Men’s Road Shoes
Altra Torin 2.5
Men // M.I. 52% // 0 mm Drop // 246 g // www.altrarunning.ca // $170
The next generation of Altra’s neutral trainer is a versatile jack-of-all-trades. It’s billed as a road shoe but feels equally comfortable on trail. It features a new mesh upper, as well as the wide toe box and the zero drop you expect from an Altra shoe. The sole is plush and well-cushioned, but lightweight and surprisingly flexible. It all adds up to a smooth and responsive ride that feels nimble during tempos and fast intervals, and comfortable on long runs.
Keith Bradford – Elite master’s runner; MitoCanada world record relay team. Calgary, Alta.
Men // M.I. 48% // 8 mm Drop // 263 g // www.asicscanada.com // $180
After lacing up these runners, my feet were happy. Near the end of an 8,000m track session, my feet got a little hot, but I was delighted with the performance of the incredibly light, supportive shoes. If you need a wide toe box and enjoy good cushioning, this shoe will meet your needs. I would highly recommend DynaFlyte for track sessions, all road race distance and training on smooth terrain. ASICS has the perfect blend of high performance, comfort, cushioning and stability.
Calvin Zaryski – 7 World XTERRA titles, 1 World Masters Triathlon title. Calgary, Alta.
Brooks Launch 4
Men // M.I. 28% // 10mm Drop // 255 g // www.brooksrunning.com // $130
Don’t let looks deceive you, the Brooks Launch 4 has a sports car engine with a wagon chassis. Weighing in at 28g less than its father, the Launch 4 delivers lightweight rocking agility, while providing all the comforts the Launch lineup is known for. The more traditional 10mm stack and the well-designed U groove heel assure comfort and performance for the long road trip.
Dave Proctor – Guinness world record 24 hours on treadmill (260.4K). Okotoks. Alta.
Mizuno Wave Rider 20 G-TX
Men // M.I. 20% // 12mm Drop // 289 g // www.mizunocda.com // $185
The Wave Rider series is a legacy shoe for Mizuno and for good reason. This neutral shoe acts as a great quiver of one, do everything shoe for almost all your running needs; from long runs, to tempos, to faster intervals. It has a soft ride, while not giving up anything in ground contact responsiveness. This is a great update to older Wave Riders that were quite rigid. The trail-ready lug pattern and GoreTex upper make it an ideal shoe for training outdoors for a winter or spring race.
Adam Campbell – Mountain athlete and trail runner. Calgary, Alta.
New Balance Borocay V3
Men // M.I. 48% // 4 mm Drop // 272 g // www.newbalance.ca // $160
I was immediately impressed with the sleek look of the New Balance Borocay V3 and its immense comfort. The lining of the shoe and seamless material hugged my foot nicely. I am curious about the durability as the toe sole has slight wearing after 100K. The breathability of the fabric is good as well as the flexibility in the forefoot. This is a great shoe for runners on easy mileage and recovery days as well as those looking for a cross trainer.
Shawn Clearsky Davies – Elite road runner. Bowmanville, Ont.
Skechers GOrun 5
Men // M.I. 60% // 4 mm Drop // 212 g // www.ca.skechers.com // $140
Great looking shoe, loved the seamless knitted upper and how it hugs your feet without any irritation. Lightweight and cushiony like a heavier shoe, but still has good road feel and some real spring to it. I liked the 4mm drop and how the heel cup holds snug. The heel tab is a great way to help you slide effortlessly into these comfortable, fast shoes and go run anything from a speed workout to racing longer distances.
Phil Ukrainetz – Emergency MD, 100K a week runner. Calgary, Alta.
Saucony Freedom ISO
Men // M.I. 60% // 4 mm Drop // 255 g // www.saucony.com // $200
More of a glide than a ride, Saucony’s Freedom ISO simulates a running cloud rather than running shoe. Its light breathable upper has a lacing system that’s supportive and snug. The comfortable upper is constructed over a solid heel-to-toe of foam that fills in the bumps, chunks and cracks in the road. That cushioned midsole is in turn layered over with a light outer rubber sole that protects it and provides this shoe a rocking diversity and durability.
Pete Estabrooks – Elite personal trainer and long distance runner. Calgary, Alta.
Topo Athletic Ultrafly
Men // M.I. 40% // 5 mm Drop // 281 g // www.topoathleticcanada.com // $180
The Topo Ultrafly is a good cushioned hybrid of a trail and road running shoe. The Ultrafly doesn’t have a lightweight, fast feel to it, but it also doesn’t feel big and bulky like some other highly cushioned shoes. It has a great snug fit around the heel and mid-foot and leaves more than enough space in the toe box. The Ultrafly seems ideal for the high mileage trail or road runner looking for a low drop, high cushioning and anatomical foot shape design.
Justin Duncan – Middle distance runner, coach at U of T and Toronto Triathlon Club.
Under Armour Speedform Gemini 3
Men // M.I. 44% // 8 mm Drop // 281 g // www.underarmour.com // $160
UA’s leading neutral road shoe, the Gemini 3 did well with minor issues. They have a great upper and lacing system and feel supportive. The toe box was ample for my wide feet even at high speeds around tight corners. The cushioning seems stiff but sufficient. It might be better for heavier runners or heavy strikers. The heel cup was rather stiff and a bit too high for me. This shoe will appeal to those who are heavy foot strikers, but still like to mix it up with the gazelles.
Calvin Zaryski – 7-time word champion multisport athlete. Calgary, Alta.
