Strengths: Light. Bright. Comfortable. Good balance of flexibility (in forefoot) and control (in midfoot/rearfoot). Great traction from sole material.
Weaknesses: Need to buy half a size bigger than your usual size as they come in on the small side.
Overall: I love these shoes (and I don't say that very often). They are a very good performance shoe that you can race in from anything between 5K and the Marathon (and I have) as well as tempo runs and intervals. If you're a reasonably efficient runner (ideally not a heel striker) and not overly heavy on your feet, you could probably use these shoes for all your running though I tend to use them only for performance sessions/races as well as 20+ mile Marathon training runs. If I had any complaint it would be Adidas's usual idiosyncrasy of making shoes a good half-size smaller than the benchmark size they indicate (why do they do that?) - otherwise they are faultless but I wouldn't recommend them for runners who need lots of cushioning.
' A potentially very good shoe let down by a couple of niggles'
Strengths: It's light, flexible, low profile (4mm heel to toe) with an unintrusive touch of pronation control and looks pretty good too.
Weaknesses: Forefoot area is a little on the narrow side and the midsole material produces too much heat. Upper material/seams kink easily and does not give a snug fit.
Overall: This review refers to the Mirage 3. I really wanted to like this shoe, and up to a point I do, but I feel it let's itself down on stuff that a company like Saucony should be better at by now. For a shoe that parades itself as a transition shoe, it's a little too narrow in the forefoot - why is that? It's supposed to be based on the same last as the Kinvara which is fine in the forefoot (go figure). It's also got a horrible rubber material at the top of the midsole (exposed directly under the insole) that generates too much heat for my liking - this becomes obvious after only 5 miles and makes running longer distances distinctly painful (burning feeling in metatarsal areas) - it also allows too much mushiness underfoot. More and more shoes seem to be using this material for cushioning (Adidas Glide 4, Brooks Pure Flow) and it sucks! I ended up having to run without socks to keep my feet cool but then I got blisters on my toes from the poorly shod upper shoe material that kinks sharply on push-off, rubbing the upper part of the toes. I ended up cutting my running socks in half so they just covered my toes and metatarsals which helped to keep me blister free and also a bit cooler, but far from comfortable. On the plus side, they encourage good running form, are light, flexible and look good. They also provide a bit of pronation control although I don't really need that.
'To paraphrase the great man - for every action there is an equal opposite reaction - mine was serious bruising'
Strengths: Like my NB Minimus shoes these are zero drop but with better cushioning although they have a very unusual forefoot design - protruding lugs that help to propel you forward on push off. Like the NB's I had to use them with a heel pad though these come with a 3mm pad to help you transition to the very low profile. Also, like the NB's I find them only suitable for up to 10k. They are very fast and light though not quite as responsive as they look and the lugs can bruise your Mets if you're over zealous with them. The lugs work though.
Weaknesses: They come in at a tight fit - try before you buy (TFN Nottingham are great) - they are not cheap and you won't get much more than 250 miles out of them. The lugs while effective can create discomfort and I sustained pretty bad bruising on my Mets until I adapted to them - definitely not a distance shoe in my opinion and they certainly qualify as minimalist so stay clear if your feet need more cosseting. I won't be buying these again because they are too restrictive, don't feel natural and I've found the Newton Distance S to be a far superior and more useful shoe for both racing and training.
Overall: Clever technology in forefoot works very well but doesn't compensate for other weaknesses and limitations at this price point and durability level. Bettered by their own Distance S shoe by a country mile in my opinion. I suspect lots of runners just wouldn't get on with these or at least expect a lot more for the price.
Strengths: FleXible and very light with a real 'barefoot' type feel about them. Found them fast and comfortable up to 10k. Don't even need socks at this sort of distance. Loved the feel of them on my feet and they certainly promote good running form.
Weaknesses: Didn't get on with them over bigger distances - they really work your foot muscles and the zero drop profile will stretch your calfs beyond your normal level. You need to be very very careful transitioning to these shoes to avoid injury and I would personally recommend them only for shorter distance work, races up to 10k and speed work. I had to fit 4mm heel pads to save my calfs and ankle ligaments but once tweaked and used appropriately they feel great to run in. Best for lighter faster neutral guys who have good form.
Overall: I find them great for shorter distances but only with a raised heel (4mm) in them. However if you persist with them over a lengthy period of time or you're already adapted to these kind of extreme shoes, you might be able to tackle a marathon in them but you need very strong feet and flexible calfs. I prefer the Kinvara's for lengthier runs above 10k. Would recommend but with mentioned caveats.
Weaknesses: Not cheap, inflexible, poor breathability and dreadful underfoot rubber, poor grip in wet. Cushioning overly mushy.
