Friday, December 28, 2018

Dave Ames Best Running Shoes and Gear 2018

Best Overall Daily Trainer(s)

Adidas Boston 7 (B.A.A. 2018 Color Way) & Saucony Kinvara 9 
I'm kind of bending the rules a bit here, but as of last week, Kinvara 9 (RTR review) was my clear cut favorite for overall trainer of the year with me.  However, I found myself reaching more and more for the Boston 7 (RTR review) the last 7 days or so, and I have to tell you it's just as damn good as the Kinvara!
The beauty of both of these shoes is that they can perform a wide variety of functions.  That is important to me in the "daily trainer" category.  They are smooth and efficient enough to help a banged up stride on a recovery day feel effortless, while also being light enough and snappy enough off the forefoot to step down on the gas during a Fartlek, Tempo or Progression run.  They both also fit my foot extremely well, full of well designed uppers that mold to my narrow foot and correct lacing schemes.  I feel locked and loaded in both, just as if I was in a racing flat.  I like that feel in all of my shoes.  Price points are also in the moderate wheelhouse for a solid shoe that will last.  I know Kinvara struggled with durability over the years, but at almost 400 miles, my K9 are still going strong!

Best Performance Trainer / Racer 

Reebok Floatride Run Fast (RTR review)
Unless you're living under a rock, Reebok is back in the run game and making some oh so fine stuff!  Run Fast is legit,  its Floatride Foam PEBAX midsole is legit.  This shoe can do so much, and while being labeled more of a racer, it is still just as good as a trainer, even on easy days.  It leaves you with a smile on your face and makes your miles ever so smooth.  But honestly, if it says fast, let's go fast!  Man, can this baby crank.  I've used it on hill rep days, segment workouts at Vo2 max effort, Tempo Runs, both steady effort and progressive tempo and Fartlek's and on the track for 800's.  It's also raced from 5K to Half Mary and Run Fast really has a fine place in the wheelhouse for 13.1.  Don't sleep on this shoe!

Best Pure Racer

Reebok Floatride Run Fast Pro (Track work to the 10K) - - Adidas Adios 4 (5K to Marathon) 
Let's start with the shorter distance stuff first.  Say hello to the Reebok Run Fast Pro (RTR review).  4  ounces of pure fire, pure speed, and just damn fine biomechanics.  Running is so much fun in this shoe.  However, it doesn't have a lot underfoot for me, so that's I am keeping it in the shorter distance range.  The Run Fast Pro is an old school flat.  Wear it sockless.  It reminds me of the racers I wore in HS in the mid 1990's.  Want to see it really shine?  Mile Repeats on the track.  800's or K's, 400's.  Then take it on the roads and it's just as good.  There is so much snap off of the forefoot and you get there very quickly via the Floatride Foam PEBAX midsole.  The transition rate is probably the quickest on the market and each stride feels powerful and with very little force upon footfall.  Yes, it comes in at the $250 price tag, but it's worth every penny and Reebok also loves giving shoes away at deep discounts on their website (I'm sure run shop owners love this)

Want a little more underfoot for 15K and up? (not to say you can't race shorter in's just where I like it)  Slide on the Adidas Adios 4 (RTR review).  It came very late in the fact....was just released.  But you know what they say?  Always show up to a party fashionably late, right!?  This shoe can scream on the roads.  My first workout in it was 5 x 5 mins @ Vo2 max effort (5:35 pace) with 3:30 recovery jog rest on the roads.  Even for this washed up old coach, I felt young again.  BOOST is back!  And it is back with a vengeance.  A4 boasts a very smooth heel to toe transition and a ton of power off of the forefoot.  Exactly the way I like a racer to feel.  There is no getting "stuck" in the mid foot like you feel in some other racers where you need to force toe off.  This shoe does all the work and I like that.  It makes workouts and races go by like a breeze.  I think this shoe will do well at the Full Mary depending on runner biomechanics and has enough underfoot to take you 26.2.

