It looks like 2013 will start with a flurry of new lightweight, low-drop running shoes, so I thought I’d take a second to list some of the models I’m keen to try. Hit me in the comments if you think I missed something or care to weigh in. Apologies in advance to my UPS driver.
Pearl Izumi E:Motion Series
I’ve been messing around with PI’s Streak II on speed days and I really love the fit and feel, but wish they had a lower drop and maybe a touch more cushioning so I could use them for marathon training. Enter the E:Motion line, which offers 9 lower-drop, lightweight models featuring a variety of stability and cushioning options for road, trail and triathlons. The new models are broken down first by stability—N (neutral), M (midfoot), and H (heel)—and then by the amount of cushioning (1 being the lowest and 3 being the highest). I’d like to try the N1/2 and M 1/2 in trail and road version. They range in weight but all are sub 10 oz. for a men’s size 9 and it looks like the drops range from 4-9 mm.
Brooks’s PureDrift looks like it could be the light-weigh frankenbaby of two of my favorite shoes, Brooks’s PureFlow and Altra’s Instinct. The PureDrift clocks in at 5.6 oz. in a men’s size 9, and has a removable footbed that takes the shoes from a 4mm to a 0mm offset. The toebox looks nice and wide, and the lacing system also looks like it’s been improved. Can’t say I love the looks. I would have included the PureFlow2, but from what I’ve read the changes are mostly to the upper and my major gripe—the lack of traction—hasn’t been addressed, so I don’t see a reason to get a pair unless my original PureFlows go flat.
Montrail’s Bajada was the first lightweight trail shoe I owned with a rock plate, and I actually really enjoyed it, despite the 10mm offset. Their upcoming FluidFlex is a trail/road hybrid that features a 4mm offset and weighs in under 8 oz. in a men’s size 9 with a low stack height. The Bajada actually works fine for some road work, so maybe the FluidFlex will be the swiss army shoe I’ve been looking for.
Mizuno Wave Evo Cursoris and Levitas
Mizuno has been a little slower in getting on the low drop, lightweight bandwagon, but that looks to change with the introduction of several new models in 2013. I’m most eager to try the Cursoris and Levitas. Both models make use of Mizuno’s waveplate technology while still staying svelte, at 7.5 and 6.5 oz. for a men’s size 9.
Asics Gel NoosaFast
I know I usually crow about function over form but just look at these, for f-s sake—they’re awesome. They weigh 6.6 oz in a men’s size 9 and have a 6mm differential, which is a little more than I usually love, but they’re low to the ground and I find that can compensate for a higher drop.
Skechers GoRun 2
I don’t know why, but I’m totally put off by the name, Skechers, which I find synonymous with strip-mall chic. I decided to experiment with their GoRun Bionic after reading the Runblogger’s review, and so far have enjoyed them; although, I could use a little more support and I don’t love the upper. The redesign of the GoRun features a 4mm drop and weighs in at just 6.6 oz. If I like them, I’ll just do what I did with the Bionics: peel off the “S” logo. I’m a baby.
That’s it for now. I’ll try to update the list if any other potential candidates are announced.