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

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

    • Kim Jong Un’s Wife Makes First Public Appearance In Months

      Ri Sol-ju was last seen in public on March 28 this year and her absence had sparked rumors of pregnancy while some said she may have had a serious falling out with the North Korean leader.

      International Business Times
    • Dear Abby: As his mother, wife feud, he must take a side

      DEAR ABBY: I am a happily married man with one problem that doesn’t go away. I convinced my wife, “Ellen,” to move to Florida so we could be close to my family, but now she doesn’t trust them because of an altercation she had with my mother. Ellen says Mom made negative comments about her and lied about it. My intention was for everyone to come together as a family, but now I feel I must decide whether I can be a part of the family. If I do, my wife feels I am saying it’s OK for my family to hurt her. If I don’t, I’ll feel I’m missing out on spending time with them. Ellen no longer wants anything to do with my family and wants them to apologize. It has been a rough four years being trapped in

      Chicago Sun-Times q
    • Three Drunks on Train Harass Woman in Hijab, Commuters Do Nothing

      New York City police are seeking more information about men who harassed a young woman in a hijab on the subway this week. Yasmin Seweid, an 18-year-old business student, was verbally harassed by the men as she waited for a train on the platform, according to the New York Daily News. The three men were reportedly yelling “Trump” and called Seweid a terrorist as they followed her onto a 6 train in New York City’s east side.

      Yahoo Style
    • Inside the Alleged Abduction of California Mom Sherri Papini

      Keith Papini details what happened before his wife was found alive.

      ABC News q
    • 50 Cent on Kanye West’s Breakdown: ‘You Could See That Coming’

      While many found Kanye West‘s breakdown and hospitalization shocking, fellow rapper 50 Cent says he actually wasn’t too surprised. “That was interesting because I kind of felt like you could see that coming,” 50 Cent said on the topic during a Watch What Happens Live appearance, Thursday. 50 Cent, 41, appeared on the New York City-filmed Bravo talk show with actress Leah Remini.

      People
    • Muslim teen verbally attacked on NYC subway

      NEW YORK -- New York City police are looking for three men who taunted a Muslim woman aboard a subway train, yelling “Donald Trump” and calling her a terrorist.  Yasmin Seweid, 18, was still shaken by the traumatic train ride, CBS New York reports.  Around 10 p.m. Thursday, she got on the 6 train at East 23rd Street and Park Avenue after leaving a school event at Baruch College. “I heard them talk, but I had my headphones in, I wasn’t really listening, I had a long day. And they came closer and I distinctly heard them saying, ‘Donald Trump,’” she said. Seweid said she was then verbally attacked by the three drunk, white men. “They were surrounding me from behind and they were like, ‘Oh look,

      CBS News q
    • Grandmother Finds the Mummified Body of Her Missing Grandson in the Attic 2-Years After He Was Reported Missing | B. Scott

      21-year-old Dyquain Rogers was reported missing on November 1st, 2014. On Wednesday, a mummified body believed to be the young man’s was found in the attic of his grandmother’s home. Investigators believe he committed suicide. via NY Daily News: Relatives of Dyquain Rogers are demanding a complete autopsy after the coroner said the death was likely a suicide, according to GoErie.com. “I don’t believe any of this stuff,” aunt Erica Jeffries-Jordan told the news website. “I want answers.” Rogers was last seen in the same house where he was found, which is also where he lived, Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook told the news website. Rogers was reported missing on Nov. 4, 2014. The body was in the Erie

      B. Scott | lovebscott.com q
    • Hollywood Reacts With Disgust At ‘Last Tango” Rape Scene Revelations

      Actors and other public figures are responding with outrage at recently surfaced news that Last Tango In Paris director Bernardo Bertolucci, in a three year old video that only came to light this week, confirmed what co-star Maria Schneider has long said about the film’s most controversial moment: the brutal rape scene was shot without her full consent. The scene in question featured Brando’s character raping Schneider’s character using a stick of butter as lubricant. It…

      Deadline
    • Trump targets another company, draws Sanders' criticism

      By Doina Chiacu WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President-elect Donald Trump drew a rebuke from former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Saturday, after turning his attention to another Indiana company planning a move to Mexico. "Rexnord of Indiana is moving to Mexico and rather viciously firing all of its 300 workers. Rexnord Corp , an industrial supplier based in Milwaukee, announced plans in October to move a bearing plant, and its 300 jobs, from Indianapolis to Mexico, employees told the Indianapolis Star at the time.

