Kicking off with adidas' new Boost technology and rounding out with the announcement of Kobe's ninth signature sneaker with Nike, 2013 has been jam-packed with new performance releases in every sport. The running industry focused on placing more EVA underfoot while lightening the load, soccer grew a second skin, skate shoes improved on technical design, and basketball challenged shoes to reach new heights. Based on the innovative nature of performance footwear, and with direction from our esteemed panel of reviewers, Sneaker Report has selected the best of the best from the past year.
These are The 25 Best Performance Shoes of 2013.
No. 25 - APL Concept 3
Banned from the NBA, APL upgraded the Concept to it's most wearable model yet. Still banned, but great for beating your buddies on the court.
No. 24 - Nike Hyperdunk 2013
One of the most popular basketball shoes of 2013 blended Nike's leading technical support and cushioning systems for a responsive yet reinforced fit. Flywire ensures lightweight support while Lunarlon offers soft yet responsive cushioning underfoot.
No. 23 - Nike SB Koston 2
Designed after an Oxford shoe, with golf and running footwear influences, Eric Koston's follow up to the popular Koston 1 had an internal anatomical booty and an improved Lunarlon insole for better arch support.
<!--nextpage-->No. 22 - adidas Nitrocharge 1.0
In May, adidas introduced us to an entirely new type of performance shoe, the Nitrocharge. This is the first boot that caters specifically to the “Engine”, a player that Opta helped adidas define through extensive research, and if you are a box-to-box midfielder, this is a boot you should be testing!
There were a lot of additions to this boot that place it in a completely new category. From the addition of mesh through the heel to the inclusion of a new EnergyPulse soleplate, adidas really hones in on figuring out what the needs were of hard-working, grafting center mid. But without a doubt, the highlight is the yellow band that arches across the forefoot. ENERGYSLING is a rubber like compound that provides stability and energy through lateral movements. In other words, you get more energy rebound as you look to cut and chop. This is a top solid release from adidas that has received plenty of praise from professional players.
No. 21 - Saucony Kinvara 4
One of the best running shoes of all time, the Saucony Kinvara continued to turn heads in 2013 with the latest installment of the popular series. Much of the features that made the Kinvara 3 so successful are still present in the Kinvara 4—great news for die-hard Kinvara fans. But Saucony has made some minor tweaks to the 4 to up its performance potential even further.
While the shoe’s weight remains virtually unchanged, the Kinvara 4 makes the switch from a ProGrid heel insert to a more substantial PowerGrid unit for improved cushioning and support underfoot. The Kinvara 4 has also been given a redesigned FlexFilm upper that isn’t quite as aggressive in style as the previous version, however it still makes for one of the better looking silhouettes on the road today. Additional features include an internal bootie construction for sockless running, a HydraMax Collar lining for moisture wicking and comfort, as well as a durable XT-900 carbon rubber outsole with a triangular lug pattern for proper traction.
No. 20 - Globe Sabbath
David Gonzalez's ankle injury in 2011 caused him to design a low profile vulc shoe with a focus on support and durability. The tongue curls in a way that it covers the front of the ankle, while the collar protects the heel, and the insole is cushy. Virtually stitchless, a fusion weld strengthened the ollie area, giving it more durability.
No. 19 - Jordan Super.Fly 2
Don’t call it a comeback. The Air Jordan Super.Fly was one of the most popular team models from the Jumpman last year, often sported by Clippers sensation Blake Griffin. Towards the tail end of the season, Blake broke out the Super.Fly 2. At the time, there wasn’t much known about the sequel to the 2012 model, but today images have surfaced of the Super.Fly 2 in all its detailed splendor.
The Super.Fly 2 is now equipped with FlightPlate technology, as seen on the Air Jordan XX8 and Trunner Dominate Pro. The outsole boasts an aggressive herringbone design, which promises to provide grip on the hardwood. Meanwhile, it’s a safe bet that Zoom Air cushioning will return in the follow-up of this successful team model. Stick with Sneaker Report for more on the Air Jordan Super.Fly 2, including availability details.
No. 18 - Nike Air Pegasus+ 30
The original Nike Air Pegasus has been the standard in cushioned running sneakers, giving runners unrivaled performance over the decades. Thirty years later, Nike’s iconic trainer is still going strong with the upcoming release of the latest version, the Air Pegasus+ 30.
The Air Pegasus+ 30 boasts a similar platform to the previous model. Rather, the changes come in the upper, which has been re-designed with fewer overlays for enhanced movement, as well as reduced weight. The shoe features reflective properties in the midfoot for greater visibility during low light conditions. Zoom Air cushioning and a high-traction BRS 1000 carbon rubber outsole round out the chassis.
No. 17 - Nike Tiempo V
Being that they are the newest boot to be released on this list (hitting the market in early December), the Tiempo is not as tested and thus we need time to really see what they have to offer. But, to date they have received plenty of applause and the advanced design has already been a hit with players. Being that they are a heritage boot, Nike worked on introducing an all-around lighter boot with cleaner touch on the ball.
