In today’s gigantic article, we’re going to be diving into some of the best 8mm drop running shoes in 2021 for men and women.
Does heel drop really matter? How does it affect the way you run?
Heel drop is one of the most important factors when looking at running shoes. The amount of heel drop does not change how much force goes into the leg, but rather, how forces are distributed in the leg as you run.
It is believed that:
- Higher drop shoes may lead to increased forces in the knee region.
- Lower drop or zero-drop shoes may lead to increased forces in the calf and foot region but less forces in the knee region.
Without further ado, let’s get right into it…
8mm Drop Running Shoes
8 Saucony 8mm Drop Shoes
Saucony Triumph 19
The Triumph series has been one of my favorite shoes in my daily training line in the past couple of years. It is still that soft plush luxurious and slightly responsive daily trainer that’s going to be a fantastic option for your daily training. I really just like using the Triumph for my long-run days because it feels so cushioned underfoot.
We don’t see huge changes in this version, but that’s a good thing because the Triumph 18 was so dialed in and only needed small tweaks to become an even better version with the Triumph 19.
The first thing that they really focused on with the Triumph 19 was reducing the weight. So the weight of the Triumph has come down by a full ounce. It previously was 11.1 oz and the new version is 10.1 oz.
The Triumph still has the full-length PWRRUN+. PWRRUN+ is a TPU-based pellet form that they put into the cavity of the midsole to create a really durable resilient material that offers a little bit of pop at toe-off. The midsole is pretty soft underfoot and has everything you need for long miles on the road.
We’re also going to have a top layer of PWRRUN+. This top sole is pretty thin and it offers nice initial step-in while also further enhancing the shoe’s responsiveness.
The outsole is XT-900 rubber which is a really durable material that’s going to withhold the miles that you’re putting on the shoe. The outsole is the same design we saw in the Triumph 18 and it still offers all the durability and traction you need for pretty much any of your daily running needs.
We also have the same flex groove setup and this is what really helps create that smooth ride. There’s just a hint of flex that feels good as you go through your gait cycle.
There’s an all-new 3D engineered mesh and this is going to be the only major change in the Triumph. The upper material is a little bit thinner and a little bit more breathable, which does help create just a little bit lighter weight design. I also think it does enhance the fit a little bit. The fit is amazing and the upper just seems to disappear on foot.
Saucony Endorphin Speed 2
The Endorphin Speed is one of three shoes in the Endorphin lineup. We have the training Endorphin Speed, the racing Endorphin Pro, and the everyday Endorphin Shift.
The ultralight PWRRUN PB is the bread-and-butter midsole that gives you the light cushioning you need for 5ks all the way up to the marathon distance.
With that said, the Endorphin Speed tends to go fast. I wouldn’t necessarily use the shoe as an everyday trainer as it does keep you on your toes and propel you forward. I would save these shoes for tempo days or even on race day.
Endorphin Speed 1 vs 2
The first iteration of the Speed launched in 2020 and impressed many people including myself. The Endorphin Speed 2 is a neutral running shoe with 35.5 millimeters in the heel and 27.5 millimeters in the toe for an eight-millimeter drop. It is packed with some great features to help you perform your best during workouts or on race day.
What’s the difference between the Endorphin Speed 1 and Endorphin Speed 2? Not much, which is a good thing.
Some of the minor updates include a more supported heel counter to help those who heel strike, a more breathable upper to help you during those spicy tempo workouts and on hot days, and plastic seams to help the longevity of the shoe.
The SpeedRoll technology stays the same. SpeedRoll is that idea that Saucony are trying to get the runner up on their foot in the propulsion phase really encouraging that runner to be moving forward in a smooth and natural way through your gait.
Overall, runners are really happy that Saucony kept the integrity of what worked really well in the original version with a few minor updates.
Related: Saucony Endorphin Speed vs Shift
Midsole & Outsole
The Speed has a PWRRUN PB midsole which is a Peba-based midsole compound. PWRRUN PB is extremely durable and it rebounds back to its original form. One thing that Saucony does that’s unique versus some of their competition in the industry is that Peba comes in a beaded form. They add that to the cavity of the midsole and they add heat and it melts together.
So, combining the SpeedRoll technology, the full-length nylon plate, and the PWRRUN PB provides a decent amount of energy return and makes for an enjoyable fast run that really helps you perform your best during workouts and long runs.
The outsole is still using XT-900 rubber which is that durable material that’s going to be very pliable.
This is where you’re going to see a little bit of change. The Speed has a nice wrap through the midfoot and the upper actually quite disappears, which just really complements the foot.
Make sure you read this interesting comparison of the Saucony Endorphin Speed vs Endorphin Pro.
Saucony Endorphin Pro 2
The Endorphin Pro 2 is a neutral road racing shoe and it is the second iteration of the marathoning shoe that made waves in 2020. With some minor tweaks, it’s still a really great shoe. If you liked the first iteration of this shoe, you’ll like the second. The only note is that it fits a little bit bigger than its predecessor.
The Pro is ideal for race day. It’s great for your marathons, half-marathons, 10ks, or 5ks and that’s really what it should be saved for. Do a few training runs in it beforehand just to get the feel of it, but generally, you want to save this shoe for either key workouts or days when you want to run as fast as possible.
If you can find it in your size, definitely get version one. It’s basically the same shoe with small changes in the upper and you’re going to get that same level of greatness at a discount.
Midsole & Outsole
The midsole is still Saucony’s PWRRUN PB cushioning. PWRRUN PB is a Peba-based polymer foam that’s going to be extremely durable, extremely resilient, rebounds back to its original form, and extremely lightweight. PWRRUN PB looks like Boost but behaves better than Boost. It’s just more capable especially when you put it into a racing application.
The stack is 35.5 millimeters in the heel and 27.5 millimeters in the forefoot for that 8mm drop. Additionally, you have that S-shaped carbon plate that runs through the midsole that is really enhancing the propulsion phase and really lifting that runner off the ground.
On the outsole, you’ve got XT-900 rubber that’s a really durable rubber that’s going to withstand the miles that you put on the shoe.
When we’re talking about the Endorphin Pro 2, the first thing to point out is the geometry stays the same. The SpeedRoll technology is still really encouraging that toe spring and encouraging the runner to be up on their toes in the propulsion phase and constantly moving forward.
There is a rocker geometry upfront to aid with that turnover in terms of your foot strike and your gait cycle. So, even though the Endorphin Pro has an 8mm drop, it also has a rocker just to help you get through all that stack height. It’s probably going to help put you in a position where you can really load up that rigid carbon plate and really get it to bend.
The upper is actually where most of the change has happened. It is made of a light single-layer engineered mesh that has been inspired by Saucony’s track spike lineup. The upper is extremely breathable, especially if you’re in warm humid conditions. It is also made of recycled materials adding a sustainability component to the shoe.
The upper now cradles the heel really well with that arch lock through the midfoot that’s really going to provide a nice wrap. Then you have a dynamic design of the upper that really kind of wraps the foot and provides a nice fit.
The heel counter is not sturdy and does not have a lot of structure, but that’s common when it comes to shoes that are intended for racing.
Compared to the Pro 1, the Pro 2 actually has a slightly wider toe box and generally fits a little bit bigger. However, runners with narrow feet might find it a little bit harder to lock their foot down in this version just because of the slightly wider last of the shoe.
Overall, the Endorphin Pro 2 is a great half marathon racing shoe and a really great 10k racing shoe. It’s just the ultimate marathon workout shoe.
Saucony Endorphin Pro+
The Endorphin Pro+ is a very special limited edition release and so if you’re looking to get a pair of your own, you’re going to have to be very quick. It’s also going to be the lightest Endorphin Pro to date.
