Article by Peter Stuart and Sam Winebaum
Needless to say a lot has happened since the last live The Running Event in December 2019 where Saucony’s introduction of the Endorphin line was the clear highlight.
The pandemic led to a boom in running (and running shoe sales and outdoor activities and curtailed live races. 2020 and 2021 saw the emergence of “super shoe” and “super foam” rivals to Nike’s Vaporfly, more shoes across race, training, and trail with the new foams and with plates be they carbon, composites, or plastics in both road and trail.
Puma remerged very strongly with a complete line based on Nitro as did adidas with models sharing similar attributes of foam and upper for different training and racing needs. New Balance went big with low density FuelCell while ASICS carefully moved their trainers into the modern age while striking big with their own super shoes the Metaspeeds. Meanwhile Nike went huge with the Alphafly, Tempo Next, and a new Next % which dominated the pack as racing resumed but came up with not much else.
In trail we saw cross over from road with the first plated trail runners whose plates went beyond rock protection from Speedland and The North Face while super foams crept into the trail shoe in the Endorphin Trail. Salomon shocked with the Pulsar, a fully capable trail racer as light or lighter than many road racing flats.
What would TRE 2021 bring for 2022? Peter Stuart and I attended and bring you our picks for Best of Show below. You can also find our YouTube playlist of introductions from The Running Event HERE
Note that Nike and adidas in particular did not attend and we were not able to get to all brands or see all models including those typically introduced later in the year. Due to supply chain issues industry wide all listed release dates are subject to change. Also to note we were able to weigh most of the shoes shown with a digital scale at the Running Event.
Super foams and near super foams are now increasingly common in both road and trail with gas infused, chemically modified, and mixes of materials in the foams. Pure old EVA is for all intents and purposes gone as the ride and weight advantages of these foams is so compelling.
Uppers are getting lighter too moving towards next generation knits (Hoka Carbon X3) with mono filaments in the mix, simpler light yet effective engineered mesh with elaborate zoning of support and breathability (Diadora Equipe Atomo), and light mono type mesh with elaborate overlay/underlays (adidas Celermesh) in both road and trail
“Plates” are moving from monolithic rigid carbon plates to more dynamically flexing (Carbitex), shaped forms (New Balance Energy Arc), multiple plates in parallel (Hoka Tecton X trail) and non carbon highly tunable plastics and fiberglass (Salomon Energy Blade). Brands also now offer non plated versions of the plated platforms (Craft) or PEBA inserts surrounded by more stable foams (Craft, Saucony Xodus Ultra, and some others we can’t discuss yet)
Stack heights continue to increase for both trainers and racers yet the shoes can stay light if not lighter than their predecessors due to the new materials
Weights drop across the board for both road and trail as both midsoles and uppers get lighter and in all categories of shoes.
Prices continue to rise with many shoes with latest tech $180 or more.
Supply chain issues continue to plague the industry with many of the “Spring” shoes we saw delayed until mid year.
Top Daily Trainers
NB 880 v13
Sam: Can’t say too much more at this time but the venerable 880 gets a new look and new ride.
Skechers Performance Persistence
Sam: A great value at $115 the Persistence includes a composite H plate, copious Goodyear rubber, Arch Fit sockliner and Skechers’ plush Ultra Flight foam. 9.63 oz / 273g US9. Coming May 2022
Puma RunXX Nitro
Sam: A women’s specific top to bottom design with a women’s last, slightly firmer supercritical Nitro foam, more rubber outsole, and side TPU stability straps. I would be happy to run it too! Spring 2022. $130.
NB Rebel V3
Peter: With more stack underneath and a slightly wider base looks like it could be a killer update.
Brooks Glycerin 20 Stealth Fit
Peter/ Sam: A knit bootie upper on top of the supercritical nitrogen infused DNA Loft V3 first seen in the lively very light Aurora-BL max cushion trainer. Comes in at a modest 9.45 oz / 268g in the non GTS (support) Stealthfit upper version. This should be a more dynamic and exciting version of the Glycerin. It will also be available in GTS (support) and a regular fit upper for both GTS and non GTS.
