Women’s Road Shoes

Altra Escalante – 4/5 Stars

Women • 0 mm Drop • 184 g • $180 • www.altrarunning.com

Escalante surprised me. It was light, responsive, cushioned and comfortable. While the wide toe box initially felt unfamiliar, as soon as I started running it felt completely natural. As someone who wears casual  zero drop shoes, Altra’s zero drop felt great and I could feel how the shoe was designed intelligently for running in a natural way. Great for running dynamically on smooth surfaces and enhancing a nimble and forward momentum stride. I loved it!

Lucy Smith: 19 Time Canadian champion runner and multi sport athlete. | Victoria, B.C.

Asics Gel-Nimbus 20 – 4/5 Stars

Women • 10 mm Drop • 250 g • $200 • www.asicscanada.com

Asics Gel Nimbus is back for its 20th version, with similar cushioning as previous shoes, but now lighter. Gone are the days of clunky soft shoes; the new Gel Nimbus has the classic Asics gel cushion (both in the heel and forefoot), but weighs in lower than you’d expect. The shoe fits true to size, but is slightly tighter in the toe box, with a snug upper that holds in the foot well.

Dana Ferguson: Trail runner, road runner, cyclist, and mountain enthusiast. | Revelstoke B.C.

Brooks Levitate – 4.5/5 Stars

Women • 8 mm Drop • 275 g • $190 • www.brooksrunning.com

Brooks Levitate strikes a great balance between comfort and responsiveness. Unlike other cushioned shoes where one sinks into each step, the Levitate noticeably propels you off the pavement. The result is a very comfortable, yet highly dynamic running experience. The weight of the shoe (9.7 oz) is barely noticeable given the energy return with each step. This is a comfortable everyday shoe that is ideal for running on pavement.

Shauna Gersbach: 2:49 marathoner, road and trail runner. | North Vancouver, B.C.

Inov-8 ParkClaw 275

Inov-8 ParkClaw 275 – 5/5 Stars

Women • 8 mm Drop • 275 g • $175 • www.inov-8.com

What fun to run in the Inov-8 Parkclaw 275! The shoe fits true to length and offers a generous toe box for those who like a wider last. Aptly named, this hybrid shoe is great for moderately difficult trails and parks. I love the surefootedness of this versatile trainer that provides confidence on slick and uneven terrain. The combination of low-to-the-ground-feel with flexibility and responsiveness makes this snappy runner a fantastic go-to for quick local jaunts.

Syl Corbett: Elite endurance athlete, exercise physiologist, and chiropractor. | Calgary

MBT Speed 17 – 3.5/5 Stars

Women • 2 mm Drop • 212 g • $120 • www.mbt.com

If you want a high-volume, cushy runner to absorb almost all the pounding of pavement, the MBT is worth trying. I am a heel-striker and the extreme rocker ensured I landed in the middle of my foot and easily transferred weight through my toes every step. Speed 17 has a breathable mesh upper, a near-zero drop, and despite its bulk, is impressively light. It takes time to get used to this bouncy, stiff shoe, but you won’t compromise speed or enjoyment once you do.

Nicki Rehn: Ultra-marathon runner and adventure racer. | Calgary

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 V8 – 3.5/5 Stars

Women • 8 mm Drop • 276 g • $195 • www.newbalance.ca

Fresh Foam 1080 v8s are a well-cushioned shoe ideal for longer runs and recovery efforts. Because of the thick foam sole, they’re not as responsive for quicker tempos. I found the mesh upper hugged my feet nicely and although the standard width gave my feet enough room, I appreciate that New Balance offers four width options. Overall, a little heavy for my liking and quite pricey, but they’re a solid option for a high mileage trainer.

Julie Hamulecki: Elite ultra-marathoner and TV producer at The Social. | Toronto

Salming Speed 6 – 5/5 Stars

Women • 6 mm Drop • 170 g • $169 • www.shopsalmingcanada.com

Salming Speed 6 is a comfortable and springy shoe that allows a runner to maintain a natural gait. Created by legendary hockey player Borje Salming, this shoe is perfect as both an everyday shoe and a racing flat. Lightweight, with a roomy toe box and flexibility throughout the landing zone, the shoe still feels substantial enough to provide support for long runs as well as faster speed sessions.

