In this article we review some of the best shoes available for your weekly shoe rotation for runners of all abilities, including the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37, Adidas Solar Glide, HOKA One One Clifton 7, Adidas SL20 and the Saucony Endorphin Speed.
Written by Josh Gorst.
Here at Trackstaa, we regularly give you the perspective of elite distance athletes when it comes to the best running shoes on the market, be it for easier runs, tempo sessions or your most intense workouts or races. The fact is, though, many of you, including me, are not elite distance athletes.
Make no mistake, whatever your level, the grind is the same, that’s the brilliant thing about running but you could be forgiven for feeling intimated sometimes by the more elite athletes.
So, if you’re reading this article, wondering about what shoes to spend your hard-earned money on, and, like me you run 5k in 18:30, or maybe 25 minutes. Possibly you’re working on breaking 40 minutes in the 10k, or maybe you’re training for your first half marathon. Perhaps you are about to start a couch to 5k. Whatever your standard, this review is for you. Indeed, it’s for all of us who run, not because we’re breaking records or have any chance of representing our country, but because we just love the sport and the feeling it gives us.
These reviews represent just my opinion on each shoe currently in my rotation, how I use them and a mark out of 10. Comment below or engage with us on Instagram and let us know what you think of these shoes.
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37
“The Peg”, Nike’s iconic daily trainer is a personal favourite of mine. Aside from looking stunning, I find its versatility to be the most compelling reason to buy this shoe. Currently, I more or less exclusively use it for my easier runs. Once you get the lacing right, I’ve found that tying them too tight can cause me pain in the side of my foot, I have struggled to find a comfier shoe. The ‘React’ foam midsole, a new inclusion in the peg, is durable and plush but with enough responsiveness to do the job when you need to pick it up to tempo pace. This is helped by the 9mm thick forefoot airbag which gives a slight ‘pop’ sensation as you toe off the ground.
This shoe often gets a bad rep and for ordinary runners who perhaps are not as conditioned physically for lots of miles, I would concede it is not the most forgiving of daily trainers you can buy. It’s narrow silhouette and heel design can result in achilles pain in some runners. I have to say, this is not a problem I have had but I would nonetheless caution against buying these if you have a history of foot or ankle issues or you maybe require a bit more stability.
Overall, the Peg 37 is a significant upgrade on its predecessors and for the social and casual runner, it could be the perfect buy because it can do everything well. It doesn’t set off fireworks in any department but the fact you can comfortably complete recovery and tempos runs mean that it’s one of the most adaptable and value-for-money buys out there. 7/10.
Adidas Solar Glide
Another stalwart in my easy run shoe rotation is the Solar Glide from Adidas. With a generous filling of Adidas’ ‘Boost’ foam, it feels quintessentially soft and bouncy. It’s the perfect no-fuss shoe when the weather isn’t great and you just want something soft to jog a shakeout in. People who like Boost foam, will love this shoe.
It feels heavy and a bit clunky and, unlike the Pegasus, doesn’t have the same versatility. I certainly wouldn’t want to run a faster run in it, if I didn’t have to. That said, for days when its wet or muddy, this is my go-to because the grip is phenomenal. The ‘Continental’ rubber on the outsole feels like blue-tack on wet surfaces and is likely to last for miles and miles.
Unusually for modern running shoes, it’s got a low stack height and quite a wide horizontal profile and so that gives it a natural stability. Your feet and achilles feels protected and secure. It also has an in-built torsion system to add a little bit more stability and that’s another reason why this is a really reasonable choice for your standard runners who are just looking for a single comfy trainer. It’s also used by professional athletes alike, check out the Tinman Elite page if you don’t believe me.
Where it gets the advantage, is its price. Look carefully and you can pick these up for £70. Bargain. 6/10.
HOKA One One Clifton 7
Ah, the Clifton 7. Honestly, it’s a thing of beauty. At Trackstaa we are often lauding the HOKA range as the standout mileage shoes and, frankly, we’re right. The Clifton 7 is a truly brilliant shoe that I could not recommend highly enough to runners of any ability.
