We continue our guide to the best lightweight running shoes of 2015...
Asics Gel DS Trainer 20
Price: £107 from www.asics.co.uk
Any shoe that reaches its 20th incarnation must be doing something right. Longevity certainly breeds confidence, reflected in the lively orange trim and luminescent yellow laces.
Yes, this is a shoe that looks fast. Like the New Balance, it features a midsole post (Propulsion Trussic, in Asics talk), that adds stability, while gel cushioning in the front and rear increases comfort.
A heel counter on the outside of the shoe adds to the stable feel. All in all, it’s a shoe packed with well-thought-out features that elicits a good ride.
The only issue is the impressive and deep feature line-up, coupled with its 297g weight, makes it feel more of a training shoe than an out-and-out racer. To be fair to Asics, though, that’s a comment that could be directed at many of the shoes here.
Verdict: Fine shoe and provides a good ride, though more of a trainer than a racer, 83%
Adidas Ultra Boost
Price: £130 from www.adidas.co.uk
Adidas’s Boost technology is one of the finest run shoe innovations of recent years, those thousands of ‘visible foam energy capsules’ consistently providing one of the comfiest strides around. The depth, though, elevates the Ultra’s weight to 326g, which is reasonably hefty for racers.
It could easily double as a training shoe, although not in the winter; the PrimeKnit weave upper’s as cosy as a Merino sock and it’s great to see an alternative to the usual mesh affair, but its waterproofing is near zero.
A plastic cradle around the upper and flowing to the heel offers stability, ensuring a swift and enjoyable ride. A slightly apologetic floppy heel is a little incongruous, especially on one of the priciest shoes here, but that doesn’t detract from its many qualities.
Verdict: An extremely comfortable shoe thanks to those ‘capsules’, albeit at a hefty price, 86%
Scott T2 Palani 2.0
Price: £105 from www.scott-sports.com
Scott’s better known for its cutting-edge bikes (thanks to aero guru Simon Smart) than its shoes and, sadly, that innovative feel is lacking in the Palanis.
Visually, they’re a touch orthopaedic, with a gargantuan outsole, though the ‘aero foam’ composition means it’s 311g – not great for a racer, but lighter than it looks.
Scott’s eRide tech in the sole has a gentle rocking shape that purports to promote a faster, more efficient run style. The ride’s okay, but not the exhilarating speed you’re after in the racing amphitheatre.
Its Hawaii-inspired name, heel loop and drainage hole in the outsole highlight its multisport intentions, so it’s disappointing that it doesn’t come with tri laces. It also features a bulky loop on the tongue that, to us, is meaningless.
Verdict: Okay for training and some good tri features, but doesn’t inspire race speed, 74%
Mizuno Wave Ekiden 9
Price: £120 from www.mizuno.eu
A wave of Mizuno love crashed over us with last year’s excellent Hitogamis. Fast-forward to 2015 and the affair continues with the Ekidens. Firstly, this is the truest lightweight racer on test. Our size UK10.5 weighed 162g – exactly half the weight of the Adidas.
That paucity derives from minimalist construction – Mizuno’s Wave technology’s on cushioning duties – which leads to one of the firmer rides, though comfier than you’d imagine for such a featherweight. What it means is that this is one fast shoe.
Over our test loop, the Ekidens consistently recorded some of the fastest times. Adorned with our Garmin, this was reflected in the swiftest cadence. An empty space in the heel of the outsole has the potential to lodge stones, but that’s a minor quibble in a terrific shoe.
Verdict: Our Mizuno crush continues with these fast and featherweight offerings, 85%
Continue reading our guide to the best lightweight running shoes of 2015 (3/3)