With the memory of days filled with turkey and beer fading fast, thoughts are turning to spring running goals - race day will soon be upon us, so there’s no better time to start thinking about what you’re going to put on your feet.
Racing shoes have never been more exciting, with arguably the best selection in years taking the running world by storm right now. We’ll thank those guys running around an Italian race track for starting the trend in innovation.
Whether you’re going for a new 5k PB, or tackling the marathon for the first (or fifth) time, there’s a race day shoe with your name on it, and we’re here to help you find it.
If you’re already running in an adidas shoe, you’re probably already familiar with the responsive yet bouncy cushion of the BOOST midsole, and the good news is both of their top offerings in racing flats use that same material.
Adidas Adios 4
For anything from a 5k to a marathon, the Adidas Adizero Adios is always a solid choice, and the 4th iteration of the shoe is already proving to be a bestseller. Lightweight in cushion and a minimal upper, the combination of the BOOST midsole and a stiffer ride makes sure you’re light on your feet for the ultimate in tried and tested racing flat.
If you’re dreaming of a big half or full marathon PB this year and already love the Adios but want to take it up a notch, enter the adidas Sub2. Originally designed by adidas to tackle the 2-hour marathon barrier, the light upper and classic stiffness of a traditional racing flat is paired with the feel of a BOOST midsole and a bigger stack height that you would find in many other flats.
The big difference between the Adios and the Sub2 is in the weight of the shoe which is shaved thanks to the lightweight version of BOOST midsole used, and is immediately noticeable when you put the shoe on. In addition, the Sub2 wraps the foot closer due to its minimal engineered mesh upper and thanks to adidas' ongoing partnership with Continental, the Sub2 grips better than some trail shoes. The Sub2 would be the perfect selection for most runners up to a half marathon, and for those used to a very lightweight flat, up to the marathon.
While we could wax lyrical all day about the virtues of the Vaporfly 4% Flyknit and its industry pushing qualities, the reality is they’re harder to come by than a sunny January day in Vancouver (instock now but likely not for long).
Vaporfly 4% Flyknit
Thankfully, there are plenty of other premium racing shoes coming out of the Nike camp right now.
With the addition of React foam in the new (Flyknit) version of the Zoom Fly, coupled with the switch to a full length carbon plate, it’s arguably now a shoe that you can both train and race in.
Zoom Fly Flyknit
The now trademark feeling of the carbon fibre plate keeps you on your toes and your turnover high, while the ample cushion is both responsive and comfortable, making it perfect for longer distances.
Pegasus 35 Turbo
If you’re a fan of the Pegasus 35 to log miles in, the Pegasus 35 Turbo shares the same silhouette as it's workhorse cousin but provides a lightweight and very responsive ride making it a natural choice to race in. We love the fact this shoe is very easy on the legs and notice less fatigue after longer runs with it.
Pegasus 35 Turbo
Using a combination of React and ZoomX (from the Vaporfly 4%) foams, the Turbo is softer than a traditional racing flat, but if you’re used to a plusher shoe and just want something a little lighter, the Turbo could be the one for you.
Floatride Run Fast Pro
Arguably the outlier of the running world in recent years, Reebok stormed back onto the scene in 2018 with the Floatride Run Fast Pro racing flat. At a mere 100g, it’s the lightest shoe on the market, and is a perfectly minimal option for track races, or roads up to 10k. A light and snappy midsole is made even faster thanks to the grippy pieces of TPU rubber injected into the 3mm drop outsole making for a near track spike feeling.
If you’re looking for a more versatile shoe to use for short to mid-distance racing, the Cloud X is worth taking a look at. Built on firm cushion and excellent ground feel, it makes a great racing shoe, and earns bonus points for being a great training and gym shoe too.
The precise heel fit and wider toe box means it fits most feet, and it feels like a premium shoe without the premium price tag. The feature we love the best is the plate the sits between the foot and midsole - when you get this shoe turning over at a nice consistent cadence it has an almost rolling sensation to it, as if it too wants to run.
The right pair of racing shoes can be a real confidence booster come race day, not to mention it may just provide your next big personal best.