As I reflect on the highlights of my running journey in 2023, I want to share my top picks for the best everyday running shoes.
To me, daily trainers are more than just footwear; they’re the reliable companions that clock in the miles, add a dash of fun to the run, and simply feel great on your feet.
These aren’t necessarily the lightest or equipped with the latest technology, but rather the tried-and-true, bread-and-butter trainers that many of us count on for our training endeavors.
Before we delve into the details, I’m Eric Barber, and let me quickly cover some disclosures. I purchased these shoes myself, and no one is compensating me for my opinions or endorsements. This rundown is purely based on my personal experiences and preferences as a fellow runner.
Now that the necessary disclosure is covered, let’s talk about my top five daily trainers of 2023…
Best Everyday Running Shoes
I prefer to kick things off differently and won’t be starting with a list from the bottom to the top. Instead, let’s begin with my absolute favorite daily trainer and work our way down from there.
1. Asics Novablast 4
Neutral 〉 W: 7.8 oz 〉 M: 9.0 oz 〉 Drop: 8 mm 〉 Heel: 42 mm 〉 Forefoot: 34 mm
The Novablast line has been a popular choice among runners since its debut in 2020. Over the years, I’ve had mixed feelings about some versions while enjoying others, but, on the whole, the Novablast line stands out as a pretty cool collection from Asics.
The Novablast 4 has become my go-to for a reason—I’ve clocked in 100 miles and counting because every run feels like a fun experience in these shoes.
Suppose you’re considering the Novablast 4 for your quicker tempo runs and aren’t specifically looking for a carbon-plated shoe. I believe the Novablast would perform just fine in that scenario as well.
So, what sets the Novablast 4 apart is its ability to seamlessly transition from easy-paced runs to more intense workouts, offering the perfect blend of comfort and responsiveness.
Not only is the Novablast a reliable companion for my daily miles, but it’s also a versatile option for travel, providing all-day comfort.
Asics even changed the foam in the Novablast 4 to FFBlast+ Eco, where 24% of the midsole comes from bio-based material. It’s cool to see Asics making strides in sustainability.
Overall, if you’ve been a fan of the Novablast line, I believe you’ll feel right at home in the 4, much like you did with the 3. For those new to the Novablast series, I recommend giving the 4 a shot.
Whether you’re an experienced runner or just starting out and seeking a versatile shoe for all your runs, the Novablast 4 has a lot to offer. It ticks off various boxes—it’s straightforward, comfortable, fun to run in, and, for me, that’s what matters most.
So, because it embodies what I believe makes a great daily trainer and performs really well in pretty much everything, the Asics Novablast 4 clinches the title of my 2023 daily trainer of the year.
Closest Shoes to the Novablast
Right now, I believe the closest shoe to the Novablast is the New Balance 1080v13. There’s a certain similarity in the feel of the foams used in these two shoes. In the past, Fresh Foam X didn’t necessarily share a similar feel with FFBlast+ or FFBlast+ Eco, but now, there’s a noticeable resemblance between the experiences offered by the Novablast and the 1080v13.
I feel that these two shoes go head-to-head quite seamlessly and the refined features in the foam contribute to a comparable and enjoyable running experience in both the Novablast and the 1080v13.
As you may have guessed, the 1080v13 takes my number two spot…
2. New Balance 1080v13
Neutral 〉 W: 8.1 oz 〉 M: 9.3 oz 〉 Drop: 6 mm 〉 Heel: 37 mm 〉 Forefoot: 31 mm
Over the past few years, the 1080 line faced a bit of an identity crisis. The 1080 used to be the max cushion sibling to the 880, but the introduction of the New Balance More left the 1080 series in a bit of uncertainty.
Now, with the 1080v13, it seems like New Balance’s max cushion shoe is evolving into an incredibly comfortable yet highly capable daily trainer.
New Balance gave the 1080 series a significant overhaul, making literal changes to the vamp and reconfiguring various elements in the shoe.
Despite retaining Fresh Foam X, the foam in the 1080v13 feels notably distinct from other Fresh Foam X variants I’ve tested. It carries a lighter and airier feel, coupled with an excellent bounce. All the characteristics I want to see in a modern daily trainer are present in the 1080v13, strategically placed in just the right amounts as far as the midsole is concerned.
The 1080v13 is great for your easy runs, yet its liveliness also makes it suitable for faster paces. Its impressive pace versatility aligns perfectly with what I seek in daily trainers.
The tongue strikes the right balance of padding for a daily trainer and it isn’t excessive even towards the heel cup—though there’s this little extra gnocchi pillow of padding that, while not entirely necessary, is something I’m willing to overlook because the overall running experience is just so enjoyable.
So, with the new foam adding to the fun factor, the 1080v13 claims my number two spot this year.
Now, let’s get to number three…
3. Hoka Clifton 9
Make sure you read our comparison of the Hoka Clifton 9 vs. 8
Neutral 〉 W: 7.7 oz 〉 M: 9.6 oz 〉 Drop: 5 mm 〉 Heel: 40 mm 〉 Forefoot: 35 mm
The standout feature of the Clifton 9 lies in its use of compression-molded EVA. However, despite sticking to this material, the brand-new midsole foam configuration gives off a sensation that diverges from the typical feel of compression-molded EVA.
I had a hard time believing that this isn’t a super critical midsole foam material, given its lightweight, airy, and bouncy attributes all rolled into one.
So, the Clifton 9 delivers a satisfying amount of squish that quickly rebounds in a pleasantly responsive way as you run.
The Clifton 9 offers fantastic pace versatility. Whether you’re gearing up for long, slow, easy runs or need to kick it into high gear for a workout, this shoe has you covered. I believe it can handle the spectrum of paces, and the springiness in the foam makes it all possible.
