Top Running Shoes 2024 – In-Depth Reviews and Comparisons

Spring is here and we know that all you running lovers are mad to hit the road! So before you do, we’ve put together this comprehensive Running Shoe Review so you get the pair that you need.

This comprehensive review examines each contender, ensuring that whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or a casual jogger, your next step is supported by the best.

So if you’re preparing for a marathon, the VHI Women’s Mini-Marathon or just a casual run, you will love this!

This year’s lineup has some amazing running shoes, that cater to diverse running styles and environments.

We’ve got all the big running brands included – Hoka, Nike, adidas, ON Running, ASICS and Brooks.

You might find some worth in our Running Shoe Size Guide Blog.

If not, read on for the best new running shoes on the market right now!

Runner Review Cushion Explained

So before we go through the contenders, it’s important that you are aware of your foot type.

If you already know, then skip ahead.

But if not, this 30 seconds could make a huge difference in your running.

On the Intersport Elverys website, you may notice discriptions like Neutral, Stability and Maximum Comfort. These are all to do with your pronation.

Make sure to call into select Intersport Elverys stores to aveil of our SafeSize 3D foot measuring service to find exactly what type of pronotation you have.

Below are the different types to be aware of.

 

2024 Running Shoe Review: Our Top Picks

Nike Structure 25 

Overview: The Nike Structure 25 continues with Nike’s legacy of providing both stability and support for runners requiring a bit extra due to overpronation.

It has a sleek, attractive design, stacked with performance features and also really comfortable.

You’ll get cushion and responsiveness, making it ideal for daily runs.

Key Features: 

  • Weight: 11 oz (312 g).
  • Price: €130.
  • Design: Features an engineered mesh upper for breathability and comfort, Dynamic Fit technology for a snug and supportive fit, and a Zoom Air unit in the forefoot for responsive cushioning. The shoe also incorporates a firm foam at the arch side of the midsole for added stability.
  • Performance: Ideal for runners looking for a stable ride during long runs, tempo runs, and everyday training. Its design caters to those with a moderate to severe overpronation, offering the necessary support without compromising on cushioning or comfort.
  • Fit and Comfort: Offers a secure fit with room for natural foot movement. The Structure 25 is praised for its improved upper that contours to the foot, providing a seamless and comfortable experience throughout the run.

Pros:

  • Enhanced stability for overpronators.
  • Responsive cushioning with Zoom Air unit.
  • Durable outsole for varied running surfaces.

Cons:

  • May feel bulkier to runners used to minimalist shoes.
  • Some runners might find it less breathable compared to other models.

Conclusion: No matter your goals, the Structure 25 is a great all rounder.

You’ll get support and stability which doesn’t comprimise resposiveness and comfort.

If you’re an overpronator, the Structure 25 is for you.

It’s not the lightest shoe on the market, but you get excellent durability and versatility for a lot of different activities.

the nike structure 25 running shoe review

Brooks Glycerin 21

Overview: If absolute comfort is what you are after in a running shoe, the Brooks Glycerin 21 is a great choice.

Designed for runners who want a soft, cushioned ride, the latest version of the Glycerin is Brooks’ best yet.

It also has state-of-the-art cushioning technology and is made with premium materials, yet is also really good on the environment.

Such as being made with 59.7 % Recycled materials in the upper and 4.1 Plastic bottles diverted from landfills.

Key Features:

  • Weight: 10.2 oz (289 g).
  • Price: €180.
  • Design: Boasts an engineered mesh upper for enhanced breathability and fit, coupled with the DNA LOFT cushioning for a supremely soft and responsive ride. The 3D Fit Print technology offers structure and stretch where needed.
  • Performance: Excellently suited for runners who prioritise comfort over long distances. It provides a smooth transition and efficient energy return, making it versatile for various paces and distances.
  • Fit and Comfort: Offers a spacious toe box and a snug, secure fit around the midfoot and heel. The shoe runs true to size, delivering exceptional comfort and support, thanks to its plush interior and cushioned collar.

Pros:

  • Supreme comfort with DNA LOFT cushioning.
  • Durable with high-quality construction.
  • Versatile for various running distances and paces.

Cons:

  • High price point may not suit all budgets.
  • Some runners might find the shoe slightly bulky for speedwork or races.

