Home Guides Best Carbon Plate Running Shoes

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Racing shoes are no longer thin pieces of foam glued to a mesh upper. They are high-tech machines which look like regular shoes from the outside all with the purpose of getting their runner over the finish line first.

Every brand has their flagship racer which contains a carbon fiber plate paired with their version of a super foam. This is an informative guide on which carbon fibre plated running shoe is right for you.

Carbon Fiber Plate Running Shoes

The Carbon X is a stable, durable long distance carbon plated shoe which incorporates Hoka’s Meta-Rocker for efficiency during the gait cycle. It has a firm and responsive ProFly midsole and a wide base for added stability during the later stage of marathons. Read full review »


  • Versatile race day and training shoe
  • Aggressive meta rocker feeling
  • Very durable compared to other carbon fiber plate shoes


  • Heavy
  • Awkwardly between a racer and a trainer
The Vaporfly set the standard when it was released in 2019. It features a light VaporWeave upper and ZoomX in the midsole paired with a full length carbon plate for a great balance of cushion, propulsion and efficiency.
The Speed Elite is a low-profile, responsive race day shoe which has a unique winged carbon plate in the forefoot. Its stripped down upper and low stack height make it one of the lightest shoes on the market. Read full review »


  • Incredibly light weight
  • Precise fit
  • Quick turnover
  • Fast!


  • Awkward at slower paces
  • Durability
  • $190 price tag
Half racing flat, half modern super racer, the Metaracer is Asics’ new race-day shoe. It utilises the latest version of FlyteFoam in the midsole and a wishbone shaped, bottom-loaded carbon plate to accentuate the forefoot rocker.
The Hyperion Elite is a firm riding shoe with a full-length carbon plate. The DNA ZERO midsole is super-light and made to go fast. The firmness of the midsole results in a very stable ride which is great for cornering at high speeds.
The FuelCell TC is a soft, durable training companion to the FuelCell RC. It has a soft and bouncy FuelCell midsole and a full-length carbon plate which gives the shoe a zippy-feeling ride.
The Zoom Fly 3 is the durable, more solid training companion to the Vaporfly Next%. It has React foam in the midsole and also features a full-length carbon plate which replicates the propulsive feel of its more expensive brother. Read full review »


  • Carbon Fiber Plate Midsole is Responsive and Fast
  • Improved Outsole Durability and Traction from Zoom Fly Flyknit
  • VaporWeave Upper Material
  • Cheaper and More Durable than Higher-End Options


  • Internal Bootie on Upper Seems Unnecessary
  • Expensive for an Affordable Option
The Endorphin Pro is Saucony’s answer to the Vaporfly Next%. It has Saucony’s latest Pebax midsole which provides plenty of cushioning and responsiveness. It also features SpeedRoll which provides a “trampoline effect” at toe-off.
The Alphafly is Nike’s premier racing shoe which comes at a premium price. It has springy cushioning in spades and the latest upper technology crammed into it. There are two additional Zoom Air pods in the forefoot for more extra bounce.

Why are carbon fiber plated shoes so expensive?

Carbon fiber plated shoes are relatively new to the market and each one is loaded with their brand’s latest bells and whistles.

These carbon fiber plated shoes are made in small quantities compared to regular daily training shoes so they don’t have economies of scale to reduce the costs yet.

Marathoners also don’t mind paying a premium for a shoe to help them run a fast time when they have been training for months for their race.

Are the more expensive carbon fiber plated shoes better than the less expensive ones?

No. There is no “one size fits all” approach to shoes. It’s all down to personal preference and foot type. Some of the flagship racing shoes are more suited to elite runners with perfect running form and foot strike than the average runner.

Why are some carbon fibre plated shoes so difficult to buy?

Many of these flagship racing shoes are still on their first version and shoe companies still want to dip their toes in the water and see what the reception is. These shoes are also made in small quantities because they are difficult to make and the companies haven’t smoothed out the production process yet.

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