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Twenty Running Shoes I’d Like To Try in 2015

Saucony Endorphin RacerEvery once in awhile I like to scan the brand pages over at Running Warehouse to look for new shoes that are coming out. I spent some time this morning doing this, and quickly found myself drooling over a few models that I hadn’t yet heard about (hello Saucony Endorphin Racer!). I thought it might be fun to put together a list of shoes that interest me and that I’d like to try out this year. Some have been out for a bit, others are not yet available but are coming out within the next month or two. I have not yet seen any of these in person.

The list below will give a good sense of the type of shoe that I like, and how I narrow down models that I’d like to review here on Runblogger. Most are road shoes, most are on the more minimal side, and many are racing flats. I don’t have specs for all of them, but where available I have included them in my brief summary of each (weights are for men’s size 9). Photo credits all go to Running Warehouse.

Lot’s of eye candy on the way, here goes!

1. adidas Takumi Sen Boost

adidas Takumi Sen Boost

I’m a huge fan of the adidas Adios, and really like the Boost midsole material. The Takumi Sen is a speed flat, so a bit less shoe than the Adios, and the addition of Boost to the sole should make for an interesting ride. The $160 price tag is a bit steep for a racing flat, which may prevent me from pulling the trigger on a purchase. Specs: 6.1 oz, 22mm heel, 16mm forefoot. Available February 22 at Running Warehouse and Wiggle UK.

2. Altra Instinct 3.0

Altra Instinct 3.0

I ran in the Instinct 1.0 and 1.5 and found them a bit firm and stiff. Reports were that version 2.0 was super soft, so I passed. Version 3.0 is supposedly firmed back up a bit, but looks to be more cushioned than the original. Will it hit my sweet spot? Only one way to find out… Specs:  8.1 oz, 24mm heel, 24mm forefoot. Available now at Running Warehouse.

3. Altra Superior 2.0

Altra Superior 2.0

I don’t run a lot of trail miles, but I like to keep a few trail shoes on hand for the occasional run and for winter runs on snow and crusty ice (more of the latter so far this year, but about to get dumped on tomorrow!). I liked the original Superior, but durability was an issue and grip was not great. The Superior 2.0 looks great and the tread appears more aggressive. Specs: 8.7 oz, 15mm heel, 15mm forefoot. Available now at Running Warehouse.

4. Asics 33-DFA

Asics 33-DFA

Asics is releasing a trio of new shoes in their 33 line, and the DFA is the most minimal. The new foam used in the sole of all three is supposed to be cushy, and the DFA pairs this foam with a 4mm drop and sub 20mm stack. Sounds like my kind of shoe. Specs: 8.6 oz, 19mm heel, 15mm forefoot. Available now at Running Warehouse and Wiggle UK.

5. Asics 33-FA

Asics 33-FA

In terms of cushioning, the Asics 33-FA is the middle-ground shoe among the three new 33 series shoes being released. Specs place it in a similar category to the Saucony Kinvara and New Balance Fresh Foam 980. Could be a solid choice for easy runs and longer distances. Specs: 8.9 oz, 25mm heel, 21mm forefoot. Available now at Running Warehouse.

6. Asics DS Racer 10

Asics DS-Racer 10

I’ve had my eye on this one for awhile, but haven’t pulled the trigger. Not a brand new shoe, but I loved the Hyper Speed 6 and the DS Racer looks somewhat similar. Nice looking shoe, and specs place it right about in my sweet spot. Specs: 6.3 oz, 23mm heel, 15mm forefoot. Available now at Running Warehouse.

7. Brooks Launch 2

Brooks Launch 2

The Brooks Launch 2 is on my must-have list for 2015, and I’ll likely pre-order a pair soon. The original Launch has gone without an update for years, and I consider it a classic. It carried me through my first marathon in which I did not hit the wall, and it is one of the smoothest riding shoes I‘ve run in. Version 2 looks phenomenal (love the blue/yellow colorway!), and you can expect an expedited review once I have a pair. Specs: 9.9 oz, 27mm heel, 17mm forefoot. Available February 15 at Running Warehouse.