Conclusion: The Glycerin 21 certainly stands out in this running shoe review.

It has exceptional comfort, built to be highly durable and suitable for both short and long runs.

Yes, the price is on the higher side, and if you’re after speed this is probably not your running shoe, but the investment is well worth it given the quality you are getting otherwise.

the brooks glycerin 21 running shoe review is comfortable, supportive and durable

ASICS Gel-Nimbus 26

Overview: The Gel-Nimbus series from ASICS are one of the most popular on the market.

Known for their exceptional comfort and cloud-like running feeling, it’s the go-to for neutral runners.

The improvements in this model have enhance comfort even more and upped the performance, so you get a more responsive feel without sacrificing plushness.

The most expensive running shoe in this review, you can use this as your daily trainer or a log-distance run.

Key Features:

  • Weight: 10.9 oz (309 g).
  • Price: €200.
  • Design: Features an updated mesh upper for improved breathability and a better fit, GEL® technology cushioning in the forefoot and rearfoot for superior shock absorption, and a FlyteFoam® Propel midsole for a more energetic return. The AHAR® outsole enhances durability and traction.
  • Performance: Offers a balanced ride with excellent shock absorption and responsiveness, making it suitable for long runs, recovery days, and everything in between. The improved stability is a bonus for runners with a neutral gait.
  • Fit and Comfort: The shoe offers a comfortable, glove-like fit, thanks to its updated upper design. It runs true to size, providing ample room in the toe box while ensuring a secure fit through the midfoot and heel.

Pros:

  • Superior cushioning and shock absorption.
  • Durable construction, suitable for high mileage.
  • Responsive and comfortable for various types of runs.

Cons:

  • The high price point may put some runners off.
  • Some may find it heavier than other options, potentially affecting performance in speed-focused runs.

Conclusion: The Gel-Nimbus 26 is a premium choice of running shoe that has comfort, support and performance.

There is also increased durability, which is expected given its higher price point.

If you can afford to stretch to it, you will not be disappointed with the Gel-Nimbus 26 from this running shoe review.

the asics gel nimbus 26 running shoe review

Hoka Arahi 7

Overview: Hoka running shoes are massively in demand these days.

They offer some of the most stylish on the market, yet are one of the most affordable.

And they punch well above their weight.

The Arahi 7 is a popular stability show for runners who like a bit more support without extra weight.

This version from Hoka has innovative J-Frame Technoloy rhat makes it excellent for long runs and quick jobs.

We expect this shoe to be massively popular.

Key Features:

  • Weight: 9.6 oz (272 g).
  • Price: €150.
  • Design: Features a lightweight, engineered mesh upper for enhanced breathability and comfort. The J-Frame™ technology provides support and stability without the use of rigid and heavy materials. The EVA midsole delivers Hoka’s signature cushioning.
  • Performance: Excellently suited for overpronators or runners seeking stability without sacrificing speed or comfort. The shoe offers a smooth ride with its balanced cushioning and supportive design.
  • Fit and Comfort: Fits true to size with a roomy toe box and a secure midfoot fit. The padded tongue and collar enhance the overall comfort, making it suitable for long-distance running.

Pros:

  • Lightweight design with stability features.
  • Comfortable and breathable upper.
  • Suitable for a wide range of running activities.

Cons:

  • May not provide enough support for runners with severe overpronation.
  • The design might not appeal to all aesthetic preferences.

Conclusion: The Hoka Arahi 7 is perfect is you’re looking for support but don’t want to be weighed down from it either!

It’s versatile for your training runs, jogs and longer distances.

Might not be suitable for those with significant overpronation, however, more ideal for the majority of stability seekers.

For value for money, you can’t get better than this stylish all-rounder.

the hoka arahi 7 running shoe review

Nike Zoom Fly 5

Overview: The Nike Zoom Fly 5 stands as a transformative update in the Zoom Fly series, shifting from a fast workout/tempo run shoe to one that caters to

long, slower runs.

It’s noted for its increased comfort, stability, and cushioning.

We also think it’s one of the most asthetically pleasing in this running shoe review.

