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FITNESS 2009 Sneaker Guide: The Best Running Shoes

Here, our picks for the best running shoes, tested by runners and experts so you can find the perfect shoe.

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Brooks Ghost 2  sneakers
Brian Maranan Pineda
Brian Maranan Pineda
Brian Maranan Pineda
Brian Maranan Pineda
Brian Maranan Pineda
Brian Maranan Pineda
Brian Maranan Pineda
Brian Maranan Pineda
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Winner: Best Neutral-Cushioned Running Shoes

Brooks Ghost 2

These shoes have extra cushioning where it counts -- the forefoot -- thanks to tiny fluid packs in the padding for a bouncy push off and a safe landing, plus they're contoured to cradle your midfoot.

"Heaven for women with high arches!" says one tester who wore her pair pounding the pavement in Central Park. "They have the ideal amount of support without being too cushioned or clunky."

($100, brooksrunning.com)

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Runner-Up: Best Neutral-Cushioned Running Shoes

Nike Zoom Vomero+ 4

This uber-cushiony shoe melds perfectly to your foot with a snug, supportive heel, an adjustable arch strap, and a stretchy mesh panel that leaves extra room for your toes -- even those with bunions.

"So pillowlike and durable -- I'm obsessed! They made me look forward to my runs," says a tester whose Vomeros inspired her to add extra miles and uphill sprints to her workouts.

($130, nike.com)

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Winner: Best Mild Stability Running Shoes

New Balance 749

Its lacing design locks your arch in place, a stiff midsole keeps your foot secure, and heel-to-toe cushioning buffers joints on impact. We also love the shoe's airy mesh material.

"These fit beautifully," raved one tester, who ran off workday stress wearing her kicks. "They were never uncomfortable."

($80, newbalance.com for stores)

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Runner-Up: Best Mild Stability Running Shoes

Asics GT-2140

Don't let its superlight weight fool you: This breathable sneaker packs in just-right arch support plus a durable midsole, which reduces jolts to your joints.

"Fits my foot like a glove," says one weekend warrior who clocked in many miles around the Hamptons. "These are easy to run in, comfortable and stable."

($100, asics.com for stores)

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Winner: Best Maximum Stability Running Shoes

Adidas Supernova Sequence 2

This shoe corrects overpronation with support that runs from heel to forefoot. Its nonslip insole and heel cup hold your foot in place to prevent blisters, and an antimicrobial sock liner helps them stay odor-free.

"I'm a convert," says one tester who was loyal to her previous brand for three years. "It has everything: a snug upper, a stable heel, and a smooth run."

($100, shopadidas.com)

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Runner-Up: Best Maximum Stability Running Shoes

Brooks Trance 9

The stiffer material in this shoe's midsole helps curb overpronation and creates a smoother transition from heel to toe. Plus, its plush sock liner wicks away sweat.

"They matched the contours of my feet -- I'm using them to train for my next race," says one tester who's running the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco this month.

($140, brooksrunning.com)

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Winner: Best Trail Running Shoes

Salomon XT Wings GTX W

These stable shoes protect your feet from it all; they've got a waterproof exterior, a mudguard, and a gusseted tongue to keep out pebbles and dirt. The tie-free lacing design means no loose ends.

"Each stride felt comfortable despite the bumpy terrain," says one tester who took her pair through nine miles of post-rain mush. "Plus, I had no mud to scrape off afterward."

($160, salomonsports.com for stores)

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Runner-Up: Best Trail Running Shoes

Saucony ProGrid Razor

These are not your mom's trail runners: Zip up the water-resistant yet surprisingly breathable top layer for extra coverage on rainy days and to keep out rocks and dirt.

"I've never worn shoes like this before," says one tester who tried them on dusty Arizona desert paths. "They've got great shock absorption and grip -- I never came close to wiping out on treacherous canyon surfaces."

($135, saucony.com for stores)

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2009.

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acusticheart wrote:

What brand are these????

10/31/2010 07:38:06 AM Report Abuse
stinsonkatheri wrote:

This guied was a hugh help!!! just yesterday my old running shoes died on me so i was so happy to get this info!!!! thanks so much!!

3/5/2010 11:09:59 AM Report Abuse

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