Throughout this site you'll see different terms used for different types of running shoes. Here's a breakdown of each category of shoe type:
Lightweight performance running shoes are responsive to the needs of racing, tempo runs or fast training days. These are made for runners who are serious about improving their times, training for races or wearing performance footwear during competitions. Usually built on a semi-curved or curved last, lightweight running shoes have less cushioning than a normal running shoe. Some lightweight running shoes are relatively stable; others are not. You should choose a lightweight running shoe if you're a quick, efficient runner with no severe pronation problems who wants a light second shoe for fast-paced training. Lightweight running shoes also are intended for runners who are looking for a racing shoe but want more support and cushioning than a super-light racer.
Air is a proprietary Nike cushioning technology. The Air-Sole unit that runs underfoot contains a specific amount of pressurized air. Upon impact at the heel, the air disperses, cushioning the entire foot as it rolls through its gait. Nike Air cushioning comes in a variety of forms: full-length, heel, forefoot, three-quarter length, dual-pressure, symmetrical and asymmetrical. These air units come in four varieties: Nike Air for standard-impact cushioning, Max Air with a fuller air volume for maximum cushioning, Zoom Air with a lower-profile air unit for quicker responsiveness, and Tuned Air units that incorporate mechanical elements into a maximum-volume Air-Sole unit.
Stability running shoes are for runners who mildly overpronate and need extra support through the heel, midsole and post area. You need a stability running shoe if you have a flat or low arch and see most of your footprint (which indicates overpronation), or if you have a heavier frame. Stability running shoes reduce overpronation that can cause excessive foot motion and increases your risk of injury. Sever overpronators with extremely flat arches will need motion-control shoes for running.
Cushioned running shoes are constructed mainly for those who are looking to put in a lot of miles during their training. Cushioned running shoes feature different technologies to keep the foot protected in the heel, midsole and forefoot. These shoes are intended for runners with a neutral, biomechanically efficient running motion, with no need for gait correction.
Performance shoes — also known as lightweight shoes — are targeted toward longtime, neutral runners with no need for injury protection. Performance running shoes are built for competitive racing or fast training and generally contain less padding to rid the shoe of any extra weight; they feature a minimal amount of support and cushioning, usually enough just to add comfort for long distances.
Shox is one of Nike’s proprietary cushioning forms. Originally released in running, basketball and training shoes in 2001, Shox technology is based on the concept of columns of springs that compress at footstrike and rebound and propel the athlete as the foot moves forward through its gait. Shox columns are made of durable rubber, and running shoes can feature four, five or six Shox columns. Shox shoes are intended for neutral runners.
Entry Level/Low Mileage
Entry-level and low-mileage running shoes typically are low-priced and have a little bit of everything: a moderate level of cushioning, some support features for the heel and midfoot, and durable protection at the outsole and around the toe. Entry-level shoes feature little advanced technology, are not intended for high-mileage use and usually are introductory-priced shoes. Customers usually are first-time or occasional runners with a neutral profile, who need an economical runner to get them started.
Trail shoes are created specifically for off-road runners. Outsoles are thicker, more durable and feature more traction. Many uppers have foot deflection plates and/or water protection. The foot often sits slightly lower to the ground than usual for stability and responsiveness in trail-running shoes, and they often have less cushioning than a road shoe because they're designed for softer surfaces. Trail shoes are quite a bit different than other types of running shoes: They're engineered to deliver advanced traction and durability, along with stability and overall foot protection. Trail runners usually include outsoles with additional traction features, gusseted tongues, foot deflection plates and some type of system to shield the foot from or to shed water.
Motion control shoes (also called support shoes) are built on a straight last for runners who severely overpronate (roll their feet inward) and need maximum control and cushioning. These shoes are primarily intended for runners with extremely flat arches. Motion-control shoes generally are built on a stiffer last with more material in the midsole to prop up the arch. The heel counter usually is built up to lock the heel in place. Motion-control shoes generally are heavier but very durable.
Running shoes with enhanced cushioning feature an advanced cushioning application, such as adidas’ Bounce technology. These shoes are built to mitigate the constant pounding and provide some rebound as the runner moves through his or her stride.
Considered more casual shoes than running shoes, Modern Classics are shoes built from a running shoe silhouette from the 1960s-2000s with updated materials (usually cushioning). These shoes are created for customers who want a retro look combined with today’s cushioning
Barefoot shoes, also known as minimalist shoes, are made for athletes looking for an experience similar to barefoot running — with the added protection of a minimal footwear shell to protect the sole. Barefoot shoes offer very little cushioning and are extremely light. Unlike standard running shoes, the outsole is stripped to a minimum so the heel is as close to the ground as possible. Because the upper and outsole material is much more flexible, these shoes offer a natural footstrike and almost a full range of motion. Barefoot shoes are intended for advanced runners with a neutral stride.
Flyknit Lunar 1+ 'springs' ahead of pack
As the running world braces for the release of Nike’s Flyknit Lunar 1+, Footlocker.com is rolling out a number of releases for the spring running season.
Flyknit Lunar 1+, of course, is the big story. We reported on in several weeks ago, as it revolutionizes the sneaker industry by formulating an entire upper from a single polyester thread.
