Over the last few weeks we have received the latest versions of shoes that dominate the standard neutral running shoe category: ASICS Cumulus 17, Brooks Ghost 8, Nike Pegasus 32, and Saucony Ride 8. These are traditional running shoes with heel-toe offsets between 8mm and 12mm, with medium to low stack heights and are workhorses for everyday training. While the shoes are quite similar, I will try to call out some of the variations amongst the lot. Keep in mind, these are initial impressions gathered from doing some strides at varying paces.
Ride – How it feels under the foot
If you want the softest underfoot feel, go with the Cumulus 17. For those seeking good give at impact but also want bounce back, the Ride 8 and Ghost 8 deliver. The Ride 8 feels just a touch livelier than the Ghost 8. Not everyone wants a cushy feel, and here is where the Pegasus 32 fits in with a balanced feel, sitting in the middle of the soft/firm spectrum. It has more ground feel than the others and thus feels a little faster.
Fit – How it feels around the foot
All four shoes have a true medium fit in their medium width size. The Cumulus 17 and Ghost 8 have the most adaptable fits, meaning they adjust well to fit a variety of foot shapes. If you like a well-padded tongue and fairly plush upper feel, the Ghost 8 is the standout followed closely by the Cumulus 17. The Ride 8 has a more average feel and the Pegasus 32 is has a more minimal and streamlined feel. Around the midfoot, the Pegusus 32 delivers the most secure feel while the Ghost 8 has the most noticeable arch structure. The Pegasus 32 is shallowest in the toebox, which gives the impression of a narrower fit, but the fit across the forefoot is similar to the other shoes. The other shoes have fairly average toebox heights and forefoot widths. The heel fit is quite similar among the bunch and, if needed, all should accommodate narrower heels.
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