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For a triathlete, finding the perfect running shoes for both events and training can be an overwhelming task. With so many options and variations of shoes, how do you know which is most suitable for you?
Best Ranking Triathlon Running Shoes: The Guide
Well fear not, we have got some recommendations of which running shoes could be a good choice for you. Check out our best running shoes for triathletes reviewed:
1. Newton Running Distance VI
The Newton Running Distance VI is a good running shoe for neutral and stability runners looking for a shoe that is comfortable, breathable and light in weight. This shoe features Newtonium Foam Cushioning which is positioned close to the actual area where your foot sits, which provides a great deal of extra comfort.
It is also a flexible shoe due to the full flex zone which allows the shoe to effortlessly contour to the movement of your foot. The breathability is efficient because it features a lightweight mesh that allows air to flow freely in and out of the shoe, and has a seamless upper which contributes to increased ventilation.
Other great features of this shoe include: a high abrasion rubber outsole wedge which is placed on the heel, action and reaction technology and an improved midsole platform. Such features, as well as the shoes’ high-quality materials, make it a durable, stable and good option for triathletes.
2. ASICS Gel Noosa Tri 11
This Gel Noosa Tri 11 from ASICS is considerably lighter and more advanced than some of their other models. It also offers a great deal more comfort thanks to the shock absorbing gel system which is added to the forefront and rear areas of the shoe.
The middle of the shoe uses Solyte Foam which added extra cushioning whilst still remaining lightweight. This foam also works to be very responsive and offers a good amount of flexibility to the sole. It also has what’s called a Dynamic DouMax system which lessens the likelihood of pronation, which makes this a great shoe if you are a runner that tends to overpronate when you run.
The high-quality materials used in this shoe make it both breathable and durable, and it is also known for its good stability.
3. Hoka One One Cavu
This model from Hoka comes in at 7.7 oz for the men’s version and just 6.5 oz for women, making them effortlessly lightweight, super airy and easy to wear. Although they are very light, they don’t compromise when it comes to cushioning or comfort.
There’s a thick layer of foam which makes the shoe extra comfortable without making them heavier than they need to be. The shoe is stable enough to protect your feet and keep them in place, and they are thick enough to provide steady shock absorption and a good amount of energy return.
The midsole features Cavu’s ProFly which gives it a soft heel and a firmer forefront, which enables a good responsive push-off on every foot strike. The outsole features a very thick layer of R-MAT. R-MAT is a blend of both rubber and midsole foam, which makes it more lightweight and gives more cushioning than that of just rubber alone.
They are, however, a little stiffer than we would normally go for but overall this is a good pick for training triathletes who will be participating in tempo runs or short distance runs on a regular basis.
4. On Cloud X
The On Cloud X running shoe is lightweight, fast and has some pretty impressive features such as good stability and comfort. The sole of the shoe features cushioning units which adds buoyancy and also helps to keep debris and stones out of the underfoot.
There’s a good amount of stability due to the reinforced material that keeps your feet in position, even during more intense workouts or movements. Athletes can expect a smooth and glide-like run with this shoe.
Overall the On Cloud X will be best for athletes who are looking for a shoe that helps you perform at their fastest, and for those who practice up tempo runs or participate in a variety of running or cardio workouts for their triathlon training.
5. Brooks PureFlow 7
The Brooks PureFlow 7 is a good shoe for more experienced runners who want to ‘feel more connected to the ground’. The shoes are responsive, comfortable and have a good amount of cushion, whilst still remaining lightweight and airy. Flexibility and stability are other great features.
Brooks BioMoGo and DNA technologies are both used to create the sole of the shoe, which gives it a decent amount of flexibility and support. It also features DNA cushioning which makes it comfortable as well as providing a smooth running experience. With all of the above, this shoe also remains at an affordable price.
Category Winner For The Best Running Shoes For Triathletes
Out of our top 5 running shoes for triathletes, there always has to be a winner! Our number 1 running shoe has got to be the ASICS Gel Noosa Tri 11. And here’s why:
Not only is this shoe extremely comfortable, it is also really lightweight which allows you to run faster and perform better during both training and the triathlon event itself.
The shoe works to protect your feet as you run, and thanks to the shock absorbing gel system in the front and back of the shoe, your muscles will remain protected too.