Overall, it seems like Hoka trimmed down the Clifton 9, eliminating the excess material on the sides and shedding the comfort cruiser vibe from previous models.
While some Clifton enthusiasts might see this as a downside, I view it as a positive change. It transforms the shoe into a versatile option that I can enjoy in various scenarios, leading to an overall better running experience for me.
Now, let’s move to shoe number four…
4. ON Cloudsurfer
Neutral 〉 W: 7.2 oz 〉 M: 8.3 oz 〉 Drop: 10 mm 〉 Heel: 37 mm 〉 Forefoot: 27 mm
ON is a brand whose shoes usually don’t find a spot on my list of favorite daily trainers. However, the Cloudsurfer is challenging the typical ON shoe identity, and for me, that’s precisely what this brand needs. With the introduction of the Cloudsurfer, ON may have crafted my favorite shoe they’ve ever made.
There are several significant changes in the Cloudsurfer that mark a departure from ON’s usual approach. Firstly, they’ve reconfigured and redesigned the clouds, now labeled as CloudTech Phase. The shapes, arrangement, and alignment of these clouds are different so they can better control how the Helion foam compresses and decompresses as you’re moving from hitting the ground and then pushing off into your next stride.
Secondly, ON made the decision to get rid of the Speedboard that was previously a staple in all ON shoes. Ditching this Speedboard is a move I think was necessary because it was impacting the behavior of the foams, contributing to an overall harsh feel in ON shoes that might not have been ideal.
Thirdly, the upper offers a superbly tailored ON fit, but it also marks a significant departure from ON’s usual approach. The upper is much more relaxed and has got a bunch of puffy padding around the tongue and in the heel cup.
Personally, I believe it might have a bit more padding than necessary, but if you’re in the mood to pamper yourself with something super cushy for both your runs and daily wear, the Cloudsurfer is a really fun option to pick up.
Last but not least, I’m going to put the Supernova Rise from Adidas at my number five spot…
5. Adidas Supernova Rise
Neutral 〉 W: 8.6 oz 〉 M: 9.9 oz 〉 Drop: 10 mm 〉 Heel: 34 mm 〉 Forefoot: 24 mm
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I hesitated about including the Supernova on the list as it’s a recent release, but given that it’s a 2023 model, it definitely deserves a spot. While Adidas has excelled in race shoes for years, I thought their daily trainers needed some improvement. So the the Supernova Rise becomes a significant addition for Adidas, fitting the bill and checking all the boxes.
They’ve also introduced the Adizero SL, which I believe deserves an honorable mention on this list. While it may not make it into the top five, I think Adidas lacked a true daily trainer for road warriors, marathoners, and long-distance endurance athletes.
The Supernova features a supercritical midsole foam with an EVA bottom layer to help make sure everything stays nice and stable.
I’ve genuinely enjoyed my time in the Supernova Rise and found myself reaching for it again and again. Despite having it for a short duration, I’ve already accumulated a substantial number of miles in this shoe.
The upper provides a highly comfortable fit, featuring one of the more forgiving toe boxes in Adidas’ lineup. Although I personally find the tongue and heel collar a tad too puffy, many of you might appreciate the added comfort, especially if you plan to use it for all-day wear.
These 5 Daily Trainers Compared
Novablast 4 vs. Supernova Rise
The Novablast 4 and Supernova Rise both have 20% bio-based foams in the midsole and offer similar squish dynamics as far as the foams go.
However, the Novablast 4 takes it up a notch with a significantly taller stack height and exclusive use of the FFblast+ Eco. This results in a more springy, lighter, and slightly peppier running experience compared to the Supernova Rise.
But on the other hand, when it comes to stability and outsole, the Supernova Rise takes the lead. It offers a more stable experience, featuring a substantial amount of rubber on the outsole.
If durability and stability are high on your priority list, the Supernova Rise might just edge out the Novablast 4 in these aspects. It’s all about finding the right balance based on your preferences and needs.
Clifton 9 vs. Supernova Rise
It seems that the core similarity lies in the foams of these two shoes, offering a comparable feel. However, the differences in the shoes come down largely to the geometries and the stack heights of the shoes.
I feel like both shoes have a relatively wide profile for daily trainers. This inherent width in the footprint contributes to a sense of stability during your runs.
Keep in mind that the Clifton 9, with its slight edge in terms of being lighter and peppier, does come with a $5 premium. This difference in cost reflects the trade-off you’re making for a potentially less stable experience compared to the Supernova Rise.
1080v13 vs. Supernova Rise
Taking a look at the New Balance 1080v13 alongside the Supernova Rise, the 1080v13 has a reconfigured Fresh Foam X foam in the midsole. This midsole foam is the sole player, delivering a blend of squishiness and bounce that’s quite reminiscent of the experience offered by the Supernova Rise.
Comparing the 1080v13 to the Clifton 9 and Supernova Rise, the 1080v13 doesn’t have quite as wide a footprint. However, this makes for an even more nimble and peppy experience compared to the Clifton 9 and Supernova Rise.
So, depending on your preferences, you might find yourself drawn to the Supernova Rise for its stability or the 1080v13 for its lively and agile feel. It’s all about finding the shoe that aligns with your running mechanics.
Clifton 9 vs. Cloudsurfer
I think the Clifton 9 seems to be in direct competition with the ON Cloudsurfer.
They appear to be targeting similar demographics, particularly those looking for shoes suitable for both everyday runs and casual wear. ON and Hoka seem to be really battling it out on the streets these days, each striving to capture the preference of runners who seek versatility in their footwear.
