With summer around the corner, it’s time to embrace your inner speed demon and start targeting the shorter distances. To help you in your quest – whether it’s a speedy parkrun or a trail 10K – we’ve rounded up seven go-faster shoes designed with speed in mind. These trainers are light, low-profile and built to fly. The rest is up to you…
Your tester is yet to find a better shoe for high-intensity running. While the minimal cushioning will be an issue for some, it means that the shoe is phenomenally light (just 147g) and built with nothing but speed in mind. The upper’s FlexFilm material hugs the foot, the forefoot is nice and flexible, and the overall responsiveness of the Type A is second to none.
As a racing shoe that retains an element of support, the New Balance 1500V2 can be filed alongside Saucony’s much-loved Kinvara. It’s flexible, comfortable and, at 224 grams, light enough for fast running. The 6mm heel-to-toe drop places it somewhere between minimalist racers and more traditional road shoes, while the toe-box is just roomy enough to allow your digits to spread. Eye-catching in amber and boosting a plush lacing system, it look and feels like a top-quality racer – which is exactly what it is.
Don’t be fooled by the sizeable midsole; this is a shoe built with speed in mind. Released in early April, Nike’s latest Flyknit offering combines the light and stretchy namesake material – which moves and expands in unison with your foot – with a rounded heel to further enhance the natural feel. With Nike’s fashion focus, it can be easy to forget that it is, first and foremost, a high-performance sports brand. The Free Run Flyknit is proof of just that – and a worthy candidate for anyone looking to inject a spring in their step this summer.
Asics has used lightweight materials and technology to keep this shoe focused on speed but, at the same time, added a DuoMax density midsole to give runners some support when the going gets tough. You can certainly feel the shoe correcting you as you run, but neutral runners might not appreciate the touch. While the upper was extremely comfortable, the tongue could do with a bit of a reduction in size. Overall, though, this is a decent racer suitable for the heavier runner looking for a bit of support.
Marketed as a track spike, but just as suited to some moderate cross-country running or some shorter road races , the Wire 4 – at just 107g – is the lightest shoe in the collection and, as such, should be reserved for short and sharp running. Having said that, the full-length midsole offers slightly more support than a lot of spikes, meaning speed doesn’t come at the cost of comfort, while the 3D Fit Print upper is as flexible and breathable as you like. If you have any track ambitions this summer, this could be the shoe for you.
Hoka doesn’t do subtle. Its shoes are loud and proud of their maximalist style. While often touted as the ultimate mile-crunchers, there aren’t many runners that also associate oversized, cushioned trainers with speed. That’s something Hoka aims to change with the new Clayton. Incredibly light and firmer in the forefoot, these maintain the trademark protection but spread the load around the whole shoe. They really perform, too, making them an exciting prospect for road and track runners who prefer supportive footwear.
If you’re looking to move fast off-road this summer, this lightweight trail shoe is a great bet. Weighing in at 220 grams, the Terraclaw provides excellent ground-feel allied with inov-8’s trademark grippiness. The off-centre lacing system aligns with the foot’s metatarsal to provide a secure and comfortable fit. The welcome inclusion of a roomy toe-box – sorely lacking in the otherwise-excellent inov-8 X-Talon 190 – allows toes to splay, creating a more stable platform. However, the shoe’s “look at me” design is likely to be a turn-off for some.