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
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
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)
3. Asics Lyteracer RS 4
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.