Since the release of the collection earlier this year, we’ve seen Mizuno’s Evo line gain a fair share of traction among runners who want a low profile, zero drop ride. For Fall 2013, Mizuno will expand their Evo offerings to include the Wave Evo Ferus, an off-road counterpart to their two existing models. Read more…
A minimal shoe with just a touch of cushioning from the hard ground below, the Brooks PureDrift is a dream for those looking for a near-barefoot running feel.
(View Men’s Brooks PureDrift and Women’s Brooks PureDrift)
- Removable Sockliner: A lined footbed beneath the sockliner allows for either a 4mm offset with the sockliner in or 0mm offset with it removed.
- Flexible Ride: Deep flex grooves throughout the platform give the PureDrift plenty of flexibility from heel to toe.
- Slipper-Like Fit: A stitch-less upper combined with asymmetrical lacing deliver a natural and comfortable sock-like fit.
Promising a lightweight design, low stack height, and flexible ride with either a 4mm or zero drop platform, the PureDrift has attracted the attention of many runners, especially those seeking a near-barefoot feel.
So how does the PureDrift perform? Ground feel is excellent in this shoe, yet thanks to its slight (albeit firm) cushioning, it lacks the bare-bones pounding sensation of many of its quasi-barefoot competitors. This isn’t the smoothest landing shoe out there, but runners can rest assured that there is some protection from the impact of footstrike.
One notable feature of the PureDrift is its removable insole – the shoe’s 4mm offset is reduced to zero drop when the insole is removed. Testers didn’t notice the difference in offset either way – the insert seems to compress down in the heel considerably under body weight, and both options encourage a mid-to-forefoot landing. We did, however, find the cushioning to be significantly firmer without the insole.
The upper, designed around a wider last to allow for toe splay, nicely accommodates a higher volume foot. Some testers looking for a snugger fit found the upper to fold over itself in several places, resulting in a crease over the top of the foot. When wearing a sock, the creasing isn’t noticeable. It’s just one small quirk of an otherwise excellent minimal shoe option.
“I couldn’t tighten up the laces without the upper bunching up; there was a bit too much material there for a snugger fit.” – Taro
“This shoe has a very flexible forefoot. I might even go as far as to compare it to the Nike Free Run.” – Joanna
“The PureDrift is a firm shoe, but its definitely not as firm as some of the practically barefoot shoes that have come through the office. Its touch of protection can make the difference as the miles add up.” – Matt
By Taro, Running Warehouse Shoe Tester
The all-new Salomon Sense Mantra is a shoe I’ve been excited to try since first seeing it several months back. As a regular roadie who also tends to be a frequent visitor to the dirty and muddy world of trail running, a ‘door-to-trail’ hybrid shoe seemed like my ideal cup of coffee (I’m not really a tea kind of guy).
Living a few miles from a network of trails, I had a chance to test the ‘door-to’ runability of the Mantra before getting them dirty. The results were satisfying. Though nowhere near as cushioned as my typical road trainer, the protection was adequate and the ride worked for a midfoot landing through toe-off. Door-to-trail runability aside, if you’re ever in a pinch for some decent road-only shoes, the Mantras will deliver.
Past the pavement, my local network of trails is a buffet of different terrain types, ranging from open and flowy singletrack to treacherous rock gardens, steep climbs to descents worthy of a World Cup downhill mountain bike race. Can there be a better array of trail types to test a sweet new pair of off-road kicks? I think not.
My first impressions of the Mantra in its natural trail habitat were solid. The shoe seemed to grip on a variety of less technical surfaces nicely and running in them felt great. The traction did leave a little bit to be desired over muddy portions of the trail, but then again that’s what shoes like the Salomon S-Lab Fellcross or Salomon XT 5 S-Lab Softground are for.
This Mantra Rocks
Upon reaching more technical terrain, I found myself easily picking up the pace. The Sense Mantra flies over rocky and gravelly surfaces – traction was more than adequate and the moderately low weight of the shoe made for nimble running over and around obstacles. The forefoot rock plate provided good protection from trail hazards; though rocks underfoot were still noticeable, painful surprises from stepping on a sharp edge have become a non-factor.