You’re going to see a lot of athletes use this shoe potentially in shorter distance races like half marathons, 5ks, and 10k. That lighter package is just going to be even more efficient, but it maybe won’t have quite the support that you saw in the original Endorphin Pro. I think that’s okay especially for those shorter distances.
The upper is the only change in the shoe and it’s what’s going to give that “+” designation to the Endorphin Pro+. The all-new upper is very light, very thin, and very adaptable. It’s just a lot more stripped down than the upper we saw in past Endorphin Pro.
When we take a look back at prototypes of the original Endorphin Pro, the designers said that there were pro athletes that were testing several iterations of this shoe. There were some uppers that were a little bit more built up and then some uppers that were definitely a lot more stripped down. There is one prototype in particular that utilized an Endorphin racer upper and several of the athletes really were leaning towards this shoe because of how light it felt and just because it felt more like a traditional racing flat.
Like the Endorphin Pro, the Pro+ has that same full-length PWRRUN PB which is going to create that responsiveness and that bounce. It’s still going to maintain that same stack and 8mm drop and of course, it’s going to work with a carbon fiber plate that runs through the length of the shoe and it’s really what’s going to deliver that efficiency and torsional rigidity.
Saucony Ride 14
The Ride series is your bread-and-butter workhorse everyday trainer. What I like so much about this shoe is that it’s simple.
What the Ride loves doing is going out there for your long easy runs, recovery runs, or stuff where you want to be a little bit more relaxed. It’s not actually the fastest shoe. It can certainly be pushed to a little bit of a faster pace, but it doesn’t really love being there.
Or, if you’re a person that doesn’t love all that extra stuff that can happen in max cushioned shoes but want something that’s going to be great for those long runs and those easy runs, I think the Ride is definitely something that you should put into your consideration.
The midsole is just regular old PWRRUN. This is not PWRRUN PB and it’s not PWRRUN+. PWRRUN is not fancy but it’s to the point. It does what a foam is supposed to do which is protect your foot from the ground and give you a little bit of response.
The Ride performs well no matter what you throw at it. It’s not so cushioned that you’re going to sink down into that foam which makes it harder to pick up the pace and it’s not so firm that it’s going to trash your legs.
So, if you’re looking for a plush daily trainer, this is not going to be the option that you want to pick. It’s not harsh but it’s certainly not plush.
Saucony is using blown rubber in the Ride. They’re also using their Tri-Flex design which increases flexibility and durability of the shoe. We do have a lot of rubber in the forefoot and some in the midfoot area on both sides. In some cases, I would say this is a little too much rubber, but I don’t think it is especially because this is a daily trainer and you’re going to be throwing a lot at this shoe. The rubber is softer and so it’s not making the ride of the shoe feel too harsh.
The one word that comes to mind about the upper of the Ride 13 is comfort. It is wildly comfortable and you’ll never have issues with blisters or irritation. I would definitely say it’s not the most breathable shoe, but there is a fair amount of breathability.
The upper is a FORMFIT engineered mesh with some 3D-printed overlays in the midfoot for some extra structure. At the back, you have a sturdy heel counter to provide stability.
For what this shoe is, which is a daily trainer, they had to make it a little bit thicker and a little sturdier so that it would stand the test of time and you could have it for hundreds of miles.
Another thing that’s great about the Ride is the lockdown. The gusseted tongue mixed with the laces really does give you a dialed-in fit. You won’t feel like you were sliding around the platform and you won’t have any heel slippage at all. The shoe isn’t the widest shoe and it also isn’t the most narrow, but I think people with slightly wider feet would do okay.
Overall, the Ride 14 is so good for so many different types of runners. It’s great for a beginner who’s just starting out and it’s great for an experienced seasoned marathon runner because it can handle any type of pace that’s thrown at it. If you can only have one shoe, I feel like the Ride 14 is a pretty good choice.
If you want a hint of stability with overpronation just to bring you back to center through that foot strike, this is a good choice.
Saucony Guide 14
The Guide 14 is definitely a stability daily trainer. Look into the Guide 14 if you want a very stable ride that hugs your foot. However, it isn’t quite as propulsive as some of the other options like the New Balance 860v11. It’s a solid daily trainer and even possible long-run shoe if you don’t mind a little bit of a firmer underfoot feel.
You are not buying this shoe for incredible energy return or to do a tempo or a threshold day. You’re buying the Guide to help prevent that overpronation through your foot strike.
Other shoes similar to the Guide 14 are the 8mm Saucony Hurricane below, the 5mm Hoka Gaviota, the 10mm Asics Kayano, and the 12mm Brooks Adrenaline GTS.
Midsole & Outsole
Just like the Saucony Ride, the Guide has a PWRRUN midsole which is a TPU/EVA blend. The midsole is fairly firm which is standard for that PWRRUN midsole foam, but it’s not giving a lot of energy back. The support is done through a hard plastic medial post to help keep your overall foot strike and biomechanics aligned better.
The outsole is this Tri-Flex crystal rubber which is better than regular rubber in terms of durability. The rubber is a little bit softer under the forefoot, a little firmer through the heel, but rock hard on the medial side where the stability post is so you’re not collapsing in through your foot strike.
The FORMFIT upper is very comfortable and it really does form around your foot and fit awesome. This classic engineered mesh is not incredibly breathable through the toe box.
The Guide is solid plush through the collar, heel tab, tongue, and even through the shoe laces. It has awesome lockdown and the shoe feels very secure with no slipping through the heel pocket. The heel counter is stout to help lock your heel in and also to prevent any lateral movement for your heel.
The Saucony Guide is the less plush version of another stability shoe by Saucony called the Hurricane. The Hurricane is super plush and it just looks as comfortable as it feels.
Saucony Hurricane 23
The Saucony Hurricane is a high-cushioned premium stability shoe. It features a stack height of 33.5 millimeters in the heel and 25.5 millimeters in the toe giving the shoe an 8-millimeter drop.
You could use the Hurricane for your long runs if you are not concerned about pacing as much because it’s on the heavy side. It’s great for you if you need a little help with overpronation but you don’t want a stability shoe that is crazy stiff.
Midsole & Outsole
The Hurricane feature is PWRRUN+ which is a premium cushioning system allowing the shoe to be bouncier, more responsive, and more flexible than your traditional EVA foam. Unlike traditional EVA foam, the PWRRUN+ cushioning system is meant to be maintained throughout the entire life of the shoe and beyond.
Because it’s a support shoe, there’s a TPU Guidance Frame on the medial side of the foot for added stability and structure. This is a firm piece of plastic built on the inside of the shoe that is going to work with your foot if you are somebody who overpronates.
The outsole features XT-900 rubber. XT-900 is a carbon rubber that is flexible and adaptable while still maintaining durability.
The biggest update comes in the upper. They’ve updated the mesh on the top of your foot so it’s going to have a much sleeker and a little bit more accommodating and more form-fitting fit. They’ve also adjusted the heel in the back so it takes the pressure away from the Achilles tendon.
Overall, the Saucony Hurricane makes an excellent shoe for that runner or walker looking for a high-cushioned shoe with a decent amount of structure and support on the medial side.
Saucony Omni 19
The Omni is a comfort option for stability runners, but even neutral runners can enjoy the Omni. For those who need support, the Omni 19 delivers miles of comfortable running with added stability, a generous fit, and more spring than you expect from a shoe this supportive.
It feels pleasant at moderate easy kind of runs and recovery runs where you don’t want to think too much about form especially if you’re a neutral runner. However, it’s not a shoe you’re going to run fast in.