Overall: These shoes are promising in that Brooks have clearly made an effort to bridge the gap between the extreme minimalist shoes that discourage heel striking and have low or zero heel-to-toe drop as well as minimal cushioning and the more substantial traditional well cushioned shoe that sacrifices feel and limits natural movement. Unfortunately they are let down in too many areas. They are inflexible in all but the forefoot area, they are way too hot to run in for any distance (poor breathability in upper and rubber underneath insole) and they have poor wet grip. I found it almost impossible to do much more than 15 mile in them without extreme discomfort (burning metatarsals) and they lack responsiveness as they are too rigid. The cushioning is impressive but too squishy for my liking allowing the feet to pronate too much (which goes against the whole natural running deal). Have to add though that many people claim these shoes are great and they could be if you don't do too many miles but I got them as a potential Marathon shoe and they just don't cut it at that level.
Strengths: Flexible, light, responsive and designed for midfoot/forefoot striking. Certainly lets your feet feel every nuance of the trail, which is the whole idea of minimalist.
Weaknesses: Didn't find them as comfortable as their road oriented alternative and they had surprisingly poor grip in mud.
Overall: Arguably a decent minimalist shoe for light dry trails. I doubt they would cope well with anything overly technical in trail terms and they suck in the wet, so for me a bit of a disappointment, especially as I loved their road going version of the minimus.
Strengths: I have the 'Distance S' which are the updated version of these shoes with limited stability features. They are surprisingly light and flexible and encourage you to run with a more efficient style, namely striking the ground with the midfoot/forefoot rather than the heel - they have protruding lugs in the forefoot which push into chambers when you hit the ground and supposedly return some of the energy. It seems to work and the lugs give feedback that you are striking correctly. Good performance shoe.
Weaknesses: They're very expensive (about £120) rarely discounted and won't last any longer than a more traditional 'flat'. The lugs take some getting used to and you need to transition very carefully into these if you want to avoid injury. Not much cushioning or structure but to some extent that is the point - they're for runners who want to move towards a more natural running style though you don't need these to do that - they just help a bit more than most. Maybe not the best for heavier heel strikers unless you really want to go minimalist which is what these shoes are leaning towards.
Overall: Newton shoes will not be to everyone's taste and these racer/performance shoes are no exception. They are not reassuringly expensive at £120 because while they cost nearly twice as much as many of their competitors, they deliver similar wear rate - a lot depends on how much you buy into Newton's so-called Active-Reactive Technology (ART) as manifest by the lugs in the forefoot which are supposed to take advantage of the Third Law of Motion - you push the ground and the ground pushes you back - Newton claim they harvest some of this energy and return it into your push-off. I wouldn't disagree with their claim as these shoes are fast and responsive but I disagree that they are a 'natural' running shoe - those lugs aren't natural and they take some getting used to - they gave me a very bruised metatarsal. NB Minimus Zeros can claim the 'natural' title - these can't. I'm still unsure whether I really like the Newtons or not. Yes they perform and you get used to the lugs eventually but you can run 'natural' in many other cheaper shoes that also perform really well - the NB's I mentioned and the Nike Free's to name but two.
Strengths: Great fit, especially nice width in forefoot, light and responsive yet deliver decent stability to counteract modest pronation. Heel-to-toe transition feels good with lots of feedback from the road yet still feeling well cushioned. Worthwhile improvement over the 10's in my opinion. Could probably use them for races too. Also decent looking.
Overall: I'm a modest pronator and these are the most comfortable shoes I've had in a long time, that seem to deliver just the right degree of stability, while still feeling light and responsive, with decent cushioning. The motion control is not overly intrusive, allowing a decent amount of natural movement and feedback yet stopping things getting too out of hand. Brooks claim they are aimed at the neutral to modest pronator and in that regard I think they hit the mark bang on. I wore these for an hour or so (around the house) after purchase and they felt so good I later that day went out and ran 19 miles in them with no ill-effects - not exactly textbook advice for breaking in shoes but sometimes you just know when to trust your intuition over conventional wisdom.
Strengths: Compared to the 205 I had before it, the only improvement is it's size - it is more like a normal watch and can be worn when not running, as a watch, if you want (subject to regular charging). It continues to be a very accurate GPS and has decent functionality.
Weaknesses: Compared to the 205 that I had before it, it has less functionality, works less well with supporting software, is much trickier to use in practice (the bezel is awful!), charge seems to last for less and has a smaller more difficult to read screen. It has also been much less reliable - first one was replaced and second one is a bit glitchy at times.
Overall: Can't help comparing it with my 205 which it was supposed to replace as the next leap forward. Ended up prefering to use my 205 because (with the exception of not having an HRM) it is much better than the 405. That's not to say the 405 is bad - it's just so much less than it could have been. If it wasn't for that ridiculously awkward bezel I would probably still use it in preference to the 205. I would recommend the 205 or 305 if you are thinking of getting a Garmin GPS.