The first thing you notice, despite the typical stack-height of HOKA shoes, is the weight. It just feels so light and I almost exclusively choose the Clifton 7 on my longer runs because, and I know this sounds cliché, it feels like you’ve got nothing on your feet. The foam is soft and bouncy but still retains a high-end performance feel to it.
I’ve not done a tempo run in them but I think you certainly could and I have no problem in picking up the pace in them on longer runs when necessary. They’re so comfortable, so light, feel so great to run in that they are probably my current favourite shoe.
What’s more, HOKA shoes have proven consistently that for runners who are perhaps more slightly injury prone, they’re the perfect choice to keep you on your feet. I’ve done about 80 miles in them so far and despite there not being a full rubber outsole, I haven’t noticed any wear.
HOKA claim this is their ‘daily trainer’ and, whilst it is a little more expensive than the others reviewed so far at £120, it’s worth it and I think they have got it spot on. 9/10.
SL20, which stands for “Super Light 2020”, is Adidas’ performance shoe for quicker workouts and, for some people, races. Unlike most Adidas shoes, the midsole has a new foam called ‘Lightstrike’. Firstly, the sensation of running with Lightstrike could not be more different to running on Boost foam. It’s a firm and responsive foam that really gives you a sense of ‘feel’. They are very very light (230g / 8oz) and this principal feature, along with the firm and responsive midsole means they are very adept for any workout from tempo right up to speed work.
My first impression was not a good one, I have to admit. I felt, initially anyway, that it was akin to running on a very light piece of wood. There was no forgiveness, no pop and it just felt inefficient from heel to toe, even with its notable lightness. I was nearly prepared to ditch it.
However, I preserved and, thankfully, that impression has since changed and it is clearly a shoe you need to break in a bit before you feel the full benefits. Now, it is the main shoe I use for all my tempo, threshold and quicker workouts. It’s durable, grippy, has a unique stability system too to help mitigate the risk of injury and just feels very easy to pick up the pace in. For a runner like me, average but improving, it’s the perfect training shoe.
Like the Solar Glide reviewed above, you can also get the SL20 for a really competitive price (£70) and I would certainly recommend it to anyone who wants a slightly lighter, responsive training flat for quicker sessions.
For everyday runners, I would not recommend, however, logging a lot of miles in these shoes. As I’ve mentioned above, they are not the most forgiving. But fear not, the answer to your worries on that is in the final review,
Saucony Endorphin Speed – Best Shoe of 2020
Buy this shoe. At Trackstaa, we have repeatedly extolled the benefits of the Saucony Endorphin Speed. It is, without question, the most brilliant training shoe, I have ever worn. It has a perfect combination of a light and comfy upper, soft midsole, durable outsole and a plastic or nylon ‘s’ shaped plate to maximise energy return. There is also the sense with this shoe that it will comfortably last a few hundred miles, at least.
Not only that, the design of the shoe, what Saucony call “SPEEDROLL” technology is one of the most formidable design successes in any shoe to come out this year. It just feels effortlessly efficient from heel to toe and, I am not exaggerating when I say, it literally feels easier to run at faster paces in the ‘Speed’ than any other shoe I have tried. It’s perfect for tempos, thresholds, speed sessions all the way down to 200s and you can comfortably warm up in it too.
The nylon plate, infused into the midsole, is likely to be noticeable for most everyday runners and might take a few runs to get used to. Once you have, however, the sensation of it popping you onto your toes is a really fun one that will help you run faster in workouts or races.
The plush feeling to the foam means that the shoe is perfect at any distance and I would say for most runners, this shoe would be perfect for a 5k to a marathon. Best of all, despite this soft and cushioned foam, the shoe still wants to go fast.
With a plan to invest in some Vaporfly Next %s over the next few weeks, these will become my premium training shoe but as I write this review, I have raced in these shoes a few times achieving enormous PBs over both 5k and 10k.
I genuinely could not recommend these shoes enough and, given the performance benefits, they really are a bargain at £155.