Top 5 Best Running Shoes / Trainers for 10 Miles, Half-Marathon or Marathon (Saucony Kinvara 5, Adidas Boost 2, Newton Gravity 3, Nike Flyknit Racer & Asics GT 2000 review)

Earlier on this year I looked at the options for the best racing flats as I was focussing then on gaining even a 1% increase in time from a specialist racing shoe. I’m really pleased I went for the Newton MV3’s as they worked out perfectly and they’ve definitely contributed to the 5/10k PBs I’ve run this year. I’m now searching for the perfect running shoe for the longer distances of 10 miles, a half marathon or even the full marathon. Currently, I wear the Nike Lunarglide 5’s which I originally chose for their adaptive cushioning; I was having a bad time with my ankle/Achille’s and they came highly recommended. Now my situation has changed for two reasons, both of them relating to the racing flats that I now wear for shorter distances.

1) In wearing the more minimalist Newton MV3 racing flats, my ligaments/muscles/tendons have been forced to work as god intended them to, rather than how a cushioned shoe tells them. For a while this meant I was in agony before and after every run however over time, around one month, my body adapted to and even relished the more natural style. It was like a purge or going cold turkey – it really hurt to begin with but I was better for it in the long run (pardon the pun!) So whereas before, I had to think very carefully about the support offered by my running shoes so as not to irritate my ankle, I’m now fully healed and can focus on shoes that make me run fast.

2) Since running in a racing flats for the shorter distances, I’ve got used to the ‘ride’ offered by racing shoes and the lighter weight. In my racing flats I land on the mid-foot, roll quickly to my toes and push off at a faster cadence than before. When I now wear the heavily cushioned Lunarglides now it feels like I’m clip-clopping along from heel to flat forefoot and my Achille’s starts to ache. The Newton MV3 isn’t recommended for half/full marathons as it has a 0mm heel to toe drop and almost no cushioning. I’m looking now for the perfect balance between speed and comfort, erring on the side of speed and with some, but not excessive cushioning.

After much research and trying on of shoes, my top five racing shoes for longer distances are:

Saucony Kinvara 5 – 10mm Drop – Weight: 7.7oz

Now £83.95 from Wiggle

The Kinvara series has been around for a while now and it’s a model that I hear mentioned a lot by other runners – a proper ‘runner’s shoe’. The 10mm heel to toe drop is fine and not so high that you feel you’re balancing over the sole and with a weight of just 7.7oz the Kinvara 5’s are light enough.

In terms of aesthetics, the Kinvara 5’s look fast and come in a variety of colourways.

For this fifth generation, Saucony listened to feedback on durability issues as there were some that complained of the ‘4’ having a upper that was prone to tearing as well as easily worn tread on the outer sole. So the Kinvara 5 has a more flexible and durable mesh, enhanced EVA material in the mid sole and iBR rubber on the outer sole for longer lasting tread.

This is a serious contender for me.

Saucony Kinvara 5 running shoe

Adidas Adizero Adios Boost 2 – 10mm Drop – 8.74oz

£94.99 from Wiggle

The Boost technology is probably the most marketed mid sole in the history of running (ok Nike Air was pretty huge but that was basketball/Michael Jordan). In 2012/13 TV ad breaks and magazine pages were covered in promotional images of athletes rising higher off the ground due to this new foam mid sole. Every runner in the London Marathon 2013 wore a number over a #boost advert and at the marathon expo, we were treated to demonstrations of round balls dropping on to standard EVA foam vs Boost foam to show additional bounce from the Boost material.

Adidas Adios Boost 2 Running Shoes

But how to separate fact from fiction, advertising from real world experience? It;s also an assumption here that you want to bounce higher from your heel. Personally, I’ve been working on my technique and trying to not even let my heel touch the ground as all the Elite athletes run on their toes – a more natural running position.