      Reuters
    • This dog waits for his human to get off the school bus everyday even though she’s been away at college for months — just more proof that dogs are too good for us

      Carly Dunn left for college months ago – but her dog still hasn’t stopped waiting for her to get off the school bus…

      Hello Giggles
    • Watch: Huge Ford Raptor Jump Gone Wrong

      We’ll never know what possesses a person to jump such a beautiful (and expensive) truck knowing that the outcome probably isn’t going to be good.  This Ford Raptor jump had almost no chance of turning out well.  I guess a big crowd and a shot at a few minutes of fame is enough for some people… check out the carnage below.

      Off-Road.com Blog q
    • New details emerge in Joe McKnight shooting and release of shooter

      After hearing criticisms of his office for releasing the man who admitted to shooting former NFL running back Joe McKnight, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand held a press conference to reveal some details of the case, including that the man who shot McKnight was in his car when he fired all three shots. McKnight was shot and killed on Thursday afternoon in New Orleans. Authorities said that Ronald Gasser, 54, shot McKnight.

      Shutdown Corner
    • Jennifer Lawrence's Latest Red Carpet Looks Are Out of This World (6 photos)

      Based on the trailer for Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt’s new movie Passengers , the space movie is going to be very sad and very sexy. At each promotional stop though, the actress is making people happy by letting down her new hair extensions and wearing some hot ensembles. And while the promotional tour only recently kicked off, Lawrence has already pulled off a number of diverse and stunning looks. From tight-fitting midi skirts to cool skirt suits, the actress hits the mark every time. Check out some of her best looks so far. Follow us on Facebook , Instagram , and Pinterest for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day.

      Yahoo Style
    • Woman Who Ate ‘Carbs All Day Every Day’ Drops 100 Lbs. After Eliminating Bread from Her Diet

      Kristina Guice had always been “the fat kid in school,” she says, so when the Tucson, Arizona, native got accepted to graduate school across the country in Long Island, New York, she decided this was her opportunity to make a change. Guice, 25, had recently lost a close friend — who had also been her weight loss inspiration — and got accepted to graduate school just two weeks later.

      People
    • NYPD: Men yelled 'Donald Trump', tried to pull off victim's hijab on subway

      18-year-old Yasmine Seweid is recounting the ugly attack that happened on Thursday night. It was around 10 p.m. when the college student jumped on the 6 train to head home to New Hyde Park, when she noticed three young men in the car.

      WABC – NY
    • Colombia Plane Crash Survivor Cried Out for Crew

      He says he survived by curling up in the fetal position.

      ABC News q
    • Social Security: 1 Terrible Reason to File for Benefits at 67 -- The Motley Fool

      Sure, you'll get higher benefits. But what will you lose by working longer?

      The Motley Fool q
    • Mexico on Carrier deal: 'Trump is telling the truth' about saving US jobs

      A Mexican official tells CNBC that "nobody" there believed Trump's campaign rhetoric, but they believe him now.

      CNBC
    • Adam Jones didn't like Orioles farewell gift to David Ortiz

      Orioles’ star Adam Jones presents David Ortiz with a dugout phone, which Ortiz smashed during a game in 2013. The David Ortiz farewell tour was filled with many memorable moments. Prior to his final game at Camden Yards, on Sept. 21, the Orioles rolled out the red carpet, showed highlights of Ortiz mashing home runs against the mutual rival New York Yankees, and then presented him with the actual visitor’s dugout phone he once destroyed during an in-game meltdown.

      Big League Stew
    • 'Justice League': 6 Spoilers From the New Trailer

      We may be a ways off from the release of the 'Justice League' movie, but DC amped up the anticipation by releasing a bunch of new footage at Comic-Con.

      The Cheat Sheet q