Lack of innovation is not an accusation often levelled at running shoe makers, but many have upped their game recently.
With that in mind, we take a look at five of the most striking and innovative trainers vying for your attention right now…
Hoka One One
Bucking the trend for back-to-nature, barefoot and minimalist running shoes, Hoka One One shoes (which we recently reviewed here) put maximum cushioning under your feet to give you an ultimate soft ride. The range includes Hoka Rapa Nui Comp (£120) for off-road adventures, Stinson Tarmac (£140) for longer-distance runs, and the less beefy Bondi and Kailua shoes for sprint and Olympic racing.
Price: £120-140 from www.hokaoneoneuk.co.uk.
These Swiss-made shoes feature 18 adaptive rubber elements or ‘clouds’ on the sole, which are designed to provide more spring and support when running. These are definitely shoes designed for racing, with an ultra-lightweight skeleton design, race mesh and heel loops. On says they are only good for five marathons though, which makes them quite pricey.
Price: £115 from www.on-running.com.
With Newton shoes, four pronounced mid-foot lugs encourage you up onto your fore and mid-foot. You feel them on every stride and they give you a noticeable spring in your step. It’s a daily training shoe, but also has fans in the long-course racing community. You’ll need time to adapt to them and change your running style to avoid injury.
Price: £135 from www.newtonrunning.co.uk.
Vibram Fivefingers Spyridon LS
Just like grippy gloves for your feet. If you want a barefoot feel on the trails, these are for you. The 3.5mm sole and toe bumpers give good protection, but you still have to run light and up on your forefeet as nature intended. You won’t be using them on race day though, as getting your toes into them takes time and practice.
Price: £120 from www.primallifestyle.com.
Adidas Energy Boost
The midsole is made of thousands of little egg-shaped balls rather than a solid ball of EVA. This gives a spring to your step and potentially propels you to a PB. A 10mm drop means they’re aimed at heel strikers but, if you believe the hype and videos of bouncing balls, they could give your running a boost.
Price: £110 from www.adidas.co.uk.
Check out our Gear section for more running shoe reviews