In my younger years, I used to battle with bad vices which resulted in having a very weak and lanky build. When I finally passed that phase, I sought advice from my friends who were already working out on how I can make myself look stronger and more muscular.
I’d say that’s how I started my ‘fitness’ journey: to look good. I know it’s a bit shallow, but over the years, their advice and my willingness to change my physicality actually drove me to better myself as a whole.
Then I started looking at it as a personal challenge, a purpose that gave me a sense of fulfilment.
I started to do sprint triathlons which are a completely different animal. I realized swimming gave me a feeling of relaxation, cycling gives me an exciting rush and running builds up my stamina and clears my mind. But to be able to perform at the optimum level, I needed the basic tools and for triathlons, that’s triathlon running shoes.
I have listed here the best triathlon shoes for running to help you out, too. I’ve researched and read a lot of reviews before purchasing mine because it’s important to have the right footwear in the different conditions you’ll be in. It will also help enhance your performance and protect your feet once it hits the ground. So here are my top five picks.
Best Triathlon Shoes For Men & Women Compared and Reviewed
#1 - Asics Gel-Noosa Tri 11
ASICS is a well-known Japanese brand that caters to sports-related gear. According to my research, the Gel Noosa Tri 11 is a highly recommended triathlon shoe. In particular Asics likes to focus on running shoes.
I especially loved the way it looks and the neutral Pronation design that ASICS made for it. Pronation is the way your foot rolls inward for impact distribution upon your feet landing on the ground. It is part of the body’s natural movement.
The brand’s DuoMax system is enhanced in these shoes to improve your stability with weight-reducing factors and support as you move. These shoes are durable. The sole’s grip is fantastic and will protect your feet once it hits the ground.
The Gel Noosa line of ASICS has always improved over the years. Many users claim they love the technology used in these shoes. Also, it has a glow-in-the-dark print and a lot of colors to choose from! The Perforated Sockliner improves the breathability of the shoes as well as its moisture drainage.
A classic nice touch of elastic laces was created for triathlon runners to ensure the shoes are put on securely and easily. It also features enhanced cushions to add more comfort to your feet. I’d say these are worth getting as you’ll get the best out of the price you paid for!
What have others said about these triathlon shoes?
“Asics has been my go-to brand for any kind of sport and this pair does not disappoint.” – Norman M.
#2 - Zoot Del Mar
Zoot Sports was founded in Kona, Hawaii, which is the home of the Ironman Triathlon World Championships. The Zoot Men’s Del Mar Running Shoe has optimal breathability. This is important, especially when running long distances. It is a very good example of triathlon running shoes with great technology.
It has the Zoot Carbon Rubber or ZCR. It is a material used in the heel area to boost your traction and the shoes’ durability. The ZBound+ foam technology gives you lightweight cushioning as well as great energy returns for more efficient runs. Reviewers had recommended it among the top cushioned shoes available in the market.
The Del Mar also has a no-sew construction which makes the upper part of the shoes more comfortable. Its DryLex technology found in the interior of the shoes makes it light and soft as if you’re wearing socks. The optimized breathability of the shoes will keep away any blisters and hot spots.
Zoot Del Mar is recognized as one of the best triathlon running shoes as it can endure usage during long-distance runs. It has a classic style and doesn’t have any extra styles on its features. Despite its good reviews, some users experienced that the Del Mar tends to fall apart after many uses even though durability is mentioned to be one of its benefits, so keep that in mind.
What have others said about these triathlon running shoes?
“I took a risk with this and so far, it’s worth it” – Jay Manida
#3 - Salomon Sense Ride 3
Salomon is a company based in the US that caters to various sports needs. The Sense Ride 3 provides on road-running standards and gives you overall comfort with its soft cushioning. It’s also another highly recommended outdoor shoes online.
These shoes provide trail-specific features like anti-debris mesh, ground filter and a Contagrip outsole. The Contragrip sole offers premium traction and its Profeel film shields your feet from sharp objects as well as providing more stability.
These shoes will be durable and will ensure you get comfort even in hard ground conditions. A review mentioned Sense Ride 3 as a “nimble, responsive, and comfortable on the dirt, particularly in tacky conditions.”
On the interiors of the shoes, the Endofit and Sensifit systems help mold your foot giving it greater comfort. These also feature breathable lining and insoles which are perfect during hot conditions. Its Quicklace system will provide you with quick and easy tying.
#4 - Saucony Fastwitch 8
The Fastwitch 8 has been designed for maximum breathability with its mesh parts providing more holes for the air to flow through. SSL EVA, which is a more lightweight and bendable alternative to rubber, covers the entire midsole which helps to add more flexibility.
This is actually an improvement from its predecessor, the Fastwitch 7, which was firmer on the midsole.
This shoe also provides exceptional cushioning and stability. It’s built to help you avoid overpronation, as it is very stable and well-cushioned.
One thing I like is that Saucony continues to innovate by making high-quality lightweight shoes. Unsurprisingly, they made the Fastwitch 8 even lighter by incorporating FlexFilm in the overlays. These were previously welded overlays which adds a bit of weight to the shoe.
On the outsole, you’ll find lugs that are shaped like arrows, which helps a lot with traction especially when it starts to rain on your race. An extra added feature that I also like in Saucony shoes is its reflective details which add a bit of security when you run in midday nearing nighttime.
