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.
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.
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.