Ask the Gear Experts | Running Shoes with High Energy Return

A few days ago, I received a text message from a friend I hadn’t heard from in a while. We actually both started running cross-country together all the way back in middle school. And, more often than not, running will be the thing that brings us together after a time away. Sometimes that means signing up for a half marathon; other times, like this most recent instance, it’s just some good shoe talk. Here’s her question, straight from my messages:


Since we’ve been in each others’ running lives for a while, I already had an idea of what sort of shoes my friend likes. (Shoes with taller stack heights often feel unstable to her, and she’s a fairly efficient and speedy runner. I suspect she could get away with much less cushioning than she thinks, but her preference is for a shoe with a decent midsole.) With that knowledge, my suggestions were a bit different than what I’d recommend to an anonymous RW+ member. Still, fellow editor Amanda Furrer and I both mentioned Saucony’s Ride 15. You might call it the closest Saucony-equivalent of the Ghost, as it’s a moderately cushioned workhorse trainer that’s reasonably priced.

Ride 15



  • Midsole is more responsive on toe-off
  • 8mm drop feels smoother than Ghost’s 12mm
  • More arch support than Ghost
  • Lighter weight
  • Narrower toebox than Ghost
  • Fewer width options
  • Less outsole rubber coverage

After swapping a few more texts, it became apparent that my friend really did love the Ghost. She’d been running in the model for several years without any issues or injury, and it worked very well for her gait mechanics. For that reason, we decided not to fix what wasn’t broken when it came to her daily trainer. Instead, I suggested she add another shoe to her rotation—maybe something for long runs, tempo workouts, speedwork, or racing. That way, she could see what’s new while keeping the bulk of her mileage in a shoe she was comfortable with. In addition, I gave her the rundown of some of the absolute springiest shoes we’ve tested recently, and noted how they’d feel compared to the Brooks Ghost.

She ended up going with the Saucony Endorphin Speed 2. I imagine many runners are in the same boat as my friend, curious to try something that has super bouncy and springy new foams and plates, but don’t necessarily want to leave their current daily training shoe. The best option may be to build a shoe rotation, not ditch what’s working.

About Dian Sastro

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