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New Running Shoe Roundup: Road Training Shoes Coming in 2016

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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Recent Posts By Category: Running Shoe Reviews | Running Gear Reviews | Running Science
About David Henry

David Henry is a 31 year old husband and father of 3 young children. He has completed over 23 ultra marathon events as well as many other shorter races. Some of the notable races he has completed include The Pike’s Peak Marathon, Speedgoat 50k, The Rut 50k, Gorge Waterfalls 100k and Bighorn 100. He has raced in diverse environments ranging from Alaska in winter to the Arizona desert. David appreciates well-crafted running shoes and running on any surface and distance. If interested you can follow my running on Strava: https://www.strava.com/athletes/davidjonhenry

Comments

  1. It would be helpful to know stack height on all the shoes, not just Hoka.

    • David Henry says:

      Thanks for your comment. I didn’t originally put stack heights because I don’t have all them for every brand. I went back and put stack heights for Salomon, Saucony and Skechers (note skechers is midsole heights, which due to limited outsole on them is close to stack height). I don’t have stack height info on Altra, New Balance or Brooks.

      -David

  2. Any idea if the new Breakthru will be more flexible?

    • David Henry says:

      Ollie,

      The Breakthru 2 is on the same midsole/outsole as the first version so I don’t imagine it will be more flexible. They are going for a faster feeling shoe and I think the Triumph, Zealot and Kinvara are the ones that would offer more flexibility. -David

  3. A whole ounce increase for the new Zante..?!?!?

    • David Henry says:

      That appears so, at least according to New Balances specs, but having seen the shoe in person, I doubt it. Running Warehouse has the Zante v1 at 8.1 oz (which is closer to what my Zantes weigh rather than 7.6 like NB lists) and I would expect the v2 to be pretty close to that. They just didn’t change that much on the shoe.

      David

  4. Any word on if Saucony will put out a Zealot 2? The Zealot is my current favorite training shoe.

    • David Henry says:

      No Zealot 2 for Spring 2016, but I would expect one for next Fall although I haven’t confirmed that. -David

  5. I work at a run specialty store, saw the 2016 fall line and there is a Zealot 2.

    • Awesome, thanks!

      • Got to see some 2017 stuff last night, looks like they are rolling out the everun TPU cushion across the line the same way adidas did with boost. The new saucony stuff looks incredible. Unfortunately I wear 12.5 in saucony and sample sizes are 9.5 or 10.

        • David Henry says:

          Cool to hear John. Yeah I’m 13 and always out of luck for samples too! Are they going to change from just the everun topsole to a full everun midsole like boost or do you just mean they are putting it in most of their shoes? I’ll look forward to seeing the 2017 stuff next August…crazy you are seeing it as early as you are! I still have yet to try an everun model, but hopefully getting the Peregrine 6 in soon. -David

          • If I remember correctly the zealot has the everun insert in the heel/midfoot, kinda like the triumph. New xodus trail shoe is going iso-fit and got the everun topsole. New agressive outsole also, and no more rockplate. There was one shoe, a 4mm drop lightweight trainer that was going to have full everun, I forget the name, but not much info on that seemed to be still in development.

          • Everything I have other than that one shoe is either topsole of everun or an insert in place of the SRC crash pads in the heel and midfoot. As far as I know there are no current plans to go full everun like adidas did with boost.

          • David Henry says:

            Great info John. Thanks! -David

  6. Maybe a bit off-topic, but New Balance has the Zante v2 and the Boracay v2 on sale in its new flagship store in Berlin, Germany. The Boracay v2 looked and felt very tempting. Definitely softer than last version, the degree of softness is like “Zante-soft” but with a thicker more cushioned midsole than the Zante. It seems to have the typical extremely smooth fresh foam signature ride. The only downside just for me was the upper, which is completely new (sock-like). It resembles much like Saucony´s Iso-fit, but the fit is unfortunately too wide and roomy for my taste or narrow feet (had a similar experience with the Zealot)…ahhh, still don´t know if i give the Boracay v2 a try… Beside the individual fit issue it seems to be good and interesting update and would make a nice daily trainer! The Zante v2 became more roomy too, not a overall wide shoe, but v1 fits snugger.

    • David Henry says:

      Thanks for the info!

