Fast Featured

Fastest Running Shoes, the Battle for Number One

Everyone wants to be fast and manufacturers are doing everything they can to make that more achievable. Shoes are getting lighter, more technically advanced, and even forcing governing bodies to put standards place to oversee what can and can’t be done. The following list is some of the fastest out there right now and all road legal.


Brooks Hyperion Elite

  • Drop: 8mm
  • Weight: 6.9oz
  • Price: $250

Note this was NOT the shoe on Brooks’ athletes’ feet at the trials, that was actually the Elite 2 which we will see in September. There are some issues with the Elite and they are only meant to last 50 to 100 miles, but it is the fastest carbon plated shoe in the Brooks lineup. Our money right now would be better spent on the Hyperion Tempo which is still speedy. Learn more on the Brooks website.

Hoka One One

Hoka One One Rocket X

  • Drop: 5mm
  • Weight: 7.4oz
  • Price:

The Rocket X was on every Hoka runner’s feet at the trials and took first for the women as Tuliamuk wore them to victory. Walmsley did pretty well with them on the men’s side as well. They feature a 1mm carbon plate on top of a responsive EVA with an open mesh upper. Learn more on the Hoka website.

Hoka One One Carbon X

  • Drop: 5mm
  • Weight: 8.7oz
  • Price: $180.00

This was the original carbon shoe from Hoka that came out mid-2019 and set the 50-mile record. It is much more accessible than the Rocket X and will soon be replaced by the new SPE model, but it definitely delivers. Carbon plate, engineered mesh upper, embroidered heel lock, and super responsive. Learn more on the Hoka website.

New Balance

New Balance FuelCell TC

  • Drop: 10mm
  • Weight: 9.9oz
  • Price: $199.99

So the flagship shoe is really the FuelCell RC, but the TC is really the speed shoe for the public. It does come in a little heavy, but a lot of that weight is in the foam (30mm of it) and carbon plating. Once the FuelCell RC becomes generally available, it will be the race day shoe for a lot of New Balance fans and once they lighten it up a touch, a real contender. Learn more on the Nike website.


Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next%

  • Drop: 5mm
  • Weight: 7.7oz
  • Price: $300.00

This is the shoe that Eliud Kipchoge took under 2 hours and Rupp won the Olympic Trials in. This is the shoe that made them establish new standards around cushioning levels and carbon plating, and they made it available (kind of) to everyone. ZoomX foam (~40mm of it), double the air pods, a customized carbon fiber plate, and an all-new AtomKnit upper which is even lighter than before. Learn more on the Nike website.

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%

  • Drop: 5mm
  • Weight: 7.1oz
  • Price: $250.00

The Vaporfly NEXT% remains the most accessible and available shoe that delivers insane performance. This was the second iteration from Nike where they used carbon to take shoes to the next level and broke a ton of records with it. The NEXT% features a 30% larger cushion than the predecessor yet comes in remarkably lighter. The shoe also uses their new Vaporweave upper which is breathable, light, and yet super durable. Learn more on the Nike website.


Saucony Endorphin Pro

  • Drop: 8mm
  • Weight: 7.5oz
  • Price: $250.00

The Endorphin line is all-new from Saucony with the Pro model showing up in April, but we saw it at the trials as well. This is the racer edition and features a new PWRUN PB midsole which is 40% lighter than PWRUN+ and an S-shaped carbon plate. Below these are the Speed and the Shift models and these are going to turn some heads when they launch. Learn more on the Saucony website.


Skechers GOrun Speed Elite Hyper

  • Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 6.2oz
  • Price: $184.95

Skechers get no respect, but they are pushing really hard against the status quo and the Speed Elite is no exception. One of the lightest of the bunch, it still sports a forefoot carbon shiv and a barely-there mesh upper. These fit more like a track cleat than an everyday running shoe.

Topo Athletic

Topo Athletic Zephyr

  • Drop: 5mm
  • Weight: 9oz
  • Price: $180.00

Topo Athletic is another one that people will shake their heads at. The Zephyr changes all that with the addition of an elastomer plate paired with their new ZipFoam. The shoe is definitely firmer than others, but that plate gives it a ton of pop. Learn more on the Topo Athletic website.


You will probably notice some big brands missing from this list including Adidas, Altra, and several others, but honestly, it is because we haven’t seen their offering yet. Adidas had something in the wings, but it appears it may have been too high and Altra runners are still using the Escalante Racer. The above shoes are game-changers really for a lot of these brands and are making people faster, but you will still need to train. So if you have the $$$ and can find them in stock, then go for it.

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