The design brings back memories of the Ronaldinho series, with cross stitching on the forefoot providing a positive taste – especially since that forefoot is actually a K-leather. Further innovation comes in the Tiempo Legend V’s engineered soleplate, which Nike state will move with your foot for stability, traction and comfort.
No. 16 - New Balance 890v4
New Balance does a lot of things right in the running footwear game, and a prime example of that is the brand’s 890 neutral series. Since its debut just a few years ago, the 890 has established itself as a popular lightweight shoe amongst runners of all levels, and the latest version—the 890v4—looks to continue that trend with all the same core features, along with some key updates for even more performance output.
The 890v4 may look like a completely different shoe due to its unique podular sole, however don’t let that throw you off. Despite its bulkier profile (which has be set in place to improve ground contact), the shoe is still exceptionally lightweight. In fact, at 8.5 ounces, it’s nearly an entire ounce lighter than its predecessor, the 890v3.
The FantomFit upper on the 890v4 has also been upgraded from the pervious stitched version to a seamless construction with tweaked overlays for max support without the added weight. Like the 890v3, the latest edition features an identical 8mm heel-to-toe drop for a fluid foot strike, as well as a responsive RevLite midsole that is 30% lighter than traditional foam. Rounding out the shoe is an extended Abzorb crash pad for improved stability, and a blown rubber outsole that is tuned for road running.
No. 15 - Mizuno Wave Rider 17
eal Mizuno Wave Rider fans: you can either wait patiently until December to order a pair of the next generation Wave Riders, OR you can lock down your very own pair now on pre-order—your choice.
Since its initial debut in 1998, the Wave Rider has established itself as a heavyweight in the neutral running category. Now, the seventeenth installment of the legendary shoe is on its way, and in case you missed our initial preview of it earlier this summer, this one looks to be better than ever.
As expected, the Wave Rider 17 boasts some minor updates, including a redesigned seamless upper for reduced weight and improved comfort, as well as a new U4iC midsole that’s virtually 30% lighter than the previous version. The 17 also comes with a blown rubber outsole instead of carbon rubber to further reduce the shoe’s weight. As far as traction is concerned, the new outsole offers just as much traction, if not more.
No. 14 - adidas Supernova Glide Boost
It took a few tries, but it looks like adidas has finally perfected a way to integrate its high-energy rebound midsole technology into the ideal neutral running shoe. While the first generation Boost shoes like theEnergy Boost and adiStar Boost were impressive in their own regard, the Supernova Glide 6 Boost takes the technology to an entirely different level thanks in large part to a new and improved upper design.
Rather than the TechFit upper—which proved to be a bit to restricting and lacked support—seen in previous Boost models, the Supernova Glide 6 Boost features a textile and mesh upper that looks better, breathes better, and offers more structural support, all the while offering runners with maximum comfort to go the distance.
In addition to the new upper, the Supernova Glide 6 Boost does feature some carryover performance tech from the previous, non-Boost version of the Supernova, including Torsion System for midfoot integrity, miCoach compatibility for tracking progress, as well as a Continental Rubber outsole for lasting grip. Then, of course, there’s the Boost technology, which is comprised of thousands of miniature TPU foam pellets compressed together to form a state-of-the-art midsole unit, allowing runners to literally add a bounce to their step.
No. 13 - adidas D Rose 4
For the very short time that Derrick Rose was back on the basketball court, adidas rewarded the former NBA MVP with a plethora of different versions of his latest namesake signature shoe, the D Rose 4. With Sprintframe stability to support Derrick's explosive style of play to the clean look make to mirror the player's sleek look, this signature shoe ranks high on our list of basketball shoes for 2013.
No. 12 - Nike Premier
This boot was one of the most long awaited and sought after of recent times. With adidas coveting the top heritage spot with the Copa Mundial, it never seemed like Nike would bite the bullet and create a competing version. But behind the scenes, they spent two years developing a boot intended to stand the test of time.
Everything about the Premier has been strategically formulated, from the buttery soft leather upper and bare-bones soleplate, to the extremely affordable price point. On feet and in game, they are a solid shoe that offers players a high level of comfort with high end performance. Plus, who could turn down that tradition black look with large white swoosh on the side! Expect to see these boots on the market for a while.
No. 11 - Brooks PureCadence 3
Pure Project running footwear line received its third installment in 2014, and it looks like each model will get some upgrades both in terms of aesthetics and performance, including the PureCadence—one of the most popular of the PureProject collection.
While the basic design of the PureCadence 3 seems virtually unchanged, the shoe is slightly narrower in the forefoot for a more streamlined fit. The split toe on the PureCadence has also been repositioned to allow the first two toes to move more naturally (as opposed to the previous version, which alienated the big toe). Additional upgrades include a more beveled heel for improved fluidity, as well as an updated Nav Band across the midfoot, which has been given a silicone construction rather than fabric for a more stable fit.
