4 running shoes reviewed

Adidas Adizero Feather 2.0 Running

(Photo by Ariel Zambelich/Wired)

Hitting the streets to get fit by spring? We review four new specialty sneakers for runners.

Adidas Adizero Feather 2.0 Running

Adidas' Adizero Feather 2.0 runners are so light (barely 7 ounces) and so responsive, running in them feels more like bouncing on fluffy clouds than pounding on pavement. OK, I'm exaggerating, but I was really blown away by the light weight when I took them out on long-distance runs. So effective was the feather-weight design on a 5-mile outing, I could actually notice the reduced effort in my legs.

The shoe is topped with a barely-there breathable mesh that runs from the toes all the way back to the heel. Ventilation is therefore excellent, with a constant flow of cool air delivered directly to your piggies. And, unlike most shoes that make use of fancy, lightweight materials, they're actually quite sturdy.

These sneaks are compatible with Adidas' miCoach data reporting system and its companion apps. So if you already have a miCoach Speed_Cell sensor, just lift up the shoe's insert and pop it in (You can also attach the sensor to your laces). The sensor can be synced with your iPhone to track your speed, acceleration, distance, and pace during runs.

The only problem is that the miCoach system needs some work, including the inconsistent syncing and the iPhone app's interface. If you're used to the Nike+ app, you'll be struggling to work your way through using Adidas' lesser creation. That said, it's an add-on to the shoe and not a primary feature, so miCoach's shortcomings don't detract from the sneaker's quality.

WIRED Obscenely light at only 7 ounces. Flexible mesh upper keeps your tootsies cool and dry. Durable, despite the lightweight design. miCoach-compatible for tracking your runs. Great styling. Affordable at $115. Men's and women's versions.

TIRED If you're not into light shoes, these aren't for you. The miCoach system needs a lot of work -- it's adequate, but could be so much better.

(See more: Stylish workout clothes)

Under Armour UA Spine RPM

(Photo by Ariel Zambelich/Wired)

Under Armour UA Spine RPM

As the name would imply, the design of Under Armour's sneaker is modeled after the human spine. Flip over the UA Spine RPM ($80, men and women) so its sole is facing up, and you can definitely see the dorsal inspiration -- the sole is a stylized vertebral column with a small channel running down the middle. This "spine" does give the shoe a very supportive feel (the primary intention of the design) while also allowing a great deal of flexibility in the toebox and midfoot.

In my tests, the shoe remained somewhat rigid while also being incredibly comfortable. A foam in the chassis provides the rebound needed to cushion those pounding steps. During runs on both the treadmill and the pavement, footfalls were cushioned, but the springiness at the start of the next step wasn't too pronounced.

The fit is superb, mostly thanks to the molded foam sockliner and collar. Your foot goes in, the Spine conforms to its shape, and it stays put. A mesh upper keeps the foot cool and allows it to breath. It's flexible, but it still feels really durable -- something I'd expect from a company that got its start making technical athletic apparel. Under Armour has clearly taken the knowledge it's collected creating comfortable clothing and applied it to its footwear.

WIRED As comfy as your favorite pair of wool-lined slippers. Molded foam insert and sockliner conform exactly to your foot. Breathable and cool. Sleek design, attractive color scheme.

TIRED Slightly heavy at 9.7 ounces. The company's claim of "explosive" rebounding performance from the spine-like design is definitely exaggerated.

Reebok ZigTech Shark

(Photo by Peter McCollough/Wired)

Reebok ZigTech Shark

If the UA Spine RPM and the ZigTech Shark ($100, men and women) were to battle it out using only their supreme comfort as their weapons, the Spine would probably win, but the outcome would be so close that they'd both end up bloodied and beaten.

Reebok's spongy, zig-shaped sole makes an exemplary shock absorber, while also providing the necessary rebound needed to keep your legs moving. The unique sole design also allows for additional flexibility that outdoes the normal "flat" sole you'll find on typical running shoes. The secret here is the way the sole material is cut -- a 20-degree backward angle is applied to the tread along the sole, so that when it's viewed from the side, it looks like the teeth of a shark (Get it?). This helps the shoes to bend more easily for better-than-average flex.

I took my Sharks out on the pavement and on the trail, and they held up well in both situations. I definitely felt a difference in both the cushion and responsiveness of the sole when rebounding.

Like many other current running sneakers, the Shark's upper is constructed mostly of breathable mesh. My personal favorite thing about the ZigTech Shark, however, is the so-soft-I-want-to-rub-it-on-my-face upper lining that runs along the tops of the heel, collar, and tongue. I didn't even feel the need to wear socks with these bad boys.

WIRED Ridiculously comfortable. Extra-flexy sole. Nice color choices. Inner lining is soft and supple enough to earn a nod from George Costanza. You could very well wear these without socks if you don't mind a little stinkiness.

