We’ve had quite a few people ask beatplantarfasciitis.com for running shoe recommendations. So we’ve spent some time and done some research on the topic and have come up with a simple list of running shoe recommendations for 2011.
Although determining the best running shoes is a very subjective decision, testers have a certain criteria that they look for in a running shoe and base their ratings on these assessments, but it is up to the individual runner to test the shoes that they are best suited to run in. Characteristics of a good running shoe include sufficient cushioning, comfort, easy lacing system and durability.
An age-old-question is wether you should go for cheaper brands or the “big” name brands. In our experience , the popular brands may be more expensive, but they have researched the science behind running gaits and fashioned the construction of the shoe accordingly. The shoes can always be returned if there are manufacturing faults or if they break, but there are minimal stitching problems and tearing with the popular brands. The cheaper, no-name shoes tend to be less reliable and cushioned, and may have questionable return policies. However, you can’t argue with the price!
We’ve created a general “best running shoes” recommendation list. We dived the list up into several sections. Keep in mind that running shoes are often completely subjective in terms of “the best.” Everyone seems to have a favorite brand or style
BEST Running Shoes
These are our top 3 GENERAL running shoe recommendations for 2011.
A fantastic shoe that’s got rave reviews all over the place. This shoe balances both weight and crushioning to perfection. This shoe is suitable for pretty much any type of striker (wether you use your heel or midfoot). The shoe features a very soft heel landing. The shoe grips the ground and won’t slip in wet conditions. For the “average runner” who needs a shoe with normal stability, you can’t do better than this shoe. Combine all these features with a GREAT price (under 100 dollars if you buy it online) and you have a real winner.
#2. Nike Air Pegasus
This is Nike’s top selling running shoe and has seen well over 25 shoe generations. The team over at beatplantarfasciitis.com has always had a soft spot for Nike running shoes, and this shoe is our ode to Nike and our recommendation as the best Nike Running shoe out there. Yes, we know there are a whole wack of different Nike running shoe models to choose from, but nothing quite matches the Air Pegasus. These shoes favor those with a slight underpronation, so they may not be for every type of foot or runner (but then again, what running shoes are?). Nevertheless, Nike Air Pegasus shoes offer a supremely comfortable fit and age gracefully, even when aging.
#3. Brooks Ravenna 2
Runner’s World magazine’s Summer 2011 Running Shoe Guide gave this shoe the vaunted Editor Choice Award. And with good reason! This is a shoe that will feel comfortable both for short and long runs. The shoe sits at a slightly lower center of gravity than some of the other running shoes, but this adds more stability to the shoes. The heel is comfortable and has just the right amount of crushioning. We feel this shoe is good for both midfoot or heel strikers. The shoes are pretty stable and work well for low to mid arch runners. Being a Brook’s shoe, there’s also that vaunted Brooks running shoe technology present in the shoe too. These shoe feature the famous Brooks DNA where the shoe molds specifically to your foot, providing even more comfort the more you wear them. The price is great too. Putting all this together, we highly recommend these shoes.
Best Stability Running Shoes…
Stability shoes are designed for people who overpronate or need added support. These shoes have features that will help to rectify faulty running gait.
#1. Asics Kayano 17
This upgrade is lighter than its older version and a new Guidance Line Technology has been perfected through the entire length of the shoe. The environment has been taken into account and fabrics on the shoe are made from recycled materials. These eco-friendly, cushioned running shoes has both rear foot and forefoot gel cushioning that allows movement of the foot in various planes as the foot moves through a normal gait cycle. It has an additional 3mm height that helps in relieving Achilles tension problems and memory foam adds additional cushioning. You’ll see these shoes banded about on the web as some of the best running shoes and while we are usually skeptical of such claims, we’ve actually found them to be true, in this case. The Kayano line of shoes have a steller reputation with more than a few runners. As such, we recommend these as the best stability running shoes.
This is the shoe that is the favourite choice for marathon runners and this is a serious shoe that could see the world with the amount of mileage that the runner will run in the lifetime of the shoes. Nike’s Zoom Air system is the most important upgrade of the shoe and the most pliable cushioning system has been created to absorb much of the impact of the long road. The softer midsole and a more flexible forefoot which adds to the shoes perfect cushioning system. The Pegasus 27 have garned plenty of top reviews around the web. As runners ourselves, some of us use these shoes for long distance running. So we can heartily recommend these shoes as some of the top running shoes for long distances.
#3. Nimbus 12
The popular Guidance Line technology enhances gait efficiency or the natural movement of the running foot. It has a Space Trussic System at the midsole that allows the area to collapse and change to promote more foot flexibility. There is less perspiration of the foot and fewer germs with the ComforDry Sockliner and a Biomorphic Fit Upper that helps in preventing the foot and shoe from buckling. These features will help the shoe last longer. Laces are aligned asymmetrically to guide the natural shape of the foot giving it a tighter and secure hug. The eyelets of the laces are specifically created in optimizing tension distribution between the laces to bring out the best fit on each foot.
This shoe has less cushioning than a regular stability shoe, but testers were impressed with its softness and flexibility. The midsole design is suited to runners who start off pronating but also need support due to their foot strike or weight. The shoes are spongy and springy, but the Flywire upper holds the arch and heel of the foot so there is no excess foot movement.
This shoe has more stability than most other Brooks shoes and the premium cushioning material (DNA) adapts to each person’ foot strike on the ground. This means that the shoe is different on each person. There is a new arch saddle in the upper that increases mid foot support. But don’t just take our word for it, it was awarded the “best update” by Runner’s World.
