The FITNESS 2012 Sneaker Guide for Every Sport

Jeffrey Westbrook/Fitness MagazineJeffrey Westbrook/Fitness MagazineBy Lindsey Emery

Be ready for any kind of action with these superstar sneakers, which got a standing -- and striding, cycling, shuffling, stomping -- ovation from our 132 sweat testers.

Related: Runner-Up Sneaks for Every Sport

The Best Walking Shoe
For casual strollers to serious power walkers
Winner: New Balance 895
Bye-bye, staid walking shoes. This bold "superlight" pair is "incredibly flexible, while being supportive and cushiony," testers say. The unique egg-crate-inspired design of the outsole "puts an extra spring in your step." That, combined with a stable-but-not-stiff foam midsole, makes them "well built for both casual and speed walking." ($85, shopnewbalance.com)

Jeffrey Westbrook/Fitness MagazineJeffrey Westbrook/Fitness MagazineThe Best Hiking Shoe
For off-road walkers or day hikers
Winner: Vasque Talus WP
These "great" lightweight hiking boots had one tester raving that the waterproof Nubuck leather "keeps your feet dry and warm, even when they're fully submerged in water." The Vibram outsole offers "excellent grip" and "a sufficient amount of traction for all types of trails," and its women's-specific upper "hugs your feet nicely." ($150, vasque.com for stores)

Related: The Best Hiking Gear to Take On the Trails

Jeffrey Westbrook/Fitness MagazineJeffrey Westbrook/Fitness MagazineThe Best Neutral Running Shoe
For stable foot strikers who don't need correction from their shoes
Winner: New Balance 890v2
A "Cinderella fit," "good arch support," "perfect cushioning" -- testers "absolutely loved everything" about these colorful kicks. The "extremely light," "bouncy" sneakers have a shorter-than-usual drop from heel to forefoot that encourages a "stronger," "faster," "effortless," and more natural stride. ($100, newbalance.com)



Jeffrey Westbrook/Fitness MagazineJeffrey Westbrook/Fitness MagazineThe Best Mild Stability Running Shoe
For runners whose feet roll inward (overpronate) slightly as they strike
Winner: Mizuno Wave Inspire 8
This "extremely lightweight" shoe offers "great stability and shock absorption," testers say. Its breathable open-mesh upper wraps around your foot for a pleasing "glovelike fit," and its stable-yet-springy midsole provides "wonderful support for an overpronating stride." ($115, mizunousa.com)


Jeffrey Westbrook/Fitness MagazineJeffrey Westbrook/Fitness MagazineThe Best Extra Stability Running Shoe
For runners whose feet roll inward (overpronate) considerably as they strike
Winner: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12
Testers rave that these sneaks are "supportive and cushioned to perfection." Their biodegradable foam midsoles incorporate a thermoplastic device and varying densities of foam to "prevent your feet from rolling in." A flexible forefoot puts a "nice spring" in your stride. ($110, brooksrunning.com)



Jeffrey Westbrook/Fitness MagazineJeffrey Westbrook/Fitness MagazineThe Best Minimalist Running Shoe
For striders who want the barefoot-inspired experience
Winner: Merrell Dash Glove
This "extremely comfortable," "flexible" shoe weighs just 5.8 ounces but "still provides a lot of support," and its Vibram outsole supplies "great cushioning for running on pavement or rocks," testers say. Thanks to its zero drop from heel to forefoot, you land on the ball of your foot. Testers felt "no slipping or friction" from its "snug fitting" synthetic leather-and-mesh upper. ($110, merrell.com)

Related: Rock Your Run: 8 Beginner Tips to Get Started


Jeffrey Westbrook/Fitness MagazineJeffrey Westbrook/Fitness MagazineThe Best Trail Running Shoe
Winner: Saucony Peregrine 2
These "dream" trail runners have "lightweight, flexible" foam midsoles and "nice, low-cut ankles." The durable carbon-rubber tread "grips well on a variety of terrains," and its built-in rock plate protects your feet and "allows you to recover quickly whenever you stumble on roots, rocks, and the like." ($100, saucony.com)


Jeffrey Westbrook/Fitness MagazineJeffrey Westbrook/Fitness MagazineThe Best Cross-Training Shoe
For exercisers who do workouts with a lot of side-to-side moves
Winner: Reebok RealFlex Transition
Testers loved wearing this "bouncy," "breathable" shoe for their elliptical, stairclimber, total-body, and CrossFit workouts. The flexible, waffle-patterned outsole "offers a ton of cushioning for jumping exercises" and "facilitates pivoting and moving side to side." Its mesh upper is "extremely comfortable" and "takes a huge load off your gym bag." ($90, reebok.com)


Jeffrey Westbrook/Fitness MagazineJeffrey Westbrook/Fitness MagazineThe Best Cycling Shoe
For those who clip in for road cycling or Spinning
Winner: Specialized Torch TR
This women's-specific clip-in shoe is "great for powering through" your workout and has an arch-supporting midsole that "keeps you properly aligned" as you ride, testers say. Its sturdy, injection-molded and glass-reinforced outsole provides "good energy transfer" and has "generous vents" so there are "no hot spots." ($125, specialized.com)

Jeffrey Westbrook/Fitness MagazineJeffrey Westbrook/Fitness MagazineThe Best Tennis Shoe
Winner: Asics Gel-Solution Speed
Testers note that these "superb" sneaks "move very well" with "no slipping." The extra gel cushioning under your forefoot and heel provides plenty of shock absorption, and the lightweight upper, with memory foam in the heel, offers "a lot of ankle support." ($130, asicsamerica.com for stores)

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