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Best Road Shoes From The Running Event 2023

Altra Torin 7 side, in orange or blue(Photo/Cory Smith)
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Hoka’s big bounce back, speedier Skechers, pace-specific shoes, and more big reveals from The Running Event.

GearJunkie previewed the latest and upcoming models of road running shoes at the annual running conference, The Running Event, in Austin, Texas. I had the opportunity to meet with various brands and get a firsthand look at the shoes set to be released in 2023.

After thorough consideration, these shoes are my top picks for road runners in the coming year.

2023 Road Shoe Trends

Thanks to new midsole foams, one of the biggest trends in running shoes I continue to see is that road (and trail) running shoes are getting lighter while adding more cushioning.

The most widely-used midsole foam in new shoes is PEBA, which is superior to TPU and EVA because it has a lower density (weight) and outstanding damping properties while still having high energy return and flexibility.

A perfect example of less weight and more cushioning is the all-new Hoka Clifton 9, which lost 4 grams while adding 3 mm of stack height. Almost every brand I visited had similar examples.

A more noticeable change is that road shoe bottoms are more exaggerated and flare out more on the sides and behind the heel. This flaring gives the shoe a more significant footprint, inherently creating a more stable platform, which helps offset the unstable nature of super soft foams.

As a shoe reviewer who gets shoes before the general release, embargoes are not new to me. But typically, brands won’t have embargoed shoes on a trade show floor. They tend to keep them guarded and show them to the media only under supervision.

I can tell you that Nike, Saucony, and adidas all have road shoes I’m super excited to talk about — when the embargo lifts.

Best Road Shoes at The Running Event 2023

Altra Torin 7

The biggest story for Altra on the road shoe side of the business is the Torin 7, Altra’s number-one-selling road shoe (pictured above). ​​Brian Becksted, Altra’s co-founder, explained the brand wanted to do two things for the Torin 7: Take the step-in feel to the next level, and upgrade the aesthetics.

The Torin 7 still uses Altra’s softest and lightest midsole, Ego Max, but Altra tweaked the design a little to improve the initial step-in comfort.

Altra Torin 7 Specs:
  • Launch date: Summer 2023
  • Weight: 9.8 oz. (mens); 8 oz (women)
  • Stack height: 30 mm
  • Price: $150

Hoka Rocket X2

Hoka Rocket X 2 side
(Photo/Cory Smith)

One of the more exciting road shoes I can discuss is Hoka’s newest — or should I say, updated — super shoe, the Rocket X2.

Since carbon fiber shoes have become mainstream, Hoka has released three road models: Carbon X, Rocket X, and Bondi X.

While I’ve been a huge fan of the Carbon X franchise, in my opinion, all three models fell short of matching the efficiency gains of Nike, ASICS, adidas, and Saucony’s super shoes.

Based on my initial impressions, the Rocket X2 will change that and bring Hoka to the forefront of super shoes. Hoka completely redesigned the Rocket X2, top to bottom, and it resembles nothing of the original.

It now uses a dual-density PEBA midsole and spooned-shaped carbon fiber plate with a stack height of 36 mm/31 mm. This puts it just under Hoka’s most maximally cushioned shoe, the Bondi.

I’ve tested every Hoka running shoe, and the underfoot experience of the Rocket X2 feels like Hoka’s softest yet. That, combined with a curved carbon plate and rocker shape, should give it the edge to compete as one of the best super shoes you can buy.

Hoka Rocket X2 Specs:
  • Launch date: Summer 2023
  • Weight: 8.3 oz. (men); 6.7 oz. (women)
  • Stack height: 36 mm heel 31 mm (men & women)
  • Price: $250

Hoka Clifton 9

hoka clifton 9 running shoe side
(Photo/Cory Smith)

The Hoka Clifton may not be the most flashy shoe, but it’s worth highlighting because it gets some significant updates for 2023.

As I mentioned above, the all-new Clifton 9 adds 3 mm of additional stack to bring the total stack height to 32 mm heel, 27 mm forefoot for men, and 29 mm heel, 25 mm forefoot for women. Despite adding more cushioning, it loses nearly 4 grams of overall weight.

I’ve been testing the Clifton 9 for a few weeks now, and it’s pretty impressive how light and responsive it is for such a thick shoe.

Hoka Clifton 9 Specs:
  • Launch date: Spring 2023
  • Weight: 8.6 oz. (men); 7.3 oz. (women)
  • Stack height: 32 mm heel 27 mm (men); 29 mm/25 mm (women)
  • Price: $145

Skechers GOrun Speed Beast

Skechers Speed Beast side
(Photo/Cory Smith)

I’ve said time and time again that Skechers often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Ever since the brand introduced the HyperBurst midsole a few years ago, every running shoe with it has impressed me, and the GOrun Speed Beast could be the best.