Asics GEL-Nimbus 24
Peter/Sam: Looks sweet. Nimbus gets a full Flytefoam Blast midsole for the first time. GEL is still in the mix and discretely “styled”. Plastic Trusstic at mid foot is gone. It is lighter and it looks great! The weight drops almost a full ounce to 10 oz / 286 g US9. January 2022. $160.
Not to be outdone the Cumulus 24 also now gets a full Flytefoam Blast midsole, 2mm of additional midsole stack and still comes in at barely 10 oz /284g. Coming June. $130.
Altra Torin 6
Peter: Knit upper and the new Ego Max foam. 9.9 oz / 280g US10.5. Expected June. $160
Sam: Positioned between the Clifton and Bondi the Kawana is a great new pick for moderate pace training, long runs and recovery. I have run them and the ride is plush and stable with the swallowtail geometry and rocker effective. The fit is broad, soft, and friendly yet secure. About 10.5 oz / US9. Releases Jan. 2022
Top Uptempo Road Shoes
New Balance FuelCell Rebel v3
Sam: Peter has the Rebel v3 in the daily trainer category. For me it is for uptempo and with more stack and a more stable design who knows it may move up to daily training for me! One of the most fun rides of 2021 now made more practical and accessible to more runners. What is not to like!
Hoka Carbon X3
Sam: With a next generation knit upper combining fibers with mono mesh fibers for support and to create breathability the X gets Hoka new supercritical EVA as the main white layer above with rubberized foam as the outsole. My first runs in them tell me they are less flat feeling and are softer than v1 with a much smoother flow. As of now, I would also call it Hoka’s top marathon racer as well for non elites if you don’t go Supersonic. About 8.5 oz / 241g US men’s 9. April 2022. $180
Skechers Razor Excess 2
Sam: With 3mm more stack height of a bit softer than v1's supercritical Hyperburst, a composite H Plate, and a softer mono mesh and polyester upper the Excess 2 should deliver both a more forgiving and faster ride than v1. Checking in at about 7.6 oz / 215g for a US9 it is a lot of shoe for the weight. Releases Feb. 2022. $135,
Sam: With highly responsive Energy Surge foam, Energy Blade, and R Camber geometry the Spectur ticks all the boxes for a versatile any tempo distance shoe. It has a 6mm drop. Verifying release date in 2022.
Hoka Mach Supersonic
Update: Mach Supersonic Multi Tester Review (10 comparisons)
Peter: Looks like they made a peppier version of one of my favorites, the Mach 4. Looks and feels great.
Sam: Peter has it right as I have some miles in the Supersonic. Its firmer rubberized foam under a soft and responsive ProFly construction top layer gives it a dynamic, very smooth plated without a plate kind of ride with plenty of forgiving underfoot cushion. It can also serve as a daily trainer. About 8.4 oz / 238g US9. Expected March 2022.
NB Pacer SC
Peter: As described–a plated, low stack superfoam FuelCell version of a 1400. Count me in. This is a little rocketship that I can’t wait to run in.
Brooks Launch 9
Peter: Maybe this is the year the Launch makes a comeback for me. 8.11 oz (0.5 oz lighter) with BioMoGo DNA foam, 2mm more stack and a lighter Creel Warp mesh upper. $110. Spring 2022
Top Max Cushion Road Trainers
Endorphin Shift 3
Sam: A new lighter bouncier PWRRUN drops the massive 39/35 stack Endorphin Shift to a mere 9.26 oz / 263g in a US9 and it will come in wide. Expected October. $150.
New Balance SC Trainer
Sam: We can’t say much now about the Energy Arc carbon plated and deeply canyoned Super Comp Trainer but it has a giant stack and it is very light.
New Balance More V4
Peter: Stepped into this one and…WOW! It has a stack of crazy stable cush and comes in well under 11 oz. If this runs as smooth as it feels on foot, NB will have a killer max cushion shoe.
