The best carbon plate running shoes for racing and training
When Nike debuted the carbon-plated Vaporfly 4% back in 2017, its winning combination of a high stack of lightweight foam, carbon plate and stripped back uppers, revolutionised performance running shoes. With these new super shoes, runners no longer needed to sacrifice cushioning for weight savings while racing and chasing peak performances.
The shoes that followed – the Nike Vaporfly Next% and the Alphafly Next% – set the bar so high that it led the World Athletics Association to change the regulations on what constitutes a race legal shoe, setting limits on the amount of foam you could have underfoot.
For a long time, Nike seemed to have the carbon market all to itself. But it was only a matter of time before the other big running brands joined the race. In 2020, we’ve seen a cascade of carbon shoes as Adidas, New Balance, Saucony, On and others play catch up, putting out their take on the carbon plate supershoes, to rival the Nikes.
Love them or hate them, super shoes are here to stay. And if you’ve decided to join the revolution, here are the best carbon plate running shoes you can buy right now.
If you’re looking for good regular training shoes, or you’re running on a tighter budget, you might also want to read our guides to the best running shoes. Plus we’ve tested and selected the best running watches.
What are the best carbon plate running shoes in 2021?
Despite the new competition, if you’re racing anything from a 10km to a marathon, the Nike Air ZoomX Alphafly Next% (£260) remain the best carbon plate running shoes you can lace up. That huge stack of responsive ZoomX foam, the foot-long carbon plate and those new forefoot AirPods pack the most punch at top speeds.
View the Alphafly Next% for £260 on Nike
Our pick for the budget-friendly carbon shoe, the Adios Pro (from £170) are by no means cheap but they’re significantly less than Nike’s flagship shoes. Ideal if you’re looking for a carbon shoe that’s a little more versatile, subtle and forgiving when your form starts to fade.
View the Adizero Adios Pro for £170 on Adidas
If you’re not keen on the in-your-face design and elevated ride of the chunkier carbon racers, the Elite 2 (from £190) runs – and looks – more like a regular running shoe. It’s also more durable than most. And that makes it our recommendation for the best training-racing carbon shoe combo.
Published at Mon, 24 May 2021 16:30:00 +0000