Midsole & Outsole
The midsole has the PWRRUN midsole compound foam which is a TPU/EVA blend which we also find in the Saucony Endorphin Shift and the Saucony Ride. The PWRRUN midsole is softer, a little bit lighter, and lasts a little bit longer.
The Omni sits in the stability category. However, it’s a very gentle form of stability. Part of that is due to the outsole being relatively soft and the forefoot flexibility. Running in the Saucony Hurricane, which also is a stability shoe, you’re going to notice the medial posting more because the forefoot in the Hurricane is stiffer.
The Omni has blown rubber through the forefoot on the outsole with the XT-900 in the heel and in the toe for added durability.
The other thing that’s really fantastic about the Omni is the FORMFIT upper wraps and hugs the foot quite nicely and encompasses the foot within the shoe very well. It has an engineered mesh in the forefoot to allow for great breathability and good toe splay.
The shoe has a bootie tongue to keep the softer upper well in place. The heel collar is well-cushioned and the heel counter has a subtle TPU overlay for great lockdown without being overwhelming.
A very close comparison to the Omni is the Saucony Triumph which has the bouncier PWRRUN+. The upper on the Triumph is a better upper but it’s a bit denser and a bit heavier.
More from Saucony:
- Saucony Echelon 8
- Saucony Clarion 2
- Saucony Breakthru 3
4 New Balance 8mm Drop Shoes
New Balance 1080v11
This is a neutral road running shoe and is mostly used as a daily trainer. This shoe is a medium to high stack height but it has a ton of cushion in that popular Fresh Foam X midsole. One of the first shoes that I thought of when I put on New Balance 1080 were the Hoka Cliftons just because of how much cushion there is in that midsole.
The upper has the Hypoknit engineered mesh which is light and very comfortable. The mesh material on the 1080v11 is slightly upgraded from the 1080v10. They made the upper a little bit stretchy and a little bit lighter and it’s definitely more comfortable. So, if you need a wider toe box for your bigger feet, this shoe might be good for you because the mesh is really stretchy.
The outsole is not the most durable rubber material, but if you’re using this as a daily trainer, you will be fine with the outsole material. One of the biggest upgrades from the previous model has been the breathability in the upper material.
You can read our full comparison of the New Balance 1080v10s vs v11s.
New Balance Vongo v5
The Vongo series has always been known for max stability. Both the men’s and women’s shoes feature an 8mm drop instead of the 4mm drop in the Vongo v4.
Taking a look at version 5, we’re going to see some pretty big updates that could be New Balance’s best max stability shoe today. This is definitely a daily trainer for somebody that needs a stability shoe and doesn’t want to deal with a traditional post on the medial side.
The Vongo is great for long-distance runs especially if you overpronate. It’s just a good stable shoe to have in your running shoe rotation if you only have a couple of shoes.
A good comparison to the New Balance Vongo v5 is the New Balance 1080v11 which is a neutral shoe. If you find the neutral 1080 too soft or not providing some structure through the midfoot, the Vongo is a good middle ground shoe that is not too soft but not too hard neither.
Midsole & Stability
The midsole has a full-length Fresh Foam X. This means the Vongo is going to offer a high level of cushioning, a bouncier forefoot, and a sturdier heel. Taking a look at the shoe’s aesthetic, the Vongo does seem very similar to the New Balance 1080 but now with a posted design on the medial side. Fresh Foam X also adds to more shock absorption and energy output.
New Balance is using a fairly unique posting design called “gradient posting”. What that means is they injected a bunch of pellets into the midsole. The pellets are going to be even denser as you get closer to the side walls. What that does is it just helps prevent your foot from rolling inward while offering an even smoother ride and a very nice underfoot experience when you land on your runs.
Combined with the lightweightness of the shoe and the rocker technology, the Vongo propels you forward especially when you get tired at the end of your run.
The Vongo 5 has a new synthetic mesh upper that looks and feels very similar to what we see in the 1080v11. The heel isn’t quite as pronounced as the 1080 but it is going to offer a very soft and comfortable upper experience that has even more support built for your daily miles. Although the midfoot has this nice tight embroidery to provide some structure, the upper is not overly constricting as you see in some other stability shoes out there.
The toe box has this nice breathable ventilated mesh and the forefoot is not too narrow so your toes can splay and do their thing. However, New Balance could have incorporated this ventilated mesh through the midfoot just to get more airflow. The heel counter is nice and sturdy, which is going to stabilize your heel and prevent any rolling.
Overall, the Vongo v5 is your max stability highly cushioned daily trainer. We see some pretty big updates over the last version, but it should create an even softer and more comfortable underfoot experience that could be one of the best feeling max stability New Balance shoes to date.
While the Vongo 5 is perfect for runners who overpronate, it might also be a good option for neutral runners due to the flexibility throughout the shoe.
New Balance RC Elite v2
The RC Elite v2 really shines on long-distance runs because the cushioning feels bottomless and it doesn’t feel like your foot is sinking down into the foam too much. Even at slower speeds, the midsole feels cushioned, stable, and lively. The drop has been decreased from 10 millimeters to 8 millimeters.
If you’re a runner who prefers a high level of cushioning and a bouncy ride over a prominent propulsive carbon plate, then the RC Elite v2 is the super shoe for you.
The original RC Elite was a good racing shoe, but I found its place wasn’t prominent enough and it didn’t provide as much propulsion as other super shoes. Only eight months later, the RC Elite v2 was launched. The Dynaride outsole has been replaced with a soft flat blown rubber outsole and the midsole stack height has also been increased to 39 millimeters in the heel and 31 millimeters in the forefoot compared to 32 and 22 in the first version.
Trying on the RC Elite v2, you could immediately feel the increase in cushioning. Running in the RC Elite v2 now feels really effortless bouncy and exciting. The Dynaride outsole on the first version made the forefoot feel a bit bumpy because of the small spikes, but with a smooth sheet of blown rubber, transitions feel much better. The steeper carbon fiber plates also feel more prominent than in the first version.
Midsole & Carbon Plate
The carbon fiber plate in the midsole is the same rigidity as the first version. However, it definitely feels a lot more prominent than the first version, but it still doesn’t feel as propulsive as the Nike Vaporfly Next% or the Asics Meta Speed Sky.
The other difference in the midsole geometry is that the RC Elite v2 now has a higher toe spring, which increases the rocker effect. The RC Elite is more energy-saving and more efficient during long runs.
Overall, the midsole is now even softer and more cushioned than version 1 and it still has the softest ride of all the super shoes.
The rearfoot rubber placement of the outsole has also been changed to a design of two vertical rubber strips similar to the Nike Vapor Fly Next%. The problem is that these rubber strips don’t wrap up around the edges of the midsole and so the overhanging foam gets scuffed by the ground.
The upper of the RC Elite v2 is not your typical snug racing foot upper. It’s accommodating, roomy, and it fits more like a training shoe than a racing shoe, which makes it a lot more comfortable over long distances. The new stretchy upper mesh provides better breathability because it’s thinner and there are now big holes on top of the toe box to let the air in. This also means this thin upper doesn’t absorb much liquid and it won’t increase the weight of the shoe during races.
The tongue is a little bit longer than on the first version, but it’s still flat, wide, and ungusseted and so it does slide downwards during runs. The collar and the heel tab are lightly padded and I experienced excellent foot lockdown with no heel slippage. The fit is true to size with the length being a little bit shorter than the average running shoe.
