11 Best Triathlon Running Shoes Reviewed & Compared
- Zoot Solana ACR
- Asics Gel Noosa Tri 11
- Asics Gel Nimbus 19
- Asics Gel Hyper Tri 2
- Scott Tri Carbon
- Inov-8 Tri Xtreme 250
- Zoot Ultra Race 4.0
- Asics Gel Kayano 24
- Newton Running Distance VI
- Pearl Izumi EM Tri N2 v2
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. Zoot Solana ACR
High mileage neutral trainer
BareFit for seamless internal fit
Full foot impact protection
Injected ZVA for added traction
Wet road gripping lugs
Zoot carbon rubber for durability
Some reviews said the shoes are not weather resistant as advertised
This is a high-mileage neutral trainer perfect for those long-distance triathlon training sessions.Read more
Comfort / Stability
The Solana ACR (All Conditions Running) features a number of technologies to create optimal comfort and stability. Let’s discuss them. With an 8mm drop, the Solana is good for both midrange runs and “I’m going to be out here a while” runs. The sole is improved with extra traction created by injected ZVA – good for off-road running. With a specially designed upper, the Solana will keep you dry in wet weather conditions. With full-foot impact protection and wet road gripping lugs, athletes will find a stable run on all road conditions. Zoot’s premium fit system – BareFit – provides a seamless internal fit for a comfortable session. The outer upper is made from a weather-resistant treated material with closed-cell mesh to battle the wicked winter elements. To lock your heel in place, the Solana ACR has a 3D molded heel counter for ease of comfort. Lastly, for a smooth and even run, the Solana features constant ground contact.
Durability / Quality
The Solana ACR is made of Zoot Carbon Rubber for extended wear and long-lasting durability. Overall, the shoe is built for many miles.
With a moderate price tag, the Zoot Solana ACR is well worth the cost. You might even find a great deal on Amazon!
2. Asics Gel Noosa Tri 11
Elastic laces are easy to adjust
Bunion window protects big toe
AHAR is highly durable
DuraSponge outsole provides flexablility and cushioning
Wet grip provides excellent traction
Cushioning system aborbs shock
Runs a bit narrow in the toe
Fits a half size smaller
Some reviews said there could be more cushioning
ASICS Gel Noosa Tri 11 has some great enhancements over the previous versions in the Noosa line. The upper improvements consist of lighter, more comfortable “user-friendly” materials compared to its predecessors. The improved construction has fewer seams that could result in irritating spots throughout the interior.Read more
Comfort / Stability
The shock absorbing GEL system is used in the rear and forefoot areas. The midsole is made of ASICS’ Solyte foam, which delivers responsive cushioning while cutting down on weight. Additionally, the Dynamic DouMax system in the midsole also helps slow the rate of pronation, making these an ideal choice for those who tend to over-pronate.
These are packed with a bunch more features such as their I.G.S or Impact Guidance System which enhances the foot's natural gait.
The flexible DuraSponge Outsole, made from a blown abrasion resistant rubber, also adds some extra cushioning. For additional durability, AHAR (ASICS High Abrasion Rubber) covers the high wear area under the heel. Finally, the WET GRIP tread design allows the Noosa to function well over multiple surfaces in different climate conditions.
Durability / Quality
This company consistently puts out quality products that perform exactly how they are intended making them a reliable.
They are a reasonably affordable choice almost every time. The GEL-Noosa Tri 11 is no exception and a great option for your next triathlon.
3. Asics Gel Nimbus 19
Fluid Ride midsole
Gel cushioning system in the rear
Heel cushioning system technology
Fluid Fit Upper
Brand new feel after 100 miles
Some reviews claimed the shoe fit small or narrow in the toe box
The Nimbus 19 is one of Asics’ best-known shoes with the newest updates. As always, the shoe features ample cushioning for neutral runners and high mileage.Read more
Comfort / Stability
The Nimbus 19 proves to be a great choice for triathlon athletes because of its well-structured technology. The shaft measures as low-top from the arch for a wide range of movement. The midsole features FlyteFoam technology and Fluid Ride which provides the perfect combination of response and cushioning with a reduction in weight and exceptional durability. The Gel Cushioning Systems are located in the rearfoot and forefoot absorbs shock during strike and liftoff and allows movement on multiple planes of the foot as it transitions through the gate cycle. The Heel Clutching System Technology has an exoskeletal heel counter which provides improved support and a heel fitting environment. Lastly, the Fluid Fit upper technology combines multidirectional stretch mesh with stretch reinforcements that expand and contract to fit a runner’s foot like a glove.
