’s lots of cushioning all the way through the midsole, so you get a plush ride whether you’re heel or mid-foot striking, and the Carbon Rubber tread is very light but offers excellent traction.
Designed to provide lots of cushioning but still offer the support you need, New Balance’s Fresh Foam series now adds its first women’s stability shoe to the series: the Fresh Foam Vongo. The one-piece midsole provides lots of support, while the breathable mesh upper, moulded sock liner and no-sew material application make this a comfortable option for triathletes who might want to use this as a sockless-race shoe. The drop of this shoe is just 4 mm, but it’s about as far from a minimalist shoe as you can get – the thick midsole makes it feel like you’re running on air, a nice feeling as you start out on a longer run in a half- or full-distance race. The Vongo weighs in at just 8.8 oz., too, so you get all this cushioning and support in a very lightweight package.
Asics has long mastered the ability to make lightweight training and racing shoes that still offer lots of support and the Hyper Speed 7 is another fantastic example of that prowess. The Flytefoam midsole is half the weight of other shoes in this class. The reinforced “memory fibres” used in the midsole quickly return back to their shape, so you get lots of protection in a very lightweight (9.3 oz. in the men’s model) shoe. There’s a decent drop – about 8 mm – so it’s very easy to get over onto your toes if you’re trying to go fast, and the plush cushioning and support make this a fantastic option for training and racing at virtually any distance.