When comparing the two, the Cloudsurfer feels a bit softer, whereas the Clifton 9 feels a touch lighter and peppier. While there are slight differences between the two, they often find themselves in the same conversation.
When talking about these shoes, I find myself highlighting differences like fun and peppy vibes versus stability or a dampened experience.
However, I think all of these shoes fall within a relatively close range in the types of experiences they offer. The distinctions are subtle, and I believe many of you might need to head to a running store and try them on in person to truly grasp and appreciate those subtle differences. It’s often in the personal fit and feel that the right choice becomes clear.
If we were to arrange these shoes on a spectrum from peppy and possibly less stable to dampened and stable, I’d position the Supernova Rise at one extreme, the Novablast 4 at the other end, and the 1080v13 and Clifton 9 somewhere in the middle.
I hope that clarifies things a bit more in terms of understanding these shoes. I believe they all excel in providing the precise running experiences I look for in a daily trainer for both 2023 and heading into 2024.
More Solid Daily Trainers Not to Miss
After talking about my top 5 daily trainers, I want to ensure you have a well-rounded perspective. Here are some additional solid options to consider, expanding the horizon beyond the initial recommendations.
Variety is key when it comes to finding the perfect fit for your running journey.
Hoka Mach 5
Neutral 〉 W: 7.0 oz 〉 M: 7.5 oz 〉 Drop: 5 mm 〉 Heel: 30 mm 〉 Forefoot: 25 mm
The Hoka Mach 4 and 5 mark an interestingly bold step forward in a lineage that, until recently, had been somewhat underwhelming. Previous versions of the Mach were enjoyable but never quite exciting.
They were overshadowed by shoes like the Clifton, Rincon, or Carbon X. The great news is, beginning with the Mach 4, we now have a series that truly stands out from the rest.
But after hitting it big with the Mach 4, what’s the next move? Do you take a bold leap with another major change or stick to the tried-and-true? With the Mach 5, Hoka has done both. Let’s see why…
First off, let’s talk about what makes the Mach 5 a big change and a big risk, especially when you compare it to its predecessor, the Mach 4.
Hoka decided to switch things up in the midsole department. The Mach 5 ditches the ProFly midsole in favor of ProFly+. Now, the top layer of foam is a supercritical foam. It is much squishier and much more resilient than the soft foam that they had as the top layer in the Mach 4.
The ProFly+ in the Mach 5 is a very soft and spongy material, but it’s far from being mushy. This means you get all that comfort, yet you still get a sense of liveliness that keeps your runs engaging and responsive.
What it was Like to Run in the Mach 5
The Mach 4 was one of my favorite daily trainers. Now, the Mach 5 still manages to preserve everything I cherished about its predecessor and takes it up a notch.
It makes everyday miles so much more enjoyable while still being able to pick up the pace if you need to have some pace changes during your run.
The Mach 5 is soft, and forgiving, which makes it excellent for recovery runs as well. I took it a step further by putting in some strides just to make sure that it could still pick up the pace when it needed to, and the Mach 5 definitely could.
This versatility ensures the Mach is not only comfortable for easy runs but also responsive enough to handle those moments when you want to push the speed.
I also feel like the additional cushion in the forefoot of the Mach 5 makes it more suitable for longer runs.
So, If you’re looking for one shoe that can kind of do it all, the Mach 5 deserves your attention. Its capacity to excel across different aspects of running, from easy miles to pace changes and long runs, makes it a solid choice for those looking for an all-around performer.
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New Balance Rebel v3
Neutral 〉 W: 6.5 oz 〉 M: 7.1 oz 〉 Drop: 6 mm 〉 Heel: 31 mm 〉 Forefoot: 25 mm
Right from the start, New Balance aimed for the Rebel to be a fun and fast daily trainer. However, the initial two versions were better suited for speed workouts than everyday running.
Now, with a slightly more stack height and a touch more width, New Balance has finally created the daily trainer they envisioned all along.
While I might not choose the Rebel v3 for a recovery day when I’m looking for a max cushion shoe to really pamper the feet, I do believe it’s become a viable option for easy days. It’s a shoe I can now incorporate more regularly into my running shoe rotation.
Again, I think people who thought the Rebel v2 just didn’t quite have enough to handle the rigors of every day are going to really enjoy running in the Rebel v3.
Midsole / Outsole
The Rebel v3 has nothing but FuelCell foam, and the way they’ve played around with this supercritical foam is quite impressive.
I believe there are some adjustments in the FuelCell formulation between version three and its predecessor, version two. These subtle changes seem to have collectively shifted the Rebel v3 from its initial focus on speed days to a more versatile everyday realm.
The Rebel is still a lightweight shoe, retaining that subtle road feel. It’s versatile enough for your workouts, yet now it also has enough to be that daily trainer as well.
The outsole features New Balance’s Ndurance Rubber. This design cleverly conceals the substantial rubber content of the shoe. While there are exposed sections, the rubber on the outsole appears to be quite thick where it’s present.
On the upper, we’ve got a dual-layer mesh with an outer almost transparent layer that sits on top of a thin layer underneath to give it lots of structure but also breathability.
There is a light amount of padding as you get into the back of the shoe and a very light amount of structure in this heel cup which is still a little bit flexible.
Apart from that, everything is quite stripped down and minimal. The tongue is minimal, and I genuinely appreciate the simplicity of it.
In terms of fit, I feel that the Rebel version 3 might be a bit wider in certain areas in the forefoot. However, in the toe box, it curves slightly earlier, and in the midfoot, especially the arch towards the heel, it feels a bit narrower.
