Unless you entered the world of triathlon and running yesterday, chances are you’ve heard a lot about carbon shoes. These have taken the sport by storm over the past few years, and today you’d be hard-pressed to find a professional runner whose shoes aren’t equipped with a carbon plate.
Although the carbon plated shoe revolution started with the world’s elite, that doesn’t mean it’s just for the pros. Whether you’re working on completing your first sprint triathlon or training for your 10th Kona appearance, carbon shoes are an investment every triathlete should consider, because you don’t need to break world records to benefit from technology.
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A short history of carbon plated shoes
The carbon plated shoe is not a new idea – many companies have been toying with the idea of including a carbon plate in the shoe’s midsole for decades. However, it wasn’t until 2017 that Nike finally cracked the formula and changed the game forever with the introduction of the Vaporfly, which featured a full-length carbon plate. Suddenly, athletes wearing the Nike Vaporfly began to dominate races around the world, not only beating their competitors of the day, but also smashing world records.
The first and largest, albeit unofficial, record for the Vaporfly was recorded in Italy in 2017, when Kenyan Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge ran a marathon of 2:00:25 (the official world record at the epoch was 2:02:57). Kipchoge has since set the official world record for the marathon (2:01:39) and an unofficial world record (1:59:40), both of which he ran in – you guessed it – shoes carbon plated.
Ever since Nike introduced the Vaporfly, every major shoe brand has released their own line of carbon plated runners, and they will only continue to produce these record breaking shoes. The Vaporfly and its competitors may have only been available to the best of the best at first, but thanks to this arms race that every shoe company is now involved in, carbon-plated runners can be worn by anyone. , and they’re definitely worth buying if you’re looking for a new running shoe.
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Why should you go for carbon plate
Triathletes are obsessed with finding ways to go faster. You’ve spent countless hours perfecting your swimming style to shave precious seconds on race day. You’ve tested and retested nutrition plans to help you cross the finish line faster. You even shaved your legs to be as streamlined as possible, despite what your non-triathlete friends say when they see you in shorts. So, having done all of this and more in the name of speed, why would you do not wearing carbon plated shoes?
To think that carbon plated shoes are only for professionals is just silly at this point. To ignore this shoe revolution just because you’re an amateur triathlete would be like opting for a mountain bike race in an Ironman (even if you have enough money to buy a triathlon bike) and saying, “Aero bars are reserved. to the elites, I’m going to stick with this ride.
Sure, one thing might be holding you back the money, but after being on the market for a few years now, carbon plated shoes aren’t outrageously expensive anymore. Sure, there are some that would still dent your bank account, but in general, shoes with carbon plates cost about the same as those without. With that in mind, if you’re considering buying a new pair of running shoes, you might as well go with the faster of the two options.
Ultimately, you have to realize that we are living in the golden age of shoe technology. Shoes are getting faster and faster every year, and they are available to everyone. If you want to go faster and you’ve already checked all the other boxes, it’s probably time to go carbon. You will not regret it.
This story originally appeared in the March 2022 issue of Triathlon Canada magazine