Top 5 Racing Flats – After a LOT of Research
As an ordinary Joe Runner I am often on the lookout for ways to improve my times other than the obvious HARD WORK!
As I’ve looked at in a previous post, racing flats may offer around a 1% increase in speed which although apparently trivial would make all the difference in my 5 and 10k races! Now I never purchase anything without first doing copious amounts of research into different manufacturers and models, reading reviews and comparing prices online.
I’ve recently spent so much time switching between tabs in my browser to compare the shortlisted trainers that I’d thought i’d be easier to list them all out here for all to see and to hopefully help save you the time I’ve spent looking!
1. Saucony A6 – Price £80 – Weight 144.6g
Weight is all important when looking at which racing flat to choose and the Saucony A6 is VERY light – 5.1 oz / 144.6g. The upper is a water shedding, airy mesh that Saucony call FlexiFilm, which apparently sheds moisture and heat as you run.
There is a rubber outsole, a foam EVA midsole to add cushioning and drainholes in the sole that allow moisture to drain out through the bottom of the trainer. Some reviews I have read say this has the potential for gravel to get stuck in the holes and for water to actually leak IN through the soles.
One reviewer said these shoes BEG to go fast and that you can’t help but run faster in them due to the design!
In research the fit, it seems that the sizing of the A6 is spot on for most people with no requirement to size up or down a half or full size. Plus they look great – these are the ones I went for in the end, mainly due to the hugely positive review on Running Shoes Guru (my fave website!), but also because they come in at the mid range price of £80.
I found them cheapest in the UK and in stock at Wiggle. More on the Saucony blog
One of the lightest shoes on the market, still has a slight heel to toe drop and competitively priced – these will be mine, oh yes, they will be mine.
Saucony A6 sole
Nike Flyknit Racer – Price £129.99 – Weight 159g
Now these shoes look good! They really are where fashion meets function and I think in the end that’s what swing my decision away from them. Well that and the price. These trainers are for sale on fashion sites like ASOS as well as your regular running shops. I’m no running snob (ok maybe I am) but for some reason I don’t trust a shoe that isn’t worn purely for performance.
It’s clear that the Flyknit technology is excellent and helps with the lightness and sock-like feel of the shoe, but all the different colourways make it seem too fashiony for my liking. Hell, they were launched at Milan Fashion Week! When you read the comments on the Nike website to get a feel for how they perform, it’s just a load of fashionistas commenting on the colours and look of the shoe – bleugh.
One thing this model does have going for it; these are Mo Farah’s go to shoes for the marathon distance
I does look good, it’s very light and many reviews say that they are very comfortable, but for that price range I decided against.
Newton MV3 – Price £110 – Weight 5.4 oz (142.8g)
Newton call this ‘the lightest running shoe ever produced’ which, when looking at the others on this list holds true. My decision to get racing flats was kickstarted after running alongside someone who was wearing Newton MV2′s. Her running form was far better than mine and she swore blind it was all down to the technology in the Newtons, forcing her to strike on to her forefoot.
Newton MV3 Racing Flats
Newton seem to have gained a reputation for taking a more scientific approach to show design and the majority of the innovation appears to be in the mid-sole. This is what it says on their website:
- Second generation Action/ReactionTM technology in the midfoot
- Biomechanical metatarsal sensor plate
- High-rebound EVA
- Met-flex enhanced midfoot flexibility
- ETC anti-friction, antibacterial sock liner
- Water drainage system
- Optional 3mm lift included
- Widened midfoot and filled toe area for greater stability
I did seriously consider getting these as they are created precisely for what I need – a 5-10k racer. However, they have a zero millimetre drop which I think may be too much of a change from my Nike Lunarglide 5′s which have a large drop and lots of cushioning. These may be a shoe that I move on to once my joints have gotten used to running on racing flats.
Adidas Adios Boosts – Price £98.99 – Weight 220g (7.7oz)
In comparison to the Newtons (0mm), these racers have a 10mm drop which seems very high for a racing flat. However this drop incorporates the Boost technology that Adidas have been heavily marketing recently.
At the pre-London Marathon expo Adidas had a display that had my son entranced… The floor of the left hand part of the display was made from standard EVA foam, whereas the right hand floor was made from Adidas’ Boost foam. Over and over again a metal ball was dropped from a height of around 1 metre on to each of the surfaces, showing the resultant bounce. The Adidas Boost foam definitely made the ball bounce a lot higher. To what extent this translates to real world running I’m not sure. Steve Way, 100k World Champion and 2:16 London Marathoner is sponsored by Adidas and these are his shoe of choice.
Adidas Adizero Adios Boosts
This is a nice looking shoe and the Boost technology is very appealing. However the high price and the fact that it’s not the lightest racing flat go against it. After owning Nike Lunarglide 4′s, I ordered a pair of Adidas Boosts in January this year but they were so uncomfortable a fit that I sent them straight back and opted for the Lunarglide 5′s.
New Balance RC5000 – Price £81.99 – Weight 3.2oz (85 grams)
These shoes are an older model and are ridiculously light at just 3.2 ounces! They kind of disprove Newton’s assertion that they make the lightest running shoes ever! With a 6mm drop they are not too flat and not too high. With a super thin upper these are a true minimalist running shoes! Weight loss is found through the minimal cushioning in the midsole which may give a slightly harder ride but that’s the the compromise – heavier Adidas with lots of cushioning, or extremely light New Balance RC5000′s with less.
New Balance RC5000
The sole also has rubber spikes which should give excellent adhesion to the road or track, saving micro-calories of energy through the lack of slippage on each take-off.
Really light at 3.2 ounces, great grip and nowhere near as expensive as the Nikes?! These may actually be a contender for me.
If you use them, what’s your go-to racing flat?