As race season heats up, be sure you have the right shoes to chase down a new PR. We recruited a diverse crew of testers to put the very latest footwear through the paces. Meet your new favorite run shoes, handpicked fresh just for you.
Saucony Kinvara 5
Is the Kinvara a racer or trainer? Somewhere in the middle—it is built on a semi-slim layer of absorbent and malleable cushioning, with other speed-friendly attributes that give it the lively feel reminiscent of an aggressive race shoe. “The cushioning was perfect,” said one tester. “It provides a smooth ride without getting too soft and feeling like an energy sink.” Despite weighing more than most dedicated race shoes, the Kinvara 5 is eager to elevate off the pavement, agreed testers. Fleet-footed testers lauded it as a long-distance race option, while those who typically train in heavier trainers selected the Kinvara 5 for both mid-and short-distance races. Compared to earlier versions of the Kinvara, this shoe feels more robust and cushioned. It isn’t as snappy or nimble as the first few iterations. Expect a slipper-like fit from the first wear. “The upper was light and flexible without being sloppy,” reported one tester.
Pearl Izumi EM Road N0
This is not a hybrid, do-it-all shoe—the N0 is only for going fast. “As long as you’re comfortable with a stripped-down racing flat, the N0 makes you feel fast and light,” said a tester. With a low heel-to-toe drop and thin yet firm cushioning, Pearl Izumi’s newest lightweight shoe is a throwback to traditional race shoes. Testers unanimously raved about the feel of running fast in this shoe—it perfectly complements a quick cadence. Some testers felt comfortable wearing it for up to a 10K, and others view 5K as the longest appropriate distance. “The barely there seamless mesh upper contributes to an airy feel,” according to a tester. This shoe suits sprint- and Olympic-distance racers—no hot spots or unusual friction. Swap in a pair of quick laces and this becomes an ideal short-distance race shoe.