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Carbon Plated Running Shoe Resource Page


The current trend in racing shoes has been toward super foams and carbon fiber plates.
Although plates have been used in the past, their popularity has surged. A new age of fast shoes has come about and now a variety of companies have released their products (some in small batches). For the first time (almost ever) there is an interest from the general public (and not just the competitive runners) in finding the fastest shoe to get them across the finish line. We at Doctors of Running thought it would be helpful to have a guide to all the current models to help you choose if and which one may be right for you.


About this Page
The following page features all the currently available/soon to be available carbon plated shoes we have discussed at Doctors of Running. This feature is updated on a regular basis when new shoes arrive and are reviewed at Doctors of Running

Additional Resources

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Carbon Plated Shoes
From A to Z, a list of carbon plated shoes we've looked at at Doctors of Running to date. Only the latest version in the series is available (for example Saucony Endorphin Pro 2).


361 Flame

REVIEW


361 Flame
Price: $160

Weight: 7.7 oz (men's size 9), not provided (women's size 8)Measured Weight Men's Size 10: 
Stack Height: 32 mm / 24 mm (not including insole)
Drop: 8 mm
Classification: Carbon Fiber Racing Shoe

The 361 Flame is a "budget" carbon fiber racing shoe that was designed with enough durability for daily training. A secure upper in the heel and midfoot is paired with a very wide forefoot that allows plenty of room for toe splay for those who want it. A firmer ride with one of the highest levels of stability of all of the carbon plate racing shoes occurs due to a (overly) rigid plate. The transition will be too firm and rigid for most people to daily train in, but will work well as an aggressive but stable 5k to half marathon racer. For those with wider feet or wanting a wide forefoot paired with a very stable and rigid ride, the 361 Flame is a good option at a more friendly price compared to other shoes in this category.

Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2
REVIEW
| SHOP

 
 
Weight: 8.0 oz / 226 g (men's size 9/women's size 10.5 - Unisex sizing)Measured Weight US Men's Size 10: 8.5 oz
Stack Height: 39 mm / 30.5 mm
Drop: 8.5 mm
Classification: Maximal Racing Shoe

The Adidas Adios Pro 2 is an elite racing option for races 5k and up. The shoe certainly carries a little bit of weight to it for the racing category but after seeing the success of the Alphafly and all of the other marathon racing shoes, 8 ounces really isn't anything too crazy. The Lightstrike Pro and energy rod midsole provide for a very bouncy ride throughout without being overly soft or unstable. This certainly is a racing or workout only type of shoe. Everything about this shoe is geared towards performance. Whether it is the cutouts in the midsole, hardly existent outsole, or incredibly thin upper this is a racing option that is ready to roll with the best of them.

Adidas Avanti Tokyo
REVIEW | SHOP

Adidas Adizero Avanti Tokyo
Price: $149.95

Weight: 5.6 oz / 159 g (men's size 9) Not Provided (women's size 8)
Stack Height: Not Provided
Drop: Not Provided
Classification: Distance Track Spike
 
The Adidas Adizero Avanti TYO is for those wanting a track spike with extra protection. Designed with inspiration from Adidas's road racing shoes, the Avanti TYO features a full length Lightstrike Pro midsole and glass fiber rods. A thin but secure upper sits up top, providing a solid fit that drains well enough to handle both dry and wet track events. Best for distance races from 3k-10k, the Avanti TYO is both snappy and protective for a track spike.

