TOP 10 BACK TO SCHOOL SNEAKERS IN 2018
The 10 Best Sneakers Of The Year
What do theRunner's WorldShoe Lab in Portland, OR, and more than 350 pavement-pounding testers across the US have in common? They beat up a lot of shoes to help you pick the best pair for the feet you've got.
Follow this chart to find your ideal pair of sneakers.
The most supportive Hoka yet has a durable compound that runs from heel to midfoot, controlling pronation and boosting cushioning. "My running game is no longer on hold; this high-cushion brand gives my achy joints the protection they need," says wear tester Joe Kita.
Bottom Line:All that support will help you go big.
MORE: What It Takes To Go From Barely Walking To Running Marathons
The 21 is the lightest Kayano so far, with even better cushioning—and it was a hit with walkers and runners. "I'm always impressed with Asics, and this shoe is no exception," says wear tester Michele Zimmerman.
Bottom Line:The go-to shoe when you've got big miles on the horizon.
Updated with a wider forefoot, this shoe offers stability plus extra toe room. "They felt great on my 2-mile walks; they were roomy enough to accommodate my bunions," says wear tester Linda Rohrbach.
Bottom Line:Durable workhorse.
MORE:Your 10 Biggest Walking Pains, Solved
The Ravenna is a Goldilocks shoe: cushioned without being squishy, stable without seeming clunky, solid without feeling heavy. "You put them on and get that impulse to go. I never want to take them off," saysPreventionmanaging editor Polly Chevalier.
Bottom Line:Stable and smooth.
The 18 is a major update on a shoe that's been around since 1991. Lab tests found that it's softer, with a beefier medial post for more stability, and testers loved the arch support.
Bottom Line:Soft and stable, it'll take you places.
The cooks at Adidas have been busy creating a more cushioned Boost foam to improve their signature bouncy ride. The updated sole adapts to your foot's movement and makes for a smoother transition from heel strike to toe-off. "They hug my feet nicely and are lightweight and soft, yet they offer good arch support," saysPreventionresearch director Diana Erney.
Bottom Line:Plenty of bounce, even more cushion.
Sandwich the Asics trademark Gel between layers of soft foam and you get a rock-solid, sole-babying running shoe that fits great. "I forget I’m wearing sneakers," says wear tester Janice Trudgeon.
Bottom Line:Major crowd pleaser.
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To improve the venerable Wave Rider, Mizuno restored characteristics of previous versions, like a more refined toe and a bouncier Wave plate midsole, as well as a new outsole with added shock absorption. "I am not a minimalist shoe person, and these provided enough cushioning for my runs without feeling clunky," says wear tester Abigail Eaton.
Bottom Line:Throwback ride with pop.
Born at the request of Boston Marathon champ Meb Keflezighi, the GoRun Strada has the speedy road feel of the Skechers GoMeb Speed 3, with enough cushioning and stability to make it a daily trainer. A line of firmer foam across the sole adds stability. Testers dug it. "My arch felt supported when I ran," says wear tester Brian McCormick.
Bottom Line:Speed with stability.
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The featherweight Zante has ample cushioning in the heel and a solid feel under the forefoot for a quick toe-off. "Not too much shoe, but they still gave me bounce when I ran," saysPreventionjunior designer Kayleen Kauffman-Holcombe.
Bottom Line:Great ride for lightweight runners.
Why Your Weight Matters
It's all about how much impact you put on your joints with each foot strike. Body mass index of 26 or higher is a semiarbitrary heaviness cutoff, but generally the more you weigh, the more shoe—extra cushion, lots of support—you need to keep pain and injury at bay. Find your BMI at runnersworld.com/bmi.
Why Arch Type Matters
Your arch type affects how much your feet pronate, or roll, after impact, which is related to how they dissipate shock. If your arch is average, your foot likely has a natural pronation, and you can wear just about any shoe. If you lack an arch, your feet will tend to roll inward more than the ideal amount (overpronate). If your arch is high, your feet may not roll enough (underpronate). To minimize injury, overpronaters need added cushioning and support, while underpronaters should look for shoes with more cushioning but not extra support.
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