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Updated on April 15, 2015
With the winter weather dragging on (it has to end soon…right?) it can be hard to muster up the energy to even think about the finish lines at your spring and summer races. But they’re going to be here before you know it! And it’s paramount that you have the best gear to get you to the finish line. If you’re running a shorter distance (or are an efficient runner), racing flats could be something to think about adding to your rotation. They seriously slash the weight of traditional trainers to help you fly on race day. And if you’re gunning for a PR, you know every extra ounce of weight can add seconds to your finish time. Check out four of our top picks.
Brooks PureConnect 4. Connect with the run like never before. The PureConnect 4 lets you hug turns, lead the breakaway an sprint fast all in one shoe. It’s the most minimal of Brooks’ PureProject series but doesn’t sacrifice anything to get that badge. The Nav Band wraps the instep to give the shoe a touch more structure without impeding the foot’s natural motion. The heel is rounded to encourage more of a midfoot strike, and a split toe lets the big toe work independently to increase stability during high-power turnovers. And with Brooks’ signature BioMoGo DNA cushioning, you get tuned-for-you cushioning with every step.
Mizuno Wave Universe. This is the lightest shoe in the universe—seriously. At just 2.8 oz. for men and 2.2 oz. for women, this shoe goes from here to disappear. The rubber outsole keeps footstrikes springy for explosive takeoffs while the synthetic mesh upper ensures the foot is uninhibited during the gait cycle. The insole is a molded foam to give you comfort even with so little shoe. With a 3-mm difference from heel to toe, feet can power through more naturally since the heel isn’t built-up with extra cushion. Note that because of this, it’s especially important to transition into the shoes if your gait isn’t used to that low of a drop.
Saucony Endorphin Racer. A new shoe from Saucony, the Endorphin Racer takes all of the brands’ learnings of track spikes and transfers them into a road-friendly package. Saucony used its Super Light EVA in the midsole to maximize durability without adding unnecessary weight. Speaking of weight, this shoe doesn’t have a lot of it—it comes in at only 3.1 oz for men and 2.9 oz. for women. Don’t let that make you doubt the shoe’s traction though. Saucony’s XT-Lite rubber outsole grips the ground and rebounds with ease.
Under Armour Speedform Apollo Vent. Under Armour used its signature Speedform technologies in an even-more stripped down style that takes breathability to the max. Along with letting air flow freely, the ArmourVent mesh upper is stretchy, fast-drying and, most importantly, durable. This winning combination lets your foot do its own thing without feeling the burden of extra material cramping its style. The seamless heel cup nixes any sliding within the footbed while the heel grip gives the shoe a more streamlined feel overall. The Micro G cushioning in the midsole makes turnovers almost too easy so forward momentum is at its peak with every stride.
What’s your race day go-to? Tell us in the comments.