8. Brooks PureFlow 4

Brooks PureFlow 4

I liked the feel of the sole cushioning in the Brooks Pure Project shoes, but the PureFlow 3 was a step back in terms of fit. Curious if v4 has returned to the fit of earlier versions. Specs: 8.9 oz, 22mm heel, 18mm forefoot. Available February 15 at Running Warehouse.

9. Mizuno Wave Ekiden 9

Mizuno Wave Ekiden 9

I love racing flats, and this one looks pretty sweet. Light, low stack, and fast looking. Specs: 4.8oz, 15mm heel, 10mm forefoot. Available now at Running Warehouse and Wiggle UK.

10. New Balance 1500

New Balance 1500

The New Balance 1400v2 is one of my all-time favorite shoes, and I just recently got a pair of the 1600v2. The 1500 slots in between these two – the question for me is whether the sole has the deadish feel of the 1600 or the cushier ride of the 1400. Specs: 7.3 oz, 22mm heel, 16mm forefoot. Available now at Running Warehouse.

11. New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay

New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay

The photo above is labeled Fresh Foam 980v2, but in a move away from their traditional number-based naming system, New Balance is renaming the shoe as the Fresh Foam Boracay. The original 980 was an “almost-there” kind of shoe for me. Soften the heel a bit, open up the overly pointy toebox, and you have a great shoe for long runs. Curious to see if the updates to the v2 make this a more runnable shoe. Specs: weight ???, 22mm heel, 18mm forefoot. Available March 9 at Running Warehouse and Wiggle UK.

12. New Balance MT101 2015

New Balance MT101 2015

An update to an old favorite, but apparently it will only be around for a year. The MT101 was kind of like the New Balance 1400 built for trails. Superb fit, decent traction, light weight, great heel cushion, and affordably priced. Loved the original, still debating whether to try out the update since only the upper has changed. Specs: 7.2 oz, 25mm heel, 16mm forefoot. Available now at Running Warehouse.

13. Newton Energy NR II

Newton Energy NR 2

I loved the original Energy NR, and was impressed by the Newton Kismet/Fate combo released last year. I’m interested in trying out either the Energy II or the Aha, but like the Energy II color combo better (note: both have been out for awhile, so not really new shoes anymore). The Energy and Aha are Newton’s POP3 shoes, which means they have the least prominent forefoot lugs and thus are thought to be a good entry point if you haven’t run in a Newton previously. I like the fact that they are more reasonably priced than other Newtons, and I don’t see much reason to pay $175 for one of the top-of-the-line models. Specs: 8.8oz, 23mm heel, 19mm forefoot. Available now at Running Warehouse.

14. Nike Wildhorse 2

Nike Wildhorse 2

Have heard great things about the Nike Terra Kiger 2 trail shoe, and since David Henry has already reviewed that one for me, I’m curious to try the Wildhorse 2. I like a trail shoe that can also handle roads, and this one looks like a great match for my typical usage. Specs: 7.7oz, 22mm heel, 17mm forefoot. Available now at Running Warehouse and Wiggle UK.

15. Pear Izumi EM Road N1 v2

Pearl Izumi Road N1 v2

I wish Pear Izumi would make it clearer that the above shoe is version 2 of the EM Road N1 as it doesn’t seem to indicate it anywhere on the naming/labeling. Version 1 was a firm but very smooth-riding shoe, and this update looks better from an aesthetic standpoint. Not sure if I’ll try it, but I like the original enough that I may give it a go. Specs: 8.3 oz, not sure about stack heights. Available now at Running Warehouse.

16. Salomon Sense Link

Salomon Sense Link

Don’t really know much about this shoe other than that the specs look like a good match for me, and I’ve been impressed by nearly every piece of Salomon gear that I’ve tried. This one looks to be designed as a road/light trail hybrid. Specs: ??? oz, 21mm heel, 15mm forefoot. Available now at Running Warehouse.

17. Salomon S-Lab X-Series

Salomon X-Series

I’m really excited about this shoe despite the high price tag. Maybe it’s because Running Warehouse compared it to the New Balance 1400 and adidas Adios Boost, maybe it’s because I had a really good experience with the Sense Ultra and Sense Pro last year. The X-Series is a lightweight road shoe, kind of a surprise from a brand that focuses on trail. This one might be on my must-try list. Specs: 7.7oz, 23mm heel, 15mm forefoot. Available now at Running Warehouse.