Key Features:

  • Weight: 9.5 oz (270 g).
  • Price: €170
  • Design: The Zoom Fly 5 features a full-length ZoomX core in the midsole, a more traditional upper with a detached, gusseted tongue, and a wider midsole base for extra stability.
  • Upper: The upper unit has been revised for better comfort and lockdown, feeling more like a daily trainer.

Pros:

  1. Improved outsole durability.
  2. The most stable version in the Zoom Fly series.
  3. Softer and more comfortable than its predecessors.
  4. Excellent upper comfort.
  5. Increased cushioning.

Cons:

  1. Slower than previous versions of the Zoom Fly.
  2. The ZoomX core does not feel as bouncy as expected.

Conclusion: The Nike Zoom Fly 5 has evolved into a shoe better suited for longer runs, offering a softer and more cushioned midsole.

However, it’s noted for a lack of bounce and energy return, making it less suitable for speed work or uptempo runs.

The shoe offers stable and protective padding for long distances but falls short in responsiveness and agility compared to other options in the same category​​​​​​.

However, it’s still a great all-rounder and everyday shoe for you busy people.

the nike zoom fly 5 running shoe review

Brooks Ghost Max

Overview: The Brooks Ghost Max is a well-rounded daily trainer offering a balanced ride with good stability.

As a spinoff of the regular Ghost series, which has proven hugey popular with Intersport Elverys customers,  it offers a softer, more cushioned, and lively ride compared to the Ghost 15, making it a good choice for various runs.

Plus, it looks really cool too!

Key Features:

  • Weight: 10 oz (283 g).
  • Price: €160
  • Design: Higher stack height, softer cushioning with DNA Loft v2 foam, and a stable, wide base.
  • Upper: Comfortable fit, true to size, but laces may fray easily.

Pros:

  1. Comfortable, luxurious upper.
  2. Softer and more cushioned than the regular Ghost.
  3. More forefoot cushioning.
  4. Modern and stable ride.

Cons:

  1. Lower than average outsole durability.
  2. Laces prone to fraying.

Conclusion: The Brooks Ghost Max emerges as a more modern and engaging version of the traditional Ghost.

It’s suitable for a variety of runs, offering a balance between softness for easy runs and firmness for uptempo paces. However, it may not be as stable as the regular Ghost due to its firmer midsole and more lean bias.

The Ghost Max is ideal for those who found the Ghost 15 too firm but might not appeal to Ghost loyalists who prefer its consistent firmness and stability​​​​​​. The Ghost 15 was one of the best all-rounders we’ve ever had and this is picking up where it left off.

ASICS Novablast 4 

Overview: This shoe is designed with energy return in mind, and ASICS have spent hours testing it at their Institute of Sports Science (ISS) in Japan.

The NOVABLAST™ 4 is characterised as a firm-riding daily trainer, leaning more towards faster-paced runs.

Compared to its predecessors, it offers increased stability but sacrifices some of the signature bounciness that Novablast shoes were known for. But that might suit a lot of you die-hard ASICS fans!

Key Features:

  • Weight: 9 oz (255 g).
  • Price150
  • Design: New FF Blast+ Eco midsole for better stability, modern upper design.
  • Performance: Suited more for uptempo runs due to its firmer ride.

Pros:

  1. Better stability with firmer midsole.
  2. More comfortable and cooler upper.
  3. Faster ride compared to previous versions.

Cons:

  1. Less bouncy and fun than earlier Novablast models.
  2. Increase in weight.
  3. Firmer ride, which might not be suitable for all runners.

Conclusion: The ASICS Novablast 4 marks a shift in the series, moving away from the playful and bouncy characteristics towards a more stable, but firmer ride.

This change might appeal to runners looking for a firmer, more responsive trainer but may disappoint those who enjoyed the distinctive bouncy feel of the earlier versions.

While its design remains sleek and modern, the Novablast 4’s firmer direction has altered its overall appeal and versatility​​​​​​. Plus, there’s a variety of colours to choose from.

 

ON Cloudflow 4

Overview: The ON Cloudflow 4.0 is an evolution of its predecessor, designed as a lightweight training/performance shoe with a versatile and low-profile build.

It excels in stability and responsiveness, making it a standout option among the lightest daily trainers available​.

ON Running shoes really make you stand out from the crowd the Cloudflow 4 will do just that too.

