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The Trouble with Racing Shoes

Is that they are somehwat misunderstood.
Racing shoes, or racing flats, are often seen as a luxury purchase or reserved for only those at the front of the start of a race.  Yet should they be? Are they so much different from a lightweight pair of training shoes?

So what is a racing flat?  When shoes weighed in at over 300gms a lightweight racer would be a good 100 grams lighter, which kinda made sense.  Yet it is not so uncommon to have a high mileage training shoe coming in at 250 grams or lighter.  Then there is the differnece in the ‘drop’.  Trainers generally offered around 12mm difference in the height of the heel to the forefoot of the shoe.  Racing flats were always produced with a drop of around 6mm, more sloped and less stepped.  Again, these days that’s nothing unusual.


The big difference is how the shoe reacts to the impact forces of landing and that all important push off from the ground.  Squidge the midsole of your average dedicated racing flat and then do the same with your training shoe.  You’ll feel a big difference.  The trainer will be easier to squidge with the midsole balancing impact chshioning over responsiveness.  The racing flat is definitely less ‘squidgy’ and much firmer, so more about responsiveness.

When we push agaisnt the shoe our force is often absorbed by the cushioning of the shoe.  So a more responsive shoe will allow that force to pass through the midsole and provide more force to push you away from the ground. More push will equate to more speed.  The balance between cushioning and responsiveness will depend on you and often the distance you wish to race.  So shorter distance race shoes are often more about responsiveness whilst a marathon shoe will tend towards feeling a little more impact absorbant.

So yes, there is a big argument for owning a pair of racing shoes.  These days their weight is dropping, whilst their responsiveness has increased.  So if you run with good technique and are nice and strong then there is a good chance you will enjoy a racing flat, regardless of how fast you actually run.

Afterall, nothing beats pulling on those fast feeling lightweight racers on race day.

Note: Racing flats generally have a lower mileage life than training shoes.  They are available for road running and trail to mountain running and often in a ladies and a gents fit, with some only offering a unisex version.  The Accelerate Runstore has a comprehensive range, just pop in to find out a little more.

About Run Stu

Accelerate Performance and Healthy Run Coaching, Heart rate, Periodisation, Strength & Stability. Business owner @accelerateuk Coach to #TeamAccelerate The open road, fell, moorland and high places. Sunny days, days the wind blows and rain is horizontal - 'You're Alive!' Twitter and Instagram: @RunStuCoach
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