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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

Sections
(Click to jump to section)

Additional Resources about Super Shoes
↓ Jump to Section
Carbon Plated Shoes Available Now: A-to-Z Jump to Section
Our Recommendations (Marathon/Stable/5k-Half) Jump to Section

Additional Resources About Super Shoes

  Take a look at these resources to learn more about carbon plated shoe science and training


Check out this video if you are getting started in super shoes!

All about Midsoles (Podcast)
What is the Role of Carbon Plates in Shoes (Video)
Most Stable Shoes for Racing (Video)
Best Carbon Plated Shoes Based on Running Economy (Podcast)
Best Marathon Shoes for Those with Stability Needs, 2023
The Science of Rocker Sole Shoes (Podcast)
Update on PEBAX Research (New!) (Feature)


_____________________________________________________

A Reality Check on Carbon Plates
Carbon plated shoes have been touted as the answer to creating the best in racing shoes for runners. Thus far, evidence suggests that the plates stabilize the foams and help facilitate motion, rather than return it (Agresta et al., 2022; Healy & Hoogkamer et al., 2022). On a runner-specific scale, Dustin Joubert was able to compare a variety of carbon fiber-plated racing shoes and found only the shoes with special foams seemed to make a major difference in running economy compared to a non-plated control (Joubert & Jones, 2022). Read our PEBAX literature review to learn more.


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 3).

Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3
REVIEW
| SHOP

 
 
Price: $249.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 7.6 oz, 215 g (men's size 9), Women's Weights Not Provided
Stack Height: 39.5 / 33 mm
Drop: 6.5 mm
Classification: Long Distance Racing Shoe (Super Shoe)

The Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3 returns as a max stack height racing shoe geared toward longer distance and marathon racing. A wider sole balances out the shoe, making it feel more cushioned from heel to toe. Two layers of Lightstrike Pro contribute to this, with additional stiffness from the new full-length ENERGYRODS 2.0. A new outsole makes the shoe far more durable, which combined with the increased cushioning and inherently more stable ride makes it excellent as a long run and uptempo long run shoe. The upper finally fits true to size, while still providing plenty of room and security. The Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3 is for those who want a marathon shoe that has the cushioning and durability to double for both training and racing.

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 2 Strung
REVIEW | SHOP


Adidas Adizero Prime X Strung 2
Price: $300 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 10.4 oz, 295 g (men's size 8.5), 9.9 oz, 281g (women's size 8)                   Measured Weights: 10.7 oz (men's size 9), 11.5 oz (men's size 10)
Stack Height: 50 mm / 43.5 mm
Drop: 6.5 mm
Classification: Super Trainer

The Adidas Adizero Prime X 2 Strung is a super stack height maximal training shoe for daily training, long runs and uptempo efforts. A brand new, slightly more flexible Strung upper finally creates a sock-like fit that is true to size. A brand new midsole design makes the shoe far more stable, with two carbon plates instead of rods and three layers of Lightstrike Pro (with an interesting, mysterious, super soft middle layer). A dramatic increase in weight is the trade-off for these clear improvements, moving the Prime X series away from being a super racer to a true super trainer. Those wanting a solid long-run shoe that does an excellent job performing at easy and marathon-pace runs and has more stack height underfoot than any other shoe may be interested in this shoe.

Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen 9
REVIEW | SHOP


Shop: $179.95 at Running Warehouse

Details
Weight: 6.4 oz, 181 g (Unisex men's size 9)
Stack Height: 33mm / 27mm
Drop: 6mm 
Classification: Racing Flat

The Adidas Takumi Sen 9 is 5k/10k racing flat for those wanting a light shoe for faster days. The Takumi Sen 9 maintains a similar midsole setup from version 8 with full-length Lightstrike Pro foam and energy rods. A surprising amount of stack height continues to be present for the new weight of 6.4 oz, making for a light and snappy shoe that works for intervals and shorter efforts. The major update is a new upper that facilitates the surprisingly generous weight drop (0.4 oz drop from v8). A snug heel/midfoot with a wider (for a racing flat), lower volume forefoot continues to be present with an even lighter mesh upper. Those wanting a fast shoe for shorter races and efforts with a bit of stiffness and a decent amount of midsole should continue to check out the newest update to the Takumi Sen series. 


Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen 10
REVIEW | SHOP

Adidas Takumi Sen 10
Price: $179.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 6.98 oz, 198 g (men's size 9), 5.89 oz, 167 g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 33 mm / 27 mm
Drop: 6 mm drop
Classification: Racing Flat

The Adidas Takumi Sen 10 is a racing shoe for those who want a lighter and faster shoe for 5k/10k efforts. The biggest update is the Energyrods 2.0, featuring a lateral extension in the midfoot (similar to the Boston 12) which adds mild medial guidance and a bit of extra stiffness for those who land there. A similar, light upper sits slightly snug with just enough room throughout the length of the foot, providing a secure, racing-style fit.  Best for those who want a moderate amount of stiffness, a lighter ride (albeit with a slight weight gain from the prior version) and a surprising amount of Lighstrike Pro for intervals, shorter tempo runs and 5k/10k races, the Takumi Sen 10 stays remains consistent despite a long history of changes.

Asics Magic Speed 3
REVIEW | SHOP MEN | SHOP WOMEN


Asics Magic Speed 3
Price: $159.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 7.8 oz, 220 g (men's size 9), 6.6 oz, 186 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 36mm / 29 mm
Drop: 7mm
Classification: Carbon Plated Workout/Racing Shoe

The ASICS Magic Speed 3 is a faster uptempo/workout/racing shoe for those who want a moderately bouncy ride and a carbon plate. The fit is snug and slightly short, reminiscent of older racing shoes. The ride is surprisingly bouncy and snappy for a non-super shoe, featuring two layers of FF Blast+. This makes it an excellent and affordable workout/race shoe for those who still want a carbon-plated shoe with the versatility for some daily training and the speed to handle faster efforts all the way to race day. 


Asics Metaspeed Edge+
REVIEW | SHOP


Asics Metaspeed Edge+
Price: $249.95

Weight: 7.4 oz, 210 g (men's size 9), Women's Weights Not Provided
Stack Height: 39 mm / 31 mm
Drop: 8 mm
Classification: Distance Racing Shoe (Super Shoe)


The ASICS Metaspeed Edge+ is a carbon fiber plated racing shoe for 5k to the marathon. As part of a pair of max stack height racing shoes from ASICS, the Edge+ differentiates itself with a slightly higher 8mm drop and a smoother/rockered ride. A snug, comfortable, thin, and secure upper sits up top and will work best for those with normal to narrow feet. Meanwhile, a large amount of Flytefoam Turbo sits underneath at a maximal stack height. Combined with a curved carbon plate, the shoe provides a responsive, slightly firm and rolling ride underfoot that handles both workouts and longer efforts. Best for those wanting a fast, efficient shoe over longer distances, the ASICS Metaspeed Edge + has finally become a super shoe. 


Asics Metaspeed Sky+
REVIEW | SHOP



Asics Metaspeed Sky
Price: $249.95

Weight: 7.2 oz / 205 g (men's size 9
Stack Height: 39 mm / 34 mm
Drop: 5 mm
Classification: Carbon Fiber Plated Marathon Shoe

The ASICS Metaspeed Sky+ is a lower drop, carbon plated, nylon-based superfoam distance racing shoe. Evolving into a completely different shoe from its predecessor, it features a more aggressive geometry, a slightly firmer ride and a now true-to-size fit. The low drop, high amount of forefoot cushioning and aggressive toe spring make it ideal for those who land farther forward or in the words of ASICS increase their speed by increasing their side length. A flatter plate sits closer to the foot, contributing to the slightly firmer ride that will excel for most from 5k to half marathon distances.