Adidas Adizero Prime X
REVIEW | SHOP

 

Adidas Adizero Prime X
Price: $249.95 at Running Warehouse

Weight: Not Provided  (men's size 9) Not Provided (women's size 8)
Measured Weight Men's US size 9.5: 9.6 oz / 272 g
Stack Height: 50 mm / 40 mm
Drop: 10 mm
Classification: Ultra Max Stack Height Training Shoe

The Adidas Adizero Prime X is a long distance training/uptempo shoe that provides a smooth ride, a super high stack height and two layers of carbon infused rods and carbon blades. With a 50 mm of Lighstrike Pro in the heel, this is the largest stack height of any known running shoe on the market. A wider but super thin upper provides plenty of room in the toe box while still providing a secure heel. The fit is actually slightly big, so many people may want to consider going down a half size. The ride is the smoothest of any of the super shoes on the market. Despite the numerous stiffening agents in the midsole, the triple layers of Lightstrike Pro and the significant rocker provides a very natural feeling ride at recovery, easy and uptempo paces. Despite the DNA, the Prime X is too large to be used as a racing shoe for most below marathon distances and instead serves as a unique training option/companion to other super shoes.

Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen 8
REVIEW | SHOP


Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen 8
Price: $180

Weight: 6.8 oz / 192 g (men's size 9/women's size 10 - unisex sizing)  
Stack Height: 33 mm / 27 mm
Drop: 6 mm
Classification: Racing Flat

The Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen 8 is a highly cushioned but lightweight 5k/10k racing flat. Featuring a performance upper modeled after the preferences of elite Japanese distance runners (wider forefoot) and a lightweight but surprisingly high stack of Lighstrike Pro, the Takumi Sen 8 is light enough for 5k-10k racing for most, but those who are used to the more traditional bare-bones racing flats will be able to take this much farther. Continuing to use carbon rods that are thinner and provide more flexibility than other models, the Adidas Takumi Sen 8 provides something a little different than what has been on the market recently.


Asics Magic Speed
REVIEW | SHOP



Weight: 8.1 oz / 230 g  (men's size 9)  6.5 oz / 184 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 29 mm / 24 mm (men's);  28 mm / 23 mm (women's)
Drop: 5 mm
Classification: Lightweight Trainer / Workout Shoe / Racing Shoe

The ASICS Magic Speed is a long distance racing shoe for those looking to utilize the GUIDESOLE like sensation seen in the EvoRide 2 or the Noosa Tri 13. The GUIDESOLE is an exaggerated toe spring to help with toe off and unload the calf musculature. The result is a fast transitioning feel up front with a softer and more protected heel. The FlyteFoam Blast is soft, bouncy, and protective, but still carries an aspect of firmness and structure to it. This is especially noted in the forefoot. Essentially this shoe is definitely protective enough for long workouts or racing but is not overly plush or unstable in any way. This is a plated racing shoe for those that like some bounce but still enjoy a firmer ride. 

Asics Metaracer
REVIEW | SHOP

 

ASICS Metaracer
Price: (Clearance) $139.88

Weight: 6.6 oz (men's size 9), 5.7 oz (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 30 mm / 21 mm
Drop: 9 mm
Classification: Mid Distance Carbon Fiber Plated Racing Flat
 
The Asics Metaracer is a lower stack carbon plated racing shoe that runs much lighter and quicker at top speeds than much of the competition. The Flytefoam midsole provides enough cushioning for longer efforts, though the lower amount of it makes it ideal from 5k to half marathon for most. Those who like lower profile shoes can take this to the full marathon. Overall a snug performance fit that with a design dialed in to go fast.

Asics Metaspeed Edge
REVIEW | SHOP

Asics Metaspeed Edge
Price: $249.95

Weight: 6.5 oz (men's size 9) 5.7 oz (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 34 mm / 26 mm
Drop: 8 mm
Classification: Carbon Plated Racing Shoe

The ASICS Metaspeed Edge is smooth carbon fiber plated racing shoe for those that want the same technology as other super shoes in a slightly lower stack option. Featuring full length FlyteFoam Blast Turbo, a well rockered sole and a carbon plate, the Metaspeed Edge works best for faster and shorter workouts/races. Although it features a similar upper to the Metaspeed Sky, the Metaspeed Edge clearly fits a half size small. Those interested in one of the lightest super shoes out there should go a half size up, but once the sizing is figured out you will have a comfortable but aggressive mile to 10k racing shoe.