Key Features:

  • Weight: The shoe is impressively light, weighing 8.7 oz (247 g)
  • Price: €170.
  • Design: It features a new engineered woven upper for breathability and a new dual density Helion midsole with a spoon-shaped speedboard. The shoe also has a new outsole with a closed channel to prevent stone trapping​​.
  • Performance: Classified as a lightweight training shoe, it offers firm and responsive cushioning. The shoe is designed with a Rocker geometry around the forefoot area, enhancing forward momentum. Suitable for various paces and distances, it’s particularly effective for interval training speeds​​​​.

Pros:

  1. Comfort and Fit: Fits true to size with a medium width, accommodating average-sized feet. The upper is breathable, flexible, and roomy, providing comfort during runs​​​​​​.
  2. Performance Enhancing: The rocker geometry combined with the new speedboard aids in smooth transition and forward movement. It’s excellent for tempo training and offers an enjoyable rolling momentum​​.
  3. Sustainability: ON incorporates sustainably made, recycled materials into the shoe, showcasing a commitment to eco-friendly practices​​.

Cons:

  1. Price: Some may find it expensive relative to the features provided​​​​.
  2. Cushioning: The foam may be excessively firm for some runners, particularly those who prefer a softer, more cloud-like feel​​​​​​.
  3. Narrow Fit: The midfoot fit is somewhat narrow, potentially making it less suitable for those with wider feet​​​​​​.

Conclusion: The ON Cloudflow 4 is a high-performance, moderately cushioned running shoe that shines in tempo training. Its innovative design, including the rockered forefoot and lightweight, breathable upper, offers a unique running experience.

While its firm cushioning and price point may not appeal to everyone, its stability, durability, and unique rolling momentum make it a strong contender for those seeking a reliable and versatile training shoe.

It is particularly recommended for fans of the ON brand looking for a daily trainer suitable for various paces and distances, as well as for those seeking an environmentally conscious option​.

Conclusion

The 2024 running shoe lineup brings forth an array of options that excel in durability, comfort, and technology from Intersport Elverys.

We love our running and we’re committed to bringing you the best Running Shoe Review you can get.

So we hope you enjoyed this blog and all your running for 2024.

Don’t miss our Ultimate Guide to Running Blog. 

Remember, the perfect running shoe not only complements your stride but also enhances your journey towards personal bests and beyond

Don’t forget about other important pieces of equipment you might need too.

Our Guide to Finding the Right Sports Bra and our Guide to Finding the Right Leggings is sure to help.

Enjoy the run, we’re with you every step of the way.

runner review


Christmas Gifts For a Runner | Gift Guides 2023

If you’re looking to find the perfect Christmas gifts for the runner on your life then look no further.

Intersport Elverys is Inspired By Running this Christmas 2023 and we’ve pulled together every runners wish list this Christmas – just for you. 

So read on to find some of the best gifts for the runner in your life.

We’ve got other blogs with gift guides for the men, women and kids in your life – check them out right here. 

Elverys Energetics Run

The Energetics Running range is comfortable, breathable and environmentally friendly.

For men, we’ve got this cool Energetics Willard Half-Zip Fleece in blue or this Energetics Bion Half Zip Top that is slim fitting and comfortable for your runs.

For the men, we’ve got the Allen 2in1 V Mens Shorts that gives maximum flexibility and a perfect climate while running. Or, if you need a jacket, this really cool Semenyo II Full Zip Running jacket is for you.

For the ladies, check out the Wilona Half-Zip Fleece, perfect for those early morning runs. You can combine it with the EVII Short Sleeve Running T-Shirt along with these Portia 1/1 Leggings.

Of what about this comfy and stylish gillet?

Don’t forget to check out the full range below or HERE

gifts for runner

 

ASICS Run

ASICS always stands out from the crowd and their 2023 collections are all proving to be a huge hit this festive season.

Get out there on the road right away with this ASICS Mens Race T-Shirt  and this ASICS Icon Long Sleeve Half Zip for men. 

They’ve also got this amazing ASICS Core Women’s Long T-Shirt in pink that can be combined with this pretty AISCS Core Half-Zip. 

These super comfy ASICS GT-1000 running shoes are available in Mens and Womens. 

Don’t miss the full section of ASICS footwear HERE – they have a huge amount of variations for all levels.

