Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Marcel Krebs Favorite 2020 Run Shoes and Gear

 Article by Marcel Krebs


While everyone was highly impacted by Covid-19 this year, lots of us runners will also remember the weeks of Garmin downtime and on the positive side the triumphal procession of (carbon) plated shoes which hit the budgets of every shoe addict hard, posing the question which of all these beauties to buy.

At RTR I bring the perspective of an obstacle course racer to the table, one who is also fascinated by new technologies in road shoes and furthermore am a gadget geek who loves to try new stuff to measure running efficiency and pacing like GPS watches or the Stryd Wind.

This being said, the following Best of 2020 should give you an idea of a full setup I can highly recommend and did most of my mileage in 2020 in, which is probably the best compliment a shoe can get when it is chosen over and over again. While it will be hard for most of us to become best looking person of the year, getting the best equipment for running is much easier, so let’s get down to business😉

Of course, here at RTR we start with the shoes😊

Favorite road shoe of 2020

My favorite road shoe of 2020 was clearly the Saucony Endorphin Speed (RTR Review) because of its perfect combination of bounce, weight & upper. During the course of the year, I extended usage from long tempo runs to almost every pace and distance beside mere recovery runs. What i especially like beside the bouncy ride is the fantastic upper, which is snug enough to hold the foot in place properly and at the same time it is very soft and flexible to also accommodate wider forefoots like mine.

Honorable Mention: If you like a softer ride, Nike Tempo Next %  (RTR Review) is also a fantastic shoe with a broad range of use cases. Same holds true for the New Balance Fuel Cell TC (RTR Review), which is also an excellent choice.

Favorite trail shoe of 2020

Very tough call, because it depends to a high degree on the specific terrain. Nonetheless, the Inov-8 TerraUltra G270 (RTR Review) was the biggest positive surprise and also an excellent allrounder, so my vote goes to the Inov-8 TerraUltra G270. So what make this shoe so good? It’s the combination of an almost perfect fit, a dense but not stiff upper, a very good ground feel combined with a significant cushioning as well as a durable and sticky outsole.

This all combined makes this my favorite trail shoe of 2020 as it makes this shoe very versatile. For some specialties regarding sizing and fitting of Inov-8 shoes, have a look at my review of the Inov-8 Mudclaw G260 V2 (RTR review (english); RTR review (german)).

Honorable mention: Salomon Sense Ride 3 (RTR Review) for its versatility, excellent fit & grip at a very attractive price point, as the Sense 4 is just around the corner.

So after the over-all favorites for road and trail, here come my recommendations for each category.


Daily Training

Saucony Endorphin Shift (RTR review) 

The Saucony Endorphin Shift was the perfect compagnon to the Speed during the last half year. Highly cushioned but not too soft with a nice bounce (speed roll geometry). It even comforts wider forefoots than mine. I just wished for a little wider toe box or the same soft upper of the Speed, but for most of you it will be more than suitable.

Alternative: If a wide forefoot and a high midfoot are  not an issue for you, you should also consider the Nike Tempo Next % (RTR review) which is a fantastic shoe too. 

Nonetheless, be aware that the midsole of the Next % is much softer, especially at the heel area where the airpods are located. In addition, because of the sock-like upper, the fit might be too snug for people with a wide and high midfoot. That’s why I personally clearly prefer the Shift. But that's my personal preference.


Saucony Triumph 17/18 (RTR review; RTR review)

Triumph 17 for guys with wider forefoot like me, otherwise 18. Very comfortable and highly cushioned, but not too soft.

Hint: While some fellow reviewers would do their recovery runs even in a soft and very unstable (but extremely fun!) shoe like the Asics Novablast (RTR review), I clearly prefer well cushioned but not too soft shoes for this kind of workout because of the beatings my legs had to suffer during the days before recovery day which makes them vulnerable to twisting my ankles especially. So choose what is best for you.


Saucony Endorphin Speed (RTR Review)  because of its perfect combination of bounce, weight & upper. 

It is also very versatile so that one could do almost every (road) workout with these bad boys beside mere recovery runs. For the latter, the Speed is a little unstable when your legs are really tired. In addition, this shoe is so much fun, that it is hard to tame oneself not to go too fast on recovery day.

Short & Long Distance Racing 

Saucony Endorphin Pro (RTR Review)

Leveraging the above stated advantages of the Speed just a little more with a carbon instead of plastic plate and also provides enough cushioning  for up to the Marathon distance. Save it for race day.


Daily Cruiser

Salomon Sense Ride 3 (RTR Review)  

Extremely versatile; highly cushioned but not too soft. Perfect toe box especially for wider forefoot. Excellent upper (breathable but still protective). For a non-plated shoe a lively midsole. If I had to decide for only one pair of shoes to use for a world trip, it would be this one.

Technical Trails

Inov-8 TerraUltra G270. (RTR Review) It has a very lively midsole for a trail shoe combined with very good ground feel because of its zero drop. Furthermore, the foothold is almost perfect, the upper is excellent and the grip outstanding as long the terrain does not become too muddy.

Caveat: On soft terrain you almost do not recognize that the TU G270 is zero drop. Nonetheless,  you should be accustomed to zero drop shoes before taking the TerraUltra G270 out for longer endeavors especially on harder surfaces! Otherwise, you might be getting problems with your calves because of the zero drop. If you prefer a shoe with a little more drop (4mm), have a  look at the Salomon Sense Pro 4 (RTR Review), which is also an excellent choice on technical terrain.