Brooks Hyperion Elite 3
REVIEW | SHOP


Price: $249.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 8.1 oz, 230 g (men's size 9/women's size 10.5)
Stack Height: Not Provided
Drop: 8 mm
Classification: Carbon Plated Distance Racing / Workout Shoe

The Brooks Hyperion Elite 3 is a stiffer carbon-plated workout shoe / less aggressive racing shoe for those who do not do well with true super shoes. The ride is highly stiff with a moderately tall stack height. The DNA flash provides a traditional EVA-type midsole feel that stiffens that faster you run. The upper is snug although it provides some stretch that also makes the shoe fit slightly long. This makes for a fit that will do well for those that need a little flexibility but still want something slightly snug. These factors make this shoe best for those who want a firmer, stiff, moderately stable and rockered ride for uptempo daily training and workouts.

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 X1
REVIEW | SHOP


Hoka Cielo X1
Price: $275 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 9.3 oz, 264 g (men's size 10), 7.4 oz, 210 g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: M: 39mm / 32mm; W: 37mm / 30mm
Drop: 7 mm
Shoe Purpose: Super Distance Racing Shoe

The HOKA Cielo X1 is a new super shoe racing model for HOKA. The shoe features a maximum legal stack height design with an aggressive rocker profile. The shoe is designed to race from 10k-marathon distances on the road. This also has a tight lockdown, wider plate, and wider base for some mild guidance measures. 


Hoka Rocket X 2
REVIEW | SHOP


Hoka Rocket X 2
Price: $249.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 7.5 oz, 212 g (men's size 9/women's size 10.5 Unisex sizing)
Stack Height: 36 mm / 31 mm
Drop: 5 mm
Classification: Plated Super Racing Shoe

The Hoka Rocket X 2 is Hoka's first true super shoe. A new dual-layer PEBA midsole provides a fast ride with more bounce in the heel and an aggressive forefoot to push off from. The upper is light and secure despite not having a heel counter. While on the firmer side for super shoes, the Rocket X 2 checks off all the boxes for a fast, inherently stable, and aggressive racer.

Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro
Review


Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro
Price: $249.95, coming January
Weight: 7.9 oz, g (men's size 9), oz, g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: Not Provided
Drop: 4.5 mm
Classification: Super Shoe, Racing Shoe

Mizuno is known to take time with releasing new product concepts. Despite its history with racing shoes, one of the last major Mizuno racers widely available in the US was the Mizuno Wave Universe series. It was one of the lightest racing shoes on the market (version 5 was the lightest at 2.8 oz for men's size 9). Gone are the days of super light and minimal racing shoes as the maximal super shoes have taken over. After a long wait, Mizuno is finally releasing its super shoe. Like the Mizuno Wave Universe series, the Rebellion Pro takes its place among the best racing shoes on the market, but with a far different footprint from both a sustainability standpoint and literally as it is a massive super shoe.


Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2
Review | Shop Men | Shop Women


Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2
Price: $249.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 7.6 oz, 215 g (men's size 9), 6.3 oz, 178 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height:  38 mm / 36.5 mm (3.5 mm sockliner)
Drop: 1.5 mm
Classification: Super Distance Racing Shoe

The Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2 is a super racing shoe with a unique midsole geometry that makes it best for those who land farther forward. An exaggerated heel bevel extends to the posterior midfoot, making it best for those who land at the midfoot or heel. A combination of Enerzy Lite+ and Enerzy Lite make for a bouncy and leg-saving ride that works especially well at tempo and half marathon paces. A tricky upper fits slightly short due to a toe box taper. Some will need a half-size up while others may find a perfect fit for longer distances. Best for those who want the most extremely rockered sole on the market and those who land farther forward, the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro 2 returns even more aggressive than its predecessor.


