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1 year ago
The 20 Coolest Sneaks of 2016

shoe guide
1/21 Matt Rainey

Upper construction. Foam midsole compounds. Heel heights. Outsole rubbers. What makes shopping for performance footwear so incredible (tech!) are the very things that make it kind of a drag (tech). So we got our translator, WH fitness director Jen Ator, to walk us through 20 of this spring's top sneaks and highlight those intangibles that a press release can't ever get at: the feel, the experience, the pure enjoyment. Trust, each of the shoes lives up to its hype. It's simply been doubly vetted—by a real person. (A real person with eight years' experience as a fitness editor. Who's run the NYC Marathon. And completed Kona Ironman. But we're not bragging...)

Click away for her top 20 picks!

shoe guide
2/21 Matt Rainey
Cross Trainers: Studio Staple

"Note to those who are a little skittish about going barefoot in barre or yoga class: This split-toe design gives you better stability than other slip-ons but feels just as light."
Blake Brody for Ahnu In Studi-Om, $50, ahnu.com

shoe guide
3/21 Matt Rainey
Cross Trainers: Tough Stuff

"Lots of people say CrossFit can be intimidating. Not in these bad boys. Their low platform and the firm rubber in the heel help you feel strong and stable during any highintensity workout. Plus, they just look kick-ass."
Nike Metcon 2, $130, nike.com

shoe guide
4/21 Matt Rainey
Cross Trainers: Dance Dance Revolution

"You know the girl who rolls into dance cardio with a messy top knot and baggy extra layers, then strips down to her sports bra and busts out moves like Beyonce? Effortlessly cool, ridiculously smooth—just like these kicks."
Under Armour SpeedForm StudioLux Mid, $85, underarmour.com

shoe guide
5/21 Matt Rainey
Cross Trainers: Endorphin Junkie

"Whether during kickboxing or barbell boot camp, this sneaker has the right traction and support for all-over-the-place movement and pivots."
361 Bio-Speed, $110, 361usa.com

shoe guide
6/21 Matt Rainey
Cross Trainers: Quick Change

"I prefer morning workouts, but if my schedule calls for a p.m. session, these minimal trainers pack easily into my work bag and help my feet move a little quicker on the treadmill after a long day."
Pearl Izumi EM Road N0v2, $100, pearlizumi.com

shoe guide
7/21 Matt Rainey
Running Shoes: Step Ahead
"I love this brand, and this debut is so versatile. Less hefty than some of their other models, it manages to be light without losing comfort or cushioning, so it can hold up just as well in fast 5-Ks as it does in distance races."
Hoka One One Tracer, $130, hokaoneone.com
shoe guide
8/21 Matt Rainey
Running Shoes: Breakout Star

"First time I saw this new shoe, I thought, Oh my gosh, it's SO pretty! First time I ran in it, I thought, Oh my gosh, it's SO springy and comfortable! Talk about dual #runspo."
Adidas Pure Boost X, $120, adidas.com

shoe guide
9/21 Matt Rainey
Running Shoes: Consistent Effort

"I've got a friend who runs. A lot. Five to seven miles, at least four days a week—it's easy, she enjoys it. Sound like you? Go for these—they breeze through high mileage."
Mizuno Wave Enigma 5, $150, mizunorunning.com

shoe guide
10/21 Matt Rainey
Running Shoes: Natural Stride

"Someone asked me what I'd recommend for speed walking. Definitely this guy! The unique toe-box and level platform keep your foot in its natural position for stability and swiftness."
Altra Provision 2.5, $120, altrarunning.com

shoe guide
11/21 Matt Rainey
Running Shoes: Mass Appeal
"This debut is a running-shoes Goldilocks--not too heavy in construction, but not too faint in arch support. A great option for middle-distancers—10-Ks, half-marathons."
New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo, $130, newbalance.com
shoe guide
12/21 Matt Rainey
Running Shoes: Strong Support

"When people who are new to distance running ask for shoe suggestions, this always makes my list. The GTS in its name stands for 'Go To Shoe'—it's literally that popular. Particularly for those with foot issues or low arches."
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 16, $120, brooksrunning.com

shoe guide
13/21 Matt Rainey
Trail Shoes: Pack Leader

"Living in an urban area, I love that these manage to feel light and flexible running city streets, but also secure with every step once you hit gravel and loose dirt."
Adidas Outdoor Riot Boost, $130, adidasoutdoor.com

shoe guide
14/21 Matt Rainey
Trail Shoes: Smooth Ride

"A popular model that serves both ends of the spectrum: for those new to going off-road, extra cushioning; for those chasing the most extreme trails, extra traction."
Saucony Peregrine 6, $120, saucony.com

shoe guide
15/21 Matt Rainey
Trail Shoes: Water Works

"There are a lot of cool areas to explore around rivers, lakes, waterfalls. But few things are worse than trekking in sopping-wet sneakers. Which is why you wear these. And bonus: Their razorsiped soles help keep you from biting it."
Keen Sage Sandals, $90, keenfootwear.com

shoe guide
16/21 Matt Rainey
Trail Shoes: Queen of the Hill

"People always seem to think 'trail shoes' mean heavy boots. Which is torture if you're trying to run long or fast. This featherlight kick protects underfoot without any excess."
The North Face Litewave TR, $100, thenorthface.com

shoe guide
17/21 Matt Rainey
Trail Shoes: Wild Thing

"Sometimes I daydream about peacing out of the Big City and pulling a Cheryl Strayed. But with better boots. Like these: bold style, and a slim, flexible fit—no nasty blisters!."
Merrell Capra Bolt Mid Waterproof, $140, merrell.com

shoe guide
18/21 Matt Rainey
All-Day Active: Asics Metrolyte

Always on the go? These compact slipons have enough arch support to make any commute less painful (physically, anyway).
$70, asicsamerica.com

shoe guide
19/21 Matt Rainey
All-Day Active: ABEO B.I.O.System Bryce Neutral

Don't settle for flimsy flops—these sandals have orthotics built into a funky-cool cork footbed.
$140, thewalkingcompany.com

shoe guide
20/21 Matt Rainey
All-Day Active: Paul Sperry Sayel Away

Sometimes you just want to look cute at a weekend BBQ. Sometimes you want to crush pickup games at said BBQ. Now, do both.
$60, sperry.com

shoe guide
21/21 Matt Rainey
All-Day Active: L.L. Bean Women's Wellie Rain Boots

Actually enjoy splashing in puddles, thanks to the cush foam footbeds in these rubber slickers.
$89, llbean.com

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