However, there are many pro runners who swear by Adidas Boost. Dennis Kimetto, the brand new marathon world record holder at Berlin wore them, as does Steve Way, 100km Ultra running champion and former marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang as well. Having worn them myself I actually found the heel cushioning harder than the Nike Lunarglides. The difference for me was the bounciness in the mid to forefoot section which did add that welcome boost upon kick off.

Another option here is to go with the original Adidas Adios without the Boost tech. This was and still is widely used by bog standard runners and elites alike – Haile Gebrselassie was a great advocate.

The Boosts are a contender but expensive and not the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn…

Newton Gravity 3 – 3mm Drop – 9oz

I felt I should include Newton’s offering for longer distances given that this brand are my go to shoes for shorter races. The Newtons do force your body to adapt to a more natural ‘Newton’ way of running and this counts for every single shoe they make. I wouldn’t advise jumping straight into a half marathon race in these without first getting your legs used to them.

Newton Gravity 3 running shoe

Newton Gravity 3 running shoe

The Gravity 3 does look good and features five lugs on the forefoot which follow the contours of your feet/toes. It’s this P.O.P.1 system that makes it really hard to walk normally whilst wearing Newtons, but almost tips you forward when you start running.

The Newton Gravity would probably be a lot more appealing if it weren’t so expensive – £110 ($125).

Nike Flyknit Racer -10mm Drop – Weight 5.6oz

These are probably the only serious running shoes that you will also see non runners wearing due to Nike’s wide appeal and the fact that their shoes always look great (in my opinion). They’re light! Oh so light at 5.6oz and with the mega comfy and secure flyknit upper the fit feels like a second skin.

Nike Fly-knitted together

Nike Fly-knitted together

Price-wise these are the most expensive on the market at £130 when bought directly from the Nike website. Looks wise, they’re the best. Materials? Well they are of a very high quality and made from 80% recycled materials too. You know when you buy a pair of Nikes that many, many hours will have gone into research and development to ensure the best shoe for the best athletes. It’s just that you pay for all this at the counter.

Maybe more appealing once the price drops…

Asics GT 2000 – 10mm Drop – Weight: 11oz

£79.90 at Wiggle

The final running shoe on my shortlist is the Asics GT2000. My trail shoes are Asics (Gel Fuji Trainer2) and they have never fit me quite as well as my other shoes. It’s not a sizing issue, more that I can feel each and every contour of the inside of the shoe and so I vowed never to buy any again. Asics are such a highly regarded and widely used brand in running though, that I’d be a fool to not look at a model that comes highly recommended.

Asics GT 2000

The GT 2000 is a highly structured and supportive shoe for those who like the feel of a soft soled shoe. A few years ago I would have made it my mission to find the shoe with the most cushioning in order to soften the impact on my ankle, however this is not now the case. For this reason, plus the relative heaviness (nearly twice the weight of the Nikes) I think I’l be passing on the GT 2000 – I need a racer, not a bouncy castle.

If anyone has any experience with other great shoes for longer distances then I’d welcome your feedback and experiences!

Real Shoe Review: Ladies / Womans Newton MV3 Racing Flats / Trainers

After my purchase of a pair of mens Newton MV3 racing flats earlier this year, my wife (also a keen runner) saw how they helped improve my times – and wanted in!

Newton MV3 Racing flats

The ladies version of the MV3 is similar in structure and design to the male shoe, with a mesh upper and the forefoot lugs that have made Newton’s name. At 5.2 ounces, this trainer is certainly lightweight and the five lugs underfoot make for an awkward walk to the start line. These shoes really come into to their own when you up your speed and hit a higher cadence, the lugs almost pivoting you forwards with each fall of the foot. The midsole has a metatarsal sensor plate and Newtons ‘Action/Reaction technology in the midfoot. This makes you feel the urge to run fast as you are tipped forward and then flicked into even more forward/upwards motion. YOU CANNOT RUN SLOW IN THESE SHOES!