New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Pacer
Review | Shop Women | Shop Men


Price: $149.95 at Running Warehouse
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 SuperComp Elite v3
REVIEW | SHOP MEN | SHOP WOMEN



Price: $229.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 7.6 oz, 215 g (men's size 9), oz, g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 40mm heel // 36mm forefoot
Drop: 4mm
Classification: Super Shoe

The New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Elite v3 is the newest update to the super shoe line. The SC Elite had an early release at the New York City Marathon and received a net positive from the masses. The SC Elite 3 is a redesign from the Fuelcell RC Elite 2 featuring a new Energy Arc Carbon Plate that is shaped slightly like an inverted U. The shoe also uses different geometry underfoot with a deep midline groove through the shoe. The upper also has a sock-like knit update. The result is certainly a net positive and a good addition to the super shoe lineup.

New Balance SuperComp Trainer 2
REVIEW | SHOP MEN | SHOP WOMEN



New Balance SC Trainer 2
Price: $179.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 9.7 oz, 275g (men's size 9), 7.8oz, 221g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 40mm heel, 34mm heel
Drop: 6mm
Classification: Daily Trainer, Max Cushion Trainer

The New Balance FuelCell SC Trainer v2 is the long awaited update to the original SC Trainer, which has been a favorite of mine for recovery runs over the past year. My one complaint about the original SC Trainer was its weight, and I was happy to see that v2 is over 1 oz lighter than the original. I loved the original for its rockered and relatively firm ride, and I was excited to see what v2 would bring. While I like the reduction in weight of v2, the changes to the upper and the forefoot rocker made v2 a miss for me. While I definitely prefer v1, those who disliked the high heel collar and firmer ride of v1 will find a lot to like in v2.

Nike Vaporfly Next% 3
REVIEW | SHOP



Nike Vaporfly Next% 3
Price: $249.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 6.5 oz, 184 g (men's size 9), 5.6 oz, 159 g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 38 mm / 30 mm
Drop: 8 mm
Classification: Super Shoe

The Nike Vaporfly Next% 3 is a road racing shoe that has focused its updates on weight, lockdown, and traction. The new Vaporfly uses a new Flyknit material that is very airy and locks the foot down well. The updated outsole pattern has better traction on all surfaces. The ZoomX is still as bouncy as it has been. The updates clean up the little things for this versatile 5k - marathon racing shoe. 


Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% 2
REVIEW | SHOP


Price: $275 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 8.4 oz, 238 g (men's size 9.5)
Stack Height: not provided (likely 40mm/36mm like version 1)
Drop: 4mm
Classification: Road Racing Super Shoe


The Alphafly Next% 2 is a top shelf racing option that leans towards the longer distances. My pair, Men's 9.5, weighs 8.4 ounces, which is heavier from 8.1 ounces in my originals. The shoe still provides a sense of bounciness and responsiveness, though with a little more structure underfoot. The shoe is still a racing shoe, but feels a little less "fast" and more of a shoe that is rhythmic that you can have on your feet for a long time. The Alphafly Next% 2 is a racing shoe with some decent stability elements that can easily tackle a marathon and half marathon.


Nike Ultrafly Trail
REVIEW


Nike Ultrafly
Price: $249.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 10.6 oz, 300 g (men's size 10), 8.8 oz, 249 g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 38.5 mm / 30 mm
Drop: 8.5 mm
Classification: Long/Ultra Distance Trail Racing Shoe

The Nike Ultrafly is a super trail racing shoe for ultramarathon and long-distance training and racing. The upper features a thin but secure mesh with a wider toe box, lower volume fit, and secure midfoot/heel. The midsole is soft and bouncy ZoomX foam with an additional outer layer that protects the foam from debris. A carbon fiber Flyplate sits in the midsole and provides a surprisingly smooth transition at a variety of places and stabilizes the shoe decently well. Finally, a new Vibram outsole provides traction and durability over longer miles. The Ultrafly Trail is not a short-distance racer and instead excels as an ultramarathon racer that provides maximum comfort and efficiency over any adventure ahead.


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.

Visit it's training partner, the Vectiv Infinite, here.


