Running Shoe Reviews
2012 Winter Running Shoe Guide
Image: Corbis Images
Finding the ideal running shoe isn't easy. So we go to great lengths to test the latest footwear. Not only do we mechanically pound and flex each new model at the RW Shoe Lab, but we also put 350 pairs on the feet of real runners. This dual-pronged assessment allows us to review each shoe in detail and make recommendations based on our own analysis, not on what shoe companies tell us. The shoes are organized into three categories: stability, neutral-cushioned, and minimal. (No motion-control or performance-training shoes are in this guide.) To figure out which category suits your feet, it's helpful to know how much you pronate (the inward roll of the foot that helps the body dissipate shock). Body mass also plays a role, as heavier runners (women more than 160 pounds; men more than 185) are not generally suited for minimal shoes. Match up these characteristics to the categories below, then use the reviews and tester comments that follow to find the best shoe for you.
Video: Running shoe size and fit
Stability shoes are recommended for runners who are mild to moderate overpronators and who generally have low to normal arches. These runners tend to need a shoe with a combination of good support and midsole cushioning.
Neutral-cushioned shoes are recommended for runners who need maximum midsole cushioning and minimum medial support. These shoes are best for biomechanically efficient runners (with minimum pronation) and midfoot or forefoot strikers with high or normal arches. (Search: Is my arch normal, low, or high?)
Minimal shoes have thinner-than-average soles, are extremely light and flexible, and have a barefoot-like feel. Recommended for lightweight, efficient runners or for enthusiasts interested in working on form and foot strengthening drills.
And the criteria:
Cushioning: How soft or firm the shoe's sole is in the heel and in the forefoot.
Flexibility: How much torque it takes to flex a shoe at toe-off, right before the foot pushes off the ground.
Responsiveness: Measures the relation of how smoothly the shoe moves with the foot.
What Type of Shoe is Best for Your Feet?