Best Of The Best: Stability Shoes

Ever since we reviewed the Asics Gel GT-2020 in 1997, RUNNER’S WORLD’s shoe reviewers have had an easy task. Of the original GT-2020, we said "a great shoe – we’re hard pressed to find a weakness". Two years later we were even more gushing when faced with the GT-2040: "If any shoe is justified in claiming the title of World’s Best Running Shoe, then the GT-2040 is it."

Fast forward nearly a decade and little has changed. In 2005 the eight RW Shoe Guide editors from around the world voted the GT-2100 the RUNNER’S WORLD International Editor’s Choice. And you agree with us – comments from our readers on the outgoing model, the GT-2110, include: "Brilliant cushioning with excellent support. I was suffering from runner’s knee and was recommended this shoe by a serious runner. It’s worked a treat!"; "A cracking shoe that does exactly what it’s supposed to"; and "Perfect on every count and hard to beat."

The latest model, the GT-2120 (£85, on sale November 1) is worlds apart from the GT-2020 of 1997. However, were we to place those shoes on either side of the nine versions that have come and gone between, the secret of this shoe’s continued popularity would be obvious. It’s evolution rather than revolution. Each subsequent model has seen a minor tweak, but no major overhaul. So if you stepped from, say, a worn pair of GT-2070 into new GT-2080s, you could be sure that, although the Gel cushioning may have been repositioned or a new midsole foam added, it’d feel like pulling on your favourite carpet slippers.

The GT-2120 certainly won’t frighten the hundreds of thousands of runners currently putting miles on their 2110s or even 2100s. The biggest change is a midsole made from Solyte, a lighter foam than the SpEVA it replaces (a size eight now weighs 330g, compared with 369g). The plastic Space Trusstic wrap under the midfoot is reinforced on the medial (inside) edge for more support and the rubber in the outsole now provides more cushioning.

As we went to press the shoe was so new that we’d only managed to bag one pair for serious testing. "It feels like it was made to measure," says Tim Clarke, from Hereford. "It’s quite simply the best running shoe I’ve ever worn." Okay, that’s just one man’s opinion, but it’s looking good for the GT-2120 and frankly, we’re not surprised.

Of course, the Asics GT-2120 isn’t the only great stability shoe on the market. If you like to be different, why not try these others on at the running store before making your final decision?

Nike Air Structure Triax 9 £75
We say The men’s version of the Structure Triax 9 (winter version in picture) was Editor’s Choice in our June 2006 Shoe Buyer’s Guide. The completely different women’s version is pretty good too. Both are light, responsive and stable.
Your rating at 95% (m) 78% (w)
You say "Brilliant"; "I love these shoes and I’ve just ordered another pair"; "A classic in the making?"; "Great stability, lovely cushioning, attractive styling and a reasonable price."
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 6 £80
We say A shoe that has pretty much everything – a smooth, fast-feeling ride, bags of stability and a plush, cushioned feel. Next year, Brooks will add its new MoGo midsole material to the shoe, which should improve it even more.
Your rating 81%
You say "I am fully converted to Brooks"; "I tried on virtually every stability shoe in the shop, and this was head and shoulders above the rest."

Saucony GRID Omni 5 £80
We say A new GRID Omni is due in early 2007, but until then don’t discount version five. It’s very stable, plushly cushioned and smooth riding.
Your rating 78%
You say "So good, I forget I’m wearing them"; "I LOVE these trainers!"; "Perfect for me. Comfortable, cushioning, wide-fitting, stable."
New Balance 857 £70
We say Another Editor’s Choice, the 857 replaced the extremely popular 854. This upset runners loyal to the 854, but the smooth-riding, cushioned and supportive 857 has won many over and picked up its own new fans along the way.
Your rating 73%
You say "Light and comfortable, the best £70 I’ve ever spent"; "I don’t want to take them off"; "They’ve got me running again after problems caused by ill-fitting shoes."