Women’s Road Shoes
Altra Torin 2.5
Women // M.I. 52% // 0 mm Drop // 204 g // www.altrarunning.ca // $170
Donning Altra’s Torin 2.5 for your long miles is like running in the comfort of your own bed. The pillowy midsole and unobtrusive contour induces a relaxed gait that rolls effortlessly throughout the stance. Despite a zero drop, there is nothing flat about its feel. The transition midfoot to forefoot is exceptionally smooth. Deceivingly light and flexible, this maximalist runner responds like a lightweight trainer yet is packed with resiliency. It shouts “no fear, run long!”
Syl Corbett – Owner Rocky Mountain Training Academy. Calgary, Alta.
Women // M.I. 48% // 8 mm Drop // 221 g // www.asicscanada.com // $180
The ample cushioning packed into this lightweight shoe ensures a smooth, comfortable run over any distance. Moreover, ASICS Dynaflyte performs well on gravel, dirt and concrete. The toe box is spacious, while still feeling secure, giving room for forefoot expansion during longer runs. The upper is soft yet durable. If you are looking for a lightweight shoe that will take you from short easy runs to tempos and longer runs this shoe will perform.
Catherine Watkins – 8th place, 2015 Pan American Games marathon. Vancouver, B.C.
Brooks Ravenna 8
Women // M.I. 24% // 10mm Drop // 252 g // www.brooksrunning.com // $155
I love this shoe. Brooks reliably makes running shoes that are immediately comfortable and the Ravenna 8 is no different. This lightweight stability shoe still feels cushy, springy and fast. I found the toe box fits more snugly than other shoes in the Brooks line but not unpleasantly so. With its generous 10mm heel drop the Ravenna 8 will be my go-to shoe for tempo runs and interval training on varied surfaces.
Nicki Rehn – Runner and off-trail adventure racer. Calgary, Alta.
Mizuno Wave Rider 20
Women // M.I. 20% // 12mm Drop // 230 g // www.mizunocda.com // $165
The Mizuno Wave Rider 20 is a perfect neutral lightweight trainer. With a comfortable, cushioned, supported feel, it’s flexible response is amazing for everyday training. Light enough for a solid tempo run, or to crush a road race. The tongue has a wide padded flap which reduces slipping. I enjoyed taking them out for an easy run on Vancouver’s seawall and they performed well in trails. The shoe is also a great trainer for a gym workout. Ride Away!
Katherine Moore – Elite runner and yoga teacher. Vancouver, B.C.
New Balance Zante V3
Women // M.I. 56% // 6 mm Drop // 213 g // www.newbalance.ca // $140
A half-marathon shoe, but not half speed. The New Balance Zante V3 is fast. The swifter the run, the better the ride. This responsive shoe transitions quickly midfoot to forefoot and, with its low stack height, maintains a stable feeling through toe off. The upper is silky smooth, but never sloppy. The Zante V3 aptly fits the bill as a reliable tempo runner with surprising durability for its weight. Versatility makes this runner a great option.
Syl Corbett – Professional athlete, physiologist and coach. Calgary, Alta.
Skechers GOrun 5
Women // M.I. 60% // 4 mm Drop // 179 G // www.ca.skechers.com // $140
Skechers GOrun 5 is a breathable lightweight shoe built for everyday neutral running. I would keep to moderate distances in this shoe as it lacks the stability I like for longer runs. The GOrun 5 is constructed of a very comfortable mesh outer. They fit a bit on the narrow side. Overall, you won’t be disappointed if you’re wearing these for anything from everyday use to speedy 5K races.
Rachael McIntosh – Nationally ranked heptathlete. Calgary, Alta.
Saucony Ride 10
Women // M.I. 28% // 8 mm Drop // 238 g // www.saucony.com // $160
If you’re looking for a true neutral shoe, the Saucony Ride 10 is a great fit. With solid heel cushioning and a small cushion on the ball of the foot, the Ride is smooth and plush; a great every day running shoe that will get you the mileage you’re looking for on the roads. The new form-fitted upper (along with the typical Saucony narrower toe box) feels tight, but breathable and makes for a truly comfortable ride.
Dana Ferguson – Elite road and trail runner. Revelstoke, B.C.
Topo Athletic Ultrafly
Women // M.I. 40% // 5 mm Drop // 241 g // www.topoathleticcanada.com // $180
The Topo Ultrafly is a nice, light, well-fitting shoe right out of the box. It was super comfortable, true to size and had me looking forward to some days on the road and track. The Ultrafly hugs the heel, has a nice roomy toe box and a sweet amount of cushioning underfoot. Built with 3D print technology, the Ultrafly will definitely be a runner I look forward to training and racing in this year.
Nadia Ukrainetz – Ultra athlete and running mom. Calgary, Alta.
Under Armour Speedform Gemini 3
Women // M.I. 44% // 8 mm Drop // 234 g // www.underarmour.com // $160
Gemini 3 is a neutral shoe with substantial midfoot cushioning, and a flexible, lightweight feel. It has a seamless upper and comfortable lacing system, but there is a band of fabric across the toe box, below the first set of eyelets that may impede movement in your big toe joint, causing discomfort. The seamless sock liner is comfortable, but there is no removable insole. When I put my custom footbed into the shoe, the heel cup didn’t fit snugly anymore.
Lucy Smith – 19-time Canadian running and multisport champion. Sidney, B.C.
Shoe Review Test Team: Keith Bradford, Adam Campbell, Syl Corbett, Shawn Clearsky Davies, Justin Duncan, Pete Estabrooks, Dana Ferguson, Rachael McIntosh, Katherine Moore, Dave Proctor, Nicki Rehn, Lucy Smith, Greg Southam, Nadia Ukrainetz, Philip Ukrainetz, Catherine Watkins, Calvin Zaryski