By: Harry Chandler
You asked for it, so here goes!
I as a general rule try and avoid the “what’s the best shoe” conversation…like the plague!
Simply put, I think there’s such a wide variety of bests; so why limit your possibilities.
My angle, for the duration of this piece, will be from an unbiased perspective. I’m here to state the facts. My facts; and nothing more!
1. Brooks Ghost 10. $120. Why does this 10 oz 12 mm drop shoe fare so well again and again? It’s simple. This neutral option rolls great to the forefoot without being so flexible that it loses structure. Great energy return and a continued staple in the Specialty Run Industry.
2. Hoka Clifton 4. $130. Hoka is the go to choice for one primary reason. IT HAS SWEET CUSHION! This 9.30 oz 5 mm drop neutral option will have you feeling like you’re flying! As a ligthweight road option from Hoka it gets no better! Though the 4 has narrowed it’s toe box and the shoe has stiffened a bit, it’s durability has been addressed with a new rubber outsole.
3. Mizuno Wave Sonic. $100. Lets talk racing flats. At around 7 oz and with a 4 mm drop, the sonic is not to be contested. Its firm but with reason. With a single rubber out sole spanning from heel to toe this flat allows for quick release at the toe off with a platform that propels you straight ahead.
4. Saucony Ride 10. $120. Weighing in at just under 10 oz with a drop of 8 mm this neutral trainer has been updated with cushion, cushion CUSHION! Ever Run, Saucony’s innovative padding and energy return system, is in the heel and forefoot and you can feel it! Energy return was the motive in this shoe and Saucony did not disappoint!
5. Asics GT 2000-5. $120. No arch? No problem. This 11 oz 10 mm drop stability titan has you covered! With a seamless upper and dual density foam that over the years hasn’t been compromised, this shoe doesn’t have many bells and whistles. BUT its comfortable due to its gel pad in the heel and firm enough to support any over pronator that wants to go the distance!
6. Nike Zoom Fly. $150. Come on! You knew it was coming. The Zoom Fly from Nike is an 8.7 oz 10 mm drop that feels more like 5 oz with a 4 mm drop! One of the more versatile releases, this shoe has the structure of a flat suited for shorter distance and tempo runs…with the cushion to comfortably PR in any marathon. Definitely a contender!
7. Adidas Ultra Boost ST. $180. Most will write this shoe off solely on price BUT I’d be remissed if I didn’t strongly suggest otherwise. with a more precisioned fit than its predecessor and a thinner cloth upper, the feel is similar to the Emperor and his new clothes. The 11 oz 8 mm drop choice is a bit heavier, yes. However, all other components are redemptive.
8. New Balance 860v8. $125. Old Faithful as described by most. 11.3 oz 10 mm drop. The 860 has a TrueFuse midsole that offers a runner cushion while the dual density foam holds the integrity of this stability mammoth. Yes. it is heavy. As a counter, it will support any more densely blessed runner mile after mile.
9. 361 Spire 2. $140. The new kid on the block weighs in at 10.3 oz and has an 11 mm drop. Said to feel as soft as a sheep and make you as fast as a cheetah this neutral “runners choice” has more cushion than most and an energy return system that will blow your mind.
10. Altra Escaltante. $130. 8oz 0 mm drop. Softer. Lighter. Responsive. Comfortable. The new foam used in this Altra has made it thee most comfortable Altra I’ve ever run in. Finally, Altra has combined its foot shape staple with a flat knit upper; offering breathability and more room for your toes to lengthen and splay. With an almost full rubber out sole this neutral, lightweight trainer is pretty durable as well.
These are my thoughts. The views expressed in this segment were none but my own. All shoes mentioned are available at any Charlotte Running Company for your pleasure.