Summing Up the Sense Mantra
The Sense Mantra has earned itself a permanent spot in my lineup for my more trail-heavy outings. The shoe has easily carried me over a good number of runs, including several in the 10-15 mile range. With few situations the shoe can’t handle, I find myself able to focus on charging the trails rather than worrying about being outgunned against rough terrain. Hats off to Salomon for creating this versatile and reliable trail running weapon.
Attention Wave Precision fans: we have good news and we have bad news:
The Bad: There’s no Wave Precision 14 – your favorite shoe is being discontinued this summer.
The Good: It’s being replaced by a brand new design that’s totally awesome.
The Wave Sayonara is undoubtedly among our most anticipated shoes set to arrive for the Fall ’13 season. Its name is a nod to the Wave Goodbye of the early 2000′s, a performance shoe that was built on a track spike last for a performance fit. The Sayonara is a lightweight performance trainer that frankly should have speedier runners frothing at the mouth a bit. In case you’re wondering (and we know you are), Mizuno has listed weights for the Sayonara at just 8.1 oz for a Men’s size 9 and 7.1 oz in a Women’s 8, which would make it one of the lightest trainers on the market.
What to Watch For
- New Midsole Tech: Mizuno’s new midsole compound, U4ic (pronounced “euphoric”) is 30% lighter than their AP+ compound, while offering a smooth ride and, according to Mizuno, delivers just as much impact protection.
- Wave Cushioning: The Sayonara features Mizuno’s Wave plate in the heel for impact protection and a smooth ride.
- Seamless Bliss: The Sayonara uses a no-sew upper design with printed overlays for a great interior feel and a secure fit.
- Lower Drop: Mizuno’s trainers have generally all been in the 12mm+ offset category, so even the slight reduction to 10mm in the Sayonara is a big deal.
Dude Blue/Anthracite/Bolt Mizuno Wave Sayonara
White/Anthracite/Lime Punch Mizuno Wave Sayonara
Electric/Silver/Purple Magic Mizuno Wave Sayonara
White/Lime Punch/Blue Atoll Mizuno Wave Sayonara
UPDATE: View the following video for more information and a better look at the Wave Sayonara:
New to Asics’ popular line of cushioned, neutral trainers for Fall 2013 will be the Gel Flux. Nothing too groundbreaking here, but we expect this shoe to be a solid offering for runners looking for great underfoot protection and high mileage durability without the bells and whistles of higher priced options. Plus, Seattle Seahawks fans will appreciate the Men’s colorway, shown below.
What to Watch For
- Trusted Cushioning: Forefoot and heel Gel units in a full length SpEVA midsole provide plenty of protection from the hard road below.
- Smooth Ride: Flex grooves in the forefoot along with tech such as Asics’ Guidance Line ensure a smooth heel to toe transition.
- Competitive Weight: According to Asics, the Flux will slot in at 11.2 oz in Men’s size 9 and 9.3 oz in Women’s size 8. That means it should fall right in between the upcoming Gel Cumulus 15 and Gel Nimbus 15.
Navy/White/Flash Yellow Asics Gel Flux
Blue/White/Hot Pink Asics Gel Flux
Altra makes its debut offering for the triathlon market with the aptly named 3-Sum. Two points to Altra for cleverness. It’s no secret that the tri world tends to have a knack for being an early adopter of newer tech (such as Altra shoes). We think a fair number of these will find their way to a transition area near you. Altra got the 3-Sum down to 6.7 oz for a Men’s size 9 and 5.9 oz in a Women’s 8.
What to Watch For
- Barefoot Friendly Upper: A seamless interior will reduce friction on the foot, ideal for wearing the shoe sockless.
- Yankz Lacing System: Production models will come with pre-installed Yankz brand quick laces for quick bike-to-run transitions. (Not pictured)
- ‘Natural Running’ Traits: A cushioned, zero drop platform encourages an efficient stride while a wide toebox allows for natural toe splay through the gait cycle.
