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2013 Running Shoe Guide: Road Tested

  • By Aaron Hersh
  • Published Aug 26, 2013
  • Updated Sep 6, 2013 at 8:45 PM UTC
Photo: John David Becker

Lightweight Trainers

K-Swiss Blade-light Run 2
Buzzwords: Cushioned, forgiving
$95, Kswiss.com

Responsiveness
While its cushioned sole is more absorptive than explosive, “running in [the Blade Run 2] reminds me of more minimal footwear because it conforms to my stride instead of forcing me to run a certain way,” reported our tester.

Weight and support
This sole feels almost as cushioned as many high-mileage trainers—flexibility is the biggest difference between the Blade-light and more robust trainers. “It bends and moves with my foot but still feels extremely padded,” our tester said. It’s sufficiently sturdy for heel strikers looking for a more liberating shoe.

Fit
For a mid-volume foot, the Blade-light fits perfectly. “It seems to hold every part of my foot without any irritation,” explained the tester. It creates a “solid” connection with the runner and doesn’t allow excessive wiggling within the shoe while still allowing enough room in the toe box.

Saucony Virrata
Buzzwords: Springy, cushioned
$90, Saucony.com
*Top Performer*

Responsiveness
“Springy” is the best way to describe the experience of running in the Virrata. Even with this propulsive feel, it’s still exceptionally well cushioned. It’s flexible and designed for mid-foot striders, but not excessively so. It is up to the task of daily runs and is not just a special-use shoe.

Weight and support
Our tester was uncomfortable running long in these shoes because of its 0mm heel-to-toe drop, but still selected it repeatedly for shorter runs during the week. “I’d wear it for almost every other type of workout, and I think it’s still light enough to race in,” he said. Arch support is almost nonexistent, so it’s best suited to neutral runners.

Fit
Despite initially feeling a bit loose, our tester found the shoe to be tight in all the right places. “It cinched down nicely, especially around the arch,” he said. The seamless upper gave the Virrata a stress-free fit “like a sock.”

RELATED: Navigating The Running Shoe Maze

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FILED UNDER: Gear & Tech / InsideTri / Run TAGS:

Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh is the Senior Tech Editor of Triathlete magazine. To submit a question, write Aaron at Ahersh@competitorgroup.com.

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