Wearing it can instantly improve marathon performance? Are carbon plate shoes right for me? Understanding the black technology of running shoes

In recent years, with the prevalence of running culture, running shoe technology has flourished. There's a proliferation of lighter and more responsive running shoes. For runners of different levels, stepping into a diverse running shoe store, how should one choose? Are more expensive shoes really faster? Are carbon plate shoes necessary to break personal records? Let's explore the cutting-edge technology of running shoes and gain deeper insights into which type suits you best!

Carbon Plate Shoes: The Only Choice for Marathon Running?

Running Shoes, Carbon Plate Shoes, Marathon

With the rising popularity of road running, running shoe technology has seen significant advancements, with lighter and more responsive shoes flooding the market. For runners of different levels, entering a running shoe store with its vast array of options can be overwhelming. Are more expensive running shoes really capable of making you run faster? Do you absolutely need carbon plate shoes to break your personal records? Let's delve into the black technology of running shoes and gain a deeper understanding of which type of shoe suits you best!

Are Carbon Plate Shoes the Only Choice for Marathon Running?

Recently concluded Taipei Marathon, despite the low temperature and strong wind, provided favorable conditions for runners to achieve their desired results. Many runners successfully met their personal bests, and good shoes played an indispensable role in this achievement. An analysis of the top 100 and top 1000 shoes used in the Taipei Marathon revealed that carbon plate shoes accounted for over 80% of the top 1000 runners. What magic do carbon plate shoes possess?

Before understanding carbon plate shoes, we need to comprehend the differences among various types of shoes, ranging from track spikes and minimalist shoes used in track events to the cushioned thick-soled shoes and propulsion-driven carbon plate shoes used in road running. Broadly speaking, the difference lies in the thickness of the sole.

1. Track Spikes, Minimalist Shoes
These are typically used for short-distance track events. Track spikes, depending on the distance, may have different heel thicknesses, but they are generally very thin or even heel-less. This design suits sprinting distances where runners predominantly use forefoot landing and push-off. The spikes provide excellent traction and speed, facilitating sprinters to quickly accelerate during short sprints.

Running Shoes, Track Spikes, Marathon
Track spikes, usually only seen on the track.

2. Cushioned Thick-Soled Shoes
These shoes are typically entry-level running shoes or suitable for regular training. The thick sole provides cushioning, which can reduce the impact on the knees with each step while providing adequate propulsion. They are generally comfortable to wear, feeling like stepping on foam, making them suitable for runners who have a habit of running regularly. With thousands or even millions of steps taken during regular 5K or 10K training, the ability to continue moving steadily forward is a significant advantage of thick-soled shoes.

3. Carbon Plate Shoes
Why don't runners choose cushioned shoes for races? During races, we all want to showcase our best performance. When trying to increase speed, cushioned shoes absorb the rebound force generated when our feet land and push off, which hinders us from achieving the desired speed. Hence, runners opt for shoes like carbon plate shoes.

Carbon plate shoes involve adding a carbon fiber plate to the midsole of the shoe. This carbon fiber plate has excellent resilience and rigidity, acting like a spring that provides a reactive force upon foot landing. Hence, runners often experience a continuous propulsion sensation, often described as "being propelled by the shoes," which is why the introduction of carbon plate shoes was considered black technology in the world of running shoes.

Running Shoes, Carbon Plate Shoes, Marathon
The breakdown of carbon plate shoes, showcasing the technological advancements in running shoes.

Am I Suitable for Carbon Plate Shoes?

It sounds like carbon plate shoes are an excellent choice for running. However, that's not entirely true. Often, when we hear about the advantages of carbon plate shoes, we also hear the word "but" after understanding the advantages. "But runners need sufficient muscle strength to control carbon plate shoes" is a warning that runners may hear from shoe store attendants.

The power source of carbon plate shoes entirely relies on the force exerted by runners on the shoes. To achieve excellent rebound feedback, runners need to maintain a stable posture and push off with force consistently. This skill requires time and training to master, so not all runners are suitable for wearing carbon plate shoes.

Recommended situations for wearing carbon plate shoes based on speed:
1. Sub-3-hour full marathon (approximately 4 min/km pace): Carbon plate shoes are undoubtedly a significant boost for breaking records.
2. Full marathon in 3-4 hours (approximately 4-5 min/km pace): Carbon plate shoes can help runners perform well in races, but regular training should be evaluated for adequacy.
3. Full marathon over 4 hours (pace over 6 min/km): The longer the time, the greater the impact on the feet. If wearing carbon plate shoes for more than 4 hours, it's highly likely to get injured. It's recommended that runners with full marathon times exceeding 4 hours choose cushioned running shoes for safety.

To familiarize yourself with your running pace, running record equipment is indispensable. Wear Bone's Tie Connect 2, strap on your phone, and let Bone accompany you through all your running training sessions!
Running Shoes, Carbon Plate Shoes, Marathon, Tie Connect 2
Bone Tie Connect Kit 2-Magnetic, the perfect companion for training and racing.

Am I Suitable for Carbon Plate Shoes?

Carbon plate shoes are like a double-edged sword. While they increase running propulsion, excessive propulsion can have adverse effects on the body. If you wear carbon plate shoes for all your training sessions, you may develop dependence and even get injured. Moreover, carbon plate shoes are typically expensive and not very durable, making them prone to wear and tear.

Running Shoes, Carbon Plate Shoes, Marathon, Tie Connect 2
The latest limited edition shoes released by Adidas at the end of this year, priced as high as NT$18,800.

For runners training for road running or marathons, the author recommends wearing carbon plate shoes in the following situations:
1. Training for 80% effort pace
2. Long-distance training before the race
3. On race day

These situations typically occur 1-2 months before the race, primarily to allow the feet to get used to the propulsion and continuous speed brought about by carbon plate shoes, ultimately leading to optimal performance on race day.

To do a good job, one must first sharpen one's tools, and the "tools" suitable for runners at different stages vary. Expensive running shoes don't always equate to better performance, and carbon plate shoes aren't the only route to faster running. To run healthily and continuously improve, it's essential to invest time in understanding these equipment, which have the most direct contact with the body, and to understand one's body to choose the most suitable running shoes!

Running Shoes, Carbon Plate Shoes, Marathon, Tie Connect 2
Various sports brands competing to launch carbon plate shoes, vying for the top spot in the premium running shoe market.
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