10 pairs of 2014’s best running shoes for everyday triathlon training tested, rated and reviewed
Picking the best running shoes can be a difficult and costly prospect, especially considering the price hike for running trainers over the last few years.
Our test team have run in hundreds of pairs of shoes over the years and have seen the running shoe evolve from chunky inflexible slabs to lightweight, cushioned speedsters that offer all-round performance for everyday running. To help you pick the right pair our testers have spent countless hours pounding pavements, trotting along towpaths and training on treadmills to give you honest verdicts on where to spend your cash.
Kalenji Kiprun MD
Decathlon-exclusive brand Kalenji’s Kiprun MD is designed for runs up to half marathon distance. Hitting the road, the shoe immediately felt very stable, each stride planting firmly and securely with a springy energy return. The chunky heel made it less suited to midfoot strikers, but there’s a reassuring familiarity to the traditional design. The upper holds well, is comfy and offers excellent ventilation. The Kiprun, which comes up slightly small, did feel a bit on the heavy side while running and shock absorption isn’t brilliant, but it’s priced very keenly and is a decent entry-level shoe even if it appears to be a little
out of date compared to the big brands’ latest offerings.
A good entry-level running shoe for day-to-day training
Skechers GOrun Ultra
Designed for Ultra marathons, the GoRun Ultra is sumptuously cushioned yet extremely flexible and very light. The sole glides over the roads without punishing your feet, but still feels springy – although some stability is lost with the comfy flex. Like all Skechers, the Ultra is designed with midfoot striking in mind. The lateral arch ridge that at first feels strange quickly promotes an efficient, comfortable and fast stride. The included insole provides an 8mm heel to toe drop which lowers to 4mm when removed – in this guise, the shoes feel racier with more road feel at the expense of a little comfort. The stretchy upper holds well and breathe easily, giving room for toes to spread, though sizing is a little generous.
Incredibly comfortable, yet light and flexy, the Ultras are a fantastic partner on long runs
Adidas Supernova Glide 6 Boost
Adidas has started putting its super squishy and absorbent Boost foam into more regular training shoes and the result
is impressive. The Supernova Glide Boost maintains a good sensation of road feel and springy energy return while taking most of the sting out of pavements. The shoe is a slim fit, snug, secure and feels light and uncumbersome. It’s stable and supportive without guiding the feet too much, making it suitable for heel and midfoot strikers. Ventilation is adequate enough to avoid foot stuffiness and grip was brilliant, thanks in part to the Continental rubber compound
on the forefoot.
Comfy for miles, flexible but supportive – ticks all the boxes for everyday trainers
The Cloudster is On’s best value shoe and is designed for everyday running with the benefit of the Swiss company’s unique CloudTec system – bouncy lugs that squash under the pressure of each foot strike to reduce impact then spring back for a strong take-off. Like other radical shoe designs, Ons take a while to get used to, but the longer we’ve been running in them, the more comfortable and effective they seem to have become. It’s no featherweight, but the springiness promotes a fast turnover that makes it feel light and swift. Foot and muscle fatigue is noticeably lessened with this compared to standard foam too, and combined with the supportive upper, it’s brilliant for long runs.
Bouncy design that rewards perseverance with faster running and less fatigue
New Balance 1080v4
all the New Balance shoes we tested were a pleasant surprise, but this one was our favourite. A neutral cushioned shoe, it’s much faster and firmer than you might expect. It’s responsive and stiffer than it looks – we like this, because it’s easy to feel you’re losing energy in more bouncy cushioned shoes – and it’s light for the level of shock protection on offer. It does feel pretty stable too, with locked-in lacing wrapping over the midfoot and a crash pad and asymmetric heel counter that are designed to help control overpronation. The upper is snug, breathable and soft inside, befitting a shoe at this price point. Our only issue was that on longer sessions, the firm cushioning left us with sore soles.
Light but protective and responsive cushioned shoes, if a little too firm
Brooks Ghost 6
Brooks‘ Ghost 6 has comfort on the mind with a lovely thick, plush tongue, exceptionally airy upper and a wide toebox. Being quite broad, the Ghost is a better fit for neutral runners with higher volume feet. Cushioning is better than most, which helps to make long training miles a pleasure. Despite the chunky sole, the heel doesn’t get in the way when picking up the speed, making it suitable for most running styles. The midsole has just enough give while the unobstructed, full ground contact design of the outsole gives a really smooth, stable feeling ride from heel down to toe-off, making them good for those wanting some guidance through their run cycles without their shoes being too built up.
Lovely rolling feel that’s effortless for long sessions and fantastic ventilation
Scott eRide AF Trainer 2.0
Designed for high mileage training, the smooth rocker shape of Scott’s eRide AF Trainer 2.0 is good for all types of foot striking and rolls well for good energy return. Cushioning is decent enough for those with good form and low contact time, but fairly firm on hard surfaces. The smooth sole made direction changes a bit trickier at speed than some of the others on test and though support is good, the heel cup didn’t grip as securely as we would have liked despite coming up a little small for the size. Ventilation is good and at higher speeds, the Scott allows stronger runners to get on with the job at hand without fuss.
Good for long pacy runs, but plodders might want to look elsewhere
Mizuno Wave Rider 17
Mizuno’s shoes are always impressive and the brand’s go-to neutral runner, the Wave Rider, is no exception. Honed by 17 iterations, the fit is generous around the toebox for decent toe spread while giving support in the midfoot and cupping the heel nicely for a real sense of security even on looser ground. Thanks to Mizuno’s special U4iC midsole, it feels exceptionally light and helps you easily achieve a high turnover from the off with great road feel. Whether you’re a heel striker or more of a midfoot runner, the energy return is excellent – as is grip – though cushioning is firmer than the likes of Adidas’s Boost foam – which could suit traditionalists. Ventilation was also great, making it a fantastic all-rounder.
Light, great energy return and decent comfort make the Wave Rider a very solid shoe
Zoot Ultra Kalani 3.0
Slipping on the Ultra Kalani 3.0 is an exercise in comfort – the seamless, stretchy upper is snug around the foot without pinching and also features an internal membrane material making it blister-free for barefoot running. It does come up at least half a size small with socks on though. Things weren’t quite so happy on the roads – we just couldn’t get on with the rigid, carbon-fibre infused sole, which is designed to maximise power at toe-off but no matter what style we adopted, just seemed to create a harsh ride and stinging feet. It does feel light though as well as being stable, secure and super fast in transition.
Tri specific, but try before you buy for sizing and unique carbon blade ride feel
Newton Motion III
The 2014 Motion III adds a fifth forefoot lug, which are the core design element of the brand’s Action/Reaction philosophy. Out on the road, the shoe immediately forces you to adopt a forefoot landing before dropping the heel and levering forward to toe off. It takes a good few weeks to get used to before becoming ‘natural’, but once there, you do feel efficient and strong. The uppers have also had a facelift, being lighter, airier and more comfortable than before. Despite this, the Motion is a bit on the heavy side compared to the competition and we found the stiff forefoot to be light on cushioning, giving an overly firm ride, while grip in the wet is patchy. It’s also an expensive proposition for a running shoe.
Love or hate technology with a firm but efficient ride. Expensive though