Triathlon race-day run shoes: 9 of the best for racing the final leg
To provide you with a triathlon boost, it’s wise to have some lightweight specific race-day shoes in your triathlon kit bag. Jack Sexty tests and rates 9 pairs of race-day run shoes for men…
While running shoes aren’t cheap (most here are over £100) it often makes sense to invest in two pairs of run shoes – one for training; one for racing, so they last longer and you’re using the appropriate pair for the type of session you’re doing.
Advice varies on how many miles you can get out of your run shoes, but the general consensus is that the minimal support on most racing flats and lightweight trainers will generally wear quicker than shoes with more robust cushioning. Asics officially recommend changing shoes every 450-550 miles, while Brooks suggest that lightweight and minimal shoes may only last a mere 300. But because everyone wears their shoes out at different rates, there’s a couple of things you can do to help make the new-shoe buying decision easier.
If you don’t often tackle muddy or off-road terrain, your shoes could look completely fresh on top but be worn out underneath, so keep a mileage log and pay attention to how fatigued you feel after a regular training week. Also look out for softening of the midsole and increased wear to the heel counter and toe box. Keep in mind your running style and how often you’re using your shoes, too – a heavy overpronator using theirs daily will wear shoes out much faster than a lighter runner who uses theirs every other day.
The nine pairs on test here are mostly lightweight racers, and if you have a nice neutral gait (visit any good running store to find out) then some of these will serve you well for training, too. All weights quoted are for one shoe in a UK size 10.5, and each pair was put through a variety of tempo efforts, track sessions, treadmills runs and steadier efforts to get a rounded opinion of what they do and don’t do best. We also did nine back-to-back 1km efforts, changing shoes between each, to give us a real feel for each shoe when compared directly. Read on for our reviews and verdicts…
The Kiprun is the lightest in Decathlon’s Kalenji run shoe range (225g) and the heel-to-toe drop is 10mm, so they might also work as a lightweight race shoe for moderate heel strikers. The ‘Pebax up’bar’ technology in the outsole has thicker EVA foam at the front to provide a springy sensation on landing, but the sole is very narrow in the middle; without this midfoot support the ride was considerably harsher than comparable racing flats, such as Brooks’ Hyperion. They offer good grip, the mesh upper is fairly comfy with a firm toebox, and it’s a good price compared to most on test.
Verdict: No-frills racing flat with quite a harsh ride, 69%
Buy from www.decathlon.co.uk
Hoka have become immensely popular with triathletes in recent years, with the maximal support providing a super plush ride for long training runs and iron-distance tri. The Mach is the revamped version of their acclaimed Clayton, with a re-engineered upper but the same huge cushioning for a surprisingly low 283g weight. We found the upper frustratingly tough, rubbing the top of our foot after the first couple of runs, but this subsided as we broke them in. Minor comfort issues aside, we liked this shoe for longer runs. But for obvious reasons with the huge cushion, it’s not a 5k speedster
Verdict: Upper rubbed, but fast for a cushioned shoe 79%
On’s Cloudflash is their flagship speed shoe (249g with a 5mm drop). On’s signature ‘elements’ replace the traditional solid foam outsole support for extra energy return when you toe-off. The super fine mesh upper is soft against the skin and structurally it’s fantastic, hugging your foot securely. We’re a big fan of the Cloudflash, reaching for them again and again for short-distance tri’s, but can appreciate the minimal support and high price may put off some. The lugs do provide added spring, but the ride is quite firm, so fast runners may be able to work with them for half-marathons and above too.
Buy from www.runnerinn.com
Verdict: Superb, aggressive shoe for fast runners 85%
Continue reading our guide to this year's race-day run shoes for men (2/3)