Shoe Buyer’s Guide
There’s nothing more important for a runner than the right shoe. We tried and rigorously tested 14 of the best new offerings to make it easier for you to make your choice
14 new models lab-tested and rated
What’s the best way to choose running shoes? For such a simple activity as running, deciding what you’re going to put on your feet can be somewhat complicated.
Ten years ago, it was part of your identity as a runner to be labelled according to what level of overpronation support you required. Then the shoe industry evolved again and gave us minimalism. And then maximalism. Now shoe brands are investing a large part of their research and development into the concept of ‘energy return’. So how much of this should we dismiss as marketing and what do we need to pay attention to?
That’s where the RW Shoe Guide comes in. We consider everything the brands communicate before presenting you with what we think is the best advice.
If you’re someone who chooses their shoes based on what ‘feels right’, you’ll be delighted to know you’re in sync with what the latest research shows. A paper published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine says that, when choosing shoes, wear what feels good and you’ll be more efficient and have fewer injuries.
Written by Benno Nigg, a leader in biomechanics for 40 years, the paper proposes that instead of radically correcting your stride, shoes should support each runner’s ‘preferred movement path’ – and the best way to decide whether a shoe fits your personal stride pattern is simply whether it feels comfortable or not. ‘Try on a few pairs of shoes and run around in them,’ advises Nigg. ‘Then choose the one that feels best.’
But what does that mean? Working with our colleagues at RW US, we sifted through a decade of feedback from 3,000 wear testers in our database to see what experience runners noted most. And they kept coming back to the following key points: lightweight, cushioning and support. Which is not that surprising. Runners know, or at least have an idea of, what they like. They’re just not always sure which shoes offer it.
That’s why we’ve done the work here. All you have to do is to decide how you like to feel on the run. Do you prefer to feel light and fast? Like you’re running on clouds? Supported and invincible? We’ve got all those shoes. Read on and you’ll find our top picks.
MEN’S WOMEN’S Most shoes come in men’s and women’s versions. Us e the colour code t o f ind out which i s pictured in our reviews.