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The Best Carbon Plate Running Shoes

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Just a few years ago, keen runners would line up at the start of races wearing stripped-back shoes that prioritised being lightweight above all else. You got just enough cushioning to make sure your legs didn’t fall off, but everything else was sacrificed.

These days, however, the preferred racing option for many is a shoe with an almost comically high stack of foam and a carbon plate in the midsole. New proprietary foams that are soft and springy but very light allow brands to cram a huge amount of them into a shoe without making it too heavy to race in, providing more comfort so your legs are fresher in the closing stages of a race, which makes more of a difference the longer the event is. At the elite level these shoes have led to records tumbling, and the same is true of PBs at amateur level.

After a couple of years in which the Nike Vaporfly line was the only show in town, in the form of first the Vaporfly 4% and then the NEXT%, most major brands released a carbon plate running shoe in 2020. Now in 2021 we’re seeing second generation models – some refine success stories, while others hit after an initial miss.

We’ve tested almost all the carbon plate shoes available, so we’ve gathered our impressions here, and linked to our longer reviews for each, to help you pick the right one for you. We’ve ordered the list alphabetically.

It’s worth noting that these shoes are rarely in stock for very long, so shopping for them can be a bit frustrating at times. It’s best to sign up for alerts on availability, check major online retailers like Runners Need (opens in new tab) and Sports Shoes (opens in new tab) regularly, and move fast when you do see the one you want in stock.


Shoes

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Reasons to buy

+
Relatively good value
+
Propulsive ride from EnergyRods
+
Bouncy Lightstrike Pro foam

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be unstable
-
Not as good for short races as some carbon shoes

The midsole of the Adios Pro 2 is full of innovative tech designed to help you run more efficiently. That includes two layers of Adidas’s bouncy Lightstrike Pro foam, a small carbon plate under the heel and five carbon-infused EnergyRods running under the forefoot to provide the propulsive feel that other brands produce with a full plate. It also features a midsole cut-out, which reduces weight, and an extremely slim layer of rubber on the outsole, which provides surprisingly good grip on the road.

The performance of the Pro 2 is impressively fast and comfortable, especially for longer events such as marathons, though it still falls short of the standards set by the Nike Vaporfly and Alphafly for our money. It is, however, significantly cheaper than those options – and many super-shoes in general – which, given that the level of performance is pretty close, makes the Adios Pro 2 great value for a carbon shoe.

Buy from Adidas (opens in new tab) | £180 | Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2 review


Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen 8 running shoes

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)
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Reasons to buy

+
Very light
+
More stable than carbon shoes
+
Fast ride for racing

Reasons to avoid

-
No carbon plate
-
Almost as expensive as carbon plate shoes

We’re not entirely sure that the EnergyRods in the midsole of the Takumi Sen 8 are actually made of carbon, because they are thinner and more flexible than the rods on the Adios Pro 2 and could be glass fibre. However, the end result is a similarly propulsive ride and the Takumi Sen 8 is certainly worth considering if you’re looking for a racing shoe packed with modern tech.

It is a little different to most super-shoes though: the stack is lower than the Adios Pro 2’s at 33mm compared with 39.5mm, and it’s also far lighter at 194g vs 231g. This makes the Takumi Sen 8 well suited to shorter events like 5K or 10K races, while the Adios Pro 2 offers more comfort and protection for half marathons and marathons. 

That said, the Pro 2 is still a great short-distance racer and if you already have a carbon shoe it’s not really worth picking up the Takumi Sen 8 just for shorter races. If you haven’t pulled the trigger on a high stack super-shoe and favour short events, however, it’s a fantastic new option to consider. 

Buy from Adidas (opens in new tab) | £170 | Adidas Takumi Sen 8 review


Shoes

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Reasons to buy

+
Great ground feel
+
More protection than a racing flat

Reasons to avoid

-
Harsher ride than high-stack shoes
-
Midsole foam lacks bounce
-
Carbon plate under forefoot only

The sleek design of the Metaracer is more like a traditional racer, and the shoe’s carbon plate is placed under (rather than within) the midsole foam, and only at the forefoot – it’s not a full-length plate. The Metaracer is a cracking option for speed sessions, and although it lacks the cushioning we’d like for longer races, it’s a top choice for 5Ks.

