If you’re racking up miles in preparation for the L.A. Marathon in March, a cool, well-cushioned shoe is a must. The models below offer sheer-mesh uppers and proven cushioning systems for most runners -- from the minority who have perfect strides to the majority who can benefit from gait-straightening stability features.
For soft landings
Brooks Glycerine 3: Flexible, cushioned shoe for high-mileage “neutral” runners, who have perfect gaits and high, non-collapsing arches.
Likes: Comfortable, slipper-like feel. Soft landings due to HydroFlow silicone pads in the front and rear, and shock-absorbing material in the removable footbed. Roomy toe box. Mesh upper keeps foot cool.
Dislikes: All the padding makes it a bit heavy for a “neutral” shoe at 13.5 ounces.
Price: $100; (800) 227-6657 or www.brookssports.com for a list of retailers.
Mizuno Wave Creation: Techy shoe for efficient runners who need a bit of stability to handle mild pronation (inward roll of the foot).
Likes: Great rear-foot cushioning from the striking Parallel Wave shock absorber that consists of two rippled plastic plates from heel to midsole that flatten on impact. High coolness factor: You can see through the huge gaps between the plates. Ample forefoot room.
Dislikes: Rather harsh forefoot landings. The front-end cushioning, reliant on a single wave plate, seems minimal. Expensive, too. Weighs 13 ounces.
Price: $119; (800) 966-1234 or www.mizunousa.com. for a list of retailers.
Shoe for the masses
Asics GT-2100: “Stability” shoe for the majority of runners, whose feet pronate.
Likes: Wide, comfy toe box. Good arch support. Soft rear and forefoot gel cushioning. Blue and gray model hides dirt better than white shoes. Good arch support. Weighs 12 ounces.
Price: $90; (800) 333-8404 or www.asicstiger.com for a list of retailers.
Adidas Supernova Control: Bargain “motion control” shoe for flat-footed runners.
Likes: Inexpensive and fairly light (12.8 ounces in size 9) for a motion-control shoe, which has a number of plastic support structures to stabilize the rear of the foot. Well-cushioned. Mesh upper keeps foot cool.
Dislikes: Tight in the toes for D-width feet.
Price: $90; www.adidas.com.
-- Roy M. Wallack