When it comes to running a 2:39 or 2:40 marathon to win the Ironman World Championship, Patrick Lange pulls out all the stops, wearing the same shoes many of Canada’s elite road runners choose for 5K and 10K road races. That’s a tribute to how much the industry has managed to pack even the lightest shoes with innovative technology the provides enough support, cushioning and comfort for even the hardest marathon efforts our sport can throw out.
That doesn’t mean that every triathlete should be looking for a full-fledged racing flat as their shoe of choice. What it does mean is that thanks to the huge choice available to runners and triathletes these days, it shouldn’t be hard to come up with a shoe that provides the right blend of support, cushioning and flexibility to ensure you’ll be comfortable out on the roads for training and racing. The key to finding that shoe? A reputable shoe store where experts can guide you to something that is best likely to meet your needs.
361 Spire 3 – $190
This neutral high-mileage trainer provides lots of energy return in a shoe designed to provide the maximum in comfort, cushioning and performance. Using 361’s proprietary EVA and rubber blend called Qu!ckfoam in the midsole, you get a nice mix of cushioning and responsiveness. The internal webbing in the midfoot keeps your foot nice and secure and there’s a comfortable, lightweight molded heel counter to keep your heel in place. While you get some nice support in this shoe, there’s a nice balance of flex to make it easy to roll onto your forefoot to help you keep your turnover nice and high.
Related: What we think of the new SPIRE 3
SAUCONY Freedom ISO 2 – $200
Thanks to new technology called ISOKNIT, the Freedom ISO 2 manages to combine a sock-like fit we’re used to in the Freedom ISO line and combines it with a specially designed performance knit upper for a shoe that provides lots of support, breathability and freedom of movement. The EVERUN midsole provides lots of energy return and a cushioned ride from heel strike to toe-off. The streamlined frame cups your foot nicely, keeping your heel snug and comfortable, and there’s lots of arch support for those who need it, too.
ASICS Gel Kayano 25 – $220
It can’t be 25 years old, can it? Sadly, we can remember running in the original Gel Kayano and the 25th-anniversary edition lives up to the original idea behind the shoe – a comfortable, stable trainer that serves as a solid all-rounder. Triathletes love the Kayano line both as a go-to trainer while those who require cushioning and stability for longer race efforts will happily leave it in transition, too. The latest versions offer lots of lightweight cushioning thanks to the FlyteFoam cushioning, which is enhanced by the Gel cushioning in the heel. The snug- fitting upper uses Jacquard mesh that’s breathable and adapts to your foot for a very comfortable fit, while the sturdy heel counter provides lots of support while remaining comfortable, too.
NEW BALANCE Hanzo S v2 – $170
Fast enough to be the shoe of choice for many of Team NB’s elite road racers, the Hanzo S v2 has helped Patrick Lange run his way to two Ironman World Championships, proving it’s a formidable option no matter how far you’re running. The midsole provides excellent responsiveness and durability, but the REVlite material used is 30 per cent lighter than comparable midsole foams. The no-sew material used in the mesh upper means you get a comfortable, snug fit that’s extremely breathable. It all adds up to a super fast, comfortable shoe that’s a great option for those looking for a true racing flat for their triathlon runs.
HOKA ONE ONE Clifton Knit – $160
There are more than a few runners and triathletes who have found their running careers saved thanks to the innovative cushioning found in Hoka shoes and the Clifton continues that trend in style. It’s light, it offers lots of cushioning and remains easy to run fast in. This snug-fitting shoe offers lots of flexibility and a forgiving forefoot, so the cushy feel is maintained all the way through your foot strike. The knit upper is very breathable and offers lots of comfortable support, making this a great choice for training and racing.
Related: Review: HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 5
UNDER ARMOUR HOVR Infinite – $150
This neutral running shoe is designed for runners who need flexibility, cushioning and versatility – in other words, triathletes. In addition to the UA HOVR technology in the shoe
that provides lots of cushioning and a compression mesh Energy Web for energy return, UA’s Record Sensor will track all kinds of running metrics, so you can analyze data from each run. The mesh upper is lightweight, breathable and has just the right amount of support, while you get additional support from the ergonomic EVA sockliner and internal heel counter. Thanks to the deep flex grooves in the sole, there’s lots of flexibility to ensure that you can easily roll from your heel to your toe for a comfortably quick stride to turn up the tempo on your run.