Running shoes with a carbon fiber plate have become a big talking point in the running world ever since Nike launched the first model of the Nike Vaporfly Next% in 2017. Especially in marathon running, this type of shoe has become very popular and nowadays you rarely see an elite runner or elite athlete without running shoes with carbon fiber plate on their feet. Here, I pick the best running shoes with carbon fiber plate in 2023.
After Nike launched its first models, it wasn’t long before all the other shoe brands followed the trend and launched their own versions. As a result, there is now a really good range of carbon fiber plate running shoes available from many different brands. These also differ quite significantly from each other in terms of design and running feel.
Since running shoes with a carbon fiber plate are also found in the premium layer of most shoe brands, the price is also slightly more expensive than “regular” running shoes. Therefore, it can be useful to know the differences between different models.
Benefits of running shoes with carbon fiber plate
We’ve all heard that running shoes with a carbon fiber plate improve running performance. But what exactly do they do for running? Here are some benefits of carbon fiber plate running shoes:
- Increased energy return: Carbon fiber plates are designed to provide a spring-like effect that returns energy to the runner with each step. This means the runner can use less energy to maintain the same pace, resulting in improved running efficiency and endurance.
- Faster speeds: Carbon fiber plates help reduce the time it takes for the foot to leave the ground after impact. This results in a faster turnover and a quicker pace, which can work to your advantage especially in longer distance races. There’s a reason these are popular half-marathon and marathon shoes.
- Reduced fatigue: The energy-saving effect of carbon fiber plates can also help to reduce fatigue in the legs and feet, allowing runners to maintain their pace for longer periods of time.
- Enhanced cushioning: Many running shoes with carbon plates also contain additional cushioning materials, such as foam or gel, which can further reduce the impact on the feet and legs and make the shoes more comfortable to wear. I use carbon plate running shoes daily during my runs on Malta’s concrete surfaces and find it difficult to use other shoes once I get used to them.
Where to find the best running shoes with carbon fiber plate in 2023?
Although running shoes are available on a huge number of online stores, it can be desperately difficult to find a good range of models. This is because most of them focus on models that are big sellers among the masses and this is not the type of running shoe, despite its increasing popularity as a competitive shoe.
Therefore, it is at specialized running shops that you should look if you want to find a good selection of running shoes with carbon fiber plate. It is also a good idea to look directly at the brands in question if you know which brand you prefer. For example, Nike and Adidas offer a better range of sizes than retailers.
The downside of going directly to the brands is that they usually only have discounted prices on special customer days.
Best running shoes with carbon fiber plate 2023
There are many options on the market for those looking for carbon fiber plate running shoes 2023. This can make it difficult to choose the right one in the jungle of options. Since most of the options are also the premium shoes of the different brands, the prices also tend to be quite high.
That’s why I’ve selected most of the models on the market to make your choice easier. Here I bring you the best running shoes with carbon fiber plate in 2023:
Nike Alphafly 2
I am already on my third pair of Nike Alphafly and the second model has clear improvements compared to previous models. In particular, the midsole on the Alphafly 2 feels much softer than the first version. There is a reason why this is one of the most popular models of marathon shoes on the market and many are already looking for when Alphafly 3 will be released.
The main advantage is that this is a very lightweight running shoe, while being well cushioned. I have used it almost daily on my runs and it has saved my legs when I run all my runs on the hard concrete surface of Malta.
Another good thing about this shoe model is that it has good grip and that it is durable. One criticism that previous models of Nike’s carbon fiber shoes received is that they wear out quickly. This has been addressed with a more durable rubber surface on the outsole, as well as a more durable upper. For me, the shoes often wear out at the big toes, but these have kept the style even though I have already covered many miles in the shoes.
This is a model of running shoes with carbon fiber plate that I recommend even for beginners because of the robust construction of the shoe. Some experience the shoe as slightly narrow in the middle layer of the shoe. Although I am flat-footed, I have no complaints on this point.
This is my choice as the Best Running Shoes with Carbon Fiber Plate 2023. Despite the price of just over 300 dollars, I think the model is well worth its price due to its durability and versatility.
Nike Vaporfly 3
The Nike Vaporfly is another of the brand’s most popular carbon fiber platform running shoes. This was the first model of these “super shoes” to be launched by Nike and it has received several updates over the years. In the very latest model Nike Vaporfly 3 there are also some changes compared to the previous model.