On Cloudboom Echo 3
REVIEW



On Cloudboom Echo 3
Price: $289.99 at On Running
Weight: 7.6 oz, 217 g (men's size 9), 6.6 oz, 188 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: Not Provided
Drop: 9.5 mm
Classification: Super Racing Shoe

The On Cloudboom Echo 3 is On Running's first true super shoe. A carbon plate and duel layers of Pebax foam provide a rockered, snappy and fast ride that is still firm by super shoe standards. A slightly long fit with an extremely light microfiber upper provides extra forefoot room and incredible breathability. The firmer rockered ride will work best for most people for 5k-half marathon racing and elite runners or those who prefer firm rides up to the marathon.


Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2
REVIEW | SHOP MEN | SHOP WOMEN



Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2
Price: $200 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 7.5 oz, 212 g (men's size 9), 6.5 oz, 184 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 36mm / 30 mm
Drop: 6 mm
Classification: Super Racing Shoe

The Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 is a super racing shoe for those who want a narrow-fitting, durable and surprisingly nimble ride. The new upper is mildly structured and narrow, giving the Deviate Nitro Elite 2 a snug performance fit. The Nitro Elite midsole foam provides a moderate amount of bounce, while a full carbon plate adds more stiffness. Combined with more aggressive geometry than before, the Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 continues as a distance racer with a faster roll and pop than the previous version.

Puma Fast-R Nitro Elite
REVIEW | SHOP MEN | SHOP WOMEN

Puma Fast-R Nitro Elite
Price: $250 at Running Warehouse
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.

Puma Fast-R Nitro Elite 2
REVIEW


Puma Fast-R Nitro Elite 2
Price: $260.00 at Running Warehouse (February)
Weight: 8.5 oz, 240 g (men's size 9), 7.4 oz, 212 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 40 mm / 32 mm
Drop: 8mm
Classification: Super Distance Racing Shoe


The Puma Fast-R Nitro Elite 2 is a longer-distance super racing shoe for those who want a lower-volume upper, a maximal stack height superfoam midsole and an extra long plate for those who have the calf/ankle strength to push themselves forward. The new ULTRAWEAVE upper provides a secure, lower-volume fit that hugs and secures the foot. The new NITROFOAM Elite midsole provides a large amount of bounce regardless of whether you land in the heel or forefoot. The extended plate and foam combination make this shoe best for faster efforts while the extra weight pushes it toward being a better option for half marathon to full marathon distances. A specialized tool for specific runners who utilize their ankle/calves over moderate to longer distance races, the Fast-R Nitro Elite 2 continues to demonstrate Puma's commitment to trying different concepts to optimize performance. 



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.

Salomon S/Lab Phantasm
REVIEW | SHOP


Salomon S/Lab Phantasm 2
Price: $275 at Salomon
Weight: 7.7 oz, 219 g (Unisex Sizing Men's size 9/Women's Size 10)
Stack Height: 37.5 mm / 28.5 mm
Drop: 9mm
Classification: Super Plated Racing Shoe

The Salomon S/Lab Phantasm 2 is a super racing shoe for those who want a long-fitting, extremely neutral riding, bouncy and fast shoe for workouts and racing. The upper fits a half-size long, creating a challenge to get an optimal fit but creating an optimal situation for those who experience foot swelling over longer distances. The new PEBAX-based midsole provides a ton of bounce that responds more the faster you go. A narrow heel/midfoot makes for an extremely neutral ride, best for those without stability needs. While an incredible midsole brings Salomon into the super shoe game, the upper needs some adjusting which I'll dive into in this review.

Saucony Endorphin Elite
REVIEW | SHOP


Price: $274.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 7.2 oz, 204 g (men's size 9), 6.5 oz, 185 g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 39.5 mm / 31.5 mm
Drop: 8mm
Classification: Elite Distance Racing Shoe

Saucony has taken their super shoes to another level with the Endorphin Elite. The reported 95% energy return from the PWRRUN HG foam make the shoe the most responsive Endorphin yet and the more aggressive forefoot rocker give this shoe pop at push-off that the more rolling Endorphin Pro line lacks. The Endorphin Elite has a wider and less tapered toe box than any of the Endorphin Pro shoes, making it a high-performance and accommodating option for races up to marathon distance.