      • Update: I have now the Zante v2 … and must say that i am disappointed. I think i´m going to stockpile the first version and use v2 as a casual sneaker. It may be a matter of personal taste and v2 can be considered as a capable shoe, but after some runs i figured out that i like v1 much more. What has improved with v2 is the upper construction and maybe fit, which has become more relaxed in midfoot and forefoot while retaining the original shape (as far as i can see the size has become slightly longer). That said, i didn´t have any issues with the old fit. But where New Balance messed it up for my taste is the midsole/ride. The basic character stays the same and the changes may appear small, still a softish and smooth shoe, but the details seem to result in a different ride character, at least for me. The “new” midsole just feels a bit flat and lazy compared to the original Zante, which i definitely prefer in that regard. I never considered the Zante as a go very fast trainer, but it had some nice springiness blended in a comfort package. Whereas v1 felt lively and light on your feet, v2 feels for me less responsive and a bit dead. It´s now just a comfy shoe for me. I don´t if it is the weight increase, which can be felt a bit or the slightly amended fresh foam structure, especially in the forefoot (slightly firmer). The different structure seems to increase the stability. V1 felt a bit spongy at times, but i hadn´t had any issues with that. Despite some likely increased firmness v2 has less pop than v1, IMO and that steals the magic of the original Zante for me. I´m curious if it is just me or if others would have similar feelings.

        • David Henry says:

          Great feedback on them. I haven’t gotten my hands on a pair yet, so can’t comment much but many factors that could change the feel of the shoe in that way. I haven’t heard that they changed the midsole material, just the outsole shapes and upper. The outsole shape could change the ride as well as if they made it a harder compound (I don’t know that, just speculating). I bet Pete will do a review on them at some point and will be interesting to see his perspective. If I can get a pair in and a few runs on them, I could definitely comment more. -David

          • According to the fresh foam hexagons the medial forefoot should have slightly increased firmness/stability, but can´t imagine how that should affect the ride in terms of speed. I assume that the overall weight increase is one factor that contributes to the slower feel. Furthermore, just by the looks of it (haven´t measured it) and just standing in it, it seems the toe-spring has been reduced and doesn´t start early near/under the ball of the foot as in Zante v1, which might make the forward transition feel less quick. These annual shoe updates can be sometimes frustrating 😉 For Zante v3 i wish New Balance brings back the more dynamic ride of the original Zante combined with the upper of v2. Then i´m back in the game, so far Zante v2 makes a good looking casual sneaker.

          • David Henry says:

            Just saw this video here: link to youtube.com that says that they put new carbon rubber on the outsole…I hadn’t heard that, but if that is the case it is much harder (less springy) than the blown rubber on the v1 (but more durable) and would decrease flex and add weight…probably explains the 1 oz weight increase to 8.8 oz, but surprising choice I think…silver lining is it will make a much better trail shoe now :)!

          • That rubber thing sounds persuading. What i can say is that it makes a more durable impression (but i didn´t find the original Zante that bad in that regard) and the forefoot grip is definitely better! Especially on wet roads and light, dry trails. The flex has stayed the same. I´ve read you use the Adidas Boston Boost on trails, so yes, the Zante v2 should be a more comfy fitting alternative 😉

          • David Henry says:

            Agreed on the v1 rubber. I’ve got around 100 miles on my v1s with about half of that on trail and they look great still so not sure why the change…the extra weight for v2 is definitely not a good move, just can’t figure out how they actually managed to increase it by a full ounce!

          • The basic shoe size has become longer (my size 9 Zante v1 runs shorter than v2), together with carbon rubber this definitely adds some weight. Despite the added length, i would say v2 fits still true to size. Just for my liking i wouldn´t go down a half size. The forefoot shape is rendered more similar to the Vazee Pace. And if it is in the interest of someone, the midfoot bump under the arch area in v1 has gone (i found that bump actually a bit more supportive on long runs). Anyway, maybe Zante v2 gets “the trail shoe of year” :-)

          • Just a late update. According to Road Trail Run, Zante v2 has the exact same rubber in the outsole, so the extra 1oz remains a mystery.

            link to roadtrailrun.com

          • David Henry says:

            Thanks for the update…just got my pair of Zante v2 in and can confirm about a 1 oz increase. While the rubber might be the same there definitely is more of it, especially in the forefoot. I also think the upper is quite a bit more structured and possibly a slightly firmer midsole. All in all the fit is much improved and I think it will be a legitimate lightweight trainer and an even better trail shoe as well. Good update overall I think, but have yet to get miles on mine. -David

          • feelthhis says:

            David, another update. Competitor.com says that the outsole is thicker, agreeing with your impression.

            link to running.competitor.com

          • David Henry says:

            Thanks for following up…interesting re: the competitor piece…I’ve seen elsewhere that NB claims it’s not thicker, but it sure does feel thicker and the lug shapes are definitely bigger in the forefoot.