What it was Like to Run in the Rebel v3
Running in the FuelCell Rebel v3 is truly delightful. The FuelCell foam offers an excellent combination of squishiness and bounce. It provides a pleasant experience, characteristic of the enjoyable feel often associated with supercritical foams.
The main sensation I’m getting with the Rebel v3 is its light and energetic feel with each footstrike. There’s a noticeable quick response every time my foot hits the pavement, which I find to be very lively and exciting.
The Rebel feels fantastic and has a bit more underfoot protection compared to the Rebel v2. While I was initially unsure if it was going to be able to go the distance for like say a 20-mile run, it pleasantly surprised me.
The Rebel v3 reminded me, in many positive aspects, of the Pegasus Turbo with its thin layer of React and Zoom X, delivering a comparable and satisfying running experience.
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Hoka Rincon 3
Neutral 〉 W: 6.2 oz 〉 M: 7.3 oz 〉 Drop: 5 mm 〉 Heel: 33 mm 〉 Forefoot: 28 mm
Straight out of the box, the Rincon 3 impresses with its exceptional cushion-to-weight ratio. It is everything I’d hoped for as the latest addition to the Rincon series, maintaining its legacy as a low-profile, cushioned, and lightweight road trainer.
While it may look similar to the Rincon 2, the Rincon 3 has several solid updates that collectively enhance the overall performance of the shoe.
Narrow feet? Don’t let roomy shoes ruin your running experience. Discover our top recommendations for the best running shoes for narrow feet.
What it was Like to Run in the Rincon 3
The Rincon 3 is a fantastic daily trainer, suitable for both long and short runs when you need just one shoe to do it all. It excels as both a speed shoe and a daily trainer, but it definitely feels fun and fizzy at higher paces.
For those of you who find the direction of the Adidas Boston 10 less appealing, I recommend taking a closer look at the Rincon 3 as a potential alternative.
- Great Hoka cushioning
- Energetic, responsive, smooth, stable, & secure cushioned ride
- Very comfortable & versatile
- Swallowtail is effective against bottoming out
- More durable and lighter than the Rincon 2
- Offers more outsole rubber coverage
- Impressive cushioning/weight/price/performance ratio
- Vegan materials
- Traction is better than before
- Less durable than other daily shoes
- Non-gusseted tongue
- Fits narrow in the midfoot
The midsole is compression-molded EVA, but with a noticeable change in appearance. Hoka modified the formulation of this EVA to make it more like the foam composition found in the Clifton. This adjustment aims to increase durability which was a concern from the earlier versions 1 and 2.
The cushioning is super soft and super lightweight. It’s very similar to the midsole of the Rincon 2, though I must say it feels a tad squishier underfoot. Whether through redesign or a shift in durometer, the new midsole is not only comfortable but also effectively maintains a low weight.
When Comparing the Rincon to the Clifton, the midsole foam feels a bit more firm of a ride. The comfort and overall coherence of the shoe become more apparent as you pick up the pace. It may not feel entirely comfortable until you start moving at a quicker speed.
In comparison to version 2, the Rincon 3 has a bit more outsole rubber, strategically placed in high-wear areas. Ultimately, what that does is contribute to a higher sense of durability, which is good
Given the durability considerations with this Hoka, some may find it prudent to use the Rincon 3 sparingly in their daily training routine.
I’d recommend keeping this shoe primarily for road or pavement use to preserve the midsole cushioning and minimize wear on the outsole rubber. If you’re a lighter runner, you can expect the Rincon 3 to last even longer.
Overall, while Hoka is labeling this as an aggressive redesign, the Rincon 3 stays true to the tradition of offering a cushioned yet lightweight experience. I think Hoka is one of the best in the business as far as that ratio.
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Best Daily Trainers – Full Reviews
Asics Novablast 4 (Full Review)
Closest Shoes to the Novablast
I already mentioned that, for me, the New Balance 1080v13 is the closest to the Novablast. The other shoe that I think competes really well is the Clifton 9 where the foam has changed substantially.
I feel like there’s an airier feeling to the Clifton’s foam and a springiness to it that again brings it closer to the kind of experience that the Novablast has been delivering.
We have a new engineered woven upper which is a bit stretchier and a little bit more breathable than the previous version, especially in that forefoot.
In the midfoot, there aren’t really any overlays, but that material does stiffen up a bit to give some structure. And if you go to the back, the heel counter is pretty sturdy with a nice stretchy pull tab.
The gusseted tongue is much softer than the Novablast 3. It’s got a little bit of padding. The materials look more premium and they feel more premium.
In terms of fit, I went true size with the Novablast 4, and it turned out to be an excellent fit for me. If you have experience with the Novablast 3, I would say that the fit is almost identical. Therefore, I recommend going with the size that worked for you in the Novablast 3 for the Novablast 4 as well.
It feels like the forefoot has opened up a bit, providing more room in the upper overall, which is generally a positive change for most individuals. However, if you have a very narrow foot, you might need to tighten the laces a bit more to get a solid lockdown.
Asics has introduced new and improved cushioning technology called FlyteFoam Blast+ Eco (FFBlast+ Eco). This marks their most sustainable cushioning yet, boasting 20% bio content, and is purportedly their lightest and most energetic foam to date.
In the Novablast 4, I do feel a bit more energy return, responsiveness, and liveliness from the foam as it makes contact with the pavement.
The underfoot experience offers an abundance of foam, a feature I never have reason to complain about. Plus, I notice a more pronounced toe-off roll compared to the Novablast 3.
Throughout my training cycle, I’ve been running in a lot of carbon plate shoes. When I finally tried the Novablast 4, I wondered if I would miss the plate sensation. I’m pleased to report that I didn’t miss it at all.
