2017 Spring Shoe Review
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“The times they are a changin’,” wrote Bob Dylan more than 50 years ago, and that has certainly been the case in the running shoe industry over the past season. Emerging brands have seen some successes, there have been many new shoe launches (as with the most active past seasons, about 35% of this spring’s offerings are new), and changes in materials and construction methods have left their mark on the industry. Today may be the calm before the storm, as 2017 exhibits the hallmarks of significant transition. Much of the anticipation centers on the jump from standard manufacturing to automated processes. This could mean that we’ll be seeing shoes that are customized, quickly delivered, and possibly even made right around the corner from your house.
Over the past few seasons we’ve seen new or improved manufacturing techniques and materials for uppers: engineered meshes, full-knit uppers, laminates, and membranes. Every shoe in this Review features one or more of these advances. And at the heart of midsole innovation is the thermoplastic elastomer, also known as TPE. These midsoles vary by ingredients, much like cookie dough recipes. Here, it’s the spongy foam that just may be the secret ingredient that makes a shoe a delight to run in. Brands look for their own special recipes and ingredients, and you are the beneficiary as these blends are all more protective, durable, and responsive than ever.
As in much of life, education is your best bet for finding your perfect shoes. Your local running specialty store can capably assist you in this process because they know running and they know shoes. Use our reviews as a starting point. With their assistance and your own good judgment, we’re confident you’ll find success in your shoe search.
Head over to the next page to check out the winners!