"Super shoes" are a relatively recent development in the world of long-distance running, particularly for marathon runners. These shoes have gained significant attention and debate within the running community due to their potential to enhance performance. These shoes have come to prominence after being worn by record-breaking athletes in major marathons. It is becoming clear that these super shoes have contributed to faster race times.
For marathon runners, the choice to wear super shoes often depends on individual preferences, running style, and whether the shoes are permitted in a particular race. Runners should consider factors like comfort, performance improvement, and compliance with event rules when deciding whether to use these shoes for marathon racing.
Here are some key features of super shoes that makes them so super.
One of the defining features of super shoes is the embedded carbon-fiber plate in the midsole. This plate is designed to provide stiffness, support, and enhanced energy return. When a runner pushes off the ground, the plate stores and returns energy more efficiently, potentially improving running economy. Maximizing energy return with each stride allows runners to maintain pace and reduce fatigue, especially during the latter stages of a marathon.
Super shoes often incorporate advanced cushioning technologies, such as high-rebound foams, to reduce the impact on a runner's legs and improve comfort during long races.
Super shoes are typically lightweight, which reduces the energy required to lift the foot and improve the runner's overall efficiency.
The use of super shoes has generated controversy and debate in the running world. Critics argue that these shoes provide an unfair advantage and may alter the nature of the sport. Regulating bodies like World Athletics have introduced specific guidelines on shoe technology in an attempt to maintain a level playing field.
World Athletics recognize that there needs to be regulations about what is allowed and disallowed in terms of shoe designs, so that some athletes do not gain an unfair advantage. There are technical requirements about shoe construction, sole thicknesses, shape and ridges. New shoes or customizations of the shoes worn in major events need to be approved.
Recent Super Shoe News
- At the Chico Marathon in October 2023, Kelvin Kiptum broke the men's marathon record wearing the latest Nike carbon-plated super shoes, a prototype not yet available via retail. At the same event, Sifan Hassan won the women's race in the second-fastest-ever time, wearing the World Athletics-approved NikeDev163 prototype shoes.
- At the 2023 Berlin Marathon, Ethiopia's Tigst Assefa broke the women's world marathon record while wearing adidas' new super shoes, the Adios Pro Evo 1. These shoes cost about $1000 a pair, and are single use only.
Some Recent Super Shoes (2023)
- Nike Air Zoom Alphafly, e.g. Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% 2 shoe
- Adidas Adios Pro 3
- Puma Fast-R Nitro Elite
- ON Cloudboom Echo 3
- Saucony Endorphin Elite
- Brooks Hyperion Elite 2
Some Other Super Shoes
- Athletics Equipment
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