Best Carbon Plated Show for slower runners

#1
There is an abundance of reviews on the various carbon plated shoes Nike Next/ Saucony Pro /Hoka Carbon / NB RC Elite/ adidias adiaos etc. I am trying to identify the shoe best suited for the slower runner i.e. 8:00/mile + marathon pace

As I read/listen to the reviews it seems that most reviewers are assuming a sub 7:00 min/mile pace and occasionally mention that some shoes Nike Alpha Next feels strange and uncomfortable at paces above 6 -7 min/mile.

Any insight into this would be appreciated - any slower runners out there who have improved there Marathon times with any of these shoes please share your experience.

Thanks
 
#2
I think the analysis is still the same. The only difference is that you might get slightly more "return" if you are putting more into the stride by running at a faster pace.

Back in 2019 I ran a 3:45 marathon (~8:30 pace) in a pair of Vaporfly 4%'s and I felt like I was on top of the world. Since then I have put in a TON of work and am very close to sub 3 shape. I run a lot of my workouts in the 6:30 - 6:50 range and I still use those 4%'s in my rotation. I might get a little bit more rebound from the plate but the feeling is largely the same as when I was running in the 8:30 - 9:00 range.

I own a pair of Alphafly's but I am saving them for a race in June, so unfortunately I cannot give you my personal experience there. I will say that their geometry is a little complicated (the two airbags) and walking in them in feels a little odd, but I don't think that is a fair judge of the shoe at all.

I have run in both the Nike VF4% and Saucony Endorphin Pro at sustained paces ranging from 5:30/mile to 9:30/mile and I can personally say that they work just fine at either end of the scale. They may feel a little livelier when running fast but I don't get anything even remotely approaching discomfort. I think those comments are just inserted for youtube talking points.

If I had to shoot from the hip here I would say go for the VFNEXT% (it's the next step up from my 4%'s) given that, mechanically speaking, it is a fairly uncomplicated shoe. If my experience with the 4% is any indication, it should be perfectly capable at 8:00 minute pace
 
#3
There is an abundance of reviews on the various carbon plated shoes Nike Next/ Saucony Pro /Hoka Carbon / NB RC Elite/ adidias adiaos etc. I am trying to identify the shoe best suited for the slower runner i.e. 8:00/mile + marathon pace

As I read/listen to the reviews it seems that most reviewers are assuming a sub 7:00 min/mile pace and occasionally mention that some shoes Nike Alpha Next feels strange and uncomfortable at paces above 6 -7 min/mile.

Any insight into this would be appreciated - any slower runners out there who have improved there Marathon times with any of these shoes please share your experience.

Thanks
Frankly, I don't think your pace should change the analysis very much. Besides, I wouldn't call an 8+ min mile slow. I have a ton of carbon racing shoes, and it just depends on your preference. Personally, I think the Alpha Fly Next % is superior to all the competition. Because of the way that shoe can improve your posture and overall running economy, the Alpha Fly Next % can take chunks off of your race times. Even on a 10k, that shoe helped improve my 10k PR by 7 minutes (2 weeks in between efforts).

All of the carbon racing shoes should help improve running economy, but some do more than others. The Carbon X was my favorite for a long time because of how comfortable the ride is, but it's simply not as fast as the others, and they tend to lose their pop after ~150 miles.

If you are set against the Nike Alpha/Vapor Fly Next %, then the next one I'd recommend is the Saucony Endorphin Pro. For me, it has great results, and I think it's my favorite shoe. Still, it simply doesn't compare to the Nikes.

Again, IMO the Nikes aren't necessarily built for fast runners. If anything, they should promise even more substantial gains for average runners because of the way they improve posture and running economy.
 

RW Admin

Administrator
Staff member
#5
There is an abundance of reviews on the various carbon plated shoes Nike Next/ Saucony Pro /Hoka Carbon / NB RC Elite/ adidias adiaos etc. I am trying to identify the shoe best suited for the slower runner i.e. 8:00/mile + marathon pace

As I read/listen to the reviews it seems that most reviewers are assuming a sub 7:00 min/mile pace and occasionally mention that some shoes Nike Alpha Next feels strange and uncomfortable at paces above 6 -7 min/mile.