Newton MV3 ladies in situ

Newton MV3 ladies in situ

The lacing is actually pretty comfy and leads to a snug fit and the sizing – well I’m a size 9 and initially ordered a size 10 on the advice of Newton, however this came in way too big and I ended up sending it back and swapping for a size 9. Jem, my wife, wears a size 6 1/2 in her regular Brooks trainers so this was what she ordered and it fits like a glove!

The zero millimetre heel to toe drop feels strange at first, especially if you’ve been wearing heavily cushioned shoes and with the lugs on the front it almost feels as if the toe end is higher than the heel! For me it took a good few sessions and a few weeks of gradual build up to get used to wearing these zero drop Newtons – my Achilles and calves killed at the start. However this went after a while and it actually strengthened my Achilles which fixed a long term ankle issue I’d had! Jem on the other-hand wore her Newton MV3’s for the first time at Parkrun, which is a 5k race and they felt great from the start for her, with no aches or pains the next day. They do come with some heel inserts to raise the heel slightly and assist the transition to zero drop.

Order them direct from Newton here

 

 

Newton Ladies MV3 3

Newton Ladies MV3 3

Training: A Fast 5k and Newton MV3 Sizing Issues!

Tuesday arrived and with it the promise of a new pair of racing flats (more on those later) and an evening speed session on the track. Rushing in the door from work, whilst my wife rushed out the door to go to her running club I spotted a package with my name on!

New Shoes (Upset Number 1)

Taking out my gleaming new Newton MV3’s from the box, I brimmed with excitement as I felt their weight. So, so light and very minimal upper. I was advised by Newton to order a full size up from my usual 9, to a 10 which I duely did… And regretted. Slipping the Newtons on they instantly felt too big. Optimistically, I laced up the second shoe and mock-jogged and the house but there was definite slippage and so much space at the toe end, the show pinched my big toe with every take off. There was a good 2cm/half inch gap at the end of the trainer so reluctantly I put them back in the box to return them for a size 9. Width wise they felt perfect so I am slightly wary of how the 9s will feel here – watch this space!

Upset Number 2

The second disappointment of the day was rushing off to the track session and doing several warm up laps, before looking up and realising there wasn’t the usual smattering of people warming up. Realising it must have been cancelled I drove back home and headed out for a fast and furious 5k by myself! I’d just borrowed my dad’s Garmin heart monitor so my aim was to push to the limit and see what my maximum heart rate was.

I did 5k in 21 minutes (very hilly) and definitely got my heart rate to the max!

Next Training
10k this evening if I can fit it in!

Top 5 Racing Flats For Running in 2014 (Saucony A6, Nike Flyknit Racer, Newton MV3, Adidas Adizero Adios Boost & New Balance RC5000)

Top 5 Racing Flats – After a LOT of Research

As an ordinary Joe Runner I am often on the lookout for ways to improve my times other than the obvious HARD WORK!

As I’ve looked at in a previous post, racing flats may offer around a 1% increase in speed which although apparently trivial would make all the difference in my 5 and 10k races! Now I never purchase anything without first doing copious amounts of research into different manufacturers and models, reading reviews and comparing prices online.

I’ve recently spent so much time switching between tabs in my browser to compare the shortlisted trainers that I’d thought i’d be easier to list them all out here for all to see and to hopefully help save you the time I’ve spent looking!

1. Saucony A6 – Price £80 – Weight 144.6g

Wiggle: £80

Weight is all important when looking at which racing flat to choose and the Saucony A6 is VERY light – 5.1 oz / 144.6g. The upper is a water shedding, airy mesh that Saucony call FlexiFilm, which apparently sheds moisture and heat as you run.

There is a rubber outsole, a foam EVA midsole to add cushioning and drainholes in the sole that allow moisture to drain out through the bottom of the trainer. Some reviews I have read say this has the potential for gravel to get stuck in the holes and for water to actually leak IN through the soles.

