Fall Shoe Review
16 New Models and Updates
Endorphin Speed 2.0
Category: neutral cushioning
Men’s: 225 g (7.9 oz.)
Women’s: 200 g (7.1 oz.)
Stack height: 35.5 mm
Drop: 8 mm
Like the original Endorphin Speed, the Speed 2 is a super light, high-performance training shoe that’s a great choice for tempo runs, track workouts and road races – and anyone who tries this model out will be hard pressed to find a reason not to invest in a pair. The new series of Endorphin racers comes in multiple colourways, including a distinctive, wavy black-and-white aesthetic reminiscent of the checkered f lag in motor racing – a subliminal salute to speed.
The 2 retains the things that made the first version so successful: lightness, plush pwrrun PB cushioning, a rockered sole combined with a fulllength nylon propulsion plate and energy return to burn. There are a few tweaks to the upper, including refinements to the mesh, the shape of the heel and the laces. For the serious runner chasing a new PB this fall, it is definitely worth the investment.
FLOW Velociti SE
Best Speedwork Shoe Category: neutral cushioning
Men’s: 231 g (8.2 oz.)
Women’s: 185 g (6.5 oz.)
Stack height: 26 mm
Drop: 8 mm
If you liked the UA flow Velociti Wind, which came out earlier this year, you’ll love the new flow Velociti SE, which is built on the same platform and has the same lightweight, responsive, durable midsole, but a completely redesigned upper. The SE’s new, knit upper molds to your foot for a super-comfortable, bootie-like fit, aided by UA’s signature sockliner, a stretchy collar and fully integrated tongue (similar to the one in last year’s hovr Phantom2 Coldgear Reactor). Some runners found the Velociti Wind’s toe box a bit skimpy, but that’s been rectified; the shoe fits true to size.
Cushy enough for long tempo runs and firm enough to give excellent ground feel in speed workouts, the shoe is a perfect hybrid of training and racing, for anything up to the half-marathon. The brand is banking on the Flow midsole foam being both grippy enough and durable enough to dispense with a rubber outsole altogether, which is how it achieves such phenomenal lightness. We figure if it didn’t work on the Wind, they would have changed it, so that must mean it will go the distance.
Puma Velocity Nitro
Best New Model Category: neutral cushioning
Men’s: 257 g (9.1 oz.)
Women’s: 209 g (7.3 oz.)
Stack height: 33.5 mm
Drop: 8 mm
The Velocity Nitro is P uma’s most highly cushioned daily t rainer in t he Nit ro series, which launched last year with the Deviate racer. Like the Deviate, the Velocity has a nice, thick midsole full of nitrogen-infused foam, which makes for an extremely comfortable, light shoe with just the right combination of stiffness and f lexibility for smooth, natural-feeling transitions during tempo runs. In particular, our female tester appreciated the fit, which was true to size, with plenty of room in the toe box without being sloppy (though women with wider feet may find it a bit snug in the midfoot). The Nitro series is built on separate men’s and women’s lasts, making it easier for women to find the right fit, also aided by the f ull, si x-eyelet lacing system and the tpu heel piece. The outsole is a super grippy, durable rubber that will keep you reliably upright, even in wet conditions, as well as adding stiffness where you need it while contributing to the shoe’s longevity.
Pegasus Trail 3 Category: trail
Men’s: 321 g (11.3 oz.)
Stack height: 24.5 mm
Drop: 9.5 mm
If you like Nike Pegasus for the road, you’ ll love the Pegasus Trail 3 for trails. The shoe benefits from all the refinements the brand has made over 38 versions of the road shoe – mainly the super cushy React foam midsole, which has been used in the Peg since the release of the 37 last year. Yet it doesn’t have the massive stack of some competing shoes, which means you can still actually feel the ground beneath your feet.
