Now's the time to try out the latest upgrades and new models, ready for racing later in the year (we hope!)...
ALTRA Provision 4
£125 | Tester: Sue
Unlike many other companies, Altra designs shoes differently for women’s feet, addressing the nuances in shape to produce this superior design. Lightweight and flexible, this shoe will easily take you from an occasional parkrun to a marathon. A new arch feature helps to slow pronation, while neutralising the step cycle. A revolutionary guide rail runs around the top of the midsole of the shoe. The fit is fabulous and with an innovative lacing system, your feet will feel snug and secure. The toebox has Altra’s signature width, although it’s slightly narrower than the Altra Torin. The insole is textured, which feels odd at first, but it helps to stimulate the feet and once you are running it feels very comfortable with great cushioning. This is a great choice for both neutral runners or those needing a little stability.
KALENJI Kiprun KD Plus
£69.99 | Tester: Sue
These are a great all-rounder that will provide you with comfort and cushioning, even on the longest runs. Incredibly lightweight and packed full of technology; with enhanced cushioning, a design from a single piece of fabric and a reworked foot area, nothing has been left to chance. With a clever anatomic design, these would be equally suitable for you as a neutral runner or as an under or over-pronator. The soles are designed in a similar way to a car tyre, with increased texture and the layout of the grips ensuring you are stable and upright in wet conditions. The colour choices are refreshingly stylish and they can be hand washed to keep them looking fabulous. This shoe comes with a two-year guarantee too, which reflects the brand’s confidence in their durability.
BROOKS Hyperion Elite
£210 | Tester: Esther
These are Brooks’ answer to those Nike things you might have seen on a few elite marathon runners’ feet recently. Astonishingly light, and equipped with a carbon fibre plate, these are an investment shoe for serious PB chasers. There was so much secrecy around the launch of this shoe that we were flabbergasted when, weeks after we started testing these beauties, a V2 popped up. For the meantime, this first version guarantees one thing: pace. It’s a super fast shoe: you can feel yourself being propelled forward with every step. Drawbacks? The cushioning isn’t there yet (whispers have it that the V2 have fixed this), and the lifespan is 50-100 miles, so this is a one-race shoe. But the featherlight weight, the glorious styling, and the fit are all incredible. This is an awesome shoe. Can’t wait to see what’s next…
£125 | Tester: Tina
These shoes are most definitely lightweight and fast, so on this score they performed to a high standard. Overall the fit is very good and they have a unique feel to them, as if there is a bubble or pillow of extra support around the lower part of your ankle, which feels plush and soft to run in – again quite different to other shoes. This supports your heel, with a brilliant channel for your Achilles to avoid irritation. They do feel very low cut around your ankle though, which gives the feeling they were falling off, although they aren’t! Great forward propulsion, a speedy feel, a flexible and breathable upper, and of course, the design is eye-catching. Recommended for runners seeking a lightweight but comfortable shoe focusing on short, fast training and running this summer.
NEW BALANCE Fresh Foam Vongo V4
£125 | Tester: Tina
The stable, comfortable feel of these shoes makes them an instant hit. They have quickly become the favourite New Balance shoe to do training runs in. The Fresh Foam cushioning performs so well and seems to make an instant difference when it comes to niggles – and the ‘bootie’ upper fits very well. It has enough stretch over the top of the foot to adapt to your sizing, which is probably the biggest benefit of this model. It just works so well with your foot and feels so comfortable. You also notice a pad inside the heel, both for comfort and to lock down your foot. So you feel secure, too. They have a low drop of only 4mm, compared to many stability shoes that have 10mm, so ease yourself into them by rotating use during the week. But overall, with such gorgeous design and comfort, plus bounce, these are a great shoe.