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New Running Shoe Roundup: Road Training Shoes Coming in 2016

Posted on December 07 2015

Back in early August I had the fantastic opportunity to go to the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City for the first time and check out the new shoes that are coming out late winter/early spring. Below are the road training shoes I had the opportunity to see at the show. Of note, Outdoor Retailer tends to attract more trail/outdoor oriented shoe brands and not all running shoe companies were present.  Notably, Nike, ASICS, and Mizuno were not present so I don’t have any info on their 2016 releases.

Below is a selection of mostly neutral, training/performance road shoes that I feel didn’t fall into my previously published road racing shoe preview.  I have one more forthcoming shoe preview from this years’ Outdoor Retail that will cover new mountain running shoes I saw.  Enjoy and feel free to ask questions below!


Altra IQ – weight 8.6 oz men, 7.1 oz women, drop: 0mm, available Spring 2016, price: $199.99

Very smooth and "hi-tech" looking upper with a view of the sensor embedded in the midsole.

Very smooth and “hi-tech” looking upper with a view of the sensor embedded in the midsole.

Altra is really pushing hard recently with new models, recent sponsoring of big races in the trail world (Hardrock 100 and Western States 100), and signing more and more athletes each year.  The IQ looks to be an industry leader in the “smart shoe” category which will provide feedback to the runner via smart phone or iFit watch.  For more info on the IQ check out Sam’s great write-up here and a video of Altra Founder, Golden Harper explaining more about the shoe courtesy of Competitor here.  Other than that, it looks very similar to the current Altra Impulse.


Brooks Launch 3 – weight 9.8 oz men, 7.9 oz women, drop: 10mm, available 1/1/16, price: $100

New 3D Fit Print upper on the Launch 2 platform.

New 3D Fit Print upper on the Launch 2 platform.

I’ve never run in the Launch, but given its popularity it might be worth a look.  The Launch hits right in the middle of the road for weight, protection, and cushion, and should work for a wide variety of runners.  The Launch 3 gets a new 3D printed upper on the Launch 2 platform.  See Pete’s review of the Launch 2 here.


Brooks PureFlow 5 – weight 9.2 oz men, 7.8 oz women, drop: 4mm, available 1/1/16, price: $110

Very nice upper design with more structure in heel and more open forefoot.

Very nice upper design with more structure in heel and more open forefoot.

I’ve not run extensively in the Pure line mainly as I can’t quite seem to get along with their last shape.  The PureFlow 5 has a great looking upper and a new, very flexible looking midsole and outsole while not giving up the cushion it has been known for.

A little podular for my tastes, but decent coverage and should be flexible.

A little podular for my tastes, but decent coverage and should be flexible.


Brooks Transcend 3 – weight 10.9 oz men, 9.5 oz women, drop: 8mm, available 1/1/16, price: $170

Not sure I'm digging the upper on these, but the extra structure might be necessary for a show with it's stack height.

Not sure I’m digging the upper on these, but the extra structure might be necessary for a shoe with its stack height.

I don’t have any experience in the Transcend, and as far as I can tell they ride the line between maximalist and premium cushion.  They are labeled as mild support shoes without using traditional posting.  Not a shoe I’d likely run in, but there are lots of runners out there that might.  Price seems a bit high, but in line with other max cushion models from Hoka, etc.

Lots of rubber and flex grooves.

Lots of rubber and flex grooves.


Hoka One One Clayton – weight 7.3 oz men, 6.3 oz women, Stack Height:24mm H/20mm FF, available Spring 2016, price: $150

Nice looking upper and midsole follows suit with the Tracer with firmer foam in the forefoot and softer in the heel. Supposedly a wider forefoot in these too.

Nice looking upper and midsole follows suit with the Tracer with firmer foam in the forefoot and softer in the heel. Supposedly a wider forefoot in these too.

I’ve not yet found a Hoka shoe that I’ve enjoyed running in.  The Clifton came the closest for me, but the super soft ride combined with the rocker sole made it feel like it robbed a bit of energy from my stride. However, I could start to see why some folks enjoy them, and the Clifton got the weight much lower than the more traditional Hokas.  The Clayton is over an ounce lighter, and at 7.3 oz is quite light compared to most shoes on the market.  When you consider that it delivers trainer level cushion (20mm FF/24mm Heel) at this weight, it is even more impressive.  The biggest issue remaining with Hoka for me is the fit, which I’ve never found great.  If they can improve that with the Clayton and Tracer, they could be nice options.  Hoka was definitely one of the brands at OR most willing to try some new things, and while I haven’t loved their shoes, I can commend them for being willing to go outside the box to try to arrive at unique products.

RMat serves as outsole. Midfoot looks more typical of Hoka, which I'm not as excited about.

RMat serves as outsole. Midfoot looks more typical of Hoka, which I’m not as excited about.


