Summer is the nicest time to take your fitness routine outdoors. And just as your wardrobe is being pared down, so are the latest sneakers. Two podiatrists — Karen Langone, D.P.M., a specialist in sports and fitness medicine in Southampton, NY, and Paul Langer, D.P.M., of Twin Cities Orthopedics in Minneapolis — along with a group of Good Housekeeping Research Institute testers evaluated seven styles (each nine ounces or less) for fit, comfort, and structure. Some testers swooned ("like walking on clouds!"), while others were less head over heels (common gripes: lack of arch support and not enough cushioning).
At 6.2 ounces, the Easy Spirit Reinvent ($69) was the lightest and most affordable of the winners. The sneaker earned raves for a mesh upper that "conforms" to the foot, though some thought it ran large. Says Langone, "This is for a walker looking for minimal support and light weight."
Testers praised the Rockport TruWalkZero ($120, amazon.com) for comfort ("like walking on air") and fit, though a few felt "unsteady" on the rounded midsole; Langer suggests exercising caution on uneven surfaces. The faux-suede shoe was "lacking in style" to some; others "love[d] the look of it."
Chic and Cushy
Weight, comfort, and cuteness were the highlights of the mid-priced New Balance 895 ($85, amazon.com). Some testers felt it "should have more cushioning" and arch support; others liked that barely-there sensation ("It feels like stepping on a yoga mat"). Langone lauded its light padding.
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