18. Saucony Endorphin Racer

Saucony Endorphin Racer

This one is a drool-inducer for me. Hadn’t heard anything about it until I saw it last week on the Running Warehouse site. No specifics posted yet by RW on weight or stack height (Kyle in the comments indicates 11mm heel and forefoot), but it is zero drop (you can see it on the the insole in the top view photo). Wiggle UK lists weight at 88 grams, which is equal to 3.1 oz(!). Looks like a competitor to the Mizuno Universe and New Balance 5000. Expensive, but I’m a sucker for ultralight flats. Specs: 3.1 oz, 11mm heel, 11mm forefoot. Available February 22 at Running Warehouse.

19. Saucony Fastwitch 7

Saucony Fastwitch 7

I really like the fit and ride of the Fastwitch 6, and version 7 looks great. Not much else to say on this one. Specs: 7.0 oz, 18mm heel, 14mm forefoot (per Kyle in the comments). Available February 15 at Running Warehouse.

20. Under Armour Speedform RC Vent

Under Armour Speedform RC

I’ve been hearing a lot of positive things about the new running shoes coming from Under Armour (the amply cushioned UA Gemini is getting a lot of raves from shoe geeks). The Speedform RC is the lowest profile of the new models and I love the bright colorway. Specs: 6.0 oz, 25mm heel, 19mm forefoot. Available now at Running Warehouse.

So that’s my list for at least the first half of 2015, though I’m sure additional models will pop up (e.g., the next iteration of the Saucony Kinvara). Which shoes are you most excited about this year?

(Disclosure: Links to Running Warehouse and Wiggle UK are provided where available in the above post. Both retailers are Runblogger advertising partners, but this list is based on my own shoe preferences and was not influenced by them in any way.)

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. Adios Boost 3, Kinvara 6.

  2. Altra knocked it out of the park with the Superior 2.0. Much less brick-like, and the tread is far “superior” with much better stickiness for rock scrambling (i.e. running in the Colorado front range).

  3. Midpackbiped says:

    Really excited about the Asics 33s. Good for NB to have some competition in the foam area.

  4. That is a very intriguing lineup Pete. Lots of shoes to look forward to BUT I am cautiously optimistic because I refuse to be disappointed by the big boys yet again.

    I know this is against popular opinion but I found the Hagio, Mizuno Wave Universe 2, and Kinvaras 2 and 5 pretty much unwearable for me.

    Looking at the specs of your list of 20, the Takumi Sen, Wave Ekiden, and Saucony Endorphin are the pairs that catch my eye.

    Maybe I will have better luck with these brands in 2015…here’s hoping.

    The shoe not on this list that I really want to try, presumably because it is already available now, are the Topo Fli-Lytes.

    Oh and the Skechers Meb Strada.

  5. SUPER tempted to pick up a cheap pair of Fastwitch 6’s, but the 7 looks like it’d be worth waiting for. The DFA looks very interesting, but I’ve yet to see a really good review of the DS-Racer.

    Good list though, Pete!

  6. I think you should have a look at the Sweden based Salming range of shoes, they should really appeal to you, low drop, light weight, responsive shoes. I think they are available in the US as well. I think their Speed model would get a very high rating by you!

    link to salmingrunning.com

    • Actually I have a pair of the Salming Distance, just need to get some miles on them. They look great!

      • The Distance shoe is a fine, allround, trainer. Light enough to run fast in, cushioned enough to run long in, but there’s nothing spectacular about it, durability and quality seems excellent. The Speed modell is lighter, thinner and a shoe that more encourage really fast runs.

  7. Stack for endorphin racer is 11mm, and specs for new fastwitch are 7.0 oz, 18-14 stack. per saucony catalog

  8. …and the DS Racer 10 has been my racing shoe from 10k to the marathon the entire last season, absolutely love it although I think the outsole will have durability issues, like many of these lightweight “colleagues” does.

  9. What’s up with the fastwitch? Where does it fall in line with Kinvara? Virrata?

    Also, are there any comparable shoes to the speed form?

