Spring Shoe Guide 2009

We've tested 42 of the latest models to help you find the right shoe for you

Posted: 4 February 2009

Welcome to the Runner's World Shoe Buyer's Guide, proof that running continues to grow despite the downturn: with more manufacturers launching into the UK market and a wider range of shoes from the big brands, we've reviewed 42 new models in our biggest-ever guide. This means that whether you're feeling the pinch or weathering the storm, you'll find a shoe to fit you and your budget.

Trends in running shoes that we've seen over the last few years have continued, with many manufacturers going for softer cushioning in the midsole, and a plush feel out of the box using luxurious sockliners and padding around the heel collar and tongue. Try on a range of different shoes now and you'll also notice that many feel more snug: by changing the upper (cloth part) of the shoe, adding stretch panels and clever lacing, manufacturers hope to give a more secure, friction-free feeling as you run, improving your perception of the ride.

Of course, no two runners are the same and the only sensible way to choose a shoe is to visit a specialist running shop and get fitted. But to help point you in the right direction, we've combined test results from our new shoe lab in the US with personal reviews from wear-testers, including members of Dulwich Runners, West 4 Harriers, Runner's World staff and readers of our US edition.

Of course, if you've recently invested in a pair of shoes, don't forget to tell us (and your fellow site members) what you think - simply visit our Gear section and add your review.


Adidas adistar Salvation £100 STABILITY
Adidas Supernova Glide £80 CUSHIONING
Adidas adistar Ride £95 CUSHIONING
Adidas adizero Tempo II £70 PERFORMANCE


Asics Gel-1140 £70 STABILITY
Asics GT-2140 £85 STABILITY
Asics Gel-Kayano 15
Asics Gel-DS Trainer 14 £90 PERFORMANCE


Avia Avi-Lite Guide £tbc STABILITY
Avia Avi-Lite II £tbc PERFORMANCE


Brooks Adrenaline GTS 9 £85 STABILITY
Brooks Infiniti 2 £100STABILITY
Brooks Ghost 2 £85 CUSHIONING
Brooks Glycerin 7 £95 CUSHIONING
Brooks Summon £75 CUSHIONING
Brooks Beast/Ariel £75 MOTION CONTROL


Etonic Jepara 3 SC £85 STABILITY
Etonic Praya 2 £75 CUSHIONING
Etonic Minado 3 MC £90 MOTION CONTROL


Mizuno Wave Inspire 5 (M) £85 STABILITY
Mizuno Wave Inspire 5 (W)
Mizuno Wave Nexus 3 £100 STABILITY
Mizuno Wave Creation 10 £100 CUSHIONING
Mizuno Wave Rider 12 (M) £80 CUSHIONING
Mizuno Wave Rider 12 (W) £80 CUSHIONING

New Balance

New Balance 769 £85 STABILITY
New Balance 1063 £90 CUSHIONING


Nike Zoom Equalon+ 3 (M) £95 STABILITY
Nike Zoom Equalon+ 3 (W) £95 STABILITY
Nike Air Structure Triax+ 12 £80 STABILITY
Nike Zoom Start+ £65 CUSHIONING

Pearl Izumi

Pearl Izumi Syncropace III £84.99STABILITY
Pearl Izumi Syncrofloat III £84.99 CUSHIONING


Puma Complete Concinnity III £65 PERFORMANCE


Reebok Premier Road Plus KFS VI £65 STABILITY


Saucony ProGrid Guide 2 £75 STABILITY
Saucony ProGrid Echelon £80 CUSHIONING
Saucony ProGrid Triumph 6 £90CUSHIONING

Under Armour

Under Armour Illusion £75 STABILITY
Under Armour Revenant £85 STABILITY

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Discuss this article

Why do we need stability,cushioning etc inshoes when nature provides use with arches to absorb the shock from impact.Muscles to provide stability.
Posted: 06/02/2009 at 01:46

If we had remained barefoot from the day we were born then we probably wouldn't.

Putting a support (or cushioning) on our bodies reduces the need for our body parts to do that so they become relatively wasted and weaker over time.

That's the position we have now got ourselves into so we have to live with it.

Or not.

Some runners have decided to try and reverse the process by going back to 'barefoot', very minimalist shoes and running landing on the forefoot/midfoot as nature intended.

Just how necessary / wise / safe / how long this process should take, is a matter of much debate.

Posted: 06/02/2009 at 07:53

I naturally run on my tippy toes (I can't help it) like barefoot running and have just invested in a pair of Newton Gravities which encourage forefoot/midfoot running.  I feel like a new person - I don't know how I have managed all these years without them.  I was told that I would need a 'settling in' period to get used to them.  On the contrary, I took to them like a duck to water, and they are going to change my life.  It is like running in my bare feet, or dare I say it, with my slippers on (if I wore them).  I am going to invest in another pair and will definitely not be going back to my old Sauconys. 
Posted: 06/02/2009 at 08:28

What distances would say, Newton Gravities running shoes be suitable for?

How much do they cost?  How many miles are they good for? 

I find that only really fit runners can run forefoot/midfoot striking for long distances, i.e. more than a mile or so.  Are they short distance racing shoes?

Posted: 06/02/2009 at 11:02

i'm quite surprised by the editor's choice of running shoe. I bought a pair of those Asics Gel last year and they were the worst training shoes i've ever bought. My training partner bought a pair too on the strength of a review and shoe predictor on Runner's world and had nothing but problems. i personally never get blisters but did with those. i used to like Asics but can't get the right size now (i'm a british 9 or US 9 1/2) Asics 9 is really a US 10 ( too big) and the 8 is too small. New Balance are the most reliable shoes i've ever bought. There 35 - 45 pound  range are more than adequate and rarely need much breaking in. Don't wast your money on Asics Gel Kayano or whatever they're called. As for the running in barefoot thing Zola Budd used to do ok!  
Posted: 06/02/2009 at 11:44

"My training partner bought a pair too on the strength of a review and shoe predictor on Runner's world and had nothing but problems."

