Best in Test: Neutral Shoes

Tried-and-tested neutral shoes for anything from 5Ks to marathons

PRODUCT

NIKE EPIC REACT

MARKS OUT OF 10

COMFORT: 9 / PERFORMANCE: 8 / CUSHIONING: 10

best in test neutral shoe

Nike’s latest high-profile release more than lives up to the hype. Typical of the brand’s blend of style and substance, the shoe’s React midsole cushioning is made from foam supposedly 30% lighter and 20% longer lasting than that of comparable shoes. And that cushioning is the star of the show on long runs: eating up the pavement with impressive responsiveness and energy-returning ease.

£129.95, nike.com/gb


PRODUCT

ADIDAS ULTRABOOST

MARKS OUT OF 10

COMFORT: 9 / PERFORMANCE: 8 / CUSHIONING: 9

adidas ultra boost

A shoe that oozes style and comfort, this new-and-improved model features an all-new PrimeKnit construction ‘engineered for unparalleled movement, precision and fit.’ Said upper, which wraps around the foot, and the energy-giving ‘bounce’ provided by the full-length foam midsole, make the UltraBOOST a solid option for the cushioning-craving runner.

Our testers also thought the STRETCHWEB outsole provided a decent amount of traction.

£159.95, adidas.co.uk


PRODUCT

UA HOVR PHANTOM

MARKS OUT OF 10

COMFORT: 10 / PERFORMANCE: 8 / CUSHIONING: 8

UA Hovr Phantom

In the future, we’ll all be wearing hover shoes. Until then, what the Phantom lacks in levitation it makes up for in supreme comfort. Springy, with a slipper-like upper, it’s light, responsive and fun to wear. ‘Literally like wrapping your foot in a pillow,’ says Under Armour, and it’s hard to disagree. Futuristic in design, perhaps, but as Marty McFly once said, “Your kids are gonna love ‘em!”

£115, underarmour.co.uk


PRODUCT

ASICS GEL-NIMBUS 20

MARKS OUT OF 10

COMFORT: 9 / PERFORMANCE: 8 / CUSHIONING: 8

Asics Gel-Nimbus 20

For 20 years, the Asics Gel-Nimbus has been satisfying runners who require maximum cushioning. This anniversary ‘platinum’ edition has had several updates and we doubt these will upset the shoe’s loyal followers. The cushioning feels great, as you’d expect, but interestingly the new Adaptive Gel has been developed to give your feet more cushioning when they fatigue.

£165, asics.com/gb


PRODUCT

ALTRA PARADIGM 3.0

MARKS OUT OF 10

COMFORT: 7 / PERFORMANCE: 7 / CUSHIONING: 8

Altra Paradigm 3.0

Offering Altra’s trademark zero drop and roomy toe box, the Paradigm 3.0 packs in a whole lot of cushioning, providing the maximum level of comfort for long training miles. Ready to go straight out of the box (without a long ‘breaking-in’ period) the cushioning maximal yet responsive. The only minor downside is the laces, which can dig in when laced to the top.

£130, altrafootwear.co.uk


PRODUCT

BROOKS LEVITATE

MARKS OUT OF 10

COMFORT: 7 / PERFORMANCE: 8 / CUSHIONING: 8

brooks levitate

Snazzy looks aside, Brooks have put years of technological development into the Levitate, with DNA AMP midsoles and strong mesh making sure it justifies the price tag. The shoe’s very comfortable and snug, and the thick cushioning feels responsive. A little on the heavier side, it will be better suited to training than racing for most.

£140, brooksrunning.com/en

Men's Running

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