New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v2 – weight 8.6 oz men, 7.2 oz women, drop: 6mm, available April 2016, price: $99.95

Great new upper design that gets rid of the overlay in the middle of the lateral side that put too much pressure there for me (and others according to NB). NB's uppers are some of the best on the market IMO and the Zante has the best NB ride as well.

Great new upper design that gets rid of the overlay in the middle of the lateral side that put too much pressure there for me (and others according to NB). NB’s uppers are some of the best on the market IMO and the Zante has the best NB ride as well.

The Fresh Foam Zante was a big hit for New Balance this year and I was among the many who enjoyed its cushioned yet speedy ride on a mid level drop. I also liked the fit with a wide forefoot, but snugger midfoot and heel.  The v2 fixes the main issue I had with the original in removing the midfoot overlay that gave me a sense of restriction around my 5th metatarsal. Zante 2 also looks to improve the fit of the shoe overall as well, while not messing with what was already a good ride.  The Zante v2 is definitely one of the road shoes I’m most looking looking forward to running in next year.

Redesigned outsole based on runner feedback. Mainly they elongated the shapes over the forefoot, but added topo-like grooves to make it more flexible .

Redesigned outsole based on runner feedback. Mainly they elongated the shapes over the forefoot, but added topo-like grooves to make it more flexible .


Salomon Sonic Pro – weight 8.5 oz men, stack height: 24mm H/16mm FF, available Spring 2016, price: $140.00

Probably a closer replacement to the X-Series than the S-Lab Sonic is. Filling in the Pro spot in the Sonic lineup.

Probably a closer replacement to the X-Series than the S-Lab Sonic is. Filling in the Pro spot in the Sonic lineup.

The Salomon S-Lab X-Series is a shoe I’ve wanted to try, but never got around to this season.  The S-Lab model will now be call the S-Lab Sonic (see racing shoe preview).  The Sonic Pro gives a similar treatment to the S-Lab Sonic as the Sense Pro does to the S-Lab Sense.  It provides a similar high quality product at a slightly lower price point. It also has a little less pure performance focus, instead adding slightly more comfort and durability.  Out of the two, I think I’d be most interested in the S-Lab version, but at $30 less the Pro version might appeal to more runners.

Very similar outsole to S-Lab Sonic.

Very similar outsole to S-Lab Sonic with the black rubber adding just a bit more durability.


 

Saucony Breakthru 2 – weight 8.5 oz men, 7.4 oz women, stack height: 23mm H/15mm FF, available 1/1/2016, price: $100.00

New upper on the same platform. Very nice looking and they said they opened up the toebox on it compared to v1.

New upper on the same platform. Very nice looking and they said they opened up the toebox on it compared to v1.

The Breakthru 2 is one of the road shoes I’m most excited about this year.  I haven’t run in the Breakthru, but it looks like a great all-around platform with very good outsole coverage, and v2 puts a new more streamlined upper on it that I was told would have a roomier forefoot.  It will still be a a performance oriented trainer, and one with a lot of versatility and plenty of trail worthiness as well (something I’m always looking for in road shoes ).


 

Skechers GOrun 4 2016 – weight 7.8 oz men, 6.0 oz women, midsole height: 18mm H/14mm FF, available January 2016, price: $105.00

Circular knit upper that has a little stretch (where as the Speed 3 2016 and Ultra Road are much more static).

Circular knit upper that has a little stretch (where as the Speed 3 2016 and Ultra Road are much more static).

The GOrun 4 2016 gets a knit upper that has a bit more stretch than the Speed 3 2016, and also gets the upgrade to the new 5-Gen midsole material.  I’ve since run in a sample pair of these and the 5-Gen is much more of an upgrade than one would think.  The shoe runs more responsively, while retaining the cushioning and flexibility of the GOrun 4.  The upper is super soft and comfortable, and the shoe could easily serve as a long run shoe for many.  Also of note, the toebox has more volume and the shoe fits more true to the rest of the Skechers lineup, where as the original GOrun 4 seemed to run short due to a shallow toebox.


 

Skechers GOrun Ride 5 – weight 8.4 oz men, 6.7 oz women, midsole height: 20mm H/16mm FF, available January 2016, price: $100.00

Very smooth and comfortable, seamless upper and slightly thicker midsole than previous version.

Very smooth and comfortable, seamless upper and slightly thicker midsole than previous version.

The GOrun Ride 5 gets a full update with a new thinner, seamless upper along with 2mm more stack height than its predecessor.  I’ve also run in a sample pair of these, and they definitely offer more support than the GOrun 4 2016 and Speed 3 2016. They also still have some responsiveness with the 5-Gen midsole that doesn’t completely relegate them to easy, slow miles.  A great update, and a great overall value as well.  Skechers is really moving their product forward quickly, and with the new 5-Gen midsole material and fantastic new uppers, I think they are going to be making some waves with these new Spring 2016 offerings.  A company to keep an eye on for sure!

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