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Spring 2011 Sneaker Guide: The Best Running Shoes

Find the best running shoes for mild stability, flat feet, high arches, and trail running.

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Adidas Supernova Glide 3
David Lawrence
David Lawrence
David Lawrence
David Lawrence
David Lawrence
David Lawrence
David Lawrence
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The Best Neutral Running Shoes: Adidas Supernova Glide 3

For high arches -- maximum cushioning, minimal support

This "overwhelmingly soft" shoe won testers over with "tons of cushioning" that "takes the pounding for you." Thanks to a two-part heel design, subtle arch support, and strategic flex grooves on the outsole, the shoe is "supportive and responsive with every step." Plus the "very breathable" open-mesh upper keeps your foot "comfortable temperature-wise." ($110, shopadidas.com)

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The Best Neutral Running Shoes Runner-Up: Karhu Fast Fulcrum Ride

"These look fast," testers say, and they "feel light and quick on your feet." The outsole is "relatively flexible, like a racing shoe's," and the special technology in the midsole uses greater firmness to create an efficient strike and "encourage you to land on your midfoot." The mesh upper, welded lace eyelets, and seamless construction around the heel create a "bedroom slipper" cushiness. ($130, karhu.com)

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The Best Mild Stability Running Shoes: Nike LunarElite+ 2

Just-right support for the average strider who overpronates slightly

Testers appreciated that the wedged support in these shoes kicks in only when your feet start to turn inward (that is, overpronate) as you strike, giving you "just the right amount of stability." The "superlight" sneaks are also cushiony and have strategically placed flex grooves on the outsoles so that "it almost feels like you're running on air." ($100, nike.com)

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The Best Mild Stability Running Shoes Runner-Up: Brooks Trance 10

"Remarkable cushioning!" testers say; it "provides a trampoline bounce to your stride" and disperses impact evenly, leaving "joints and feet feeling fine" post-run. The midsole gets progressively denser toward the inner curve of your foot, "offering a significant amount of support" and preventing your arch from flattening and turning inward as you land. Its mesh upper and sock liner make for a "comfortable fit." ($140, brooksrunning.com)

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The Best Extra Stability Running Shoes: Asics Gel-Evolution 6

Maximum support for flat arches and feet that turn inward

This sneaker "feels a little bit like heaven" to flat-footed runners who seriously overpronate. Its dense midsole provides "good stability and great shock absorption," and details like a wider midfoot; a soft, wicking sock liner; and "a stretchy upper that doesn't rub or irritate at all" mean that the shoe "cradles your foot in a comfy, pleasant way" while you run. ($120, asicsamerica.com for stores)

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The Best Extra Stability Running Shoes Runner-Up: New Balance 940

"Run longer pain-free" in these shoes, testers say. "The stability is fantastic": A special thermoplastic in the midsole provides smooth transitions through each step, and extra shock-absorbent cushioning in the heel and forefoot helps you "feel like you've got a built-in spring." Its seamless sock liner and mesh upper "hug your foot" perfectly. Available in four widths to guarantee an "awesome fit." ($120, newbalance.com)

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The Best Trail Running Shoes: Brooks Cascadia 6

For your best footing on uneven terrain.

Testers deem this do-it-all trail runner "flexible yet stable, lightweight yet well cushioned," making it "great on every type of terrain, including sand, snow, and loose rocks." You'll "feel like you can conquer the toughest trails" with its "incredible traction"; breathable, weather-resistant upper; thermoplastic rock shield beneath the forefoot; and stabilizing pivot posts on the midsole. ($110, brooksrunning.com)

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The Best Trail Running Shoes Runner-Up: Salomon XR Crossmax Neutral

"You won't notice the rocks beneath your feet" with this flashy, "lightweight" runner, testers vow. Its extremely durable outsole grips the trails, and the "cushioning is wonderful" thanks to molded EVA foam midsoles and "orthotic-like" foot beds. "A very comfortable fit" is guaranteed by its airy mesh upper, gusseted tongue, and friction-free eyelets. ($130, salomon.com)

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, April 2011.

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ElaineMayo wrote:

As a novice to the "Exercise Movement for a Healthier Generation" (a random title that just occurred to me), if recommendations for specific items or methods are worthy of print (i.e. 3/29/11 & 4/8/2011, two avid running athletes), the Webmaster or whoever is responsible for the reviewed online entries should add referrals for further research and/or where indicated items (such as Vibram 5 Fingers = Shoes ???) can be located/purchased. Thanks, elainemayo@texashealth.org & elainemayo@live.com

6/26/2011 01:37:13 AM Report Abuse
annaclaudiag wrote:

I was running in regular running shoes (bought from a running store after running in a treadmill and all that) and I started having knee pain. Switch to Vibram 5 Fingers and no more knee pain!! I wish the article had talked about barefoot running. There a lot of options out there.

4/8/2011 07:21:47 PM Report Abuse
ckimberlin123 wrote:

i have only been working out for a little while. Went to a small shoe store and got fitted...they recommended Brooks. For the last 3 years, that is the only kind of sneakers I will buy. Just got the Trance for my spring training and I absolutely love them!

4/7/2011 03:03:41 AM Report Abuse
thehealingartist1 wrote:

Vibram 5 Finger Barefoot Trainers ROCK! I'm 50yrs old, been running since i was 15...i've run in these for almost 2 years - I will NEVER go back to conventional shoes...as a sports massage therapist, this makes PERFECT physiological sense - i only wish i had invented them! Conventional shoes force our bodies to extend our stride unnaturally which causes massive destabilization of ankle, knee and hip joint...run the way we were created to run - on our forefoot.

3/29/2011 12:53:15 PM Report Abuse

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