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Updated on April 29, 2014
With all these April showers. we know the impending May flowers are going to be pretty awesome. And what better way to see them than to tackle the trails?! We’ve pulled five of our favorite styles to entice you to get off the beaten path and explore the road less traveled.
The Cascadia got an update as fresh as spring for its ninth birthday. And the icing on the cake? Runner’s World awarded the shoe its coveted Editor’s Choice award in its April 2014 issue. The Cascadia’s midsole is Brooks’ BioMoGo DNA compound. The thing about Brooks DNA is that it gives you custom cushioning. It responds to the amount of force you exert and disperses that energy accordingly. All that means is that you get softness underfoot when you want it and responsiveness when you need it. The fact that the Cascadia uses the BioMoGo variety means it is a more eco-friendly pick because of its biodegradable characteristics.
The Trail N 1 is as simple as it gets. The upper is just one piece of seamless mesh that hugs your foot perfectly; it’s not constricting or irritating but you know your feet stay protected. Plus, the mesh can stretch to accommodate wider feet. The outsole boasts full ground contact to give you one of the smoothest rides around. There are no plastics or shanks trying to correct your foot strike. Instead, your feet can point and flex unencumbered.
The Peregrine is ready to eat up the trails—just look at its impressive tread pattern! Toes are extra protected thanks to a nylon fiber rock plate. This keeps any rocks and roots from ruining your running groove when you’re soaking up nature’s feel-good effects. Plenty of overlays keep your foot locked in place without adding weight to the upper or making the foot feel too constricted. The Peregrine has a lower profile design than some trail runners to keep you closer to the earth. But don’t dismiss it too fast! Like the Cascadia 9, the Peregrine 4 took home an Editor’s Choice award in Runner’s World‘s April 2014 issue. Outstanding!
Merrell might be known for its barefoot running shoe styles, but the brand is making a splash this season with its AllOut line, whose styles boast a 6 mm offset. And the Fuse? It’s your ticket when you want to transition from road to trail in a snap. It’s lightweight (8 oz. for a men’s size 9 / 6.5 for a women’s size 7) and unbelievably breathable but doesn’t leave behind an ounce of integrity. You can run assured that you’ll still be uber protected when you’re tearing it up on your favorite route.
The Sense Mantra 2 just begs to move fast. Its low-profile design makes it an agile style to lace up when you’re craving a swift, lean and nimble spin around the backwoods. A Sensifit design hugs your feet for a precise fit that locks your foot in place so you only think about what’s in front of you rather than beneath you. The outsole is a blend of contragrip HT and contragrip HA, which means you can expect durable traction and tread with every foot strike.