There is so much more too, so don’t miss out on the full ASICS range right HERE.

gifts for runner

 

Wearable Tech

For something very special this Christmas get them the gift of motivation with a new running watch or headphones.

It will provide them with everything they need to keep on track and motivated for the 2024 running season. 

In terms of gifts for a runner, they are right up there with the best!

Check out the latest range in Garmin, Fitbit, Aftershokz and STAT Sports HERE. 

gifts for runner

 

Brooks Running

Running is more than just a hobby for Brooks and their top products represent that.

This year they are making sure you’re as safe as possible when out on your run with the likes of the Brooks Mens Run Visible Insulated Vest, or the same version for Women?

Ladies, if you’re looking for some colour this Brooks Notch Thermal Hoodie is great for all occasions and weather! While this Brooks Crossback Run 2.0 Sports Bra offers complete comfort on your run.

Check out the full range of Brooks Running HERE.

 

Accessories

You’ve checked your list twice and you’ve realised you’ve forgotten the stocking fillers!

Pick up the essentials for runners such as compression socks, hats, gloves and headbands. Or other great gifts such as the Power Bands to help with their warm ups and cool-down.

Check them out right HERE

 

 

Nike Running

Can you even mention the word running without associating Nike in it?

The Nike Running ranges are always cool, sleek and packed with performance.

This Nike Men’s Dri-Fit Element Half Zip is just that, while you can’t go wrong with this Nike Men’s Dri-Fit Miler T-Shirt.

Or how about the really nice Nike Therma-Fit Swift Turtleneck Running Top that looks great and performs even better with these classic Nike Fast Mid-Rise 7/8 Graphic Leggings with pockets!

If you want some running shoes, the new Nike Structure 25 is packed with performance, style and affordability too.

Check out our full Nike Running Range HERE.

 

Running Shoes

Probably the most important cog in the wheel of a runner!

A good pair of running shoes is so, so important and we have an incredible pick for you.

This year, we’ve got some amazing designs from the likes of Hoka , ON Running and Puma.

We’ve also got an amazing range from the leading brands like Nike, ASICS and Brooks.

Check them all out below.

 

 

 

You can check out our full Christmas Shop HERE.

 

 


Irish Runner: Running Shoe Review

Expert and trustworthy advice can be difficult to come by, but when it comes to Killian Byrne of the Irish Runner magazine, it doesn’t come much better in the world of running.

That’s why we recently entrusted Killian with reviewing eight of our best-selling running shoes, from which he will share his experts tips and advice to help you before you buy.

He will be looking at the women’s Brooks Glycerin 19, adidas Ultraboost 21, ON Running Cloudswift, Hoka Mach 4, Under Armour Hovr Machina 2, women’s Asics Gel Cumulus 23, women’s Puma Velocity Nitro, Nike Pegasus Trail 2.

Here’s what he said.

 

Irish Runner on the Brooks Glycerin 19 (Women)

irish runner

Fit & Comfort

The Glycerin 19 is the max cushioned shoe in the Brooks range and with the withdrawal of a number of lines in their stable, this trainer now stands out as the frontrunner in a neutral stability shoe. Formerly super comfortable but considerably ‘clunky’, this new version goes some way to fixing what many considered was a boxy and unresponsive design.

The tweaking of the DNA Loft foam has gone a long way to transforming the Glycerin 19 into a smooth and cushioned ride, almost ‘bouncy’. This moves the lycerin into a category that you’d be comfortable chasing your speedwork, but they feel light and comfortable enough to also throw on for long runs.

We felt these were a little tight in initial testing and a very firm heel and supported ankle actually might make you consider buying a size up before you head out on the road. When you’re buying, make sure you try these shoes when in your running socks and check with your retailer if they’ll accept a return if the fit isn’t quite right before making a final decision. Many will be happy to exchange within a specific timeframe.

If you’re a Ghost wearer then the Glycerin 19 might suit you too. You’ll get a soft, balanced stable run and it’s a shoe that might just suit you for that everyday work the summer will bring.

Technical

Slightly unremarkable when out of the box, the Glycerin 19 is a neutral, cushioned trainer with a 10mm drop. A double mesh upper can make things very plush and there is plenty of ventilation to offset any excess heat. The heel cup is super firm and padded giving a very secure fit. The ubiquitous Brooks DNA Loft foam that allows good cushioning but isn’t too soft to affect your run.

