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From Road to Trail: 6 Performance-Packed Shoes to Know

The trails and roads are calling. Running USA reported in 2014 there were a total of 28,000 running events in the US, down just one percent from 2013’s all-time high of 28,200, indicating that the need for innovative footwear remains strong. Here’s a look at how six brands are answering the demand for high-performing footwear for Spring ’16.

New Balance 980: The Fresh Foam collection from New Balance was crafted for neutral runners to enhance their form with consistent transitions in between strides, no matter the distance. Aside from its remarkable comfort and plush cushioning, the 980 is equipped for running at high speeds with ideal forefoot propulsion to maintain consistent form, while staying in sync. Fresh Foam is available in two different models, the Boracay and the Zante. The Boracay is designed for the runner on the long-distance program, who seeks maximum cushioning and durability to withstand the road’s harsh impact without degrading. The Zante caters toward those looking for more pace, as its midsole supports an even foot alteration from heel to toe promoting quicker and effective stride efficiency.

Brooks Launch 2: Get ready for blast-off, as the Launch 2 from Brooks Running improves upon its predecessor with even lighter and faster componentry. The BioMoGo DNA midsole allows or optimum and even comfort, enhanced by the Cushsole technology blended into the heel, which allows for even smoother stride transitions that opt for a faster and more effective run. Though it may be the lightest in its lineage, the lightweight runner sheds weight and increases flexibility without foregoing any of its favorite support and allowing runners’ feet to move with their natural motion. The no-sew overlays and seamless upper not only prevent forefoot discomfort, but this revolutionary componentry is also accompanied by breathable materials to keep feet cool and dry while pounding the pavement, no matter how long the distance is.

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Adidas Terrex Boost: Taking all the beloved features of the classic Boost technology and equipping it for the trail is the Adidas Terrex Boost. The praised outdoor silhouette is not only ready for the everyday runner to take their ventures off-road, but into the mountains, as the lightweight Energy infused midsole is loaded with ideal bounce-back for even more responsive propulsion. Featuring an aggressive tread that’s built for slick surfaces, the Continental rubber outsole is enhanced with overall durability to create a truer and stable run, no matter how rough the terrain is. The upper consists of mesh overlays, a speed-lacing system and an EVA tongue that provides a tight, yet comfortable fit that stays consistent through your run, no matter how brisk the adventure is.

Saucony Ride 8: The Ride 8 from Saucony offers the ultimate cushioning story with an extremely plush ride for neutral pronators alike. Whether runners are running on the road or track, this favorite runner offers a smooth and responsive feel to enhance forward propulsion, thanks to its Powerfoam material that has been injected with Saucony’s legendary GRID technology for better shock absorption and pressure distribution. Constructing the upper makeup is the FLEXFILM support structure that provides fewer stitching overlays to shed overall weight and adding even more comfort and support, while maintaining the foot’s natural motion. Last, but not least are the shoe’s premium durability features that are composed of iBR+ technology, ensuring the silhouette is able to weigh in lighter, while tactically placing everlasting comfort in the insole’s footbed.

Hoka One One Mafate Speed: Taking the best characteristics of the trail and combining them with the properties of speed produces the Hokaoneone Mafate Speed—the ultimate trail-running shoe with extremely lightweight durability characteristics that will make running on even the most rugged terrain seem like a walk in the park. The Mafate Speed is equipped with the same plush cushioning as the Mafate, only with a substantial amount of reduced weight, creating a speedy, yet supportive ride. Thanks to the CMEVA Mafate midsole and RMAT outsole, this runner is built for a supreme cushioned ride with optimal endurance against fighting overall wear and decomposition. Last, but not least is the signature SpeedFrame upper design that aids in keeping ideal forefoot comfort, while preventing against both irritation and blistering, allowing you to maximize your off-road running endeavors.

Merrell All-Out Blaze: When there isn’t a clear path, blaze your own trail in the Merrell All-Out Blaze made perfect for the extreme conditions of the great outdoors. This model of outdoor footwear takes on ultimate flexibility and durability features that also respond to the natural movement of the muscles in your, especially on rugged or slippery terrain. The Unifly midsole design supports ideal cushioning that reduces the shock of impact to enhance a softer ride, while its jagged tread enhances maximum traction that makes it ideal for running and maintaining a strong footing on a combination of firm and loose surfaces. Lastly, the Vibram outsole is equipped with resilience designed to take on all the wear and tear of the runner’s outdoor adventure.