Durability / Quality
The Nimbus 19 is made from Asics’ best quality materials. The shoes will stay prominently clean when running on trails and dirty terrains. After 100 miles they will feel as though you are pulling them out of the box for the first time.
Depending on where you buy the Nimbus 19 the price tag may be higher, but great deals are always available on Amazon.
4. Asics Gel Hyper Tri 2
Seamless upper designs eliminates irritation
Gel cushioning effectivly absorbs shock from impact
Very light shoe
Drainage ports under mid and forefoot
Very flexable and durable
Runs a bit small in size
Some wish neutral colors were offered
The GEL-Hyper Tri 2, which is the second version in this line is a great pick for triathlon running. There were a few improvements that were made with this version, mostly involving the upper and outsole.Read more
Comfort / Stability
The upper has been enhanced with a more adaptive design, removing the number of overlays that the previous version utilized. The heel of the first version seemed to be slightly stiff and restrictive, not moving properly with the user’s foot. This has also been corrected in the Hyper Tri 2. Also, the new seamless upper construction has improved breathability all around, including with the perforated sock liner. Additionally, these come with elastic laces, which is ideal for quick on/off transitions.
Moving down to the Magic Sole ventilated midsole, we find a fair amount of comfort, while retaining decent response and ground control. The Gel cushioning system is used under the heel to provide great shock absorption and impact recovery.
Durability / Quality
The outsole is completely different on this version, using their newest technologies in its design. The DuraSponge blown rubber outsole has been reinforced with ASICS’ high abrasion AHAR rubber compound in high wear areas such as the heel and forefoot, for greater durability and traction. Furthermore, the overall flexibility is enhanced even more by a flex groove which runs almost the length of the shoe.
Although these are number five on this list, this is a guide of the ten best shoes for triathlons. that means that these are among the best options out there, in terms of function, comfort, and performance. These are worth considering.
The price of this running shoe varies from average to expensive in cost.
5. Scott Tri Carbon
Carbon incorperated design
Tongue-less approch for quick fit
Great combination of flexability and stiffness
Breathable micro-fiber airmesh
ErgoLogic insole provides adjustable arch support
Toe pads may wear to quickly
Scott Sports brings triathlon runners the Scott Tri Carbon. Engineered to master the biking split with a fast shift, this model is the king of the road. Equipped with the latest carbon technology to bring upper support, comfort, and performance, along with a rigidness score of 9 out of 10, these shoes are ready to hit any triathlon.Read more
Now coming in an unique tongue-less approach for a fastest wear than ever before, without reducing comfort. The wrap closure style assures an even faster wear to reduce important seconds, increase security and adjust the fit to every foot. The arch support is equipped with an ErgoLogic insole for top-class sustain. For breathability, the SCOTT Tri Carbon offers a 3D Nylon Airmesh Upper, combined with advanced Microfiber for the ultimate lightweight feature.
The outsole is covered with HMX Carbon, giving a flawless grip and providing superior peddling power and endurance. The RacingFit technology provides a slimmer fit that adjusts to the feet, which is enhanced by the synthetic leather WrapFit that provides greater comfort. Lastly, a PowerZone outsole was developed by scientists to provide an axial zone around the heel and a power zone that distributes impulse and energy through the rest of the outsole
These can be quite pricey, but they come equipped with so many benefits that make it well worth every penny.
6. Inov-8 Tri Xtreme 250
Water drainage ports
Roomy toe box
MetaFlex provifes flexablility
Fusion rubber is highly durable
Quick realese lacing system
Can be see as expensive
Very few users expirenced Durablility issues
Inov-8 created a superb triathlon running shoe that can be used in lots of different terrains due to its 6 water drainage ports. It provides remarkable flexibility while remaining lightweight and breathable.Read more
This is a highly comfortable and stable triathlon running shoe that has 6 water drainage ports making it easy to run in all types of terrain. It has a roomy toe box, its Meta-Flex technology provides flexibility, and its Quick release lacing system allows you to slide them on your feet quickly. It is very lightweight and highly breathable.
There were very few complaints about the durability and quality of this running shoe it should last a long time.
The price of this running shoe is quite expensive but well worth your money.
