Many of you will be familiar with the idea of ‘neutral’ running shoes. For those who are not, here’s a brief explanation. ‘Neutral’ runners neither over-pronate (where your foot rolls too far inward upon hitting the ground) or under-pronate (where you foot doesn’t roll inward enough upon hitting the ground). Such runners are encouraged – by most brands, at least – to wear shoes with maximum midsole protection and minimum medial support. We rounded up the latest batch of neutral shoes to see what’s what…
Asics Gel-Ds Trainer 19
Strengths: The engineered mesh is stretchy and supportive, making for a glove-like fit. Asics has also loaded these full with specs, such as a ComfortDry Sockliner, to make the upgrade from previous models feel truly worthwhile.
Weaknesses: The 12mm drop heel to toe might have the Tarahumara fan club getting their huaraches in a twist.
Best for: Runners with a neutral gait looking for a lightweight, flashy shoe with all the specs.
Style: Reflective strips, blinding yellow and punchy blue will make you look more like Usain Bolt than Kilian Jornet. Decide for yourselves if this is a good thing.
Value for money: At a smidge over the £100 mark, you should rightly expect lots of specs and a shoe to last you many a good mile. These live up to the task on both counts.
In a nutshell: You can often judge the quality of a shoe on the number in the name. ‘19’ suggests Asics are on to a winner here, and we totally agree.
Star rating: 5/5
Skechers Go Run Ultra
Strengths: Manages to provide significant padding while remaining as flexible as a yoga teacher. They’re also supremely comfortable with a roomy toe-box.
Weaknesses:The amount of midsole protection creates a high ride, making them less responsive than more minimal alternatives.
Best for: Ultramarathons in the hills and on the road. Could also be used for recovery runs on tired legs.
Style: Understated in blue and grey, the Skechers Go-Run Ultras are an all-business affair.
Value for money:At £84, you’re getting a lot of shoe for your money – a relative bargain.
In a nutshell:A flexible, comfortable shoe perfect for the more-is-more brigade and those looking to run seriously long distances.
Brooks Glycerin 12
Strengths: Super comfortable, with 25 per cent better cushioning than before, yet much lighter.
Weaknesses: Some who are used to the Glycerin line may be heartbroken to hear that the DNA drop-ins (Brooks’ signature gel-cushioning units used in all previous versions) have been ditched in favour of a new “Super DNA” compound, as found in the Transcends.
Best for: Neutral runners looking for good cushioning and responsiveness. These will serve you well for putting in some serious training miles.
Style: Effortlessly slick, as you’d expect from Brooks top-of-the-line shoe.
Value for money: Pricey – but worth every penny.
In a nutshell: Brooks call this the ultimate ‘float shoe’ for the neutral runner. We agree – these are heavenly to run in.
Star rating: 4.5/5
New Balance 890v4
Strengths: Light without sacrificing on cushioning, these shoes encourage a midfoot strike despite the 8mm drop.
Weaknesses: For such a lightweight shoe, the tongue feels unnecessarily cumbersome, making them feel less snug a fit than the New Balance ‘Fantom Fit’ promises.
Best for: Race day on the road or some mid-paced training miles.
Style: New Balance was one of the first brands to up the ante on eye-catching colours and this shoe is no exception.
Value for money: Good for the big day and for training, you’ll get your money’s worth.
In a nutshell: At first glance, the blown rubber outsole suggests these shoes might be a clunky ride. But never judge a shoe by its rubber – the 890v4 feels smooth and fast.
Star rating: 4/5
Nike Pegasus 31
Strengths: Mo Farah says this is the best Pegasus yet and, on first impressions, we’d have to agree. The shoe packs a great amount of cushioning, courtesy of the Zoom Air units, while it also hugs the foot thanks to its streamlined fit.
Weaknesses: The toe box is a little snug and the sturdy midsole lacks a little flexibility when you really want to push the pace.
Best for: Long, road runs when you just want to feel the miles ticking by.
Style: It’s Nike, so what do you expect? Understated aesthetics in go-faster blue.
Value for money: At £85, this is really good value for money.
In a nutshell: A seriously well-cushioned shoe that packs a big bang for the bucks.
Star rating: 4/5
What are your favourite running shoes? Let us know in the comment box below.