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NEUTRAL RUNNING SHOES

I’ve been running now for just over 24 years and have seen a fair share of different running shoes in that time. So far none of those models have received the title of being crowned my all time favourite shoe.

There have been some close runners, some potential medalists, and even some that have been ahead on the score cards until a last minute knock out has prevented them winning the title! However now there are some new protégé’s, some young fresh talent that could potentially win this elusive title and go on an unbeaten run that even Mayweather himself would be delighted with!

I want to discuss 4 shoes, I feel have revolutionized the neutral running shoes market.

Sometimes the neutral category can often become a bit of a minefield, or even resemble the music industry with many of the models fighting for the same number one spot, until now. These 4 shoes selected are by sporting terms the Southpaw to orthodox, and the sitter and kicker to the long runner for home!

Talking of a long runner for home, this is exactly how I see the Brooks Glycerin within the neutral category.

For years now the BROOKS GLYCERIN has been making steady progress, the cushioning has moved with the times and has in recent years moved from a standard neutral running shoe to a shoe that can suit a runner who requires the slight security of a small amount of neutral stability. Its cushioning adapts particularly well whether you’re running slowly or trying, in my case now, to turn your legs over quicker and run at more of a tempo speed! You can really feel the DNA work with its softer sensation when running slowly to how it becomes far more responsive when running a pace. Its upper might be slightly bright, but certainly wide enough for most widths and with the introduction of heat bonded materials there is now less need for stitching on the upper, which also helps keep the weight down, especially for a high mileage shoe.

I see the ASICS NIMBUS as a shoe most similar to the Brooks Glycerin in the 4 shoes I have highlighted. Once again this shoe has been around for years, it won its first professional cap back in the late 1990’s when the likes of Mo Farah were still coming up through the school athletics system! Its cushioning has improved as much as Mo himself has over the years, with a definite increase of overall cushioning in the forefoot which doesn’t add any extra weight to an already very durable shoe. There are several little features that really make this shoe what it is. The introduction some years ago of the biomorphic fit has definitely changed the dynamics of the upper as it stretches and moves naturally with your foot. Once again this really helps especially for someone with a slightly wider foot, or just somebody who prefers extra room in and around the toe box. Finally the Personal Heel Fit (PHF) or memory foam is another great little feature that adapts over time to the natural shape of your heel. One thing I would stress about this is that early on it can feel slightly loose until the foam adapts and shapes itself around your heel dimensions.

The ON CLOUDSURFER on the other hand has been a revelation in this category. It’s fresh look and rather simple colour scheme actually makes the shoe stand out far more than most would think. The cushioning is incredibly soft and will adapt to both horizontal and vertical impact forces. The cloud cushioning is based on its original prototype of a cut up hose pipe, but is far more effective and extremely comfortable. Some people would refer to the shoe as a natural running shoe, for me this shoe lets your foot do the work and kindly gives you the independence when running and not controlling your foot in a way you don’t want from a neutral shoe.

The Adidas ADISTAR Boost range is definitely one of the newer protege’s, its a shoe that can be orthodox or southpaw and can mix it up with the best of them! The new technology introduced by Adidas known as Boost, resembles the look of polystyrene but is quite possibly the most responsive cushioning you will experience to date. They have left some of the original EVA midsole in the rear-foot which ensures it can switch hit, much like a boxer and firm up the ride in the heel area and provide a slight level of overall support and control. It has a totally seamless upper which is almost entirely made up of material similar to neoprene which ensures the shoe is particularly light.

If I were to score these shoes from best to worst, the Adidas ADISTAR Boost at 1, the ON Cloudsurfer at 2, Brooks Glycerin at 3 and Asics Nimbus at 4. The Boost is my stand out shoe, winning this fight off by a unanimous decision with me being incredibly close to crowning this the best shoe I’ve ever run in.

Darrel
Eastleigh

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