To get the most out of your run, wearing the correct type of shoe is very crucial. Running enthusiast Laura Hill shares her top five picks for different running scenarios- from everyday runs to race days.
Running is one of the cheapest and easiest forms of exercise. You don’t need much to get started, except for a good pair of trainers. As someone who can run in just about any shoe, I’ve been testing and reviewing shoes for a few years now.
I have plenty of experience in road-testing runners and it’s entirely possible that what I love in a shoe, you might hate, but here are my go-to trainers for every type of run.
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For… long runs
Clifton Edge, $259 on sale from 1 July at Hoka One One
This latest running innovation sure stands out – for all the right reasons. The new Clifton Edge joins the award-winning Clifton shoe family and delivers a soft, light and smooth ride. If first-look reviews and my own experience from logging loads of kilometres in this shoe are anything to go by, then this new release will excite runners of all abilities – especially heel-strikers.
This shoe features a radical new stability feature called the swallow tail that in simple terms is an extended heel. When combined with an aggressive early-stage meta rocker (a design feature that drives the runner forward and complements their normal gait cycle) the result is a smoother heel-to-toe transition that almost feels like you’re gliding without trying.
The upper is a thin piece of air mesh that does a great job of controlling foot movement. The shoe’s exaggerated design screams cushion, comfort and stability, and even with new high rebound foam, the runner is incredibly light, making it perfect for long runs when your legs are slammed and you feel like you’ve been running forever.
Locally, you can shop Hoka One One at The Athlete’s Foot.
For… improving running form
HOVR Machina, $220 at Under Armour
More than a running shoe, the HOVR Machina features real-time form coaching to help make running feel easier. The Machina is Under Armour’s first cushioned shoe with a carbon propulsion plate, but what really sets it apart is its focus on helping runners get better, while also reducing the likelihood of injury.
There’s a high-fidelity sensor in the midsole of the right shoe that digitally connects to the MapMyRun™ app via Bluetooth. Once connected, the shoes track a stack of helpful data from running basics like distance, pace and splits, to detailed running form metrics such as cadence and stride length.
While it’s great these shoes can dish out personalised tips to help make running easier, they still should be comfortable to run in. The good news is they are. I’m a huge fan of the lightweight mesh upper that lets in air to keep the feet cool and the silky-smooth laces that don’t come undone on long runs. These shoes feel grippy underfoot and deliver a high-energy return with every high-impact stride.
For… everyday runs
Gel-Cumulus 21, $180 at ASICS
This is a classic work-horse running shoe that will appeal to runners of every level. It’s a great quality every day neutral trainer that gives enough cushioning for most runs and easily competes with other popular running shoes like the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus and the Brooks Ghost.
Straight out of the box the ride is supportive and stable. I’m used to wearing more flexible, lightweight trainers, so I initially found this shoe quite stiff and bulky. However, after a few runs, the ride softened out and I experienced the benefit from the strong shock absorption and cushioning this shoe offers. If you want a sturdy feeling, hard-wearing running shoe that still offers plenty of bounce, then this is a great option.
For… recovery runs
React Infinity Run Flyknit, $230 at Nike
Fundamentally, most running shoes exist to protect the wearer from injury, but often the emphasis of a shoes’ technology and construction is on increasing performance, such as speed. Nike’s React Infinity Run Flyknit attempts to change this by marketing the shoe’s ability to reduce injuries.
The shoe encompasses the best qualities of two of Nike’s most popular running shoes – the Zoom Vaporfly 4% and Nike React. Using technologies from both, the React Infinity Run provides a soft, responsive platform and delivers it with a widened midsole.
These features make this shoe ideal for the kind of runs that don’t fall into the silo of interval or tempo, long run or race. I turn to these foamy shoes for my recovery or easy runs – when my body is feeling sore and tired after hard workouts. For me, the simple knit upper on top of a very wide and flared midsole provides the stability and cushion I need to absorb the impact from middle-mileage, moderate effort workouts.
For… speed sessions and race days
Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2, $250 at Nike
My all-time favourite running shoe is this speedy trainer. When it first dropped in 2018 I was like “Where have you been all my life?”. I run in a lot of different shoes, but I keep coming back to these beauties time and time again – for workouts and for race day. Fast is the focus of this turbocharged trainer that’s lighter and sleeker than version 1.
The super responsive midsole is cushioned enough for long-distance workouts and the shoe’s lightweight construction helps keep your foot turn-over snappy at higher paces.
The tongue is barely noticeable and the feather-light upper will help to rock your workout and push you to long-distance racing PRs.
Follow Laura Hill and her running adventures on her Instagram.