    • Hey, I’m interested to hear about the new fit of Zante and Boracay. Is the fit between Zante v2 and Boracay v2 too much different? What about comparing to v1?

      Zante v1 looks very nice with its oblique/wide forefoot and more snug heel/midfoot.

      • The fit of Zante v2 is very similar to the original version, maybe just a tad more roomy from midfoot to forefoot, the upper is slightly different with a new mesh. The Boracay v2 is totally different. Whereas the Zante v2 is snug (not too narrow, imo) the Boracay v2 is overall quite roomy, at least for me. Boracay v2 is definitely more roomy than v1 (maybe good news for people with wide feet or someone who prefers more room). I struggled with the fit of Boracay v2 with narrow feet. A very similar comparison in terms of fit and upper is the Saucony Zealot.

        • Thanks Dietmar. By the looks of it Boracay v2 will have a wide fit in the heel. And that’s a no go for me. Very tempted for Zante though.

    • Boracay 2 sounds like it might be a good match for me – softer ride and wider fit are exactly how I would have changed the earlier versions.

      • Exactely that. Softer ride and wider fit. My first impression was really nice, beside the fit issue. I found the Boracay v1 a bit firm, had no issues with that, but the new midsole softness brings the boracay v2 better in line with the zante. Boracay v1 was more “performancey” than i thought, but for that i’d just prefer the Zante or Vazee Pace. Boracay v2 feels now really like a comfy and better cushioned version of the zante. Interesting update.

  7. It’s really a nice and useful piece of info. I’m satisfied that you shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Neil Ware says:

    No mention of the Nike Pegasus 33s?? Can’t wait to get my hands on a pair…Coming from the proud owner of a well used set of Pegasus 31s.

    link to modernconsumers.com

    • David Henry says:

      Hi Neil, thanks for chiming in. Unfortunately, NIke doesn’t come to outdoor retailer, as I mention at the top of the post. I have since seen the Peg 33 and agreed they do look quite good. I’ve not had good luck with the Pegs in the past, but I think I’ll likely try the 33 when available. -David

  9. hi david–thanks for this great roundup. i saw that you left a comment elsewhere about the gorun 4 2016 being a bit wide and long. would you recommend going down a half-size, esp. for a narrow foot? do you feel it holds the foot as well as the new gomeb or other goknit shoes? how would you compare it as a lightweight trainer to, say, boston 5, or the earlier gomeb 3, which matt says is now his favorite long-run shoe?

    thanks,
    bruce

    • David Henry says:

      Hi Bruce. Yes, I ended up sizing down on the GOrun 4 2016 and would recommend a 1/2 size down from the other Skechers models for that one specifically. The GOmeb Speed 3 2016 definitely holds the foot much better than the GR4 2016 partly due to the last and partly due to the type of knit they use where the GR4 2016 has more stretch than the Meb. The GR4 2016 is kind of in a weird spot for me since it is a potential lightweight trainer, but it also is super flexible and pretty minimal overall in structure. It’s not a bad shoe if that is what you are looking for, but I think Skechers has better shoes out and coming out soon. The Boston 5 is by far more shoe than either the GR4 or Speed 3. I’d probably recommend the GOrun Ride 5 over the GR4 2016, especially as a light trainer. My favorite Skechers lately are the GOrun Forza (great, smooth feel with tons of structure and support that doesn’t get in the way), Strada (very secure foot hold and still responsive enough as a trainer) and Ultra Road (super smooth, flexible and great responsive cushion with nice knit upper). Other than racing shoes, which I’m still partial to adidas, I’m slowly being won over to Skechers and have seen some of what they have in the works for 2017 and I’ll just say, I think they are going to surprise some people…big changes, for the better. -David

      • thanks, david. i noticed your original reply said you liked the gorun ride 5 the best of the newer shoes, but later changed it to the above. was that sort of a misprint, or did your opinion change? re gorun 4, would my narrow feet probably be happier in the first version rather than the 2016? would i still size down? do most skechers other than gomeb tend toward a more generous fit?
        and is the m-strike or bump still apparent in the newer models? the only model i’ve owned is the original ultra, which, besides being amazingly unstable on any kind of trail, had way too much of that effect for me–sort of felt like my arch was striking before the rest of my foot, and i kept waiting for my forefoot to get acquainted with the ground.

        curious about the changes for 2017. do you feel like you can tell they will be great improvements without actually seeing the shoes?

        thanks again for all your help.

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