Home Guides Best Carbon Plate Running Shoes
We don't accept free products or compensation in exchange for our reviews.
We are reader supported, and earn affiliate commissions when you buy through us.

FOR MOST PEOPLE

FOR MOST PEOPLE

FOR MOST PEOPLE

Hoka One One Carbon X

Hoka One One Carbon X
The Carbon X is a stable, durable long distance carbon plated shoe which incorporates Hoka’s Meta-Rocker for efficiency during the gait cycle.
The Carbon X is a stable, durable long distance carbon plated shoe which incorporates Hoka’s Meta-Rocker for efficiency during the gait cycle.
Andrew Leibowitz
Running Expert

ABSOLUTE BEST

ABSOLUTE BEST

ABSOLUTE BEST

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next %

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next %
With the most impressive racing pedigree, the original carbon shoe from Nike in its best version yet.
With the most impressive racing pedigree, the original carbon shoe from Nike in its best version yet.
Ruggero Loda
Founder and Publisher, Running Shoes Guru

MOST AFFORDABLE

MOST AFFORDABLE

MOST AFFORDABLE

Skechers GOrun Speed Elite Hyper

Skechers GOrun Speed Elite Hyper
The Speed Elite is a low-profile, responsive race day shoe with a uniquely winged carbon plate in the forefoot. One of the lightest and best priced.
The Speed Elite is a low-profile, responsive race day shoe with a uniquely winged carbon plate in the forefoot. One of the lightest and best priced.
Jim Coulson
Fast Road and Trail Runner. Career Firefighter.

GREAT ALTERNATIVE

GREAT ALTERNATIVE

GREAT ALTERNATIVE

Nike Zoom Fly 3

Nike Zoom Fly 3
If you can't find (or afford) the Next % but still want Nike's latest and greatest carbon plate shoe - here's the option for you.
If you can't find (or afford) the Next % but still want Nike's latest and greatest carbon plate shoe - here's the option for you.
Andrew Leibowitz
Running Expert

NEWEST

NEWEST

NEWEST

Saucony Endorphin Pro

Saucony Endorphin Pro
The Endorphin Pro is Saucony’s answer to the Next%. It has Saucony’s latest Pebax midsole which provides plenty of cushioning and responsiveness.
The Endorphin Pro is Saucony’s answer to the Next%. It has Saucony’s latest Pebax midsole which provides plenty of cushioning and responsiveness.
Jim Coulson
Fast Road and Trail Runner. Career Firefighter.

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

First choice

Hoka One One Carbon X

Weight
8.7 oz.
Drop
5 mm.
Category
Cushioning

Hoka One One Carbon X

Reasons to buy
  • Versatile race day and training shoe
  • Aggressive meta rocker feeling
  • Very durable compared to other carbon fiber plate 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. ”
Recommended for
The Hoka One One Carbon X is for more advanced runners who primarily have a forefoot or midfoot strike.
The carbon fiber plate and aggressive meta rocker feeling will feel incredible for these runners, but work against the rest. It can be used for both training runs and race day.
Andrew Leibowitz
Running Expert
Read the full review of Carbon X
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next %

Weight
6.6 oz.
Drop
8 mm.
Category
Racing

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next %

Reasons to buy
“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. ”
Recommended for
Any runner who is looking to compete (either against others or against themselves) in a long-distance race.
Ruggero Loda
Founder and Publisher, Running Shoes Guru
Read the full review of ZoomX Vaporfly Next %
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Skechers GOrun Speed Elite Hyper

Weight
5.7 oz.
Drop
4 mm.
Category
Racing

Skechers GOrun Speed Elite Hyper

Reasons to buy
  • Incredibly light weight
  • Precise fit
  • Quick turnover
  • Fast!
“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. ”
Recommended for
Runners looking for a super fast, stable and well cushioned 5k to half marathon shoe, or those with the right biomechanics and are more accustomed to a minimal shoe the half to full marathon.
Jim Coulson
Fast Road and Trail Runner. Career Firefighter.
Read the full review of GOrun Speed Elite Hyper
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Asics MetaRacer

Weight
6.7 oz.
Drop
9 mm.
Category
Racing

Asics MetaRacer

Reasons to buy
“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. ”
Recommended for
The Asics MetaRacer is recommended for the runner looking for a race-day shoe that blurs the lines between traditional racing flat and modern, cushioned super foam racer. Its low stack height makes it suitable for 5km to half marathon distances.
Brandon Law
Marathon Runner and Shoe Expert
Read the full review of MetaRacer
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Brooks Hyperion Elite