Any insight into this would be appreciated - any slower runners out there who have improved there Marathon times with any of these shoes please share your experience.

Thanks
Hi @sparrow415,

Welcome to the TR Community!

This question is a bit tricky. The observations above reflect what I've seen from the running community as a whole. Essentially, the decision comes down to preference and a few other factors. A few factors to consider are: fit, injuries, & distance (which you've already indicated as Marathon).

As you can see from the comments above, The Nike VaporFly & AlphaFly are still the most popular of the Carbon Plated shoes. My understanding is the VaporFly is a little more accommodating to various runners while the AlphaFly can be a bit divisive.

Below is a quick rundown a few of the top models.
  • Nike VaporFly
    • Top shoe in the Carbon Plate arena. It is soft, light, and feels fast.
    • Potential Con: It isn't as stable as some other Carbon Racers due to how soft it is.
  • ASICS MetaSpeed Sky
    • Connor mention this to me as his runner-up to the VaporFly. It isn't as soft, but it still has a lot of cushion and rebound.
  • Saucony Endorphin Pro
    • This was next in the line for us at RW. It has a lot going for it. However, as noted by @imnothammer, it isn't as soft as the Vaporfly
Is there any particular shoe you were already looking at? Or, are there any other factors that could help with decision making? I've included a link here for our landing page with all the Carbon Plated shoes we have.
Thank you,


Justin
RW Staff
 
#6
I suppose another important question is what purpose will this shoe serve in your rotation? Will it be a race-day-only shoe or will you be actively using it in your workouts (for speedwork or long runs)?

If you intend to use it primarily for workouts then I think the firmness of the Saucony Endorphin Pro gives it an edge, as you may want stability and consistency (especially when you're tired and your form degrades). I have about 250 miles in my Pro's and they feel almost exactly as they did when I first got them, which I think is pretty remarkable. So far they have served excellently in the "hard workout" slot in my rotation.

If workouts will be the primary purpose then you may even want to consider the Saucony Endorphin Speed (the little brother of the Pro) which enjoys A LOT of high praise in the running community as a workout super shoe. It has a nylon plate, rather than a carbon plate, and is $40 cheaper than the Pro (and $90 cheaper than the Nike VFNEXT%). I have yet to run in these but many of the comparison videos hold these out to be next to identical to the Pro.

As Justin noted, at the end of the day it will come down to personal preference. All of these options may work just fine at slower paces but you'll be able to find what works best for you.
 
#7
I suppose another important question is what purpose will this shoe serve in your rotation? Will it be a race-day-only shoe or will you be actively using it in your workouts (for speedwork or long runs)?

If you intend to use it primarily for workouts then I think the firmness of the Saucony Endorphin Pro gives it an edge, as you may want stability and consistency (especially when you're tired and your form degrades). I have about 250 miles in my Pro's and they feel almost exactly as they did when I first got them, which I think is pretty remarkable. So far they have served excellently in the "hard workout" slot in my rotation.

If workouts will be the primary purpose then you may even want to consider the Saucony Endorphin Speed (the little brother of the Pro) which enjoys A LOT of high praise in the running community as a workout super shoe. It has a nylon plate, rather than a carbon plate, and is $40 cheaper than the Pro (and $90 cheaper than the Nike VFNEXT%). I have yet to run in these but many of the comparison videos hold these out to be next to identical to the Pro.

As Justin noted, at the end of the day it will come down to personal preference. All of these options may work just fine at slower paces but you'll be able to find what works best for you.
"If you intend to use it primarily for workouts then I think the firmness of the Saucony Endorphin Pro gives it an edge, as you may want stability and consistency ...." This is exactly how I feel. I don't think I'll race much in the endorphin pros, but imnothammer is dead on about the Endorphin Pros for training, etc.
 
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