Malindi Elmore: 6 time Canadian running champion, Olympian, triathlete and running coach. | Kelowna, B.C.

Saucony Triumph ISO 4 – 4/5 Stars

Women • 8 mm Drop • 266 g • $195 • www.saucony.com

Saucony Triumph ISO 4 can be described in two words: Achilles Heaven. I have issues with my Achilles in most shoes and this is by far the best shoe I’ve tried. The toe box is plenty wide, but I did find the length to be a bit too long, so you may have to go down a half size. The ride is smooth and the shoe has a pleasant medium/soft cushioning. A steep pricetag is the only reason the Triumph ISO 4 didn’t get 5 stars from me.

Rachael McIntosh: Nationally ranked heptathlete, two-time CIS pentathlon champion. | Calgary

Skechers GOrun Ride 7

Skechers GOrun Ride 7 – 4/5 Stars

Women • 6 mm Drop • 207 g • $125 • www.skechers.com

I took the Skechers GOrun Ride 7s out for the first time on a two hour long run and I was pleasantly surprised how well they performed right out of the gate. They’re a light trainer with great cushioning and a nice amount of bounce. The fit is true to size and the knit upper hugs the foot really well, although for a wider foot like mine, removing the sock liner gives you a bit more freedom. They are easy on and off with a pull tab on the heel and reflective decals add to safety.

Julie Hamulecki: Elite ultra-marathoner and TV producer at The Social. | Toronto

Under Armour Hovr Phantom – 4/5 Stars

Women • 8 mm Drop • 250 g • $160 • www.underarmour.com

The UA Hovr Phantom creates a new running experience. Its knitted collar and sock liner hugs your foot. Its plush and responsive ride is for runners who want all-around cushioning. UA Hovr provides a “zero gravity feel” to maintain energy return that helps eliminate impact. The upper micro thread dries fast. The rubber knobbed texture outsole makes this a light, durable shoe for steady road runs or longer trail runs.

Katherine Moore: Competitive runner and yoga teacher. | Vancouver

Men’s Road Shoes

Altra Escalante – 4/5 Stars

Men • 0 mm Drop • 233 g • $180 • www.altrarunning.ca

Escalante is the first road shoe from Altra to feature their new midsole material, EGO. Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of zero drop road shoes, but that definitely changed with the Escalante. It’s built on a performance last that is a narrow/medium fit through the heel to midfoot with the patented wide Altra forefoot. This leads to what I feel is the best Altra road shoe to-date and the best zero-drop road shoe I have ever worn.

Bruce Raymer: National 5K and Ottawa Marathon Champion and run coach. | Toronto

Asics Gel-Nimbus 20 – 3/5 Stars

Men • 10 mm Drop • 303 g • $200 | www.asicscanada.com

Gel Nimbus fans rejoice! The 20th edition provides a high-cushioned and highly structured, neutral plush trainer much like its predecessor. Its unique gender specific design provides a 13 mm drop to protect a woman’s Achilles where in the men’s, a 10 mm drop is used. Stability features around the heel and arch made the ride feel clunky but the heel collar and tongue were super squishy and a dream to wear. In cool weather, the gel turned solid and reduced cushioning.

Dave Proctor: Canadian and world-record holding ultra-marathoner. | Okotoks, Alta.

Brooks Levitate – 4/5 Stars

Men • 8 mm Drop • 317 g • $190 • www.brooksrunning.com

Levitate is new from the ground up for 2018. The “endless energy” tagline didn’t measure up on my first treadmill run. A stiff heel immediately put my guard up, but two runs later, the shoe felt comfortable and broken in. Running improved and the shoe felt at home on pavement. I am really happy with the fit, run quality and look of the shoe. It would be nice if it were a tad lighter, but heavy-striking runners may appreciate this quality in an 8 mm drop selection.

