At a Glance
- 9.0 oz. (Men’s size 9.0) & 7.9 oz. (Women’s size 8.0).
- 7mm heel-toe offset: 25mm heel, 18mm forefoot.
- The addition of a lateral crash rail system creates a smooth heel-to-toe transition.
- Springy Zoom Air unit propels runners effortlessly through toe-off.
- Lightweight mesh upper provides a snug, glove-like fit.
The Elite 7 is a neutral trainer that provides enough cushioning to cater to both tempo runs and daily training. With a weight and drop that fits right in between standard and performance trainers on the market, this hybrid model is a perfect match for efficient runners who are looking for a shoe that can match their changing speeds.
At a Glance
- 10.1 oz. (Men’s size 9.0) & 9.2 oz. (Women’s size 8.0).
- 9 mm heel-to-toe drop: 27mm heel, 18mm forefoot.
- The addition of a third density through a stock fit medial post provides increased pronation control for moderate overpronators.
- Cushioning from a forefoot loaded zoom air unit creates a quick, springy toe off.
- The debut of the Flymesh upper offers a snug fitting, breathable experience on top of the foot.
The Nike Zoom Structure 18 blends stability and cushioning together to create a versatile daily trainer for moderate overpronators. The Structure 18 utilizes a triple density material design in the heel and springy zoom air pockets in the forefoot to provide a supportive and responsive heel-to-toe transition. This model excels as a daily trainer but runners may find the springy underfoot feel suitable for tempo runs. The Structure 18 is a great option for runners looking for one of the most supportive midsoles in its class while offering a moderately firm underfoot feel throughout the gait cycle.
At a Glance
- 11.4 oz. (Men’s size 9.0) & 9.6 oz. (Women’s size 8.0)
- Men’s model offers a 10mm heel-to-toe drop (Heel: 28mm, Forefoot: 18mm)
- Women’s model offers a 13mm heel-to-toe drop ( Heel: 30mm, Forefoot: 17mm) due to gender-specific Plus3 Support system design
- Top of the class cushioning creates an ultra-soft and absorbent feeling throughout the gait cycle
- Maximum support reduces moderate to severe overpronation
- Plush, FluidFit mesh upper wraps foot for a snug and comfortable fit
The ASICS Gel-Kayano 21 blends a firm, maximum support platform with top-of-the-class cushioning to create a plush yet sturdy running experience for daily road training.
At a Glance
- 8.5 oz. (Men’s size 9.0), 7.7 oz. (Women’s size 8.0)
- 10mm heel-to-toe drop: 26mm heel, 16mm forefoot
- Fast & responsive underfoot feel at fast paces
- Exceptional energy return creates a smooth feel at any pace
- Adequate cushioning for efficient runners to use as a daily trainer
The adidas Boston 5 blends lightweight performance with springy cushioning to create a versatile shoe, fast enough for up-tempo workouts while having sufficient cushioning for daily training.
At a Glance
- 10.2 oz (Men’s size 9.0), 9.2 oz (Women’s size 8.0)
- 25mm heel, 25mm forefoot
- Promotes midfoot and forefoot strike due to zero mm heel-to-toe offset
- Soft, maximum cushioned A-bound midsole keeps your legs feeling less fatigued on longer distance workouts
- Ample room for toe splay is created through an extra wide toe box shape
The Altra Paradigm is best for runners who want to maximize shock absorption but prefer a shoe that makes it easy to focus on an efficient stride over long distances or recovery runs.
Men's & Women's Clifton models
At a Glance:
- 7.8 oz (Men’s size 9), 6.8 oz (Women’s size 8 )
- 6mm Heel to Toe Offset
- 29 mm heel, 23 mm forefoot
- With a soft and quick feel, the Clifton delivers maximum cushioning with HIP CMEVA Midsole.
- At faster speeds, transition to the forefoot feels effortless due to the Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry
- With a full Ground Contact design, a stable ride is achieved without feeling overly bulky
- The SpeedFrame upper design offers a snug fit during runs no matter what pace you run
Verdict: The HOKA Clifton is in a class of it’s own. This ultra-lightweight shoe partners well with efficient runners looking for a suitable tempo shoe while the large midsole shape and high ride height provide a soft forgiving experience on the roads at any pace.
At a Glance
- 4mm offset (26mm heel, 22mm forefoot)
- Weight: 9.2 ounces (men’s size 9); 8.2 ounces (womens size 8 )
- RMAT midsole for smooth shock absorption
- High abrasion rubber zones for sticky grip
- Lightweight SpeedFrame upper maintains breathability and prevents debris from entering
A soft, low offset road trainer, the HOKA ONE ONE Huaka provides maximal cushioning for plenty of shock absorption along with a performance-oriented feel when paces pick up.
At a Glance:
- 4mm offset (24mm heel, 20mm forefoot)
- 10.5 ounces in weight (men’s size 9)
- Fresh Foam midsole technology that delivers plush cushioning
- Multi-directional lugs that offer traction for climbing and descending
- No-sew synthetic mesh upper and gusseted tongue designed to keep out debris
A low offset, highly cushioned trail shoe that meets the demands of daily trail runners as well as fans of the New Balance 980 road version.
With the seventh edition of the Ride model, Saucony continues its tradition of providing a highly cushioned neutral shoe with an elemental feel. While trends over previous years have been focused on minimalism, Saucony has instead catered to many runners still looking for additional cushioning. Across the brand, Saucony has committed to lowering weight, lowering offsets, and creating a platform that sits closer to the ground, yet still providing more cushioning than a bare to the bone minimal or barefoot engineered shoe. The Ride has become a staple trainer for the neutral runner looking for a soft underfoot feel.
- 8mm offset (28mm heel, 20mm forefoot)
- 9.3 ounces in weight
- Removal of medial shank creates a more flexible feel and reduces weight.
- Addition of plush rubber pods provides a soft feel.
- 20% greater ground contact due to redesigned outsole
- Additional vertical flex grooves in forefoot make toe-off smoother
The Pegasus series has become a favorite of many runners over the years and the legacy continues with the recent release of the Zoom Pegasus 31. (Check out RW’s first look at the Pegasus 31 from May here.) The Pegasus is traditionally known to be a neutral daily trainer suitable for long distances, but in an effort to make the shoe better, the 31st edition gets revamped with a faster road feel. To help fine-tune this “fast feel,” the Nike development team received technical suggestions from the 5000m and 10000m Olympic Gold Medalist Mo Farah resulting in a firmer ride built for performance.
Nike lowered the heel drop to 10mm, 2mm lower than its predecessor, to engineer the quicker design. The lowered drop, while not massive, can be a factor in promoting more of a mid-to-forefoot strike while running. Another significant update is seen in the addition of a slightly elevated forefoot, resulting in a smoother and quicker transition of the foot during forward propulsion. Through research, analysis, and feedback from wear testers, who logged over 16000 miles, the new quick and responsive Zoom Pegasus 31 was born.