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Light stability running shoes offer the minimalist feel without the loss of support

Some lightweight stability shoes, which you may see listed elsewhere as performance-training shoes, offer a feasible compromise between the flexibility and light weight of minimalist running shoes (which we cover in a separate report) and the stability of conventional running shoes.

Testers rave about how well the K-Swiss Kwicky Blade-Light (Est. $125) fits your foot, particularly around the arch -- no socks needed. Its hydrophobic mesh construction repels most water while allowing some breathability. The Kwicky Blade-Light has a 10 mm drop from heel to toe, and weighs just 9 ounces for a typical men's pair and 8 ounces for women's.

Despite its light, flexible fit, the Kwicky Blade-Light doesn't skimp on stability. The editors of Runner's World give it a Best Debut award in their Summer 2011 shoe guide, calling out its key stability features: a firm medial post, broad base and plastic shank. Marathoners flock to the Kwicky Blade-Light for its combination of support, light weight and responsiveness. They say it is better cushioned than others of similar weight and that you can usually get at least 300 miles out of a pair.

The Nike LunarGlide+ 4 (Est. $100) also has a 10 mm offset, and weighs 10 ounces for a men's pair and 8.2 ounces for a women's pair. Reviewers say the LunarGlide+ 4, like the Kwicky Blade-Light, offers a great, sock-free fit and a cushioned, responsive ride. It's also surprisingly stable, thanks to wedged Dynamic Support foam, which grows progressively firmer toward the medial (inside) edge of your shoe. The shoe's downside is problems with durability; reviewers note the sole wears out very quickly.

If you're really intent on getting as close as you can to a minimalist shoe without abandoning the idea of stability support entirely, the Saucony Mirage 2 has a 4 mm heel-to-toe drop and weighs just 9.2 ounces for a typical men's pair. It rides low to the ground, and reviewers find it has a faster, more racelike feel than conventional shoes. A plastic arch insert and clever welds on the medial side of the upper provide some support for mild overpronation. Users say the Mirage 2 is comfortable and springy underfoot. However, since it's built to encourage a forefoot or midfoot strike, it may not suit all runners. Durability is adequate; you should expect to get around 300 miles out of a pair.

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K-Swiss Men's Kwicky Blade-light Running Shoe, Blue Faded Denim/FieryRed/Silver, 9.5 M US
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