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What’s the Best Running Shoe Under $100?

April 24th, 2013

This is a question we get a lot at the ‘house. We certainly don’t blame you for wanting to look out for your wallet when you’re shopping for new shoes, especially if you’re racking up 70+ mile weeks and needing a new pair every couple of months. Fortunately, there are many solid running shoe options under $100, and the best one for you will depend on what you’re looking for.

Light, Flexible Running Shoes under $100


Asics Gel Lyte33 2 ($90 MSRP)

The Asics Gel Lyte33 2 was the surprise of the year for us so far. It feels completely different than it’s predecessor (in a good way), and offers a soft yet bouncy feel with a quality ride. We credit the combination SpEVA/Solyte midsole, which gives a particularly nice feel for mid/forefoot strikers where the shoe provides full-thickness SpEVA foam.

New Balance 730 v2 ($75 MSRP)

Flexible might be the first word that comes to mind when you think of the New Balance 730 v2. This shoe has many of the points we loved about the original, including a low offset, responsive ride, and upper that runs on the generous side. We also think it’s one of the best looking New Balance shoes for 2013.

Nike Free 4.0 ($95 MSRP)

If you want to get the Nike Free experience on your feet for under a hundo’, then reach for the Nike Free 4.0. This Free model doesn’t get as much attention as the Free 5.0 (nee Free Run) or the minimal Free 3.0 v5, but it still offers all the classic features of a Free running shoe: extreme flexibility, good cushioning, and a breathable, sock-like upper.

Zero-Drop Running Shoes under $100


Saucony Virrata ($90 MSRP)

In spite of its modest price tag, the Saucony Virrata has the power to amaze. It has a performance fit and a sweet spot just behind the ball of the foot – but it seems to feel good no matter how your foot lands. Unlike most zero-drop designs, this shoe has quite a bit of padding underfoot.

Altra Samson/Delilah ($95 MSRP)

Wide-footed “barefoot” runners of the world, rejoice! The Altra Samson (and the Women’s model, the Altra Delilah) has a rectangular toe box that comfortably accommodates wider feet without rubbing or causing blisters. It also has a removable sockliner so you can get extremely close to the ground.

Merrell Vapor Glove ($80 MSRP)

The Merrell Vapor Glove is a great shoe for barefoot runners who want a stowable shoe to take with them in case they hit a rough patch of ground and want a little extra protection. Read more…

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Merrell Spring 2013 Sneak Peek

June 13th, 2012

Merrell is expanding its running line next spring through a concept it calls “M Connect.” Its barefoot-inspired footwear now spans an even more minimal shoe than the company currently offers (the Vapor Glove) all the way up to a more rugged version of the road/trail hybrid Mix Master series (the Mix Master Tuff). Here’s the scoop, model by model:

Vapor Glove

Available in both Men’s and Women’s models, the Vapor Glove is Merrell’s most minimal running shoe, with just a 6mm stack height front and back. It doesn’t get more minimal than this, folks. You still get a Vibram rubber outsole, durable mesh upper and external TPU heel support. Launches February 2013 at $80.00 MSRP. Men’s Vapor Glove in Sulphur Springs (Green) and Women’s Vapor Glove in Pink shown below. The green sample color shown was not produced and we will be stocking the shoe in Orange instead.

Road Glove 2 & Road Glove Dash 2

The Road Glove 2 remains low and level, with just an 11mm stack height front and rear. With a fresh look from top to bottom, the Road Glove 2 (and Road Glove Dash 2 – the update to the Women’s Dash Glove) carries forward the Road Glove’s most popular features such as Vibram outsole and rearfoot sling while transitioning to a synthetic upper with minimal overlays. Launches February 2013 at $100.00 MSRP. Men’s Merrell Road Glove 2 in Black/Sulphur Springs and Women’s Merrell Road Glove Dash 2 in Yellow/Pink shown below.

Bare Access 2 & Bare Access Arc 2

A road-focused shoe, the Bare Access 2 adds a bit more material underfoot (15mm stack height front and back, compared to 13mm in the original version) and moves to an all-Vibram outsole, replacing the Vibram pods used on the first Bare Access. Overlays on the upper have been reduced as well. The Bare Access Arc 2, the Women’s model, also receives these updates. Launches November 2012 at $90.00 MSRP. Men’s Merrell Bare Access 2 in Sulphur Springs and Women’s Merrell Bare Access Arc 2 in Black/Silver shown below.

Mix Master 2 Waterproof

A waterproof version of the Men’s Mix Master 2 arrives in November 2012. The upper features a tightly-woven fabric treated with a waterproof membrane. We’ll carry the Black colorway of the Merrell Mix Master 2 Waterproof, which sports just a touch of Sulphur Green as well. MSRP is $120.00. We’ll circle back to post a photo here when it’s available.

Mix Master Tuff

Designed for the toughest conditions you’ll encounter on the trail, the Mix Master Tuff is a beefed up version of the Men’s Mix Master 2, with additional overlays and a gusseted tongue up top along with a shock absorption plate and more aggressive lug pattern for the platform. This trail beast arrives February 2013 at $120.00 MSRP. Men’s Mix Master Tuff in Black/Crimson shown below.

Mix Master Move Glide

Who says the Mix Master has to mix it up between road and trail? This road-specific model of the Mix Master Glide (the Women’s Mix Master) is tuned from heel to toe for top performance on tarmac. Look for a 4mm offset, highly breathable upper, and air cushioned heel. Merrell makes a Men’s version as well, but we’re not carrying it. The Merrell Mix Master Move Glide in Island Green arrives February 2013 at $95.00 MSRP. We’ll circle back to post a photo here when the shoe’s available.

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