Innovation in midsole technology keeps pace with runners who want their shoes to be light, bouncy, comfortable and fast.
Supply and demand remains a key topic in the running footwear space (just like every other product space). Brands tell us they are working to diversify their own supply chains in order to deliver products to meet the demand. The great news is that demand for running footwear remains very high. And innovation from brands across the board continues to astound. The focus on innovative midsole technologies is a major conversation driver right now. Key attributes making waves in midsole tech include super soft cushion, uber lightweight foams, and bouncy, energy returning properties. Here are a few standouts.
Built for the trails, the Caldera 6 Ultra Trail features the brand’s softest cushioning, nitrogen-infused DNA LOFT v3, which offers plush comfort along with being lightweight, responsive and durable. The shoe also has a lightweight and quick-drying air mesh upper. The Caldera 6 aims to provide maximum comfort and a stable ride. MSRP $150.
Building on the buzz around the Metaspeed running shoes introduced by Asics last year, the new MetaSpeed Sky + focuses on refining the placement of the carbon plate and the volume of foam in the shoe. It has a 34-39mm stack height (5mm drop) and features a carbon plate designed to “press the foam” and give the runner a higher bounce back. It also features FF Blast Turbo cushioning, a light and bouncy midsole foam. Available in June. MSRP $250.
Built for speed, the lightweight Skechers GOrun Razor Excess 2 is an ultra-cushioned, neutral road running shoe. It has a carbon-infused forefoot plate, which promotes stability and energy return. It also boasts highly resilient Hyper Burst cushioning and a Goodyear Performance Outsole. The lightweight (7.2oz men’s 9) shoe has a mono mesh and polyester knit upper. MSRP $134.99.
The Horizon 6, launching in June, features Mizuno Enerzy Foam, the brand’s super soft, energy returning midsole tech. It also has a stability sole, a smooth, stretch woven upper that adapts to the foot and keeps the foot in place. Available in June. MSRP $170.
Taking a different approach to the industry’s carbon-plated offerings, the Tecton X uses two plates instead of one. They run parallel and lengthwise up and down the shoe, working independently of each other, allowing for more dynamic lateral movement on the trails. The plates are sandwiched between two new HOKA foams — one that is super comfortable and super foamy and one that is super responsive. Available in June. MSRP $200.
The PRO Endur Distance is designed to bring responsiveness to serious runners. The full Px Foam midsole is “designed to optimum stack height for explosive toe off and feather soft landing for efficient stride.” The shoe also has a fully engineered one-piece mesh upper for comfort and support. MSRP $150.
The most cushioned performance trainer in the brand’s road line, the Specter is ideal for long runs, tempo runs, and races up to and past the marathon distance. It has Topo’s highest stack height ever (5mm drop, 35-30mm platform) while still being one of the brand’s most lightweight offerings (8.1oz in a men’s size 9). It has a dual-density midsole with a Pebax core for rebound and energy return. The midsole geometry is rockered to promote a fast transition from midfoot to toe off. It also has a lightweight and breathable upper that keeps the foot cool and secure. Available in June. MSRP $150.