Run shoes buyer’s guide 2015 (2/3)
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Run shoes buyer’s guide 2015 (2/3)

Minimalist, motion-controlled, oversized… the choice of trainer for triathletes is now exhaustive. And downright confusing. We shed some light…

Compared to tri bikes versus road bikes or surf versus triathlon wetsuits, the differences between a triathlon run shoe and a standard run shoe are subtler.

Key features of a tri-specific run shoe are internal liners to aid sockless running, quick-drying properties, and heel and tongue loops/a quick-lace system for a speedier bike-to-run transition.

Tri run shoe credentials don’t come any higher than Hawaii-born/San Diego-based Zoot. It was one of the first brands to make serious inroads in the tri run shoe market, with the Ultra line of triathlon footwear in 2007. The four-strong range included the Ultra TT and the Ultra Race, updated versions of which are still being used today. 

Aside from the times savings to be made in transition, Zoot’s shoes purport to have plenty of speed-enhancing elements once on the run leg. “The aim is to help the athlete go faster by creating the best power transfer to the ground,” believes the brand’s global footwear director, Jorge Cabrera. 

“To accomplish this, racing shoes are made to have a tighter fit in the upper, with the focus being on locking the foot into the shoe in the midfoot and instep to minimise the amount of foot movement in the shoe when running fast. This gives the foot less travel when striking the ground and sends more of the energy created in the legs directly to the ground.”

Zoot triathlon run shoes

Quick-lace system

Possibly the cheapest time-saver in multisport comes from elastic lace systems. They can be swiftly tightened with one hand on the move, and won’t come undone like traditional laces.

Drainage holes

Studies have shown that traditional running shoes can gain an additional 30% of their weight during a race. The drainage and ventilation holes seen here on the Zoot Ultra Tempo 6.0 (below) aim to keep feet vented on the run, while drying any foot dampness left over from the swim or bike legs.

Tongue loop

Like the quick-lace system, the tongue loop is included with the aim of a speedier T2, assisting athletes in getting the shoe on quickly.


The demands of a bike leg mean that an athlete’s usual run biomechanics can alter after racing on a bike. “Some of our shoes have a moderate amount of cushioning, which can help to keep the fatigue levels lower for a longer portion of the race to help keep the runner consistent,” says Zoot’s Cabrera.

Internal liner

Given T2 takes place in the midst of the race, triathletes often don’t want to take the time to put socks on. An internal seamless liner should mean athletes can run sock-free and without the worry of blisters.

Continue reading – Zero-drop shoes (3/3)


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