Updates from the 2 are relatively minor, the main one being the padding in the tongue, which in the previous version was a thin and somewhat abrasive material; the 3’s tongue is also gussetted and breathable, and comes up nice and high on the ankle. The cage lacing system provides good lockdown in the midfoot, and there’s also some support in the heel for running on unstable terrain. The outsole lugs are more than adequate for mostly dry terrain and extend right from the tip of the toe to the back of the heel. All of this adds up to a shoe that feels perfect right out of the box and stands up well in all conditions on moderate trails. A Gore-Tex version is also available.
The North Face Vectiv Enduris
Men’s: 316 g (11.2 oz.)
Women’s: 278 g (9.8 oz.)
Stack height: 31 mm Drop: 6 mm
Shoes with a distinctly curved sole have been very popular in 2021, especially for road shoes, for obvious reasons: they promote continuous forward motion and smooth out your stride. tnf’s new Vectiv trail series, which launched earlier this year with the Flight Vectiv, all have a pronounced rocker, and the Enduris is no different. The brand has also adopted the propulsion plate for its trail shoes; the Enduris’s is made of tpu, a slightly more forgiving material than the carbon-fibre version in the Flight Vectiv.
While the Flight Vectiv is built for racing, the Enduris is considerably heavier, but also more affordable, with more cushioning in the midsole for your daily miles on the trail. Other features include a breathable mesh upper with seamless tpu overlays on the toe and heel for chafe-free protection, and a nicely padded tongue. There’s an internal tpu heel counter to enhance the fit and keep you solid in the shoe. The outsole, which features 3.5-mm, butterf ly-shaped lugs for multidirectional traction in a variety of conditions, is identical to the one on the high-performance Flight Vectiv. Altogether an excellent choice for an all-purpose trail shoe.
Saucony Endorphin Trail
Men’s: 295 g (10.4 oz.)
Women’s: 255 g (9.0 oz.)
Stack height: 36.5 mm
Drop: 4 mm
Other than the rockered sole and the cushy pwrrun PB midsole, it’s hard to see what this shoe has in common with the others in the Endorphin line, considering it lacks any kind of propulsion plate (a dubious concept in a trail shoe, anyway), and you couldn’t call it light, even for a trail shoe. But compared to other trail shoes, in terms of toughness, protection and its ability to carry you over a variety of terrain, the shoe holds its own.
The highly supportive upper has the same fully-integrated tongue the brand has used in some previous trail models, giving a super locked-in fit. The toe box is roomy, allowing for splay on the downhills. Multiple protective overlays shield your feet from debris, and the design on the stack is not just to complement the esthetics of the upper – it’s actually a densely woven, protective mesh. The rocker geometry does compensate somewhat for the very high midsole stack, propelling you along the trail when you otherwise might not feel so well connected to the ground. The lugged pwrtrac outsole works best on dry singletrack (hard packed or sandy). Some reviewers have commented on the lack of breathability in the upper, which could make it a good pick for cold weather.
Under Armour Machina 2 Category: neutral cushioning
Men’s: 290 g
Women’s: 231 g
Stack height: 31 mm (men’s), 33 mm (women’s) Drop: 8 mm
The new UA Machina 2 comes with several improvements to the f irst edit ion of UA’s plated t rainer. Designed to work well for everything from easy recovery runs to workouts to your long run, the new Machina is a touch lighter and slightly less stiff in the forefoot, while retaining the plush hovr midsole and the removable sockliner for long-haul comfort, and the Pebax propulsion plate for effortless tempo runs. The upper has been re-worked to include a UA rush lining borrowed from the brand’s highly successful apparel line to maximize comfort and breathability. And you still get the benefit of the connected fitness metrics and real-time coaching, thanks to the embedded chip in the sole and the brand’s MapMyRun app. With plenty of carbon rubber in the high-wear areas of the outsole, this shoe is designed to last longer than your average high-end trainer.
Best Daily Trainer Category: neutral cushioning
Men’s: 275 g (9.7 oz.)
Women’s: 222 g (7.8 oz.)
