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We’ve reviewed the best lightweight running shoes for triathlon.

Find more group tests from Triathlon Plus in our other best triathlon gear reviews.

Brooks T7 Racer

£56

Weight 181g

www.brooksrunning.com

This light unisex racer carries Chrissie Wellington across the line, but you’ll need to be a light, quick-footed runner like her to get the most out of them. They’re stripped down – just a pad of fluid cushioning in the heel and a thin, soft, foam midsole. We like the flexible, ‘pod construction’ outsole giving brilliant traction and movement, and the curved racing last urges you to run on the front of your foot and keep the pace up. The upper is a simple, light mesh with thin overlays adding security and bling. A stiff heel cup and sturdy wrap from the arch to the outside of the foot is supportive, helping it stick to your heel, but might cause problems for wide-footed runners. The inside of the shoe is equally no-nonsense; it’s not plush, but the seams are well designed and covered to avoid rubbing. There are heel and tongue loops on a limited tri edition this summer.

Verdict

Straightforward, good value racer, great for light, neutral runners.

Value 4/5

Performance 5/5

Overall 4/5

Triathlon Plus Top Value Award, issue 32

Mizuno Wave Musha 3

£60

Weight 230g

www.mizuno.co.uk

The musha looks like an everyday trainer and is light and responsive for the amount of cushioning and support. There aren’t any overt stability features, but generous forefoot and rigid heel and midfoot give security and support. Mizuno’s Wave unit in the midsole and soft EVA foam give plenty of cushioning, but flexibility is not sacrificed at the foot’s front. Heavier heel strikers could get away with using these in a race. Traction was good on roads and pavements, thanks to the X10 outsole material. A bevelled heel and curved forefoot give them a fast feel for heavier runners, and even our neutral fast tester found them easy going, though if you fall into that category you might consider them a fast training shoe rather than a racer. They only fell down on comfort; the material inside is soft but there were a couple of irritating seams.

Verdict

Stable, well-cushioned and a fast-feeling shoe, good for heavier runners in races.

Value 3/5

Performance 4/5

Overall 3/5

Puma Faas 300

£65

Weight 200g

www.pumarunning.com

We’re not going to lie, there were a few giggles in the office when these were unboxed, looking as though they’re made from Fuzzy Felt. But they went down a storm with our lighter, faster tester. They feel like old-school, no-messing racing shoes made on a basic last, but with surprisingly good cushioning for something so light. Like the Scott T2C, they’re made with a rocker shape to encourage a more efficient stride. They weigh next to nothing, they’re incredibly flexible, they’ve got soft, comfy inners and the Evertrack outsole looks tough and durable too (without adding any excess weight). A tiny slice of dense midsole foam is the only concession to support here, so they’re strictly for neutral runners. There are loads of fun colour options too.

Verdict

A fast, comfy and fun shoe for light, neutral runners.

Value 3/5

Performance 4/5

Overall 3/5

K-Swiss Blade Light Run

£65

Weight 269g

www.kswiss.co.uk

We weren’t sure what to make of the Blade Light Run, though it has some nice features. The ‘blades’ on the outsole give shock absorption and there’s extra cushioning from a softer midsole foam, with a durable black rubber compound on high-impact areas of the outsole. Draining holes in the insole run through to the outside and a clever Flow Cool System of vents in the upper keeps feet cool. A big opening and heel and tongue loops make them easy to pull on. But we weren’t sure about the ride: OK, there’s a ‘race’ version, but the weight and shape of this suggest it’s a fast shoe, whereas we found it unresponsive in the heel. Bulky overlays on the upper add security, but we weren’t sure they were necessary. Heavier heel-strikers will appreciate the rigidity of the sole.

Verdict

Comfy, cool shoe with good tri-specific design, but bulky.

Value 2/5

Performance 3/5

Overall 3/5

Adidas Adizero Boston 2.0

£75

Weight 274g

www.adidas.co.uk

Adidas provide a firm footing for the Brownlee brothers’ astonishing run splits, and if you’re a fast, efficient runner you’ll appreciate the responsive ride of the Boston. It’s for neutral runners, with enough cushioning from the adiPrene midsole foam to cope with long distances. The hard rubber outsole, reinforced toe and sturdy heel cup give the impression the Boston could take a real pounding. It’s not a tri-specific shoe, so there are no loops to pull them on or drainage holes, but as a fast racing shoe its open mesh upper and super-soft brushed insole invite sockless wear. The split heel Formotion unit gives a smoother heel-to-toe transition and we found them stable. But you’ll need to be a light runner with narrow feet to appreciate them – fit is restrictive. The built-up heel makes them better for longer running, where you need more shock absorption.

Verdict

These are light, narrow, firm and responsive running shoes.

Value 3/5

Performance 3/5

Overall 3/5

Saucony Fastwitch 5

£75

Weight 220g

www.saucony.co.uk

It might look outrageous (the women’s version is electric blue with fluoro yellow laces, and there’s trash talk on the heels) but this is a straightforward, old-school performance trainer, with pared down stability features. That makes it a really versatile shoe, good for just training fast if you have low support needs or racing hard if you’re a heavier overpronator. The curved shape of the sole gives it a smooth-riding, fast feel. It’s one of the few shoes here with a dual-density foam wedge on the inside of the foot and plastic unit to control pronation, but the low profile and weight of the shoe means it doesn’t feel too much. The soft, brushed inner, vents in the inside and open mesh upper help keep your feet comfy when you’re sockless. For tri purposes, heel loops would be good, but for versatility we can’t fault these lightweight runners.

Verdict

Radical-looking, but solid-performing fast trainer for long races.

Value 4/5

Performance 4/5

Overall 4/5

Asics Gel Tarther/Tarther Diva

£82

Weight 211g

www.asics.co.uk

There aren’t many racing shoes that you’d happily wear to the pub after your race, but this looks the part and is a really decent shoe for efficient runners, too. Like the Saucony they’re essentially a stripped-down version of Asics neutral everyday trainers, though they’re built on a racing last, so have a more curved, fast-feeling shape and a low-profile sole. The Solyte foam midsole is soft without feeling flabby, and we really liked the little spikes of sticky, hardwearing rubber, which give brilliant traction. Combined with the racing shape, this gives great ground contact. There’s no support to speak of, and we found the fit a bit narrow in the forefoot, so these are better suited to light, neutral runners; but we’d happily race them over anything from 10K to the full marathon.

Verdict

Nothing fancy, but a solid racing shoe for neutral runners.

Value 4/5

Performance 3/5

Overall 3/5

Nike Lunar Haze

£87

Weight 309g

www.nike.com

The lunar haze+ is not a racer, but its low weight and subtle support make it a good choice for runners who need a bit of stability on race day. The most striking feature is the wellcushioned midsole, with a big pad of Lunarlon cushioning under the heel and shaped Dynamic Support foam that’s designed to give different levels of stability depending on your footstrike. A seamless inner sock helps your forefoot feel secure and reinforced but soft overlays linking up to the laces help cradle your foot. The tongue has no loop, but a padded section at the top means you can prop it open to get your foot in quick. It’s not the most silky-soft inner but it’s not uncomfortable. Testers with stability issues found this a reassuring ride. However, all that cushioning and a stiff, high midfoot mean light, fast runners will find this a frustrating shoe.

Verdict

Secure, soft and super-cushioned, will work for heavy heel strikers.

Value 3/5

Performance 3/5

Overall 3/5

Zoot Ultra TT 4.0

£90

Weight 281g

www.zootsports.com, www.k2sports.com

We first tried the Ultra TT last summer and thought it was an interesting shoe. The 4.0 version hasn’t changed much and having raced in it more often, we’re pleased to report some original niggles subsided with time. The special lacing system has been tweaked but it’s still easy to use: elastic laces come as standard and pull tight. Huge holes in the tongue and heel help you pull the shoe on quickly; initially we had trouble with this as the shoe’s opening is narrow and long, but with wear this improved. Inner comfort from the soft one-piece liner is up there with the best shoes we’ve tested. The back of the heel is high and rubbed until we wore them in. A carbon piece in the midsole helps with gait transition and rebound but does mean the shoe loses flexibility. It’s well cushioned so would work as an everyday speed trainer or long-distance racing shoe.

Verdict

Fast, clever, well-cushioned and welldesigned tri racer.

Value 4/5

Performance 4/5

Overall 4/5

Triathlon Plus Peak Performer Award, issue 32

Scott T2C

£100

Weight 235g

www.scott-sports.com

These might look better suited to skateboarding than triathlon, but they’re full of features designed to help you run more efficiently and share some of the design elements of the T2 Pro, Team Commerzbank’s favoured shoe. The rocker shape of the sole should give you a smooth transition whether you’re a heel striker or midfoot runner and the Ergologic Fit system (non-stretch overlays running from the eyelets round the back of the foot, and a one-piece forefoot upper) is designed to let your foot flex while holding it secure. Scott say a US study showed the design reduced muscle strain over other designs. We were sceptical given the shoe’s bulk and shape, but they are light and easy to get on thanks to a big heel loop and a tongue that stands up to give a big gap. The inside is soft and cool, with big drainage holes in the sole and vents on the tongue.

Verdict

An easy-in racer good for heavier runners; faster people might want better ground feel.

Value 3/5

Performance 2/5

Overall 3/5

Pearl Izumi Iso Transition

£119.99

Weight 221g

www.pearlizumi.com, www.madison.co.uk

This is tri-specific shoe design at its best, with every detail covered: elastic quick-pull laces, drainage holes in the sole, a big quick-on loop on the heel and a breathable mesh upper. It’s a much more flexible shoe than the Zoot and more of a pure racer. There’s not any support, with a small plastic unit in the arch helping prevent collapse, but nothing else, and the sole is much softer and lower to the ground, so heavier runners will find these unforgiving, and they are best suited to shorter, faster events. Having said that, the cushioning is responsive and impressive for such a lightweight shoe. Traction from the split outsole is grippy and the curved racing-last build means they’re smooth-riding and fast-feeling, even if you’re a heel striker.

Verdict

Fast, flexible, ultra-light pure triathlon racing shoe.

Value 5/5

Performance 4/5

Overall 4/5

Triathlon Plus Gold Award, issue 32

Newton Gravity

£135

Weight 290g

www.newtonrunning.co.uk

By now triathletes will be familiar with Newton’s ‘actuator lugs’, which stick out of the forefoot sole, absorb shock and return the energy to give a fast forefoot striking ride. The Gravity is the brand’s performance trainer (there is a lighter racing shoe, the Distance, in the range) but its low weight, breathable upper and soft inner lend it to racing all triathlon distances for most runners. This version of the Gravity has a more durable rubber on the outsole of the heel and stretch panels in the upper, which give a better fit. They feel softer on the inside than previous versions, while the ride feels firmer than before, so feel for the ground is good and the shoe’s really responsive. But light runners might find them a bit too firm, and if you’re a heel-striker, bear in mind that you’ll need to work to change your gait if the Gravity is to work for you.

Verdict

These Newtons are a firm, fast forefoot-friendly shoe.

Value 4/5

Performance 3/5

Overall 4/5

Find more group tests from Triathlon Plus in our other best triathlon gear reviews.

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