7. Zoot Ultra Race 4.0
Comfortable Seamless upper
Very light construction
Non-Traditional BOA lacing system
Drain holes assist in wet terrain
ZPU pattern of rubber lugs provide great traction
Stablility and flexablility
Little more expensive than some would expect
Somes runners had pain in heel area
Limited color options
This neutral runner has quite a unique sock-like design, which is one that is growingly common with Zoot’s footwear. The Ultra Race 4.0 is a fast, lightweight shoe that possesses all of the basics required of effective racing footwear.Read more
The TekSheen upper material is designed to be adaptive and very stretchable, giving the wearer a foot-hugging fit. Instead of traditional laces, these are secured by what they cal their BOA system. It is basically a thin cable that tightened or loosened by a dial located on the front. Also, instead of holes or loops, the lacing cable goes directly through the overlay straps. This method allows a more custom and snug fit after adjusted.
The Z-Bound midsole foam that is used is pretty responsive and extremely light. You’ll also find Zoot’s CarbonSpan+ in the midsole, which is basically a carbon fiber insert that provides a bit more torsional stability.
The combination of blown rubber and their ZPU patterned lug design allows the outsole to perform well over various surfaces. Finally, also have a few drainage ports located under the forefoot for water release.
These have a really unique design that actually seems to work quite well. With these, you can comfortably get through your run and turn some heads, both at the same time!
These running shoes can be a bit on the expensive side, but most runners agree they are well worth the price.
8. Asics Gel Kayano 24
Impact guidence system
Heel clutching system
Some reviewers had issues with arch support
May cause rubbing on the ankles for some runners
The Gel-Kayano 24 is a great choice for over-pronating runners as it provides the stability and comfort needed to compete in triathlons. This shoe not only improves running efficiency but also reduces the risk of injury.Read more
As for the mechanics of the Gel-Kayano 24, the shoe contains IGS (Impact Guidance System) technology to enhance the natural gait of the foot from heel to toe; FlyteFoam midsole technology for more response and less packing of materials; Fluidride midsole cushioning which combines support, weightlessness, and durability; Fluidfit upper mesh that stretches in multiple directions for a seamless, glove-like fit; exoskeletal heel counter that hugs the heel and holds it in place for stability; rearfoot and forefoot cushioning for impact-absorption on strike and lift-off; Dynamic Duomax support system added support and stability, vertical flex grooves for enhanced gait efficiency; Ortholite X-40 Sockliner provides moisture management and high-level breathability.
Nearly all reviews of the Gel-Kayano 24 praise the durability of the shoe.
With a moderate price tag ($160 on Amazon), the shoe is worth the cost.
9. Newton Running Distance VI
Universal platform trainer for both neutral and stability runners
Lightweight and Breathable
Tighter-tuned trampoline membrane
Newtonium foam cushioning
Seamless upper mesh
Higher price tag
The Newton Running Distance VI is a universal trainer fit both for stability runners and neutral ones. The shoe is wickedly fast and surprisingly lightweight. Overall, the Distance VI is a propulsive shoe that provides ample energy for the greatest of athletes.Read more
This racer has a trampoline lug membrane for greater stability and responsiveness. The Newtonium foam cushioning is placed closer to the foot in order to provide increased comfort. The full flex zone allows natural splay of the foot. As for the upper, the lightweight mesh is breathable and flexible. The seamless upper gives increased ventilation and improved conformity. In the midsole, the Distance VI contains Action/Reaction technology, a biomechanical metatarsal sensor plate, enhanced medial midsole platform, high-rebound EVA and s.h.a.r.c. in the forefoot.
The Distance VI is made of high-quality materials. Runners purchase the Distance VI time and time again while it lasts for hundreds of miles.
While the Distance VI has a higher price tag ($140-$270), the shoe is well worth the cost with its comfort and durability.
10. Pearl Izumi EM Tri N2 v2
Seamless upper prevents irritation
The upper is extremly well ventilated
Energy foam and Crashpad aborbs energy
Energy foam in heel provides cushioning
The quick lacing system ajusts to an optimum fit very fast
Heavy for some users
Sizes may run small
This is a neutral runner that seems to do really well with long distances. The Pearl Izumi EM Tri N2 doesn’t have a whole lot of updates from its previous version, but still offer quite a few benefits.Read more
The construction of the upper is a seamless one. This growing trend allows a significantly reduced chance of blister-causing irritations on the interior of the shoe. The nearly transparent Transfer Dry spacer mesh does an outstanding job of keeping the feet cool with plenty of airflow. Also, instead of traditional laces, the quick lacing system allows fast cinching adjustment for a perfect fit, or for quick removal.
