Shoe Awards 2017: Best shoe

What I've noticed during the last year working in a running store is that deciding which shoes to run with is a very subjective experience. This is the reason why the running shoe market is so diverse, with so many different ideas and visions of how the perfect running shoe should be.

I have gotten a great understanding of how running shoes work by talking to all the different companies, but I've also realized that no matter how much I like or dislike a shoe it will still only be my subjective opinion that you only should consider as guidance and not fact.

This is my award for the best shoe I've tried in 2017.

Shoes I've tried this season

  • Saucony Guide 10
  • Saucony Hurricane ISO3
  • New Balance 1080 v7
  • New Balance Vazee Summit 2
  • Mizuno Paradox
  • Mizuno Horizon
  • Mizuno Rider 20
  • Mizuno Inspire 13
  • Diadora Mythos BlueShield
  • Diadora Mythos Racer Evo
  • Topo Fli-Lyte 2

Winner – Mizuno Inspire 13

I've had several Inspires in my earlier years, always feeling like it has been a good shoe, but it's only this year that I have been able to compare it to so many different good shoes that I have realized how good it actually is.

For many people, there is a compromise when using Mizuno shoes. They are generally firmer in the midsole than other brands, making the initial feel a bit more clunky compared to softer shoes like Saucony, Asics, Nike, Adidas or New Balance. Another point where they stand out is the heel drop, where Mizuno is still established at 10-12mm, compared to 6-10mm on other brands.
These differences make Mizuno the perfect second shoe for whatever other shoes you might have. The firmer sole and higher heel drop will differentiate the type of workload you'll get during runs, thus help minimize one specific workload over time.

The reason why I'm mentioning this is because most of the other shoe brands tend to go towards a softer feel, while I'm a much bigger fan of the firm energy conserving approach. The softer shoes hide behind impressive "energy return" numbers but lack to mention that the softer shoe also loses a lot of energy and momentum during the landing phase. Mizunos firmness is to be the perfect compromise in a shoe, and the Inspire is the pinnacle of what they have to offer.

It's a relatively light shoe compared to other long distance trainers but offers a speed and responsiveness that is similar to lighter interval shoes with less cushioning. Time and time again it proves to me that no other shoe I have is that fast. A zone 2 run is generally 5 or more seconds faster per kilometer than any other shoe, even the Mizuno Rider loses to its more stable brother.

Therefore, I crown my shoe of the year to be the Mizuno Inspire 13, a shoe I love so much that I struggle with choosing any other shoe every time I go out. 

Honorable mention - New Balance 1080 v7

The New Balance 1080 v7 is another favorite shoe of mine this year. For a slow cruiser, it's hard to find a better shoe with such a feeling of responsiveness despite being softer. During the first half of the year, this shoe impressed me so much that it was the only shoe I brought on vacation when attending the Escape of Alcatraz Triathlon.

What is your favorite shoe of the year? Do you have any question about any of the shoes I've tried? Write to me on Instagram or comment below.