Best Trail Shoe 
Hoka Torrent (RTR review)

I've been very critical of Hoka road shoes over the past few years.  Far too much cush, lack of responsiveness and I've just left runs feeling far overworked and beat up.  But man, it's like there is a whole new company making their trail shoes.  They have hands down been the best trail running company of 2018 for me and it's just keeps on getting better!  The Hoka Torrent is amazing.  A mix between a racer and a daily trail cruiser, the Torrent is all that.  It's a pleasure to run in and it's packed with a smooth ride, solid grip and reduced weight if you want to pick up the pace in a trail workout like a Fartlek or Tempo or even better, a race!  I raced a 15 Mile trail race in the Santa Monica Mountains out of the box in Torrent and it was a dandy!  It corners well, holds well on the downhills and keep the legs fresh mile after mile.  I've done many long Ultra training runs up to 30 miles in it too, which is where it about bottoms out for me.  Looking to go longer, grab the EVO Mafate, Speedgoat 3 or Challenger ATR 5.  Note:  Torrent is not an overly aggressive trail shoe for you Colorado, PNW or East Coast peeps, but it works very very well on the wide/singletrack dry cruisers here in SoCal where I live.  It's moderately priced, rides well and gets the job done.

Dave's 2018 Shoe of the Year
New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon (RTR review)
An absolutely amazing shoe!  Man, was Fresh Foam dead in its tracks for the last bunch of years.  But they came in hot with the new Fresh Foam GC (Ground contact) midsole compound and it was on point!  The Beacon is everything I like in a running shoe.  It's versatile enough to even race in (in fact I had multiple female athletes I coach break 3:00 in the Marathon in it) - - yet subtle enough for effortless feeling recovery days and smooth smooth long and medium long runs.
I'm almost 500 miles in on my pair and it's about time to retire it.  For $120 I'd say it's a ton of shoe for that price!!  Snappy, efficient and makes you come back day in and day out for more.

Best Socks of 2018
Stance Quarter Length

Killer designs, heat management, no blisters, wash well and they go the long haul in Ultra training.  Coming in at a price point of $16, and almost always on sale at, you can't go wrong.

Best Singlets of 2018 
Reckless Running (NC) and Rabbit Apparel (CA)

Coming straight from one of the best runners New York State ever saw in High School (NY is my roots) Anthony Famliglietti, and a runner I looked up to when I was young, Reckless Running brought the game in 2018.  Killer designs, custom fitting for you (see Karen, she'll make any special requests for you in sizing and tailoring). With comfortable lightweight, chafe free materials, these singlets can go the distance and are ever so rad with skulls, tattoos and a very Aztec style theme and with great quotes like "sustain the pain."

What is there not to say about Rabbit from Santa Barbara, CA.  A well manicured company, killer race team on the up and coming and apparel that just feels so good!  It washes well, wicks well and does not chafe on long runs over the 26.2  for me.  Each year gets better and better for these cats from SoCal.

About Dave Ames:
Dave is the Owner and Founder of Ame For It Run Coaching a worldwide run coaching service helping runners of all abilities fulfill their goals and dreams on the roads, track and trails.  Dave is 37, a tries to stay in sub 3:00 marathon shape, while also making the full time commitment to the Ultra scene.  He runs anywhere from 40 to 75 miles per week depending on time and availability due to being a full time coach.  His preferred trainers are lightweight performance on the roads and trails.  His run background comes from many years in the running specialty industry starting with managing run shops across the country to the eventual Sales Manager role with various run brands.

More Best of 2018 Articles

Sam Winebaum  (Editor and Founder) Road, Trail, and Tech 
Peter Stuart Road 
Michael Ellenberger Road
Jeff Valliere Trail
Hope Wilkes Road
Jeff Beck's Road and Trail
Dominick Layfield Ultras

Thanks for Reading Road Trail Run in 2018!
What were your Running Favorites of 2018?
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Kerblam said...

I love all the love for the Beacon. It's my favorite shoe of the year and maybe ever! Interested to try the new lineup from Reebok as they are showing up in nearly all these lists.

Dave Ames said...

Should be a great 2019 for New Balance and Reebok!! Dave

Anonymous said...

The beacon is probably my favourite shoe for 2018. I run faster in it over than the Nike Epic react. I put a thicker and softer insole in it , with a heel insert for a higher drop (8-10mm) so its more like a general trainer. Did you try the New balance 1080 v9 and Nike Vomero 14, what were your thoughts on them? Thanks for your recommendations.

Dave Ames said...

Hi Steve!

I ran in 1080v8 and thought it was a brick. Wasn't a fan. Vomero, no. I don't run in a lot of Nike trainers anymore.