Asics Metaspeed Sky
REVIEW | SHOP


Asics Metaspeed Sky
Price: $249.95

Weight: 7 oz / 199 g (men's size 9) 5.8 oz / 165 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 33 mm / 28 mm
Drop: 5 mm
Classification: Carbon Fiber Plated Marathon Shoe

The ASICS METASPEED Sky is a max cushion, slightly higher volume, unique long distance racing shoe. A new and full length Flytefoam Turbo midsole provides a ton of cushioning that responds the more you push it. Stabilized very well with a carbon fiber plate, the shoe is designed for those with longer strides (ie a more hip based movement strategy) who land farther forward on their foot and want a ton of cushioning with a bit more room in the upper. A ride that feels very naturally at consistent uptempo paces from the 10k to the marathon, this is an interesting shoe with a few personalities.


Brooks Hyperion Elite 2
REVIEW | SHOP



Price: $250 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 7.4 oz, 210 g (men's size 9, Unisex Sizing),
Stack Height: 35 mm / 27 mm
Drop: 8 mm
Classification: Carbon Fiber Plated Distance Racing Shoes

The Brooks Hyperion Elite 2 is a long-distance carbon plated racing shoe and workout shoe for those who want an efficient, rockered, firmer, more naturally stable ride. A complete redo of the midsole with full-length mildly responsive DNA flash and a new heel design makes for a better transition if you land farther back. A slightly firmer and rolling ride make this shoe best for long-distance efforts, while a naturally stable design may keep you a little more centered than other plated shoes. Best for those looking for a workout/longer distance shoe with a solid rocker and firmer ride that is less aggressive than other racing options out there.


Craft CTM Carbon Race Rebel
REVIEW
| SHOP


Price: $250 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 7.05 oz, 200 g (men's size 9), *Women's weights not provided*
Stack Height: 40 mm / 30 mm
Drop: 10 mm
Classification: Racing Flat
The Craft CTM Carbon Race Rebel is a ultra-distance road racer featuring an high stack height, high drop, stiff carbon plate, firmer midsole and lighter weight. A stiff shoe that has little to no bounce but can roll along for those who do not do well with soft midsoles. The upper features a higher volume fit like other Craft shoes, while fitting slightly short to give it some essence of a racing fit. Fitting alongside other ultramarathon shoes like the Carbon X, the Craft CTM Carbon Race Rebel is a firm carbon plated shoe for long efforts and potentially fast efforts if you can already move at higher speeds.

Hoka Bondi X
REVIEW | SHOP

Weight:  10.6oz/300g (men's size 9);  9.1oz/257g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 33mm/28mm (men's); 31mm/26mm (women's)
Drop: 5mm
Classification: Max Cushion Trainer

The Bondi X has a lot going on, and ultimately it results in a genuinely enjoyable ride on the roads. It is very soft with a moderately rigid carbon plate that spans the length of the shoe to help stabilize the foam, and the typical HOKA geometry provides smooth transitions as well. This shoe is the best "rock catcher" I've had in a while, so only on the roads will I go with this strapped to my feet. Ultimately, this shoe has made me think about footwear design more than any other that I've seen so far this year due to the many components.

Hoka Carbon X3
REVIEW | SHOP

Price: $180
Weight: 7.8 oz, 222 g (men's size 9), 6.6 oz, 188 g (women's size 8)
Measured Weight Sample Men's size 10: 8.9 oz / 252 g
Stack Height: (M) 32 mm / 27 mm (W) 30 mm / 25 mm
Drop: 5mm
Classification: Ultra Marathon Road Racer

The HOKA Carbon X3 returns with a performance knit upper for a more flexible fit and a slightly softer midsole that improves on the ride of the previous version. The knit upper provides a slightly snug but adjustable fit, allowing for swelling accommodation over long miles. The sole design is similar to the previous version, with a slightly softer midsole that makes the ride a bit more forgiving. The decreased weight makes the shoe feeling lighter on the feet, but the forgiving midsole and flexible upper relaxes the aggressiveness of the prior version. Those looking for an ultramarathon racing shoe or plated long run shoe with a flexible upper for longer or uptempo miles will enjoy the Carbon X3.

