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

Runner's World (UK) - - Contents -

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.

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