Stack height: 30 mm (men), 21 mm (women) Drop: 8 mm
The Novablast was introduced last year as a desertisland shoe – a highly cushioned neutral trainer that works as well for workouts as for tempo runs and weekend long runs – but as an alternative to the brand’s gel insert shoes. And while some folks found it a bit too cushy and unstable for the track, the tweaks in the new version address that. It’s a particularly good choice for those moving up to the marathon for the first time.
The new version has two additional millimetres of FlyteFoam Blast in front, while the drop is now 8 mm instead of 10; this will make it more attractive to midfoot strikers who want a more natural feeling; those who enjoyed the first version for long runs and are accustomed to a 10-mm drop will want to ease into longer distances gradually. The heel counter has a tpu overlay for improved stability in the rear, and the shoe retains the roomy, breathable mesh upper, the grippy, durable outsole and the wide base, which lends stability. Most runners will find it a bit heavy for the track, but with that caveat, it’s a very good all-around daily trainer or raceday shoe for anything from the 5k to the marathon. Note: the fit is generous; some runners may prefer to go down a half size.
Category: neutral cushioning
Men’s: 206 g/7.3 oz. (racing), 242 g/8.5 oz. (light training), 282 g/9.9 oz. (cushioned) Stack height: 10 mm (racing), 14 mm (light training), 18 mm (cushioned)
Drop: 4 mm (racing), 7 mm (light training), 10 mm (cushioned)
$144 for pre-orders, $180 for in-stock
For trail specs, visit: yul-run.ca/pages/trail Yul (formerly math Sport Canada) is an innovative concept i n customized, directto-consumer shoe buying that’s founded on ethical manufacturing practices and a commitment to sustainability. Depending on the style of shoe you’re looking for (racing, light training or cushioned), you can choose from three different Vibram midsole thicknesses and drop/offset measurements in your size, and three different Vibram outsoles – for road, trail or winter conditions – which the Quebec-based brand claims will take you 1,000 km before wearing out.
This effect ively means t here are 135 different options for each size. How’s that for selection? Once you’ve picked your midsole/ outsole options, the brand will attach its universal upper for a custom shoe that should be perfect for your purposes – and that is sure to get attention at your running club and races. ( You can even get a T-shirt, socks or a hat to match your shoes.)
The toe box and fit are generous without being too big, and the upper has a well-padded heel collar, a lightly-padded tongue and a traditional lacing system – nothing exceptional, but great value for money. You’ll have to be patient, though, since pre-orders take a few weeks. Stability options are also available.
Category: neutral cushioning
Men’s: 240 g (8.5 oz.)
Women’s: 215 g (7.6 oz.)
Stack height: 37 mm
Drop: 6 mm
If Kanye West’s Yeezys and 1980s moon boots had a baby, it would be named Aurora – the futuristic new running shoe from Brooks. Inspired by the Apollo 11 mission that put Neil Armstrong on the moon, Aurora delivers a running experience that truly seems to defy gravity, thanks to a decoupled midsole that allows the rearfoot and forefoot to move independently and a responsive midsole made of dna Loft foam injected with nitrogen.
The Aurora’s upper is sleek and minimalistic, in keeping with the brand’s vision for the shoe – that it should be comfortable, effective and modern. The upper features a midfoot sleeve with a mesh overlay that hugs the foot nicely, and a pliable heel collar to protect against hotspots. The brand’s Glide Roll rocker system supports smooth transitions that make you feel like you’re cruising along with minimal effort – every runner’s dream, and ideal for long runs or tempo runs. The faster you run, the more you can maximize the effect of the decoupled midsole. The Aurora runs slightly large, so you may need to go down half a size for a perfect fit.
Vaporfly Next% 2 Category: neutral cushioning
Men’s: 196 g (6.9 oz.)
Stack height: 39 mm
Drop: 8 mm
This is effectively the third version of the carbon-plated Vaporf ly, one of the most popular and controversial road-racing shoes in the history of road racing (well, actually the fifth, if you count the Alphaf ly and the Tempo Next%). The first Next% was a fairly major update to the Vaporf ly, cramming even more ZoomX foam into the high-stack midsole but lowering the drop significantly, from 11 mm to 8 mm; the latest Next% has a few tweaks to the upper and more rubber on the front of the outsole to prevent the kind of wipeouts we saw among elites at some road races last year. The outsole also has some new f lex grooves for improved traction.
