THE CARBON CLUB
Posted on April 27 2022
Carbon enhanced shoes appear to be everywhere these days so we have put together a guide to help you position each of the carbon shoes in our range.
You can check out our Carbon Collection HERE
We have categorized them on weight and stack height. Manufacturers do give weights but its often difficult to compare because they often use different shoe sizes and that obviously influences the weight so we have done our own measurements for this blog.
Generally speaking, if you are picking a pair of carbon enhanced shoes you are looking for speed. To date this has been mostly for road shoes but carbon is slowly making its way into trail shoes too. In this review however we only look at road shoes.
The weights in the chart refer to Men's size US10.5 but we have also weighed Women's size US 7.0. Obviously the relative position on the chart remains the same.
The weight of shoes in general is declining and no more so than in this "super shoe" category.. The introduction of nitrogen infused foam has created a class of highly responsive shoes with great energy return. In the original Nike study, they concluded that of the 4% measure improvement of performance, 3% came from the foam and 1% from the carbon plate. We go into a bit more of the science in our other carbon blog which you can read HERE
While shoes have become lighter, it is still generally the case that the more foam the heavier the shoe. Choosing the right pair for you should involve you thinking about the likely target distances you will run and also to some extent your natural running form. The very soft foams used in a number of these super shoes would not suit heavy heel strikers or people with overpronation. We go into that brand by brand below.
Here is the summary of the measurements
The road legal maximum for official Word Athletics events is a stack height of 39.5mm. Carbon plated shoes are NOT legal for track events so always check the regulations of any event you plan to take part in otherwise your could face disqualification.
The American brand has become the latest to join the Carbon Club with the launch of the Vanish Carbon in April 2022. Now you can enjoy the benefits of Zero drop with a carbon enhanced ride on top of 33mm of ALTRA's brand new super foam EGO PRO. Middle of the pack from a weight perspective at 242g for a men's US 10.5 and 201.5g for a Women's US7.0.
EGO PRO is one of the firmer super foams so it would work for people that heel strike or who need a bit more stability. Also has a great rocker feel to help propel you along.
Read our long term test of this brand new shoe HERE https://gone.run/blogs/news/altra-vanish-c-long-term-test
Two distinct offerings from New Balance, the full 39.5mm stack height of the RC Elite V2 and the stripped down Fuelcell Supercomp Pacer, lightest carbon shoe in our collection
The RC Elite is arguably one of the best carbon shoes on the market and fabulously suited for distances up to a marathon and for all of those pacey training sessions. Super soft cushioning makes it not so ideal for heavy heel strikers or overpronators but if you have a midfoot or forefoot striking running posture you will love these.
The Fuelcell Supercomp Pacer is the lightest shoe in our range at only 206g for mens US 10.5 and 155g for Women's US 7. It also has the lowest stack height at 27mm heel cushioning. Its a great trainer for shorter, faster training sessions and for road races certainly for 5k and 10k but would also work up to half marathon too.
It could be said adidas got a little left behind in the carbon race but they are trying to make a catch up now with the three shoes in our range.
The Takumi-Sen 8 comes in at only marginally above the weight of the SC Pacer at 209g for the men's US 10.5 and 169g for the Women's US 7. What you get though is a full 5mm more cushioning (33mm) in the heel than the SC Pacer which probably extends this shoe up to marathon distance.
The ADIOS PRO 2 is the full legal sized 39.5mm road racing shoe. This pushes the weight up a little but a great shoe for tackling that half to full marathon. adidas' top foam is Litestrike Pro and the ADIOS PRO 2 and the Takami-Sen had this in 100% of the midsole.
The BOSTON 10 is a takedown of the ADIOS PRO 2 and intended more as a training shoe. Slight heavier too with the midsole being split between Litestrike Pro and Litestrike. Train in this and race in the ADIOS PRO 2.
HOKA have enjoyed remarkable success with the Carbon X, and the third generation now the Carbon X3 continues that tradition. A more solid carbon plated shoe and its stiffness really accentuates the tip forward. Relatively heavy but still loved by many for the faster workout days.
HOKA have, just for the first season, added the carbon plate to the Bondi to make it the Bondi X. This is the heavyweight of the group. Lots of shoe and lots of cushioning but not the highest stack height at 33 mm.
The Rocket X is the lightest HOKA carbon shoe and favored for faster races. It may not look like it has the most cushioning but at 35mm it tops the list for HOKA and certainly has the softest foam, which explains the lower weight.
We are always happy to spend time helping you make the best choice for your running style and objectives. Come into the shop for some specific advice.
Otherwise check out the collection HERE