fbpx
Sponsored

These 5 Lightweight Running Shoes Are the Next Best Thing to Running on Air

Lace up these shoes and you’ll never feel weighed down.

BEST lightweight running SHOES

Stability

REACT INFINITY RUN FLYKNIT​​

Nike

$230


buy now

Most Resilient

Endorphiine Speed

Saucony

$259.99


buy now

Best for Tempo

Floatride Run Fast 2.0

Reebok

$105


buy now

Cushioning

RINCON
2

Hoka One One

$199.95


buy now

Racing

Hyperion Tempo

Brooks

$229.95


buy now

Down to a Science

The appeal of lightweight shoes is based on speedier running performance and biomechanical science. Brands have refined the lightweight running shoe by analyzing stride and gait, using impact measuring devices, and constructing shoes to encourage natural form instead of correcting it. Flexible knit uppers, bouncier midsoles, and more subtle tweaks like widened toe boxes and lower-drop platforms are all innovations that have created the present-day lightweight trainer.

How We Tested

Not all lightweight sneakers simulate barefoot running. Some shoes are moderately cushioned, making them ideal for runners who want to make the transition to minimalism, or for runners who want to go faster without sacrificing cushioning. The road and trail shoes below floated to the top of our charts as the lightest shoes in the bunch, and every pair offers some protective cushioning underfoot, according to the data from the RW Shoe Lab. Plus, each pair has been tested by some wear testers from our pool of over 300 for feedback on ride, durability, responsiveness, and more.

—BEST FOR STABILITY—

Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit

React Infinity Run Flyknit

NIke

Price: $230

BUY NOW

PROS

  • Immediately soft, then firm, React foam provides bottomless cushioning
  • New Flyknit upper breathes well, fits snug in the midfoot
  • Added outsole rubber improves traction

CONS

  • Heel cup too wide for some

The Infinity Run uses a thick slab of springy React foam and a rocker shape that feels like there’s a slight ramp beneath your midfoot. Eschewing a medial post, Nike went with a high arch and used a horseshoe-shaped guide rail on the rear of each shoe. The rails, like we’ve seen on shoes like the Brooks Adrenaline, are designed to help overpronators maintain a neutral foot orientation while not encumbering neutral runners.

—MOST CUSHIONING—

Hoka One One Rincon 2

Rincon 2

Hoka One One

Price: $199.95

BUY NOW

PROS

  • Lightweight with ample cushioning
  • Meta-Rocker feature encourages fast turnover

CONS

  • Men’s fit is slightly narrower

The Rincon was like the popular Clifton, but lighter and better suited for speed days. Hoka has fortunately not changed much with the second iteration. The shoe still has full-length plush EVA cushioning in a surprisingly lightweight—and speedy—package. Some testers were critical of the width, saying it felt slightly snugger; however, others stated the fit was just right and not too restrictive. The shoe has the brand’s early-stage Meta-Rocker, a transition zone in the outsole, to provide quicker and smoother turnover.

—MOST RESILIENT—

Saucony Endorphin Speed

Endorphin Speed

Saucony

Price: $259.99

BUY NOW

PROS

  • PEBA-based foam is soft and bouncy
  • Nylon plate provides a fast turnover
  • Excels at training and racing speeds

A toned down version of the more expensive Endorphin Pro, the Speed is a hardy workhorse that can also careen down a marathon course. Its bouncy midsole contains PEBA-based foam, which delivers high rebound and supportive cushioning. For snappy turnover, the shoe has a flexible nylon plate, in contrast to the rigid, overhyped carbon fiber. “Speedroll” tech—a slight curvature of the sole that encourages a rocker-like motion—aids with swift heel-to-toe transitions on your run.

—best for tempo—

Reebok Floatride Run Fast 2

Floatride Run Fast 2

Reebok

Price: $105

BUY NOW

PROS

  • Firm and light midsole
  • Exceptional cushioning and energy return

CONS

  • Weighs more than the first generation

Our testers felt fleet on their feet and gushed about how the Floatride made them feel speedier. Weighing only 6.9 ounces for men and 5.6 ounces for women, the shoe has an innovative Pebax-based midsole foam, which is lighter than the standard EVA. Fortunately, the midsole and outsole remain unchanged on this update. However, more than half an ounce has been added to the shoe, due to a thicker upper. Like when an artist launches a sophomore album that detracts from her original sound, we’re not too thrilled with the upper’s new design. But at its core, the Floatride retains what we had loved, and still manages to deliver impressive rebound.

—best for tempo—

Brooks Hyperion Tempo

Hyperion Tempo

Brooks

Price: $229.95

BUY NOW

PROS

  • Moderate cushioning and flexibility
  • Responsive nitrogen-infused foam midsole

CONS

  • Less cushioning in the forefoot

The Hyperion Tempo may be the “training shoe” to the Hyperion Elite 2, but don’t rule it out as a trainer for racing. The shoe is moderately cushioned, responsive, and more affordable than its $250 counterpart. The shoe doesn’t have a carbon-fiber plate but its DNA Flash midsole, which is made of nitrogen-infused foam, offers impressive rebound. The Tempo also gets the upper hand in sizing. The shoe runs in men’s and women’s sizes, resulting in a snugger, true-to-size fit for women in contrast to the unisex-sized Elite.

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here