Sunday, December 27, 2020

Nils Scharff 2020 Run Favorites for Road and Trail

 Article by Nils Scharff

2020 has been a crazy year for all of us. For me it has been even crazier from a running shoe perspective as I joined RTR this spring. 20 pairs of shoes and 23 articles later I already feel like I’ve done shoe reviews for years even if I‘m quite a newbie compared to most of the awesome crew here at RTR. Getting the chance to review all these awesome shoes and to share my opinions with the running community is like if a dream becomes true.  Therefore I not only want to wrap up the year with this article but also to say thank you to Sam and the family for the very warm welcome and all the effort they are taking! 



Favorite Daily Trainer of 2020 

New Balance 1080v10 (RTR Review / German Review). As the 1080 is a 2020 model for us in Germany, I can't help but to place it here. It has been my bread and butter shoe through all my spring marathon block and has performed just outstanding. From recovery to long runs (even faster paced ones) the 1080 can do everything besides the fastest workouts and will do it in style, comfort and with an outstanding energetic ride! 

The Saucony Ride 13 is a more stable and lower priced runner up .

Favorite Recovery Shoe of 2020 

Saucony Triumph 18 (RTR Review German Review). The Triumph is not the most versatile shoe but it will shine on everything you do in a slow and steady manner. It's soft (but not mushy), stable, protective, long lasting and even brings some liveliness because of it's PWRRUN+ midsole. 

My runner up is the ASICS Gel-Nimbus 23 with a protective but flexible ride.

Favorite Tempo Shoe of 2020 

Saucony Kinvara 11 (RTR Review German Review). The Kinvara has been my 1-2-punch together with the 1080 during all my spring marathon block. I did each and every faster workout in them as well as some of the long- and recovery runs as well. If you are looking for one shoe to do it all - don't look any further! Oh and did I mention that I ran my Marathon PR in the Kinvara? 

My runner up here is the Saucony Endorphin Speed and I believe for many it will win this category. But it's a lot more expensive and not quite as stable as the Kinvara which makes it a great but inferior choice for me.

Favorite Short Distance Racing Shoe of 2020 

adidas Adizero Pro (RTR Review German Review). This is a toss up between the Adizero Pro and the ASICS Metaracer. Both have class leading uppers and a more subtle integration of their carbon fiber plate. The Metaracer has probably the slight edge under optimal conditions but the Adizero Pro wins because of its outstanding outsole which leads to much better versatility.

Favorite Long Race Shoe of 2020 

Saucony Endorphin Pro (RTR Review German Review) I haven't run in many of this year’s super shoes. But I have the Next% which I believe is kind of the benchmark. Compared to that the Endorphin Pro is more stable and a smoother - not as aggressive - ride. This makes it the better choice for me! Additionally the Endorphin Pro and Speed (my runner up) are to my knowledge the only shoes besides Vaporfly and Alphafly which pair a carbon fiber plate with actual Pebax foam. And the latter one is the only reason in my opinion that a shoe should be called supershoe (there's an exceptional article at "doctors of running" at this topic:

Absolute Favorite Road Shoe of 2020 

Saucony Endorphin Shift (RTR Review German Review) The Endorphin Shift is in my opinion the best middistance to longrun shoe (to train in) I've ever ran. It has an outstanding protection, one of the best (not overdone) uppers in any shoe in it's class and Saucony's Speedroll Technology is just something else. And while I wouldn't run too much in the carbon plated Pro (reserve this for race day) or the far less stable Speed (reserve this for faster runs) the Shift will eat up 90% of your training miles with ease. And believe it or not - it even can go fast up to a certain extent (~marathon pace).


Being mostly a roadrunner in recent years I just had one pair of trail shoes in my closet most of the time - which lately was a pair of HOKA Speedgoats . But as this year one road race after another got canceled I reinvented myself and registered for a trail marathon in the Alps. I hoped that the crazier a race is the better would be the chance that it would take place - despite covid. Accordingly most of my training switched into the local woods with its hills and trails and I built up at least a small trail shoe quiver. But as the number of different trail shoes I ran / reviewed this year has been still a little bit limited I break out of the categories the others are doing. I have just two different ones:

Best Cushioned Trail Shoe of 2020: 

HOKA ONE ONE EVO Speedgoat (RTR Review). Fill in any Speedgoat you have at hand. The EVO is just the current one in my rotation and if you want to cruise in your local forest, snowy roads or nearest mountains - just take any Speedgoat. They are this good, really! The EVO version is a little lighter than it’s brothers and therefore an outstanding choice for most longer races. I wore it during my trail marathon and I was really happy with that choice. In some situations a little deeper lugs would have been handy but the HOKA ONE ONE EVO Speedgoat is probably the best long mileage shoe you can get.

Best fast Trail Shoe of 2020:

Inov-8 Terraultra G270 (RTR Review / German Review). There are two reasons I see the G270 even above the outstanding EVO Speedgoat: 1. I just didn't expect it to be this good! 2. While I think you can run anything from a speed workout up to an ultra in the G270 the Speedgoat can be too much shoe for the faster and shorter stuff. Therefore, the Inov-8 G270 is one of the most versatile shoes I can think of. You can use it for workouts, for longruns, for races and all of that in a range from the streets up to the most technical trails you can think of. If you just want to or can have one pair of trail shoes in your lineup: Get it! Even if you just can have one running shoe at all (road or trail) in your lineup: Get it! And for any other occasion: Get it as well!

Favorite Brand of 2020

Saucony! Everything I put on my feet from them in 2020 was at least "very good"! Additionally their colorways were fire this year and they have been the first brand which was able to compete with Nike's Vaporfly! Thank you for that, Saucony!

Biggest surprise of 2020

Inov-8 Terraultra G270 (RTR Review / German Review) It just hasn't been on my radar but is one of the best (trail) shoes I've ever worn.

Overall Shoe of the Year

Saucony Kinvara 11 (RTR Review German Review). It's not the fastest, lightest, most cushioned or whatever. BUT! The Saucony Kinvara 11 is the most versatile road shoe I wore all year. And that for a really competitive price point! Great work Saucony! Oh and did I mention that I ran my marathon PR in these? I'm still in love and can't wait to put my feet into the 12s.


Favorite Apparel of 2020

The North Face - Flight Series - Better than naked shorts. Amazing fabric and many storing possibilities! It's the perfect marathon shorts for me as I am able to stash up to 6 gels in there.

Favorite run accessory of 2020 

Camelback Ultra Handheld. Enough to drink for up to 2 hours, place for some gels and a possibility to safely carry your phone with you. All in one accessory!

What is your favorite tech of 2020 and why?

Jaybird Vista True Wireless Headphones. Great sound in the most comfortable headphones I have worn yet!

Some products discussed 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: