What is a super shoe?
The term “super shoes” has been prevalent in the shoe industry over the past two or three years and have now been on the feet of millions worldwide.
So, what are they? And what makes them so special?
Firstly, the moniker is a bit far fetched. Super shoes won’t make you fly or give the wearer superhuman abilities. They are shoes designed to make you marginally faster over longer distances and reduce fatigue in your lower legs and feet.
Common components of super shoes are:
- Carbon plates or rods placed in the midsole of shoes to provide additional propulsion
- Super foams which provide a supremely cushioned and responsive ride, more so than the traditional foams of old.
- Minimal outsole materials
- The upper commonly utilises very thin meshes or lightweight knits.
What are the best super shoes?
Every major running company now has at least one (or two) super shoes on the market.
- NIKE: Vaporfly Next% and Alphafly
- ASICS: Metaspeed Sky and Edge
- ADIDAS: sells the Prime X and Adios Pro’s
- brands such as Hoka One One, New Balance, Brooks and ON have also released their version of a super shoe.
Current research has indicated that the Nike Vaporfly followed closely by the Alphafly and the Asics Metaspeed Sky provides the best running economy for users compared to four other super shoes currently on the market by other companies.
Should I buy a pair?
If you are an avid runner who will want to make improvements on your PB times from distances of 10km and above. Go for gold. Super shoes are a great tool to reach your physical limits and more importantly they look great! And looking cool surely makes you go faster, right?
However, if you are at the start of your running journey it would potentially do more harm than good. For starters, these super shoes can be highly unstable at slower paces which can lead to gait instability putting you at higher risk of sustaining a running injury. Furthermore, due to their softer foams and quest for peak performance, a lot of super shoes are not as durable as a runner that is designed to be a daily trainer. For shoes that start at $300 (AUD) you are better off saving that money when you are starting your running journey on other shoes that will not only be more accommodative to a broader range of running paces but also last a lot longer too.