Probably one of the most talked about performance running shoes of the year so far is the Brooks Transcend. Brooks set out to redefine the way a running shoe can work, as it is caters to every type of runner by providing stability only when needed and enough cushion to appease both efficient and bigger runners.
For 2014, the Transcend will replace the Trance as their most cushioned shoe within the Brooks line up. The Transcend focuses more on the float side of the spectrum, where the Pure Project shoes focused more on the feel side.
For my test run, I took the Transcend through city streets, neighborhoods, and the Boulder Creek Bike path to make sure I was putting it through the rigors of a typical urban runner.
It’s been fun watching the hype around this shoe. There have been many photos and videos of the “Space Shuttle” box with with automatic bay doors opening to reveal the shoes touted as “otherworldly”.
Right out of the box, you notice how different the Transcend is. Starting with the shape of the sole; a narrow, rounded heel toe provides a snug fit, then widening through the toes provides a more natural foot shape. The sole is flatter than traditional stability shoes and is designed with ideal pressure zones. The pressure zones distribute the stress of running, providing an adaptable float for each runner.
It weighs in at 12.5oz, a bit heavy for an everyday trainer, though it feels much lighter than that on your foot. I can also appreciate it’s subtle 8mm drop (measured from heel to toe), which means that it feels more natural for the mid-foot striker as well.
Stability and Cushioning
Although I did not immediately feel a big “a-ha” moment after heading out the door, I soon appreciated the subtleties the shoe offers. The new carbon guide rails on the outside of the shoe replace the standard posting found under the arch, and adds stability where needed. As a neutral runner, I didn’t notice it so much, but along with the rounded heel, it promises to help smooth out heel strike transitions.
The midsole is the true hero story here. Made of their Super DNA, it delivers 25% more than their BioMoGo DNA foam found in the Pure Project line. The Super DNA adjusts to body weight and force applied to it so that the ride adapts to runners of all body types.
The upper is soft and plush, providing plenty of room in the toes for a natural stride while providing a stellar fit via the No-sew tunnels and integrated laces. I really like when a shoe feels comfortable from the moment I put it on.
The Transcend hovers nicely as a hybrid between a “maximilist” shoe and the concepts honed by the minimalist movement. It will be a great choice for your daily running trainer–especially on those recovery days. Just one more way to #RunHappy.
Todd Straka is a regular contributor to BoulderRunning.com and the Examiner, is a competitive Master’s Runner, and loves running from the mile to the marathon with the Runners Roost team. Give Todd a follow on Twitter @BoulderRunner.