Running Shoes: What’s in my Closet?

Updated 3/15/2018

Support your local Running Shoe specialty store

First off, let me start by saying that, if at all possible, please support small business by shopping at your local running specialty store before shopping for running shoes online.  The staff at these stores often go through extensive training to help you find the running shoe with the right fit for your activity level and needs.  Take advantage of the staffs’ knowledge and the opportunity to try on running shoes before buying them.

This article contains affiliate links. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

To each their own...Running Shoe

Secondly, I’ve worked in the running specialty retail industry since 2016 and the biggest lesson learned is that every foot is different, every running shoe fits different, and everyone is looking for something different in a running shoe.  I’m not going to do the traditional running shoe “review” here.  What fits my foot, what meets my needs, and what I’m looking for in a running shoe is completely different than you.  The width of my heel, the height of my arch, my instep height, the length of my toes, the shape and angle of my toes, my running gait…it’s all unique to me and different from yours.  I don’t want to steer you away from a particular running shoe because of how it fits my foot, when it could be the perfect fit for you.

Eenie Meenie Miney Mo,
Catch a runner by their Cloudflow

Because of my employment, I get the opportunity to try on and wear a lot of different running shoes.  From demo runs, to my own purchases, to running shoes that are seeded to me by various brands.  In this post I want to stick to just the running shoes that I personally own.  These are the running shoes that are in my closet right this minute.  These are the running shoes that are stacked in their shoe boxes half way up my wall, that I’m just staring at, trying to figure out which ones to choose when I’m getting ready for work, heading out for a run, or planning on a run right after work.  In the reviews below I’ll post what goes through my head when I’m making my daily running shoe choice.

You’ll notice that I may not always have the most current release of each running shoe.  I strive to get the most out of each shoe and will run in them until they are completely useless.  It’s hard for me to let go of any shoe that has carried me through the miles.  At this point, with the number of shoes that I’m rotating through, they are going to last me forever.  

Here we go...

My Model/Version:
Torin 3.0

Current Mileage:
3 miles

The cushion in the Altra Torin 3.0 surprises me every time I put them on.  Because I got this shoe half a size smaller than I usually do, I haven’t ran in it much more than just 3 miles.  I often put on this running shoe on days when I’m working and going to be on concrete all day, but not planning on running afterwards.  I have also used this shoe at Marching Band competitions when I plan on standing in the bleachers for an extended period of time.

(I find this running shoe a bit too shallow to wear with my Berry Superfeet insoles, so I will often use my Blueberry Superfeet insoles instead.)

Cushioning: Maximum
Arch: Low, Medium
Heel to Toe Offset: 0 mm

My Model/Version:
Ghost 9

Current Mileage:
62.08 Miles

The Brooks Ghost 9 is a running shoe that I’ll put on when I have a mid-distance run, anything that is about an hour or more.  It’s great for threshold runs and running half marathons.  I recently selected it for a 5 mile run in the snow.  Though I don’t have the GTX version, the tread on the Ghost is a bit more aggressive than some of the others.  I wasn’t sure if I should use my Yaktrax and thought I would be just fine in the snow with these shoes.

Cushioning: Moderate
Arch: Medium, High
Heel to Toe Offset: 12mm

My Model/Version:
Glycerin 12

Current Mileage:
344.20 Miles

The Glycerin 12 was my first high cushion love!  In 2015 my goals were to run 12 half marathons, 1 full marathon, and 1 Triathlon.  This was the running shoe that was recommended to me for all the added miles I was going to be running.  I had two pairs of the 12’s and they have both been retired.  The pair that received the most comments would be the Lemon colored pair (see a picture of them here).  They were definitely eye catching!  These were my go-to for the weekend long runs, half marathons and full marathons.

Cushioning: Maximum
Arch: Medium, High
Heel to Toe Offset: 10 mm

My Model/Version:
Launch
Current Mileage:
320 Miles (retired)

My Model/Version:
Launch 2
Current Mileage:
246.40 Miles

The Launch and Launch 2 are great short distance trainers.  They are great for 5k’s and 10k’s.  I often used these running shoes when running anything less than an hour.  I have on occasion ran a half marathon in these shoes, and I know others that have ran full marathons in these shoes.  But for me, I need a bit more cushion for those longer runs.  This is also one that I’ll grab for just a kick-around casual shoe.

Cushioning: Low
Arch: Medium, High
Heel to Toe Offset: 10mm

My Model/Version:
Levitate

Current Mileage:
43.2 Miles

I LOVE this new running shoe!  It’s lightweight like the Launch, but cushioned like the Glycerin.  I actually have 2 pair, one pair for running and one pair for work.  I used this shoe for my last marathon.  It’s so versatile, it can easily be used for shorter, faster runs as well.  The weather has been so crappy here with snow and slush that I hesitate to take them outside much.  The marathon I used them in was the Disney Marathon so the roads were much nicer.  The mesh is so flexible and the knit is “sock-like”, so it stretches and moves with your foot as you run and your foot swells up a bit and doesn’t make your foot feel fat and trapped in your shoe.