Buy men’s from Asics (opens in new tab) | Buy women’s from Asics (opens in new tab) | £180 | Asics Metaracer review


Shoes

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Reasons to buy

+
Fast, efficient ride
+
Lightweight design
+
Great for short and long races

Reasons to avoid

-
Lower stack than 40mm limit
-
Expensive
-
Outsole can wear quickly

The Metaspeed Sky is the first true super-shoe from Asics, pairing a full-length carbon plate in the midsole with a beefy stack of a new soft and bouncy foam, FF Blast Turbo. Asics has also released the companion Metaspeed Edge (opens in new tab), and the two shoes are designed to complement different running styles. The Edge is for shufflers who increase their cadence and stride length when speeding up, while the Sky is more for bounding runners who only increase their stride length.

While we’re shufflers rather than bounders, we still loved running in the Metaspeed Sky, which is fast enough for both short and long races, while still having enough cushioning for marathons and long training sessions. Its performance matches the versatility and responsiveness of the Vaporfly, with both of those shoes coming a close second to the Alphafly in the marathon shoe stakes. The greater stability of the Metaspeed Sky and Vaporfly does give them an edge over shorter races though.

Buy men’s from Asics (opens in new tab) | Buy women’s from Asics (opens in new tab) | £225 | Asics Metaspeed Sky review


Shoes

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Reasons to buy

+
Big improvement on original Hyperion Elite
+
Fast and stable ride
+
Carbon plate for improved efficiency

Reasons to avoid

-
Midsole foam less soft and bouncy than rivals
-
Collar can rub the achilles
-
High price pits it against better racing shoes

The first Hyperion Elite was not a great shoe, being much firmer than most carbon shoes and only performing at its best for 80-160km according to Brooks. However, the Hyperion Elite 2 is a great shoe. The key change is the midsole foam used: the nitrogen-infused DNA Flash foam is responsive, quick and comfortable, and pairing it with a carbon plate produces a fast ride alongside the support you need to finish races strong. The Elite 2 also feels more like a traditional racing shoe than the other high-stack options.

Buy from Brooks (opens in new tab) | £210 | Brooks Hyperion Elite 2 review


shoes

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Reasons to buy

+
Fairly versatile ride
+
Stable for a carbon shoe

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Heavy and not great for fast running
-
Carbon plate feels unnecessary

The Bondi X offers a different experience from most carbon plate shoes by taking its cues from the classic Hoka Bondi, a maximally cushioned shoe built primarily for comfort rather than speed. It’s a more stable carbon plate option that works best for everyday training and we found it performed at its best for easy to steady running, rather than anything particularly quick thanks partly to the bulky design. Whether you actually need a carbon plate shoe for that kind of running is unclear, but if you’re keen on the idea of investing in a carbon shoe but want something a little less aggressive than the carbon racers most brands make, then the Bondi X is an interesting option.

Buy men’s from Hoka (opens in new tab) | Buy women’s from Hoka (opens in new tab) | £180 | Hoka One One Bondi X review


Shoes

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Reasons to buy

+
Stable for a carbon shoe
+
Can handle both training and racing

Reasons to avoid

-
Dull ride that lacks bounce
-
Extended heel is awkward
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Hoka and others make better carbon shoes

The first Carbon X was one of the more stable and durable carbon plate running shoes. Built for road ultramarathons, it could handle training as well as racing. The X2 has the same purpose, but Hoka has made some significant changes to the shoe, not all of which have worked out for the better in our eyes. The X was uncomfortably stiff for some runners, so the softer ride of the X2 is an improvement. However, the extended heel is a little odd, and makes the shoe awkward for running at slow paces, limiting its versatility.

Although it is still a solid shoe for faster running, there are better carbon options such as Hoka’s own Rocket X, which is faster, cheaper, lighter and more comfortable. The original Carbon X benefited from the lack of carbon options when it was launched, but now there are so many great shoes with plates that it’s hard to recommend the X2.

Buy men’s from Hoka (opens in new tab) | Buy women’s from Hoka (opens in new tab) | £160 | Hoka Carbon X2 review


Hoka Carbon X3 running shoes

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Hoka One One Carbon X3

Reasons to buy

+
A stable, versatile carbon option
+
Cheaper than many carbon shoes

Reasons to avoid

-
Midsole foam lacks bounce
-
Not as fast as true super-shoes
-
Upper fit can be sloppy

The third version of Hoka’s long-distance carbon racing shoe uses a slightly softer and bouncier midsole foam, improving the ride. It’s also more stable and comfortable to use for regular training than many carbon super-shoes. However, it lacks the top-end speed of the best carbon racing shoes, and wouldn’t be our pick for races up to marathon distance, though it might be better suited to running road ultramarathons thanks to its more stable design. One criticism we do have of the latest version of the shoe is that the fit of the new knit upper can be a little sloppy when running fast, but overall the X3 is an upgrade on the X2. The Carbon X3 will go on sale on 1st March.

