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Gearing up for any sport—even one as simple as running—can be tricky. Walk into a sports store and the options are overwhelming. Are those chip-embedded shoes, capable of analyzing your stride, completely necessary? Of course innovative products are fun and exciting to explore, but we believe in sticking to the basics. A runner’s closet should comprise five key pieces: shoes, a sports bra, a shirt, bottoms and a watch (although your phone can handle this job too!). Depending on the season, sunglasses and a jacket are should-probably-haves.
Before dollar signs start dancing in your head, remember that functional, fashionable pieces are available in every price range. Our guide will help you navigate the cheap-to-crazy-expensive options, so you can choose how you would like to invest.
A run specialty store is the ideal place to find your glass slipper of a shoe. We stuck with one brand to demonstrate how features differ with price. While all three styles are built from the same basic mold (think of it as a template), they are equipped with varying levels of cushion, support and finishes. All three are neutral (meaning they don’t correct your stride) and light, weighing in around 8 ounces per shoe. An experienced salesperson will be able to help translate your needs and preferences to the best kicks for you.
Shopping tip: ASICS, Brooks and Nike also have shoes across a full price and feature spectrum—available from big-box retailers and specialty running stores—for even more options to find your perfect match!
Saucony Cohesion 9, $60
For those with an uncomplicated stride and an easy-to-fit foot, these moderately cushioned runners offer a nice balance between protection and road feel. They also have a special material in the heel—think of it as a foam waffle—for a more secure fit.
Saucony Triumph ISO 2, $150
This model has the plushest cushioning of the three, and, due to the type of foam, the dreamy feel comes with no added weight. A uniquely bendable outsole and tread make for a responsive ride that bends and moves with your foot, and comfort continues with a mesh bootie and lace-tightened support overlays for a custom fit.
Saucony Ride 9, $120
A full-length insole of waffled foam on top of generous cushioning cradles your entire foot. A hot-melded upper—hot melding is often used instead of stitching for a foot-conforming fit with fewer seams—provides some side-to-side support without bulk.