Saucony Endorphin Pro 3
REVIEW | SHOP



Saucony Endorphin Pro 3
Price: $225

Weight: 7.2 oz, 204g (men's size 9), 6.2 oz, 176g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 39.5 mm / 31.5 mm
Drop: 8 mm
Classification: Carbon Fiber Plated Distance Racing Shoe

The Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 is a fast, bouncy, max stack height, carbon fiber plated distance racing shoe that truly has achieved a "super shoe" status. A maxed-out midsole features 39.5mm/31.5mm of PWRRUN PB, providing a bouncy and fast ride. A snug but comfortable upper provides a highly secure and incredibly breathable fit. A new midsole geometry provides a guided and inherently stable ride. Combined with a new, lighter weight, all this together makes for an extremely fast, yet comfortable shoe that has the comfort for the marathon and the responsiveness/speed for some down to the 5k.

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 3.0
REVIEW


 
XTEP 160x 3.0
Price: Not Provided
Weight: 7.0 oz, 200 g (men's size 8), Women's Weights Not Provided
Stack Height: 39 mm / 31 mm
Drop: 8 mm
Classification: Carbon Plated Superfoam Road Racing Shoe
 
The Xtep 160x 3.0 is a carbon plated, max stack height, PEBA foamed racing shoe for those with stable/neutral mechanics wanting a narrow fit. A snug synthetic upper sits up top, providing a comfortable fit for those with narrow feet. A large amount of bouncy foam sits underfoot with a unique carbon plate that curves up around the heel, providing a guided ride at the rearfoot. A narrow shape at the heel and midfoot cut a large amount of weight, but sacrifices stability. This makes the Xtep 160x an excellent fast racing option for those looking for a lighter max stack height racer for 5k to half marathon for most.

Xtep 160X Pro
REVIEW

XTEP 160x Pro
Price: $250

Weight: 8.9 oz, 255g (men's size 8), Women's Weights Not Provided
Measured Weight Men's US Size 10: 8.5 oz / 235 grams
Stack Height: 39.5 mm / 36.5 mm
Drop: 4mm
Classification: Marathon Racing Shoe
 
The Xtep 160x Pro is a highly cushioned, PEBA-foamed, carbon fiber plated performance trainer. A large amount of foam sits underfoot, providing plenty of responsive cushioning for easy to tempo paces. A secure and slightly thinner upper sits up top, providing a racing style fit that has a little more volume for longer efforts. The Xtep 160x Pro features a bit more weight and a higher level of durability underfoot, making it a great option for those who want a lower drop, faster, highly cushioned performance trainer that can handle long runs, longer racing and workouts.


Recommendations


Best Carbon Plated Super Shoes for the Marathon

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3
(Speedroll with max cushion makes for a very bouncy, efficient racing shoe)
Nike Vaporfly Next% 3
(New update greatly improves fit and geometry, making it a fast, light, and fun racer)
Saucony Endorphin Elite
(
The Saucony Endorphin Elite is a very streamlined racing option for nearly any distance)


Best Carbon Plated Super Shoes for 5k-Half Marathons

On Cloudboom Echo 3
(A slightly firmer PEBAX gives this model extra pop at higher end speed)
Nike Vaporfly Next% 3
(The versatility helps it dial in for a variety of races)
Adidas Takumi Sen 9
(An incredibly fast and fun, lower profile racer for 5-10k)

Hoka Rocket X 2
(For faster runners, this new entry from Hoka is aggressive and finally PEBA-based)
Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro
(Highly aggressive geometry is unique, but an incredible bouncy and fun ride)


Best First Time Carbon Plated Shoes To Try

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3

(Stable base and friendly width and ride helps provide a nice option to start with)
Asics Metaspeed Edge+
(Less aggressive rockers may suit masters runners in particular and runners who prefer a more mild shape)
New Balance SuperComp Elite 3
(Not as fast as some of its peers, but a highly comfortable ride underfoot with a secure base)

Most Stable Racing 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.

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