Run faster with Carbon Plate Shoes
The Carbon plated super shoe category has redefined the word “fast” for many runners. Since the 2016 Olympics when the first three men in the marathon were the only 3 with these shoes, they (the shoes) have rewritten the record books.
This has been true at the pointy end with records over 5km, 10km, Half Marathon and the Marathon. But equally, they have transformed the depth of running performances. While many innovations seem to only benefit the elite, these shoes have helped runners go faster at every level of performance. They help you run faster and the thick responsive midsoles also help save your legs from pounding.
The carbon plate in the forefoot restricts flexion at your big toe joint increasing efficiency via the mass-spring model. The thick midsoles (up to 40mm) with a taper from the big toe joint to the end of the shoe allows an efficient mechanical transfer to propulsion. It feels like you are falling off the front of your shoe when running. These midsoles also offer extra shock attenuation while being exceptionally light.
The one drawback for many people is the reduced durability that impacts the value these shoe offer when they are priced at a premium. HOKA have tried to fill this niche of durable carbon plated super shoes with the Carbon X racing shoe, the Bondi X lightweight trainer and the Cielo X track spike.
The HOKA Carbon X 3 is the latest version of this popular supershoe. At $300 it is one of the cheaper Carbon plated shoes. The extra durability comes from a thick blown rubber outsole that covers almost the entire surface. The upper is also much tougher than any other supershoe with version 3 incorporating a knitted upper that will mould around your foot. It has a great rocker sole that helps with the transition from heel-strike to toe-off. It also has a removable insole so this shoe can be used with orthotics. The firmer Profly X midsole material reduces the instability that many people have found with other supershoes. This shoe is a great introduction to the supershoe category.
The HOKA Bondi X is one of the few carbon plated training shoes. They look bulkier thanks to the extra width in the midsole. This makes the shoe a bit heavier but much more stable. Compared to the HOKA Bondi, the Bondi X is lighter, softer and more responsive. The Bondi is the ultimate maximal shoe for the heavier runner who hits the ground hard. The Bondi X has similar protection with a zippy responsive feel. It feels like less effort running in the Bondi X. At $350 the Bondi X is not a cheap shoe but the extra strength and durability make it a better value in the long run.
The HOKA Cielo X LD is the Hoka version of a running spike. While the super spikes have yet to be shown to have as much of an impact on times as the racing shoes they follow a similar theory of design. That is a carbon plate to stiffen the shoe with a thicker midsole tapering to the toe. At $250 the regulations on running spikes has a maximum of 25mm compared to the road runners’ 40mm. That means they can not have as much of the forefoot to toe taper that makes supershoes so different to run in. However this spike is exceptionally cushioned while also being exceptionally lightweight. There is a super breathable upper and it is truly a beautiful running shoe. For doing track speed sessions or racing on the track or cross country this is one of the best running spikes I have ever seen.
So if you are thinking of taking the leap into the supershoe category then I highly recommend you consider trying one of the HOKA X carbon plated shoes. We have them available at the intraining Running Centre. Come test run the shoes instore at intraining shop in Toowong.
Steve Manning – intraining Podiatrist & Level 4 running Coach
Steve Manning has worked since the 1980s to create opportunities for runners of all abilities to pursue their running goals, to establish and maintain a healthy balance of sport, health and work in their lifestyle and to connect with other like-minded and supportive runners. He has done this by creating a community of runners, coaches, sporting podiatrists, physiotherapists and a retail team with a large focus on inclusion and collaboration. He loves runners and what running can bring to people’s lives. Steve is the owner of the intraining Running Centre, a podiatrist, Associate Lecturer QUT, marathoner, Level 4 Running coach, member of the Queensland Sports Medicine board, and doting dad.