Hoka Cielo
REVIEW | SHOP


Price: $159.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 3.7 oz, g (Unisex men's size 9)
Stack Height: 12 mm / 8 mm
Drop: 4 mm
Classification: Carbon Plated Distance Track Spike

 
Matt: The Hoka Cielo X LD is a distance track spike featuring a Cielo inspired upper design, a carbon plate and one of the lightest distance spike on the market. The ride, while minimal, is surprisingly cushioned while coming in at 3.7 oz. The plate is snappy, but combined with some gentle toespring and a forefoot PEBAX plate, the transition off the toes is solid. The upper is secure and comfortable, making it optimal for sockless wear. A track spike with versatility for cross country, those who want the lightest possible ride with some snap should check the Hoka Cielo X LD out. 


Hoka Rocket X
REVIEW | SHOP


Hoka Rocket X
Price: $199.95

Weight: 7.4 oz (men's size 9)
Stack Height: Not Provided
Drop: 5mm
Classification: Carbon Fiber Plated Distance Racer

The Rocket X is a high stack height elite racing shoe for those looking for a shoe that is soft, yet still very firm through the midfoot and forefoot. The ride is very smooth with a slight bounce and feels really fluid on the road. With how stiff the plate is, the shoe does not feel vaporfly soft, but still protective enough and arguably smoother in its transition points. The shoe will probably work for a larger population for the transitions feel much more natural than some of the other super shoes on the market, though not quite as "explosive". This is DEFINITELY worth a look when comparing the elite racing flats. 

New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Pacer
Review


New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Pacer
Price: TBD, arriving summer 2022
Weight: 6.9 oz, 198 g men, 5.5 oz, 156 g woman
Stack Height: unknown    
Drop: 8mm
Classification: 5k/10k racer


The New Balance FuelCell SC Pacer has that super shoe bounce to it, although it is definitely firmer than any others in the category. The lower stack height makes it feel more like a racing flat, but the FuelCell foam and the full length carbon plate give it that familiar super shoe feeling. I consistently noticed an increase in pace at a given effort level, even when running easy. The ride of the Pacer is what I originally imagined when I heard that running companies were coming out with 5k/10k super shoes.


New Balance RC Elite v2
REVIEW | SHOP


New Balance RC Elite 2
Price: $229.95

Weight: 7.7 oz / 218 g (men's size 9) 6.5 oz / 184 g (women's size 8)Sample Weight Men's Size 10 US: 8.2 oz
Stack Height: 32 mm / 22 mm (not including insole)
Drop: 10 mm Drop (per New Balance)
Classification: Carbon Fiber Plated Long Distance Racing Shoe

The New Balance FuelCell RC Elite v2 is a very soft, highly cushioned, high stack height marathon racing shoe. A wider, slightly short and stretching upper provides a secure fit. The FuelCell midsole is incredibly soft and abundant. Featuring a more centered and cushioned ride than the previous, those looking for a soft, max cushion carbon fiber plated racing shoe for long distances including the half marathon to marathon and beyond will enjoy this shoe.

Nike Vaporfly Next% 2
REVIEW | SHOP

 
Nike Vaporfly Next% 2
Price: $249.95

Weight: 6.9 ounces, 195 g (men's size 9),  5.8 ounces, 164 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 40mm rearfoot // 32mm forefoot
Drop: 8 mm
Classification: Racing Shoe

The Nike Next% 2 is a top shelf racing shoe that adds a more comfortable upper to the performance giant. Zoom X is a PEBAX based midsole that is coupled with a carbon fiber plate that seems to help with both stabilizing the foam and providing a nice combination of cushion and responsiveness. The Next% 2 is most likely the shoe you will see on the majority of marathon athletes but now has some stiff competition around it. For being at 40mm of stack in the heel, 6.9 ounces is a pretty solid weight as well.

Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next%
REVIEW | SHOP



 

Nike Alphafly Next%
Price: $274.95

Weight: 7.4 oz (Men's size 9)
Measured weight: (Men's size 9.5): 8.1 ounces
Stack Height: 40mm/36mm
Drop:4mm
Classification: Elite Racing Shoe

The Nike Alphafly Next% offers a shoe with elite level cushioning and responsiveness in the same package. The weight does come up a little bit from the Vaporfly Next% but this is a calculated move on Nike's part. The shoe offers more cushioning, a carbon fiber plate known as Flyplate, and 2 Air Zoom pods in the forefoot. The shoe feels very unique and responds well to high force exerted on it. The shoe is definitely a racing shoe worth considering for specific populations.

The North Face Vectiv Flight
REVIEW | SHOP

Weight: 10.4 oz / 295 g (men's size 9) 8.9 oz / 252 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 34 mm / 28 mm
Drop: 6 mm
Classification: Carbon Fiber Plated Trail Racing Shoe

The North Face Flight Vectiv is a trail racing shoe for ultramarathon distances and those who want a carbon fiber plated ride. Featuring a moderate rocker reminiscent of the Pearl Izumi trail series and several stability elements from the plate, the Flight Vectiv can pick up the pace on the trail and works extremely well bombing downhill. The plate and the Vectiv midsole provide a slightly firmer ride, A kevlar/matryx reinforced midfoot provides some security while a knit upper allows for some toe splay and swelling accommodation. The fit is fairly average with a little wiggle room from the knit, although a thick toe guard tapers the toebox. For those looking for a plated ultramarathon racer or a daily trainer for those used to running in lighter shoes for shorter distances, the Flight Vectiv is an interesting first attempt from The North Face.


On Cloudboom Echo
REVIEW

On Cloudboom Echo
Price: $270
Weight: 7.8 oz, 220 g (men's size 9), 6.7 oz, 190 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: Not Provided
Drop: 9 mm 
Classification: Marathon/Distance Carbon Plated Racing Shoe

The On Cloudboom Echo is a higher stack height, carbon-speedboard racing shoe for those wanting a firmer, rockered ride for middle to longer distance racing. The upper fits slightly long but has a comfortable mesh up top. The midsole features On's Helion midsole and clouds, making for a firmer ride despite being the softest On shoe yet. Finally, a rockered sole with a carbon-infused speed board creates a snappy ride that quickly increases in flexibility with additional miles. Best for 10k to half marathon racing for most people, the On Cloudboom Echo is a step forward for On, but has a great deal of improvement needed to be on par with the current group of max stack height marathon racing shoes.


Puma Deviate Nitro Elite
REVIEW | VIDEO


Puma Deviate Nitro Elite
Price: $200

Weight: 6.7 ounces (men's size 9) 5.7 ounces (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 36mm heel/ 28mm forefoot
Drop: 8 mm drop
Classification: Elite Racing Shoe, Super ShoePricing: $200.00 US

A true addition to the super shoe category, the Puma Deviate Nitro Elite blazes onto the scene. Featuring a carbon fiber plate and nitrogen infused PEBA midsole, this shoe has some solid bounce. With a comfortable upper (no heel counter) providing more room than expected for a racing shoe, there is adequate room for swelling while providing enough lock down to go fast. The foam is the closest thing to ZoomX that I have experienced, but is far more natural and controlled. As the most natural feeling super shoe and one of the lightest, this is a serious shoe that currently checks the box as my favorite racing shoe in a long time for 10k to marathon.

