By Brian Metzler
Although summer won’t officially arrive until June 21, the summer running season is already underway in many parts of the country. (And yes, it’s still snowing in some of the mountainous regions of the West, but May (snow) showers will still bring June wildflowers in those regions.) To me, summer running is all about fitness, fun and adventure, as well as creating a strong aerobic base for fall races.
No matter where any of us are on our training spectrum right now—either super fit, just getting started or somewhere in between—we can all benefit from a good pair of training shoes that can log a lot of miles during those summer months.
Here’s a look of six of the best durable, high-mileage workhorse shoes I’d recommend for summer running.
Altra Rivera 3, $140
Weights: 8.2 oz. (women’s size 8), 9.8 oz. (men’s size 9) Heel-Toe Offset: 0mm (28mm in the heel, 28mm in the forefoot)
Altra continues to evolve under the ownership of the VF Corp conglomerate, and many of the changes to the brand’s shoes have been for the better. The Rivera 3 is an everyday trainer built on a zero-drop platform and a medium-thick midsole height that provides a good amount of cushioning and exceptional feel for the ground.
Best for: For runners who appreciate shoes with a level platform, the Rivera 3 can be a versatile, do-everything training shoe, a long-run specialist or even a fast-workout option in a pinch. I love this shoe for easy runs, but I did manage to do a spontaneous fartlek session that included 6 x 3-minute segments at an up-tempo pace.
Plus: The Rivera 3 features a sleeker version of Altra’s Slim-Footshape Fit, giving it both a lower volume interior and a slightly narrower footprint. That means it feels like a lot of other neutral-oriented everyday trainers available at stores without losing the special sauce of the level platform that makes it uniquely an Altra shoe.
Altra Rivera v3 is available for purchase here.
Adidas Ultraboost Light, $190
Weights: 9.2 oz. (women’s size 8), 10.5 oz. (men’s size 9)
Heel-Toe Offset: 10mm (30mm in the heel, 20mm in the forefoot)
Adidas started the midsole foam revolution in running shoes in 2013 when it released its first shoes with Boost foam, a material made from compressed TPU pellets that provides outstanding shock-absorption and energy return. Now it’s making it lighter. The Ultraboost Light has a midsole made from Light Boost, a new formulation that is 30 percent lighter than the brand’s previous cushioning platforms. The decreased weight gives the shoe a more agile and responsive sensation on the run.
Best For: I loved this shoe for long runs and recovery runs. While it’s not a shoe meant to run marathon race pace, it felt comfortable and energetic at moderate paces on two 10+ mile runs I logged, as well as the numerous shorter maintenance runs I did at slower paces.
Plus: Adidas says the Ultraboost Light has a 10 percent lower carbon footprint compared to previous Ultraboost shoes. As part of the brand’s goal of being able to use 90 percent sustainable materials by 2025, the yarn in the upper is made from 50 percent Parley Ocean Plastic and 50 percent recycled polyester.
adidas Ultraboost Light is available for purchase here.
ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25, $160
Weights: 9.1 oz. (women’s size 8), 10.2 oz. (men’s size 9)
Heel-Toe Offset: 8mm (40.5mm in the heel, 32.5mm in the forefoot)
ASICS entirely revamped its GEL-Nimbus training shoe, most notably with 20 percent more FlyteFoam Blast+ Eco foam in the midsole than the previous version, a 4mm increase in thickness from heel to toe and a lower heel-toe offset (now 8mm, down from 10mm in the men’s version and 13mm in the women’s version). There’s also a new PUREGEL cushioning pod in the heel that improves impact absorption with less weight than the previous GEL pods.
Best for: The plush interior feeling and soft, resilient ride of this maximally cushioned cruiser. It’s an exceptional shoe for long runs and recovery runs, which, if you’re like most runners, probably makes up the bulk of your weekly running.
Plus: Fortunately, the Nimbus 25 no longer has a midfoot Trusstic system (aka clunky plastic midfoot shank, which allows the new midsole formulation to serve up a smooth, uninhibited transition from heel to toe without any torsional rigidity.
ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25 is available for purchase here.
Brooks Ghost 15, $140
Weights: 8.8 oz. women’s 8; 9.8 oz. men’s 9
Heel-Toe Offset: 12mm (34mm in the heel, 22mm in the forefoot)
You can’t go wrong with a pair of Brooks Ghost in your quiver. The latest version is built around the brand’s responsive and durable DNA Loft foam for high-mileage training, but it’s slightly lighter, softer and more lively than the previous version. The shoe also has a segmented crash pad that helps to absorb shock and provide a smooth transition from heel to toe.