Do Carbon-Fibre Running Shoes Warrant The Hype?

Do Carbon-Fibre Running Shoes Warrant The Hype?

What Are Carbon-Fibre Running Shoes?

Carbon fibres are thin, strong polymers composed of carbon atoms. When twisted together it creates a material that is remarkably stiff. As well as being durable, lightweight, and resistant to temperature changes. Historically carbon fibres have been used in several spaces including, military engineering, motorsports, aeronautical engineering and in more recent times competitive sports, specifically long distance running in the form of carbon-fibre running shoes. Carbon-fibre running shoes, also referred to as carbon-plated running shoes have a thin carbon-fibre plate embedded in their midsole. This plate works with the midsole foam to act like a virtual springboard to propel the runner forward. They are all the rage currently because when this forward propulsion is combined with speed, a runner experiences an increase in running efficiency. Leading to faster times. Therefore, carbon-plated shoes have become immensely popular in the wider running community. And can be seen in droves at the starting line on race day.

Are Carbon-Plated Shoes Right For Me?

So why put carbon-plates into running shoes? The rigidity of the carbon-plate helps provide energy return that helps propels you forward and has proven beneficial impacts on running performance. The lightweight nature of carbon fibres makes them great for running shoes, given that a lighter shoe is typically preferred by most runners. The rigidity of a carbon-plate can also help with shoe stability, assisting in keeping the foot supported while running. Most carbon-fibre running shoes on the market are made with significant cushioning, which helps counterbalance the rigidity of the plate. Ideally a great carbon-fibre running shoe is the perfect balance between comfort, stability, and performance. You do not need to be an elite runner to experience the benefits of running in carbon-plated running shoes. Most carbon-fibre running shoes provide positive effects on speed that any runner can benefit from. However, display their full potential at higher speeds and therefore often best suited for the more serious runner. Someone who wants to run fast and is putting priority on besting their PBs. However, carbon-plated shoes can still provide significant efficiency gains to a wide range of runner levels.

Incorporating Carbon-Fibre Running Shoes Into Your Training Routine

Benefits of carbon-fibre plated shoes:
  • Improved performance – Performance benefits from carbon-fibre running shoes are research backed.
  • Carbon-fibre in the shoe can add a more rigid shoe into your running rotation. When paired with a higher-cushioned shoe for those easy, longer and recovery runs a carbon-fibre running shoe can help work new muscles and provide a more well-rounded workout to the whole body. Altering stress patterns on the body and potentially reducing overload risks.
Carbon-plated shoes are the go to shoe for race day, but can also be worn during your shorter, quicker runs. Perfect when doing intervals and general speed work. Also great for tempo runs, especially when practicing at race pace. It is generally recommended to alternate carbon-fibre running shoes with another training shoe regularly (as per basic guidelines noted above). If you are unsure if carbon-plated shoes or carbon plated insoles are right for you then consult your sports physio, sports podiatrist, or running coach prior to experimenting.

Why Are Carbon Plated Shoes So Pricey?

It is likely over time they will come down in price slightly relative to their more traditional running shoe compatriots, but for now carbon-fiber running shoes are relatively new to the market. And are for some brands their flagship shoe, loaded with all the bells and whistles. Being new to the market and the general lack of global understanding of where they fit in the running shoe world. Means they are typically made in smaller batch quantities when compared to more traditional training shoes don’t carry the economies of scale or smoothed out the production process yet to reduce costs.