Carbon-plated footwear is great to race in, but we look into whether training in them is a good idea

No sooner had super shoes arrived on the scene than the debate as to how often they should be worn surfaced. Of course, with many super shoes priced at well over £200, it could be simply a question as to how often you can afford to replace them.

Whereas regular training shoes can easily provide around 500 miles of use (often more) without losing too much of their cushioning properties, super shoes can start to show signs of wear after as little as 100 miles.

Designed for racing, the economy improving virtues of the shoes crept into training. If you can train harder and faster and recover quicker wearing them, then why not use them for all your training?

In the pre-super shoe era, many of us would keep our racing shoes exclusively for race day or perhaps for an occasional speed work session or tempo run, when we wanted to get a little extra oomph from the session. 

London Marathon 2023 (LM Events)

Nowadays these shoes feel so energising that it’s tempting to reach for them on any given day. The benefits they offer come from a combination of their highly responsive foams combined with a stiff carbon plate. The plate both stabilises the soft, springy foam and acts like a springboard. 

Part of the springboard effect is the stiffening of the foot’s toe joints, meaning they almost act as one and create a more powerful push-off. This does of course put additional stress on the joints and muscles of the lower limbs. 

While the evidence is limited at present as to the occurrence of injuries in super shoe wearers, the best advice would be to wear them as part of a broader collection of footwear to allow your legs to adapt to the various stresses placed upon them.

This way you reduce the possible risk of injury and hopefully notice a difference on race day that gives you the extra edge.

» This article first appeared in the July issue of AW magazine, which you can read here, in our coaching Q&A section