4 running shoes reviewed

Wired
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

Recommended for You

  • Things You Should Never Buy at Aldi

    Haven't shopped at an Aldi supermarket yet? After steadily expanding its footprint in the eastern part of the country over the past 40 years - the first U.S. store opened in Iowa in 1976 - Aldi is now adding locations in Southern California. There are few shelves, few employees and none of the amenities you've come to expect from the likes of Wegmans or Whole Foods.

    Kiplinger
  • One by one, 3 utility workers descended into a manhole. One by one, they died.

    When a utility worker in Key Largo, Fla., noticed that a section of a paved street was not settling properly, he decided to remove a manhole cover and descend into the earth. Moments later on Monday morning, the 15-foot-deep hole went silent. Sensing the man was trapped, a fellow utility worker climbed into the drainage hole to rescue him. When he, too, stopped responding, a third worker entered the same hole. All three men died, overcome by poisonous fumes underground, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. A Key Largo firefighter who made a desperate attempt to save the men also became unconscious within seconds. The firefighter, Leonardo Moreno, an eight-year veteran of the

    Washington Post q
  • Ex-Amazon employee and start-up CEO shares a surprising trick for getting ahead at work

    Manuel Medina noticed that high-level Amazon executives all shared a specific skill.

    CNBC.com q
  • Boeing has an updated F-18 in the works — here's how it's 'comparable' to the F-35

    President-elect Donald Trump caused a genuine uproar in the combat-aviation community when he...

    Business Insider
  • Rare photos of Betty White you've likely never seen (25 photos)

    Happy birthday, Betty White! Our favourite Golden Girl turns 95 on Jan. 17 — and she’s certainly come a long way. White officially holds the record for the longest TV career for any female entertainer. In honour of her birthday, click through the gallery to see some rare, vintage photos captured earlier in her career. Let us know what you think by tweeting @ YahooStyleCA!

    Yahoo Canada Style
  • ‘Dance Moms’ Abby Lee Miller Wants No Jail Time In Fraud Case; Feds Disagree

    Just two days before the first part of Abby Lee Miller’s sentencing in her multi-million dollar fraud and illegal currency import cases, the Dance Moms host is insisting that the hiding of over $800,000 was all because she became too famous too fast. Miller is also saying she never hurt anyone, she’s been humiliated publicly and she doesn’t deserve to be put behind bars –  though the feds really don’t see it that way. “Ms. Miller respectfully requests that the Court impose a non-custodial sentence after considering her acceptance of responsibility and the nature and characteristics of her conduct and her life,” say Miller’s lawyers in a sentencing memorandum submitted in federal court on Tuesday. “Indeed, upon proper analysis, Ms. Miller submits that a sentence of probation would be entirely consistent with the advisory Sentencing Guidelines,’ the paperwork by Robert Ridge and Brandon Verdream of Pittsburgh firm Clark Hill asserts.

    Deadline Hollywood q
  • To be or not to be a first lady: Melinda Henneberger

    There are lots of ways to do the job. Or, as Melania Trump is showing, to not do it at all. After Donald Trump’s inauguration this week, his wife, Melania, will return home to their gilded penthouse in New York — leaving much of the work traditionally associated with the unpaid and often thankless role of first lady to her stepdaughter Ivanka. Of course, the full-time non-job of chief hostess and domestic diplomat has been evolving ever since Martha Washington held it. She complained in a letter to her niece that "I think I am more like a state prisoner than anything else, there is certain bounds set for me which I must not depart from." Asked during a joint appearance with Laura Bush in Tanzania

    USA Today q
  • Steve Harvey Confronts Seth Meyers About Those ‘SNL’ Impressions

    Steve Harvey Confronts Seth Meyers About Those ‘SNL’ Impressions

    Superfan TV
  • Take a peek inside the most expensive home for sale in the US

    A 38,000-square-foot mansion in Bel Air, California, is poised to become the most expensive home for sale in the U.S. at $250 million.

