Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

Running Shoes & Gear Reviews

At the Gear Institute, we believe you deserve better running gear reviews. We believe in credible, thorough, expert gear testing designed to give you results you can trust. Our team is made up of serious, experienced runners who know running gear technology and trends inside and out. We test running shoes, apparel, accessories and technology against similar products using the same objective criteria so you compare how they will perform on the road or trail. And we never give any brands favorable treatment—not advertisers, not our personal favorites, not the brands with the flashiest marketing. New to our running gear tests? Start with our running shoe reviews

Altra Superior 2.0

78

2016

Altra Superior 2.0

The Altra Superior 2.0 is a mid- to light-weight, general purpose shoe on a zero drop platform.

La Sportiva Helios 2

71

2016

La Sportiva Helios 2

The La Sportiva Helios 2 is soft yet responsive lightweight trail runner with a unique outsole pattern.

Pearl Izumi Trail N1v2

80

2016

Pearl Izumi Trail N1v2

The Pearl Izumi Trail N1v2 is a mid-weight, highly responsive low profile shoe.

Salomon Sense Pro 2

78

2016

Salomon Sense Pro 2

The Salomon Sense Pro 2 is a mid-weight trail shoe that excels at higher speeds.

Scarpa Neutron

72

2016

Scarpa Neutron

The Scarpa Neutron is a durable, mid-weight mileage workhorse with the traction and protection needed to tackle tough terrain.

Salomon Fast Wing Hoodie W

94

2016

Salomon Fast Wing Hoodie W

The paper-thin Salomon Fast Wing Hoodie W is geared toward mountain trail runners and racers seeking the ultimate in sophisticated, ultralight weather protection.

Swix Cyclon Packable Wind Jacket

75

2016

Swix Cyclon Packable Wind Jacket

The highly breathable, roomy-fitting Swix Cyclon Packable Wind Jacket is a packable wind shell ideal for cool, blustery workouts.

Stio Women’s Second Light Jacket

84

2016

Stio Women’s Second Light Jacket

The Stio Women’s Second Light Jacket is a well-designed, hoodless jacket for cool-weather runs, with a zippered back pocket that doubles as a stuff sack.

Pearl Izumi Barrier LT Hoody

86

2016

Pearl Izumi Barrier LT Hoody

The Pearl Izumi Barrier LT Hoody is a women’s running jacket offering emergency weather protection in a featherlight package.

Outdoor Research Tantrum Hooded Jacket

90

2016

Outdoor Research Tantrum Hooded Jacket

The Outdoor Research Tantrum Hooded Jacket sports a supple, slightly stretchy fabric and an integrated strap that lets you pack the jacket away and strap it to your waist when not in use.

Brooks LSD Jacket

78

2016

Brooks LSD Jacket

The women’s LSD jacket is the lightest weight, windproof, water-resistant running shell Brooks offers—as they call it, an “insurance policy” for fickle-weather days.

Zoot Laguna

73

2016

Zoot Laguna

The Zoot Laguna is a lightweight trainer that allows easy toe off and quicker turnover.

Skechers GOrun Forza

83

2016

Skechers GOrun Forza

The Skechers GOrun Forza is a maximum cushioning stability shoe with lasting comfort. 

Saucony Hurricane ISO2

88

2016

Saucony Hurricane ISO2

The Saucony Hurricane ISO 2 is a leading shoe in comfort, support and responsiveness.

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080

83

2016

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080

The New Balance 1080 is a premium neutral shoe for the runner that needs the highest amount of cushioning for their training needs.

Mizuno Wave Rider 19

87

2016

Mizuno Wave Rider 19

The Mizuno Wave Rider 19 is a perfect shoe for those that enjoy a stiff shoe and demand performance from their everyday trainer.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 12

76

2016

Mizuno Wave Inspire 12

The Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 is a stable, supportive shoe that provides excellent motion control in a lasting package.

Brooks Transcend 3

76

2016

Brooks Transcend 3

The Brooks Transcend 3 is a solid stability everyday trainer favoring a beginner runner that needs support and firm foam underfoot.

Hoka One One Vanquish 2

89

2016

Hoka One One Vanquish 2

The Hoka One One Vanquish 2 is the perfect blend of ultra cushioning and high performance. 