Sign up for email alerts (opens in new tab) | £160 | Hoka Carbon X3 review (opens in new tab)


Shoes

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Reasons to buy

+
Fast and smooth ride
+
Cheaper than most carbon shoes
+
Good for training and racing

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as fast and efficient as top carbon racers
-
Some will find it too firm for longer races

This is a carbon shoe that bucks the trend in two very welcome ways. First, it costs £140, which is substantially less than most top-flight options. Second, it’s always in stock! The even better news is that the Rocket X is a very impressive performer as well, with a lightweight design and a rocker in the midsole that help you to hold your pace in speedy training sessions and races.

The ride is firmer than you’ll find on soft, higher-stack shoes like the Vaporfly, but it is more cushioned than Hoka’s Carbon X. The Rocket X is also comfortable enough to use for long training runs and races all the way up to the marathon.

Because of the Rocket X’s price and availability, many runners will feel more comfortable using it for a lot of training, rather than just saving it for race day as you might with a £200 shoe that’s almost never in stock. So while some of the other super-shoes might have it beaten on all-out speed, the Rocket X has far broader appeal.

Buy from Hoka (opens in new tab) (unisex) | £140 | Hoka One One Rocket X review


See related


Shoes

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Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable, bouncy midsole
+
Tremendously fast
+
Works well for training and racing

Reasons to avoid

-
A little unstable
-
Heavier and less agile than some carbon racing shoes

The most comfortable carbon plate racing shoe we’ve tried, the RC Elite 2 has a huge stack of soft FuelCell foam that actually makes it enjoyable to use for easy training runs as well, though we wouldn’t recommend wearing the soles down on junk miles given that it costs £210. The shoe really comes to life when running at pace though, when the springy foam combines with the carbon plate to make it feel easier to hold efforts for longer. The RC Elite 2 is especially good for longer events like half marathons and marathons, whereas its larger size make it less suited to 5Ks and 10Ks when nimbler, lighter options like the Vaporfly NEXT% 2 or Metaspeed Sky work better. However, the RC Elite 2 is certainly one of the very best marathon options for runners seeking a blend of comfort and speed.

Buy men’s from Sports Shoes (opens in new tab) | Buy women’s from Sports Shoes (opens in new tab) | £209.99 | New Balance FuelCell RC Elite v2 review


Shoes

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Reasons to buy

+
Soft and bouncy midsole
+
Carbon plate for extra pop
+
Versatile option for training and racing

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Heavier than most carbon racers
-
Can be unstable

Although it’s billed as the training partner to the forthcoming New Balance FuelCell RC Elite racing shoe, the TC is a speedy shoe in its own right. New Balance’s FuelCell foam is one of the best around and the TC, which is designed as a training shoe, is built to last a lot of miles. We found it was fast enough for speed sessions while still being comfortable on easy and long runs, but the high, soft stack means it’s probably not wise to use it for all your training, just because it’s not the most stable.

Buy men’s from New Balance (opens in new tab) | Buy women’s from New Balance (opens in new tab) | £180 | New Balance FuelCell TC review


Shoes

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Reasons to buy

+
Fast, springy ride
+
Protective over long races
+
Improves running efficiency

Reasons to avoid

-
Not very stable
-
Expensive
-
Heavier than some carbon shoes

The new top dog from Nike has a lower drop (difference in height between heel and toe) than the Vaporfly at 4mm compared with 8mm, and its stack of ZoomX cushioning is even more exaggerated. But the most marked difference in the shoes is the Air Zoom pods under the forefoot of the Alphafly, which provide more punch to your toe-off than ZoomX foam alone. The extra weight, size and cost of the Alphafly may mean that many runners still prefer the Vaporfly, but for our money the Alphafly is the best marathon shoe available right now, and lightning-fast over shorter races too.

