Nike Shox 2:45
Gimmick: Nike’s springy Shox plus a low-profile heel specially designed for marathon runners.
Pros: “The one thing I like is the Spandex, or whatever it is—it fits really snug around your foot. You just slide right into them.”
Cons: “This Shox thing doesn’t really add any extra bounce. And then the forefoot isn’t very cushioned. They’re hard and when they hit the ground, they don’t really give anything back. I wouldn’t want to run five miles in these.”
Swiss Masai MBT Sport
Gimmick: The massive rounded rubber sole is meant to replicate the gait of eastern Africa’s Masai tribe—plus burn cellulite, relieve back tension, and improve posture.
Pros: “You feel wobbly, but they’re actually kind of comfortable.”
Cons: “It’s like being on a rocking chair! See the bottom? You just rock forward. Your heel never touches. It feels like running on balloons. No serious runner would ever wear these shoes. And the black doesn’t really help the design.”
Nike Free 5.0
Gimmick: The Free supposedly builds foot and ankle strength by replicating the feel of running shoeless.
Pros: “After track workouts, I like to do my cooldown barefoot, which hurts your feet. These actually are pretty good at simulating barefoot running. You can feel the surface underneath your feet.”
Cons: “You’d have to have good form to run in them daily. And if you step on a rock, it might hurt, because there’s not very much padding.”
Gimmick: For every extra 100 grams, you expend 1 percent more energy. The Mayfly is ultralight—4.76 ounces—but falls apart after 100 kilometers (most shoes last 500). And it’s recyclable!
Pros: “Amazing: My stride felt a lot quicker, like I wanted to run faster. When I sprint, I run on the balls of my feet. The heel isn’t too big, so it allows you to do that.”
Cons: “I wouldn’t run more than 5K in them. For someone who doesn’t have really stable form, they’re not supportive.”