Sam: So much cush!
Top Max Cushion Racers
Puma Fast R Nitro Elite
Sam: Combining a very light EVA heel with a deep central cutaway decoupled design intended to reduce weight and slow heel contractions, the Fast R has supercritical Nitro upfront and a carbon plate that creates the stabilizing bridge between heel and forefoot. I think the heel should be stable and drive me forward to the plate as say the Tempo Next does. We were told Molly has gotten a few runs in the Fast R and loves it.
Peter: A very interesting plate and geometry on top of Puma’s very comfy Nitro foam. The cat is back!
Salomon S/LabPhantasm CF
Sam: Salomon’s take on the plated racer trainer has a differentially flexing Energy Blade fiberglass plate, softer and high rebounding Energy Surge foam (a non supercritical blend of EVA and Olefin) with a pronounced R Camber rocker similar to a ski’s.
I have a pair and have several runs in them. It is a forgiving rocket of a shoe with the rocker, 9mm drop and long flexing plate delivering a very smooth “energetic” and stable ride. It has enough ground feel and feet in the game to feel more natural and quicker to accelerate and run. It is quite unlike stiffer rigid carbon plated and often higher stacked shoes as we are at a 34mm heel here, so not quite super max in cushion.
NB SC Elite
Peter/ SamCan’t say much about it, but replacing the RC Elite V2 with a new “Energy Arc” plate and deeply canyoned underfoot geometry.
Saucony Endorphin Pro 3.
Peter/Sam: A lighter upper and PINK! The Endo Pro 3 gets 3mm more stack to 39.5 heel / 31.5mm forefoot and gains a few tenths of an ounce to about 7.5 oz. It, as with many 2022 Saucony, gets a PWRRUN PB sockliner. We expect a touch more friendly ride. Expected June. $225.
Speed 3 gets a minor update of a new upper and some small raised plate wings at midfoot.
Top New or Updated Road Shoe
New Balance Rebel V3 will either perfect a nearly perfect shoe (for me) or make it less fun. I’m hopeful.
Hoka Mach Supersonic: I loved the Mach 4 but sometimes wish it were a bit livelier. Well, here we go!
Sam: A bit tough as one of my two picks here I have run in two (the Hoka and Salomon) and the other not as of yet but here goes!
Hoka Mach Supersonic:
Sam: Shows that the right combination of foam and firmness can deliver a fast, friendly plateless type ride without a plate. Plenty of cushion for training, lots of pep for racing.
Puma Fast R Nitro Elite:
Sam: Wild looks, great promise from its combination of EVA heel and plated Nitro upfront in a new take on geometry between heel and front of shoe.
Salomon S/Lab Phantasm CF
Sam: Demonstrating that it is the combination of elements tuned together that deliver fast and effective riding shoes, the Phantasm with its geometry (R Camber), a non carbon plate (Energy Blade) that adapts to the gait cycle and runner, and a lively but non supercritical foam (Energy Surge) is a highly versatile, friendly and fast new race and uptempo option.
Top Daily All Around Trail Shoes
Peter/Sam: A true hybrid from Altra that should suit both road and trail. 27 mm stack. 10.74 oz / 304 g in a US9 so sub 10 oz in a US9. June 2022, $135
Saucony Endorphin Ultra
Peter: This looks like a very fun shoe with some super-foam in the mix.
Sam: A great combination of light weight, superfoam well contained and stabilized, with plenty of grip and protection. Dramatic drop in weight to 10.3 oz / 292g for a 32.5 / 26.5 stack height, 6mm drop.
How? Lively PWRRUN PB (PEBA) core surrounded by a PWRRUN supportive outer carrier, lighter upper, and 3 part more flexible PWRTRAC outsole with 4.5mm lugs and below woven flexible rock shield.
Expected June. $150.
Saucony Peregrine 12
Update: Peregrine 12 Multi Tester Review
Peter: A little lighter than the Ultra and looks like fun.
