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Background: Advancements in running shoe technology, particularly in the Nike Vaporfly, have been shown to improve running economy. Other brands have now also developed new, advanced shoes with a carbon-fiber plate and thicker, new midsole foams. However, none of these new shoes have been compared to the Vaporfly. Therefore, we compared the effects of 7 different carbon-plated shoes and 1 traditional racing shoe on running economy.

Methods: Seven carbon-plated shoes: Hoka-RocketX (HRX), Saucony-Endorphin Pro (SEP), Nike-Alphafly (NAF), Asics-Metaspeed Sky (AMS), Nike-Vaporfly2 (NVF2), New Balance-RC Elite (NBRC), Brooks-Hyperion Elite2 (BHE2), and one traditional shoe: Asics-Hyperspeed (AHS) were tested in 12 male runners (5k best: 16.0±0.7 min) on two visits. Shoes were tested in a random sequence over 8x5-minute trials (16 km‧hr-1; 5-minute rest between trials) on visit 1, and in the reverse/mirrored order for visit 2. Metabolic and running mechanics data were collected and averaged across visits.

Results: VO2 (ml‧kg-1‧min-1; % change from AHS) was significantly different across shoes. HRX (51.67±2.07) and BHE2 (51.42±1.72) did not differ from AHS (51.71±2.02). While SEP (50.93±1.82; -1.48±0.72%) and NBRC (50.99±1.83; -1.37±0.78%) were statistically better than AHS, they were inferior to NAF (50.13±1.86; -3.03±1.48%), NVF2 (50.29±1.72; -2.72±1.02%), and AMS (50.39±1.71; -2.52±1.08%).

Conclusions: While some of the shoes tested performed better than the traditional racing shoe, only NAF and AMS matched the NVF2. From these data, it appears the running shoe market as a whole has not caught up to the advantages conferred by the NVF2.



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