Buy men’s from Nike (opens in new tab) | Buy women’s from Nike (opens in new tab) | £259.95 | Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% review


Shoes

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Reasons to buy

+
Carbon plate for added propulsion
+
More durable than a racing shoe

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy when racing or doing speedwork
-
Awkward, firm ride

The Zoom Fly is the training partner shoe to the Vaporfly and Alphafly, and is also billed as a racer in its own right, offering a cheaper option than Nike’s other carbon plate shoes. The React foam used in the midsole is more robust and stable than Nike’s ZoomX, but it doesn’t deliver anything like as fast and impressive a ride. The Zoom Fly 4 is a solid shoe for long runs, but it didn’t really wow us with its speed or versatility, and the Tempo NEXT% with its carbon-composite plate is the better fast training option in Nike’s line-up.

Buy from Sports Shoes (opens in new tab) | £144.95 | Nike Zoom Fly 4 review


Shoes

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Reasons to buy

+
New upper is more comfortable
+
Springy ZoomX midsole with carbon plate
+
Great for races of any distance

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Some runners find it unstable

Despite all the new kids on the carbon plate block, there’s a good case for sticking with the original kingpin, especially since Nike has dropped the price of the Vaporfly from £240 for the original to £210 for the latest version.

The Vaporfly NEXT% 2 has the same engine as the original NEXT%, with identical midsoles and outsoles. The big stack of ZoomX cushioning paired with a carbon plate provides a lightning-fast ride that’s also slightly more stable than that of Nike’s Alphafly.

What’s been tinkered with on the NEXT% 2 is the upper, where a breathable knit replaces the original’s VaporWeave material. This change brings more room and comfort to the toe box, but we did find that this new design rubbed at the heel. Nothing major, but worth thinking about if you’re planning to use it to run marathons.

Buy men’s from Nike (opens in new tab) | Buy women’s from Nike (opens in new tab) | £209.95 | Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2 review


Shoes

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Reasons to buy

+
Efficient ride that will help in long races
+
Carbon plate and rocker

Reasons to avoid

-
Outsole lacks traction
-
Upper caused some pain
-
Expensive for a trail shoe

Given the success of high-performance road shoes with carbon plates, it was only a matter of time before the technology hit the trails as well. It’s perhaps unexpected to see The North Face leading the charge, though, since it’s not a brand primarily associated with running shoes.

The Vectiv’s plate works with a rocker design and a generous stack of bouncy foam in the midsole to help protect your legs and propel you forwards during off-road runs. That’s similar to the tech in most carbon road shoes, but there are tweaks to make it better for the trails. The foam is not very squishy for one, because you need more stability on uneven ground, and there’s a panel in the midfoot to further increase stability. There are also other standard trail shoe features like a toe cap and an outsole with 3.5mm lugs for extra grip, though it’s worth nothing the Flight Vectiv is really built for harder trails – we found it soon came unstuck in the mud.

We’re not convinced the performance benefits of a carbon trail shoe will match those you get on the road, where your stride is more consistent and the efficiency gains from a plate are clear. We also experienced some foot pain when using the shoe, to the point where we had to halt one run to change shoes. However, assuming you don’t experience that problem, the Flight Vectiv is an enjoyable and fast shoe for long trail runs in particular, and sets the standard for the many carbon off-road shoes we expect to follow in its wake.

Buy from The North Face (opens in new tab) | £180 | The North Face Flight Vectiv review


Shoes

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Reasons to buy

+
Good ground feel

Reasons to avoid

-
Harsh ride
-
No real benefit over a racing flat
-
Many better options

Another relatively low-stack carbon shoe, the Cloudboom has a plate stuck between two layers of On’s distinctive pod cushioning. The Cloudboom provides a firm ride that performs well in speed sessions and short races, but in our eyes it isn’t ideal for races over 10K in length and it doesn’t quite have the pace of the Metaracer over short distances.

Buy men’s from On (opens in new tab) | Buy women’s from On (opens in new tab) | £170 | On Cloudboom review


Shoes

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Reasons to buy

+
Rocker creates an efficient ride
+
More stable than most carbon shoes
+
Good ground feel

Reasons to avoid

-
Firmer than many will like for longer events
-
Midsole foams less impressive than other brands
-
High price puts it up against better shoes

The Echo is On’s third attempt at a carbon shoe and it’s easily the best. It’s more comfortable than the original Cloudboom and Cloudflash, with a higher stack of cushioning, and thanks to the enhanced rocker and extra curve on the plate in the midsole it also provides a smoother, more efficient ride. It’s still firmer than most carbon shoes, but avoids being too harsh and runners who don’t like the squishy, unstable feel of shoes like the Vaporfly might well enjoy the Echo more. However, the Echo’s £210 price makes it hard to recommend when the more impressive Vaporfly 2 and New Balance RC Elite 2 cost the same, and the Endorphin Pro 2 is £20 cheaper while offering a similar ride.