Conclusion

A shoe that is on the expensive side but worth it for the plush feel. We’d have some concerns about the longevity as wear and tear might take its toll sooner than hoped.

 

Irish Runner on the Adidas Ultraboost 21

irish runner

Fit & Comfort

The Ultraboost is one of the most popular shoes in the Adidas range and it has jumped the fence to sit very comfortably between technical running shoe and fashionable trainer. But the Ultraboost 21 is working very hard with a complete redesign to make its way back to being a leading performance running shoe.

If it’s possible for a running shoe to look both clunky and fast then Adidas have made it. The Ultraboost aren’t light, and a simple 8k ‘out of the box’ run around the park wasn’t the best of experiences. The snug elastic-like upper allowed for too much movement for your reviewer to feel comfortable on fast corners and no matter how tight we tied the laces there was still plenty of reticence to ‘open up’ on any kind of technical running terrain.

If you’re an Ultraboost wearer you know how plush and comfortable these shoes are and a redesigned midsole foam provides great cushioning and energy return because there is 6% more boost ‘capsules’ and they all seem packed into the heel.

The tongue-less sock design means laces thread through a stiff plastic ‘cage’. This hugs the mid-food while anchoring things in place, but we felt this just serves to enhance the loose and roomy toe box. The runner’s ankle and heel are well boxed in with extra cushioning but things still seemed loose, and in fact, there was some uncomfortable chafing two or three runs into our testing. One real bonus we liked was what adidas call their ‘LEP’ – Linear Energy Push – or the sole of the shoe to you andI. This provided stiffness and grip that allowed real push off and energy return on each step.

Technical

A completely redesigned cushioned shoe with 10mm drop that comes in a little heavy at 340g. adidas LEP system allowing 15% increase in stiffness and the addition of 6% more Boost capsules allowing a greater energy return

Conclusion

The Ultraboost still doesn’t know if it’s a running shoe or fashion trainer. 2021 updates make it better for running, but the fact that it’s available in up to 16 different colours says a lot. If you run in long straight lines at a comfortable pace then the Ultraboost might be for you, but for most people there’ll be other shoes that will do what you want without the fear of worrying about what’s on your feet.

 

 

Irish Runner on the On Running Cloudswift

irish runner

Fit & Comfort

Out of the box, all the On Running shoes impress on design, which continues to draw looks from those that aren’t used to the bouncy ‘tube’ design and the Cloudswift are no different. The denim/midnight colour design we trialled impressed even more and added a style to the shoe that is hard to beat in this reviewer’s eyes.

It is interesting though, that we opened this review with commentary on colour, style and looks, as outside of that the technical aspects of the Cloudswift are so understated as to be almost unnoticed outside of the still revolutionary ‘cloud’ design across the soles of the On Running range.

Let’s deal with that first.

We’ve reviewed On Running before at Irish Runner and while they’ve been comfortable, we still can’t get over the design of the sole that continues to gather the detritus of Ireland’s roads and parklands in the ridges. making the shoes grip much less effective. To their credit, On Running have addressed this and the issue is less of a concern today.

Thankfully, right?

On the flipside, the spring of the cloud design provides a smooth ride on hard surfaces and for a trainer that is the very opposite of plush this provides great comfort and a super energy return on each step. The design of the sole allows for both horizontal and vertical flex, allowing for multi-directional cushioning no matter how you run.

The double mesh layer is very soft but durable and while On Running recommend you look at a half size up when buying, we found it roomy. You know your feet better than anyone, if you think you need extra space in a running shoe then bear this in mind. The Mid-foot strap holding the lacing system is very firm and at times we felt the laces were ‘digging in’ – loosening them just made our foot slip a little more.

Technical

A 7mm drop with a very rocker like sole on a shoe that can’t really be designated as a ‘stability’ shoe. Luxury double mesh upper provides a lot of comfort and room.

Conclusion

The CloudTec sole design and lack of deep cushioning makes the foot, shoe and ground almost act as one unit. You feel every step on a good way and that makes for an enjoyable experience when out on the road, you are always in control.