Easy day trail shoe

Saucony Xodus 10. (RTR Review

It is my equivalent to the road Triumph 17/18. Highly cushioned, not too soft, with a roomy toe box and a very versatile outsole.

Short & fast trails

Scott Kinabalu RC 2.0 on dry and not too technical terrain. It has a speed roll geometry comparable to the Saucony Endorphin Shift or the Asics GlideRide 2 with a very grippy outsole and low weight. Furthermore, it has an excellent group feel (3mm drop). 

If you prefer a classic midsole, go with the Salomon Sense Pro 4 (RTR Review)

On muddy terrain I would opt for the Inov-8 Mudclaw G260 V2 (RTR Review): it has perfect grip, excellent foothold and a low weight for that kind of shoe.

Race day trail shoe

Inov-8 TerraUltra G270 (RTR Review) 

Especially when taking risks at fast downhills and in technical terrain the zero drop combined with a nice pop in the midsole is an excellent choice. Nonetheless, keep in mind to train your calves accordingly or go for an excellent alternative like the Salomon Sense Pro 4.

Long Distance

Scott Kinabalu Ultra RC

With a rocker geometry and perfect breathable upper like the Kinabalu RC 2.0, but more cushioning and stack height (8mm). The higher comfort comes at the cost of lesser ground feel. Depending on your preferences, the Inov-8 TerraUltra G270 would also be an excellent choice for long distances if you run primarily on softer ground or are accustomed to zero drop shoes.

Door to Trail

Salomon Sense Ride 3 (RTR Review) for above-mentioned reasons. 

You can’t find a more versatile trail shoe which also performs well on concrete. 

Apparel of the year

Montane Minimus Stretch Ultra 

Ein Bild, das Person, Wand, rot, Kleidung enthält.

Automatisch generierte Beschreibung

Waterproof jacket and still very breathable. 

New Balance Heat Grid Vest 

Ein Bild, das Person, Kleidung, Wand, drinnen enthält.

Automatisch generierte Beschreibung

Perfect for fall and spring:  Windproof material on the front and very breathable at the back.

Favorite accessory of 2020

Salomon ADV SKIN 5 (backpack which feels like a vest). 

It is just perfect on race day and also for day trips. While offering lots more comfort compared to their S-Lab line backpacks, it is still very light and with no pressure points where the bottles are positioned. Furthermore, the hold is just perfect and very close to the body - no shaking at all. That’s because (beside the excellent fit), there is like a flexible zig-zag fastener where other backpacks just have one or two horizontal stripes, which holds the vest perfectly close to the body without any pressure. Just go and get it – you will not regret it. 

Just be aware to grab the 2020 model with the wider opening of the soft flasks which also fit ice cubes now (you can recognize them easily as they are grey in 2020), which is perfect for hot summer days. 

Tech of the year

Garmin Fenix 6 (RTR Fenix 6S Pro Review)

Very versatile, excellent navigation features, good looks even when worn in combination with a suit. There is almost nothing which you could do with a Fenix but with another GPS watch – it is just technically to notch.

Outlook 2021: 

It will be very interesting to see what comes next in midsoles and plated shoes for the road. The evolution of the Saucony Endorphin line looks especially  promising. Furthermore, more than one company (the North Face, Craft, and maybe others)  will soon release the first plated shoes for the trails, and it will be very interesting to see how it performs. 

So stay tuned and have a close look at upcoming reviews at RTR. Like always, questions and comments down below in the commentary section are highly welcomed.

Marcel’s Bio

Marcel, almost 40 years old, works as a Legal Technology Consultant and is an avid Obstacle Course Racer (OCR). In addition to his fascination with shoe releases for road and trail, Marcel is also passionate about technical innovations and gadgets. 

After years of too much work and too much fast food, Marcel started to work off his excess pounds in 2014 by doing short runs at the Alster lake in Hamburg, Germany before he discovered the world of obstacle course racing. Initially just for fun in competitions like Tough Mudder and Xletix, his ambition was quickly awakened and Marcel increasingly focused on challenging race series like Spartan Races all over Europe. In addition, Marcel has successfully finished the "toughest obstacle course in Europe" five times in a row with Getting Tough The Race. 

As an additional challenge he was always accompanied by - unintentionally of course - his vulnerability to injuries in the area of the tendons and calves. The combination of a time-consuming office job in combination with a certain susceptibility to injury also gives Marcel a special perspective on the tested models in his shoe reviews. Namely less that of the competitive athlete, but much more the view of an ambitious recreational runner with a love for obstacle races. If you also have a comparatively wide forefoot, you should take a closer look at Marcel's impressions of the tested models.

Some of the products reviewed were provided at no charge for testing. The opinions herein are the author's.

RTR Team's Best of 2020 Articles
Road Running Shoes HERE
Trail Running Shoes HERE
RTR Contributors Best of Run 2020, Year in Review Articles

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

RoadTrailRun receives a commission on purchases at the stores below.
Your purchases help support RoadTrailRun. Thanks!

USA  Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE 2 Day Shipping EASY No Sweat Returns
EUROPE Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Join VIP Family, Get Free Shipping and 15% in VIP Benefits on every order, Details here

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE Shipping on most orders over $40

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE


Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
Facebook:  Instagram: @roadtrailrun
Twitter: @RoadTrailRun You Tube: @RoadTrailRun

1 comment: