7 best triathlon running shoes

Based on reviews from 18 experts and 1,078 users. Learn how our rankings work or see our guide to triathlon running shoes. Updated Apr 2019.

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Triathlon running shoes

What is a triathlon running shoe?

As the name implies, the triathlon running shoe is designed to aid triathletes—competitors who participate in a multisport race, also known as a triathlon. The most common variations included in a triathlon are swimming, cycling, and running, and these are what most triathlon running shoes cater to. With a triathlon running shoe, athletes are allowed an easy transition between each segment of the race.

Advantages of running in a triathlon shoe

best triathlon running shoes
Best triathlon running shoes - March 2019

If you are a triathlete, a triathlon running shoe would prove to be very useful in your activities versus a conventional running shoe, as proven by these advantages:

  • Triathlon running shoes are easy to wear. Triathlons are basically a race, which means the activities are speed-dependent. As such, athletes participating in triathlon would need a shoe that enables them to move quickly. Triathlon running shoes are usually constructed with a quick-lace closure system, pull-tabs, or one-piece uppers, all of which contribute to an efficient way of wearing the shoe.
  • Triathlon running shoes have a seamless construction. A triathlon typically involves being on foot for long periods of time, which raises the necessity of moving in a shoe that permits the least amount of fatigue as possible. The triathlon running shoe possesses a seamless upper that provides the ultimate comfort that is ideal for the runner. Because it is comfortable, triathlon shoes could be worn without socks, thus also allowing for quick changeovers.
  • Triathlon running shoes are lightweight. The running shoes of the triathlete are relatively lighter compared to traditional running shoes. This makes sense because the wearer need all the energy they can get; a lightweight running shoe would help them focus on their performance, rather than lugging around a bulky pair of footwear.

Factors to consider when looking for a triathlon running shoe

Although there are numerous options for triathlon running shoes, you should try to select one that matches your personal criteria. Here are some pointers to look at when choosing your triathlon running shoe:

Pronation

All running shoes are designed to serve different pronation patterns, and triathlon running shoes are no exception. Thus, your pronation type is important to consider when choosing your gear. This ensures that your foot is well supported and injuries and fatigue are prevented. Most triathlon running shoes on the market are built for neutral pronators, but stability pairs are also available for overpronators.

Running Surface

It is also relevant for triathletes to prepare their triathlon shoes according to the where they will be running. A good triathlon running shoe for the road has a durable outsole, while its trail counterpart possesses deep treads that allow effortless traversing on uneven surfaces. The Salomon S-Lab XA Amphib is one of the most popular and highly-rated triathlon running shoe in this category.

Mileage

Aside from the type of ground you run on, the number of miles you undertake is another important factor to consider. A triathlon running shoe that is prepared to do long distances is helpful, as it guarantees comfort during extended periods of wear. These shoes are also expectedly more durable than other triathlon shoes. The Zoot Ultra Kane 3.0 is one of the few shoes that are capable of achieving this feat.

Some of the most popular triathlon running shoe models

Several running shoe manufacturers have particular collections that are well-received by the market because of their capability to handle triathlon running. To familiarize the prospective buyer, they are the following:

  • Asics Gel Noosa - The Asics Gel Noosa shoe series built specifically for triathletes. In fact, the name itself comes from a similar-named triathlon event in Australia. It is inspired by the idea that multisport runners require a smooth and stable ride to perform efficiently in a competitive setting. The features present in the Gel Noosa triathlon shoes have been reviewed as robust, while the shoe itself has impressed users as a performance optimizer.
  • Newton Distance - Based on the level of performance and the quality of performance delivered by its techs, the Newton Distance is the perfect triathlon running shoe for mid-level runners. The unique construction of the shoe is a match with the gait of the experienced runner,

Frequently asked questions

Are triathlon running shoes recommended for beginners?

If you have just started your running endeavor, chances are, you are still trying to get the hang of the sport. A triathlon running shoe is specially designed to handle the demands of long-distance running, which might not be what you are doing if you are a beginner. Triathlon running shoes are also made to withstand the wear and tear caused by high-mileage runs; this may be not ideal for short-time runners. A more ideal category for a beginner to look into is the running shoes for daily use.

Does a triathlon running shoe have a shorter life span?

Because a triathlon running shoe encounters far more miles and handles more types of fatigue, it is undeniable that these pairs are replaced quicker than the regular running shoe. However, that does not mean that triathlon running shoes are less durable; the opposite actually holds true. The life span of your running shoe (be it for triathlons or for daily runs) ultimately depends on how you take care of it.

How to care for triathlon running shoes?

Unlike your trusty pair of daily running shoes, the triathlon running shoe is less of a maintenance, as it is made to withstand the wear and tear that is associated with the sports involved. A dirty pair of triathlon shoes is a sign that it is putting on good miles; it isn’t a cause for worry, but if it becomes bothersome, here are some tips in cleaning them:

  • Handwash your triathlon running shoes. It is best to refrain the use of washing machines and tumble-dryers, because the shoes might dissamble from being submerged in water or from the extreme heat. Likewise, using pressurize.d water sources (such as hoses) also risks the shoes getting damaged. The best way to clean triathlon running shoes would be by using a washcloth and wiping the outside
  • Replace the insoles. If you are faced with the challenge of odorous sockliners, you may opt to buy new ones to replace the old pair, which are usually removable in the case of most running shoes. Otherwise, you may clean the inside of your triathlon running shoes using a mild soap and a toothbrush; make sure to take them out for cleaning and let them dry thoroughly.

7 best triathlon running shoes

  1. Salomon S-Lab XA Amphib
  2. Nike Tri Fusion
  3. Asics Noosa FF
  4. Newton Distance 7
  5. Asics Noosa FF 2
  6. Asics Gel 451
  7. Asics Gel Hyper Tri 3
Author
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Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com
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