Autumn/Winter Shoe Guide 2012

Welcome to the Runner’s World Autumn/Winter 2012 Shoe Guide. Our biannual guides are the largest, most rigorously constructed and comprehensive consumer reports on running shoes in the UK.

The reviews are the result of a dual-pronged evaluation process: our special Runner’s World Shoe Lab in Oregon, US, puts each shoe through mechanical tests, then our network of over 300 trusted staff, industry and club runners of all abilities wear-test the same models so we can bring you reviews that are short on hype and long on fact.

The shoes in this guide show that the appetite for lighter, more stripped-down shoes is gathering momentum. All four award winners this time came from the lightest three shoe categories, showing that you, the consumers, are changing the way you think about what you put on your feet, and that you want to engage with the ground rather than being protected from it.

If you're not sure what type of shoe you're looking for, be sure to try the RW Shoe Finder. It features the full spectrum of shoes featured in the Spring/Summer Shoe Guide.

Once you've found the shoe for you, visit our online store at You'll find all the latest shoes as well as running apparel, accessories, gadgets and more.

To access full reviews for all the shoes listed (as well as hundreds of archived featured training and health articles), subscribe online now.

Barefoot | Performance | Minimalist | Stability | Neutral Cushioned

Barefoot shoe


Recommended for lightweight runners with good biomechanics or runners who are looking to strengthen their lower leg and foot muscles, and improve their gait. Introduce them into your schedule in small doses and build up.

A Low or zero heel drop so the foot is almost flat against the ground  

B Little or no cushioning; just enough protection to guard against sharp objects

C Narrow fit to  wrap snugly round the foot

Vivobarefoot Aqua Lite

Merrell Road/Dash Glove

Adidas Adipure Gazelle

Saucony Hattori LC

Performance shoe


Recommended either for racing or, if you’re biomechanically efficient, for training. They have varying degrees of support and cushioning, but at 200-280g, they’re generally lighter and narrower than most running shoes.

A Stripped-down midsole so the foot can be closer to the floor for a responsive ride

B Snugger across the toe box for a glove-like fit

C Elevated toe spring to assist with a speedier toe-off

Asics Gel-DS Sky Speed 3

Adidas Adizero Tempo 5

Scott MK4

Adidas Adizero Feather 2

Puma Bolt evoSPEED Runner

Minimalist shoe


Recommended for biomechanically efficient runners who want a stripped-down shoe with some cushioning. These are the mid point between neutral cushioned and performance in terms of weight, cushioning and general ‘heft’.

A Lower heel-to-toe differential, typically below 8mm

B Fewer bells and whistles in the mid- to outsole – eg, no torsion control

C Less cushioning in the midfoot so the foot is closer to the ground for a more natural feel

Saucony Kinvara 3

Skechers GObionic

Stability shoe


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.

A Thicker crashpad on the heel for impact force dispersion

B Higher medial post for anti-pronation support

C Torsion control in the midfoot to stop the shoe from twisting during overpronation

Asics Gel-Foundation 11

Nike LunarGlide+ 4

Mizuno Wave Nirvana 8

Adidas Supernova Sequence 5

Neutral cushioned shoe

Neutral cushioned

Recommended for runners who need maximum midsole cushioning and minimum medial support. Best for biomechanically efficient runners (minimum pronation) and mid to forefoot strikers with high/normal arches.

A Carbon rubber on the outsole, providing durability for frequent use

B Overlays to keep the shoe locked across the arch without sagging

C Open mesh for breathability on long training runs

Saucony Progrid Ride 5

Nike Air Pegasus+ 29

Skechers GOrunRide

Brooks Dyad 7

Mizuno Wave Enigma 2

Asics Gel-Nimbus 14

Brooks Glycerin 10

Brooks Ghost 5

New Balance 88OV2