TIRED The ZigTech design is a love-it-or-hate-it gamble. Some will find the sole too spongy, soft, and flexible. Not for fans of more rigid shoes.

Newton Gravity

(Photo by Ariel Zambelich/Wired)

Newton Gravity

These road trainers from Newton (the company also makes a trail version) incorporate a little gimmick to help you improve your running form -- each shoe has four external actuator lugs that sit under your forefoot on the bottom of the sole. They provide a lever-lift motion during each step: your foot lands, you push through the step, and your foot rebounds off the surface, infusing the beginning of each new stride with a burst of energy. You're not going to be bouncing off the pavement like you're jumping on the moon or anything, but it is designed to give you a little more pep in your step.

So, do the weird little knobs on the bottom of the shoe work? Meh. You can certainly feel them there when running, and they do, in fact, help absorb the shock of landing. But I never felt that Flash-like bolt of energy coursing through my body on the rebound. The feel and action of the lugs will take a little bit of getting used to (especially if you've been running in more typical running shoes for years), so that's something to consider.

The bigger downsides: the insane price tag ($175) and the fact that, despite being lighter than some of the shoes in this roundup (just over 9 ounces), they felt heavier and clunkier than all the others because of the added bulk.

WIRED Excellent way to improve your running form. Very breathable. Great flexibility. Once you adapt, the "Land-Lever-Lift" system is barely noticeable. Beginners can use them to develop good running form, while experienced runners already familiar with the Newton system will benefit, too.

TIRED That $175 price tag...phew! Adds a slight spring to your stride that takes some getting used to. Extra hardware in the sole makes them feel heavier than their 9 ounces. Heel is on the hard side.

More from WIRED:

8 Must-Have iPad Accessories

Why Products Break

11 Body Parts Defense Researchers Will Use to Track You

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Mariah Carey’s Rep Confirms Star’s Split From Billionaire Fiance James Packer After Fight in Greece: Read the Statement

      Mariah Carey’s rep confirmed that the star split from her billionaire fiance, James Packer, after a fight in Greece — see the statement

      Us Weekly
    • This photo of a dog with a mouthful of ladybugs is freaking out pet owners

      The photo that Kansas veterinarian Lindsay Mitchell posted to Facebook looked so unreal and disturbing that some who saw it went right to the hoax-busting website Snopes to verify it. But that didn’t stop the photo from being shared more than 53,000 times since it went up last week. Mitchell, of Hoisington, Kan., posted a graphic picture of a dog with a mouthful of Asian lady beetles. Ladybugs aren’t so cute when 30 to 40 of them are stuck to the roof of a dog’s mouth. “This is the second pup I have seen like this today. If your pet is drooling or foaming at the mouth look for these lady bugs. They cause ulcers on the tongue and mouth and have a very painful bite,” she wrote on the Hoisington

      The Charlotte Observer q
    • Blac Chyna Speaks Out on Reports She Cheated on Rob Kardashian With Pilot Jones

      LAPD confirmed to ET on Thursday that Kardashian was being investigated for allegedly threatening Jones.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Russell Wilson's injuries are even worse than we thought

      First, on the knee injury, Wilson told Seattle media he wasn’t supposed to play for four weeks. Wilson, with the help of a live-in therapist, never missed a game. Wilson has a pectoral injury he’s dealing with.

      Shutdown Corner
    • Trump Suggests Canceling Election

      "What are we having it for?" he asked a crowd in Ohio.

      ABC News q
    • Uber and Lyft drivers share the 17 things they wish passengers would stop doing

      Driving for a ride-hailing app like Uber or Lyft is a bit of a gamble. Earnings can vary significantly from one hour to the next, and then there's the question of who exactly is getting into their car. On some occasions, drivers can have genuine conversations with complete strangers. But, then, of course, they also come across their fair share of stinkers. To find out which passenger behaviors rub drivers the wrong way, we asked them to chime in. Here are 17 annoying things you should probably stop doing right now: Leaving one-star reviews for no reason "One thing that might surprise people about the job is that even a four-star rating is bad. The whole system is set up so anything less than

      Business Insider q
    • VIDEO: Man pistol whips scary clown prankster in California

      A video showing a man dressed as a clown scaring random people in Northern California has gone viral after one man pistol whipped the prankster.

