Updated on April 15, 2015
Top Shoes from Summer Outdoor Retailer 2014
Phew! This summer’s Outdoor Retailer trade show was a whirlwind of a trip. We saw so many exciting new things for spring 2015 that we are already counting the days until we can add the new styles to our shoe rotation. Here are the top 10 we are most excited for (in no particular order).
New Balance Fresh Foam Zante and Fresh Foam Boracay
After last season’s debut of the New Balance Fresh Foam 980, the brand has evolved the data-driven technology to two new styles: the Fresh Foam Zante and the Fresh Foam Boracay. This also marks the first time New Balance has given its shoes non-numerical names. The Boracay is the update to the 980v1. It has a wider forefoot for better tuned-for-you landings and is just a touch softer in the toe cap. And Fresh Foam gets fast in the Fresh Foam Zante. It’s built on a new last that makes it fit like a racing racing flat. It sits lower to the ground than the Boracay, even though its drop is 2 mm higher (6 mm for the Zante vs. 4 mm for the Boracay).
Brooks Launch 2
This runner favorite is back! Originally a discontinued style, the Launch launches again for spring 2015. The midsole will now use an injection-molded BioMoGo DNA cushioning compound (like is found in Brooks’ Pure series) for an adaptable cushioning experience. That means the more cushion you need, the more cushion you’ll get. Plus it’ll give you extra spring at toe-off. The lugs are deeper to give you even more spring in your stride, and the stack heights now clock in at 25 mm at the heel and 15 mm at the toes for a 10-mm drop.
Hoka One One Bondi 4
Hoka’s No. 1 selling shoe gets a face lift for spring 2015, and it sure is a beauty. The new upper is made of a Lycra material to keep it buttery smooth against your feet. The external and internal heel counters lend themselves to extra stability. The Bondi is the brand’s most plush, cushioned style, and with the fourth generation, things only get softer. With an all-new EVA midsole, feet stay happy and fresh for miles. The outsole pods are now more durable, and a padded tongue gives one more detail for comfort. Additionally, Hoka removed the speed lace system.
Altra Lone Peak 2.0
The Altra Lone Peak was the editor’s choice from Runner’s World in the fall of 2013, so you know the 2.0 has to be just as good—if not better. Version 2.0 sports StoneGuard technology to protect toes from rocks and knobby trails so you can run without trepidation. The outsole has the deepest lugs positioned at the highest impact areas to further amp up protection; plus there are follow-up “claws” near the front to help with descents. And like all Altra shoes, the style continues to use a foot-shaped toe box and zero-drop design.
The Zealot replaces the Cortana as the brand’s highly cushioned, neutral trainer. As part of the Iso-Series, the design features all the Isofit technologies. A dynamic fit system combines a soft inner sleeve and floating support cage to work with the shape and motion of your foot. The series also introduces PWRGrid cushioning, which is 20 percent more cushioning than standard midsoles. And the best part? The feel is anything but sloppy even with so much cush.
This new trail style was meant to get down and dirty. Mud runs? Check. Obstacle courses? Yup. This shoe can do it all. The upper is fully gusseted to keep your feet locked in place in addition to ensuring dirt and debris stay out. With the closed-mesh upper, after-race cleanup is a cinch. Plus, it makes the shoe water-resistant. And it’s impossible to miss the outsole. The lugs latch onto the ground to give you incredible grip while making sure mud doesn’t creep in and ruin your stride.
Salomon S-Lab X-Series
Salomon moves to the road with its first-ever road-specific style, the S-Lab X Series (there is a god!) The upper features two-way stretch Lycra to ensure that the shoe moves with the natural movements of your foot during the gait cycle. There is also ripstop fabric to give the shoe its immense durability. The X-Series is built on a racing last to keep you low to the ground and ready to move fast. Even still, it has enough cushion and traction to help you escape to the urban jungle without fault.
The North Face Ultra Cardiac
The Ultra Cardiac is the newest trail runner from The North Face. It’s a neutral design that has an exceptionally soft, smooth ride that is lightweight but still protective. The upper is made of The North Face’s Ultra Airmesh + Flashdry to keep things breathable and non-stuffy. The midsole is a single-density, compression-molded EVA to keep the feeling plush and smooth for a nice, consistent ride. And with the Vibram outsole, feel free to off-road it without losing any confidence.
The Breakthru is truly that for Saucony—a breakthrough. It’s Saucony’s lightest 8-mm-drop running shoe to date but sits lower to the ground than other styles in Saucony’s line-up. Powergrid rests under the heel for an incredibly responsive and smooth ride. Saucony introduces its Saucony Super Light (SSL) EVA that boasts enhanced durability without making the scale climb as a result.
ASICS Natural 33 Updates
ASICS adds three new styles to its Natural33 collection for spring 2015: the 33-M, 33-FA and 33-DFA. They use ASICS’ new foam, which has a springy rebound to it vs. ASICS’ gel that absorbs impact. The stack heights are higher (the 33-M gets up to 23 mm) , even though the drop is a more minimal 4 mm for all three styles. The midsole uses FluidAxis, found in other ASICS styles such as the Gel-Lyte33. This technology works to engage both the ankle joint and the subtalar joint, a crucial part of your stride because it controls side-to-side movement (i.e., pronation). The Natural33 last is extra roomy and oblique-shaped to keep feet comfortable and moving naturally.
Which styles are you itching to try?