No. 10 - Under Armour Spawn
This new baller has been designed with the foot in mind. Building it from the foot up Under Armour was able to cut elements that can potentially add bulk to the shoe in order to raise your game exponentially. With a huge emphasis on the shoes fit and materials they created a shoe that represented a shoe that is the true anatomy of the foot. The Anatomix Spawn has been given a partly mesh upper, improving the breathability of the shoe as well. Knowing Under Armour, the mesh will probably help with a secure lock down for you for no slippage as you elevate your basketball game.
No. 9 - Nike Flyknit Lunar+ 1
This 8 ounce runner is inspired by the fit of a sock, featuring the Nike Flyknit technology on a Lunarlon sole. Add reflective elements, blown rubber forefoot lugs, and flex grooves for enhanced articulation and you’re got yourself a running shoe you’ll be seeing a lot more of.
No. 8 - adidas Adizero F50
There have been numerous editions of the adiZero F50 released in recent years and with each update, adidas has found areas to modify the boot and improve performance. Without a doubt, the latest Samba version that was released in November is the best to date. When it comes to producing Speed boots, adidas is a leader in the market.
There is many advancements on this boot, highlighted by the inclusion of several new updates. These include: SpeedFoil around the heel, a new SpeedTraxion outsole and DribbleTex across the front of the boot for improved touch. The end result is a very comfortable and compatible boot that will accommodate players who value speed and acceleration in their game.
No. 7 - Emerica Reynolds
Supportive and functional, the Reynolds is simple-looking on the outside, but really technical on the inside. The G6 foam in the midsole is for comfort and protection, and a cool air intake system in the side panel reduces feet sweat and moisture.
No. 6 - Nike LeBron XI
Though LeBron himself has had some issues with this signature shoe, it's still a great option for players. The Hyperposite upper protects player's ankles and segmented in key zones for flexion and outside protection. It is augmented with a full drop-in midsole/insole that is composed of Lunarlon foam and a full-length Zoom Air unit for total comfort, impact protection, and the top cushioning Nike offers. Even more? Beneath the Hyperposite upper is Dynamic Flywire cables that extend from underneath and around the foot to the eyestay, ensuring a snug, customized fit.
No. 5 - Jordan CP3.VII
The Jordan CP3.VII is built like a '90s shoe but for the modern era. The cushioning is reminiscent of the Air Jordan XX-XX3′s IPS System but with a much lower profile. Featuring a Zoom Air with the dual density foam setup – known as Podulite – allows court feel without sacrificing cushion. This shoe is great for guards constantly running the floor night in and night out.
No. 4 - Nike Hypervenom Phantom
The boot that seems to have caught the most media attention is the Nike Hypervenom Phantom. When they were released, a large chunk of players jumped over from other brand (and Nike silos) to take on the new hybrid boot. They come with a Wow factor and have quickly been adapted as a top choice for attacking style players.
It is the honeycomb panel design that really gives them that unmistakable look. They are super soft and designed to stretch through wear, something that has pleased a lot of wide fitting players. This is the first time that Nike has used NikeSkin directly on a soccer cleat, and it offers a bold new level of in-game performance. It is the type of material that creates a barefoot type feel on the ball yet the material is think enough to be useful under tough tackles. The upper is comprised of a mesh underlay, a layer of skin over it and the final product is treated with ACC technology.
No. 3 - Nike Air Max+ 2014
The ultra-cushioned ride supplied by Air Max is supported by the breathable Flyknit, integrating Flywire technology for additional support, and a lightweight ride. The Nike Air Max 2014 maintains the sole of the previous model, with updates to the upper material, which features layers of mesh overlays. Technically advanced and more flexible than every before.
No. 2 - Jordan XX8
The Air Jordan XX8 SE is virtually the same shoe as its predecessor, with the obviously distinction of its former shroud (with went up 8” high on the lower leg). Coming in a variety of colorways in a camouflage print, the Air Jordan XX8 SE may be the best-performing basketball sneaker that Brand Jordan has ever produced.
A distinctive performer with its Zoom Air bags that are unfettered by the ground-breaking Jordan Flight Plate, cushioning, impact protection, and take-offs are all enhanced to a level that was previously unseen in Jordan basketball footwear. Add to that the sandwich mesh upper which locks down your foot like a military boot, and you have one of the most dynamic, supportive, and fastest basketball shoes available today.
No. 1 - adidas Adizero Adios Boost
Replacing the long-running adiPrene midsole with a Boost unit, the latest version of the Adios combines the speed of a racing flat with an energy-return Boost unit for better cushioning and responsiveness. The shoe features an upgraded air mesh upper that have a more streamlined look much like the Energy Boost.
Number 1 on our list for being not only one of the best uses of technology one a formerly favorite silhouette, but also leading countless marathon winners over the finish line to victory in 2013. Here's to 2014, we can't wait to see what all of the brands have in store for next year.