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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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David Lawrence
David Lawrence
David Lawrence
Brooks Trance 10
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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