Overall, version 2 is a big improvement over the RC Elite v1. It’s now more cushioned because of its thicker midsole. The ride is smoother because of the flat outsole, and the shoe feels more efficient over long distances because of the higher toe spring. The RC Elite v2 is a lot more forgiving than other carbon fiber shoes and its ride is also less jarring.
New Balance Lerato
Carbon fiber plates are the hot topic right now and we’re seeing them in plenty of marathon racers and 5k racers. But New Balance is changing things up and they’re throwing that carbon fiber plate in a daily trainer to create that highly efficient experience for your daily miles. This is really the first shoe out on the market right now to do something like this.
So, the New Balance Lerato is going to be that highly-cushioned and efficient daily trainer that features a carbon fiber plate.
Midsole & Outsole
The new FuelCell midsole has got an extremely low durometer and so it’s going to create that ultra-soft underfoot experience. And of course, it’s going to work well with that carbon fiber plate. The plate is stiff and rigid and it’s going to help create that efficient on-foot experience.
There’s lots of rubber on the outsole. With the marathon racers, it’s all about stripping the outsole down to the minimum, but this is a daily trainer and so the main priority is going to be durability and traction and you’re definitely going to see that with this design.
The Lerato has a synthetic mesh upper design. The upper has printed and suede overlays as well as a TPU heel clip in the back for added support. Also, the Lerato has a bootie fit construction to just create a nice seamless on-foot experience.
More from New Balance:
- New Balance FuelCell 5280
- New Balance Fresh Foam Cruz
- New Balance Cypher Run v2
- New Balance Nitrel v3
- New Balance Cush+ District Run
- New Balance Cypher Run
- New Balance Fresh Foam Rise (M: 8mm / W: 6mm)
- New Balance FuelCore Coast v4
- New Balance Fresh Foam Roav
4 Asics 8mm Drop Shoes
Asics Novablast 2
In just one year, the Novablast has become one of the most popular Asics trainers on the road. Runners love its unrestrained bouncy fun ride and it’s unlike any other Asics trainer. It was designed for the younger generation of runners who don’t care about the Cumulus, the Nimbus or the Kayano.
The Novablast belongs to a new generation of running shoes that don’t fit into one single category. It’s cushioned enough for long runs, it’s versatile enough for daily training, and it’s light and efficient enough for faster-paced efforts like threshold runs. It feels really comfortable at easy or relaxed paces. However, it shifts gears very easily, and picking up the pace requires very little effort.
Novablast 1 vs 2
Version 1 felt scratchy and cheap and there wasn’t enough cushioning in the forefoot so you could run long distances. Version 2 has been totally revamped with a brand-new upper, midsole, and outsole. The drop has been reduced from 10 millimeters to 8 millimeters.
Even at tempo paces, the Novablast 2 feels right at home. The thing that is going to make the biggest impression for you is how much more cushioned the forefoot feels and how much more stable the shoe feels overall.
Runners complained that version one felt unstable. So, Asics made three changes to the midsole to improve stability on the Novablast 2. Firstly, they raised the midfoot sidewalls so they function like guide rails. Secondly, they lowered the heel stack height by two millimeters so your foot sits lower to the ground. Lastly, the midsole is now double stacked so the sidewalls compress less during foot strikes.
The shoe has the same deep fork-shaped transition groove that extends right from the heel all the way to the forefoot, which makes transitions smoother and it also centers the weight.
The biggest update to the outsole of the Novablast 2 is that the forefoot now has additional flex grooves which improve forefoot flexibility and it makes the ride feel more natural. AHAR+ rubber is used on the outsole and it’s soft, flexible, and highly abrasion-resistant.
The updated upper feels a different class to the first version. It’s softer, plusher, and more comfortable. This double jacquard mesh feels a lot more premium than the scratchy rough material on the first version.
The tongue of the Novablast 2 is now gusseted, which is something rare for Asics shoes and they only reserve this feature for their top-of-the-range premium trainers like the Nimbus and the Kayano.
The heel cup is now more sturdy than in the previous version and there are extra TPU overlays on the heel, which improves stability by supporting the heel more. The Novablast 2 still runs a half size too large and so you have to go down a half size to achieve the optimal ride.
The Asics Novablast 2 has a really unique ride which is unlike any other Asics model. It is a big improvement over the first version and most of its flaws have been fixed such as the unstable heel, the cheap-feeling upper, and the forefoot that didn’t have enough cushioning.
In version 1, doing long distances was a bit of a hassle because the forefoot was bottoming out. But in the Novablast 2, you could easily do 26 miles. It has the deep cushioning of a max cushion trainer but with a more nimble feel and more energy return.
Asics Meta Speed Edge
The MetaSpeed Edge is the second super shoe that Asics has launched in 2021 with a full-length carbon plate. It’s part of the Speed collection and it’s designed for cadence runners who increase their cadence proportionally more in their stride when picking up the pace.
The Edge is best suited to half marathons, 5k races, and 10k races because of its lower level of cushioning and how light it is. For full marathons, you would want your shoe to have some extra forefoot cushioning because the ball of your feet might feel some discomfort.
Again, the MetaSpeed Edge is great for half marathons, but it doesn’t have enough cushioning for a full marathon, which leaves the floor for the MetaSpeed Sky. The Sky is softer and it assists you more in increasing your speed. The Edge is firmer, lighter, and it doesn’t have an excess of cushioning if that bothers you.
Asics MetaSpeed Edge vs Sky
Compared to the MetaSpeed Sky which was designed for stride runners, the Edge is lighter and has a lower toe spring. It also has a thinner midsole and an 8mm drop compared to a 5mm drop in the Sky. The Edge feels more stable, more nimble, and more agile than the Sky.
You can easily mistake the Edge for the Sky because they look very similar. The easiest way to tell them apart is by the midsole at the forefoot and the Sky is a lot chunkier than the Edge.
The midsole is made from the same FlyteFoam Blast Turbo foam as the Speed Sky but there’s just less of it.
Compared to other speed running shoes, the Edge has a firmer ride, but it’s one of the lightest super shoes in the market and it’s the same weight as the Vapor Fly Next% 2.
Carbon Plate & Outsole
The carbon plate inside the Edge is extremely rigid and it doesn’t flex at all. Due to the thinner midsole, the plate doesn’t have as a steeper slope like the one inside the MetaSpeed Sky and so you don’t feel the curve under your forefoot as much.
Ride transitions are really smooth and it makes it easy to get into a rhythm. This is due to the single-density midsole and the full-ground contact outsole.
The outsole uses Asics Grip which is a soft flexible type of rubber which just provides excellent traction on wet surfaces. The outsole durability is much better on the Edge than the Sky.
The engineered mesh upper is extremely porous and lets a lot of air into the shoe. However, it’s a hard scratchy type of material. Also, the cotton laces feel cheap and they start to fray after just a couple of runs.
The heel tab and collar are lightly padded and there’s no hard heel counter meaning the heel is completely collapsible. However, lockdown is excellent with no heel slippage.
The forefoot is accommodating and there’s plenty of room in the toe box for your toes to splay. It’s got a training fit rather than a snug racing fit and even wide-footed runners should have no problems with it.
So, if you want a lighter lower stack racer with more ground feel, the Edge is the shoe for you.
Asics GT 2000 10
First off, the GT 2000 10 is going to retain the same stack heights as the last version, but the drop is now 8mm instead of 10mm.
The 2000 series has always been known as that moderate stability daily workhorse. It is going to be a little bit less stable and a little bit more simple than what you might see in the Kayano, but it’s everything you need for those daily miles.
Midsole & Outsole
In the midsole, they’ve combined their FlyteFoam with their standard Gel to create the softest underfoot feel that the 2000 series has ever had. FF Propel is an elastomer-based foam which is bouncy and soft. It’s going to help create a little bit more responsive and more lively underfoot experience.
