Self Magazine's Fitness Shoe Awards

Self Magazine held their first-ever reader-tested fitness shoe awards for women and reveal picks for walking, running, cross-training. Plus they explain the mistakes women make in picking out exercise shoes like wrong sizes and wearing them out so they become ineffective.

For more information, visit www.self.com.

First we have the walking category: • Walkers strike heel first, rolling heel to toe, so a supportive heel, flexible sole and bend in the toe box are key.

Winner: The Ryka Devotion, $80; Ryka.com. What makes this shoe amazing: • Eight squishy triangles create a platform along the bottom of the shoe.• One tester said, "It was like walking on marshmallows."

There are MANY different types of runners, so there needs to be a different shoe depending on what type you are.

Best For Speed• Super light sneakers with a firm midsole can help you run faster.

Winner: Nike Lunar Eclipse:, $135; Nike.com. • A sock liner with two densities of foam cradles your midfoot. Have high arches? These will fit like a glove. And even with all of the bells and whistles, testers found the shoes surprisingly airy and flexible.

Best Long Distance Runners• Distance dazzlers A more substantial shoe takes the pounding out of your feet and onto the pavement

Winner Mizuno Wave Creation 13; $150; MizunoRunning.com. • They have a double-decker plastic midsole separated by shock absorbers, which act like a springboard. "I barely felt the road," one high-miler said. Fit tip: Go up a half size.

Best Minimalist Runners• Light-as-afeather minimalist shoes encourage a more natural forefoot strike, which lessens the load on your joints.

Winner Asics GEL-Neo33, $105; Asics .com. • Designed to allow all 33 joints in your foot to move freely, these are minimalist without being too minimal, with a thicker sole.

Best Cushion Striders• Neutral runners go farther and faster in pillowlike picks that ease the impact.

Winner Reebok ZigNano Fly 2, $100; Reebok.com. • The signature zigzag sole puts bounce in your step, literally. "The bottoms are like springs, easing you off the ground," a tester claimed

Next we move on to another category--cross training!

Best for Group Classes• Sidestep seamlessly in cross-trainers that help you move in any direction.

Winner Puma Pumagility, $90;Puma.com. • Flex-grooved bottoms welcome lateral moves. Foam compresses and widens to keep feet stable. Testers liked them for "quick changes in direction." Perfect for Zumba and other dance classes!

Best for Strength Training• These In-the-gym faves have grippy soles navigate a sweaty floor with ease.

Winner KSwiss Blade-Max Endure, $100; KSwiss.com.• Athlete engineered sliced soles provide traction. One tester loved the style as much as the function: "They're sexy as hell."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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