Puma Fast-R Nitro Elite
REVIEW

Puma Fast-R Nitro Elite
Price: $250 at Puma (availability expected to open this summer)
Weight: 7.5 oz, 212 g (men's size 9), 6.1 oz, 173 g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 35 mm / 27 mm
Drop: 8 mm 
Classification: Elite Distance Racing Shoe

The Puma Fast-R is a top-shelf racing shoe featuring a few unique characteristics. The Puma Fast-R Nitro Elite utilizes two different midsole foams as well as a decoupled midsole connected by the carbon plate. The plate is spooned out heavily riding high in the heel and lowering sharply through the forefoot. The heel is a firmer EVA with the forefoot being a softer and bouncier PEBA-based midsole for responsiveness. The result is a quickly transitioning and responsive ride.

Reebok Floatride Energy X
REVIEW



Reebok Floatride Energy X
Price: $170 at Reebok
Weight: 9.1 oz, 258 g (men's size 9/women's size 10.5) UNISEX SIZING
Stack Height: Not Provided
Drop: 6 mm
Classification: Forefoot Plated Marathon Racer / Performance Trainer


The Reebok Floatride Energy X is a soft, max cushioned, forefoot plated performance shoe touted as the "people's marathon racer." Featuring a huge slap of Floatride Energy foam underfoot, the midsole is soft throughout the length of the sole. The ride is moderately bouncy with some degree of ridigity in the forefoot, making for a performance trainer that works well for longer efforts like long runs and tempo runs. The additional weight and cushioning create a sturdy shoe that will work for those looking for a marathon shoe to get them through their longer races and workouts without being as aggressive as some of the other options out there.


Saucony Endorphin Pro 2
REVIEW | PART 2 REVIEW | SHOP



Saucony Endorphin Pro 2
Price: $199.95

Weight: 7.5 oz / 213 g (men's size 9) 6.3 oz / 163 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 35.5 mm / 27. 5 mm
Drop: 8 mm
Classification: Carbon Fiber Plated Distance Racing Shoe

The Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 returns with upper updates to create a more secure ride in the heel and midfoot. The S-shaped carbon plate, Speed Roll and PWRRUN PB continue on, keeping the efficient and rolling ride going. The upper continues to have a great deal of breathability with slightly more reinforced material throughout the length of the foot, particularly at the heel and midfoot. This provides a much better fit and lockdown through the midfoot in particularly, keeping the foot on the platform even with sharp turns. Best for 10k to marathon racing for most people, the continued roll and increased upper security will keep you going for miles.

We are not including the Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 on the list due to it being Nylon plate, but you can learn more about it here.

Saucony Endorphin Pro+ (limited release)
REVIEW


Saucony Endorphin Pro+
Weight: 6.9 oz / 195 g (men's size 9) 5.9 oz / 168g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 35.5 mm / 27.5 mm
Drop: 8 mm
Classification: Racing Shoe (Carbon Plated / Peba Foam)

The Saucony Endorphin Pro + is an Endorphin Pro 2 with a track spike-like upper. Dropping the weight to under 7 ounces, this racing shoe is comfortable from the 5k up to the marathon. A completely updated upper features a track spike like, super lightweight and breathable mesh that hugs the foot well in all the right spots. Despite supposedly having a similar sole, the lighter weight makes it far easier to turn over faster in the Pro +, dipping its versatility into shorter distances. For those who want a super shoe with a track spike upper, the Saucony Endorphin Pro + is worth a look.

Skechers GOrun Speed Elite Hyper
REVIEW | VIDEO | SHOP



Skechers Speed Elite Hyper
Price: (Clearance) $129.95

Weight: 6.0 oz (men's size 9), 5.1 (women's size 8.5)
Stack Height: 23mm / 19 mm
Drop: 4 mm
Classification: Carbon Fiber Racing Flat

The Skechers GOrun Speed Elite Hyper features a H-shaped carbon fiber plate, a snug but very lightweight upper and full HYPER BURST cushioning. The Speed Elite is the lightest member of the super shoe category, yet still remains a versatile shoe. The H plate and HYPER cushioning do allow for fast paced runs at 5k pace and below, while the HYPER cushioning allows for the maintenance of consistent paces up to the marathon. For those looking for the lightest weight with a snug upper, great ground feel but really great cushioning, the Skechers GOrun Speed Elite Hyper should be on your try on list.