Cushioning: Maximum
Arch: Medium, High
Heel to Toe Offset: 8mm

My Model/Version:
Bondi 5

Current Mileage:
20 Miles

Hoka’s are my recovery shoe.  The Bondi isn’t something I’m typically going to use for speed work or even for my long runs.  But they are what I’ll put on for a recovery run the day after a long run.  They are also my go-to shoe for the day after a marathon.  I may not run the day after a marathon, but I’ll wear something that’s got a great deal of cushion that day.

They are also pretty perfect for Marching Band Competitions, where I arrive at the competitions a few hours ahead of time so that I can save seats for the rest of the band parents.  I stand in the bleachers holding our band’s flag so the parents can easily see me.

Cushioning: Maximum
Arch: Medium
Heel to Toe Offset: 4mm

My Model/Version:
Clifton 2
Current Mileage:
6.08 Miles

My Model/Version:
Clifton 4
Current Mileage:
3.08 Miles

Again, Hoka isn’t my go-to trainer, unless it’s a recovery run.  However, a friend of mine loves her Hoka’s and it’s pretty much all she runs in.  I’ll also wear these to work, where I’m on concrete for 5-7 hours a day.  The Clifton’s fit a bit narrower than the Bondi, so I’ll put these on if I’m not having a “fat foot” day.

Cushioning: Moderate
Arch: Medium, High
Heel to Toe Offset: 5mm

My Model/Version:
Wave Catalyst

Current Mileage:
14 Miles

My first Mizuno running shoe was the Wave Catalyst.  This was the first shoe that was ever seeded to me and I tell you what…I was not a fan.  I couldn’t get through a full day of work without back pain.  However, after inserting my Berry Superfeet in them that helped with the back pain significantly.  Once I discovered they felt a bit better with the Superfeet Insoles, I did get some miles put on them.  I will use these for my shorter runs.  They don’t feel comfortable enough to wear them for anything longer than an hour.

Cushioning: Low
Arch: Medium
Heel to Toe Offset: 10mm

My Model/Version:
Wave Inspire 14

Current Mileage:
7 Miles

This is a new shoe version, an upgrade to the version 13.  I’ve worn these to work a few times since getting them.  This morning I got a 3.8 mile run with them on the treadmill.  I wore them all day at work and then ran in them at our weekly pub run.  For as tired as I was, and for as tired as my legs felt after being on them all day, I wasn’t really looking forward to the run.  Once I got running my feet still felt great.  They weren’t sore or tired or achy like I was expecting them to be after being on them all day.  I imagine they will feel just as great for longer mid-distance runs, up to a half marathon distance.  This shoe is a mild stability, and even though I’m neutral, this shoe doesn’t feel much like a stability.

Cushioning: Moderate
Arch: Medium
Heel to Toe Offset: 12mm

My Model/Version:
Wave Rider 21

Current Mileage:
22.17 Miles

I like the Wave Rider 21.  I haven’t given it enough credit and for some reason it keeps getting passed over when I’m making my running shoe choice for the day.  So far they have been great for the 5-6 mile distances.  I’m going to have to make it a point to get these out on a longer run and see how they do.  I think that this shoe will make a great shoe for both shorter, faster runs as well as longer, half marathon runs.

Cushioning: Moderate
Arch: Medium, High
Heel to Toe Offset: 12mm

My Model/Version:
Wave Sky

Current Mileage:
63 Miles

The Wavy Sky is a great max cushion running shoe.  And because it’s a max cushion it’s definitely one that I’m either going to pull for a weekend long run, or it’s one that I’ll pull if I’m going to run after work.  It will get me through a day at work followed by a run afterwards.

Cushioning: Maximum
Arch: Medium
Heel to Toe Offset: 10mm

My Model/Version:
880v7

Current Mileage:
105.46 Miles

I had never had a New Balance shoe until the 880v7.  And I was so shocked by how soon I fell in love with it.  I had a half marathon coming up and the week of the race I decided to run in these shoes and see how they felt on a training run.  They felt so great that I gambled and ran the half marathon in them that following weekend.  And we all know that you shouldn’t race in a shoe you haven’t trained in right?!  But I was so confident in the feel of this shoe that I didn’t think I’d have anything to worry about. This running shoe quickly became my go-to shoe for everything!  Short runs, long runs, and work.

Cushioning: Moderate
Arch: Medium
Heel to Toe Offset: 10mm

My Model/Version:
Boco AT

Current Mileage:
10.21 Miles

I brought the Boco AT home because I thought I would like a trail shoe to use during our Indiana winters, and then I could use it in the summer for our club trail runs.  I’ve had Newton’s before, the lugs don’t typically bother me, but the combination of the lugs and the uneven snow does become a bit annoying. I don’t feel like there’s much cushion under the forefoot, where the lugs are.  I’ll probably continue to wear these throughout the winter for some shorter runs through the snow, mostly because they are waterproof.  And I’ll give them a shot or two on the trails this summer, but other than that, I don’t think they’ll see many miles.

