Shoes from The Running Event 2021
(Photo collage/GearJunkie, Cory Smith)

The Running Event Recap: Best Shoes for 2022

We recently traveled to Austin, Texas, for The Running Event, an annual running-specific conference and trade show, to check out what’s in store for 2022. And this year did not disappoint!

With the 2019 event being canceled due to COVID-19, brands this winter were excited to show off what’s to come in 2022. And based on what we saw, the running industry has been hard at work. This year was by far one of the more exciting shows.

The underlying theme was carbon fiber, with new carbon fiber tech dominating the show. Here are some of the best, most innovative shoes we came across.

2021 running event, Austin TX
(Photo/Cory Smith)

Our Favorite Shoes From The Running Event 2021

Salomon

Salomon is placing a heavy emphasis on road shoes for 2022. This is timely given the brand’s recent pickup of 2:09 marathoner Noah Droddy.

Ever since launching its first road shoe 5 years ago, Salomon’s road lineup hasn’t had the same success as its trail shoes. However, thanks to a relatively new midsole called Energy Surge, there’s a very good chance that’s going to change in 2022.

Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro

Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro
(Photo/Cory Smith)

One of the more exciting new trail shoes from Salomon in 2022 is the Pulsar Trail Pro, a high-performance-oriented shoe. It features a new technology Salomon is calling Energy Blade.

Energy Blade uses Salomon’s most responsive foam, Energy Surge, and adds a TPU plate (instead of carbon fiber) sandwiched in the midsole.

  • Stack: 31 mm/25 mm
  • Drop: 6 mm
  • Weight: 8.1 oz. unisex
  • Price: $150

Salomon Glide Max

Salomon Glide Max
(Photo/Cory Smith)

Pretty much every brand recognizes thick-soled, maximum-cushioned shoes are here to stay. The Glide Max is Salomon’s first foray into maximum-cushioned road shoes.

This past year, it introduced the Ultra Glide, a thick-soled, soft-underfoot trail shoe with an Energy Surge midsole. It was a huge hit. In 2022, Salomon will carry that success to the road with the Glide Max.

The Glide Max is a super thick-soled road shoe that features Energy Surge. What stands out is how crazy light it is. You get a ton of cushioning for the weight.

  • Stack: 37.4 mm/27.4 mm
  • Drop: 10 mm
  • Weight: 9.5 oz. unisex
  • Price: $150

Altra

Of all the brands showcasing at TRE, Altra stuck out as having the newest and most updated shoes coming for 2022. There are some I can talk about and some I can’t.

Let’s just say Altra is race-tuned and ready to rip on both road and trail. As always, Altra’s colors are on point, but you can expect some of the classics to take on a very different look. Here are two of the more notable shoes.

Mont Blanc

Altra Mont Blanc
(Photo/Cory Smith)

The Mont Blanc is a brand-new, race-tuned shoe inspired by Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. Altra’s goal was to create the fastest, most technical trail shoe on the market. To do that, Altra used an EGO MAX midsole and a Vibram LiteBase outsole with shallow lugs to further reduce weight.

The upper is a super-lightweight mesh that resembles a racing shoe upper.

  • Stack: 31 mm/31 mm
  • Drop: Zero
  • Weight: 9.9 oz. (men), 6.9 oz. (women)
  • Price: $180

Altra Olympus 5 and Mid

Altra Olympus 5
(Photo/Cory Smith)

Altra nailed the Olympus 4 — so much so that it was the brand’s fastest-growing model last year. In an effort to stick with that winning formula, there are no changes to the last, midsole, or outsole for the Olympus 5. All the changes can be found in the upper, and they’re pretty significant.

Recognizing the shoe’s popularity among hikers, Altra wanted to beef up the durability with additional toe protection and more security, particularly around the ankle. The brand also added more padding and TPU overlay in the heel for better heel security. The big story is the Olympus 4 will now be offered in a mid version like the Lone Peak.

  • Stack: 33 mm/33 mm
  • Drop: Zero
  • Weight: 12.3 oz. (men), 10.4 oz. (women)
  • Price: TBD

Craft

Craft is a Swiss brand with deep roots in nordic skiing that has recently exploded on the running scene. The brand’s current shoe lineup includes the CTM Ultra and CTM Ultra Carbon. Both are fantastic road shoes.

One of the most exciting road shoes from Craft is the PRO Endurance.