The Novablast provides a nice pep and oomph, similar to what you might experience with a plate, albeit not as intense. Nonetheless, you can definitely feel that extra boost.
I really appreciated the additional cushioning under my foot, especially during slower paces, and found that the bounce and energy became even more pronounced during faster efforts.
The midsole/outsole combo creates a trampoline-like effect, which is really cool.
If you’re looking for a shoe for your faster tempo days and don’t necessarily want a plate, I believe the Novablast 4 would perform just fine in that scenario.
While the new midsole foam is excellent, I do think a slightly increased amount under the forefoot could potentially enhance the trampoline-like feeling even further.
Comparing the Novablast 4 to another shoe in the Asics lineup, it most reminds me of the Gel Cumulus, but with a more energetic, bouncy, and fun iteration of the Cumulus.
The Novablast 4 features Asics AHAR Low rubber. Asics says AHAR Low is designed with a lower density strategically placed in key areas of the outsole to enhance durability.
I’ve tested this shoe on various surfaces, including grass, gravel, and sand, and found no issues with traction. In my experience, regardless of the specific version or construction type, Asics AHAR rubber has consistently proven to be reliable.
Now that we’ve gone over the specs on the Novablast, let’s talk about what it was like to actually run in it…
What it was Like to Run in the Novablast 4
When I first tried the Novablast 3, I immediately sensed that it was going to be my shoe of the year because I enjoyed it so much.
The main reason why I enjoyed the Novablast 4 so much is because of the FFBlast+ Eco foam. We saw this foam earlier in the Nimbus 25, and it provided a highly cushioned, soft, and spongy experience. This characteristic was perfect for a comfortable, plush, and relaxed max cushion/recovery shoe like the Nimbus.
Many of those characteristics seamlessly transition into the Novablast 4 but in a more nimble package. This is attributed to the shoe’s shape, the ample amount of foam it has, and the absence of Pure Gel in the Novablast, which contributes to maintaining liveliness while preserving the beloved essence of the Novablast.
FFBlast+ Eco provides a delightful squishy sensation, coupled with a considerable amount of springiness to ensure it never feels too muddled.
Overall, the Novablast 4 is a fun, lively, and comfortable daily trainer, whether you’re taking it out for a couple of miles or for a couple of hours.
If you decide to go for the Novablast 4 and want to build a rotation around it, I’ll give you three other shoes that I think could fit in really well…
For your daily training miles in the Novablast 4, I believe the Asics Nimbus will serve excellently for your recovery runs and long, slow-distance runs.
Both shoes feature the same FFBlast+ Eco midsole foams. However, the Nimbus 25 offers a lot more plush comfort, making it more fitting for those relaxed or extended runs where you’ll be on your feet for an extended period.
For racing, I’d recommend the Asics Metaspeed Sky+ as a great companion for the Novablast 4. This combination forms an excellent one-two punch suitable for daily training, race days, and workout sessions.
Last but not least, you can also consider pairing the Novablast 4 with the Saucony Endorphin Elite. There’s a certain similarity in the toe-off sensation from the forefoot in these two shoes, making them a compelling choice for a daily training and racing duo. The combination of these shoes can offer versatility for various running needs.
- Improved stability
- Comfier upper
- Wider platform
- A bit faster
- Less bouncy than previous iterations
- A bit heavier
- Firmer ride
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New Balance 1080v13 (Full Review)
Midsole / Outsole
In the 1080v13, New Balance is using an enhanced iteration of their Fresh Foam X technology. This updated foam has evolved over the years, having different qualities depending on the specific shoe model it’s utilized in.
In the case of the 1080v13, the Fresh Foam X offers a lighter feel with a notable balance of cushioning and an impressive level of springiness, which lends a lively and bouncy sensation to your run.
The changes extend to the outsole design, where New Balance has strategically adjusted the coverage. The outsole now features clusters of rubber pods dispersed among exposed areas of foam, providing better traction.
When you get to the upper, I feel like the materials and the design that they’ve chosen are a little bit on the boring side, but the upper definitely gets the job done and it fits really well.
They’ve departed from the super stretchy mesh that I enjoyed in last year’s model, but I’m happy to report the replacement material is surprisingly comfortable and offers a soft and pleasant feel on the foot. Even though they’re not relying heavily on padding across the 1080v13, it just overall gives a great feeling of comfort.
The shoe appears to be smartly cushioned, with one quirky exception: the small gnocchi-like pillows at the back. Setting aside these specific details, let’s delve into the actual running experience with the 1080v13…
What it was Like to Run in the 1080v13
I believe those who would appreciate the 1080v13 are runners that want a shoe that offers a touch more cushioning than a typical daily trainer while maintaining the characteristics of a daily trainer—nimbleness, agility, and a lightweight bounce.
I feel the 1080v13 seems to excel in delivering precisely these attributes. Personally, I’ve found it enjoyable for easy runs, recovery sessions, and even instances where I’m pushing the pace a bit. It just strikes a balance that caters to a versatile range of running preferences and paces.
Considering the design changes, I see the potential for the 1080v13 to serve well as a travel shoe. The shift away from the super stretchy mesh of the 1080v12 has changed the overall fit, creating a sensation of snugness.
However, this snugness isn’t constricting; rather, it provides a secure and comforting hug, which makes the 1080 great for various activities, including travel.
In terms of fit, I went US 9 true to size in both the 1080v13 and the 1080v12. This consistency reaffirms that sticking to my regular size provided the right fit for me.
Now, let’s explore some potential pairing options if you’re going to be considering the New Balance 1080v13…
If the 1080v13 is your go-to cushioned daily trainer or simply your daily trainer, I think it would be wise to complement your rotation with a dedicated workout shoe and a race-day shoe.
