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Eight great shoes for marathon training and racing

While clocking up those big miles on the road this summer it’s the perfect time for both new training and racing shoes.

With the London Marathon fast approaching many athletes will already be well into their training for the event or indeed any number of autumn marathons.

Our running shoe guru, Paul Freary takes a look at some of the best around to help you tackle the 26 miles of race day as well as all those training miles enroute.

361 fire

361° – Flame – £155.00

361europe.com

New from the Chinese brand 361, the Flame is the latest race shoe to line up alongside carbon-plated racers from pretty much every other brand. At first glance the shoe looks a little familiar, in fact without an easily recognized logo adorning the shoe you might struggle to guess how you’ve made it. The midsole shape with the brands’ Quikbone carbon plate looks like it’s been inspired by Nike and the Quikflame midsole material is reminiscent of Saucony. Where the shoe differs is in the price. At ‘just £155’ it’s much cheaper than most of its competitors that hit £200 and beyond!

Performance-wise the shoe really does excel, it feels every bit as light, ‘springy’ and ‘energized’ as the competition. The ride is very stable and the toe-off from the carbon plate has a positively aggressive feel, especially when you pick up the pace. Running a half marathon in the shoes straight out of the box they felt at least as good as most other higher priced models.

Perhaps the only downside is the upper. It feels a little stiff and the materials around the laces and ankle collar could be softer. That said the shoe fits well and given the somewhat of a bargain price it really is a contender in the ‘super-shoe’ race!

asics metaspeed sky+

asics metaspeed sky+

ASICS – Metaspeed Sky+ £225.00

sportsshoes.com

The first of two updates from ASICS, the Metaspeed Sky+ is a carbon plated road racing shoe designed for the runner that increases their stride length to increase speed. It’s sister shoe, the Metaspeed Edge+ is for the runner whose cadence increases with their speed. The jury is out as to the science behind these differences, and it ultimately comes down to which of the shoes simply feels better for the individual.

This shoe, the Sky+ has a flatter carbon plated with more of the brand’s FF Blast Turbo midsole beneath it to create a softer and springy toe-off. (The Edge+ has a more curved plate).

The shoe is certainly better the faster you go. It’s as though the shoe needs to be really pushed in order to flex the carbon plate and thick midsole in order to get the feedback from it. Perhaps the Edge+ will perform differently and more akin to competitors’ shoes that tend to favor a more curved plate.

It’s the second generation of the shoe, so those that have tried it before know what to expect and in that respect it’s essentially ‘the same but better’, with a more cushioned and slightly more stable feel, improvements which are welcome and make the shoe a good choice for more runners.

asics cumulus

asics cumulus

ASICS – GEL-CUMULUS 24 – £130.00

asics.com

The go-to neutral cushioned shoe from the brand, the Cumulus is now in it’s 24th generation. The shoe remains very familiar to the previous editions and that sa positive thing as there has never been anything wrong with the model as generations of runner will attest.

It’s a stable and well cushioned ride and new features the new FF Blast midsole foam sitting around the familiar Gel heel cushioning. The ride it silky smooth with a soft landing and now more responsive toe-off.

A new upper design gives the shoe a better feel around the foot and more premium handle with the soft, engineered mesh wrapping around the foot while the plush, redesigned heel collar creates an instantly welcoming fit.

saucony ride 15

saucony ride 15

Saucony – Ride 15 / Guide 15 – £130.00

saucony.com

Want that super-shoe feel in an everyday training shoe? Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing the latest from Saucony, the Ride and Guide 15. These shoes are the brands most popular ‘daily trainer’ options but in the latest updates they use a new midsole shape that echoes somewhat that of super-shoes, with an exaggerated rocker in the toe to give a quicker turnover of speed.

saucony guide 15

saucony guide 15

The shoes use the same midsole cushioning, but where the Ride is aimed at neutral runners, the Guide features an additional support piece under the arch to control over-pronation.

Both shoes in this the 15th version feel a little softer than before but it’s the race-like feel that’s the biggest difference and makes them a lively, exciting shoe to wear for those daily miles.

Brooks Glycerin

Brooks Glycerin

Brooks – Glycerin 20 – £155.00

brooksrunning.com

wow! The cushioning in the latest version of Brooks’ range topping shoe is simply amazing!

The new DNA Loft midsole is now Nitrogen infused for an incredibly smooth, stable, resilient and really quite ‘bouncy’ ride. It’s the material that was used albeit in very limited numbers in the Aurora BL shoe last year as a tester for this model and having been lucky enough to try those shoes the material proves to be very durable and retains its highly cushioned feel for many more miles than conventional midsole.

The fit here is typical Glycerin, premium materials and a very plush hold around the foot.

For those wanting the ultimate in cushioning in a shoe that can handle mile after mile this really is one of the very best around.

adidas bye adizero pro3

adidas bye adizero pro3

Adidas – adizero bye pro 3 – £220.00

adidas.co.uk

One of the most highly anticipated super-shoe updates, the 3dr generation of the adios pro moves the model on to its fastest version yet.

With Energyrods 3.0 now being made up of a single unit featuring 5 rods embedded within twin layers of the brands very resilient Lightstrike Pro foam, the rods provide a more harmonious yet aggressive toe-off that’s designed to limit energy loss and optimize the transfer of energy from the foot against the ground. The aggressive toe rocker really enhances the feel and at speed the shoe almost feels like its urging you to go faster.

The overall stack of cushioning has changed a little with the forefoot now up to 33mm giving a lower 6mm drop and again encouraging a more midfoot strike and faster transition.

With the previous model, the Pro 2 taking 60% of World Marathon Major wins in 2021 and this update feeling faster, it is sure to be a huge success and common sight at road races this year.

NB 1080

NB 1080

New Balance – Fresh Foam X 1080v12 – £145.00

sportsshoes.com

The new Fresh Foam X midsole cushioning now delivers the brands most cushioning feel to date in this, their range topping model.

The shoe retains the same plush ride as previous versions so regulars will be happy. It’s minor tweaks that update the shoe and all prove to make it a little better. A new knitted upper provides targeted support around the foot and helps to create a more secure fit. Along with slight changes to the shape of the midsole the shoe feels a little more stable while retaining that super-soft feel.

The outsole has newly mapped flex groves which, along with blown-rubber inserts enhance that smooth riding sensation.

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