One reviewer said these shoes BEG to go fast and that you can’t help but run faster in them due to the design!

In research the fit, it seems that the sizing of the A6 is spot on for most people with no requirement to size up or down a half or full size. Plus they look great – these are the ones I went for in the end, mainly due to the hugely positive review on Running Shoes Guru (my fave website!), but also because they come in at the mid range price of £80.

I found them cheapest in the UK and in stock at Wiggle. More on the Saucony blog

In Summary

One of the lightest shoes on the market, still has a slight heel to toe drop and competitively priced – these will be mine, oh yes, they will be mine.

Saucony A6

Saucony A6

http://blog.saucony.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/TypeA6_Outsole-570x380.jpg

Saucony A6 sole

 

Nike Flyknit Racer – Price £129.99 – Weight 159g

Now these shoes look good! They really are where fashion meets function and I think in the end that’s what swing my decision away from them. Well that and the price. These trainers are for sale on fashion sites like ASOS as well as your regular running shops. I’m no running snob (ok maybe I am) but for some reason I don’t trust a shoe that isn’t worn purely for performance.

It’s clear that the Flyknit technology is excellent and helps with the lightness and sock-like feel of the shoe, but all the different colourways make it seem too fashiony for my liking. Hell, they were launched at Milan Fashion Week! When you read the comments on the Nike website to get a feel for how they perform, it’s just a load of fashionistas commenting on the colours and look of the shoe – bleugh.

One thing this model does have going for it; these are Mo Farah’s go to shoes for the marathon distance

In Summary

I does look good, it’s very light and many reviews say that they are very comfortable, but for that price range I decided against.

Buy from Wiggle

Nike Flyknit Racer

 

Newton MV3 – Price £110 – Weight 5.4 oz (142.8g)

Newton call this ‘the lightest running shoe ever produced’ which, when looking at the others on this list holds true. My decision to get racing flats was kickstarted after running alongside someone who was wearing Newton MV2’s. Her running form was far better than mine and she swore blind it was all down to the technology in the Newtons, forcing her to strike on to her forefoot.

Newton MV3 Racing flats

Newton MV3 Racing Flats

Newton seem to have gained a reputation for taking a more scientific approach to show design and the majority of the innovation appears to be in the mid-sole. This is what it says on their website:

MIDSOLE

  • Second generation Action/ReactionTM technology in the midfoot
  • Biomechanical metatarsal sensor plate
  • High-rebound EVA
  • Met-flex enhanced midfoot flexibility
  • ETC anti-friction, antibacterial sock liner
  • Water drainage system
  • Optional 3mm lift included
  • Widened midfoot and filled toe area for greater stability

In Summary

I did seriously consider getting these as they are created precisely for what I need – a 5-10k racer. However, they have a zero millimetre drop which I think may be too much of a change from my Nike Lunarglide 5’s which have a large drop and lots of cushioning. These may be a shoe that I move on to once my joints have gotten used to running on racing flats.

Adidas Adios Boosts – Price £98.99 – Weight 220g (7.7oz)

Wiggle: £98.99 but regularly dropping in price since the Boost 2’s were released.

In comparison to the Newtons (0mm), these racers have a 10mm drop which seems very high for a racing flat. However this drop incorporates the Boost technology that Adidas have been heavily marketing recently.

At the pre-London Marathon expo Adidas had a display that had my son entranced… The floor of the left hand part of the display was  made from standard EVA foam, whereas the right hand floor was made from Adidas’ Boost foam. Over and over again a metal ball was dropped from a height of around 1 metre on to each of the surfaces, showing the resultant bounce. The Adidas Boost foam definitely made the ball bounce a lot higher. To what extent this translates to real world running I’m not sure. Steve Way, 100k World Champion and 2:16 London Marathoner is sponsored by Adidas and these are his shoe of choice.