 

Irish Runner on the Hoka Mach 4

irish runner

Fit & Comfort

We are HOKA fans and were very happy to see a pair of the new Mach 4 come through the letterbox for testing. HOKA, despite their reputation for unusual design, make great shoes for different runners and the Mach4 didn’t do anything to dampen our enthusiasm for the brand.

Comfort, cushioning, stability, smooth – all words we associate with the brand and depending on the shoe, they’re all there in every design. With the Mach 4, we seem to have dialled back on the extreme cushioning to ensure that the run is a lot more responsive than previous versions of the trainer.

I’ve described HOKA shoes in the past as being great for long comfortable runs, but I’ll flip that on its head for the Mach 4s and call these for quick, responsive racing and training. There is more feel between runner and ground than you would expect, making for a very reactive run.  The firm mesh upper doesn’t allow for any slip or elasticity meaning your foot stays in place in comfortable surroundings. The solid but wide heel cup allows plenty of room and whether you feel the high back is to protect the achilles or provide a pull tab when putting on your shoes it does both with aplomb.

Technical

The Hoka ProFly cushioning does its job very well, like the bowl of porridge for Goldilocks, it is just right, allowing comfort but enough feel for the runner to control the movement rather than constantly sinking into the foam.

Conclusion

Are these the best HOKA shoes ever?

Possibly.

HOKA themselves call the Mach 4 a ‘soft and lively up-tempo daily flyer’ and I couldn’t have put it better myself.

 

Irish Runner on the Under Armour Hovr Machina 2

irish runner

Fit & Comfort

Many years ago Nike linked up with Apple and we were all wearing ‘footpods’ embedded in a little compartment hidden under the insole of our shoes. The idea died out with the emergence of the fitness ‘wearable’ and now we get all the metrics under the sun from a wristwatch.

But fast forward a few years and Under Armour have persisted with the technology, fine tuning things for it to be a real threat to the computer on our wrist. Straight out of the box I had to connect to my phone and update my trainers – a new experience for me I’ll admit! But it works. Connecting to the Under Armour owned ‘MyFitnessPal’, you will get all the running metrics you need broadcast from a chip in your shoes.

As a trainer, the Machina 2 is a comfortable ride. Solid energy return and cushioning form the UA Hovr foam allows for a responsive run and the now obligatory internal ‘plate’ gives enough spring to propel, without you actually feeling your stability affected like some other brands. The engineered mesh upper allows for plenty of breathability without things feeling too stretchy, but I really felt the overall design was unremarkable.

Technical

Technically, this shoe is all about the technology. The manufacture and design makes for a reasonable trainer but this shoe is all about connectivity. It shines.

Don’t want to bring your phone?

Then connect and upload when you get home. Bring your phone and the shoe will train you when out on the run with personalised coaching tips. According to UA, runners go 3% further and 7% faster using this technology.

Conclusion

It’s hard to see past the fact that UA have hung their hat on chip technology rather than faster shoe design. I’m certainly not naïve in thinking everyone cares about % drop and foam density, but it matters. For a beginner with no interest in these things, then an embedded chip might just swing your decision to these shoes.

Here’s the kicker.

If your shoes know all about how well you run, how far you run and where you run then Under Armour and Map My Run know it too. Be careful with your data.

 

Irish Runner on the Asics Gel Cumulus 23 (Women’s)

irish runner

Fit & Comfort

‘Hello old friend, it’s good to see you again’ is what you’d say to these shoes if you could talk to them.

If there was a template for a dependable, middle of the road, everyday running shoe then the Asics Gel-Cumulus are it.

That’s not a bad thing.i

In fact, it’s probably the best recommendation you can get for a trainer because where some shoes excel in parts, they fall short in others. As a beginner or experienced runner that’s not what you want. You want a shoe that will bring you around the park for a walk or a run, one that will bring you on your couch to 5k or see you through your marathon plan or a shoe that will sit in the wardrobe while your motivation wanes, but be there ready and waiting when you find that mojo again.

Priced very competitively, the Gel-Cumulus have all the technology you can get with the might of Asics design team behind them.

The Cumulus are light enough and not too narrow but the mesh upper adds support in targeted areas and is firm without being constricting. If you feel you need a wide shoe for more room or have wide feet then try a half size up. You’ll not swim in the larger size but it will benefit your comfort.