    • Fastwitch is a racing flat with some stability. Think of it more along the lines of a slightly beefier DS Racer. The Kinvara and Virrata are trainers (even if they are lightweight and low drop).

      • thanks bryan!
        how does it compare to hyper speed 6?

        • That I could not tell you. I’d probably compare the Hyperspeed to either the A5/A6 or maybe the Endorphin (Specs-wise, it seems to land somewhere between them, I think).

        • I’d say the Fastwitch is a bit firmer than the Hyper Speed 6, a bit more shoe overall I think. The Fastwitch 5 was surprisingly roomy for a flat, pretty nice shoe. Hoping v6 retains that fit.

  10. Nice to know that there continue to be lightweight options like the Endorphin and Ekiden.

  11. Heard anything on a NB 1400v3?

    That’s the shoe I’m looking forward to! The v2 has been my fav shoe since it came out!

    • Have heard that 1400v3 is coming in Spring, but don’t know much in terms of detail on the update.

      • Hopefully, its upper isn’t a exposed stitch torture device like its otherwise pretty nice predecessor. Putting liquid bandage on my toes to keep them from getting scraped raw on every run got real old, real fast.

  12. Awesome list, Pete!
    I would really love to see how the new Ekiden (9) compares to the old one (8). Also, there is a new version from the Hitogami (kickass looking in red/black) with lower stack height and less weight. Too bad we couldn’t find the Cursoris 2 anymore.
    The Merrell Bare Access 4 and Mix Master Move 2 are also worth a look, I think.

    • The Hitogami 2 has an identical midsole, outsole, and stack height to the original. The only thing that changed is the upper.

    • Yes, the Merrell Bare Access 4 is one I looked at, but have always liked it better as a casual shoe rather than for running. Merrell foam tends to be a bit too firm for me.

      • Hmm, strange, RW site stated different

        Original Hitogami – Stack Height: 23mm (Heel), 14mm (Forefoot)
        Hitogami 2 – Stack Height: 19mm (Heel), 10mm (Forefoot)
        Might be some change in the measurement.

        Same with the Ekiden 9 (15/10 vs 20/14).

  13. I like the looks of the Saucony Endorphin flat, looks like a fabulous 5K/10K shoe. How does it compare to the A5/6?
    I’ve also wanted to try the Altra Superior, I’m not terribly happy with Saucony’s trail offerings and that might be a great shoe to try.

  14. If you’re going to try the Aha or Energy, try the Aha. It seems like we have somewhat similar tastes in shoes and the Energy is too soft for my liking.

    The Aha is lighter, flexible and has just enough forefoot cushioning to be used for daily use.

    It’s also really flexible in the ball of the foot which lets those muscles/tendons work a little more naturally.

  15. Any thoughts on the new Provision 2 due out soon? Slick looking shoe, for sure.

  16. Pär Bohrarper says:

    Maybe you should give Salming shoes a try? I think they’re right up your alley.

    link to salmingrunning.com

  17. I like the sound of the ASICS 33-FA. I love the ride on the Kinvara but my foot volume is too small. Maybe this will do the trick. Never had Asics before. Do they run true to size?

  18. I really like the Hitogami and I have wanted to try the Ekiden but haven’t gotten around to it. Would anyone be able to comment and compare the ride and feel of the two? Also, Pete, how did Mizuno change the upper for the new Hitogami?

    • Unfortunately can’t help here. Have not tried the Ekiden yet, and don’t have the new Hitogami.

    • The specs don’t indicate it, but the Ekiden is significantly less shoe than the Hitogami. There’s less sole, less structure to the upper, less weight, less drop… I love both but find the Ekiden more to my tastes. Despite being a bigger runner, I like to feel the road. The Ekiden feels like an Inov-8 flat with a more spacious upper, whereas the Hitogami is like a stripped-down trainer with a firm ride.

      • Difference between the two, though: would you use the Ekiden as a trainer? I’ve used the Hitogami as a trainer, but would hesitate to do that with the Ekiden.

  19. Thanks for your thoughts guys. My interest is in shoes to use as trainers, but what I like so much about the Hitogami is the feel that Tim describes: “stripped down trainer with a firm ride.” My thought was that perhaps the Ekiden has what I like about the Hitogami but more so. Lighter, more road feel, etc. I guess the trick is to find that balance between that feel and too little shoe. The other tricky thing is that even running specialty stores don’t seem to carry many flats, so it’s hard to get a feel for shoes before committing to them.