Adidas Ultra Boost ST

86

2016

Adidas Ultra Boost ST

The Adidas Ultra Boost st is a stable shoe designed to be an everyday trainer with cloud-like cushioning in a durable, responsive package.

Salomon Agile2 20L

81

2016

Salomon Agile2 20L

The Salomon Agile2 20L is designed as a foul weather generalist and the only pack in this test that has a completely waterproof compartment. The overall fit and design is on point with nice elastic straps for a body conforming fit the and stability is good enough to be a versatile adventure pack.

Nathan VaporCloud 11

83

2016

Nathan VaporCloud 11

The Nathan VaporCloud 11 sets the bar for ultra-distance racing packs in this class by combining stability, variety of nutrition and gear stow options, and simple closures.

Nathan Elevation 16

80

2016

Nathan Elevation 16

The Nathan elevation 16 is a good value for the traditional Nathan pack fit, as it’s an echo of the original design from 2001, with new components to modernize it. This is a good option for trail runs into two to three hours, while carrying a light jacket and other layering options to be stowed away. 

Camelbak Ultra 10

80

2016

Camelbak Ultra 10

The Camelbak Ultra 10 is a UTMB-inspired ultra distance running pack.

Osprey Rev 18

86

2016

Osprey Rev 18

The Osprey Rev 18 is a top-of-the-line peak bagging/long distance ultra running pack. 

Topo Athletic Tribute

82

2016

Topo Athletic Tribute

The Topo Athletic Tribute is the most lightweight and breathable neutral road trainer from Topo Athletic, a company that makes its mark with natural fit and biomechanics. It features an anatomic last, flat platform, and 16mm stack heights.

Saucony Kinvara 7

86

2016

Saucony Kinvara 7

The Saucony Kinvara 7 is a top-to-bottom revamping of Saucony’s popular natural running shoe. Changes are both cosmetic and material, from the revamped upper to the redesigned outsole.

Salomon Sonic Pro

80

2016

Salomon Sonic Pro

The Salomon Sonic Pro is a lightweight road trainer or race shoe for neutral runners. The shoe combines a new outsole design and midsole technology with the classic upper style found in the company’s trail running models. 

Nike LunarTempo 2

86

2016

Nike LunarTempo 2

The Nike LunarTempo 2 is a follow up to Nike’s lightweight, moderately cushioned LunarTempo neutral road trainer. Flywire uppers and the company’s trademark Lunarlon cushioning in the midsole provide outstanding comfort above and underfoot.

Newton Gravity V

80

2016

Newton Gravity V

The Newton Gravity V is the fifth edition of Newton’s famed Gravity series that re-set many standards for running shoes upon its debut in the late 2000s. The main upgrades to this version are on the upper, which has a more breathable forefoot region as well as more airy mesh through the midfoot and rearfoot.

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v2

85

2016

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v2

The New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v2 is a follow-up to 2015’s successful Zante lightweight neutral road running shoe built on a performance last and featuring the company’s Fresh Foam midsole material.

Mizuno Wave Hitogami 3

82

2016

Mizuno Wave Hitogami 3

The Mizuno Wave Hitogamu 3 is a lightweight, low profile, neutral running shoe with a 9mm drop that is designed for racing or fast training.  The underfoot is primarily unchanged compared to the Hitogami 2, and the upper has only subtle stylistic updates.  Its overall design and functionality are very similar to the Adidas Adizero Adios Boost 3.

Hoka One One Tracer

75

2016

Hoka One One Tracer

The Hoka One One Tracer is a super lightweight road trainer or race shoe for neutral runners. Key features include a highly breathable upper, lightweight dual-density midsole with a 4mm heel to toe drop, and strategic placement of outsole rubber for grip and durability.

Brooks PureFlow 5

80

2016

Brooks PureFlow 5

The Brooks PureFlow 5 is a significant makeover of the Brooks PureFlow 4. With a 4mm drop in the PureFlow 5, this road trainer is the softest of the company’s PureProject series.

New Balance 1500 v2

87

2016

New Balance 1500 v2

The New Balance 1500v2 is an update to the new model introduced by New Balance in 2015 as an ultralight race day shoe with minor stability elements.

