2016 was a fantastic year for running shoes. From versatile trail shoes like the HOKA ONE ONE Speed Instinct to go-fast racing flats like the Nike Zoom Streak 6, the year was filled with a variety of innovative options built to suit every type of runner. But all at once, 2017 is upon us and the staff here at Running Warehouse have already began to geek out on the latest and greatest footwear options of the new year. Below we give our first impression on five new shoes that we feel are going to be huge hits in 2017.
1. Nike Zoom Elite 9
A shoe with big expectations for 2017, the Nike Zoom Elite 9 delivers versatile cushioning with a faster feeling ride. Now with a complete overhaul from its previous version, the Elite 9 has a sleeker look with plenty of responsiveness for your uptempo days. Weighing in at 8.2 oz for men and 6.7 oz for women, the shoe sheds some weight from its predecessor while still maintaining sufficient cushioning for your daily training needs. The shoe also utilizes the Streak LT racing last, giving it a snug, faster feeling experience. A great choice for daily training, tempo runs, or even marathon racing, the Nike Zoom Elite 9 is built for the runner seeking performance.
2. HOKA ONE ONE Arahi
Blending together a high level of cushioning and support, the HOKA ONE ONE Arahi is the lightest training option within the max support category. With similar support levels to the Brooks Adrenaline and a weight of 9.5 oz (8.3 oz for women), the shoe delivers a completely unique experience unlike any shoe on the market. A closer look at the shoe will also reveal that it does not utilize a traditional medial posting. Instead it features an all new J-Frame construction to deliver high levels of support without the typical stiff feeling associated with max support shoes. Combined with the Active Foot Frame, broad base, and 5mm offset, the Arahi is definitely one of the more innovative support shoes we’ve seen in a while.
3. Altra Escalante
For runners looking for a more natural feeling performance running shoe, the Altra Escalante delivers a soft yet responsive ride on workout day. Like all Altra shoes, the Escalante utilizes a Zero Drop platform and a foot shaped toe box. But what sets the Escalante apart is the stripped down midsole that utilizes the all new Ego technology to give your stride an extra pop. The initial step in provides a slightly softer underfoot feel but as you transition through your gait the spring delivers high energy return that will excel at faster paces. The performance last on the shoe gives a more race day fit but the accommodating toe box still allows for plenty of toe splay. The engineered mesh upper is the final touch that not only looks stylish but also provides fantastic comfort. The Escalante is currently up for pre-order and should be in stock in February 2017.
4. Saucony Freedom ISO
The pinnacle of Saucony’s footwear lineup, the Freedom ISO delivers all of Saucony’s latest and greatest technologies in a sleek yet versatile shoe. A great option for any type of run, the Freedom ISO is the first Saucony shoe to utilize a full length EVERUN midsole. We’ve seen the springy EVERUN technology used as inserts throughout Saucony’s footwear lineup but the use of a full length design creates an extremely responsive underfoot feel that will perform at faster paces yet provide sufficient impact protection during longer efforts. A premium upper design mixes engineered mesh with ISOFIT technology to deliver a soft, natural foot wrap that also helps to keep weight down. A versatile performance shoe with premium comfort, the Saucony Freedom ISO is probably the most unique shoe within the current Saucony lineup.
5. HOKA ONE ONE Hupana
Early 2017 has already seen several brands introduce unique performance shoes but one shoe that definitely caught us off guard was the HOKA ONE ONE Hupana. HOKA is known for maximally cushioned running shoes so when we saw the stripped down look of the Hupana, we were unsure what to expect. The shoe is fairly simple but the smooth ride and amazing weight to cushioning ratio makes it one of the more exciting shoes to start out the year. One of the more unique features of the shoe is the Full RMAT midsole/outsole design. RMAT is an extremely responsive and resilient material that provides great energy return over faster efforts but still has plenty of cushioning for daily training. The Hupana does not utilize rubber placements on the outsole in order to keep weight down but the shoe still manages to deliver sufficient traction on the roads. Finished off with a breathable knit upper, the shoe provides a snug and supportive wrap with plenty of style for casual wear.
Connor, aka The Face of Running Warehouse, is our resident footwear guru and helps us keep a finger on the pulse of running trends and current events. A member of the local HOKA Aggies running team, Connor walks the walk, or should we say, runs the run.