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RISE OF THE SEMI-SUPER SHOES

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By Steve Manning  “The Footman” – intraining Podiatrist and Lvl 4 Running Coach

The introduction of the Supershoe category has transformed race times over the last 5 years. They have been effective at rewriting the history books with new records but also unprecedented depth of fast times.

Last week 52 runners broke 4 minutes for a mile in the one track meet. The recently announced new qualifying standards for the Olympics are a 2:08 marathon for men which only Deek had done for Australia in 1986 until Brett Robinson ran under 2:08 in December.

The 3 main features of super-shoes are:

  1. A stiff forefoot that restricts flexion via a plate made most commonly with carbon-fibre. This improves running efficiency as described in the Mass Spring  Model.  Click Here.

  2. Super cushioned co-polymer midsoles with the combined properties of being light while having superior energy return. These midsoles improve power production but also save the runners legs over long distances.

  3. Maximal stack heights up to 5cm allow aggressive toe springs in the shoe where the midsole tapers from full thickness at the ball of the foot to nothing at the end of the toe. The result is an improved mechanical efficiency and a rocker sole that makes you feel like you are falling forward during propulsion.

These maximallist supershoes have killed the traditional minimalist racing shoe. However, their success has also had a positive impact on the training shoe category. There are a number of shoes that are now available that have some of these features while offering more durability and stability.

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SAUCONY Endorphin Speed 3 - $259.95

While this shoe has a much smaller carbon plate then the Endorphin Pro or Endorphin Elite it has the same thick Pebax midsole with Speedroll technology. A more durable upper and heel counter adds to extra stability compared to the Pro and Elite. This is also one of the only supershoes that comes in a wide 2E version so is a great option for people with wide feet who can not fit into a traditional supershoe.

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BROOKS Hyperion Max - $299.95

The Brooks Hyperion Series (Hyperion Elite and Hyperion Tempo) use a nitrogen infused midsole for extra durability and stability. The Hyperion Max has more outsole coverage and a wider base in the heel. Although there is no carbon plate it has the thick midsole with rocker sole.

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ASICS Magic Speed 2 - $249.95

This is one of the best value Super shoes. It uses a FF Blast+ midsole compound rather than the FF Turbo found in the Metaspeed Edge and Metaspeed Sky. This makes it a bit heavier but also much more stable. there is a smaller carbon plate and again excellent toe spring. Asics also have incorporated the rocker soles into the Glideride ($229.95), Evoride ($199.95) and Evoride Speed ($219.95) which I believe will be the Asics shoes of the future.

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MIZUNO Rebellion Flash - $259.95

Mizuno has just launched one of the most exciting and distinctive supershoes with the Rebellion Pro ($319.95). The Rebellion Flash is the more excessible supershoes that uses a glass-fibre rather than carbon-fibre plate. The top layer of the midsole uses Enerzy lite and the bottom part of the midsole in the heel uses Enerzy to improve stability significantly.

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HOKA Carbon X 3 - $299.95

The Carbon X 3 is actually in the supershoe category however it does not use a Pebax Midsole. The carbon plate helps facilitate a superior rocker from heel strike to toe off. It has by far the most durable and thickest outsole but the material itself is light and soft. The incredible durability and stability of this shoe gives it the ability to be your main trainer or racer.

These Semi-Supershoes will continue to infiltrate the traditional training shoe category. They offer superior performance to most trainers while offering extra support and injury reduction compared to their supershoe counterparts. I highly recommend you come and try on shoes from this new category of runners when you buy your new shoes for the season. They can be used for normal training, speedwork or races. Remember to pick up your Free Running light when you buy your shoes from intraining.

Steve Manning

Steve Manning "The Footman"

Steve has been a running shoe aficionado for the last 4 decades and as the owner of intraining Running Centre has helped thousands of runners find the perfect shoe. He is a member of the Footman Biomechanics Group of the International Society of Biomechanics and a previous President of the Qld branch of Sports Medicine Australia. As a Podiatrist specialising in running sports injury prevention he utilises footwear prescription and modification to keep you running. Contact Steve at the intraining Running Centre, [email protected] for all your footwear questions.