Best Running Shoes of 2013: Spring Edition

Looking for the best running shoes but overwhelmed by the choices?

Look no further: we spent the winter months testing, and now we will help you narrow your choice down.

It is still February but we already tested more than 25 running shoes that either have just hit the shelves or that will do soon.

The best running shoe is a personal choice: the same shoe might be perfect for a runner, but be uncomfortable for another one.

The shoes we recommend here all satisfy a few criteria:

  • They are indeed what they claim to be (ie a stability shoe being actually stable);
  • They don’t have any glaring issue (ie a hotspots causing blisters);
  • They perform similar to the rest of the shoes, but either with a lighter weight or a more premium choice of materials;
  • For their characteristics, are most likely to fit a wider array of individuals.

With no further ado, let us introduce our top choices per category.

Best Neutral Running Shoes of Spring 2013

Neutral running shoes place their emphasis on cushioning, or the ability to absorb part of the shock that the impact of the foot with the ground.

Adidas Energy Boost - InsideMizuno Wave Rider 16 - Pair
Adidas Energy BoostMizuno Wave Rider 16
The Adidas Energy Boost is a bouncy neutral shoe that feels fast and keeps legs fresh. We loved the snug fit of the upper, though it may be an issue for runners with wider feet. It’s also a versatile shoe that performs well on both roads and dirt, and is well-suited to different types of runs.
Full review here >
Mizuno put a lot of cushioning into a lightweight package with the updated Wave Rider. We recommend it for neutral runners looking for a well cushioned trainer with a firm responsive feel.
Full Review Here >

 

Best Stability Running Shoes of Spring 2013

Stability shoes are for runners who excessively pronate during their running gait. These two shoes are, for this season, the best in terms of stability and comfort.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 9 - SoleAsics GT 2000 - Heel
Mizuno Wave Inspire 9Asics GT-2000
Light, quick and stable shoe that retains enough cushioning and support for big miles and daily training.
Full Review Here >
A completely overhauled shoe that manages to retain the classic GT feel and incorporate some more modern design elements including a 10 mm heel to toe differential and a firmer, more responsive forefoot. Should again prove to be a very popular daily trainer in the stability category.
Full Review Here >

 

Best Trail Running Shoe

We believe there is one uncontested winner for the best trail shoe this spring. Truth is, many trail shoes will come out later during the season. But for the moment, you need to look no further than this shoe:

Brooks Pure Grit 2 - Toe
Brooks PureGrit 2
Our tester Mark has taken the Pure Grit 2 through some tough miles through the Alps, and says it’s the best trail shoe he’s ever run in.
Full Review Here >

 

Best Lightweight Cushioning – Spring 2013

Whatever you might think about “Born to Run”, minimalist running shoes and barefoot running – one thing is certain: running shoes have changed. Lighter weights and lower drops are now sported on shoes that are meant for daily training. We created a separate “lightweight cushioning” category because we believe the choice between a full-featured cushioning shoe and a lightweight one is not a matter of “good vs bad” but of individual preference.

New Balance 890V3 - PairBrooks Pure Connect 2 - Top
New Balance 890v3Brooks PureConnect 2
New Balance absolutely nailed it with the third version of this shoe which is sure to please a variety of runners from the fleet footed to the recreational jogger.
Full review here >
The PureConnect 2 is a lightweight road shoe with plenty of soft cushioning for everyday training and racing.
Full Review Here >

 

Best Lightweight Stability Shoes – Spring 2013

Cushioning running shoes are not the only ones receiving a “weight loss” treatment.

Mizuno Wave Elixir 8 - Pair Asics DS Trainer 18 - Toe
Mizuno Wave Elixir 8Asics Gel DS Trainer 18
Although the Wave Elixir 8 stumbles a bit with a forefoot overlay issue, the shoe is still the reigning king of go-fast stability.
Full review here >
Another complete overhaul from Asics that resulted in a better shoe than the original. Heavy overpronators should look here for their faster workout shoe or racer, mild overpronator could use this as a daily trainer.
Full Review Here >

 

Best Minimalist Running Shoes of 2013

While there’s not a universally accepted definition, minimalist running shoes usually present characteristics such as very low weight, thin midsoles, low difference between the height of the heel vs the toe. The idea is to provide a shoe that provides basic protection from impacts, but still promoting a more natural and efficient running form.

Skechers GObionic - Medial SideNewton Motion - Heel
Skechers GoBionicNewton Motion
Skechers is making tremendous strides in the minimalist market, offering a shoe at the perfect price point with compelling design features. We recommend them to minimalist runners looking for a zero-drop, flexible-soled trainer with toe room and a comfortable upper.
Full review here >
The shoe is responsive, lightweight, and stable. It is well suited for daily training, long runs, speed work or even racing. Recommended for runners looking for a more natural running motion.
Full Review Here >

Racing Shoes – Best of 2013

Ironically, we left racing running shoes for last.

New Balance MRC1600 - PairNike Flyknit Racer - Pair
New Balance RC1600Nike Flyknit Racer
The New Balance RC1600 is NB’s first racing shoe to incorporate RevLite foam which allows this shoe to be feather lite and durable enough to race a marathon. Tom, who reviewed this shoe, said: ” is one simple fit change away from being the best marathon distance racing shoe I’ve ever worn.”
Full review here >
The Nike Fly-Knit Racer made its big stage debut at last year’s London Olympic Games in the Marathon with virtually all Nike-sponsored athletes sporting the flat. It is an excellent choice for someone wanting to purchase their first racing flat, or for those wanting to start incorporating weekly speed training into their routine.
Full Review Here >

One Last Word of Advice

Here they are, the best running shoes for this season. We thoroughly tested each one of them throughout the winter, but please always bare in mind that a shoe that works perfect for a runner might be completely wrong for another one. Always try shoes on before buying them – if ordering online, order more than one pair, test them on the treadmill and return the ones that you don’t like.

Don’t forget one of the most important things: the fit. A shoe could have the best technology and materials in the world, but if the heel is too wide, the toebox too narrow… you’ll end up in pain and hating the shoes.

Take everything with a grain of salt: we are experienced runners and collectively test more than 100 running shoes a year, but each runner is different and our advice does not replace the advice of a medical professional.

Comments are welcome! Have you already run in one of these shoes? What do you think? Any shoe you particularly loved and we didn’t mention? Share it in the comments, the more opinions, the more informed decisions you can make.

Take care and happy running!