  20. I’d recommend the Hitogami as a light trainer to anyone. I got nearly 300mi out of my pair, and I seriously can’t tell you the last time I legitimately got 300mi out of ANY of my shoes, whether traditional, lightweight, or minimalist.

  21. You should check out the new Nike Lunartempo…similar to the lunar racer but should have better durability. I normally run in kinvara and pure flows, and I was surprised how nice it was to run in these during the wear test phase. They are light and offer great cushion, and I was not affected by the heel drop as much as I had expected to be.

    • I agree with Jason. I just got my pair of Lunar Tempo from RW. Great feeling shoe and they run great too! They are like a mix between the Lunar Glide 6, and Lunar Racer 3,(I have both) but taking the best points of both and putting them in one shoe. Also, the NB 1500 was pretty sweet, but I like the Tempo better. Better pop when pushed, and just more comfy IMO. And the Fly wire fit of the Tempo is just awesome! For my foot, I have never had a better fit! I’m 5’7, 133lbs, med-low arch, 40 MPW, sub 20- 5K, 54 year old masters runner that has a heel/mid foot strike.

    • Agree here also. I’d put Lunartempo more on the Lunaracer side of the scale than the Lunarglide but they will definitely bump my Lunarglides into the donation bin. More comfortable ride and upper. I didn’t notice the 8mm heel drop vs the 4mm on the Hoka Clifton, a shoe I also love. I’d compare the cushioning feel to the Hoka Huaka, but the Lunartempos are more than 2 ounces lighter at an astounding 8.9 ounces for a size 14 and the upper fits better. At 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds, I usually save the Lunaracers for a rubberized track and race day, but I will run the Lunartempos as a daily trainer on asphalt. Now hoping for good durability.

  22. amadeus303 says:

    Pete (or any other readers),

    Is the sole on the Under Armour Speedform RC Vent the same as the Apollo and/or the original Speedform shoe? I’m intrigued by how light the shoe is, and the stack heights and offset seem to be in line with the Kinvara and Go Run 3/4. I like a flexible shoe, and the only reviews I’ve ever read on the UA Speedform shoes are contradictory – some say the sole is very stiff and firm; others say the sole is soft and flexible. Can anyone comment? The sole reminds me a little bit of the way the Brooks Green Silence and Mizuno Evo Cursoris soles *looked*… I didn’t like either of those shoes at all. I just don’t want to drop $100+ on a chance that I don’t like them at all.

  23. Pete,
    What shoe of these do you find to be good all around (for biking/walking) after a run? I want sometihng in that real – maybe the Kinvaras?

    • Lately I’ve been wearing the New Balance Zante a lot for general use, but it’s also great as a casual shoe. Also the Nike Wildhorse 2. Kinvara is a decent option but not a lot of sole durability for walking due to lack of rubber coverage.

  24. Are you sure that the Altra Instinct have a heel and toe height of 24mm? Running Warehouse has it listed at 17mm.

  25. Are you sure that the Altra Instinct 3.0 have a heel and toe height of 24mm? Running Warehouse has it listed at 17mm.

  26. I noticed that. Altra also reports that the insole is 6mm contour footbed, so you are probably right.

  27. Get a pair of Skora Tempo!

  28. Hi there,
    have you by any chance got around to trying the Fastwitch 7? I got a pair from RW in a sale but there are a few weird things:

    1. One tongue says men EU 44, the other women EU 42, shoes seem to be of equal size though. Very tight. Is there even a women’s Version of the Red/Citron colourway?
    2. The Fastwitch label on the lateral side of the shoe just says Fastwitch, on Saucony’s Homepage it clearly shows Fastwitch 7.
    3. I read that the Fastwitch 7 features a quite wide toebox, wider than the Kinvara e.g. which I happen to know and the Fastwitch is nowehere near als spacious. It’s much tighter than say a Nike.

    Very weird, I really doubt I got the right shoes… Do you know if there are two different versions or what is up with the one that RW are selling?


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