These are an ideal choice for those summer events due to their high breathability. In all, there several option in this guide that offer fancier technologies and newer gadgets, but these are more than suitable for a fast tempo, high endurance race like a triathlon.
The 1:1 energy foam midsole gives the proper amount of responsive cushioning, while also providing decent energy return. Combine that with the shoe’s 1:1 shock absorption foam, the impact felt during each heel strike is greatly reduced. Furthermore, the offset shape of the midsole allows the user to run with a more free and responsive ride through each gait cycle.
Improvements over the previous version were subtle but effective. The blown rubber outsole provides quite a bit of flexibility and traction. There is also what they call a Flow Line Element that follows the runner’s cycle, providing increased grip on various road surfaces.
The price of these running shoes varies from average to expensive in price.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
When we’re talking about multiple hours of consistent intense exercise, comfort becomes an important factor for each participant. Any kind of uncomfortable feature will expose the participant to a lesser performance; you can’t give your best if your shoes generate irritation, discomfort or pain in your feet.
There are multiple sub-parameters that fall into this category. To mention some of them, we examined features of the shoes such as arch support; this represents an important parameter, especially for those users who have arch issues (low arch, flatfoot), and it can impede a participant to perform correctly. The toe box can also impact the comfort of each shoe, as too much space will allow the shoe to bounce back and forth, and it will additionally generate an unnatural gait, as well as affect flexibility.
Another aspect of this parameter is cushioning. In order to perform for multiple hours, triathlon participants must have their shoes properly equipped with cushioning. The lack of cushioning will result in the heel and general foot taking most of the impact shock, generating not only discomfort but also pain and possible minor injuries.
During our search to bring you the best triathlon shoes, we included the weight of the shoes as a research parameter. The importance of weight drew our attention because it can considerably reduce the effort needed to carry on every single step. And when you are running in a triathlon, we’re talking about quite a lot of steps over a long period of time. Reducing the energy needed to execute each one of them can produce a decisive advantage when performing for long times over a long distance. Heavy shoes lead to heavy tired feet and legs which will slow a runner down.
We made sure to select only the most lightweight designs out there. However, it’s not just having low weight; our picks consist of shoes that can offer superior functionality and performance while still sustaining a lightweight design. The features that we look for in a lightweight shoe include the materials of which they are made out of; this determines the base weight of the shoe. After this, other features such as additional technology or devices add up weight, so we focused on those shoes that maintain an overall lightweight design. This includes both base structure and additional features.
We took steps to ensure that our lightweight shoes on this list do not sacrifice support and durability for the sake of being lighter. A light shoe does no good if they wear out too quickly or are uncomfortable.
For this buying guide, we compiled a list of shoes that provide a decent amount of airflow into the shoe and back out. This allows the feet to refresh while a participant is performing for long periods of time, preventing heat concentrations that can lead to further consequences such as excessive sweating of the feet, fungi and bad odor.
In order to provide enough breathability to stay in comfort, a shoe must be prepared to allow the flow of new air. We searched through the shoes that offer the most breathable materials, such as mesh and air mesh, which would provide enough air to enter from multiple areas of the shoe. We also took into consideration all kinds of technologies that improve the breathability of the shoes, selecting those which offered the greatest.
For even more breathability, we looked through some models that allow barefoot performance. While some users are against barefoot exercising, some others find it way more comfortable to perform without socks, seeing as it becomes more breathable when you remove them – but it’s just a matter of personal opinion.
Durability is a very important factor for our research on the best triathlon shoes. While a new pair of shoes might not deteriorate enough in one triathlon to affect performance, we looked for shoes that can provide enough durability to take multiple intense training sessions and triathlons. When you are running competitively you want everything working to your advantage and a shoe that doesn't detract from your performance.
Some triathlons shoes can come in very expensive, whether they’re cycling shoes, running shoes, or a hybrid of both. Not everyone has the option to switch from a pair of shoes after every triathlon, and even those who have the option don’t necessarily want to buy a whole new pair of shoes again. Afterall, that could get expensive really quickly for those who are running several marathons and triathlons a year. We took into consideration those designs that offer great resistance against intense training and performance; from the base, shoe builds to the integrated features.
Sometimes the smallest things can affect the durability of a shoe; a deteriorated rubber sole can notably affect traction and completely kill the performance of a triathlon participant. We made sure to pick the shoes that were made out of the best materials, specially engineered to last a decent amount of time, and that offered the best features to give you a shoe you can fall in love with.