There’s no plastic plate through the medial side compared to the GT 2000 9. Instead, Asics used the Lite Truss system which is their new stability system. Lite Truss is a little bit firmer of foam designed to provide that same great support for moderate overpronators
We’re going to still see that Asics High Abrasion Rubber+ to help create all the durability and traction you need during your daily training runs. They’ve aslo added a few grooves through the middle just to provide a little bit more comfort and flexibility to the bottom of the shoe.
Asics have re-engineered the mesh upper to create a little bit more accommodating of a fit in the forefoot so you’re going to have a little more room. There are some small changes in the forefoot for added breathability as well as some minor overlay updates to help create an enhanced fit. In the heel, we still have that heel counter that creates a supportive heel lockdown.
Overall, the Asics GT 2000 10 is still that reliable moderate stability shoe that runners are going to come back to year after year. While it hasn’t seen huge changes, it is going to be a little bit more lively on foot and still retain that stability you’ve come to expect.
Asics DS Trainer 26
While there aren’t many stability racing shoes in the market, the DS Trainer is an amazing lightweight shoe that can add extra speed to your workouts. It is for the runner who wants to race and who needs extra stability and support.
The DS Trainer is a great supplement to classic stable high-mileage training shoes like the GT 2000 or the Asics Kayano. The 2000 and the Kayanos are fully focused on comfort and thereby can be tough to up the pace in.
Overall, the DS is the shoe for your speed workouts, track workouts, tempo runs, and even cross-training days.
Asics Gel in the heel clearly increases the comfort but otherwise, the shoe is more firm providing a great touch with the surface. The big advantage of this firmer midsole is that it provides super propulsion where the transition from heel to toe is very efficient.
The midsole is going to push you forward at every step. That experience definitely owes a lot to the FlyteFoam midsole compound. FF makes the DS lighter if you compare it to the Kayano, but at the same time, it’s also more responsive in the take-off.
The DS is able to provide the stability needed thanks to the DuoMax wedge which really does a good job in terms of providing support for overpronators.
The sole is designed with a propulsion Trusstic system which helps to activate your tendons for a more powerful take-off. I cannot say if this technology is exactly the reason for the powerful take-off, but it does provide a great take-off. In addition, you will find strategically placed Asics’ new AHAR+.
If you have tried the previous versions of the DS Trainer, then you will notice that version 26 has a new 360° stretchable knit upper which I think has a terrific fit, especially across the midfoot.
Overall, if you need stability and are looking for a fast running shoe which will allow you to mix up your workouts, I can only recommend the Asics DS-Trainer 26. It’s fast and efficient, and compared to the Kayano or the GT-2000, you will certainly set new records with this shoe.
More from Asics:
- Asics DynaFlyte 4
- Asics LyteRacer
- Asics HyperGel Kenzen
- Asics Gel Kumo Lyte 2
5 Brooks 8mm Drop Shoes
Brooks Levitate 5
The Levitate 5 is going to be great for everyone who’s going to go on a tempo run or a fast-paced run. It’s not good for track workouts but pretty close to it. Again, it’s for high energy high-speed fast-paced runs.
It’s important to note that there are four different versions of the Brooks levitate 5. You have the original Levitate 5 which is the neutral version and then you have the Levitate 5 GTS. GTS stands for Go To Support and that’s going to be their stability version.
Between the original and the GTS version, you can get two different uppers. There’s the classic woven upper which has a little bit more room to it and it’s a little bit more spacious. Brooks also makes something called a StealthFit upper which is a stretch knit that has a little bit of a tire feel to it.
So, depending on what you want, you can get the original neutral shoe or the stability shoe. Then, you can kind of customize the uppers with a StealthFit that’s much more tight and compact or the original fit that gives you a little bit more room in the toe box and through the midfoot area.
Another fun fact is that the GTS version of the Levitate 5 is replacing the Bedlam series. Brooks had a whole separate category for stability with that DNA AMP foam but decided to kind of roll it up underneath the Levitate brand and so that’s why we have the Levitate 5 GTS version.
The midsole foam is a full-length DNA AMP which is positioned as being one of Brooks’ more springy and energy-filled foams. DNA AMP has a little bit of a longer life and a little bit more energy return, however, it’s much harder compared to DNA Loft on the Brooks Ghost.
The Levitate GTS has these GuideRails on the medial and the lateral side of the shoe, which the neutral version does not feature. It’s essentially these walls of foam on both sides of the shoe that help guide your foot if you need it and kind of disappear if you don’t.
So, if you are running correctly and you don’t need that support, you really won’t interact with the support system at all. But if your foot starts to roll to either side, you have those nice GuideRails to kind of get you back into position.
The upper is an engineered circular knit upper. The main goal of the fit is to give a little bit more of an accommodating fit overall compared to the StealthFit which is more of a stretch knit upper that really does like wrap the foot and provide a snug experience.
With regard to breathability, the Levitate is not the most breathable and it definitely keeps the foot really warm, which may be nice as we get further into the fall and winter months.
You get a ton of rubber coverage from the heel all the way to the toe with this really hard dense rubber. The arrow pattern that moves up the shoe is supposed to optimize the running experience, but I don’t know if that’s true.
Overall, if you’re someone who just wants a decent amount of stability, the Levitate GTS is a good option because it really doesn’t over interfere or become super intrusive while you’re running but still provides a nice stable ride.
Brooks Hyperion Elite 2
The Hyperion Elite is one of Brooks’ two shoes in the Hyperion line to enter this elite fast shoe technology-based speed game. While the Hyperion Elite is Brooks’ carbon-fiber plated race shoe, the Hyperion Tempo is their more consumer level but yet front-of-the-pack based speed model for longer distance runs and training runs.
So, Brooks hope to encourage athletes to train in the Tempo and race in the Elite mixing all sorts of fast tech in both of the shoes creating a new top-level in their shoot lineup.
The Elite 2 is an amazing update. It’s great for those longer distance races like marathons and half marathons. It probably has the ability to go down into the shorter races like 5k or 10k, but I think it’s going to shine in the longer distances.
With these carbon fiber plate shoes, you can bring them out for a fast day and you can go hard and your body doesn’t feel as beat up the next day.
Hyperion Elite 1
The Hyperion Elite 1 was a little controversial because the midsole didn’t really compare with some of the other super foams on the market. Some people really liked it and some people didn’t like it as much.
So Brooks brought the Hyperion Elite back to the drawing board and completely revamped it. Now, the Hyperion is a shoe that’s going to compete with the competition. The underfoot experience is going to blow you away.
Fun is a great descriptor for this shoe and the midsole is really where all the magic comes from. The new DNA Flash has a lot of stack underfoot and plenty of cushioning to go the distance.
The DNA Flash is a super foam that’s lightweight, bouncy, and responsive. It works really well with the carbon fiber plate and it’s hard to keep the pace down. If you’re a fan of Sketchers’ Hyperburst midsole material, I definitely think that the DNA Flash is going to be in your wheelhouse.
This outsole is very similar to a lot of the other elite racers out there. It has a lot of exposed midsole and some targeted outsole rubber in the forefoot and heel to add a little bit of durability.
However, you can’t wear the Hyperion Elite every day because this is an expensive shoe. It’s a racer built for top performances and so durability isn’t going to be quite what you’re going to see in your daily trainer.
The upper might be the one controversial part of this shoe because it is really pretty much the same upper we saw in version one. The material is soft, nice, and breathable, but the heel fit just isn’t quite there. However, if you tweak up the laces and start picking up the pace, you wouldn’t notice it quite as much. So, I think Brooks can definitely go back and make some small changes to dial in the fit for the v3.
