Spring Shoes

By Cregg Weinmann – March 13, 2013

New Balance 890 v3 $110


By focusing on aesthetics, performance, and durability, the 890 has contributed a lot to New Balance’s running shoe success. This is due in large part to NB’s use of the surprisingly light and well-cushioned midsole foam, RevLite, which started and continues the fran- chise. Not messing with success, Round 3 arrives with no dramatic changes, which will be good news to its many fans. In the upper, changes are not simply cosmetic. The repositioning of the no-sew overlays wrap the foot more securely, especially in combination with the ankle collar foam. The midsole continues with single-density RevLite and well-sculpted geometry, particularly in the crashpad. The outersole retains thin, but tough carbon rubber in the heel and a blown rubber forefoot. The net effect is a light, durable, high-mileage trainer with a comfortable fit, as expected. The continued fusion of lightness, comfort, and supportive fit earned the 890 v3 our award for Best Renovation.

Sizes Men 7–13, 14, 15; Women 5–11, 12 Weight 10.4 oz. (men’s 11); 8.1 oz. (women’s 8)


Newton Gravity $175

The Gravity is the original Newton shoe, now thoroughly dialed in and rolling along. Designed for neutral runners interested in performance, its technology encourages forefoot striking via its cushioning lugs, but it benefits all neutral runners by storing and releasing energy for toe-off. Though the upper utilizes traditional airmesh and synthetic suede overlays, they are of really high quality. (And at this price, they better be!) The midsole is also top-grade EVA, but a secret resides here: A membrane of Hytrel plastic absorbs energy at impact and then releases it at toe-off as the foot rolls forward, contributing an extra little “push.” The outersole is a typical setup of carbon rubber in the heel and lower-density rubber up front to keep the weight down. Overall, the Gravity is all about efficient running, and they’ll go as fast as you can.

Sizes Men 6–13, 14, 15, 16; Women 5-12 Weight 10.3 oz. (men’s 11); 8.8 oz. (women’s 8)


Mizuno Wave Rider 16 $115

It’s hard to remember when Mizuno’s lineup didn’t include the Wave Rider. That longevity is due to Mizuno’s laser-like focus on providing both a great fit and a great ride. In this round, the upper looks new with a closed mesh that seems stiffer, enabling the traditional midfoot overlays to be replaced with fewer (and lighter) welded ones. Overlays at the heel and toe continue to provide the same structure as before. The shape of the midsole has been subtly altered, though our weartesters confirm that it provides the same performance as did the 15. The outersole is X-10 rubber with the SmoothRide hinged element in the forefoot, encouraging a snappy toe-off. Fans won’t be disappointed, and new users will likely join the ranks. The triple threat of responsive ride, great fit, and high- mileage durability earned the Wave Rider 16 our award for Best Shoe in the Neutral category.

Sizes Men 7–13, 14, 15, 16; Women 6-12 Weight 11.7 oz. (men’s 11); 9.1 oz. (women’s 8)


ASiCS Gel-Kayano 19 $150

As ASICS’ flagship shoe for plush stability, the Gel-Kayano continues to set the bar high for this category. Now sleeker and lighter weight, Round 19 is worthy of the attention it will surely attract. The upper features an almost tailored fit, as ASICS continues to dial in its well-established technologies of separated Discrete eyelets and Bio-Fit stretch inserts. The shoe supports and moves with the foot better than ever. The upper trades the previous open mesh for a closed mesh and welded overlays, giving the shoe a more unified feel. The midsole features the same basic profile but is more rounded, as has been adopted by other shoes in ASICS’ line. The generous Gel pad has been reshaped and the Dynamic DuoMax—a stabilizing medial support— effectively curbs overpronation. The outersole is AHAR in the heel with DuraSponge rubber, ASICS’ proven rubber compound, in the forefoot. With its combination of fit, stability, and stylish performance, the Gel-Kayano 19 earned our award for best shoe in the Motion Stabilizing category.

Sizes Men 6–14, 15, 16; Women 5–12 Weight 11.3 oz. (men’s 11); 9.4 oz. (women’s 8)


Saucony Mirage 3 $110

The Mirage has been a top performer for Saucony, straddling the categories of minimal drop shoes and supportive shoes with a generous stack height; so it’s well cushioned and efficient. The upper returns to an open mesh with welded, no-sew overlays providing just enough support for the foot with hardly a weight gain. The midsole is responsive and well cushioned enough to handle high-mileage training—the one constant in all three rounds. The TPU medial support in this iteration is the least obtrusive version yet and is effective at curbing overpronation (thanks, in part, to the low heel-to-toe drop). The outersole is still just enough pieces to cover the high-wear areas of the sole; it’s pared back a bit, even from previous rounds. The combination of responsive cushioning, light weight, and great fit earned the Mirage 3 our Best Performance Shoe Award.

Sizes Men 7–13, 14, 15; Women 5–12 Weight 9.8 oz. (men’s 11); 8.4 oz. (women’s 8)


adidas Energy Boost $150

The Energy Boost has succeeded in firing up the imagination of runners, even though so far it’s those runners who happen to own running specialty stores. The reason? The Energy Boost is light and really fun to run in. The upper is a sleek, black, stretchy woven textile, with minimal, no-sew overlays that moves effectively with the foot. The innovative midsole employs a new foam formulation (created in collaboration with chemical company BASF) that seems to last forever and provides surprising bounce to the shoe (hence, the “Boost” in its name). Though the geometry is traditional, the shoe has a fast feel, even if it’s not exactly outright performance oriented. The outersole is minimal with the extra material carved away, though not at the expense of durability. The combination of innovation, ride, and “cool” factor earned the Energy Boost our award for Best New Shoe.

Sizes Men 7-15; Women 5–12 Weight 10.2 oz. (men’s 11); 8.8 oz. (women’s 8)

Other Notable Shoes

Motion Stabilizing
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13 $110 www.brooksrunning.com
Brooks Ravenna 4 $110 www.brooksrunning.com
Mizuno Wave Inspire 9 $115 www.mizunousa.com
Saucony Progrid Hurricane 15 $140 www.saucony.com

ASICS Gel-Excel 33 2 $125 www.asicsamerica.com
ASICS Gel-Lyte 33 2 $90 www.asicsamerica.com
Brooks PureFlow 2 $100 www.brooksrunning.com
Mizuno Wave Elixer 8 $120 www.mizunousa.com
Karhu Flow Light Fulcrum $110 www.karhu.com
Nike Flyknit Lunar1+ $160 www.nike.com
Skechers GoRun 2 $80 www.skechers.com
Puma Mobium Elite $110 www.puma.com

Adidas SupernovaGlide 5 $115 www.adidas.com
Saucony Progrid Triumph 9 $120 www.saucony.com


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