MILEAGE RUN SHOES
The triathlon race season’s reaching its conclusion, which means one thing – increased run mileage. James Witts tests 10 of the best cushioned runners
How do you find the correct run shoe for you? It sounds simple, but with a labyrinth of jargon out there, the reality can prove trickier than finding your transition space at the London Triathlon. For example, should you choose supportive or motion control? When is heel cushioning more favourable to forefoot cushioning?
Run shoe manufacturers might sometimes be liberal with claimed injury-prevention advantages, but as time passes and injury stats are studied, there’s an increasing argument that run shoe choice should largely be about what feels the most natural and comfortable. Some run-shop experts might disagree, their video technology a tool of persuasion, but use this as a starting point and you won’t go far wrong. It’s a point picked up on by coach Annie Emmerson.
“It’s personal preference, but without a doubt you need to go with whatever works for you,” says Emmerson. “I’m not into changing too much in terms of biomechanics. Instead, work with what you have and make subtle changes along the way. For instance, I wear a neutral shoe, but if I’m racking up the miles in training, I’ll buy an off-the-peg inner-sole with a bit of arch support to prevent sore Achilles. Ultimately, there are too many shoes that are rigid and heavy. Yes, some triathletes will need more support and cushioning, but that doesn’t mean the shoe has to be restrictive.”
With Annie’s wisdom in mind, see which of these 10 best fits your personal template.
How we tested
Your off-season will likely be filled with long, low-to-medium intensity runs to crank up aerobic capacity and transform you into a fat-burning machine, though your muscular and neurological systems will also appreciate a few intervals to not only keep speed ticking over but add much-needed variety, too. That’s why our test runs were between 30min fartlek sessions and 75min easy(ish) runs. Comfort ratings were based on initial fit and how opinions changed – or not – on the fly. Stability was key, too. There’s no point in having a comfortable shoe if, when you run, your foot’s shifting around. Finally, we weighed each with Salter scales.
Midsole Heel counter Outsole Insole Upper A rigid or semi-rigid section in the heel area of the shoe, designed for stability and foot control.Nestling between the insole and the outsole, the midsole’s where manufacturers place cushioning and stability technologies. The bed that your foot rests on. You can buy heat-moulded versions that can adjust to your foot shape and gait.The section that covers the top of your foot. A proficient upper offers support, breathability and enough flexibility to work with your foot, not against it.The base of the shoe in contact with the ground. Its rubber composition provides durability, energy rebound and grip.