Overall, Brooks did a really good job completely revamping the Hyperion Elite. I think a lot of people are going to be happy to get the Hyperion Elite v2 on their feet for race day and workouts. It’s a very fast and efficient marathon racer.
Brooks Hyperion Tempo
The Brooks Hyperion Tempo is utilizing some of their new technologies which are not necessarily new to the marketplace but new for them. It’s the training sister of the racing Hyperion Elite.
The shoe falls into the less-is-more category but certainly something that’ll be great for faster environments, higher energy tempo runs, mid-distance to long-distance training runs, and racing.
The Tempo features their nitrogen-infused midsole material known as DNA Flash. DNA Flash is a snappy yet responsive and highly flexible midsole. While they do advertise it as a cushioned yet responsive shoe, I definitely feel it’s more on that responsive end of the spectrum. You’re not going to get a ton of cushioning or absorbent material. It is very similar to the Skechers Razor 3 or even in fit and feel to the Saucony Kinvara 11.
I’ve heard that this DNA flash midsole is hyper-temperature sensitive. So, if you’re running in colder climates, it’s going to feel a lot more responsive than if you’re running anywhere from 75 degrees or above. This is very similar to a lot of midsoles, but this nitrogen-infused midsole is more sensitive to temperature than others.
There’s a super lightweight and breathable mesh throughout the upper with minimal welded overlays, a light lacing system, and a molded heel cup reminiscent of a lot of the recent Nike generation.
The Hyperion runs a little bit on the narrow end of the spectrum. Luckily, the upper is a bit more flexible and compensates for slightly bigger feet, but it’s just not going to be an ideal shoe for the wide-footed runners.
Hyprion Tempo vs Others
The Hyperion Tempo is at a higher price point. There are other shoes in the game that I think you’re going to get a very similar experience out of for a lower price point. Examples include the Razor 3 from Skechers, the Kinvara from Saucony, and the New Balance FuelCell Rebel. You’re getting similarly statured shoes with similar tech and similar ride experiences as the Hyperion Tempo for lesser price points.
In conclusion, this is one of Brooks’ best running shoes in a long time. The Tempo excels at faster fun tempo runs, speed workouts, or race efforts. You’re definitely going to feel the benefits of the Hyperion Tempo in your mid-distance tempo runs where you just want to increase the kick a little bit. It’s not necessarily designed for those long slow runs.
More from Brooks:
Brooks Bedlam 3
Brooks Ricochet 3
5 Nike 8mm Drop Shoes
Nike Structure 23
The Structure is a stability daily trainer with a traditional fit. Made for the runner looking for a shoe they can wear daily, the Nike Air Zoom Structure 23 keeps you cushioned with a plush ventilated design.
The Structure is first and foremost a mileage beast. You can use it to prepare yourself for all the half marathons and marathons. It is and has been a perfect shoe for long runs, recovery runs, and regular jogging.
If you like a true neutral runner and you love low-impact shoes that don’t get in your way, this isn’t going to be the one for you. But if you’re looking for support that’s not impeding your ability to move naturally, this is a solid option.
You’re going to get a lot of return for long runs, easy days, daily training, and kind of medium-long runs or medium steady runs.
Midsole & Outsole
There’s still a lot of mystery surrounding the shoe. For some reason, Nike thinks it’s cool to drop a shoe and not provide very many details regarding the structure and build at all. So, while the midsole cushioning setup remains unknown, there is a forefoot Air Zoom unit to add a little extra snap in your stride.
The midsole feels plush and responsive. The Structure actually feels much softer than the 10mm Pegasus 37 but maybe a little bit firmer than the 10mm Nike React Miler. As far as like comfort goes, it kind of harkens back to when the old-school Vomero series was really killing it.
While it’s very soft and cushiony, it is a stability shoe thanks to the dual-density posting on the medial side to prevent any rolling in if you’re overpronating. If you press on the heel foam, it’s pretty firm, but then if you press on forefoot foam, that’s going to be a lot softer. The nice thing is they are putting some extra softer foam on top of the posting so it doesn’t really get in the way.
Overall, the midsole is a great mix of soft and responsive. The outsole is a pretty traditional blown rubber but there’s plenty of flexibility in the forefoot because there’s grooves on the bottom.
There’s a standard engineered upper mesh material that’s very breathable and actually pretty lightweight. The toe box is actually feeling a little wider than Nike’s traditional toe box which is kind of known for being narrow.
There is an extremely plush tongue and a full gusseted tongue which really helps for the fit of the shoe. There is a fairly firm and stiff heel counter in the back. It’s not as firm as other like stability shoes on the market, but you’re not going to be rolling around. The lockdown on the ankle is very solid as well. The Structure is definitely not as bulky as some of the other shoes and the fit is true to size.
To wrap things up, the Structure combines comfort, support, and design and it is runners’ go-to shoe when you’re just going cruising without worrying about technique or running style. Being a very versatile shoe, you can use the Structure for high mileage training and tempo runs.
So, if you are looking for a stable and supportive all-round shoe which can support you on your long runs, The Nike Structure 24 is the right shoe for you.
This is a pretty versatile trainer if you’re looking for something that can like do it most. I think you’re going to be comfortable getting about to around marathon pace in this thing and you’re not going to have a ton of issues.
Nike Zoom Fly 4
The Zoom Fly series is known as the performance training version of the Vapor Fly. It’s got a highly responsive design and a carbon fiber plate but in just a little bit more versatile of a package. The React cushioning continues to be ultra-responsive so you’re going to have no issues picking the pace up on workouts.
Some people may even use this for race day because it’s a very fast shoe. But, again, it has a little bit more supportive of a design and a little bit more durability that we’ll be able to use for a wide variety of training needs.
Midsole & Outsole
We’re really not going to see any changes from its predecessor. There’s that full-length React cushioning that’s going to offer the perfect blend of responsiveness while also being a little bit more durable than the ZoomX midsole compound seen in the Vapor Fly.
That React cushioning is going to work with a carbon fiber plate. The carbon fiber plate adds that rigidity, adds that propulsion, and really adds magic into the shoe.
On the outsole, we’ve got a lot of strategic rubber in the forefoot and then a little bit in the heel, which is going to offer that durability, traction, and that bite especially as you’re going around turns.
We’re going to have an all-new upper design and this is going to be really the only change in this shoe. We’ve got a Flyknit design that’s really soft and it’s going to work with an encapsulated bootie that’s just going to keep your foot snugly held in place. The tongue goes up just a little bit higher and it’s going to offer a really nice wrap.
Then in the heel, we’ve got a small heel counter. There’s a little bit of stiffness but, overall, this upper is going to be fairly light, fairly thin, and going to be built to pick up the pace while still having just enough support for potentially some daily training.
Overall, the Nike Zoom Fly 4 is going to continue to be that little bit more versatile carbon-plated training companion to the Vapor Fly. In 2020, we saw the Zoom Fly kind of disappear and the Zoom Tempo% took over as that carbon-plated daily trainer, but it was a much different underfoot experience.
Nike heard from the people and they brought back the Zoom Fly with just a few small upgrades that are going to further increase performance.
Nike Vaporfly Next Percent 2
The Vapor Fly 4% started a revolution and changed racing shoes as we knew them. It was the very first super shoe and the Vapor Fly Next% is the most popular carbon-plated racer.
You can really enjoy the Vapor Fly Next% for tempo, threshold, and speed workouts because of how much cushioning the thick slab of Zoom X offers and the geometry of the carbon plate that launches you forward.