#5 - Inov-8 Trail Talon 250
The Trail Talon 250 was born out of the previously released Talon 275. Both were designed for long-distance races and harsher trails but many have claimed that the difference between the two is significant.
With the Talon 250, the heel-to-toe measurement dropped about 4mm. This may not seem like a lot but in an actual race, you’ll definitely feel that this shoe is flatter, almost giving a barefoot feel. A bit of comfort was also compromised at the expense of being lightweight as you’ll definitely notice how little cushioning was provided on the sole.
On the other hand, this shoe provides a great grip on both wet and dry surfaces. It’s highly reliable in terms of conquering harsher terrains in terms of stability and grip.
However, I really feel that Inov-8 sacrificed a lot of things when they designed this shoe. And after that, marketing this as an off-road trail shoe does not help either. You’ll definitely get sores easily on this if you use it on harsher terrains, comfort and cushion are out the window, the grip is all you have with this shoe.
My Number One Pick
What To Look For When Buying Triathlon Running Shoes
Unlike what you would see in normal running shoes, triathlon-specific running shoes sometimes have the quick lace system you see with most Salomon running shoes. This helps for quicker transitions so you don’t lose out on time.
This isn’t only common for triathlon shoes, there are some triathlon shoes that don’t require socks as well. This is because they have venting and drainage available on the shoes which escapes water, and without putting socks on – you have faster transitions.
This is the most important and most obvious need when you go look for triathlon running shoes. Getting the right size will help your feet breathe and give you the right comfort you need as you engage in various triathlon activities.
You should take note that different brands have different sizes sometimes. Some may come in your usual size, but there are shoes that come in your size but are smaller or bigger than what you’ve used before. Do not buy shoes if they’re smaller or bigger than your size even if you think it will just be a “small” difference.
Triathlons can be long and hard sometimes so comfort should always be in your top priorities when buying the best triathlon running shoes. This factor levels up your performance and gives your feet the chance to breathe as you go through different conditions. If you can go to a physical store right now, try on the shoes you want and walk around the store for a few seconds.
This way, you can determine how soft and snug they are on your feet once you start to move. If you’re shopping online, make sure to read a lot of reviews both from the website you’re purchasing the shoes from and on the brand’s website. Always keep in mind that you need to choose shoes that can endure whatever conditions you will encounter in a triathlon.
Always choose a comfy and lightweight pair when looking for the best triathlon running shoes. A pair of lightweight shoes feel like you’re not even wearing anything, which can enhance the movements and transitions you do during a marathon.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, if you can go to a physical store, try on the shoes you’re planning to buy to get a feel of what it’s like when you’re wearing them. If you prefer shopping online, reading reviews on websites, or even watching YouTube reviews featuring the pair of shoes you’re interested in could also be helpful.
Examine the soles of the shoes you picked. If you think it can give you the support you need, then go for it! Check how the soles are made to ensure that your feet are always protected. The soles of the shoes you picked should be able to protect your feet from whatever rough conditions you experience in your run.
Checking the material lets you know how comfortable and durable the shoes will be. Research on the brand and the fabric and technology they used to create the triathlon running shoes you’re interested in. You want your feet to be able to breathe despite whatever rough conditions you’ll be in or how long you’d be running or cycling.
Ideally, you should look for something that contains mesh or drainage. Materials that contain some level of waterproofing are good because you don’t want to hold water in your shoes during your transitions which will slow you down.
Frequently Asked Questions About Triathlon Shoes
Q: Do I really need triathlon running shoes? How about regular running shoes or cross-training shoes?
A: Yes, triathlon shoes for running are an absolute must! These shoes were made to endure tough conditions you may encounter in your run. Using the proper shoes can help you perform better and move quickly because every second counts in these kinds of events even if it’s for long-distance or a short one, which may not be given to you by running or cross-training.
Q: Can I wear them daily?
A: Yes. If you’re interested in doing that, then go ahead. Some triathlon shoes are quite fashionable so I won’t blame you if you’d like to wear them for everyday use. Just keep in mind the safety precautions of your shoes to prevent any unwanted damage.
Personally, I don’t see why I would want to do that as it defeats the purpose.
Q: Can I use them for marathons?
A: Of course. triathlon running shoes are specially made to support your running and cycling circuits. Marathons cover those two; so even if you’re wearing these shoes in your marathon, it would still help you perform at the level you need. Though most people that start going “pro” may use cleats, sometimes using your standard running shoe is fine for an amateur triathlon.
Though I wouldn’t suggest it unless you’ve already given them a test run on a long-distance.
Knowing which triathlon shoe is the best can be daunting, the main thing is to go for a brand you have experience with together with looking at your own personal needs.
If you need faster transitions, you may want to opt for quick lacing systems (Though I’m not a fan of them, personally) and not wearing socks (Again, not a fan).
If you’re seriously into Ironman and Triathlons, check out this post we’ve done on inversion tables that can help with recovery.
You must prioritize comfort, the material and weight of the shoes as these would all affect how you race in your triathlon. Also, what’s important is for you to select the appropriate size of your shoes and choose the one that you’d feel the most confident in.
And remember, don’t forget to have fun out there! Also, if you have your own suggestion on what you deem to be the best pair of shoes for the running section in a triathlon why not let us know in the comments box below?
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is to take a holistic approach to fitness and health.