Flexibility is a must in every running shoe. Being this a triathlon buying guide, we ensured that our research included features that meet standards similar to those of high-quality running shoes. In order to obtain a natural gain and to deliver proper strikes, flexibility must meet a high standard of quality and functionality.
For us, it’s important for the shoes to have the correct direction of flexibility. During our research, we looked for shoes with a multi-directional flexibility that provides a comfortable and functional performance while still maintaining enough stiffness to support the shoe.
Flexible shoes lend themselves to being shoes that are comfortable to wear when running triathalons.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
When embarking on a triathlon, you are going to be putting your body through an incredible amount of stress. Because of this, it's very important that you remain properly hydrated throughout the duration of the race. Remember to bring a water bottle, flask, vest, or backpack that is convenient and capable of storing enough water to last for your entire run.
A triathlon is going to require a lot of equipment, such as a well-performing bicycle, a comfortable and secure triathlon suit, and the aforementioned hydration accessory of your choice. When accounting for all of these accessories, as well as your triathlon shoes, remember that all of that weight will add up and can lead to a more difficult race.
Other Factors to Consider
Technology has entered a constant state of evolution ever since its creation and has been expanding to the widest variety of uses. Technology is now a part of some shoes out there, which is why we defined it as a parameter for our research of the best triathlon shoes.
Being that running in a triathlon is such a demanding and active sport, we searched through all of the internets to find the shoes that featured the highest technology, in general, to offer the best shoes for runners like you.
From shock absorption, superior heel support, construction technology, microfiber upper builds, breathability enhancements, and many other features, you are sure to find something to meet our needs on this list.
You would normally think that equipment and gear have no influence on the results of a triathlon. However, the impact that technology has on each pair of shoes allow triathlon participants to enhance their performance like never before.
Some of the technologies that we looked for during our research mostly included designs that provide superior flexibility and full contact; this will allow users to obtain the maximum impulse off every gait.
The outsole, midsole, and insole technologies play an important role when it comes to bounce and shock absorption. These can determine the endurance of a participant by assisting them in traction and reducing the effort it takes to perform an extra step, hence enhancing endurance and power.
The materials of which the shoes are made out of were an important factor for our investigation, seeing as the materials employed in each shoe can affect a large list of other criteria such as lightweight breathability, comfort and durability.
We looked for materials that would provide enough support while still maintaining all of the previous criteria of our research. This includes the materials used for additional features, such as custom insoles and reinforced outsoles.
In order to select the best shoes, we looked for high-quality materials such as thermoplastic polyurethane, synthetic leather, carbon, microfiber, kevlar and foam-blown polyurethane to provide the ultimate features to a triathlon performer.
Our goal was to ensure that the materials in the shoes we feature are the best of the best available and that these shoes will offer you everything you want and need from your running shoes and nothing that you do not want.
Frequently Asked Questions
Depending on your symptoms, there might be the right pair of shoes for you within this list. While the shoes might not be especifically engineered to compensate any particular symptom, they can be adapted to your anatomy through additional equipment (E.G, add a custom inner sole if you have arch issues). If you have specific questions about finding shoes to address your symptoms, we suggest consulting with your health care provider about what shoes on your list might b worse for your needs.
The newer, the better. However, this doesn't mean that you'll have to dump your shoes after each triathlon. As long as you feel comfortable with them during training or competences, and there are no internal or external deteriorations, you don't need to replace your shoes. If they feel good, are not damaged, and serve your needs you can still use them. And remember you can buy t same show as before and use the older pair for training and the new pair for your events.
We recommend you to use a pair of shoes for each activity if you can. Specialized shoes are engineered to offer the upper hand in their respective activity, having a large list of benefits that you might not get from a regular pair of running shoes. However, many athletes compete with a single pair of shoes. It is really a matter of personal opinion and preference. If you can find a pair that meets all of your needs it will certainly be easier on you to do a triathlon with just one pair of shoes to worry about.
It's not really necessary to switch between training shoes and competing shoes. Once again, as long as they're not deteriorated, you'll perform just fine. Wearing the same shoes for both activities will indeed deteriorate them faster, but it saves you from buying multiple pairs.
All you need to participate in a triathlon is a pair of sneakers and swimming gear. We provide this list in hopes of assisting you in your search for the most advanced and functional pair of triathlon shoes. While quality will give you a notable difference, you can compete with any pair of running shoes. You can buy accessories to improve your performance and to give you feedback on your performance but they are not necessary to compete in a triathlon or similar event.