      KABC – Los Angeles
    • Ex-Secret Service officer behind Clinton tell-all planning defamation suit

      A former Secret Service officer who published an explosive tell-all from his days guarding the Bill and Hillary Clinton White House is planning to file a defamation lawsuit against his detractors, The Post has learned. A lawyer for Gary Byrne, whose book “Crisis of Character: A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They Operate,” has sent notices to Media Matters for America and David Brock informing them that he intends to file suit. “Officer Byrne will bring legal action against you, in your personal capacity, and against Media Matters,” a lawyer for the former Secret Service officer wrote to Brock, a loyal Clinton ally and the founder

      New York Post q
    • Transgender Model Stuns in Bathing Suit on the Cover of ELLE Brazil

      Models getting their own magazine cover these days is rare (Karlie Kloss might be pretty but the Kardashians sell copies), but Valentina Sampaio fronts ELLE Brazil’s November issue. Sampaio, who wears a blue bathing suit and a Burberry coat in the shot, made waves when she came out as a trans woman on International Women’s Day through a video for L’Oreal Paris for which she is an ambassador. “It comes from the soul.” She goes 2016’s Women’s Day was officially her first, Sampaio’s cover is not without precedent.

      Yahoo Style
    • What Will Happen to Mariah Carey’s Ring from James Packer?

      If the news of Mariah Carey’s split from James Packer is permanent, there are some very important custody arrangements to work out. Who gets to take the jet to her children’s sports games and performances?

    • You Won’t Believe How Excited Dreadlock is When He Learns He’s Adopted

      10/26/2016 Posted by When almost 10-year-old Dreadlock came to the Soi Dog Foundation  four years ago, with horrible skin problems and a matted, filthy coat that rendered his moniker, he probably never imagined his life could get any better than being safe at the rescue. Known for being a cuddler, the typically laid-back dog was usually quiet, but surprised everyone when a volunteer shared with Dreadlock he would soon be on the way to his new forever home in the United Kingdom. The Soi Dog Foundation does remarkable work, saving  Thailand’s dogs and cats that have been neglected or abused.  While many of the animals stories will never be known, in coming to Soi Dog, they are given hope, love,

      Life With Dogs q
    • Kim Kardashian Concierge Reveals New Robbery Details: ‘They Weren’t There for Jewels’

      ET sits down exclusively with the concierge during Kim Kardashian's robbery, who recalls the terrifying events of Oct. 3.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Tim Tebow answered Stephen A. Smith's dumb question with a riveting inspirational speech

      Hate on Tim Tebow all you want, but there’s no denying he’s one of the most motivational guys in sports — period. On Tuesday he appeared with Stephen A. Smith on First Take and dropped the best speech you’ll hear all week. When he was criticized for taking a long shot at making an MLB roster, Tebow dropped the hammer.

      SB Nation q
    • An Illinois GOP senator sniped at his Democratic opponent's heritage during a debate

      Republican Sen. Mark Kirk sniped at his Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth by...

      Business Insider
    • The new MacBook Pro looks and feels so good it's unreal

      The new MacBook Pro is here — literally available for preorder today — and I’ve just tried it. The best thing I can say about is simple: everything about it looks and feels so good I almost didn’t believe it.We’ll start with the marquee feature, the Touch Bar. What you might not have gathered from the keynote is that it has a matte finish, which makes the buttons on it somehow feel a little more physical. It’s bright, but not so bright that it distracts — it seems to be about on par with the brightness of the backlit keyboard.

      The Verge q
    • Tomb of Christ opened for the first time in centuries

      Researchers have uncovered the original surface of what is traditionally considered the tomb of Jesus Christ in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The tomb's surface had been covered by a thick layer of marble, according to an exclusive by National Geographic. "The marble covering of the tomb has been pulled back, and we were surprised by the amount of fill material beneath it," said Fredrik Hiebert, archaeologist-in-residence at the National Geographic Society working at the site.

      International Business Times UK q
    • Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen predicted the election 15 years ago

      It’s a little-known fact, but once upon a time 15 years ago, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen had a lifestyle magazine. The publication,…

      Hello Giggles
    • The Best Gifts for Adventure Travelers (15 photos)

      Whether youre hiking up Everest or through the local national park , there is so much to experience while venturing through unknown terraina pointyour beloved summit-seeking friend has reminded you a million times. This holiday season givethe adventurers in your lifesomething they can use on their journeybackpacks, sleeping bags, and growlersand a promise to jointhem on an adventure later in the year. This year, Travel + Leisure is offering its most comprehensive gift guide ever. The goal? Make sure you can find the perfect present for everyone (yes, evenyour mother-in-law ) on your list. Below, our picks for outdoor enthusiasts:

    • Mariah Carey 'dumped' by billionaire fiance James Packer but keeping $10m engagement ring

      The fairytale may be over for Mariah Carey and her fiance James Packer with reports claiming the couple have split. The Australian businessman is alleged to have ended his 10-month engagement to the US pop star due to her extravagant spending in the midst of their wedding preparations. Packer, 48, proposed to Carey, 46, in January 2016 after almost a year of dating and presented the Grammy-winning singer with a $10m (£8.1m) engagement ring which he is reportedly allowing her to keep.

      International Business Times ONC UK q
    • Amazon's $99 Prime problem

      The e-tailer's weaker earnings highlight the dilemma it faces with a capped $99 annual fee. But it's looking to boost subscriptions elsewhere.

      CNET q