Adidas Adizero Adios Boosts

Adidas Adizero Adios Boosts

In Summary

This is a nice looking shoe and the Boost technology is very appealing. However the high price and the fact that it’s not the lightest racing flat go against it. After owning Nike Lunarglide 4’s, I ordered a pair of Adidas Boosts in January this year but they were so uncomfortable a fit that I sent them straight back and opted for the Lunarglide 5’s.

New Balance RC5000 – Price £81.99 – Weight 3.2oz (85 grams)

Wiggle: £81.99

These shoes are an older model and are ridiculously light at just 3.2 ounces! They kind of disprove Newton’s assertion that they make the lightest running shoes ever! With a 6mm drop they are not too flat and not too high. With a super thin upper these are a true minimalist running shoes! Weight loss is found through the minimal cushioning in the midsole which may give a slightly harder ride but that’s the the compromise – heavier Adidas with lots of cushioning, or extremely light New Balance RC5000’s with less.

New Balance RC5000

New Balance RC5000

The sole also has rubber spikes which should give excellent adhesion to the road or track, saving micro-calories of energy through the lack of slippage on each take-off.

In Summary

Really light at 3.2 ounces, great grip and nowhere near as expensive as the Nikes?! These may actually be a contender for me.

If you use them, what’s your go-to racing flat?

MIDSOLE

  • Second generation Action/ReactionTM technology in the midfoot
  • Biomechanical metatarsal sensor plate
  • High-rebound EVA
  • Met-flex enhanced midfoot flexibility
  • ETC anti-friction, antibacterial sock liner
  • Water drainage system
  • Optional 3mm lift included
  • Widened midfoot and filled toe area for greater stability

– See more at: http://www.newtonrunning.co.uk/shop/men-running-shoes/newton-mv3-performance-racer-yellow.html#sthash.YnWne0Fs.dpuf

MIDSOLE

  • Second generation Action/ReactionTM technology in the midfoot
  • Biomechanical metatarsal sensor plate
  • High-rebound EVA
  • Met-flex enhanced midfoot flexibility
  • ETC anti-friction, antibacterial sock liner
  • Water drainage system
  • Optional 3mm lift included
  • Widened midfoot and filled toe area for greater stability

– See more at: http://www.newtonrunning.co.uk/shop/men-running-shoes/newton-mv3-performance-racer-yellow.html#sthash.YnWne0Fs.dpuf

Do Racing Flats Help You Run Faster?

One of my missions this year is to run a 5k PB and, ultimately, break the 18 minute mark for this distance.

As I was at the start line of Parkrun a couple of weeks ago, I overheard two speedy gents discussing one of their new ‘racing flats’. The guy who was wearing them swore blind that they were the reason for his 5k PB the week before…

So as ever, I like to investigate these things!

The first piece of info I found states:

“Multiple researchers have found that increasing shoe weight by 3.5 ounces increases oxygen uptake—the energy needed to run a certain speed—by about 1 percent. Translated, this means shaving 3.5 ounces off a pair of shoes is equivalent to increasing your run fitness by 1 percent.”

Ok great, so that means getting a lighter shoe will improve my time by one percent? What’s the use in that you might ask (as I did)?

Well think about all that training you do. I myself have been out training hard the last5 days straight to get an improvement on my times. I’ve been spending Sundays running miles and miles to achieve a better ‘core fitness’ as they say.

New Balance RC5000

New Balance RC5000

I think it’s actually pretty amazing that just by putting on a different pair of shoes, you could take time off your PB. If you’re currently running a 40 minute 10k then a 1% decrease in time equates to running your 10k 24 seconds faster. If you’ve been trying to crack a sub-40 10k for a while then this could be your answer! If I were to wear racing flats in my Parkrun then I could knock 11.4 seconds off my time. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ll take that! 11 seconds in a 5k is a HUGE amount.

Looking at the best racing flats, it appears that the New Balance RC5ooo (above) are pretty good. I prefer a trainer with a neutral ride so the Newton Energy NR also look good, gaining 5 stars on the highly regarded Running Shoes Guru site.

