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Runblogger’s Top 3 Running Shoes of 2015

We’re almost a month into 2016, and I haven’t yet shared my top shoes of 2015 yet. Better late than never I guess!

Though I didn’t review as many shoes in 2015 as I have in previous years, mainly due to reduced running mileage associated with my return to school, there were still a few standouts that are worth mentioning. I’m going to keep my list short and sweet, and simply go with my top 3 picks from last year.

1. New Balance 1400v3

New Balance 1400 v3

Specs per Running Warehouse: 6.3 oz (men’s 9), 23mm heel, 13mm forefoot.

Though the top two were close, I’m going to give the NB 1400v3 my award for top shoe of 2015. The 1400 v2 was one of my favorites of all time, and v3 saw some minor tweaks that made for an even better shoe. Gone was the somewhat scratchy upper, and in its place a softer upper that could handle sockless running. v3 retained the sole that I loved in v2 – soft under the heel, firm under the forefoot, and perfect for both speed and long runs. Fit is snug, but just right for my foot. Really couldn’t ask for much more in a running shoe!

Read my full New Balance 1400 v3 review here.

2. New Balance Zante

New Balance Zante

Specs per Running Warehouse: 8.1 oz (men’s 9), 23mm heel, 17mm forefoot.

Coming in at #2 is another standout from New Balance. Though I did most of my running in the Zante in 2014, they were officially released last year, and it’s a shoe that I pulled out more than a few times during 2015 for longer distance runs.

The Zante is a shoe that just works for me – the fit is near perfect, the sole is pretty soft and cushy (my preference), and the upper is minimally structured. It’s a shoe that I can use for uptempo runs as well as longer distances, and they’d be on my short list as a marathon racer. Great shoe all-around, and I’m looking forward to the Zante 2 which should be coming out soon (see Thomas Neuberger’s review here)

Read my full review of the New Balance Zante here.

3. Asics Lyteracer RS 4

Asics Lyteracer RS4

Specs per Running Warehouse: 7.3 oz (men’s 9), 25mm heel, 16mm forefoot.

Running Warehouse decided to try something new and different last year – they brought in a collection of Japanese racing flats that are not typically available in the US market. They sent me a couple pairs to try out, and one of them wound up being one of my favorite shoes of the year.

Like the NB 1400 v3 and Zante, the Asics Lyteracer RS 4 has a softish feel under the heel and a firm forefoot, and is suitable for both speed and distance (most of my favorite shoes fit in this category). The Lyteracer differs in having something of a throwback-style upper with suede-like overlays and a more traditional-style mesh. I like the look, and the ride was great – I even opted to use them for a ten mile road race back in October. If you like shoes like the NB 1400 or adidas Adios Boost, these are definitely worth a look.

Read my full review of the Asics Lyteracer RS 4 here.

 

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Recent Posts By Category: Running Shoe Reviews | Running Gear Reviews | Running Science
About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.

Comments

  1. The New Balance 1400v3 is an excellent all round shoe, with excellent comfort. I think your top pick is a great choice.

  2. Hi, i have noticed that reviews of low drop shoes have been reduced.

    • David Henry says:

      It’s unfortunate that you guys feel this way. In some ways, there are less minimalist shoes being made and in others, some of the minimalist companies are hard to get review pairs from. I’ve personally contacted Vivobarefoot and others trying to get more minimal shoes to review and so far no response. Many of the shoes I put in my year in review post are 4-5 mm drop and I still run very regularly in fairly minimal shoes. I’m sure Pete would agree that the site isn’t going to ever be purely minimalist or non-minimalist. Hope you continue to read. I’ve personally got quite a few lower drop shoes in my review queue right now so no reason to completely loose heart :). -David

  3. Unfortunately, that’s true. This site got me into minimalist running in 2011 and it’s sad to see how the tide has turned back to maximalism. Only a matter of time before the Asics Kayano gets a recommendation here.

    • Fortunately, these are Pete’s top shoes of 2015, not yours.
      So, rejoice…you still have time to start a blog and pick your own!

    • David Henry says:

      Definitely not true, not to mention Pete’s top 3 shoes above are all under 8 oz…just cause they aren’t zero drop, by no means are they maximalist. I personally have quite a few, fairly minimal shoes in my review queue right now, but I also not dogmatically stuck on minimalist shoes, but well designed shoes. Of my top shoes: link to runblogger.com Only 1 of the honorable mentions (Skechers GOrun Ultra Road) is categorically maximalist. I run everything from track workouts, 5ks, road marathons and all the way to 100 mile mountain races and the same shoes are not ideal for every outing or race. Thanks for reading. -David

  4. While I, too, have enjoyed this site’s review of low-drop and minimalist shoes, Pete has always said that this blog is more about his own running journey and not specifically about low-drop and/or minimalist shoes. He has also said that he’s not locked into one set of specs on a shoe, but he just wants a shoe that works for him. My guess is that you’ll see a variety of shoes reviewed in 2016 as Pete stated in his year-end review post that he wants to rebuild some mileage and has many new shoes to review. I’ve enjoyed this blog since I found it several years ago and will continue to follow it. Through this blog, I’ve been encouraged to try a variety of shoes and I have found that my sweet spot is somewhere around 4mm drop. In searching for that sweet spot, I have experimented with shoes that range from zero drop to 8mm, and while none of them have been complete turnoffs, I’ve found what I’m comfortable with because of the experimentation that Pete encourages.

    • David Henry says:

      Well put! Thanks for reading and hope to provide some good reviews, as I’m sure Pete will too, going forward. -David

  5. Hmmm I would certainly call Petes 3 top shoes minimal shoes – lowish drop, very low weight and flexible.
    Just becasue a shoe got a low drop doesn’t mean its minimal. Look at the Hoka Conquest with a 4 mm drop and plus 30 stack height

  6. The top two look like they have a bit of a Hoka generic sole look going on. I’ve just bought some Hoka Clifton 2s and whilst I like the cushioning I’m struggling with the lack of ankle support. I suspect that means trying any kind of minimalist shoe would be a bad idea.

    I’m likely to stick with my heavier but more supportive Adidas Supernova Glide 7s. They work really well for me.

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