I think the response from anyone with any base of running experience would be something like "well, what did he/she expect?".

Regarding the general Asics point, the response from anyone with any base of running experience would go along the lines of "the fact that a model of shoe is bad for you has no bearing on what it will be like for someone else".

Sorry to sound like an arse, but you don't really understand what you're talking about.
Posted: 06/02/2009 at 11:51

Cushioning and stability devices in shoes are destroying our abilities to run correctly Soft shoes allow you to come down hard on the heels. Try hard flat flexible shoes and you'll soon learn to run correctly.But don't over do it. Start slowly,give the feet and legs time to adapt. You'll have less probs with knees and hips and start to move quicker
Posted: 06/02/2009 at 12:53

Peter - I'd never buy any shoes just off a review and the predictor on a website. You have to try them in a proper shop or you're bound to have problems.
Posted: 06/02/2009 at 13:09

does the cushioning enable us to run longer and into older age, when we ran barefoot we were all dead at thirty, eaten by dinosaurs!!
Posted: 06/02/2009 at 15:11

Swerve you are an arse! - You've missed the point completely. People are influenced by reviews. in your world people shouldn't give good or bad ones. mine was a bad one by the way. when you pay over 80 quid for a training shoe you don't expect your foot to be cut to bits after a 6 miler. That's something you don't expect. That's something you really can't judge jogging around the shop either. people do expect better quality from a more expensive shoe. You sound like the kind of runner who spends more time at specialist running shops getting your gait measured etc than pounding the streets. i chose my shoes through trial and error as i did mention and as everyone should as everyone is different. to say you're stating the obvious is an understatement. 

Posted: 06/02/2009 at 23:16

its not right nice calling people names, all it does is show you to be a !!!!!
Posted: 06/02/2009 at 23:30

ha ha. i was only agreeing with him. or you in fact 
Posted: 07/02/2009 at 00:08

Darce. I've been running in hard shoes for as long as I can remember. I'am now 65 and still capable of 36mins for 10k. The point I'am trying to get across is that modern shoes are causing more troubles than they prevent Most injuries are caused by doing to much to soon. Don't get conned into spending millions of dollars on shoes with gimicks you don't need
Posted: 07/02/2009 at 10:26

Brian MacKenzie on Running Shoe Technology
Posted: 07/02/2009 at 10:42

Why dos'nt some one take a leaf out of TOP GEAR. Set up a course, get some good runners and test the shoes, lets get some idea of which shoes are fastest etc
Posted: 08/02/2009 at 13:08

Hey, I like the Top Gear idea... and maybe we can launch some old crusty shoes off cliffs and explode them and stuff like that! Let's get the pyrotechnics back into running!!

On a more sensible note, why does it have to be so difficult to get a good upgrade to an old faithful pair of runners? The new releases invariably fit slightly differently, and if you go wild and get a completely different shoe it always seems to take a good few k's before they feel ok... 

Posted: 08/02/2009 at 15:05

In response to Gerald

The Newton Gravities can do Marathon and ultra distances and I wear them for everyday running (circa 12-15 miles).  They cost approx £110 (but they are coming down in price) and you can buy them from triathlon shops and a few running shops.

I run on tip toes and have done all my life and most people take the mickey out of me... it is just how I run and I can't help it.  I would not class myself as 'super fit' or elite, but I can do the distances and this shoe really helps me.  I have suffered in the past from various things such as black toe, blisters on long runs and tendonitis.  However, the Newtons suit my style and touchwood... I am injury free.

 I am not sure if they are value for money if you are a heel striker, but if you do run midfoot, forefoot anyway then I cannot recommend them enough.

 Kind regards


Posted: 08/02/2009 at 19:23

Has anybody tried these - Saucony ProGrid Triumph 6? I've had a few pair of Saucony and am looking into a new pair. Just thought I'd ask. The best people to ask are runners themselves I guess. I never trust reviews from the company - they always tell you what you want to hear. Runners, however, they'll tell it how it really is. By the way. Seen these shoes on Sportsshoes.com for £89.99p and at Birmingham Runner, they sell for £76.50p - a massive difference in price. Anyway, what are they like?
Posted: 12/02/2009 at 17:03

Hi Peanut Butter. I have been running in my Saucony's for about 7 month and they are now coming to the end of their life but they have really served well!!! I have used Asic in the past and I do not think there is that much difference b etween them. Problem is you do not go through enough shoes to build up a lot of experience in particular makes and models before they are upgraded......
Posted: 12/02/2009 at 18:37

Thanks darce, appreciate the response.  My old Saucony's have also treated me well.  I tend to stick with the same make of shoes, so I'll go and try a pair on this weekend at my local Up & Running store.  I'll let you know what I go for. Been getting sore shins these last few weeks, so hope they help.  I know it's time to buy a new pair though. Cheers! 
Posted: 13/02/2009 at 10:06

Hi Peanut Butter

When you decide which shoe to invest in try http://www.ransacker.co.uk ... they are brilliant and do the searching across a lot of the stores and get you the results and are absolutely impartial.  I recently needed advice on the Newtons and Ransacker helped put me in touch with a triathlete who was using them - it is a fantastic service.  You can then price match with Sport Shoes Com if they have got them in stock.

 Kind regards


Posted: 13/02/2009 at 10:12

Hi Carol Dixon-Yeung 2, appreciate the advice. I'll have a look into that site. It sounds good. Thanks
Posted: 13/02/2009 at 14:43

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