Skechers Speed Freek
REVIEW
| SHOP


Weight: 7.2 oz / 238 g (men's size 9) 5.8 oz / 164 g (women's size 8)Sample Weight Men's Size 10: 7.4 oz
Stack Height: 34 mm / 30 mm
Drop: 4 mm
Classification: Distance Racing Flat

The Skechers GOrun Speed Freek is Skechers Performance long distance racing shoe. 34 mm of stack height raises the bar (and the midsole) for cushioning while a carbon infused winglet plate provides an efficient toe off. The rockered sole combined with full length HYPERBURST makes for a bouncy ride meant for races from 10k up to the marathon. An incredibly light upper provides a bit more wiggle room and comfort in this model. All this while staying in the low 7 oz range (per our scales). For those wanting a bit more out of the Speed Elite, the Speed Freek will provide some extra protection to take you farther.


Xtep 160X 2.0
REVIEW

 

XTEP 160 x2
Price: $225

Weight: unknown
Measured Weight Men's US Size 10: 8.5 oz / 235 grams
Stack Height: unknown
Drop: unknown
Classification: Marathon Racing Shoe
 
The Xtep 160x 2.0 is for those wanting a carbon plated, PEBA foamed shoe with a more traditional stack height and a little more flexible forefoot for longer races and tempo runs. With a slightly firmer PEBA foam and a unique plate design, the Xtep 160x provides mild stability at the heel and forefoot while still having enough cushioning for use as a lightweight trainer. A new upper provides a secure, slightly snug and slightly long fit that handles swelling from longer efforts well.

The forked plate is shaped like an X, providing a snappy forefoot that still maintains stability and a stable heel. For those wanting a great tempo/uptempo shoe that can handle longer distance racing, the Xtep 160x 2.0, now available to individuals in the US without the hassle of navigating international websites.

Summary of Current Thoughts

For those looking for a soft, super cushioned and bouncy ride, the Nike Vaporfly Next% is still on top when it comes to soft and fast shoes. For those looking for a lighter ride with a snugger fit that can handle 5k to marathon, the Puma Deviate Nitro Elite features the most traditional racing flat weight and natural ride. For those looking for a cushioned and consistent ride with a firmer forefoot, the Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 checks the boxes with a little more stability than the softer shoes but definitely one of the more comfortable uppers. For those looking for maximal cushioning as high off the ground as possible yet still wanting an aggressive shoe, the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% is the tallest of the bunch with the thickest carbon fiber plate and two zoom air pods in the forefoot. For those looking for stability and a firm ride, the 361 Flame features the firmest and most aggressive ride of the bunch and may work better for most at shorter distances. Finally, for those looking to just get their feet wet in this category, the Hoka Carbon X2 has enough cushioning and design similar to a traditional trainer to not be a too aggressive jump with plenty of cushioning and smooth ride (although by far the heaviest of the bunch). We'll have more updates to this page as we visit more carbon plated shoes.

Remember that each person is different and thus may find a different shoe works better for them. Thanks to the incredible variety of the shoes above, that is possible. 

Thanks for reading!

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist.

***Disclaimer: Several of these shoes were provided free of charge and many were purchased for their full US retail price. This in no way affected the honesty of this review. The Saucony Endorphin Pro, Nike Vaporfly Next%, Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% and Brooks Hyperion Elite were purchased for their full US retail price. The Hoka Carbon X, Skechers GOrun Speed Elite Hyper and our recent pairs of Saucony Endorphin Pros were provided free of charge in exchange for reviews. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.


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