Cushioning: Low
Arch: Low
Heel to Toe Offset: 3mm

My Model/Version:
Fate II

Current Mileage:
31.38 Miles

The Fate II is a fast shoe.  I didn’t think that would necessarily be the case, but I soon discovered that I would run my 5k’s a bit faster than usual when wearing the Fate II‘s.  I have worn these to work on occasion, but they weren’t great for the longer days.  These are pretty much my 5k racing shoe.  I’ll wear them for shorter runs, on the road and on the treadmill.  But not for anything much longer than 30-45 minutes.

Cushioning: Low
Arch: Low, Medium
Heel to Toe Offset: 4.5mm

My Model/Version:
Zoom Elite 9

Current Mileage:
6 Miles

I picked up these shoes from the Nike employee store for 50% off when I was Oregon for the Hood to Coast relay race in 2017.  I had won an all expense paid trip, and race entry through Nike.  A tour of their headquarters and then shopping at their employee store were all part of our itinerary.  I was looking for a shoe that I could run in, or wear to work, but also one that we didn’t carry in our store back home.  But I also didn’t want to buy something there that I could just as easily buy for myself back home.

I have worn these shoes more as a casual shoe or a work shoe than a running shoe (because I have so many other running shoe options).  But I have taken them out for a short 6 mile run.  They feel a little thin under the forefoot, similar to the Nike Pegasus or the Brooks Launch.

Cushioning: Moderate
Arch: Medium, High
Heel to Toe Offset: 8mm

My Model/Version:
Cloud

Current Mileage:
93 Miles

Ahhh…the On Cloud is such a cool looking shoe.  It’s so lightweight and has a max cushion feel with such a slim lower profile look.  Each of the little cloud cushions in the outsole move independently, providing you cushion and shock absorbency when you need it as your foot makes contact with the ground.  They flow backwards as you make contact and then when released they spring back giving you a little bit more propulsion in your toe-off.

When i was training for my second triathlon these shoes really stood out to me.  First, because of the bungee speed laces that come in the shoes (traditional laces are provided in the shoe box if you don’t link the bungee laces or if they get too stretched out over time).  I thought that these laces would help speed up my transition time from swim to bike, since I could just slip these on and not worry about tying them.  I used this shoe for the triathlon and also trained for a half marathon with them.  They felt great, but I soon found myself grabbing them for casual wear more than for running.  They were just so cute and had this “lifestyle” look to them, rather than a “running” shoe look.

The channel down the center of the shoe, in between the rows of clouds does tend to get small rocks wedged into it.  I’ve found it’s easy enough to twist your foot on the ground and get the rock to dislodge, but I also found that these shoes tracked in small rocks into my house without me knowing it at the time.  The Cloud 2.0 has improved on the shape of the outsole channel, giving it a beveled shape that is more likely to spin stones out rather than locking them in.

Cushioning: 
Arch: Medium, High
Heel to Toe Offset: 6mm

My Model/Version:
Cloudflow

Current Mileage:
44 miles

The On Cloudflow is the next level up, cushion wise, from the Cloud.  It’s got a few more clouds in the outsole and some added blown rubber for tread.  This one looks more like a running shoe than a lifestyle shoe when compared to the Cloud.  This shoe comes with traditional laces, not the speed laces that the Cloud has.  I will often use this shoe for speed work, intervals, and mid-distance runs.  I’ll occasionally wear it to work if I’m working a shorter shift.

Cushioning: Moderate
Arch: Medium, High
Heel to Toe Offset: 6mm

My Model/Version:
Ride 10

Current Mileage:
4.1 Miles

The Saucony Ride holds a special spot in my heart.  The Ride 6 was the first running shoe that I purchased after being officially fit by a specialist at my local running specialty store.

Saucony cushioning has come a long ways since then.  Now they use their Everun cushioning in most, if not all, of their models.  While some have the Everun cushioning throughout the full midsole, other models will have it around the heel.  Giving the shoe a much more cushioned softer feel underfoot.

The pair pictured above is the same pair that I wa have.  I love the heather gray color and the chrome in the logo and on the heel counter is like an iridescent / opalescent / mermaid look.  It changes from a green to a blue to a purple color, it’s really cool.  So it goes without saying these shoes are almost too cool to run in.  Which is why I have so few miles on them.  They are a moderately cushioned shoe, so I would tend to wear them to work for my longer shifts, and wear them for my mid-distance runs, anything about an hour or more, probably all the way up to the half marathon distance.

Cushioning: Moderate
Arch: Medium
Heel to Toe Offset: 8mm

My Model/Version:
GoRun Forza 3

Current Mileage:
8.34 Miles

These shoes make my feet look huge!  The Forza 3 is a significant change, in the upper construction, from the Forza 2.  It’s a lot more knit mesh and fewer overlays.  The toe box is very tapered, not so rounded, and I think that’s what makes the shoe look so big.  Overall they are pretty comfortable.  I’ve only gotten treadmill use and work use out of them.  I haven’t take them out for a road test yet. 

Cushioning: Moderate
Arch: Medium
Heel to Toe Offset: 6mm