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The Monday Shakeout: My Favorite Shoes of 2023 for Training and Racing
By Andrea Myers

One of the great things about testing shoes for DOR is that I try shoes that I would probably never have tried on my own accord. 2023 was a year not only being surprised by shoes that weren't on my radar, but also finding a some new favorites that I wouldn't have otherwise. I have run 2800 miles this year, a number I could have only dreamed of a few years ago when I made the switch from cycling to running. Nearly 900 of those miles have been on one model, which definitely was not on my radar. I would encourage everyone to be open to shoes that you wouldn't normally consider - you might end up finding a new favorite, just as I have this year.


My Favorite Neutral Trainer: Brooks Hyperion Max | Full Review

Anyone who follows DOR knows that I have been mourning the demise of the New Balance Beacon v3 for several years. I finally realized that I needed to find a replacement for it after my #SaveTheBeacon campaign was unsuccessful. When the Brooks Hyperion Max showed up at my door at the beginning of January, I would not have guessed that by year's end, I would have gone through 3 pairs of the shoe and nearly 900 miles, but that is exactly what has happened. The Hyperion Max is a do-it-all neutral shoe: lightweight at 6.7oz for a women's size 8, cushioned enough for easy miles, responsive enough for workouts, and comfortable enough for 20 mile runs. If super shoes didn't exist, I would run a marathon in the Hyperion Max without hesitation. The well-constructed heel bevel makes the shoe feel like less than an 8mm drop, which works well for me as a midfoot striker, and the forefoot rocker helps with turnover without feeling aggressive. I have done intervals at paces ranging from mile pace all the way up to marathon pace in the shoe, which truly makes this shoe a jack of all trades. I typically get around 250-300 miles out of a pair before the midsole starts feeling a little flat. I have yet to put a significant dent in the rubber outsole or enough of a dent in the exposed midsole to affect the performance of the shoe. 


My Favorite Performance Trainer: Topo Cyclone 2 | Full Review

I try to do most of my workout in non-super shoes (unless I am testing one) and the Topo Cyclone 2 is light years beyond the rest of the non-plated performance trainers of 2023. Topo's wide toe box fits my foot perfectly, allowing sufficient room for toe splay without allowing unwanted foot translation. The full length Pebax midsole, with a 27mm/22mm stack height, makes for a responsive, bouncy, and energetic shoe that is still comfortable enough for a warm up and cooldown. At 5.9oz for a women's size 8, this is a ridiculously lightweight shoe that I have taken up to 18 miles comfortably. The Cyclone 2 becomes more responsive the faster I run in it, feeling best at 10k pace or faster, but also well suited for threshold-marathon pace. The durability of the shoe has been impressive considering its Pebax midsole. I got 250 miles out of my first pair before I felt like the forefoot started bottoming out. The rubber outsole did not show significant wear and while the exposed midsole did look a little ruffled after 250 miles, it did not affect the traction of the shoe. I am now 30 miles into my second pair and foresee putting many more miles on them.


My Favorite 5k-Half Marathon Shoe: On Cloudboom Echo 3 | Full Review

My actual favorite 5k-half marathon shoe is the Nike Alphafly 1 (which I set 8k, 10k, and half marathon PRs in this year), but it is not a 2023 shoe. Therefore, my choice for 2023 is the On Cloudboom Echo 3. This shoe is about as close as any shoe has gotten to the ride of the original Alphafly for me. Despite having a 9.5mm drop, I have never felt like the heel gets in the way of my preferred landing pattern, even at easy paces. The shoe is highly responsive upon landing at the lateral midfoot, and feels like it propels me to pushoff in a similar way to loading the air pods of the Alphafly v1. The shoe feels most responsive to me at half marathon pace or faster. At marathon pace, the Pebax feels a little too firm and like I have not loaded it enough to get the full benefit from the interaction of the foam, plate, and rocker geometry. For those looking for a similar ride to the original Alphafly, the On Cloudboom Echo 3 is a great option.