The foam is very responsive too which helps to keep your feet stable and in place, and adds a good amount of ‘bounce’ to every foot strike.
It’s cushioning system and use of Solyte Foam adds comfort and allows the shoe to flex and mould to your foot’s position and movement which leads to a more optimum running performance overall.
Last but not least, it features elastic laces which not only look clean and slick, they also allow you to adjust them quickly and easily, speeding up transition time during an event.
Benefits of running shoes vs regular shoes: The Buying Guide
The reason behind why we have chosen the above 5 shoes as some of our most recommended is because they tick all the boxes of what running shoes should feature. These are the aspects that a running shoe should most definitely have to make it a worthy purchase, and to benefit your training and competing performance. Such features include the shoe being: lightweight, comfortable, flexible and breathable.
If you are fairly new to triathlon, then you may be wondering about whether or not specific triathlon running shoes will be a worthy purchase for your new adventure. How different are they to normal running shoes and why may they improve the performance of a triathlete?
Triathlon running shoes differ quite significantly compared to your average pair of running shoes. The shoes made especially for the sport include very specific features that help to achieve optimum speed, performance and comfort for triathletes during both training and their events.
In order to achieve good time during your race, you are going to need to conduct a speedy transition, and triathlon running shoes help you do just that.
How? They are generally much easier and quick to get on and off your feet for several reasons: they tend to open much wider and often use velcro with is of course more convenient than laces.
Triathlon shoes also normally have one big strap, or a big strap as well as a small strap nearer the toe area, which allows you to quickly open the shoe up widely, and insert your foot easily and most importantly – quickly.
Having no tongue convenient because it means there is no need for laces.
Some triathlon running shoes do actually have a tongue and where this is the case, they often have drawstring laces rather than velcro straps.
This feature is also effective for a fast transition as you won’t need to fiddle around with tying and untying laces, instead you simply pull the drawstring with one movement to loosen and tighten.
Water Drainage Holes
Wearing normal running shoes in wet conditions, or spilling your water on them at some point during your training or even an event, can lead to developing blisters.
And blisters are really not what you want when you’re competing in an important triathlon event, right?
As well as wet conditions or spilling your drink, your shoes are also bound to get a little wet after your swim, from the remains of soggy feet or the outcome of taking off your wetsuit.
As well as developing blisters, wet shoes also add unnecessary weight, which causing you to actually run slower. Triathlon shoes are all about being lightweight and airy, and added water or weight will prohibit you from performing at your best. That is why triathlon running shoes are designed to reduce the possibility of blisters or heavy shoes by adding drainage holes.
When you put your shoes on after the swim, the shoes’ drainage holes will instantly start to work by ridding your foot of the water, and wicking away or drying out any moisture whilst you start to run. This feature keeps added weight and blisters to a minimum.
The overall ventilation and breathability of triathlon running shoes is better than it is in the average running shoe too. This is partly to due with wicking away moisture and wetness again, but also helps to keep your feet cool and airy whilst running.
This feature is actually more useful than you may think. Triathlon running shoes generally have a loop that sits on the back of the heel which allows you to pull the shoe on much more easily.
Many triathlon running shoes feature a material lining inside the shoe which means you do not have to wear socks to have a comfortable running experience. This feature is effective because not only does it speed up transition time, it also eliminates odor and makes it easier to wick away moisture or dampness during the run.
And of course, triathlon running shoes are often significantly lighter in weight that normal running shoes. It is often the case that the lighter the shoe, the faster you run which makes triathlon shoes a great choice for enhancing your performance that little bit more.
What About Normal Running Shoes?
Those who are going to be using their shoes for multiple purposes may be more interested in running shoes. Running shoes will be better for getting to and from the event or training location and they have more cushioning.
They generally have more structure too which means more stability. This will be good for those who overpronate or supinate when running. Running shoes are often more affordable than tri shoes as well.
But of course everything has disadvantages, and these are the features that make normal running shoes not so effective. More cushioning means they often weight a little more than triathlon running shoes, so they could slow you down a little. Running shoes also tend to have laces which will slow you down during the transition.
