Early Look at New Running Shoes from Summer Outdoor Retailer Show

Summer Outdoor Retailer 2013 trade show in Salt Lake City just finished and most shoe companies have announced their Spring 2014 models. Some of these models won’t be available until December or January at the earliest with some as late as March. However, some will be available in a few weeks. We will get a definite product launch date from the vendors at The Running Event in Austin in December. So stay tuned for my on-the-floor report at that show. Here’s a summary of the offerings from Outdoor Retailer. More cushioning seems to be the latest trend for several brands.– Nick Pang, NRC Shoe Review Editor

Altra Zero Drop

Olympus is the Hoka killer from Altra. Looks nicer than Hoka…


And the Everyday is an every day casual shoe based on the Instinct platform…


Xero Shoes

xero-shoes-sensoriCalled Sensori and Sensori Cloud, both products are a modern upgrade of the tire sandals worn by the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico. While the Sensori is a performance-friendly product, the designs — including Core Colors with colored accents, Marbled Madness with camo and other “patchwork” colors, and translucent rubber — are attractive enough for fashion wear. The Sensori Cloud adds a thin layer of cushioning in the forefoot area, for those who want an extra-comfortable sandal that allows for total natural, barefoot-style, movement. Both products are slated for release shortly.

Product designer, and former head of global product design for Crocs, Dennis Driscoll says, “We were able to analyze over 4,000 foot tracings from our customers to create the perfect ergonomic shape for our new products.” Analysis revealed that most sandal companies place the toe post in wrong location.


Taking learnings from minimalism, Merrell designs light and fast hiking and trail running shoes for Spring 2014. The new AllOut Collection features a flexible underfoot wrap that mobilizes the arch. This unique design activates the body’s most natural form by creating continuous ground contact for increased mobility and efficiency. Core performance hiking and backpacking shoes are athletic in build but packed with Merrell’s tried and true performance technologies to meet the needs of modern day trail blazers.




The Sazzi Una Sport is an all purpose, performance sport sandal designed to fit and function specifically for women. The unique four toe post upper construction naturally connects your foot to the foot bed with no need to clinch your toes. The upper is lightweight and fast drying, featuring an adjustable ankle strap, all built on a women’s specific last. The Una Sport is truly amphibious, great for use on land or in the water. The Una Sport also comes in a men’s specific version (the Uno Sport) with more masculine tooling & built on a men’s last.

Skora Running


Skora is unveiling the Skora Fit, a lightweight, zero-drop training shoe with 16mm stack height, a curved outsole that mimics the shape of the foot and allows for natural movement and stride with protection and cushioning. A 3D-printed upper provides structural support while asymmetrical lacing relieves pressure across the top of the foot for a customizable fit. The Fit is built on the same platform as the original Form and Base, but has added a couple millimeters of cushion, for a better balance of comfort and performance.

Topo Athletic

Topo is introducing two new shoes that is somewhat of a departure from split toe design – they feature a more traditional athletic shoe look. These shoes have an internal split toe to appeal to athletes who like the function, but not the look.


The ST (Speed Trainer) is zero drop, has a protective cover to keep you drier and shielded from debris while creating the appearance that it is a mild-mannered closed-toe shoe. The MT (Mountain Trainer) is zero drop, has an anatomical last, combined with a rugged outsole trail shoe.

New Balance

New Balance is introducing what it is calling ‘a breakthrough design’ for runners with the Fresh Foam 980. New Balance believes that the Fresh Foam 980 will offer a revolutionary approach to neutral running by combining ultra-plush cushioning with a 4mm drop to offer a super soft, bouncy ride that protects runners without sacrificing speed.


Brooks Running

Brooks is updating their Pure Project collection with some new features in the Pure Cadence 3, Pure Connect 3 and Pure Flow 3.