The design of the sole is different, but ZoomX with a full-length carbon fiber plate is still what applies to the shoe. The shoe has also become a few grams lighter and the outsole has a slightly better grip thanks to a new surface. The upper is also more durable and elastic than its predecessor with its Flyknit yarn.
In comparison to the Alphafly 2, the Vaporfly is 43 grams lighter. This also means that many elite runners may prefer this model over the Alphafly, but both are very light so it’s really a matter of taste.
Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3
This is my newest addition to my collection of carbon fiber plate running shoes. What got me interested in the shoe is mainly that they have now added more foam to the front of the sole, which eases my problems with Morton’s Neuroma.
The shoe has had great success in half marathon and marathon races around the world in the last month and that has made it interesting for many. The weight is 215 grams compared to 225 grams for the Alphafly 2. It’s not much, but you can definitely feel it when you hold the shoes.
The shoes have a forward rolling design and they feel consistently faster than the Alphafly. However, what brings the rating down a bit is the smooth outsole which can make them more slippery than the Alphafly. It also feels like this shoe is more sensitive to wear and tear.
I therefore recommend this shoe mainly for elite runners and elite athletes who aim to polish their personal best. If you want a shoe for long-term use, I instead recommend Alphafly or the below mentioned Adidas Adizero Prime X.
This is my pick as the best carbon fiber plate running shoe of 2023 in the racing shoe category. This is the fastest of all running shoes on the market right now and a shoe that provides all the conditions for a personal best. Among Adidas running shoes for races this is the fastest.
Adidas Adizero Prime X
I acquired the Adizero Prime X already last summer and ran a lot in this shoe model last year. Above all, the running feeling in the shoe model is impressive with a soft bouncing feeling. The newest model Adizero Prime X Strung has a more durable upper, which is received with gratitude because it was in the left toe that my shoes wore out.
However, if you are an elite runner, you have to be a bit careful if you use this shoe model because the midsole is too thick to be approved by international standards. This means that you are likely to be disqualified if you reach one of the first positions in a race. But as a training shoe, this is a great way to save your legs because the soft sole is gentle on the joints.
Even for beginners, this is an excellent shoe model. However, it is not the most stable on the market and the high sole can make it easy to step wrong. However, the shoe has become slightly more stable with the introduction of the Strung material on the upper.
Saucony Endorphin Elite
The Saucony Endorphin Elite is the brand’s new flagship model that features a PWRRUN HG foam along with a carbon fiber plate. This should give you maximum energy return in the running stride.
Saucony running shoes are known for their good stability and comfort. These running shoes also have a construction that guarantees a stable running step with wrapping straps that keep the foot in place. The shoes have holes on the side that make the shoes lighter and more airy.
If you like Saucony’s shoe models, this is an obvious choice for race day!
Saucony Endorphin Pro 3
Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 is the brand’s second model with a carbon fiber plate. What is impressive about this model is the better fit compared to previous models. The shoe has a so-called S-curve carbon fiber plate and an elastic PWRRUN PB cushioning that provides really good energy return and roll in the step.
I also like the comfortable and thin heel cup, although I tend to wear out materials of this type due to my asymmetrical heel shape.
Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro
Mizuno has launched several interesting running shoes with carbon fiber plate recently. These include a unique midsole design that encourages a forward leaning running style. Wave Rebellion PRO is made for experienced competitive runners for anyone who aims to run distances up to the marathon faster.
The shoe has a Wave Plate in carbon fiber that provides a very good driving force while the Enerzy Lite technology and the addition of Wave technology makes you have the shoe feel stable. This is a really interesting addition for those who are interested in running shoes with a carbon fiber plate.
Mizuno Wave Duel Pro
Also the Mizuno Wave Duel Pro has a really interesting design and is made for races up to half marathons. It is very reminiscent of the design of a spike shoe, but with a solid sole that also has a carbon fiber plate.
I haven’t tried the model myself, but the look alone makes it very appealing.
New Balance Fuelcell Sc Elite
New Balance is a popular brand among Swedes with shoes that are known for their soft midsole. I myself had several models with Fresh Foam sole while living in Finland and liked the material very much.