For workouts, I think a really fun option is the Topo Cyclone 2. Often underrated, the Cyclone offers a distinctive running experience with its pure Pebax midsole foam—no plate involved.
The result is a neutral and highly bouncy feel, which makes it an exhilarating choice for activities like threshold mile repeats or fartlek runs when you’re looking to push the pace.
For race day or those long runs with marathon effort work, I think the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 alongside the 1080v13 could make for a solid combination.
Both shoes, when used at their intended speeds, share a delightful squish and responsive bounce-back. This shared characteristic translates seamlessly across a spectrum of paces—from easy day runs to the intensity of race day. The compatibility of these two models could provide a well-rounded and enjoyable experience across various training scenarios.
Competitor Shoes to the 1080v13
At the same price point, a consistent contender for the 1080v13 is the Saucony Triumph. These shoes share a common goal—they aim to provide a more heavily cushioned daily trainer or a lightweight max-cushion shoe, catering to individual preferences within that spectrum.
In the subcategory of highly cushioned trainers, both the 1080v13 and the Triumph 21 stand out as excellent options. From my perspective, I find the 1080v13 feels slightly softer and offers a bit more spring.
If you’re a fan of the 1080, another shoe you should be looking at is the Puma Deviate Nitro 2, and it’s become one of my favorites this year.
This Deviate diverges slightly as it tends to be firmer when it comes to easy and recovery paces. However, it has a carbon composite plate and utilizes Puma’s Nitro Elite foam, their racing foam.
This combination makes it much better at handling faster paces. Personally, I’ve found it to be an excellent choice for workouts.
- Better midsole foam
- Bouncy ride
- Softer comfier upper
- Smoother transitions
- Lots of widths available
- Less stable than before
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Hoka Clifton 9 (Full Review)
In terms of daily training, the Hoka Clifton 9 is one of the best shoes you could get. While it’s still a daily trainer, the introduction of the new midsole foam adds an extra dimension to its performance.
These tweaks allow the Clifton 9 to seamlessly transition between recovery runs and various workouts, offering versatility for a range of training sessions. If you’re looking for a reliable shoe that can handle both recovery and workouts, the Clifton 9 is certainly one to consider.
Although it still features compression-molded EVA, the Hoka Clifton 9 uses a modified formulation that makes it lighter and more responsive.
While they’ve maintained the same drop, Hoka increased the stack height by a few millimeters, yet remarkably managed to reduce the overall weight to 8.7 oz. (246 grams). This is approximately 0.2 oz. lighter than its predecessor, the Clifton 8.
In terms of the rocker geometry, we’ve still got that early-stage meta rocker which helps pick up the back of the heel and get your foot rolling into that next stride.
The rocker geometry offers the smoothest ride ever, which makes the shoe great for Hallux Rigidus.
When you compare the outsole of the Clifton 9 to its predecessor, the Clifton 8, you’ll notice a strikingly similar pattern. Hoka is consistently trying to refine the outsole design and continuously tweaking how they protect their foams so they can continue to provide great traction and enhance the durability of their shoes.
The engineered mesh in the Clifton 9 appears quite reminiscent of its predecessor, the Clifton 8. However, there are a couple of noteworthy adjustments. The tongue, for instance, is slightly less padded. It just feels really airy and lightweight.
Interestingly, it appears that the padding from the tongue has been redistributed to the already substantial Achilles flare heel tab or pull tab, amplifying its presence. They’ve also removed the gusset from the lateral side of the shoe.
Sometimes, Hoka sizing can be a little bit iffy. Sometimes I get a size 9 and sometimes I get a size 9.5. With the Clifton 9, I went for my usual size 9, and it turned out to be spot on. It seems like the sizing for the Clifton 9 is really dialed in tuned.
How it Feels to Run in Clifton 9
Consider the Clifton 9 as your quintessential daily trainer, but with a twist. The introduction of the new foam in this iteration led me to momentarily forget I was running in a Clifton.
This new foam had me double-checking that yes this shoe is a compression molded EVA foam. It kind of gave me that sensation where it just feels lighter than EVA normally feels and springier than EVA normally feels.
I feel like you’re getting that modern Clifton ride that Hoka has really dialed into in the last several versions of this shoe, but there’s an added element of springiness, lightness, and airiness.
It felt really good when I needed it to absorb impact on my recovery runs but also could rise to the occasion if I needed to take it on some faster-paced workouts.
While the Clifton 8 was primarily a daily training and easy run shoe, the Clifton 9 steps up its game. It seamlessly transitions between easy days, and recovery runs, and even accommodates a portion of your workouts.
If you’re looking for companion shoes to pair with the Clifton 9, let’s explore some options together…
If you’re looking for a racing shoe, I think that the Carbon X, equipped with Peba foam, is going to be a really great race shoe to be able to wear and have the Clifton 9 as your daily trainer.
This racer exhibits impressive speed, making it a standout option for those moments when you want to push the pace.
Now, if your training demands lean more towards workouts than recovery, the Hoka Mach 5 might be one to consider. The Mach 5 features a Profly dual midsole foam, using a softer upper layer and a rubberized EVA layer beneath.
- Got ride of bucket seat arch
- Comfortable upper
- A bit lighter
- More cushioned
- Softer ride
- More stable
- Still a bit narrow for some
- A bit more expensive
- Some durability concerns
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ON Cloudsurfer (Full Review)
Finite Element Phase
You’ve probably heard about ON’s iconic clouds, right? Well, in the Cloudsurfer, they’ve gone and tweaked the shape of those bubbly wonders.
