Surely every runner has already come across carbon plate shoes. You can see them on every professional, and many amateurs have also switched to wearing shoes. But does anyone benefit from carbon plate shoes? Are the benefits of carbon plate shoes so great that it is worth investing in them?
pros of Carbon plate shoes
One or more rigid carbon plates are built into the bottom of the shoes. Carbon plate is light and energy-saving material. In other words, with each step, the runner loses energy to the ground, and some of this energy is returned, providing momentum. In the case of carbon plate shoes, the energy loss is smaller, which makes running faster. Here we get to the first benefit, i.e. shoes can save energy. With this, the running dynamics and economical running also improve, which is especially useful in the final stages of the marathon.
According to various estimates, the shoes can save about a couple of seconds in a kilometre, which when repeated is about a couple of minutes in a marathon. For an amateur runner that might not be much, but in an even professional race, a difference of a couple of minutes can be decisive in the final result.
Cons of shoes
In addition to the fact that the shoes are usually more expensive than normal running shoes, they last less time than normal shoes. Because of this, they are only intended for high-speed training and races. It should also be noted that not all shoe models are allowed on every race or distance. The energy-saving advantage brought by shoes may also not fully compensate for shorter distances, such as 5km and 10km.
Because of the structure, the shoes can also cause injuries more easily. Carbon plate is a rigid material, so the shoe does not bend much, increasing the load on the foot, ankle and calf. Weakness in these areas combined with heavy use of carbon plate shoes can lead to extra strain and injury.
The benefit of carbon plates may not work for people other than fast runners. This is due to the fact that the ground contact time is naturally longer for slow runners, so the benefits created by the shoe’s operating mechanism are somewhat lost. There is no exact explanation of how fast a runner should be because many other things also affect this. But some professionals say that the pace should be at least 4:00/km for the shoes to be useful. Likewise, heavy-built/overweight or underweight runners may not get all the benefits out of the shoes.
Carbon plate shoes were originally designed for a world record attempt, from where they have been developed for the market. Although the benefit from them can even decide the battle for a medal among professionals, the benefits are not completely clear-cut. Running speed, stride, runner’s weight and many other things affect the functionality of the shoe. It’s also worth remembering that no shoe alone will do the job for you. Fast times in running still require determined work.