Buy men’s from On (opens in new tab) | Buy women’s from On (opens in new tab) | £210 | On Cloudboom Echo review


Shoes

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On Cloudflash

Reasons to buy

+
Firm and fast feel

Reasons to avoid

-
Ride is harsh
-
Heavy despite lack of cushioning
-
Only suitable for very short runs

On’s other carbon racer, the Cloudboom, is for events longer than 10K, marking the updated Cloudflash as its stand-out shoe for 5K and 10K. The Cloudflash has always been a firm, responsive racing option, and the addition of a carbon plate accentuates this characteristic. Unfortunately the plate has added weight too and despite the minimal look of the shoe our UK 9 weighs 223g, which is heavier than the Vaporfly and RC Elite, and not far off the Alphafly, Endorphin Pro and Adios Pro. All of those shoes provide a lot more protection and cushioning too, so the Cloudflash is really only for runners who delight in a firm ride. Even then, it’s one to reserve for short speed sessions and races – we found our legs were pretty beaten up after running in it for around 20km over two consecutive days.

Buy men’s from On (opens in new tab) | Buy women’s from On (opens in new tab) | £160


Shoes

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Puma Deviate Nitro

Reasons to buy

+
More comfort than full carbon racer
+
Versatile ride for training
+
Great outsole

Reasons to avoid

-
Painful heel rub at times
-
Heavier than racing shoes

The Deviate Nitro is billed more as a training shoe than a pure racer – Puma also has the much lighter Deviate Elite carbon shoe in its ranks – but is certainly quick enough to race in. It’s also more versatile than most carbon shoes, with the nitrogen-infused midsole foam offering a comfortable ride for regular training as well.

We would recommend it highly, in fact, if not for the flawed heel design that we and many other runners have found can result in unpleasant rubbing on the achilles. If the shoe does this to you, it clearly becomes a far less enticing prospect to wear regularly or in long races.

Buy men’s from Puma (opens in new tab) | Buy women’s from Puma (opens in new tab) | £140


shoes

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Reasons to buy

+
Lighter than most carbon shoes
+
Bouncy and fast ride
+
More stable than max-stack super shoes

Reasons to avoid

-
Higher-stack shoes offer more protection
-
It may be too firm for longer races
-
Almost never in stock

While the Deviate Nitro is built to handle training as well as racing, there is no such split purpose with the Elite, which is a thoroughbred designed for speed and speed alone. The shoe has a nitrogen-infused PEBA midsole, as opposed to the nitrogen-infused EVA Puma uses across the rest of the Nitro range, and this makes the Elite lighter (a mere 201g in UK 9) and provides more pop underfoot.

The shoe feels a little firmer than higher-stack carbon shoes – the Elite is listed at 36mm, but seems more stable and closer to the ground than that – but you do still get the leg-protecting properties of the cushioning, combined with the propulsion of the plate. It’s a fast and enjoyable ride, and in our tests we found the Elite didn’t rub the achilles in the same way the Deviate Nitro did.

At the moment the Elite is hard to find in the UK, with only a smattering of sizes available if you shop around. When in stock, though, it’s an appealing option for those who want a cushioned carbon shoe but have found the likes of the Vaporfly too soft and high-stacked.

Buy from Puma (opens in new tab) | £170 | Puma Deviate Nitro Elite review


Shoes

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Reasons to buy

+
Speedroll geometry creates an efficient ride
+
More stable than other carbon shoes
+
Cheaper than many rivals

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as bouncy as many carbon super-shoes
-
Firm ride makes it best for short races

The changes made on the Endorphin Pro 2 compared with the original shoe are minimal, which is fine by us given that the Pro was one of our favourite new carbon racers of 2020. The Endorphin has a firmer, smoother ride that’s less bouncy than most super-shoes, but it’s still lightning fast and feels more natural and stable.