Craft PRO Endurance

Craft Pro Endurance
(Photo/Cory Smith)

From Craft:

The PRO Endurance Distance shoe brings a new level of responsiveness to serious runners. The full Px Foam midsole is designed to optimum stack height for explosive toe-off and feather-soft landing for an efficient stride. Every contour of this platform was carefully considered to provide maximum energy at varying speeds. The fully engineered one-piece mesh upper works in unison with the foot to provide comfort and support with every nimble step. This shoe shines with vibrant performance and simplicity in design.

  • Stack: 36 mm/27 mm
  • Drop: 9 mm
  • Weight: 8.2 oz. (men), unknown (women)
  • Price: $150

HOKA ONE ONE

Carbon fiber has taken over the road shoe, and now we see it creeping into trail shoes. While it may not look like much, I’ve personally tested HOKA’s latest carbon road tool, the Tecton X, and it’s pretty remarkable.

HOKA Tecton X

Hoka Tecton X
(Photo/Cory Smith)

At 8.5 ounces for men and 6.9 ounces for women, the Tecton X is incredibly lightweight. However, with 33 mm of HOKA’s PROFLY midsole under the heel, it’s still cushioned enough for the long haul.

Instead of a single carbon fiber plate, it features two parallel plates “designed to provide a propulsive, smooth stride while allowing for movement on uneven surfaces,” as HOKA puts it.

  • Stack: 33 mm/29 mm
  • Drop: 4 mm
  • Weight: 8.5 oz. (men), 6.9 oz. (women)
  • Price: $200

PUMA

PUMA has really been firing on all cylinders when it comes to its running category. And the PUMA FAST-R Nitro Elite Carbon is the culmination of that momentum.

PUMA FAST-R Nitro Elite Carbon

PUMA FAST-R Nitro Elite Carbon
(Photo/Cory Smith)

This carbon fiber marathon race shoe uses two different midsole foams in the heel and forefoot that are completely decoupled. A carbon fiber plate connects and stabilizes the two. PUMA claims the design slows your muscle contractions, which helps ward off fatigue and elongates your stride.

The brand also hinted it has seen major gains in running economy.

  • Stack: 38 mm/30 mm
  • Drop: 8 mm
  • Weight: 7.0 oz. (unisex)
  • Price: $220

Under Armour

I wish I could say more about what’s to come from Under Armour, but unfortunately, much of it is under embargo. All I’ll say is keep an eye out. In the meantime, one shoe that caught my eye that I can talk about is the Under Armour Trail DS Ridge TR.

Under Armour Trail DS Ridge TR

Under Armour Trail DS Ridge TR
(Photo/Cory Smith)

Under Armour wanted to start from ground zero and rebuild its trail lineup. The DS Ridge is its opportunity to do so. It features a softer durometer full-length HOVR midsole.

Plus, the outsole debuts a new traction technology that’s both less aggressive and lighter while still offering superior traction, according to the brand.

  • Stack: 30 mm/22 mm
  • Drop: 8 mm
  • Weight: 10.9 oz. (unisex)
  • Price: $140

Saucony

Sticking with the carbon fiber craziness, Saucony will release its trail-version super shoe.

Saucony Endorphin Edge Trail

Saucony Endorphine Edge Trail
(Photo/Cory Smith)

The Endorphin Edge uses Saucony’s most responsive PowerRun PB midsole with a Carbitex carbon fiber plate. The Carbitex plate is shaped in a wishbone and is flexible in one direction and stiff in the other.

As you run uphill, you’re going to get that propulsion while also creating a little bit of stability in the heel so that you’re really saving those calf muscles, quad muscles, and hamstrings over the long haul.

  • Stack: 35 mm/29 mm
  • Drop: 4 mm
  • Weight: 8.9 oz. (men), 7.8 oz. (women)
  • Price: $200

Brooks Running

Brooks Caldera 6

Brooks Caldera 6
(Photo/Cory Smith)

Brooks’ most cushioned trail shoe gets a complete update. The most notable change is in the midsole, which will now feature the same nitrogen-infused DNA Loft seen in the Hyperion Tempo and Aurora-BL.

Along with the new midsole, expect the Caldera 6 to offer a more stable ride thanks to a wider platform and raised sidewalls.

  • Stack: 26 mm/20 mm
  • Drop: 6 mm
  • Weight: 11 oz. (men), 9.8 oz. (women)
  • Price: $150
Cory Smith
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Cory Smith is a Santa Barbara, California-based athlete, online running coach, and freelance journalist specializing in running- and climbing-related content and gear reviews. He draws from over 25 years as an elite runner and rock climber for ideas, inspiration, and expertise. Check out his portfolio here.