Now that you are aware of all of the features and their benefits of triathlon specific shoes, and a bit about running shoes, you may still be pondering whether or not you really need to go for the triathlon shoes. Here’s what we think:
If you are a triathlete that only competes in triathlons now and again, then go for normal running shoes. Or if you don’t want to spend as much money or aren’t so concerned about achieving a PB at your next triathlon, then perhaps running shoes would be a better option for you too.
Why? Because you will save yourself some money and you will get much more wear out of them.
But if you are a serious triathlete who wants to shave off every second possible, then it should be triathlon shoes for you. If you participate in triathlons on a more regular basis, then triathlon running shoes will be an efficient and convenient purchase that could possibly transform your triathlon performance.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should be the weight of a shoe?
When it comes to picking the right running shoes for your triathlon race, it is imperative that is lightweight. Why? Because weight is directly correlated with performance. For example, a shoe that is lighter in weight requires significantly less energy to be exerted in every strike of the foot.
Minimising the use of energy per foot strike is really important because it will allow you to run a further distance before becoming lethargic. In turn, a heavier shoe will use up more energy in a shorter amount of time, meaning that your performance could become weakened far quicker.
In addition, a shoe that is lighter in weight also allows you to actually run faster. The shoes we have reviewed above are not overly lightweight that they skimp on other features though. All of the reviewed running shoes are both lightweight and comfortable, ensuring you can perform at your absolute best.
Just because a shoe has a good amount of cushioning doesn’t automatically mean that it is heavy. A great running shoe will be light without compromising on cushioning, support or comfort.
Making sure a shoe is comfortable
For triathletes like you, comfort is exceptionally important because you will be doing a lot of training in your shoes, and of course, you will be covering quite a fair distance when it comes to the actual triathlon event. Check this article to learn how to fit a shoe correctly.
The last thing you want is to be slowed down or prohibited by an uncomfortable shoe or irritation on your feet. An uncomfortable shoe will without a doubt have a negative effect on your overall performance. This is why all of the above focus on ensuring that the shoe has sufficient cushioning, and a good deal of support in the arch of the foot, as well as the heel and forefront.
If a shoe does not feature a sufficient amount of cushioning, then your heel or overall foot area taking all of the impact with each foot strike, which will result in discomfort but can also lead to more serious or painful injuries.
How flexible should my shoe be?
A running shoe must be flexible, it is a huge requirement. If your shoe does not move with your foot, then you could be in some trouble. Without proper flexibility, your foot strikes and overall running performance will suffer quite significantly with a weakened performance or even some pain or discomfort.
An ideal shoe needs to contour and move with the position and movement of your foot. To test a shoe’s flexibility, hold the heel with one hand and bend the toe area downwards. It should start to crease in the same position that your foot does. If these two areas aren’t aligned, then you will experience unnecessary stiffness.
How do i make sure my shoe is breathable?
A shoe which features good breathability and ventilation is equally important because it will allow your feet to stay cool, refreshed and as dry as possible.
Without good ventilation and the ability to let air flow in and out of the shoe, feet will overheat and become sweaty. This can often result in blisters, foot fungi, bad odor, rubbing and general irritation.
When you are training or competing, it is likely that you will be covering a good amount of distance and you are more than likely going to sweat. If your shoes don’t allow your feet to breathe, then you could experience some great discomfort that can easily be avoided by purchasing shoes that breathe.
How do I make sure my shoe is durable?
Finding a shoe that is durable is also an important factor because you when training for a triathlon, you will probably be participating in a lot of exercises which can be pretty testing on your feet.
A lot of factors will affect a shoe’s durability including what kind of materials are used, the thickness or material of the sole, the overall design, the amount of training you will be doing in your shoes, and so much more. It’s best to get the store clerk’s advice based on your running style and training regime.
Overall, when it comes to finding the best running shoes for triathletes, everyone is different. What suits you may not suit your competitor. But one thing is for certain, you must ensure that the shoes you are looking at feature all of the above aspects in order to find the most perfect running shoe for you.
Our best advice would be to visit several running stores and try on many different variations, designs, and brands of shoes. Make sure they abide to the rules we have discussed and take them for a test run on a treadmill or down the street to get a feel for how they fit. And always remember – durability, comfort, flexibility, breathability, and weight are key.