Newton Energy NR racing flats

Newton Energy NR racing flats

What Running Trainers/Shoes Do The Pro’s Like Mo Farah, Ricky Lightfoot, Haile Gabrselassie & Javier Gomez Wear?

4 Trainers For 4 Very Different Types of Run

If you’re one of the world’s greatest athletes like Mo Farah, then you’re going to wear the best trainers. There’s a reason why brands such as Nike fork out millions on sponsorships deals. An endorsement from a world class athlete is the best advertisement there is for your product. The sight of a World Championship or Olympic medalist training or racing in a pair of Nikes or Adidas gives no better evidence that a shoe does as better job than its competitors. Buy this trainer and you too could beat the marathon world record! Hmmm.

1. Track and Road Running
Mo Farah, World Champ and Olympic Double Winner Wears Nike Flyknit Lunar 2’s to train in.

Nike Flkyknit Lunar 2

Nike Flyknit Lunar 2

Mo Farah's Nike Flyknit Lunar 2 trainers

Mo recently tweeted a picture of himself training with the new Nike Flyknit Lunar 2’s.

They feature Nike’s Dynamic Flywire tech for extra comfy fit and the now well established ‘Lunarlon’ foam sole for cushioning. I have a pair of Nikes with Lunar foam and they are delish to run on. This Flyknit Lunar 2’s are out in the US tomorrow and hopefully the UK soon!

 

 

UPDATE: In the London Marathon 2014, Mo was wearing some Nike Flyknit Racers

Mo Farah Nike Flyknit Racers London Marathon

Mo Farah running the London Marathon 2014 in Nike Flyknit Racers

2. Trail Running
Ricky Lightfoot, World Trail Championship 2013 Winner Wears Salomon Speedcross 3’s and Salomon S-Lab Fellcross’s

£75.99 from Wiggle

Both of these shoes are purpose built for running fast over difficult terrain. Ricky hails from Cumbria in the UK, well known for it’s hills and climbs and as a pro trail runner he was most recently the winner of the World Championships in Wales in 2013. Sponsored by Salomon, he wears the Salomon Speedcross 3’s and the Fellcross.

Salomon Speedcross 3 and S-Lab Fellcross

Salomon Speedcross 3 and S-Lab Fellcross

3.Triathlon
Javier Gomez, Gold at the ITU World Triathlon Series 2013 – Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0

Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0

Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0

A lot of people in the UK have heard of the Brownlee brothers after Alistair Brownlee won Gold at the London Olympics Triathlon event in 2012. The winner of last year’s series was Javier Gomez. He has worked directly with a company called Zoot to create the Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 which he wears to race in. They are light and feature ‘Tri-dry’ technology for a quick dry out from wet feet.

 

4. Marathon Running Shoes
Haile Gabrselassie, Many, Many Titles – Adidas Adizero Adios

The new Adidas Adi Boosts are £94.99 from Wiggle

Adidas Adizero Adios trainers

Adidas Adizero Adios trainers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haile Adidas Adios

Haile wearing the original Adidas Adios

 

 

 

Haile Gabrselassie is a legend of middle and long distance running. In 2008 aged 35, he broke HIS OWN world record at the Berlin Marathon

with a world record time of 2:03:59. He’s run 5k in 12:39 and 10k in 26:22 which, quite frankly is superhuman in my opinion!

So what shoes does he wear? Well he’s an Adidas sponsored athlete, seen recently promoting their ‘Boost’ trainers. However, when he broke the marathon world record, it was whilst wearing Adidas Adizero Adios. When Patrick Makau broke the word record in 2011, it was at the same Berlin Marathon and he was wearing…these trainers!

They look like racers but have the cushioning that some heel strikers prefer. Nice and light they won’t ruin your cadence and the ‘torsion bar’ through the middle of the sole makes for a smooth transition from landing to take off.

The best running shoe prices are from Wiggle in my experience