Continue reading our guide to the best lightweight women's running shoes of 2015...
Zoot Ultra Tempo 6.0
Price: £115 from www.zootsports.com
Having struggled a bit with the wire/click wheel Boa ratchet in last year’s race shoes test, it came as a mighty relief to see this year’s shoes from tri pioneers Zoot arriving with a reassuring set of elasticated laces in place that you simply tug to anchor them in a clever groove.
Those, combined with the tongue hole and heel loop make these a doddle to slip on while the soft interior is designed to be worn barefoot.
The Tempo 6.0 is a guidance shoe with a 10mm offset and it does have more of a training shoe feel about it than some of the others on test, but it still only comes in at 224g and we’d happily take on longer races with the comfort they offer.
If you’ve struggled with more pared-back shoes yet still want something that’s fast and responsive for race day, these will serve you well.
Verdict: The best tri-specific features on test, in a shoe that feels reassuringly stable, 88%
Price: £120 from www.on-running.com
These might be the heaviest shoes on test at 272g (UK6), but we’d argue that weight isn’t the primary consideration with On’s offering – although if that is a deal-breaker, then you’d be better off looking towards the Cloudracer included in last month’s lightweight run shoe test.
What you lose with those though is the deeper pods and comfy upper that make the Cloudsurfer such a delight to run in – with every step you bounce along and although they take a little bit of getting used to, our legs still felt fresh after a good 10k-plus of effortful running.
The Surfer is pitched as a performance shoe so you do get a lighter mesh upper and ‘Speedboard’ mid-sole, making it a better choice for faster efforts. One small note though – this isn’t a shoe for muddy, gravelly or uneven surfaces!
Verdict: More bounce than Tigger, but questions over whether this is a true race-day shoe, 78%
Scott Race Rocker 2.0
Price: £95 from www.scott-sports.com
It might look like a bit of a chunky monkey, but picking the Race Rocker 2.0 up we were pleasantly surprised as, at 183g, it’s the lightest shoe on test. That’s partly due to the lightweight and extremely breathable upper, but also to Scott’s new AeroFoam+ midsole material which is designed to offer more durability and rebound.
In practice, we found these shoes felt barely-there on the run and a large heel loop made them easy to pull on. The sole is designed to rock you from mid- to fore-foot and we found they delivered on that – although the thin sole at the toe end felt just a bit too thin after we’d put in a few miles and they didn’t offer the springy, up-on-the-toes feeling we got throughout our test sessions in the Boston Boosts. One for shorter, faster efforts perhaps?
Verdict: It’s lighter than air granted, but a touch too harsh for anything over 5k? 73%
Brooks PureConnect 4
Price: £100 from www.brooksrunning.co.uk
With the excellent T7 and Racer ST5 already scoring highly in previous 220 run shoe tests and still available, this shoe from the PureProject range might seem a strange choice to market to triathletes.
That said though, it’s relatively light at 210g and offers a minimalist profile that will appeal to those looking for a stripped-back race-day shoe. The fit is snug yet comfortable thanks to a high arch and that elasticated nav-band and we loved the soft, flexible no-sew upper, that was easily comfy enough to go sans socks.
Our only question? Like our male tester last month, we couldn’t quite understand how the rounded, chunky heel helps in a minimalist shoe that is more suited to mid-to-forefoot running – and on our longer runs, they did start to feel a touch clumpy.
Verdict: Lots of positives, but for pure race-day speed Brooks have better options, 82%
For lots more advice on the best triathlon kit, head to our Gear section