“New materials and new shoe manufacturing techniques are playing a big role in the performance aspects of running shoes,” Competitor’s editor-in-chief Brian Metzler wrote of the current state of the running shoe industry. Our top picks for this year certainly reflect these sentiments. Like in the past, in compiling our list of the best running shoes for 2015, we scouted the current sneaker scene in search of the newest and most innovative releases and updates from all the best shoe-makers. Our choices are based on industry expert picks, consumer reviews and ratings, and even some of our own wear-testing. As always, our aim was to provide an assortment of shoes that includes models designed for every type of runner.
Saucony calls the Triumph ISO their “pinnacle neutral trainer” and the folks at Runner’s World gave this shoe their Editor’s Choice award for 2015. The brand’s signature PWRGRID+ technology provides an extra plushy ride. This, combined with added stability, especially in the arch, makes for a truly comfortable ride with maximum impact protection.
Updates to this fan favorite from Newton include an improved fit and increased responsiveness thanks to a remodeled "Flex Zone" over the forefoot and instep. A neutral daily trainer designed with speedy tempo workouts in mind, as with most Newton shoes, the Gravity includes the brand’s signature P.O.P 1 platform to encourage proper forefoot striking and ultimately, more efficient running form.
When we calculated race data to find out which shoes are most worn by top marathon runners, the adizero Adios Boost 2.0 came out on top. This lightweight minimalist shoe features Adidas’ signature BOOST ™ technology in the cushioning, which not only provides support and comfort, but also maximum energy return with every stride.
Improvements to the updated version of this best-seller from Pearl Izumi include increased forefoot flexibility, superior heel cushioning, and better traction. The brand describes the shoe as the “perfect balance between light and fast” with a suitable amount of support so that runners can enjoy a smooth ride over any distance.
Runner’s World dubbed the Solana as this year’s best debut sneaker, with their wear-testers noting its wide platform which offers stability in a shoe that’s both lightweight and flexible. A neutral trainer designed to “take on your daily mileage,” in an online review one runner touted the Solana's superior comfort saying, “Not sure how to explain it but they disappear as you run.”
The newest version of Nike’s Lunar Eclipse boasts bouncy cushioning and improved stability features. A Dynamic Support platform offers extra support without added weight and while still allowing for a flexible and neutral ride.
When considering updates for this widely popular neutral shoe, Asics says they were aiming more for innovation, rather than "evolution." A nearly seamless FluidFit® upper allowed for a significant reduction in the overall weight of the Gel-Nimbus and updates to the Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL® Cushioning system increases overall comfort to allow for a ride softer than ever before.
Brooks recently updated this neutral road and track shoe to include extra underfoot protection while still maintaining flexibility that allows for an adaptive ride. Wear-testers at Runner’s World noted that the Launch 2 has a great fit and the editor’s named it this year’s “Best Buy.”
Outside Online rates this shoe as one of the best fitting “muck-ready” trail shoes of the year. No surprise here, as Salomon is one of the most highly rated outdoor sports brands, especially for those who like running terrain that’s a little bit more extreme. New features to this shoe include seven-millimeter lugs for improved traction over all types of terrain, a low-drop heel, and Seamless Sensifit ™ technology for a fit that Outside Online said “feels like a second skin.”
For trail runners who like their feet to feel extra secure, the All Out Charge features a truly snug and supportive upper that hugs your foot, providing stability and agility over rough terrain. Though this shoe was built for durability, it also boasts Merrel’s Unifly™ cushioning in the underfoot which allows for a responsive ride while also offering protection against impact.
New Balance’s new take on their well-loved Fresh Foam 980 boasts “smooth consistent cushioning” through what the brand describes as “science that takes soft to a whole new level." For runners in search of a truly smooth ride, the improved fresh foam technology is designed to help guide your foot as you run. Pre-orders of the Borocay begin shipping on Feb. 19, 2015.
Dubbed “the plushiest trail shoe on the market” by Outside Online, the Mafate Speed boasts the highest levels of comfort and support in the form of a 31-millimeter forefoot and 35-millimeter heel cushion. Designed for endurance trail running, the men’s Mafate speed weighs in at 11.3 ounces for a “fast but stable ride.”
Adidas’ signature BOOST ™ technology was designed with “energy-returning properties” meant to provide a light and fast feel for every run. Specifically, the Ultra Boost was created to provide a “soft but not-too-soft” ride. “One of the things I love about Energy Boost is that the first 200 meters when you set off… it feels like you are just floating,” one runner wrote in an online review. Other’s are touting the shoe for its supreme comfort and support.
Notable features for this durable trail shoe include a flexible but “grippy” ride supported by Ecco’s signature BIOM NATURAL MOTION® technology to allow for cushioned protection over even the toughest of terrains. A low-to-the-ground sole allows your feet to adapt with every stride and a snug Kevlar®-supported upper provides ultimate trail running protection.
Although the heel design on this highly-rated shoe from Under Armour seems foreign, Runner’s World wear-testers said the shoe was still comfortable with a “nice feel” and snug fit around the foot. The Runner’s World shoe lab also found that this was one of the softest shoes they tested this year, making it a comfortable and supportive pick, especially for longer-distance runs.
This highly-rated, ultra-protective trail shoe from The North Face was designed to handle any type of terrain. Its GORE-TEX® upper will keep your feet dry even when the trail is wet and stability and security is provided in the form of a full-length EVA midsole, a midfoot shank, and a rigid Snake Plate™ strategically placed beneath the ball of the foot.
Key updates to this classic Mizuno model include a remodeled toe-spring for a smoother toe-off, an upgraded sock liner for a more resilient foot strike, and increased durability in the outsole for improved shock absorption and impact protection. “They offer a smooth ride with the perfect amount of cushion,” one online reviewer wrote.
Designed with long-distance runners in mind, this neutral road shoe helps to encourage normal load and force distribution. A mostly seamless upper makes for a lightweight feel (the women’s Fli-Lyte weighs in at 6.8 ounces and the men’s at 8.2 ounces) and a “foot-friendly” toe box provides extra room for a comfortable foot splay.
The new and improved version of this strong but ultra-lightweight top-seller from Nike received the “Best Update” award from editor’s at Runner’s World this year. The new design includes an improved ankle fit for Achilles comfort, additional room for a fit that’s a little less snug, and a modified Lunarlon midsole that provides a “soft and responsive” ride.
A truly minimal shoe designed specifically for long-distance runners, the TEMPO is lightweight but also cushioned for a smooth ride that the brand describes as “uninhibited” but “totally tuned in.” On Wear Tested, reviewer Nicholas Chang said, “All runners, minimalist and traditional, will love this shoe. The light cushioning will suit the majority of traditional runners whereas the wide toe box and zero drop will satisfy all minimalist runners.”