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Women’s Running Shoes: A Few Faves from 2012

January 9th, 2013

2012 came and went, leaving us with fond memories of the Games in London, epic moments at our own races, and a collection of exceptional running shoes. Here’s a spotlight on five of our best selling women’s running shoes from 2012.

Asics Gel Nimbus
If you’re on the prowl for a supremely cushioned, neutral daily trainer, the Asics Gel Nimbus 14 would definitely get a second date. And after a month you’ll probably want to elope. The shoe has that comfy Asics step-in feel, and the heel-to-toe transition is nice and smooth. The ample heel and forefoot Gel units offer premium impact protection, and the mesh upper is breathable and secure.

We also like: Saucony Triumph 10 and adidas adistar Ride 4.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS
You need support to correct overpronation, but you don’t want a heavy, super built-up shoe. The Brooks Adrenaline GTS deserves a look. It has maximum support and a nice dose of cushioning to keep your feet happy. This workhorse of a shoe is built to stand up to the long runs you’re ready to log.

We also like: Mizuno Wave Alchemy 12 and Saucony Omni 11.

Nike FREE Run
The Nike FREE Run+ 3 has been a popular choice for women who want something lighter and more flexible than a traditional trainer, but don’t want to take the plunge into the “barefoot” shoe world. This neutral trainer is designed to give you a more natural running feel, but still packs a cushioned platform for a bit of protection. Add in a seamless upper and a wide array of color choices and you’ve got a fun performance shoe for many occasions.

We also like: Brooks PureFlow.

Saucony Kinvara
For long epics or short jaunts at almost any pace, the Saucony Kinvara 3 can be your new running partner. Seriously. This baby can handle speedwork, racing and daily training with ease for all you neutral runners out there. The soft platform still provides the responsiveness you need to feel energized on longer runs. The upper remains light but still provides a secure fit thanks to welded overlays. And did we mention all the pretty colors?

We also like: Asics Gel Lyte and Brooks PureConnect.

Mizuno Wave Rider
If you want a firm, responsive ride in a traditional neutral trainer, then get stoked on the Mizuno Wave Rider. The open mesh of the upper is incredibly breathable to keep you cool, and hugs your foot with a close and secure fit. Mizuno’s Wave technology spans from heel to the midfoot, offering ample shock absorption. And the ride is so smooth it might just encourage you to log a few extra miles.

We also like: Saucony Ride 5 and adidas adizero Boston 3.

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Nike Free Run+ 3 – Our Take

May 3rd, 2012

Our Tweet

Weight’s down and flexibility is up in the Nike Free Run+ 3, now lower to the ground with a more customizable fit.
(View Men’s Free Run 3 and Women’s Free Run 3)

Big Updates

  • Lighter Weight: The Men’s Free Run 3 checks in about an ounce lighter than the Free Run 2. The weight loss for the Women’s model is not quite as dramatic, but weight is still down a few tenths of an ounce.
  • Increased Flexibility: Updated midsole Flex Grooves follow a more natural foot motion.
  • Fresh Upper Design: No longer featuring “bootie” construction, the Free Run 3 has a tongue and a supportive inner sleeve that wraps under the arch and around the midfoot for increased arch support and an adaptive fit. Strategic use of NanoPly overlays results in lightweight structure that still allows the foot to move.
  • Reduced Midsole Height: The Free Run 3 is 2mm lower in the heel and 3mm lower in the forefoot compared to the Free Run 2. This update provides a more connected feel with the road.

Road Test

Testers weren’t sure what to expect before they put on the latest Nike Free Run. After all, the shoe has undergone some pretty significant changes, particularly in the upper. But after slipping this shoe on and lacing it up, testers who have run in prior versions of the Free felt right at home.

On first glance, the new upper that includes a tongue may make you think that the Free Run 3 is sneaking its way into the Traditional Running Shoe Club. Not so fast. The tongue construction actually makes the shoe easier to put on, and the tongue itself is thin and breathable. The tongue did not create any unwelcome seams or hotspots and the shoe remains highly runnable if you want to go sockless.

Once they were situated in the shoe, testers appreciated the adjustability of the new Dynamic Fit system in the midfoot. It doesn’t feel quite as customizable as other implementations of the system, such as in the LunarEclipse+ 2 and Vomero+ 7, but still gives a runner the ability to cinch down the midfoot in just the right places or leave the midfoot fit more generous.

Of course, the most notable feature of the Free Run remains its mid/outsole. In its latest version, the platform remains flexible and offers an extraordinarily smooth transition. So what types of runs can you do in the latest Free Run? It remains a great foot strengthening tool, given how much emphasis it gives to making your foot do the work. After running in the shoe regularly, testers report that daily training and even speedwork are not only possible, but are actually enjoyable. Runners who take the time to work up their foot strength in the Free Run can expect handsome rewards both in this shoe and when running in other flats and trainers.

Runners Say

“Feels like more of a protective ride than a cushioned one. If you’re a heel striker, this shoe will help you change your ways.” – Matt

“The forefoot by the base of the laces is on the snug side for me, and I also experienced some pinching by the little toe.” – Daniel

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