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Run shoes: 9 of the best reviewed for training and long distance races

For aerobic training runs and long-distance races, you should demand a trainer that offers support and optimum energy return. Jack Sexty tests 9 pairs

Zoot Solana 2

Zoot’s Solana 2 is unchanged for 2017 apart from its new ska-esque design. Having used these before, our verdict is also unchanged: it’s a beast that doesn’t really feel balanced. Looking at the huge carbon rubber outsole and the minimal upper, it’s apparent that it’s aimed at those who want support but also a lot of venting for hot days (Zoot was founded in Kona, after all). But it doesn’t really cradle your foot and just feels quite flimsy, while the bottom of the shoe feels too heavy when you want to speed up. So the Solana 2 might appeal to those who want a shoe for long-course tri in an exotic location, but it doesn’t really cut it as an everyday option. And those who like the minimal upper won’t appreciate the bulk underneath.

Verdict: Very firm, bulky and lacks some responsiveness 69%

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361° Sensation 2

361° are new to the UK, with their range mostly consisting of supportive and stability shoes. The upper is a nice breathable mesh and there’s a ‘Quickfoam’ layer in the midsole, a blend of EVA and rubber that provides responsiveness through the stride. We wouldn’t go as far as saying ‘instant responsiveness’ as 361° do, as it felt a bit lost in between the very sturdy and robust sole and the upper. But for us, it gave a softer and more responsive ride than both the New Balance and Asics shoes on test. Overall, the Sensation 2 is a suitable training shoe for those who want plenty of cushioning for their steady training runs, or the recreational runner looking to tackle longer distances with plenty of stability.

Verdict: Too firm for us, but ideal if you want support 81%

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Saucony Ride 10

Any shoe that reaches its 10th iteration must be popular, and we can see why the Ride 10 continue to strike a chord. There’s some flex in the forefoot, which means you can ramp up the pace and get a good toe-off, while Saucony’s Everun continuous cushioning in between the sockliner and midsole provides a stable feeling underfoot. This is complemented with an additional ‘Tri Flex’ outsole to absorb impact and, though it’s only a small difference, we felt this shoe was more comfortable and smooth than any other shoe on test. At 308g they aren’t the lightest, but the Ride 10 meet nearly every requirement for a great mileage run shoe and will be suitable for most runners looking for a comfortable, responsive ride.

Verdict: A fantastic balance of support & responsiveness 91%

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Asics Noosa FF

The Noosa FF is fairly light at 275g, thanks in large part to the soft rubber one-piece midsole. While all was well with the level of cushioning, the heel counter was too firm for us, actually digging into our heel while running. Another thing is the lack of flexibility; if it’s possible for a shoe to be soft yet at the same time rock solid then this is it: the ‘Flyte Foam’ material is soft to the touch but the shoe is completely rigid, creating a hard landing and limited support through the stride. The upper is more to our liking, with soft mesh that provides good breathability. This isn’t our favourite from a brand that’s usually up there with our test winners, and we’d recommend Asics’ DS Trainer as a better do-it-all option.

Verdict: Light, but the heel counter felt restrictive 72%

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Continue reading our guide to this year's run shoes for men (3/3)


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Please clarify what you are talking about when you refer to support. Other than the entire comparison between the shoes being pointless, the use of the word support without explanation makes this article very confusing for readers. Many will think it is referring to how well the shoe corrects over-pronation.


Always a challenge to select the shoes in the test too... but nothing from Skechers, Ironman's own shoe sponsor!?

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