The FuelCell SC Elite V3 is the brand’s contribution to running shoes with a carbon fiber plate. This plate is placed in the middle of the resilient two-layer FuelCell midsole. This is a shoe that feels like a sock on the foot with its integrated sockliner and is among the most comfortable I’ve tested.
Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2
Lighter and more responsive than its predecessor, the Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 has a specially injected Nitro foam midsole and a filmic upper that makes the shoe really light. It also has a narrower and stronger PWERPLATE that provides good energy return in the stride.
Puma Fast-FWD Nitro Elite
The Puma Fast-FWD Nitro Elite is designed for shorter distances of 5 to 10 KM. This shoe has extra cutouts to reduce weight and the upper is made to feel like a sock.
As the design suggests, this model provides an excellent roll in the stride, but it is perhaps most suitable for experienced runners with many running kilometers under their belt.
Kiprun is Decathlon’s own brand of running shoes and the KD900X is their first running shoe with a carbon fiber plate. Both the slightly cheaper price and general curiosity make many people ask if Kiprun’s model of carbon fiber shoes is good. Here I have written more about Kiprun’s different models of running shoes.
Hoka One One Carbon X3
Running shoes from Hoka One One has become extremely popular worldwide in a very short time and is the fastest-growing brand among running shoes. Hoka One One Carbon X was the brand’s first running shoe with a carbon fiber sole and now we have already reached the third model in the series.
The third edition is better than ever and this shoe has a completely new upper and an EVA foam midsole with better energy return. There is also a thin raised heel tab which in my opinion gives a better running feel than previous models.
This is my choice as the best running shoe with carbon fiber plate in 2023. Despite the price of just over 3000 SEK, I think the model is well worth its price because of its durability and versatility.
Hoka One One Rocket X2
HOKA Rocket X 2 is the brand’s newest premium model among running shoes with carbon fiber sole. This model has been completely redesigned to make it even faster. It features a geometrically shaped carbon fiber plate sandwiched between two layers of ultra-responsive foam.
Benefit from an even more responsive start thanks to the perfectly geometrically shaped carbon plate sandwiched between two layers of ultra-responsive new foam. The shoe is also more streamlined with a narrower tongue. You’ll also find an internal foot cage that keeps the foot stably in place.
ON Cloudboom Echo
The ON brand has a loyal following – not least among trail runners. With the Cloudboom Echo, they have aimed to create a really fast road shoe as well. The shoe has double CloudTec® cushioning for better comfort on long distances.
A noticeable update is a new double layer of CloudTec® in Helion superfoam, where a combination of their version of carbon fiber plate, CarbON and TPE should provide extra good energy release and bounce in the step.
The shoe also has a technical mesh material low weight with good breathability. There is a reinforced area that provides extra support for the forefoot, which should help to provide extra energy to cope with the final part of the race when the feet generally get tired.
Asics Magic Speed 2
Asics is a popular shoe brand among those looking for stable running shoes, including for overpronation. The brand has also launched several models of running shoes with a carbon fiber plate in recent years. One of these is the Magic Speed 2, which is a versatile shoe that can be used for both training and competition – in other words, it is very durable.
The midsole with FF BLAST cushioning provides good shock absorption and energy return, while providing a lightweight feel in the run. A big plus for the humane price, which is one of the lowest among all running shoes with carbon fiber plate.
So what are the best running shoes with carbon fiber plate in 2023? That depends partly on your budget. If you want to play it safe, I recommend the Nike Alphafly 2 – not least for its versatility and durability. This is a shoe model that offers top quality in most respects. However, the price of just over 300 dollars may scare most people away from investing in the shoe.
If you are looking for a personal best, I can also recommend that you try the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3. However, this model does not have the best possible durability so even though its price is lower than both Alphafly 2 and Nike Vaporfly 3, this may be something to consider.
As a quantity shoe, I definitely recommend the Adidas Adizero Prime X. This is undoubtedly one of the most comfortable running shoes on the market.
The Hoka One Carbon X3 has a wide toe box and is very stable, so if you like running shoes from Hoka One One, this is an obvious choice as a racing shoe.
Ultimately, it is your own feet, your ambitions and your budget that will determine the choice. Here are some options for those looking for the best running shoes with carbon fiber plate in 2023. Good luck with your choice!