So, they’ve got this new cloud setup, and they’re calling it Finite Element Analysis. As your foot meets the ground and rolls through that foot strike, your foot is going to compress these different clouds differently depending on what you need at different phases of that foot strike.
It’s like they’re customizing the cushioning based on what your foot requires at each stage of the stride. Cool, huh?
The foam is still the trusty Helion foam they’ve been using. As far as I can tell, it’s the same reliable formulation.
Now, here’s something I’ve been wishing for a while, and they made it happen with the Cloudsurfer – no more Speedboard.
No More Speedboard
The Speedboard used to be this rigid layer sandwiched between the upper and the midsole foam. Essentially, the midsole foam pressed against it, but what your foot experienced was the unyielding nature of that Speedboard. Not exactly the most comfortable sensation.
If you check out the bottom of the Cloudsurfer, you’ll notice a good bit of exposed foam, but don’t fret – they’ve strategically added rubber at the forefoot and in the heel, right where the tread takes the most beating. Smart move to keep those areas protected.
There’s a nice channel down the middle of the shoe. It’s not just for looks; it’s there to make sure the foam compresses in the right direction and ensures a smooth forward roll. Gotta appreciate those thoughtful details.
The Cloudsurfer doesn’t skimp on comfort – there’s a pretty puffy tongue, which is a pleasant surprise for a shoe of this type. And when it comes to the heel cup, there’s a generous serving of padding.
I’d say it’s probably the most padding I’ve seen in any ON running shoe, at least from what I’ve encountered. They really went all out on the comfort front with this one.
So, the upper is nice and puffy which makes the Cloudsurfer feel very comfortable to slip your foot inside but also is going to make sure that it’s more accommodating to a wide variety of heel shapes.
Plus, take note, the Cloudsurfer breaks away from the usual rigid heel cup you often find in ON shoes. It’s got a bit more flexibility to it.
In terms of weight, it holds its own, tipping the scales at 8.6 oz. or 245 grams. Not too shabby for a shoe packing all that cloud-tech goodness.
Now, here’s where ON goes above and beyond its usual boundaries. They’ve taken steps to minimize the carbon footprint of the Cloudsurfer.
You’ll notice fewer plastic overlays on that meticulously engineered mesh upper, a move aimed at reducing plastic usage. And here’s a standout detail – the dyeing process involves 90% less water. It’s a move toward sustainability that definitely puts a smile on my face.
Now, let’s see what it was like to run in the Cloudsurfer…
What it was Like to Run in the Cloudsurfer
So, after putting the ON Cloudsurfer through its paces, I’ve got to say, it’s the best ON running shoe I’ve ever run in.
What stands out to me is the delightful softness of the Cloudsurfer. And here’s the thing – it’s not like I’m running on clouds in a gimmicky way.
There’s a genuine, straightforward comfort to this well-cushioned shoe that I can appreciate. I just feel like this is a nice cushioned shoe that’s very comfortable to wear.
Let’s be real about the Cloudsurfer – it’s not the springiest shoe in the bunch, so it’s not going to be a shoe that I’m going to be taking out for workouts anytime soon, but it rolls really nicely
This makes it perfect for those “set it and forget it” type of runs. You throw on the Cloudsurfer, head out, and just enjoy the run without constantly thinking about what’s on your feet.
Also, the Cloudsurfer is surprisingly comfy for casual wear. The upper’s less structured nature sets it apart from the usual ON running shoe experience.
The upper is snug in all the right places, but it doesn’t scream ON anymore. In fact, it’s got a bit more of that Hoka vibe than the typical ON feel.
While undeniably comfortable, I must admit it trades a touch of the precision I’ve come to expect from ON. Overall, my take is that the ON Cloudsurfer is your go-to for those comfy, easy miles and everyday wear.
The Cloudsurfer is a versatile beast – it is one of those shoes that can be an easy-day shoe and doubles up as a max cushion shoe. Let’s explore two racing options that can complement the ON Cloudsurfer’s offerings.
If you’re in the market for a racing companion, the Adidas Adios Pro 3 is a really fun shoe to run in. I think the Adio has some of that Euro styling, with a tailored fit that feels almost mathematically crafted, especially when you examine the intricate design of the outsole and cutouts.
This Euro flair pairs up nicely with the Finite Element Analysis design of Cloudtech Phase in the ON Cloudsurfer. It’s a duo that brings together precision and performance.
Another option to consider alongside the ON Cloudsurfer is, again, the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 which has been a shoe that I find myself recommending over and over again.
The upper has that level of precision that I particularly appreciate in my racing shoes, and as far as super foams go, the Endorphin is a little bit on the softer side. So, if you’re a fan of the softer feel in the ON Cloudsurfer, these two might just form a dynamic duo for your runs.
Drawing a parallel to the ON Cloudsurfer, a comparable option would be the New Balance 1080v12. While the 1080v12 leans a bit less soft, it compensates with an added dose of speed and pep.
Both shoes fall into a similar category—they’re between a daily trainer and a max cushion shoe. They’re more like plush daily or speedy max kind of in between and I think these two shoes line up head to head really nicely.
- Unique ride
- Better transitions
- Luxurious upper
- Soft cloud-like experience
- Less energy return
- Less versatile
- A bit warm
- Less stable
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Adidas Supernova (Full Review)
Adidas is taking the Supernova out of the bargain bin and giving it the flagship treatment with the Supernova Rise.
For me, the main headline in the Supernova Rise is the introduction of a new foam called Dreamstrike+. This marks the first appearance of this foam from Adidas, and what makes it noteworthy is it’s made out of a supercritical process that incorporates 20% bio-based materials.
