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PICK YOUR PLUSH

PICK YOUR PLUSH

Pick Your Plush

Shoe companies have developed signature foams that not only enhance softness but also put a little more spring into your step. For instance,  DNA Loft v3—the plushest, nitrogen-injected iteration of the brand’s foam—uses microscopic air pockets to both adapt to your stride and absorb shock.  Lightweight FlyteFoam Blast+ provides a soft bounce and energy return to complement its protective Gel cushioning. For its Person+ midsoles,  stream-fuses TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) beads into to deliver a remarkably responsive, though slightly heavier, ride.  Combines its marshmallow-soft Profly+ foam with a rocker-style sole, designed to keep turnover quick and nimble with no loss of comfort.

Just One Factor

Our lab tests measure separately how soft or firm a shoe is in the forefoot and heel—measurements that should be considered by forefoot and heel strikers when choosing a cushioned trainer. We use a machine called an “impact tester.” It repeatedly applies weight onto the shoe’s heel and forefoot using a mechanical arm to simulate footstrikes.

Our lab then records the force of impact and how much the midsole compresses to determine scores for softness. A more cushioned shoe is usually a preferred choice for runners who are prone to injury or want extra protection and support. Of course, if you’re new to that “running-on-clouds” sensation, increase your pace and mileage gradually as you become more familiar with the shoe.

How We Test

Runner’s World has the most comprehensive shoe testing process in the industry. We work with more than 250 local runners of all abilities, ages, and sizes for real-world wear-testing on paved roads, dirt paths, and rocky singletrack. After a month of running more than 100 miles, our testers report back their findings on features like fit, comfort, performance, and ride.

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