Spring is here and it’s time to crank up your training mileage – but for that, you’re going to need some seriously good shoes. We’ve tried dozens of spring/summer 2017 shoes to find the best in every category: here’s our pick of the best neutral shoes for women this season.
They say: This brand new addition to the UltraBOOST range has been designed using a special system that measures the precise movements of the female foot through the gait cycle. An Adaptive Arch has been introduced, with the Primeknit upper wrapping under the midfoot, and the heel counter is narrower to give better support for the female foot.
Our testers say: The full-length boost cushioning gives noticeable energy return, the wrap-around upper provides a brilliant fit, and grip from the outsole is impressive. That unusual floating arch “felt very different but suited me perfectly”. Our tester said she “couldn’t quite believe how much they made [her] feel like [she] was gliding.”.
Good for: Light, neutral runners who want a truly female-specific fit and brilliant energy return.
They say: The Enigma is a pure cushioning shoe for high-mileage runners, with Mizuno’s U4icX midsole material and a full-length U-shaped Wave plate absorbing shock from the road. The DynamotionFit upper gives an adaptive fit with more room in the forefoot.
Our testers say: This shoe came across as a “serious running shoe” to our tester, who really appreciated the supportive cushioning and secure fit. She commented that the fit felt narrower than her usual shoes, but this wasn’t a problem. Support from the lacing system and snug, high heel area was noticeable, although the Enigma never feels restrictive. It’s also a flexible and smooth running shoe despite the high level of cushioning on offer.
Good for: Runners who want the highest level of firm cushioning with a good fit.
They say: With the latest version of its unique CloudTec sole, Cloudflow is designed for fast runners looking for a responsive, cushioned ride. Eighteen Cloud units, made from Zero Gravity foam, cushion the ride, while the Cloudflow speedboard in the midsole promotes the natural rolling of the foot and is intended to boost take-off.
Our testers say: The bright, bold look of the shoe was a hit with our tester (who said it “suits my personality”). Fit was perfect and they are instantly comfortable and very light. On the run, they’re nimble and springy, and our tester also said they felt stable underfoot. The laces drew positive comments – the unusual thin laces of the Cloudflow didn’t come undone once. The only downside our tester found was a lack of strong grip on wet roads.
Good for: Neutral runners who want a light shoe that will double up for racing duties.
They say: Saucony’s popular pure cushioning shoe, the Triumph, has had the same tech tweaks as the other ISO shoes we’ve tested here. It has Everun in the midsole and under the heel for better bounceback, the Isofit system in the upper and midfoot, and the more flexible Tri-flex outsole.
Our testers say: None of the new technology in this shoe went unnoticed by our tester, who thought the shoes looked gorgeous, and felt pretty amazing, too. The fit was true to size, soft and snug, and our tester commented on the effectiveness of the Isofit system, which she said gave a “sock-like feeling”, and adapted to her feet as she ran. They’re really well cushioned and feel light for the depth of padding they offer.
Good for: Neutral runners, especially heel-strikers, looking for an extra hit of cushioning.
They say: The fifth version of the GoRun keeps the fast feel, soft cushioning and efficiency-encouraging features of previous models. Lightweight 5GEN cushioning in the sole is intended to give a responsive ride, while the GOknit upper is breathable but secure. The parametric web outside is designed to give great traction on a range of running surfaces.
Our testers say: The GoRun 5 split our testers, with one who is used to more built-up cushioning shoes finding them a bit too firm and low, while another said they were her new favourites. The tester who found they suited her really liked the light weight, the stripped-down feel and the slipper-like fit of the upper, and both like little touches like the pull-on tab on the back of the shoe.
Good for: Neutral, fast, naturally efficient runners who don’t need bags of pillowy cushioning.