To enhance the stability of this foam, Adidas is using rods on the bottom, a design reminiscent of those seen in some Adidas racing shoes. However, instead of having carbon-like elements as rods, they’re utilizing EVA as a base layer underneath the squishier foam on top to provide a more stabilized feel.
In the back, there’s a substantial bevel – a characteristic seen in many Adidas shoes. The idea is as you’re hitting the ground, the bevel helps things move forward through the gait cycle a little bit more smoothly to avoid any dragging that’s on the back of the shoe.
This is probably one of the more extreme heel bevels that I’ve seen in an Adidas shoe.
To protect the entirety of this foam and give you good traction, there is pretty much a full layer of rubber coverage. While it is not Continental rubber, I’ve found that it provides impressive grip on various surfaces.
The upper is made with a super comfortable and very stretchy material. The tongue is generously padded, perhaps a bit more than my usual preference for daily trainers.
This level of padding extends throughout the back into the heel cup, providing a substantial amount of structure. The heel, in particular, features a thick and lengthy piece of plastic, contributing to the overall rigidity and support of the heel counter.
So, if you prefer a snug and secure fit like a ball and socket joint, this is the kind of heel cup that you’re going to be looking for. But despite its robust features, the shoe maintains a relatively light weight at 9.7 oz. or 277 grams overall.
In terms of fit, I’d say the Supernova Rise as a very comfortable shoe. The upper material offers stretchiness, breathability, and an overall comfortable feel.
While the padding may be a bit more than I personally prefer, it adds a pleasant plushness around the top of the foot and the back of the ankle, contributing to the overall comfort of the shoe.
In terms of the toe box, I find the Supernova Rise to be much more accommodating compared to another daily trainer I’ve been enjoying from Adidas, the Adizero SL.
So, I went true to size in the Supernova Rise and that really worked well for me.
Because of the overall comfort of the Supernova, I do feel like it not only excels as a daily training shoe but also serves well as a comfortable casual option for everyday wear.
Now, having covered some of the specs of the Supernova Rise, let’s delve into the actual running experience with it…
What it was Like to Run in the Supernova Rise
Simply put, I absolutely love the Dreamstrike+ midsole foam. It strikes a perfect balance for me – lighter than Boost and softer than Lightstrike.
It’s the kind of daily training foam that I’m really looking for in 2023 going into 2024. As I’m looking to log the majority of my weekly mileage, Dreamstrike+ stands out as one of the more impressive new foams in the market.
Dreamstrike+ indeed has that supercritical foam sensation and provides a satisfying squishiness while bouncing back in a lively and peppy manner.
Then the addition of the EVA rod system or stabilizer layer does a really nice job of keeping things nice and stable so there is a little bit less chaotic experience as your foot hits the ground.
The Supernova Rise also has a pretty wide footprint through the toe box and the middle of the arch. This design not only promotes stability but also prevents the shoe from feeling like it might tip over, adapting well to various foot strikes.
Overall, the Supernova Rise provides a delightful blend of substantial cushioning with each step while maintaining a fun and enjoyable ride.
What I didn’t like
The only downside I’d point out about the Supernova Rise might, ironically, be the most positive aspect for many of you.
Allow me to elaborate on that…
Because of the stabilizer layer of EVA foam underneath, I do feel that the Supernova Rise is a bit less eager to pick up the pace, which makes it less ideal for intense or fast-paced workouts. However, for the majority of weekly mileage, the shoe performs exceptionally well.
Conversely, the Supernova Rise offers a more stable experience without being a stability shoe, which could be precisely what you’re looking for.
Let’s talk about some shoes that you can pair the Supernova Rise with…
Again, the Supernova Rise is going to be your reliable daily trainer, the go-to choice for the majority of your easy runs. Then for those workouts, there’s another gem in the Adidas lineup that I can’t help but appreciate—the Adidas Takumi Sen 9.
What sets the Takumi Sen apart is its Lightstrike Pro cushioning and those energy rods that serve as the inspiration for the stabilizer EVA in the Supernova Rise.
It’s an incredibly lightweight, nimble, and fast shoe that I love taking for my quickest workouts and even for some of my longer marathon workouts as well. The Takumi Sen just brings a whole new level of agility and responsiveness to my training routine.
Now, let’s talk about race day—my strategy shifts to the Adios Pro 3. This racing shoe is nothing short of fantastic. It’s like taking the key features of the Takumi Sen 9 and giving them a bit of a power boost. The Adios Pro 3 is designed for the marathon distance or the longest most challenging of marathon workouts.
I strongly believe that combining the Supernova Rise with the Adios Pro 3 creates a fantastic duo. Having all three—Supernova Rise, Takumi Sen 9, and Adios Pro 3—in your arsenal forms a stellar lineup and a versatile rotation for your upcoming marathon build.
Overall, the Supernova Rise ensures consistent and comfortable training during your daily runs, the Takumi Sen 9 brings agility and speed to your workouts, and when it’s time to conquer the marathon distance, the Adios Pro 3 steps in with its optimal racing performance. Together, they cover all the bases, providing the support and performance needed for a well-rounded and successful marathon training journey.
- Balanced ride
- Efficient rocker
- Excellent versatility
- Super comfortable
- Smooth transitions
- Superb lockdown
- Supportive and stable
- Grippy outsole
- A bit narrow through the forefoot
- Non-gusseted tongue
- Long laces
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And that wraps up my top picks for the best everyday running shoes in 2023 and 2024. If there’s a personal favorite of yours that didn’t make the list, feel free to share it in the comments below.
I’m always eager to hear about other runners’ preferences and discoveries. Your input could add valuable insights to the ever-evolving landscape of running gear.
Let’s keep the conversation going, and happy running!