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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.


Joubert, Dustin P., and Garrett P. Jones. “A Comparison of Running Economy across Seven Highly Cushioned Racing Shoes with Carbon-Fibre Plates.” Footwear Science, 21 Feb. 2022, pp. 1–13



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