It features a new midsole called HyperBurst Pro, a pelletized TPU material versus the carbon-injected EVA on HyperBurst. The result is a softer and more responsive midsole with lighter weight than most TPU midsoles. And a carbon-infused plate is sandwiched in the midsole.

I’ve been testing the GOrun Speed Beast for about a month now, and it’s become my favorite Skechers shoe and one of my go-tos for light, quick, but maximally-cushioned runs.

Unlike many super shoes that can be too much for everyday running, the GOrun Speed Beast’s build and design are tame enough to wear on everything from paced long runs to easy recovery days.

Skechers GOrun Speed Beast Specs:
  • Launch date: Spring 2023
  • Weight: 8.4 oz. (men); 6.2 oz. (women)
  • Stack height: 40 mm/36 mm (unisex)
  • Price: $185

Reebok FloatZig

Reebok FloatZig side
(Photo/Cory Smith)

Over the past few years, Reebok has been pushing to reemerge as one of the top running shoe companies. To spearhead that effort in 2023, Reebok will introduce FloatZig, an all-new everyday training shoe.

It features Reebok’s Zig geometry, which is reminiscent of On’s Cloud technology. The midsole is Floatride Energy foam with stack heights of 31 mm/25 mm.

After the release of the FloatZig, Reebok will add a maximum cushioned version called the Floatzig Symmetros with 2 mm of additional foam. All the Reebok shoes I’ve tested in the past have been solid performers, so I’m curious if FloatZig follows suit.

Reebok FloatZig Specs:
  • Launch date: Fall 2023
  • Weight: 9.4 oz. (unisex)
  • Stack height: 31 mm/25 mm (unisex)
  • Price: $130

Brooks Hyperion Max

brooks hyperion max road running shoe side
(Photo/Cory Smith)

If you like the Brooks Hyperion Tempo and Hyperion Elite 3, you’ll love the Brooks Hyperion Max. Taking cues from both shoes, the Hyperion Max is a new shoe with similar geometry and makeup as the carbon fiber-plated super shoe, the Hyperion Elite 3.

Both use Brooks nitrogen-infused, lightweight DNA FLASH cushioning, but the Max does not have a carbon fiber plate.

This is an excellent option for runners who still want a fast workout day shoe but want a more flexible sole to engage their feet more than stiff-plated shoes.

Brooks Hyperion Max Specs:
  • Launch date: Winter 2023
  • Weight: 7.8 oz. (men); 6.7 oz. (women)
  • Stack height: 36 mm/28 mm (estimated)
  • Price: $170

Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit 3

nike zoom x invincible running shoe side
(Photo/Cory Smith)

Ever since Nike first launched the Invincible Run model in 2020, it’s been churning out updates yearly, and 2023 will bring its most significant update.

Underfoot, the already wide and exaggerated sole gets broader and thicker for a more stable and cushioned ride. Other changes include an evolved Flyknit upper that, in my opinion, fits better and provides more structure for the heel than the previous version.

I recently received my sample pair (as of this writing), and my initial impression is that it’s the best iteration of the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit yet.

As an everyday trainer that’s cushioned but still has some pop when you want it despite a heavy weight, this is the Nike shoe you want.

Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit 3 Specs:
  • Launch date: Winter 2023
  • Weight: 11.1 oz. (men); 9.0 oz. (women)
  • Stack height: Unknown
  • Price: $180

Vimazi

VIMAZI side

We covered Vimazi in more depth in this article, but it certainly deserves a spot in our best road shoes TRE roundup. The founders believe that running shoes designed and optimized for specific paces would be more effective because the forces applied to the shoes vary significantly based on the pace at which a person is running.

The brand’s fix was to design a full line of running shoes tuned for specific pace ranges. So Vimazi will release six new running shoe models, ranging from the Z20, designed for runners with a pace of 4.5-5.5 minutes per mile, to the Z70 for runners with a pace of 10-12.5 minutes per mile.

These shoes will be available in early 2023. In addition to the road models, Viamzi also unveiled two new trail running shoes and a walking shoe, which will be released later in the year.

Vimazi Z-Series Specs:
  • Launch date: Spring 2023
  • Weight: 6.7 oz. (men) / 5.5 oz. (women)
  • Stack height: 25 mm
  • Price: $175
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