    CNBC
  • Teen Abducted as a Newborn, in First Interview, Defends Alleged Kidnapper Who Raised Her

    ( function() {var func = function() {var iframe_form = document.getElementById('wpcom-iframe-form-bbba73581ee368ad45b1eb1c509f4cea-587f827e3ecd7');var iframe = document.getElementById('wpcom-iframe-bbba73581ee368ad45b1eb1c509f4cea-587f827e3ecd7');if ( iframe_form && iframe ) {iframe_form.submit();iframe.onload = function() {iframe.contentWindow.postMessage( {'msg_type': 'poll_size','frame_id': 'wpcom-iframe-bbba73581ee368ad45b1eb1c509f4cea-587f827e3ecd7'}, window.location.protocol + '//wpcomwidgets.com' );}}// Autosize iframevar funcSizeResponse = function( e ) {var origin = document. ...

    People
  • Toddler who died of brain injuries had ‘thug life’ written on his stomach, authorities say

    Eighteen-month-old Ares Baroz had been bleeding in his brain and had fractures on his skull, legs and shoulder area when he died the day before Thanksgiving, court records say. Last week, prosecutors revealed new information that they say could shed some light into the boy’s life at home. A picture found on his mother’s cellphone shows Ares with the words “thug life” scribbled in black Sharpie across his tiny stomach, Assistant District Attorney Susan Stinson told The Washington Post. A fake tattoo and the word “loco” can be seen on his forehead. It’s unclear when the pictures were taken or whether they were somehow connected to the boy’s injuries. But his mother, 27-year-old Miranda Rabago,

    Washington Post q
  • Amazon wins patent for Treasure Truck as it makes plans to expand beyond Seattle

    If you’re thinking about building a knockoff of Amazon’s Treasure Truck, the funky delivery vehicle for flash deals ranging from cameras to candy, consider yourself warned: The design is now patented. The patent was issued today, covering the ornamental design for the heavily modified Isuzu cab-over truck. The truck is typically stocked several times a month with one or two types of discounted goodies and makes deliveries to a few locations in the Seattle area. The Treasure Truck been compared to an ice cream truck for grownups: Amazon app users can get alerts about the deals on their smartphones, but once all… Read More

    GeekWire
  • 10 Exercises That Will Take Inches From Your Waistline

    Looking to make some serious reductions to the inches on your waistline, and ultimately lose weight? These exercises will get you started.

    The Cheat Sheet q 52 min ago
  • Soulja Boy Dumps Floyd Mayweather As He Announces He's Fighting Chris Brown In March

    Soulja Boy is either really hurting for cash or he really hates Chris Brown with a burning passion. Big Draco just announced that his boxing match is no longer being promoted by Floyd Mayweather because they’re not moving quick enough to get the fight going. Soulja Boy took to Twitter and voiced his displeasure working with Money May while also revealing the big Soulja Boy vs. Chris Brown bout is going down this March.

    UPROXX
  • This Is What a $250 Million House Looks Like

    As a glut of mega-homes hits the L.A. market, developers are taking it up a notch.

    Bloomberg q
  • Zillow Put a Price Tag on the White House and It’s Not Cheap

    This article originally appeared on time.com/money President-elect Donald Trump would get a near $300 million upgrade by moving into the White House. The value of the home has risen roughly 15% since President Barack Obama and his family moved in eight years ago. “President-elect Trump is moving into one of the most famous homes in the country—and, according to Zillow, it’s also the most valuable home in the country,” said Zillow Chief Marketing Officer Jeremy Wacksman in a statement .

    People
  • Deadly waves sweep father, son out to ocean, show dangers

    SALEM, Ore. (AP) — One moment, Jayson Thomas was on the Oregon beach with his 3-year-old son. The next, they were gone, swept away by a "sneaker wave" as his wife looked on.

    Associated Press
  • Teacher Pregnant by Student Gets 10 Years in Jail

    Alexandria Vera, 24, pleaded guilty last year to aggravated sexual assault of a child and was hoping to avoid prison and just get probation.

    Cosmopolitan
  • Chrissy Teigen Basically Goes Pantless

    Upon first look, it seems that Chrissy Teigen lived out everyone’s recurring worst nightmare on Monday: leaving home without any pants on. Phew, don’t scare us like that, Chrissy!

    Yahoo Style
  • Why Shahs of Sunset’s Reza Farahan Begged Producers to Cut One Scene to Save His Life

    Reality TV is not often a matter of life and death, but in the case of Shahs of Sunset‘s Reza Farahan, there was one instance where he felt it was. Speaking at the NATPE Television conference in Miami, the real estate agent and Bravo star detailed an instance where he begged producers to cut a scene — and they complied. “Once I said something about Ayatollah Khomeini,” the real estate agent recalled of the moment.

    People