“It almost completely eliminates waste in the manufacturing process, which Nike likes,” said Footlocker.com Running Buyer Craig Lefebvre. “But it also creates a seamless upper that breathes and flexes with the foot, which the wearers will like.”
This first incarnation rides atop Nike's Lunarlon midsole, a dual-density cushioning system that features an ultra-soft core within a slightly firmer carrier to help it retain its shape.
Lefebvre offered some other insights on current and upcoming releases for the spring running season.
The Crazy Fast ($100) was a track spike that adidas transformed into a lightweight performance running shoe by borrowing inspiration from the Crazy Fast basketball model. (Read more about that one here.) Lefebvre likened the Crazy Fast to adidas’ adiZero Feather. “It’s only 8 ounces, so it’s a speed-oriented shoe,” Lefebvre said. “And it still offers support where runners will want it.” The Crazy Fast is available in men’s sizes only. The Energy Boost ($150) gains a new midsole that blends thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) to help it maintain its coloring.
ASICS released the latest edition of its popular runner, the GEL-Kayano 19 ($150), over Holiday and is following with a new Charcoal/Sunburst/Flame colorway in February. The colorful GEL-Noosa Tri 8 ($130) gained a new colorway in November and will see another in April. The line inspired a 6.6-ounce lightweight runner, the GEL-NoosaFast ($100). "ASICS has been a leader for sometime in fun, youthful colors," Lefebvre said. "We're seeing them continue with that by spreading it to other shoes."
A popular follow-up debuted over Holiday as the Wave Prophecy 2 ($200) hit the streets. A hot seller in the Miami market, various colorways of the original Wave Prophecy comprised the top-five best selling running shoes in that area for all of 2012. The Wave Prophecy 2 occupied four of those five spots for the Holiday shopping season. “Mizuno found an interesting balance between functionality and aesthetics with the Prophecy line,” Lefebvre said. “And fans of the shoe are just loving it.” Mizuno also introduces the Evo Cursoris ($120) and Evo Levitas ($110), a pair of minimalist-inspired entries – at 7.5 and 6.5 ounces, respectively – as interest in the category begins to reach a settling point.
The 1080 v3 ($135) gains a new upper and colors for spring. The shoe is neutrally cushioned, geared for those whose feet roll inward or outward after heelstrike. It features New Balance’s N2 nitrogen-infused midsole, which is engineered to lower the unit’s profile to increase responsiveness, and a segmented crash pad on the outsole. The 3090 v2 ($90) enters in March as New Balance’s minimalist-inspired shoe. It features a Revlite foam midsole, which is engineered to be as responsive as foams 30% heavier, and the Ionix outsole, which minimizes material while providing the grip a wearer needs. In late March/early April, the 890 v3 ($115) lightweight-performance model gains two tie-dyed colorways. And the 20 Minimus Road ($100) differs from its Trail counterpart only in its more pavement-friendly outsole.
In addition to the Flyknit Lunar 1+, Nike aficionados see changes to two more of its popular franchises. The Air Max+ 2013 ($180; $200 for LE reflective edition that released over Holiday) benefits from a rare technological development, as deep flex grooves in the outsole enhance articulation for the popular running/lifestyle sneaker. “It’s always risky to tinker with your most popular models,” Lefebvre said. “But Nike addressed a concern with the Air Max by improving its flexibility.” In late March, Nike’s Free Run series reverts to its original name, the Nike Free 5.0 ($100). The newest edition features a mesh upper and latest-generation Flywire.
The ZigLite Rush ($100) features the original ZigTech midsole/outsole, while two other models feature variations on Reebok’s “Pods” technology. Those on the Sky DMX ($130) are less pronounced that its sister shoe, the ATV 19 Plus ($140), but the Sky DMX – which hearkens back to the late 1990s – still features the DMX Max cushioning system that originally was designed to deliver a long-lasting, lively feeling system. The pods that comprise the outsole of the ATV 19 Plus resemble miniature shock absorbers prepared to take, from any direction, whatever the wearer might bring their way. “Between this shoe and their ZigTech soles in general,” Lefebvre said, “Reebok is never afraid to bring a unique look to their footwear.”
Baltimore-based Under Armour intro’d two minimalist-inspired runners after the New Year. The Spine Venom ($90), which is modeled after the complex articulation of the human spine, gains new colorways throughout spring. And the Micro G Toxic Six ($100), upon its release in early March, gains one of the more interesting colorway updates of the season, inspired by poison dart frogs.
If you're a competitive runner, or someone who just runs for fun, Foot Locker offers the industry's best running shoes. We're stocked with a wide variety of running shoes to meet the demands of all runners. Foot Locker offers a huge range of lightweight running shoes for those looking to begin barefoot training. If you're looking for a running shoe built for the trail; if you're in need of shoes to correct your pronation or supination; or if you're just looking for a snug running shoe that's durable, stable and with plush comfort, then we're equipped to help you out. New running shoes hit our warehouse every day, with thousands of running shoes in an assortment of different colors, sizes and models from all your favorite brands including Nike, adidas, ASICS and Reebok. Whether you prefer lightweight or trail, if you're a pronator or supinator, or if you're just looking for a comfortable shoe with a smooth ride, then Foot Locker is your home to shop for all your running shoe needs.