Sam: Back to its roots! Light, fast, protected and looks fantastic. At 9.4 oz / 266g it loses 1.5 oz from the 11 while retaining its great traction and woven rock plate.
Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro
Sam: Salomon’s widest fit yet with lively Energy Surge, Energy Blade, and R Camber tech on board. It should prove a great all arounder sitting between the more technical trails Sense Ride 4 and Sense Pro and the more mellow trails Ultraglide. The sample I tried has the broadest toe box of any Salomon I can recall. 31/25 stack height, 6mm drop. 9.33 oz / 264g US9 weighed sample. Spring 2022.
Top Next Gen Trail Shoes
Saucony Endorphin Edge
Peter/Sam: Pink and potentially a trail race game changer!
¾ length Carbitex AFX plated (flexible up, stiff down, formed and wishbone fork shaped to the rear) with a PWRRUN PB midsole as in the Endorphin Pro. Full length flexible woven rock guard, 4mm lugs, 35/29 stack height. The upper is a wicking and evaporating mesh. The weight for all this..a mere 9.1 oz / 257g US9 weighed sample. Releasing 2022. $200.
Hoka Tecton X
Update: Hoka Tecton X Review with 10 comparisons
Peter: Looks fast. Have plates will travel!
Sam: No question loaded, light and well thought out. Dual parallel carbon plates for propulsion but also for some terrain torsional give, supercritical foam, an all purpose Vibram Litebase MegaGrip outsole, and especially the incredibly light weight at 8.41 oz / 238g US9 for the sample we weighted. Big ultra worthy 33/29 mm stack height. Expected May 2022. $200.
Top Heavy Duty Trail and Ultra
Brooks Caldera 6
Sam: Supercritical DNA Loft v3 with the foot deeply embedded in the foam sidewalls on a super broad platform. 10.97 oz / 310g US 9 a midsole stack of 26/20 plus at least 10mm of outsole, sockliner, etc.. Now clearly the Brooks ultra shoe. Spring 2022. $150.
Peter: Not as bulky feeling as it may look. 6mm offset. Rounded toe.
Hoka Speedgoat 5
Peter: Lighter, with the same softer foam as the Speedgoat EVO. This shoe looks and feels amazing. Loses weight in this iteration to sub 10 oz / 281g . Expected March 2022. $155
New Balance Hierro V7
Peter: loses a lot of weight and looks great!
Altra Mont Blanc Elite
Update: Mont Blanc Multi Tester Review
Sam: Altra gets an ultra and UTMB worthy shoe in the Mont Blanc: Light, high stacked with EGO Max with a draining upper and Vibram Litebase outsole. We weighed the US10.5 sample at 10.71 oz / 303 g so a US9 should check in sub 10 oz, so remarkable for the 31/31mm stack height. The Mont Blanc features the Standard Footshape Fit, which is the middle fit between Original and Slim.
Expected March 2022. $180.
Mont Blanc will also be available in a BOA closure version. Expected May 2022. $210.
Craft CTM Carbon Ultra Trail
Sam: With a massive 40mm heel, carbon plate, and very stout Vibram outsole not sure how fast it will be but it sure will plow through anything.
Also available in a non plated slightly lower stack version, the Ultra Trail.
Top New or Updated Trail Shoes
Peter: New Balance Hierro 7!
Sam: Hoka Tecton X with Saucony Endorphin Edge and Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro not far behind.
Brands bringing the most new improved across both road and trail
Sam: With a completely new series of multiple shoes for road and trail all sharing common technologies of geometry and foam but with differing plates, outsoles, and uppers, Salomon presented a clear and compelling future. See our full Salomon preview article HERE
Sam: We can’t talk much yet about New Balance’s new offerings but much as Saucony did in 2019, and Puma and adidas did in 2021, NB unveiled a completely new 3 shoe line with SC Pacer speed, SC Trainer high stack trainer and SC Elite long racer.