Jordan Bryden: Professional long-distance triathlete and graphic designer. | Calgary

Inov-8 ParkClaw 275 GTX

Inov-8 ParkClaw 275 GTX – 5/5 Stars

Men • 8 mm Drop • 275 g • $210 • www.inov-8.com

Inov-8’s ability to handle both the hardness of a sidewalk and variability of the trails is impressive. Although I expected the cushioning and spring to be excessive and unnecessary once I reached the softer surfaces of trail and gravel, I was wrong. Overall, this shoe is an excellent choice for varied terrain with good forefoot room, excellent heel stability, whole foot comfort and good grip on slippery surfaces.

Aaron Case: 2:40 marathon runner and active release chiropractor. | Vancouver

MBT Speed 17 – 4/5 Stars

Men • 2 mm Drop • 246 g • $120 • www.mbt.com

Speed 17 is MBT’s uber-cushioned lightweight road runer. This shoe is great as a marathon racer or a lightweight training shoe. The Speed 17’s main technology is a rocker outsole with Pivot Strike. The technology gave me a nicemid-foot strike as the rocker increased my running efficiency and smoothly transitioned me to toe off. My only complaint was cosmetic. If they ever do it in neon yellow or green I’d be the first to scoop a pair.

Bruce Raymer: National 5K and Ottawa Marathon Champion and run coach. | Toronto

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 V8 – 4.5/5 Stars

Men • 9 mm Drop • 314 g • $195 • www.newbalance.ca

The 1080 is Lit! I loved the big cushioning, comfy stable ride of this high-mileage kick! New Balance went full send on this one, the first edition of the neutral 1080 to have New Balance’s innovative Fresh Foam midsole material. The ride was so smooth. From touchdown to takeoff I literally have nothing negative to say about the 1080. It hit my sweet spot with a 9 mm drop. Despite its uber-cushioned plush feel, it’s remarkably lightweight and responsive.

Bruce Raymer: National 5K and Ottawa Marathon Champion and run coach. | Toronto

Salming Speed 6 – 4/5 Stars

Men • 6 mm Drop • 170 g • $160 • www.shopsalmingcanada.com

Speed 6 is a shoe that likes to be noticed. It is light and bright and designed for fast running. It is a great shoe for up tempo and faster running, while being very durable and well suited for long runs. The highly responsive shoe has a springy midsole and flexible platform. It delivers a smooth, quick ride that helps encourage an efficient gait. The reflectivity helps provide additional visibility in low light conditions.

Adam Campbell: Lawyer and professional mountain athlete. | Calgary

Saucony Triumph ISO 4 – 4.5/5 Stars

Men • 8 mm Drop • 306 g • $195 • www.saucony.com

Saucony’s comfortably snug and supportive heel cup and generous, not too broad, forefoot make even the longest of your long runs comfortable —kind of like grandpa taking a kid for ice cream. The Everrun midsole and tougher outer sole makes for soft landings and firm push-offs. Topped with an oversize tongue and latched lacing system you can draw the shoe tight to your foot without discomfort. Built tough with traction, these wheels are road and trail ready out of the box.

Pete Estabrooks: Elite personal trainer and distance runner. | Calgary

Skechers GOrun Forza 3 – 3/5 Stars

Men • 6 mm Drop • 261 g • $160 • www.skechers.com

Skechers runners are known for being comfortable immediately out of the box. Forza 3 is certainly that. The upper is slipper-like: form-fitting, incredibly soft and supple. The shoe is midweight, featuring significant cushioning underfoot. It is marketed as an active stability shoe and in each of my runs, this lived up to the claim. This shoe would work well for a beginner runner and especially one who requires, or is most comfortable with, added stability.

Ian MacNairn: Two-time ultra-running national champion. | Calgary

Under Armour Hovr Sonic NC – 4.5/5 Stars

Men • 8 mm Drop • 310 g • $120 • www.underarmour.com

UA has made huge improvements to their serious training and long distance running shoe. Hovr Sonic looks great, has amazing ventilation and ample support without pressure points. The cushioning is outstanding, even in the cold. The shoe feels soft and supple, with an energy give back, perfect for daily training mileage. The upper is so comfortable, you can run without socks. Hovr is not ideal for track sessions or short road races but works for folks grinding out big mileage.

Calvin Zaryski: 7 world triathlon titles and 3x Triathlon Canada coach of the year. | Calgary