The running world looks bright in 2020. These are some of the coolest running shoes and gear coming down the trail in the new year.
A couple months ago, most of the big running brands in North America got together for a trade show called The Running Event. As a running junkie and author of a book about running shoes, I obviously had to attend the yearly gettogether to find the most exciting shoes and gear coming to market this year.
Here are some of the favorite things I laid my eyes on that will be hitting stores in 2020.
HOKA ONE ONE Torrent 2
HOKA updated its low-to-the-ground trail racing shoe with softer cushioning in the heel, a new sticky rubber outsole with directional lugs, and a protective rand around the base of the shoe. With aggressive lugs and a lightweight chassis, it’s built for short and fast running on rugged and hilly trails.
The second edition serves up a more smooth and stable ride, and it features an engineered mesh upper made from recycled polyester fibers. The Torrent 2 has a 5mm heel-toe offset (21mm heel, 16mm forefoot) and weighs just 9.3 ounces (men’s size 9).
It hits the market in spring 2020 for $120.
Salomon Predict Soc
Salomon remains a leader in trail-running shoes and is continuing to forge ahead into road-running models, but its most compelling shoe for 2020 is the Predict Soc. It’s somewhat of an athleisure running shoe with plenty of performance features and lifestyle comfort and aesthetic cues.
It has a distinct anatomical decoupling combined with responsive and energetic midsole cushioning that allows your feet to flex naturally without sacrificing stability. But it also has a soft knit upper that gives it a casual vibe. It has an 8mm heel-toe offset (28mm heel, 20mm forefoot) and weighs 9.1 ounces (men’s size 9).
You can get the Predict Soc in fall 2020 for $130.
Brooks Cascadia 15
Brooks continues to evolve its Cascadia trail-running shoe. For the 15th edition, the biggest improvements are a new mono-loop mesh upper with 3D Fit Print overlays to improve moisture management, breathability, and drainage. It gives the Cascadia an updated look, a better fit, and a higher performance value.
The Cascadia features the same durable TrailTak rubber outsole compound with directional lugs and a flexible rock plate embedded into the midsole, making it ideal for tackling moderate-to-rugged terrain.
For the first time in 2020, it will be available in secondary widths — 2E for men and D for women. The Cascadia 15 has an 8mm heel-toe offset (26mm heel, 18mm forefoot) and weighs 10.7 ounces (men’s size 9).
These hit the market in spring 2020 for $130.
Topo Ultrafly 3
Topo’s popular Ultrafly has been completely redesigned into a lighter, durable, more comfortable, performance-oriented edition. Topo’s resilient ZipFoam midsole cushioning combines a firmer medial heel foam insert and an external TPU heel counter to provide lightweight guidance through the gait cycle.
A new, breathable engineered mesh, molded foam heel collar, and an Ortholite antimicrobial footbed round out these shoes geared for long-distance road running. It has a 5mm heel-toe offset (28mm heel, 23mm forefoot) and weighs just 9.6 ounces (men’s size 9).
Get these shoes in spring 2020 for $130.
ASICS Nimbus Lite
This new edition is a lightweight, energetic takedown of the original Nimbus, one of the brand’s longstanding neutral workhorse shoes. It’s everything Nimbus-wearers have wanted for years in a livelier, lighter, better-fitting package.
It has a softer-density midsole foam made from recycled materials and bio-mass materials derived from sugarcane. It has an 8mm heel-toe offset (27mm heel, 19mm forefoot) and weighs just 9.7 ounces (men’s size 9).
This one is available in spring 2020 for $150.
HOKA ONE ONE Carbon X SPE
HOKA made a huge splash with its lightweight, energetic Carbon X racing shoe in 2019. Like the original version, the Carbon X SPE has a carbon-fiber plate embedded in the midsole to promote energy return and forward propulsion, but it also has more comfort and lifestyle appeal. An interior mesh bootie and tongue-free construction provide a comfortable, seamless for feet of any size and shape.
This edition also includes the wider, stability-enhancing platform and rockered undercarriage for easy gait transitions. It has a 5mm heel-toe offset (32mm heel, 27mm forefoot) and weighs just 8.8 ounces (men’s size 9).
Grab this one in fall 2020 for $200.
Saucony Endorphin Pro
Saucony is one of several brands releasing long-distance racing shoes with carbon-fiber plates embedded in the midsole. Studies have shown this design feature to reduce the metabolic cost of running by 4-6%. The key to the Endorphin Pro is the high loft of the soft, lightweight, and extremely energetic beaded polymer foam (called PowerRun PB).
The brand claims it guides a runner’s foot to the ground and then returns much of that energy via forward propulsion. The steeply inclined carbon-fiber plate acts as a lever that propels the foot forward after impact.
But it also reduces energy exerted from the muscles of the forefoot as it lifts off into a new stride and decreases fatigue in the lower calf muscle and Achilles tendon. It has an 8mm heel-toe offset (35.5mm heel, 27.5mm forefoot) and weighs just 7.5 ounces (men’s size 9).
The Saucony Endorphin Pro comes to market in spring 2020 for $200.
CamelBak Zephyr Vest
CamelBak set out to create a long-haul trail-running pack suitable for the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc and other burly 100-mile ultras that require a wide range of apparel and accessories.
It came up with the lightweight, breathable Zephyr Vest, a 12L pack built with seamless stretch-woven materials that incorporate body-mapping technology for increased ventilation and reduced hot spots. Two quick-stow 17-ounce soft flasks and a 2L reservoir provide ample hydration, while extra storage compartments allow for sophisticated stowage.
Strap this on for trail runs in spring 2020 for $150.
Ciele Athletics BKT Hat
The brand that made running hats cool again continues to evolve its trail-running line with this funky bucket hat. It’s made from an airy mesh that keeps your melon cool while offering 360-degree sun coverage and UPF 50-plus protection.
Put this on your noggin in spring 2020 for $50.
One of the original brands of slip-on traction devices, Kahtoola has developed EXOspikes for running on snowy roads and moderate trails as a midrange product between its aggressive MICROspikes and minimalist NANOspikes.
Start running on these in fall 2020 for $60.
Smith Pinpoint/Uproar Sunglasses
The Pinpoint and Uproar both have ChromaPop anti-reflective lens technology that amplifies details and enhances natural color beyond normal capabilities. Designed for runners of all ability levels, these cool shades provide an alternative to shield-style protection while still emphasizing a no-bounce, no-slip, and no-fog design. (The Uproar offers a slightly smaller face frame than the Pinpoint.)
Both models are constructed with lightweight yet durable injection-molded Evolve bio-based frame material, a proprietary eco-conscious alternative to help reduce the use of petroleum in eyewear manufacturing.
Don these in spring 2020 for $139. (ChomaPop Polarized editions are $169.)
Reflexall Washable Reflective Spray
Running at night can be dangerous if you’re not wearing reflective apparel. This unique spray application is a unique solution no matter what you’re wearing.
The nonpermanent spray has light-reflective nano-technology properties intended for use on textiles. The spray is invisible in daylight but 3D-reflective under beams of light in dim conditions.