Best Motion Control Running Shoes…
These shoes are also used by overpronators who tend to roll their feet during the running gait, which may weaken foot and ankle muscles and waste energy with every foot strike if the incorrect shoes are worn.
The soft padding is the first assessment of this shoe as it is soft, but most of the weight is in the heel and the foam, Gel cushioning and plastic components are slightly heavier than other shoes, but it only adds to the control, cushioning and padding that the shoes add to the gait. The advantages of the shoe are obvious in the long run.
#2. New Balance 860
New Balance have a stellar reputation and put their money into developing superb shoes and not marketing or TV campaigns. With this shoe, New Balance reshaped the shoe’s outsole in such a way that the foot almost hesitates on the ground and the foot contact time is increased. This is a unique selling point but there were complaints about the rigidness of the shoe and the extra width of the toe box. For runners with wide toes and narrow heels, this shoe is ideal, but it has soft rubber that helps with cushioning.
This is not a new shoe, but still popular for heavy due to the extra cushioning which makes the men’s shoe heavier at 14 ounces and the women’s shoe weighs 12 ounces. The support post extends into the forefoot for maximum pronation control.
Best Neutral Cushioning Running Shoes…
Neutral Crushioning Running shoes are ideal for the runner with a normal to high arch with less need for motion control of the foot or overpronation.
As if this shoe is not cushioned enough, a light, springy foam has been added to the midsole. The best part is that even with the cushioning, there is a consistent feel when the heel first hits the ground and this protects the foot. An extra protection is the upper that wraps the foot snugly with slight movement space in the forefoot to prevent cramping and blisters. This shoe is ideal for heavier runners with a neutral gait.
#2. New Balance 1080
The new shape of the upper fits the foot better. There is more cushioning gel in the midfoot for better comfort. The heel support works well for high mileage runners. The slim toe box is the only criticism for this shoe that is popular among heavier runners.
#3. Nike LunarGlide+
This shoe is versatile and the foam cushioning is responsive to road or trails. This shoe may not be supportive enough for some runners so be sure to run in the shop before purchasing.
Best Minimalist Running Shoes…
Minimalist running shoes are those shoes that cut out all the “extra” leaving just the bare essentials. Minimalist running shoes include ultra light, ultra stripped down running shoes AND barefoot running shoes.
#1. FiveFingers KSO
You don’t get any more “minimal” then a Five Fingers running shoe. Vibram, with their novel shoe design, has scrapped the traditional running shoe concept and gone back to the basics — the basics being, the human foot. Vibram has a huge selection of different running shoes, depending on what sort of running you are looking at doing. By far, Vibram’s most popular and highly rated barefoot running shoes are the Five Fingers KSO. This model features more “padding” for the foot as compared to some of their more minimal padding designs. So if you want to embrace the “be free from shoes” mentality that’s popular in the running world these days, you can’t do better than the FiveFingers KSO.
#2. New Balance 890
The New Balance 890 is an enigma as it has more foam, but it is weighs nearly a third less than the previous model and other shoes. This neutral trainer is designed for speed and distance and weighs the same as an apple. REVlite is the new midsole foam compound that makes the shoe so light and it is popular in stores.
True to their name, the Merrell Trail Gloves fit your foot like a glove. These are some of the more popular minimalist running shoes on the market. These “barefoot” shoes don’t feature the separate toes like the Five Finger line up, but your feet are offered more protection. The shoes are ultra lightweight and ultra comfortable.
Best Racing Running Shoes…
Running shoes designed for racing are specially formulated to help you achieve your best speeds — be they for sprinting or competative marathon running.
The fact that this shoe is used by Haile Gebrselassie speaks for itself. The shoe has fewer overlays on the top of the foot as there is no need to protection and the light, mesh upper gives the foot breathing room. The full forefoot adiPRENE+ provides enough cushioning for road races and tempo runs without compromising performance.
This shoe is dangerously light and the platform maintains the balance of a road racer, while still being extremely comfortable. The top of the foot is covered minimally and this contributes to the shoes lightness. The name is unique as it has a competitive and dangerous connotation that will scare competitors.
After taking a break for three years, this shoe is upgraded to offer mild stability in the support of the foot and it has a wider forefoot than the Gel Bandito.
Best Trail Running Shoes…
There are many different demands of trail runners and they need more protection against stones, roots and thorns on the sandy shores and the muddy forests. These demands make the shoes more heavy and sturdy and there are more trail shoes on the market to choose from as the trail running craze grows.
Both these trail shoes have the Formotion feature. The Supernova Riot trail shoe is made for bumps, jumps and leaps. Protective fabrics keep water and smells away and the foot clean in any weather condition. There are many trail shoes that are made by Adidas that will get the runner through the mountain and forest with comfort and ease.
This trail shoe is built for speed and off road adventures. It is light, fits snugly and Quicklace system for one-pull tightening. Pronounced lugs offer good grip on stones and sand and assists with efficient direction changes.
This light hybrid shoe, weighing 190g and is used for runs, yoga and recovery. The upper is synthetic and the outsole is made from endurance rubber. These shoes are known for being light and breathable and add versatility to every workout.
The Gel Cushioning System prevents excessive shock and Wet Grip Outsole adds traction to stay on the path without losing balance. The PHF cradles the foot and keeps it stable on the path. The shoe features Gore-Tex which makes it pretty much waterproof. This running shoe is GREAT for runs in bad conditions with a lot of mud and water. It’s not the lightest running shoe, but you don’t have to worry about wet feet.
Runners are always very excited to test the new shoes on the market and examine how they have been improved on. Use this opportunity to visit the nearest shoe specialist store and test the expert’s knowledge and test run the shoes.