CHOICE membership

Running shoes review

We’re looking into conducting a :running_woman: running shoes investigation :running_man: after feedback from members, which will involve durability testing. We want to make this relevant to as broad a number of members as possible, so we’d like to know which results you’d like to see.

Please select the test that you consider to be the most important:

  • Flex stress test - the total number of flexes before the sole shows signs of damage.
  • Wear test - Simulate wear that erodes the grip and sole over time.
  • Grip (specifically) wear test - Simulate wear that erodes various areas of the grip over time.
  • Rip test – Stress the shoe to discover resistance to damage for everything above the sole.
  • Grip/traction effectiveness test
  • Waterproofing test

0 voters

We also need to select a surface to test on. Which of these surfaces do your shoes regularly come into contact with?

  • Concrete
  • Asphalt
  • Running track material
  • Grass/Offroad

0 voters

If you have any other testing suggestions, feel free to them in the comments. This is new ground for CHOICE and we’re eager to gauge as much community feedback as possible.

3 Likes

I found out that hard way that my Nike running shoes have a very poor grip on iron manhole covers when wet. So I think a grip test would be the most important test because your safety depends on that. Plus please consider different surfaces and even consider wet conditions.

Thanks
DDS

2 Likes

I have had this issue as well with Nike Air Max 90 and Tavas models when just walking in them. In addition, some of the paving tiles used on footpaths in Sydney (eg: at the top of Enmore road), can be very slippery to walk on in the wet.

2 Likes

Size range - I have difficulty getting my size 32 or 33 with inner sole.

My Addidas runners (don’t know model) were continually coming apart - the uppers from the sole, the “non marking” sole (5 separate coloured pieces fitting together like a jigsaw) were lifting, the toe protection (part of the sole curves up over the big toe) particularly required re-gluing on a regular basis. Despite this (once re-glued) they are in good condition for the purpose, but not good looking. If I didn’t have so much trouble getting my size I would have tossed them, but I have spent about $30-$40 on various glues to keep them going. They are not waterproof so I don’t wear them in the wet. The breathable-ness is a bonus. I mostly wear them around the farm and bush walking - don’t run much now. Bought 2010 for $60. I think they were advertised as “machine washable”? but I doubt they would survive. The pieces on the sole become a trip hazard as they lift. The toe protector and front plates can get snagged on long grass, vines etc when they are getting loose - in need of reglueing - causing a few near falls.

I too think grip is extremely important. My husband and I both rely on so called trail or trekking runners and the most expensive is definitely not always the best. Neither of us has ever had any problem with Oboz or New Balance shoes, and New Balance would easily be one of the most affordable.

I would be super interested if Choice investigated “barefoot running” footwear (and other shoes that are made to allow for the natural spread of the toes, and to allow the feet to use all their muscles), and if they got the expert opinions of podiatrists, physiologists, etc. about the use of these shoes, and whether the current norms of the commonly available running shoe are really the best for people to wear.

3 Likes

I changed over from Nike about 5 years ago . I managed to pick up a pair of Columbia Ravenous Stability 2 at that time . I would have to say they are the best running come walking shoe I have ever owned . They are so light against others I have worn and extremely comfortable . Am looking for another couple of pairs at the moment . At around $159 , although can be had cheaper if you look around , they fit right into my budget .

I would like to see an impact test.
We were recently told by the sports shop that although runners can still look perfectly good, after 500kms or 4 to 5 months of normal running use,(4 to 5kms per day…, walking or running) they have lost there effectiveness at absorbing the impact from the treadmill/road. Replacing the innersole will only give a short term benefit.

Cheers

4 Likes

Agreed, if training for long distance events it is quite common to run 100Km or more per week, is it really necessary to buy an expensive pair of shoes every 4 or 5 weeks?

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In addition to what has been mooted (such as abrasion resistance) as part of the testing, please look at the construction of all of the shoes being tested. For example:-

  1. Is the sole solid, or is the upper part of the sole a cellular construction reducing the thickness of the sole making the shoe lighter but also speeding up how quickly the soles wear through?
  2. Are the soles one piece or are there different bits stuck together? If made of different bits, the joins are a point of failure or even fall out of the sole.
  3. How is the shoe top and sole bonded together? Many glued shoe come apart soles very quickly.
  4. Is the shoe’s tongue attached only at the bottom, or most of the way up?
  5. Does the upper allow moisture & heat out?
  6. Is the shoe water resistant or even waterproof?
  7. Does the shoe come in size variations that allow for variability in foot width, and foot height? (Remember the old days when you could get different width fittings A through to E.)
  8. Is it possible to put orthotics into the shoe? (Firstly it is necessary for the inner sole to be removable with no residual glue/debris to do this. Then, the shoe must be deep enough so the person’s foot can still fit in to the front over the orthotic and the person’s heel doesn’t slip out when moving.)
  9. Is it possible to re-sole the shoe if the sole is damaged or worn?

Also, it would seem that most runner type shoes lack grip on smooth surfaces in wet conditions. This can be dangerous, and cause significant injury. This should be tested for.

4 Likes

I don’t tend to buy much in the way of running shoes, but a couple of points I’d make based particularly on my kids:

  • Kids runners always wear out above the sole first - torn, un-stitched, etc. Rigidity of the heel also an issue as kids push them on without unlacing/lacing leading to heel collapse. Occasionally they have grown out of them, but mostly they die in the upper long before the sole has gone. I’ve had similar experiences with hiking boots and now always go for as much leather upper as possible…

  • Ease of inner-sole removal and depth of shoe - very important for people who need custom inner soles or orthotics

  • and one for me. size. While I don’t have the biggest feet around (one of my friends goes a 16-17) I do need a 14 in most brands and my latest boots I went 15 and the still needed professional stretching, but I was lucky to even get a 15 - most places stop at 12 or 13, even so-called specialist shoe shops often stock the popular sizes and out here in the never-never large size stock is even less common.

4 Likes

Dye runs is an annoyance of mine. Most runners are not waterproof by nature of the materials used and some of the leather whether pseudo or not and other fabrics have “run” when wet.

1 Like

Wow… My sympathies. I have enough trouble finding size 12s or 13s that fit.

I take a size 7 . Definitely on the lower end of the size spectrum .

1 Like

There are many factors involved in a running shoe. Running shoes are sold in categories such as stability/control, cushioning/neutral and for activities such as trail running, racing flats and running. Care must be taken to not compare apples to oranges.
Different manufacturing styles now provide fully knitted uppers and reinforcing by external counters or 3D printing.
The weakest part of any shoe is the midsole. This is the material that wears out the fastest. This is what manufacturers and sales staff refer to when giving a 1000km life span. Over time this material breaks down and creasing appears along its borders.
Shoe manufacturers use rubber from Michelin and Goodyear for their outer sole. A trail shoe will have far more grip than any other running shoe. And assessing only the outer sole and grip won’t provide an overall view of the shoe.

2 Likes

I run on the treadmill. Various speeds from walking to running. Speeding up and slowing down every 3-5 mins. Love to know how long I should change runners under these conditions.

Thanks for the input everyone! Keep the feedback flowing.

This test will only focus on traditional running shoes, although expert opinion on barefoot style alternatives would be interesting. If this test goes well and engages plenty of CHOICE members, we’ll look into expanding our investigations into other forms of footwear.

I get holes where my big toe rubs on the upper! It’s a common problem among runners, and probably not critical for the performance of the shoe, but it looks dumb. I would love to find shoes with tougher upper material.

3 Likes

Availability of AA sizing please. Many of the larger retailers - eg Rebel don’t stock. Hard to buy so e brands such as ASICS - my preferred shoe - from overseas.