The midsole contains Saucony’s PEBA-based PWRRUN PB foam combined with a carbon plate, and Saucony’s Speedroll rocker, which promotes better efficiency as you roll through your footstrike. If you can find a reduction on the first Pro, then we say go for that, since the changes to the second version are restricted to tweaks – the fit around the heel is slightly more secure, and there’s a new loop next to the laces to help you lock down the midfoot.

Buy men’s from Sports Shoes (opens in new tab) | Buy women’s from Sports Shoes (opens in new tab) | £190 | Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 review


Shoes

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Reasons to buy

+
Very light and snappy
+
More comfortable than classic racing flats
+
Legal stack height for longer track races

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as bouncy as many carbon super-shoes
-
Firm ride makes it best for short races

The Speed Elite Hyper sits between old-school racing flats and today’s high-stack super shoes, but feels more like the former underfoot. The stack height is 23mm, which is low enough to use for track races over 800m and a far cry from the 40mm limit many carbon shoes bump up against.

There is a carbon plate but only under the forefoot, which stops the ride being too harsh despite the relative lack of foam. That foam is Skechers’ Hyperburst material, which is a nitrogen and carbon dioxide-infused EVA. It’s very light – the Speed Elite weighs just 180g in a UK 9 – and has plenty of pop, but feels firmer than the soft foams you’ll find in shoes like the Nike Vaporfly and New Balance RC Elite v2.

While it will be too firm and minimal for most to use for a half marathon or marathon, the Speed Elite Hyper is a lightweight option for short races and speed sessions.

Buy from Sports Shoes (opens in new tab) | £161.99 (Currently reduced to £129.99) | Skechers GoRun Speed Elite Hyper review

No Longer Available

Shoes

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Adidas released the Adizero Pro, a relatively low-stack carbon plate shoe, early in 2020, but it's the similarly named Adizero Adios Pro that is the brand’s real first attempt to rival Nike’s Vaporfly. Within the high stack of Lightstrike Pro cushioning are five carbon EnergyRods that line up with the metatarsal bones, along with a small carbon plate under the heel. We found this design results in a more stable ride than a single plate, while still being very fast even over short distances. It’s longer races where the shoe excels, though, and it’s a contender for the crown of best marathon shoe.

Adidas Adizero Adios Pro review


Shoes

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The Carbon X is one of the most stable and durable carbon plate running shoes, which makes it a great training shoe, especially if you’re doing a lot of long fast runs. It’s not as all-out quick as other high-stack shoes, but the stability of the ride means it’s a better pick for runners who pronate – who would be likely to struggle with softer options like the Alphafly. The Carbon X is also an option for ultramarathons on the road, if that’s your bag.

Hoka Carbon X review


Shoes

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Given how good New Balance’s FuelCell TC fast training shoe is, we expected big things from the RC Elite racer, and it did not disappoint. The shoe is light – the only shoe lighter on this list is the Vaporfly NEXT% – and seriously fast, with responsive FuelCell foam to cushion the ride so you don’t feel the plate. The Dynaride outsole is made up of small triangular studs that offer impressive grip on wet roads and give the RC Elite a unique advantage over other carbon shoes – most of the competition hardly excel when it comes to grip on sharp turns.

The RC Elite is the shoe that’s come the closest to the performance of Nike’s Vaporfly and Alphafly. If you’re looking for a top-quality racer for any distance from 5K to the marathon and don’t fancy a swoosh on your shoe, it’s your best bet.

New Balance FuelCell RC Elite review


Shoes

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The latest version of the shoe which started it all. Nike’s Vaporfly NEXT% still holds its own against the new options on the market by being the lightest high-stack carbon shoe available – and by being incredibly quick, of course. Nike’s ZoomX foam is light and outrageously bouncy, and the Vaporfly benefits from being a little more stable than the newer Alphafly. If you own the Vaporfly already there’s no real need to upgrade, especially if you mainly race 5K to half marathon distance.

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% review


Shoes

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Like the Nike shoes, the Endorphin Pro uses a foam made out of the material PEBA in the midsole and pairs it with a carbon plate, but beyond those similarities it’s a very different shoe to the Vaporfly and Alphafly. The Speedroll design makes a huge difference, helping your foot roll from heel to toe incredibly smoothly, and while the Endorphin Pro isn’t as soft and bouncy like other high-stack shoes, it certainly helps you to maintain a fast pace over long distances. It also feels more natural than the Nike shoes and is more stable on sharp turns.

Saucony Endorphin Pro review

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.