At slower paces especially when you’re landing further back on your foot, the Vapor Fly Next% can be a little bit too unstable because of how narrow the midfoot and the rear foot are.
For non-elite runners, I think this is a 5 kilometer to half marathon racing shoe because during the later stages of long runs when you’re landing further back on your foot because your form deteriorates, you can really feel the instability.
In my opinion, this is the best Vapor Fly upper to date.
The Vapor Fly Next% 2 has been two years in the making but it’s only an upper update. It now has a really breathable engineered mesh upper compared to Vapor Weave in the previous version. This new upper also makes the Vapor Fly Next% 2 feel more premium because Vapor Weave had a cheap plastic quality to it.
The tongue is now slightly more padded and this makes the lacing area that sits on top of your foot more comfortable. Like most racing shoes, the tongue of the Vapor Fly Next% is too short and it slides downwards during runs. When the tongue slides down, you can feel the top row of laces rest uncomfortably against the top of your foot.
Foot lockdown is good thanks to the perforations on the sides which grip better onto the eyelets and improve the lockdown. However, a lot of runners still have to use heel lock lacing to get a better lockdown.
The fit is true to size and there’s a little bit more room in the toe box than the previous version. However, due to the narrow midfoot, it’s still not the best running shoe for wide-footed runners.
Midsole & Outsole
The midsole and the outsole are exactly the same as the previous version. What makes the Vapor Fly Next% such a great shoe is that the Zoom X foam and the carbon fiber plate work together seamlessly to provide a propulsive ride with bottomless cushioning.
The midsole is soft and cushioned and you’ll be able to feel that signature Vapor Fly snap from the rigid carbon plate which has made the Vapor Fly such a popular racer. The heel is so soft that when you load the heel, the carbon plate compresses downwards, and when released, it launches you forward because the front of the carbon plate is anchored.
There’s plenty of thick durable rubber on the forefoot, which means you can use the Vapor Fly for training and not just for race days. Traction is below average because of how hard the rubber is, but that durability was better than most of the other carbon-plated racers.
There’s no doubt that the competition has caught up. But Nike has done just enough this time around to keep the Vapor Fly Next% 2 as the default super shoe for fast runners. It is still a super light racing option that provides excellent cushioning and propulsion. What makes it so special is its unique forefoot geometry that provides a forward tipping sensation with each toe.
The Vapor Fly Next% 2 is a small improvement over the previous version and the new upper doesn’t affect the ride much. It’s basically the Vapor Fly Next% version 1.5. The 5mm Asics MetaSpeed Sky has a more prominent carbon plate with a faster feel to it. It also has a wider more stable base.
Nike Air Zoom Elite 10
The Elite 10 is the update to what many Nike fans consider to be one of the best running shoes from Nike.
At faster paces, the Elite is one of the most rewarding shoes to wear. The response in this shoe is spot-on. But what makes the midsole work so well is that it’s cushioned enough to wear beyond shorter workouts.
If you like a lightweight all-around shoe, this can do just fine. In the same way that people love the Saucony Kinvara or maybe the New Balance Zante, I would consider the Elite 10 to be one of those shoes you can work in just about any road running situation depending on your personal taste. But for you faster runners out there, I’m pretty sure you’ll like it.
Midsole & Outsole
The midsole uses what I guess you can consider old technology. It comes equipped with a forefoot Zoom unit encased within a Cushlon foam. This is where the Elite 10 becomes hit or miss. If you prefer to have a lot of heel cushioning, this shoe will feel just okay, but for those who want that midfoot pop when coming off your stride, it’s going to be money.
The outsole uses blown rubber across the shoe. It provides a bit of shock absorption while keeping the shoe nimble and light. On the track, dirt, and roads, the traction is good.
The Elite 10 uses a seamless Fly mesh upper with the use of FlyWire to lock down the fit. The shoe feels great on foot because it has all the basic things right. It provides a great lockdown, the heel is padded but not invasive, the tongue doesn’t cause any irritation, and the best parts it’s light and breathable. If you like a snug midfoot wrap with a wide toe box, this is it.
Overall, not much has changed. But this is one of those times when something is good, you really don’t have to change it much. The Nike Elite 10 is light, comfortable, and fast.
Nike Zoom Rival Fly 3
The Rival Fly 3 is an old-school lightweight tempo trainer and it competes with other non-plated lightweight trainers like the New Balance Rebel v2, the Adidas SL20.2, the Asics Evoride 2, and the Hoka Rincon 3.
Without a doubt, I can say that the Rival Fly is best suited to short tempo runs and speed workouts. It is however a lot more versatile than the previous Zoom Fly.
Its new beefed-up midsole has enough cushioning for full marathons and it also has enough cushioning to not leave your feet feeling beaten up after long runs.
The Rival Fly can also fill the role of a daily trainer in your shoe rotation. It’s got a comfortable upper, a tough outsole, and a midsole which is, again, cushioned enough for marathon distances.
The upper of the Rival Fly 3 feels more substantial and it’s closer to the upper of a typical daily trainer. This is mainly due to the new thicker softer mesh, which makes it feel more comfortable on long runs. The other big update is that the eyestay and lacing area are now symmetrical compared to an asymmetrical Vapor Fly type of setup on the Rival Fly 2.
The lightly padded tongue is still asymmetrical. It’s attached to an inner sleeve, but you can still experience a lot of downward tongue slider during runs. The Rival Fly fits true to size with an accommodating and spacious fit that’s both similar to a daily trainer than a lightweight racer.
Overall, foot lockdown is excellent and the only flaw is the tongue that slides down. The Rival Fly 3 has a really natural ride with plenty of ground feel and lots of stability.
While the other popular Nikes like the Pegasus, Vomero, and structure have all moved on from Cushlon foam, the Rival Fly 3 still retains the ancient Cushlon foam as its midsole.
If you’ve been running in other trainers with new-age Pebax or supercritical midsoles, then you’ll probably find the Rival Fly 3 to be flat and slightly boring.
It also still uses the old small Zoom Air unit in its forefoot unlike the Pegasus 38 and Vomero 16 which use a large thick Zoom Air bag that covers the entire forefoot. So, you might find the lumpy forefoot of the Rival Fly 3 slightly annoying if you aren’t used to it.
The Rival Fly 3 feels similar to the Pegasus 33 and 34 because in those shoes, you could also feel the outline of the Air bag in the forefoot. Those versions of the Pegasus also had Cushlon midsoles.
The Rival Fly 3 has thick rubber on all the high-wear areas and there’s some exposed midsole foam on the midfoot and under the center of the heel. The entire forefoot is covered with rubber and there are thin longitudinal lines cut into it to help with flexibility.
There’s also a decoupled lateral crash pad to help soften foot strikes on the lateral side. Traction is acceptable on a variety of surfaces including light trails and grip is good in wet and dry conditions.
Rival Fly vs Others
The Rival Fly has a ride which is very reminiscent of the old Pegasus versions. Compared to the other lightweight tempo trainers, the Rival Fly 3 is most similar to the 10mm Adidas SL20.2. Both of them have similar weights and tough durable outsoles, but I would much rather pick the Hoka Rincon 3 or the New Balance Rebel v2 ahead of them because they have more springy, fun, and engaging rides.
In conclusion, there are some runners who prefer to train in non-plated shoes for their speed workouts so that when they race and they switch to their carbon super shoe, they get a bigger boost. So, the Rival Fly 3 is for those runners.