Weight
6.9 oz.
Drop
8 mm.
Category
Racing

Brooks Hyperion Elite

Reasons to buy
“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. ”
Recommended for
The Brooks Hyperion Elite is recommended for the runner who wants to go fast and wants a firm, responsive rocket-shoe to assist with stability and efficiency. What the Hyperion Elite lacks in cushioning, it makes up in a super-light weight and stable ride.
Brandon Law
Marathon Runner and Shoe Expert
Read the full review of Hyperion Elite
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

New Balance FuelCell TC

Weight
9.15 oz.
Drop
10 mm.
Category
Cushioning

New Balance FuelCell TC

Reasons to buy
“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. ”
Recommended for
The New Balance FuelCell TC is recommended for runners who seek a fast-feeling shoe with plenty of durability for training runs leading up to a marathon. The FuelCell TC is for runners who want plenty of soft, deep cushioning which when paired with a carbon-fibre plate also delivers an efficient,...
Brandon Law
Marathon Runner and Shoe Expert
Read the full review of FuelCell TC
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Saucony Endorphin Speed

Weight
7.8 oz.
Drop
8 mm.
Category
Cushioning

Saucony Endorphin Speed

Reasons to buy
  • PWRRUN PB cushion
  • Incredibly reactive midsole
  • Breathable upper
  • The nylon plate is a game changer for a trainer
“At present, the best quality/price ratio on Carbon Plated running shoes. An absolute must try! ”
Recommended for
This shoe is for a serious runner. This is NOT for new runners. Plenty of cushion for larger runners, light weight enough for the speed demon.
Michael Mason-D'Croz
Long distance runner, shoe expert.
Read the full review of Endorphin Speed
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Saucony Endorphin Pro

Weight
7.5 oz.
Drop
8 mm.
Category
Racing

Saucony Endorphin Pro

Reasons to buy
  • High High performance midsole, springy and energetic but balanced and not overly soft.
  • Stable, consistent, and easy to lock in and hold a fast pace.
  • Reduced muscle fatigue.
“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. ”
Recommended for
Those who want a comfortable, cushioned distance racer for 10k and upward.
Jim Coulson
Fast Road and Trail Runner. Career Firefighter.
Read the full review of Endorphin Pro
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Nike Alphafly Next%

Weight
7.4 oz.
Drop
4 mm.
Category
Racing

Nike Alphafly Next%

Reasons to buy
“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. ”
Recommended for
The Nike Alphafly Next% is recommended for runners who want the latest technology packed into a marathon racer which is cushioned, springy and propulsive. The Alphafly Next% is for the runner who wants the best and doesn't mind paying a premium for it.
Brandon Law
Marathon Runner and Shoe Expert
Read the full review of Alphafly Next%
or buy them here: Men / Women
Also consider

Adidas Adizero Pro

Weight
8.3 oz.
Drop
10 mm.
Category
Racing

Adidas Adizero Pro

Reasons to buy
  • Cushioned, springy feel underfoot
  • Breathable
  • Fabulous in rain: great grip & holds no water!
  • Lightweight
“The adidas Adizero Pro is a top of the line racing shoe which screams “technology” with its firm yet extremely breathable upper; springy, cushioned ride and quick transition due to its carbon plated dual-foam midsole;  and lacing options which allow runners to customize their fit—like a Pro. This shoe is best at race paces, and its benefits are enhanced when running long.”
Recommended for
The Pro is a long-distance racing shoe made for runners who want a supported upper fit without weight or bulk, and a cushioned feel with low-mid stack height.
A light to medium weight runner or heavier runner with an efficient stride will find this shoe to be supportive enough for half marathon...
Kristin Lassen
Fast Runner and Stability Shoe Expert
Read the full review of Adizero Pro
or buy them here: Men / Women

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.

Running Shoes Buying Guides

If you found this guide useful, have a look at our other ones!

Running Shoes

Other Shoes

  • Best Running Shoes for the Gym
  • Best Shoes for HIIT
  • Best Shoes for weightlifting
  • Best Shoes for CrossFit
  • Brand Guides

    As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases

    This web site uses cookies. Click Accept to continue. Review Our Cookie Policy

    On these and other websites owned by RSG Media BV we use cookies and other similar techniques.

    We place and use different types of cookies for the following purposes:

    Functional cookies:
    To make our websites work as intended.

    Analytical cookies:
    To collect and analyze statistics to improve the experience on our websites and the effectiveness of advertisements.

    Tracking cookies:
    To build personal profiles of you so that we can show you targeted content and advertisements that match your interests.

    Social cookies:
    To allow you to share your reaction through 'likes' or commentary.

    In addition, third parties (which are partly outside the EU) can place cookies on our websites, including tracking cookies that can also be used to build up a profile of you. Tracking cookies may have an impact on your privacy.

    By giving your consent below, you agree that we place and read cookies on all our websites (see this overview) and combine these collected data.

    Your consent remains valid for 6 months unless you withdraw it.

    Close