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We may be enablers, but as far as we’re concerned, there’s nothing like starting a new season with some new kicks! Taper time, hitting the trail and gearing up for a turkey trot all lead to the same conclusion—it’s time to run. Check out some of our favorite late summer and early fall models for racking up the miles in blissfully cooler temperatures.
Altra Impulse, $120
Heel to Toe Drop: 0mm
Sometimes it takes a while to find your perfect fit, but when you do it’s a beautiful thing. I’ve tried many models of Altras, and the Impulse is my favorite so far. They feel good, really good, and I’ve worn them without socks for the past month with no blisters. Winning attributes are their lightweight, responsive cushioning and sleek profile—when you are a size 9.5 you notice such things. There is also just enough arch support to provide some structure without inhibiting movement. We’re liking these for everyday runs, 10Ks and half marathons.
Newton Fate, $129
Heel to Toe Drop: 4.5mm
Who doesn’t want to add a bit more energy to their stride? And that’s exactly the purpose of Newton’s rebound lug construction. Designed to help runners achieve a more dynamic forefoot strike, the Fate makes for a more forgiving transition with smaller, beveled lugs. Ease into these with short road runs or even on the treadmill. A stretch mesh upper gives room to move, but the toe box was short for some testers. Consider going up half a size depending how you like your shoes to fit.
Scott Kinabalu Supertrac, $140
Heel to Toe Drop: 8mm
Trail running is definitely about the workout, but it’s also about exploring and seeing where the trail takes you. The last thing you need is to worry if your shoes are up to the task. Rocks, roots, mud, and loose dirt—the latest from SCOTT tackles them with ease. Supportive without being overbuilt, protective without being stiff and grippy, multi-directional lugs all add up to fun, secure running wherever you want to go.
Topo Athletic Magnifly, $110
Heel to Toe Drop: 5mm
The new Magnifly may become a Topo sweet spot for many runners. With an increased heel-to-toe drop and more underfoot protection, as well as a secure fit from heel to mid-foot with room to move in the toe box, these are a kick as an all-around running shoe. It’s made for roads but didn’t disappoint on rolling and crushed gravel trails. And, although there is 20-25 mm of cushion underfoot (the most in the Topo line-up), the ride is smooth—not too soft, not too firm—and neutral.
Zoot Diego, $150
Heel to Toe Drop: 4mm
If you love the traditional slim fit and maximum cushioning of running shoes before the minimalist boom, yet want to try a lower drop, the Diego is your chariot. A plush fit from the cushioned heel pocket, seamless upper with soft sock-liner and responsive midsole cushioning makes for long running comfort. It’s a neutral shoe, but testers appreciated the added support of a stout, exterior heel counter and zonal cushioning for midfoot stability.
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