Should You Wear Super Shoes?


Nike created the first of what are commonly called “Super Shoes.” These new shoes incorporated special carbon plates and new midsole foam that resulted in significant performance improvements. In fact, most every long-distance running record has now fallen with the introduction of super shoes.

Super shoes allow you to run faster with less effort. That’s the key benefit of the carbon plates. They essentially act as a spring to help propel you down the road and thus require less of your own muscular effort to do so. The result is lower energy output at a given pace. That’s a big win across a race.

Another key benefit of super shoes is the advanced midsole material. This material lessens the stress on the muscles resulting in less muscle damage which means you can run fast at the end of the race because you don’t have as much muscle damage. It’s incredible how “fresh” many marathoners look as they finish the race when using super shoes.

The question then is, should you wear them?

The answer is, “most likely.” Given the results of runners using the super shoes, you’d think the answer is a resounding “yes” but as with anything running, you need to experiment to see if you like the super shoes. They are different from regular shoes. That said, others may have a stride that limits the advantage of the shoes (typically runners with a shorter, shallower stride).”

It’s well established for the bulk of 10Kers wanting to go faster, it’s worth giving the super shoes a try in training so see what you think. Nearly every shoe manufacturer now has their version of super shoes so it’s easy to give them a try.

You’ll try them in training to see if you like them but you may also find, like many runners are, that training in super shoes for your next race may be a good idea as well. After all, if the shoes help you run faster and result in less stress on the body, why not?!

Coach Lemoncello suggests that the shoes tend to come into their own when runners open up their stride to run fast as they get the spring effect versus it feeling almost a little awkward at slower paces. So, start by using them in your faster workouts and if they feel good, you run faster and/or you recover more quickly. Super shoes seem like a no-brainer.

I’m certainly using super shoes more and more often in my own training so despite their hefty price tag, I feel they are worth it. Let me know what you think?

Lastly, here is my video on how to select the right running shoe for you. And if you’ve never rotated shoes, here’s the reason to consider shoe rotation.

Written By Greg McMillan
Called “one of the best and smartest distance running coaches in America” by Runner’s World’s Amby Burfoot, Greg McMillan is renowned for his ability to combine the science of endurance performance with the art of real-world coaching. While getting his graduate degree in Exercise Science he created the ever-popular McMillan Running Calculator – called “The Best Running Calculator” by Outside Magazine. A National Champion runner himself, Greg coaches runners from beginners to Boston Qualifiers (15,000+ and counting!) to Olympians.

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