The Rival Fly 3 has been completely redone. It still maintains its cushion on midsole but it’s now softer and it has a brand new upper and outsole. It is 1 ounce heavier than the Rival Fly 2 but it still maintains its 8-millimeter drop. However, the Rival Fly 2 was a really firm shoe and it didn’t have enough cushioning for distances longer than 12 miles.
The upper on the Rival Fly 3 feels a lot more comfortable than the previous version and the cushioning also feels softer and more substantial underfoot.
More from Nike
- Nike Flyknit Racer
- Nike Free RN Commuter
- Nike Air Zoom Streak
1 Adidas 8mm Drop Shoe
Adidas Adizero Boston 10
The Boston 10 is a daily trainer that gets the job done while making runs feel effortless and enjoyable. It is a maximalist daily trainer and it’s designed to be the training companion to the Adios Pro 2
The Boston shines more on middle-distance and long-distance runs at steady or easy paces. This is when the rocker and the energy rods become most effective. It’s really easy to get into a rhythm and it just makes you want to keep on going. I feel that short fast-paced runs are a bit of a chore because the Boston weighs a bit too much.
The Boston can now handle much longer distances better because of its thick monster midsole. It can handle distances over 24 miles with ease while still feeling very efficient. The efficiency comes from the stiff forefoot combined with the rocker that saves you energy on long runs.
Midsole & Outsole
Its midsole looks as chunky as the Adios Pro’s midsole. It has a massive heel stack height of 39.5 millimeters in the heel and 31mm in the forefoot for a drop of 8 millimeters. The ride is firm but cushioned while the high toe spring and the rocker make it feel efficient. The forefoot is a little bit more flexible than the Adios Pro and so the ride feels more natural but still very snappy.
The Boston 10 rides much firmer than it looks. It’s firmer than other popular daily trainers like the Asics Cumulus, the Nike Pegasus, or the Brooks Ghost because of this plate that sits in the back half of the shoe.
The energy rods in the midsole are more flexible than the carbon rods in the Adios Pro and the Boston is more suited to daily training. The top layer of LiteStrike Pro foam provides a little bit of energy return while the bottom layer of LiteStrike provides a firm stable platform.
There’s plenty of thick hard wearing Continental rubber which is one of the toughest outsole rubbers to ever exist.
While the upper is thick, it’s not the best on the market. Sock fibers might poke through the perforated layer of the upper and get trapped between the two layers. The tongue is gusseted meaning no tongue slides. However, the tongue is too flat and so your foot might not sit far back enough against the heel counter, which can lead to heel slippage. The fit is roomy and relaxed unlike previous Boston versions which had a snug racing fit.
Boston vs SL20 & Adios
If you really love the fit and feel of the previous versions of the Boston, the SL20.2 fits the same and is a cheaper more traditional lighter daily trainer. However, the Boston 10 has more cushioning and its ride is more exciting.
The Boston 10 is an excellent training companion to the Adios Pro. It has a similar ride but with better stability and durability and it’s easier on the wallet. It also has a more flexible forefoot, which makes the ride feel less jarring and more natural.
In conclusion, the Boston 10 now shares features with the Adios Pro 2 such as Energy Rods and LiteStrike Pro foam, but it’s designed to be more durable and more affordable.
More from Adidas
- Adidas Ultraboost ST
- Adidas Pureboost Go
- Adidas Adizero Sub 2
- Adidas Pulseboost HD
- Adidas Pureboost DPR
- Adidas Ultraboost ST Parley
- Adidas Senseboost Go
- Adidas Sensebounce+
1 ON 8mm Drop Shoe
This is a neutral cushioned trainer that is excellent for use on the road and the track. The Cloudstratus is soft enough to withstand long easy runs and also bouncy enough to be a really stellar workout day shoe.
While a lot of ON shoes have a firm underfoot feel, the Cloudstratus is here to change that. This shoe is cushioned, plush, and bouncy. It feels great for long runs and up-tempo training. Overall, this is quite the departure from what a traditional ON shoe feels like.
On is dedicated to making footwear that is better for the environment. On the Cloudstratus, the tongue, the vamp, the quarter, the tongue lining, the sock liner, the cover, and the laces are all made from 100% recycled polyester.
The midsole is using Helion foam which feels softer but still brings the integrity so the clouds just don’t collapse too quickly. On top of that Helion foam, ON has added their Speedboard to provide a smooth ride. They’re trying to find a balance and that’s why they bring some rigidity as well to provide that forward propulsion. They also play with the rocker a little bit especially in the forefoot to help you toe-off more efficiently.
One of the biggest updates to the outsole is this double layer of the Cloud technology, which really improves the cushioning of this shoe. So the Cloudstratus feels softer and bouncier with each step.
The channel that runs down the middle of the outsole is a key component to the ON Cloud technology. What this does is allow each of these pods to move independently and really maximize that technology. Over the years, ON has rethought the way that this channel is shaped to help alleviate rocks getting stuck.
On this update, ON made the toe box wider and they also made the sock liner more comfortable to improve the step-in feel of this shoe.
1 Mizuno 8mm Drop Shoe
Mizuno Wave Rebellion
The Rebellion is Mizuno’s latest and most innovative running shoe. It is definitely very different than any of the other Mizuno shoes we’ve seen over the last couple of years.
The Rebellion performs really well at a wide variety of paces. You can bring this out for your slower and steady efforts. This is also a fantastic performance training option that some people may even use for daily training or race day. Pretty good versatility in a very responsive package.
The midsole is Mizuno’s latest most responsive and lightest compound to date. We’ve got full-length Enerzy Lite that runs throughout the shoe from forefoot to heel. It’s going to create a very responsive on-foot experience that’s very different than any other Mizuno shoe. The Rebellion has got that pop and that very unique feel.
While it is a little softer than some of Mizuno’s past midsole compounds, it’s not quite as soft as some of the other super foams on the market but still very impressive.
From a stack height perspective, we’re looking at about 37mm in the heel and 29mm in the forefoot. This is a decent amount of protection but it isn’t going to be quite as max stacked as some of the other super shoes.
To help with that efficiency story, that foam is going to work together with a plate but it’s not carbon fiber. It runs from the heel through the midfoot and then as it reaches the forefoot, it forks out. It creates a fairly stiff and rigid design but again not quite as aggressive as some of the carbon fiber plated competition.
With a G3 design from heel to toe, the outsole has got plenty of rubber to help with durability and traction. The outsole is still fairly thin and so it’s going to keep weight down.
It’s also worth noting that we’ve got a cut-out of the Enerzy Lite and that rubber in the heel to help keep weight down. Also in the heel, you’re going to see that Mizuno Wave plate that’s embedded in the midfoot now exposed.
Moving on into the upper, we’ve got more of a performance trainer-like design. It’s not extremely stripped down but it is still going to be fairly light. In the heel, the upper is a little bit more built-up and fairly firm, which is going to offer a nice heel lockdown.
As you move into the midfoot and the forefoot, it starts to get stripped down just a little bit. There still is some padding, but overall it’s going to be a fairly snug midfoot experience.
As you get into the toe box, it’s fairly shallow and the length is a little bit short and so you might have to go up a half size. If you are on the border between sizes, I would highly recommend going up that half size.
We’re seeing new midsole compounds, we’re seeing lighter weight designs, we’re seeing something that’s a little bit more progressive where Mizuno has been fairly traditional.
While there are definitely still some better options on elite marathon racing day, I do think that the Wave Rebellion is an awesome workout day shoe. It’s fast, it’s responsive, and that plate design is going to be a little bit more versatile so you can use it for a wide range of training needs.
Thanks for making it to the end of this gigantic article. These were some of the best 8mm drop running shoes we could review. If you have any great shoes, please let us know in the comments.