All three share an innovative approach to shaped carbon plates and midsole geometry to interact with the plates for propulsion, all have supercritical energetic FuelCell foam. Other models such as the 1080, 880, and Hierro also all saw significant updates.
Sam: Saucony shone brightest in trail and in Pink with 3 significant new shoes: the plated Endorphin Edge with PEBA midsole and Carbitex plate, the PEBA core light Xodus Ultra, and the door to trail Ride 15 TR. And that was not all, as they delivered a stunning looking and far lighter Peregrine 12. For the road Saucony delivered a lighter and livelier PWRRUN foam with most notably a very light update to the Endorphin Shift with this foam, a new Endorphin Pro, and slightly updated Endorphin Speed along with solid updates to the Ride and Triumph.
A little less than 3 years after their acquisition by VF, Altra stunned with multiple new models across road and trail with highlights the Mont Blanc ultra racers including a BOA version. GTX versions of Olympus including a stunning mid height, a new door to trail the Outroad, as well updates to Rivera, Escalante, and Torin. More to come soon from Altra in the racing category as well..
New Balance all the way!
Most Innovative Tech (s) and how applied
Sam/Peter: New Balance Energy Arc: Agreed!
Sam/Peter Carbitex AFX Formed in Endorphin Edge: Agreed!
Sam: Salomon’s approach to plating with completely different plate shapes and materials in each model depending on purpose. Most notably the Phantasm CF has a fiberglass plate whose base fibers are woven differentially to provide differing final flex along the plate’s length, and in my testing I can say it works.
Sam: The polyester and mono mesh upper of the Hoka Carbon X 3 at long last looks to solve the “knit uppers problem” of either baggy or too snug and knits breathability issue by knitting in mono mesh fibers in areas needing more support and using them to frame the other material in areas needing breathability.
Best Brand Visual Design
Peter: New Balance and Saucony both impressed with pretty shoes. NB edged out Saucony overall for me.
Sam: Craft for their elegant simple modern designs with geometric patterned shoes contrasting with bright and classy single colors
Best Single Visual Design
Saucony Peregrine 12.
Sam: Simple, elegant, fast and fun looking
NB Rebel V3 Peter
Road Shoe of Show
Peter: NB SC Pacer (I miss the 1400 and hope this will make me miss it less)!
Sam: Puma Fast R as it is so striking in design with the design and tech promising a ride that I think will suit me well.
Trail Shoe of Show
Sam: Hoka Tecton X with Saucony Endorphin Edge close behind. Smart plating comes to trail
Peter: New Balance Hierro 7
Overall Shoe of Show.
New Balance SC Pacer Peter
Puma Fast R Nitro Elite. Sam: The wildest looking shoe at TRE with the most promise for my racing.
Close behind Salomon Phantasm CF, New Balance SC Trainer and 880 v13, Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 and Endorphin Edge, ASICS Nimbus 24, and Hoka Mach Supersonic and Tecton X
Nathan Hypernight laser light vest. Coming in September. A much better way to stay visible with some great programmable aspects for running clubs, etc.
Headsweats: new line, new designs, great looking hats.
Nathan: Some good looking apparel.
Hydrapak introduced the cool SkyFlask Speed 350ml .
Featuring a Speedfill Cap, the SkyFlask Speed 350ml is a greatl choice for runners looking to get in and out of aid stations quickly.
The cap can be flipped open with one hand and has a large opening for rapid refills.
Sam: Bars from Skratch and Bonk Breakers. Maple tea drink mix from Untapped Vermont kept me going all show and all were delicious.
And Salt Stick, a partner company to Bonk Breakers, introduced some tasty electrolyte chews. I for sure can't swallow pils or tabs on the run or otherwise so these will be in a pocket for long runs that's for sure,
Sam: The Running Event is known for some pretty incredible parties with Brooks always a big highlight the last night of the show. I never made it to the Brooks party, worn out but I did make it to an incredible Prospect Quartz Endorphin pink themed Saucony outdoor party the first night.
Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes others. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content
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