Altra Instinct 3.5

80

2016

Altra Instinct 3.5

The Altra Instinct 3.5 is the latest iteration of Altra’s flagship zero-drop road trainer, with the company’s trademark anatomic last and lightweight flexible construction. The 3.5 features a new foam compound in the midsole, a more flexible upper than the previous model, and a slightly offset lacing system to move with the foot. 

Adidas Adizero Adios Boost 3

86

2016

Adidas Adizero Adios Boost 3

The Adidas Adizero Adios Boost 3 is a lightweight, low profile, neutral running shoe with a 9mm drop that is designed for racing or fast training. Changes to this version are minimal compared to the Adios Boost 2, and primarily limited to cosmetics on the uppers.

Salomon S-Lab Wings

88

2015

Salomon S-Lab Wings

The Salomon S-Lab Wings is clearly a shoe built for performance racing and training. Everything about this shoe is built for running hard and fast, from the responsive midsole to the unique internal sleeve fit system to the low-profile outsole lugs. 

Hoka One One Speedgoat

75

2015

Hoka One One Speedgoat

The Hoka One One Speedgoat is designed for aggressive trail running, and has the outsole and midsole to back it up.  Unfortunately the last and upper presented significant fit issues for a number of our testers. 

Salomon Speedcross Pro

78

2015

Salomon Speedcross Pro

The Salomon Speedcross Pro is a rugged and aggressive shoe built for shredding loose, rugged terrain.

Salomon Agile2 7

78

2015

Salomon Agile2 7

The Salomon Agile2 7 is the best pack of the bunch if you want to use it for more than running. The backpack style design crosses over easily to just about any activity and an insulated hydration sleeve adds four season potential.

Osprey Rev 6

86

2015

Osprey Rev 6

Don't let the tubby look of Osprey’s Rev 6 fool you. This hydration pack is a slick, minimalist running pack with a lot going for it. Osprey's proprietary bladder is one of the best in the industry.

Orange Mud HydraQuiver Double Barrel

73

2015

Orange Mud HydraQuiver Double Barrel

By holstering water bottles in a small pack Orange Mud shakes up the hydration pack mold with the HydraQuiver Double Barrel pack.


Nathan Vapor Air

87

2015


Nathan Vapor Air

Nathan ditched a ton of weight—Nathan says 50 percent—over the Vapor Air's brother the VaporCloud, without hacking away on features or durability. It is the most expensive pack in the review. The pack boasts an impressive amount of storage, well thought out features, and it carries really comfortably thanks to being exceptionally light.

Gregory Tempo 5

88

2015

Gregory Tempo 5

Besides a few minor beefs with the hydration bladder we have trouble coming up with any negatives when it comes to the Gregory Tempo 5 hydration pack. The design is simple and streamlined, but feature rich and carries on par with the best in this test. It's a solid running pack that can do far more than just go for a jog.

Ultimate Direction Women’s Ultra Jacket

89

2015

Ultimate Direction Women’s Ultra Jacket

This jacket was literally designed specifically for Europe’s Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB)—so it’s no doubt it excels at this very purpose of keeping ultrarunners dry, comfortable and unencumbered on spectacularly long runs in the high alpine.

Outdoor Research Women’s Helium II Jacket

82

2015

Outdoor Research Women’s Helium II Jacket

Packing down to roughly the size of a grapefruit and holding the middle ground on weight for jackets in this test, the Women’s Helium II Jacket waterproof shell works best as lightweight insurance on days with fickle clouds.

Mountain Hardwear Women’s Stretch Ozonic Jacket

88

2015

Mountain Hardwear Women’s Stretch Ozonic Jacket

When you first slip into the Mountain Hardwear Women’s Stretch Ozonic Jacket, you’ll think it’s too cozy to be a fully waterproof shell—that is, until you get caught in a storm and stay dry. 

Montbell Peak Shell Women’s Waterproof Jacket

85

2015

Montbell Peak Shell Women’s Waterproof Jacket

The Montbell Peak Shell is one of the few ultralight waterproof shells we tested that features a 3-layer construction (versus a 2.5). The Peak Shell is one of the stoutest stalwarts against foul weather.

Eider Women’s Pulsate Waterproof Jacket

80

2015

Eider Women’s Pulsate Waterproof Jacket

Alps based Eider has created a jacket optimized for nasty storms in high alpine environments.

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