My Favorite Marathon Racer: Nike Vaporfly 3 | Full Review

The day after Grandma's Marathon in June, I was walking slowly through the Minneapolis airport with my friend and realized that even though my quads and hamstrings were sore, my feet did not hurt at all. I credit the Nike Vaporfly 3 for this outcome, specifically the fact that Nike shifted the forefoot platform medially in this version as compared to v2. This small update has been a game changer in terms of comfort for me. The Vaporfly 3 has the familiar ZoomX bounce of v1 and v2, but without that initial sinking in feeling of previous versions. This has resulted in a shoe that is more responsive but still 100% comfortable for the marathon distance. The updated mesh upper also has more volume and is more breathable than the thicker, stiffer upper of v1 and v2. At 5.6oz for a women's size 8, this is an incredibly lightweight racing shoe that has surprising durability. I put 175 miles on my first pair before the midsole started feeling a little dead. I am now 65 miles into my second pair and foresee several more races in this shoe in 2024. 


Honorable Mentions


The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 1 is my marathon racer honorable mention for 2023. Its radical rearfoot geometry made me initially hesitant to try it, despite the logical part of my brain knowing that an extreme heel bevel would likely work well with my biomechanics. After David told me "it will be fiiiine" several times, I took it out for an easy run and then some subsequent workouts, and I am definitely glad that I did. I have never run in a shoe that feels so natural for midfoot striking, whether I am running at easy pace or marathon pace. I did 15 miles in the shoe with a few miles at marathon pace last Sunday, drove 3 hours to Boston, and got talked into a 5 mile evening shakeout with Matt and David - and was shocked to find that my legs were not particularly sore. I will be running the Osaka Marathon in February and the Wave Rebellion Pro 1 is definitely a contender for my race shoe. For me, the shoe definitely has a sweet spot at half marathon to marathon pace, because more forward landing at faster paces makes me feel like I do not get the benefit from landing on the apex of the heel bevel. The ideal pacing for the shoe will likely be different for heel strikers, but for me as a midfoot striker, this shoe is a dream. I will update you on what shoe I choose for Osaka, and what I think after further testing of the Wave Rebellion Pro 1.



PAST MONDAY SHAKEOUTS

David's Favorites of 2023
Matt's Favorites of 2023
My Favorite Flat Feet Shoes of 2023
ChatGPT Writes a Review, Take 2
How Forefoot Helps with Toe Mobility
The Science of Running with Backpacks
How Much Does Doctors of Running Make? Report #5
Changes We're Excited to See
Why Heel Bevels are Natural
Do Heavier Runners Need Different Shoes?
Shoe Rotations for Different Runners
Strength Training to Prevent Injury - A Case Study
On the Impacts of Different Stacked Shoes
The Importance of Heel Bevels in Shoe Design
Low vs. High Drop Shoes
Why is Proprioception Important to Runners?
Best Running Movie Scenes of All-Time, Part 2
Best Running Movie Scenes of All-Time, Part 1
What a Week at DOR is Like
Reflections on Saucony's Running Economy Study
Sustainable is Only Going to Work if It's Good
A Simple Guide to Footwear and Foot Health
Best Flat Feet Shoes by a Flat Feet Runner
How Long Do Shoes Last?


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Ultraspire Fitted Race Belt: The best way to carry your phone and goods on the run. No bounce and various sizes for waist. (Also recommend the Naked belt)
Saysky Running Gear: We were really taken aback by this Scandinavian company's ultra-thin, durable performance clothing
Skratch Recovery, Coffee Flavor: Mental and physical boost post run. Coffee flavor is excellent and goes great straight into a fresh brewed cup
goodr Sunglases: Run in style with goodr's super fun sunglasses.
Feetures Socks: Massively grippy socks that will make you feel more one with the shoe
Amphipod Hydraform Handheld Water Bottle: Perfect for long runs when you need hydration in the summer
Trigger Point Foam Roller: Help get those knots out post-run and feel better for tomorrow
Theragun Massager: This small version is great on the go for working tired legs
Ciele Hat: Our team's favorite running hat of choice!
Fractel Hats: Our team's wider fitting running hat of choice!

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Previous Shakeout:
David's Favorites of 2023

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