The barely-there upper and off-centre lacing placement remain, but the mesh has been made softer, with some cushioning added to the tongue for comfort and foam pods inside the upper at the heel to reduce the risk of blisters. The toe box is also now (mercifully) a little wider for a roomier fit – welcome news to those of us who wanted to wear the previous version, but couldn’t. Is it still the best carbon-plated racer on the market? Some reviewers say the shoe is unstable, due to being too narrow and too high. Definitely a thoroughbred, not a workhorse, and just for race day.
Saucony Triumph 19 Category: neutral cushioning
Men’s: 290 g (10.2 oz.)
Women’s: 259 g (9.1 oz.)
Stack height: 32.5 mm
Drop: 8 mm
Saucony’s most highly cushioned neutral trainer, the Triumph is now in its 19th iteration, and it’s still a go-to shoe for long runs, recovery runs and longer tempo runs. The 19 is slightly lighter than the 18, and retains the brand’s springy pwrrun+, tpu- based midsole foam. The engineered mesh upper is lighter and more breathable than before, and hugs the foot nicely, with a toe box that’s comfortably roomy without being too big. Our tester found the shoe responsive and heel-to-toe transitions smooth, and the stretchy laces, in particular, are a welcome innovation, especially for those with narrower ankles who like to use the top eyelet for a tighter lockdown. The outsole is almost completely carbon rubber, for outstanding traction and durability, giving a very secure feeling in all conditions.
Ghost 14 Best Long Run Shoe
Category: neutral cushioning
Men’s: 281 g (9.9 oz.)
Women’s: 255 g (9.0 oz.) Stack height: 24 mm
Drop: 12 mm
Despite the lack of evidence, many runners believe that midfoot striking is more efficient than heel striking and less likely to result in injury, while the confirmed heel strikers among us guiltily persist in our so-called bad habits. Well, heel strikers unite – this shoe was made with you in mind, as the 12 mm offset makes clear. The Ghost’s midsole is now 100 per cent dna Loft, the brand’s plushest foam (up from about 70 per cent in the 13), and the enhanced fit make for a super comfy ride, and overlays on the midfoot and heel secure a locked-down fit. A deep f lex groove in the sole makes heel-to-toe transitions smoother, without sacrificing responsiveness. The 14 has an unusually rugged and grippy outsole, especially for a road shoe. It’s perfect for long, leisurely weekend runs and recovery runs, and it can totally handle faster tempo runs, too. Note: the fit is slightly narrow.
The Ghost 14 is also Brooks’s first carbon net-neutral shoe. Many brands claim to use recycled polyester in their uppers, but Brooks is serious about climate responsibility and wants you to know exactly which parts (specifically, most of the mesh, as well as the laces, sockliner top cloth, and tongue and collar linings).
Adidas 4DFWD Category: neutral cushioning Men’s: 332 g (11.7 oz.)
Stack height: 32.5 mm
Drop: 11.5 mm
The unusual new shoe from Adidas, endorsed by 400m world record holder Wayde van Niekerk, now comes in a brand-new colourway, in addition to black and white. The 3d-printed resin midsole is constructed in a unique, bowtie-shaped lattice structure designed to maximize your running economy, compressing and rebounding with each step even better than a foam midsole would. The supportive but breathable knit upper, which is 50 per cent recycled polyester, hugs your foot like a sock, and the full rubber outsole is both super grippy and will extend the life of your shoe. (The unusual midsole also gives it the appearance of an espadrille, meaning you’ll love it for casual wear, as well as recovery runs and long runs.) The shoe is a little heavier than comparable shoes, so you may prefer something lighter for workouts.
The brand recommends that the upper is very stretchy, and if you’ve worn Adidas shoes before, you should go down a half size from what you would normally wear; some reviewers suggest going down a full size.— CR