Consumer

Best Running Shoes

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The best workouts start from the ground up: with your shoes. So make sure you're on the right track with the right running shoes.

For running, all you really need is a pair of shoes. But those shoes need to be comfortable and give you support. Consumer Reports just tested 24 pairs of running shoes for both men and women.

Nine men and women ran more than 1200 miles to help Consumer Reports test running shoes. The tests covered all the big name brands, including Nike, New Balance, Asics, and Adidas, costing between 80 and 120 dollars. Also in the tests-shoes from Target for around 30 dollars called Champion.

One device measures flexibility. It turns out the inexpensive shoes proved just as flexible as some of those that cost a whole lot more. Other tests measured cushioning and stability. Peter Anzalone with Consumer Reports observed, "The least expensive shoes did okay for cushioning and stability, but they weren't the best rated."

Another test checks breathability - important if your feet sweat. Testers dampen socks, put them in each shoe and leave them in a climate-controlled chamber for four hours. Weighing the shoe before and after shows how much water has evaporated. The inexpensive shoes were not very breathable. The shoe had a solid, fabric upper, not very porous at all.

When all the testing was done, top ratings for both men and women went to Nike's Air Zoom Vomero Plus Two, which sell for $120. They're the only shoes tested that got an excellent score for cushioning.

But no matter what shoes you buy, what's most important is that they fit correctly. Consumer Reports recommends shopping at a specialty store with experienced sales help. If you have a pair of well-worn running shoes, Consumer Reports recommends taking them with you to the store. The wear pattern on the shoe can help the salesperson get the right shoe for the way you run.



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