I'll admit I'm not a neutral runner. As I wrote about in the last post, I've over pronated during every stride of every run over the past 20 years. So for this post I polled many runners and called dozens of running stores to get their opinion: what are the best running shoes for neutral runners (meaning, for the uniformed, those who land with their arch rolling ever so slightly inward with every stride). From the data we collected, we present the best men's running shoes for neutral runners.
Want the best of the Brooks Ghost and the Saucony Kinvara? This is your shoe. Ok, it's not cheap and the Ghost and Kinvara (it's basically their costs combined). But the Energy Boost allows for an unbelievably cushioned, bouncy, and smooth ride that can take immense pounding on the roads. The upper is made up a very breathable, stretchy material, the midsole is made from Adidas' signature Boost technology, and the outsole has a grippy feel to help you on both track and trails. Nothing we've tried has felt as glove-like as these shoes and this was the top choice for many running store owners across the country. We can't recommend these shoes enough. The heel-to-toe drop is 9 mm, the weight is around 10oz, and you can get around 600 miles in Energy Boost.
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The least expensive shoe on this list is also perhaps the best. The Saucony Kinvara—now on model number seven—is light, fast, and comfortable. Utilizing Saucony's PowerGrid technology in the underfoot (which evenly distributes pressure) and FlexFilm for the external foot (allowing for mobility), this shoe is designed to fit around your foot as comfortably as possible. Although you can certainly use the Kinvara for the daily run, the best thing about this shoe is that it seemingly propels you forward, making any speed session easier. Weighing only 7.8oz and with a heel-to-toe drop of 4mm, you feel the responsiveness of this shoe with every stride. The lone downside of the Kinvara is its durability: we wouldn't recommend getting more than 400 miles in these shoes.
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The Brooks Ghost is about as reliable as running shoes get. The bestselling neutral running shoe for most running stores across the country, the Brooks Ghost has it all: amazing cushioning, absurdly great fit, light feel, and solid traction. The BioMoGO DNA midsole helps adapt your foot to the run and the waffle rubber underneath means you can wear it in the winter snow, the summer dryness, or even during trail running. It has an 10mm heel-to-toe drop and you can get through around 500 miles in this shoe. There's just nothing bad about the Ghost… it's a wonderful trainer for nearly every run.
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Now in its 19th version, this neutral trainer is a best seller across the country for a reason. And, with the exception of a misguided 17th version, Mizuno has built a consistent winner. For one, it has insane durability: thanks to the wave plate that sits underneath the body of the shoe, the Rider can withstand an extreme amount of pounding before needing to be replaced. And even though it has a reputation of feeling firm, newer version are quite cushioned and, shockingly, quite light at 9.5oz. We'd probably have made this number one, but it does run a tad narrow. The Wave Rider has a 12 mm heel-to-toe drop and can handle about 600 miles of road running.
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LetsRun.com, the popular running news and message board site, recently polled their users and found that the Nike Pegasus was the most popular running shoe among respondents. That shouldn't come as a surprise. The commercially successful Nike Pegasus is in its 32nd incarnation. That makes it not only the sports behemoth's longest continually produced running shoe, but Nike's longest continually produced shoe, period. There's a reason for the shoe's ardent following: for the neutral runner, this is a fantastic daily trainer. It has a solid amount of cushioning, an upper made out of Nike's Dynamic Flywire, and it feels hyper responsive. Around 10oz in weight and with a heel-to-toe drop of 10mm, this classic can withstand around 450 miles of pounding before you need a replacement.
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We said the Glycerin was soft? Let's talk about the Asics Nimbus. As the name implies, this shoe gives the impression that you're stepping on a cloud with each stride. To continue the soft analogy, the midsole feels like a pillow; the sides like a marshmallow. There's just so much padding on this uber comfortable shoe that taking it off after a first try on is difficult. The real downside is that, like the Glycerin, it feels clunky for anything fast. Unsurprisingly, the shoe is a tad heavy at 11.4oz. It has a heel-to-toe drop of 10mm and, thanks to the gel padding, you can easily run 550 miles in these.
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Another premium neutral shoe, the Brooks Glycerin is a top seller for many running stores across the country. Brook's Super DNA midsole makes every stride feel extra plush and the rounded heel allows the shoe to feel more like a soft sock than a traditional sneaker. The real downer for the Brooks Glycerin is that it feels heavy, making anything fast feel more difficult than it should. The shoe has a 10mm heel-to-toe drop and weighs 11.5 oz for men's size 9.
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The 1080 is New Balance's premium neutral shoe, meaning it's plusher and has more technical feature than a standard neutral running shoe. The latest version - v6 - features New Balance's Fresh Foam, a responsive, durable, and lightweight midsole that New Balance has begun integrating across its shoe line. With a light mesh upper, the shoe has plenty of breathability and the latest version, even with the cushion, only weighs around 10oz. The shoe is great for long distances and for the runner who wants a shoe that doesn't weigh you down. The 1080 has an 8mm heel-to-toe drop and the average runner can run around 500 miles in the shoe.
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The original "minimalist" shoe from a major brand, the Nike Free 5.0 is flexible, light, and looks great. The shoe fits like a sock: it has a seamless, flywire upper, a midfoot saddle to provide a close fit, and has plenty of flexibility thanks to its grooved outsole. In the newest versions, the shoe weighs 7.6 oz, has an 8 mm heel-to-toe drop, and has a Phylon, full-length midsole that ads cushioning. However, I wouldn't recommend trying to get more than 350 miles out of these shoes—the Free 5.0 just isn't durable.
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The everyday neutral trainer from Saucony has, like its stability counterpart the Guide, everything you need and nothing you don't. It has plenty of cushion for road runs, a great upper (the newest, 8th version, has Seamless FlexFilm overlays), and carbon rubber outsole to take the pounding. The Ride has an 8mm heel-to-toe drop, weighs around 9.7 oz for men's size 9, and can get through around 500 miles on the road.
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