Talking about comfort, the shoe really benefits from both the Asics FliteFoam and its Lite rubber improves durability. Every step is both cushioned and secure. The Gel cup in the heel works impeccably and with both male and female specific design the shoe works with the mechanics of all types of feet.

Technical

A stable and neutral runner with a low 7mm drop. But really this isn’t a shoe about the technology, it is about comfort, fit and just getting out running.

Conclusion

Theses trainers will do what you want when you want it without causing a fuss. They’ll easily get you to a marathon but are probably best suited to someone that enjoys their running and likes to go long one day but grabs 20mins on another.

They are probably the ‘best in class’ everyday running shoe.

 

 

Irish Runner on the Puma Velocity Nitro (Women’s)

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Fit & Comfort

Puma have launched five new running-shoe styles this year, all with their new Nitro foam technology for increased comfort and running efficiency. I was really interested to try them; Puma used to be a very popular choice with runners but I haven’t seen them on a start line in years.

These are neutral, cushioned shoes and I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable they were. They felt very cushy underfoot – like wearing slippers – but at the same time you can feel the road. Though they’re lighter, they have a similar feel to the Saucony ride – soft, but still responsive and bouncy.

The sizing is similar to other well-known brands, and the fit comfortable, with enough space in the toe box. I found I had to experiment with lacing to get the shoe to fit snugly around my ankle, but after that they felt good on the run. The knit upper has a silver puma leaping majestically across the big toe, which I liked, and a comfortably padded tongue that doesn’t slip out of place (thanks to an elastic link to the shoes’ sides).

Puma also design their male and female shoes on separate lasts for a more specific fit.

I haven’t tried them in the wet – thanks in part to our run of fine weather and in part because they are such a light colour that they’re unsuitable for rain and muck! But on paths and park trails the grip was good.

My only con was the colour: I trialled electro peach/silver, and while I loved their box-fresh, springtime look, they are just impossible to keep clean in Irish weather!

Technical

Neutral, cushioned and light with a 10mm drop

Conclusion

At €120 these are priced at the mid-range for road running shoes, which represents good value for money. I’ll definitely keep using these as neutral, everyday runners across a range of distances

 

Irish Runner on the Nike Pegasus Trail 2

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Fit & Comfort

The Pegasus 2 is built to take on the best of what the trails have to offer.

We brought them to the Wicklow mountains to see how they performed.

These shoes are good to go out of the box, they are very comfortable, the React foam provides excellent cushioning and they feel like the type of shoe you would be happy in for long easy days out on moderate trails.  There is room in the forefoot and the mesh upper is accommodating and the React foam provides plushness. On more rocky sections, I did find that I could still feel some rocks through the foam but for those who still like some ground feel in their cushioned shoes this is no bad thing.

It is a big shoe and on the heavier end of the scale weighing in at 343g for a size 10.

On rolling moderate hills, road sections and forest paths, this shoe is in its element. However, in my opinion, this is not a shoe for more technical mountain trails. I tried different lacing set ups, but I just could not find one that kept my foot feeling supported and secure.

Despite the plushness of the React foam and the flexibility of the upper material. I would describe the feeling on all surfaces as running ‘on’ the shoe as opposed to ‘in’ it.

The shoes performed well on a wide variety of surfaces and I only felt a little slippage on a wet rock section that challenges all shoes I have worn. The lugs are small enough that these shoes are also perfectly at home on tarmac roads. After 80+ km there is no visible signs of wear and the outsole looks to be very durable. I like the cushioning and comfort on easy to moderate trails, and I found the grip to be good on all but the wettest of rock.

Technical

With a 10mm drop this enters the territory of a ‘maximalist’ shoe. There is a full NikeReact foam midsole and a full rubber outsole with a lug design that resembles a mountain bike tyre tread.

Conclusion

If you already like Nike, their fit, and you run a mix of both road, parkland, trail, forest, or easy hills, this could be your shoe.

If you want a shoe capable of carrying you in comfort for anything from a short run up to a marathon or ultramarathon, then this is a shoe to check out.

 

Final Thoughts

There’s plenty of food for thought in Killian’s shoe reviews, after his extensive testing of each product.

Make sure to let us know if you found this helpful when you’re trying to pick a new running shoe.

You can shop Running right here.

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