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fall 2010 shoe guide

ADIDAS ADISTAR RIDE 2 » Cushion-Neutral » Weight – Men’s 13.0 oz. / Women’s 11.1 oz

» » Price: $160

One of the most cushioned shoes we tested, the adiSTAR Ride 2 competes with the big boys (and girls) in the cushion category. Weighing in at 13 ounces (size 8), the adiSTAR Ride 2 isn’t all that light – especially when compared to other high-end cushion running shoes on the market. But some shoes hide their weight well. We took this shoe out on plenty of long and short runs. And the only time we really noticed the weight was when we were reading general shoe stats on paper. The ride of the shoe is smooth; testers commented on how nicely the shoe fi t. When testing the shoe out of the box, it was like the shoe had been broken in for a few months. The Ride 2 also comes with adidas Formotion™, which divides the heel area of the midsole, and allows the shoe to better adjust to uneven streets and sidewalks. Some testers complained that rocks would get stuck in the groove, but not enough to be a deal breaker. In the past, we’ve found that adidas running shoes run somewhat narrow; the Ride 2 is no different.

K-SWISS BLADE-LIGHT RUN » Neutral Performance » Weight – Men’s 9.3 oz. / Women’s 8.5 oz.

» » Price: $139.99

Continuing with K-Swiss’ aggressive approach to the running market, K-Swiss now offers a lightweight trainer/race shoe. Weighing in at 9.3 ounces, the Blade Light Run is so light and comfy that you hardly know you’re wearing them. Unique to the Blade Light Run is the K-Swiss EVA blade – similar to standard EVA foam, but in blade form. This allows the shoe to shave ounces while giving runners a soft and surprisingly sturdy ride. With the K-Swiss proprietary Superfoam™ insert in the midsole, these shoes are more resistant to early break down than other race shoes. The fl ow cool system™ makes the Blade Light Run shoe super airy and prevents overheating. After testing the shoes out on fast training runs and local racing, our overall impression was very positive.

KARHU FORWARD RIDE » Neutral » Weight: Men’s 10.5oz. / Women’s 9.2 oz.

» » Price: $169.99

Karhu believes that by conserving vertical energy and creating a more effi cient stride, you’ll go forward faster. In the Fulcrum Ride, Karhu’s main focus was to get an unobtrusive correction of pronation or supination while allowing the foot to follow its natural path. Intended for neutral runners, the Forward Fulcrum Ride feels somewhat strange when standing or walk- ing. The midsole underfoot feels somewhat like it’s rounded with a high spot in the middle. However, our testers liked the shoe when running. The Forward Fulcrum Ride has a spongy midsole feel with great response to the ground. The shoe has a less than natural heel-to-toe transition. The heel region is higher, which forces you to have a quick transition – we didn’t mind this. We tested this shoe during long runs on both concrete and gravel paths, and found the ride to be fairly comfortable. Our testers did comment that the seamless upper material is a tad tight for those with wider feet. However, if the shoe fi ts you well, it will make a great high-mileage performance trainer that won’t weigh you down.

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SALOMON SPEEDCROSS 2 GTX » Weight: Men’s 12.0 oz. / Women’s 8.6 oz. » » Price: $160 (non GTX version - $124)

Salomon is known for its well-made trail running shoes. The tradition continues with the Speedcross 2 GTX. The shoe’s fi rst version got rave reviews, and Salomon has only made a few changes to its newest version. The Speedcross 2 GTX comes with a GORE-TEX® liner to keep out the elements (this adds an ounce or so). Running in colder weather? The Winter Contragrip outsole makes sure lugs don’t freeze, so you stick to the trail better. For those needing a little stability, the Speedcross 2 GTX is outfi tted with SCS Chasis, which helps prevent pronation and adds a little springiness for push off. Besides being a great performer, the Salomon Speedcross 2 GTX is pretty easy on the eyes, too.

18 / get out there / september + october 2010

INOV-8 312 GTX » Weight: Men’s 10.9 oz. / Women’s 10.9 oz. » » Price: usd $134

Inov-8 caters to runners that want to be light on their feet and be as close to the ground as possible. The 312 GTX fi ts right in. Due to the low profi le of the 312 GTX, you’re more likely to feel some of the larger rocks and roots. But the shoe also allows for a better foot response to transition to the next step. Armed with a GORE-TEX® liner, this shoe is ideal for those who love super technical trails. It will also be perfect for race day.

THE NORTH FACE 104 GTX » Weight: Men’s 13.0 oz. / Women’s 11.0 oz » » Price: $140

The North Face 104 GTX is a great go-to trail running shoe for runners looking to log a lot of miles on the trail, and for heavier-set runners that need a little extra support. The GORE-TEX® XCR® liner protects feet from rain and snow, but still allows for a small amount of breathability. To accommodate runners with differing foot volumes, the 104 GTX XCR comes with a more traditional lacing system, as well as a wider stance lacing system for people with bigger feet. So if you’re looking for a rugged trail shoe that can tackle trail – wet or dry – the North Face 104 GTX XCR is a great option.

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