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 runnersworldstore.co.uk. You'll find all the latest shoes as well as running apparel, accessories, gadgets and more.
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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
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
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
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
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