  • sculpted medial midfoot and integrated new, wider Nav Band for a streamlined fit
  • repositioned Toe Flex to empower the first two toes as a unit
  • reversed the direction of the tongue wrap to flow across the foot naturally
  • beveled IDEAL Heel on the lateral side to better your forward foot strike

brooks-pure-cadence-3 brooks-pure-connect-3 brooks-pure-flow-3

Brooks also announced the Transcend, delivering what they call the ultimate smooth ride: cushioned, effortless, plush and completely tuned to your foot. The Transcend is a traditional ‘support’ shoe and complements the Brooks Adrenaline GTS. I’m not a big fan but there seem to be a large following for lightweight cushioned shoes…



8 Responses to “Early Look at New Running Shoes from Summer Outdoor Retailer Show”

  1. BillK says:

    go here to read more about the new crop of shoes seen at outdoor retailer. the trend towards cushioning is stepping on the toes of minimalism! http://www.runblogger.com/2013/08/brooks-transcend-and-altra-olympus-max.html#more

  2. Sneaker Guy says:

    I choose New Balance over any other brands for running. It has good balance and support for the shock absorption.

  3. Derek Shaw says:

    That didn’t take long. The signal to noise ratio is definitely declining, even on NRC’s website.

    More than a few studies show cushioning increases impact loading in leg, etc. with no measurable benefit to the runner. Plus cushioning wears out quickly, conveniently needing replacement every 800 Km’s or so.

    Yah – I’m a bare-foot runner. Too bad I live in a place with winter, and my feet can’t handle the cold. My Merrell trail gloves, if I hadn’t “out-grown” them (my forefoot got wider) are almost perfect now after 2 rainy seasons (a couple of thousand Km’s). Hoping the wide version of the shoe is as durable, so I can get to work removing the cushioning on the next set. Gotta remember to re-transition to shoes this fall, though — hurt myself putting them on last year.

    Maybe you could renew the emphasis on science at this site — ’cause the marketers have all sorts of budget for getting their “innovations” in front of us (cushioning as innovation? meh!), and every incentive to push it into the trendy new “new thing”.


    • BillK says:

      where does it say on our site that we are in favor of increased cushioning? sorry, derek, that ain’t the case. we only report what the footwear companies are making, or plan to make. it’s up to each runner to make a decision what works best. also, derek, our facebook page is chockful of additional science-type articles and links to footwear studies. — bill k

  4. joe horn says:

    alittle more cushioning is alright with me aslong as the heel height doesnt go more than 4-mm.

  5. EdV says:

    Thanks for tis update and all your reviews.
    I am a newby to minimalist running and rly on your articles for guidance. None of the local stores carry my size (7.5)and I can’t try them on to compare models. I am in the Pure Flow 1 as my transitional shoe and am about to purchase the Merrill Road glove as my next shoe.
    How are they in the Winter? any feedback?

    • adam says:

      I run in the original road gloves. They are awesome…just get used to no drop slowly. I went from a traditional nike right into the road gloves. I was doing no more than 7 miles in the nikes and when my road gloves came I did 10 on my first run in them because they felt so good. The next day I could hardly walk down the stairs because my calves were so sore. After recovery I ran barefoot for 2 weeks then went back to my road gloves. I now run about 12 miles injury and pain free. The whole transition took about 4 months.
      As far as a winter shoe I do not think these would be too great. I live in CA and run in the am, still temps are rarely below 40 in the winter. The do vent very well, I have never had cold feet, but again it does not get too cold here.
      I am looking for a shoe like the road glove, but can handle trails and roads. The trail glove and road glove does not fit this bill. The ascend glove has a high arch. I have tried the nb minimus line, but the uppers are not as good as the merrell uppers. The 2014 line up does not look as promising as I had hoped.

  6. Leith says:

    Love this site and especially the video on running form.

    Been learning the hard way about suitable running shoes. Luckily my wife can wear my rejects and I don’t feel too guilty about blowing all the $$$.

    Transitioned down a little fast and hurt myself but just eased off a little and back into it now. Running my second marathon for the year this week. Have run 2 half’s. in the last month (they are much easier).

    Like the look of the some of above shoes. Hope they come to OZ.

    Like the idea of zero drop and a little more cushion.

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