Super shoes have ‘blown distance running into a new stratosphere.’ Are they benefitting the sport?

November 3, 2023

Carbon-plated shoes – commonly referred to as “super shoes” – are rapidly changing the distance-running landscape. Today, they are worn by virtually all elite marathon runners, both for racing and for training, and by many casual runners, too.

Some are happy about the new technology, arguing that an influx of world records and fast times only serves to advance the sport; others believe that they are an obfuscation, skewing performance and removing a sense of “natural progression” in distance running.

“The brands are not motivated by what’s best for the sport,” says long-time coach Peter Thompson. “The brands are motivated by what’s best for them, and it then becomes a brand warfare rather than competition between individuals … who’s got the best materials, who’s got the best architecture.

“At the moment,” he added, “it’s become shoe wars.” AMP