March 2013 Late April 2013
When released in 2011, the Altra Lone Peak offered what few other trail shoes did: zero drop with a rugged construction and padded platform. Though revolutionary at first (relatively, of course), the Lone Peak soon faced some low-drop (and arguably better looking) competition in models like the New Balance MT110, Inov8 Trailroc 245, and Merrell Mix Master 2.
In attempt to rekindle its flame and reach a new sales “peak,” Altra has introduced the Lone Peak 1.5, a mostly cosmetic update to their original trail shoe. We think the new look is a big leap forward, and should help to get the shoe a little more of the attention it deserves.
What to Watch For
- Bold Colorways: A departure from the bland grey and yellow of its predecessor, the 1.5 comes in hot Red for men and an Orange/Lime combo for women – colors guaranteed to stand out on the trails.
- Reduced Overlays: The removal of several overlays around the midfoot should yield a more flexible and adaptive upper, as well as a small drop in weight.
- Modest Weight: Expect the 1.5 to come in at 9.9 oz for a Men’s size 9 and an ounce less for a Women’s size 8.
April 2013 May 2013
Fiery Red Lone Peak 1.5
Orange/Lime Lone Peak 1.5
With the turn of the page into the New Year, we are seeing an expansion in offerings from Altra. Despite being a relative newcomer to the running shoe world, Altra saw a very successful 2012, gaining traction within the running community with their winning combination of cushioning for underfoot protection and a zero heel-to-toe drop platform.
The One is Altra’s entry into the lightweight performance category. Light enough for racing yet protective enough for training, this shoe should be right on the money for fans of Altra who want to cover racing distances up to the marathon and do some speedwork.
What To Watch For
- Standard Altra Traits: It’s an Altra, so expect a wide forefoot to allow for toe splay and a zero drop platform to encourage a more forward foot strike.
- Low Stack Height: Altra measures stack heights differently than we do, and is claiming an 18mm height. This will likely translate into a 12mm stack height by our measurements, or 4mm lower than the Altra Instinct 1.5.* There still should be a good amount of protection underfoot to reduce impact, while focusing on responsiveness and energy return.
- Low Weight: Altra has measured the One at 7.3 oz in a Men’s size 9 and 6.4 oz in a Women’s size 8.
Lime Punch Altra One
Lime Punch Altra One
* CORRECTION: Bullet point updated above to change incorrect stack height measurement listed in Altra’s catalog
For anyone not keeping track, a big story in 2013 is zero-drop running footwear with more cushion than the “barefoot” shoes of prior seasons. This geometry caters to runners who like a level platform but aren’t huge fans of the bare-bones pounding of models with little to no underfoot padding.
The Ascend Glove is Merrell’s solution for runners who want a zero-drop trail shoe with a bit of protection. Compared to the more minimal Trail Glove, the Ascend Glove should excel on more technical or rugged trails. According to Merrell, the Ascend Glove is expected to come in at 8 oz for the Men’s model.
What to Watch For
- MotionMesh: A new open mesh pattern allows for optimal breathability and flexibility without compromising security.
- Zero Drop: The Ascend Glove is designed with stack heights of 10.5mm in both the forefoot and heel to encourage an uninhibited stride.
- Vibram Outsole: A lugged outsole offers durability as well as traction on a variety of terrain types.
July 2013 August 2013
Zest Ascend Glove
Black/Pink Ascend Glove
Fresh for the 2013 cross country season is Saucony’s new Carrera XC. Saucony has long been a player in the XC market with their popular Shay and Kilkenny models. What’s been missing is an ultralight performance spike for the elite athlete. The Carrera XC should fill this void nicely, and at an expected 3.9 oz for a Men’s size 9 and 3.5oz for a Women’s size 8, we see it as a strong competitor to shoes like Nike’s Victory XC.
What to Watch For
- Lightweight Upper: A thin mesh upper features FlexFilm overlays throughout for a secure and supportive fit.
- Full Length Spike Plate: The six pin Pebax plate extends to the heel to provide unrelenting grip and torsional rigidity.
Slime/Vizipro Orange Carrera XC Spike
Pink/Citron Carrera XC Spike