2023 has witnessed monumental advances in shoe technology, combining biomechanics with cutting-edge materials to give runners an unrivalled advantage. With brands diving into research and runners becoming increasingly discerning, today’s market offers many choices for runners looking to shave seconds and even minutes off their time. Here, I bring you the fastest running shoes in the world right now.
In recent years, running shoes with a carbon fibre midsole have revolutionised the running world. We are now seeing faster running shoes on the market, with manufacturers competing to develop lighter and more responsive soles in their running shoes. In other words, it’s more exciting than ever for anyone who loves running shoes.
12 Fastest Running Shoes in the World 2023
It is a challenge to keep up with the development of new running shoes that are launched. Still, it is at least clear that almost all manufacturers are investing in some carbon fibre plate in the midsole when developing new models of fast running shoes.
Many people distinguish between “fastest running shoes for 5 km and 10 km” and “fastest running shoes for half marathon and marathon” when they list the best running shoes for different purposes. In my opinion, this is not really necessary, unless it is about track running. There, of course, spiked shoes are best.
When it comes to running on tarmac and other hard surfaces, all the shoes on the list below are really fast, whether it’s short distances like 5km or all the way up to the marathon distance. The fact that even ultra-elite runners use these carbon-fibre running shoes with solid soles even on short street races speaks volumes about this fact.
Here are the fastest running shoes in the world right now:
1. Adidas Prime X 2 Strung
The new Adidas Prime X 2 Strung is now on the market. At first glance, the Adidas Adizero Prime X 2 may look a bit bulky with its oversized midsole. It has a stack height of 50 mm combined with a double carbon fibre-infused plate system, which means elite runners do not approve it.
This is an extremely fast shoe where you really feel an extreme energy return in the sole. It almost feels like you are running on a trampoline. The first model of the Adidas Prime X was slightly unstable laterally, but this has now been corrected with a wider and more stable sole.
Prime X 2 is not approved for elite runners, and you will be disqualified if you use it. But for elite athletes and exercisers, it is okay to use it regardless of the race to break new personal bests. There is no doubt that this is one of the fastest running shoes in the world right now.
2. Nike Vaporfly 3
There’s no question which running shoes dominate the world’s elite runners on the marathon course right now. Ever since the first version of the Vaporfly was launched, it has been seen on elite runners around the world. The latest model received major updates when it was launched at the beginning of the year and is now both lighter and softer than ever before.
Even the second version of the shoe is still widely used by top runners worldwide – something we could see at the recent World Marathon Championships. You can read more about the shoe model here.
3. Adidas Adizero Adios 3
Another fast running shoe that dominates among elite runners is the Adidas Adizero Adios 3. Compared to the Nike Vaporfly, I feel the midsole is significantly harder, even though this shoe has carbon fibre rods implemented. What is especially good about this particular model is that it is very propulsive.
Another good thing about the Adios 3 compared to the Adios 2 is that it now has an extra layer of cushioning in the forefoot, which means that even I, who suffer from Morton’s Neuroma, can use it without problems.
4. Nike Alphafly 2
Nike Alphafly 2 is another running shoe widely used among world runners at marathon races worldwide. I personally think that this is a clear update compared to the first model. It is both more durable and softer and gives a better running feeling. This shoe model is the one I use most often on Malta’s hard concrete surfaces, together with the Adidas Adizero Adios 3.
There is no question that this is very popular, as evidenced by the interest in the launch of the Alphafly Next% 3. A shoe that is expected to be one of the fastest running shoes in the world once it comes out.
5. Saucony Endorphin Elite
The Saucony Endorphin Elite is definitely one of this year’s biggest news among running shoes with a carbon fibre plate in the midsole. It features a PWRRUN HG foam, which provides excellent energy return. The redesigned plate geometry provides a forward momentum that stands out from most other running shoes on the market.
Another thing I like about the shoes is how well the upper envelops and “hugs” the foot. This is a running shoe that offers really good support for the foot despite being a neutral running shoe.
6. Saucony Endorphin Pro 3
The Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 has a combination of ultralight PWRRUN PB and a carbon fibre plate that helps to propel you forward in the running stride. This running shoe is already in its third model and has become very popular with runners who like Saucony running shoes.
The shoe has SPEEDROLL technology, as well as improved cushioning and a stiff forefoot. This model is especially good because it now has a better fit with improved heel support and a modified lacing system.
7. Puma Fast-R Nitro Elite Run 75
The PUMA Fast-R Nitro Elite Run 75 is a running shoe designed for running marathons at higher speeds. As you can see, Puma is one of the manufacturers that stands out with its futuristic design on its fastest models.
The Fast-R Nitro Elite has an injected Nitro Elite foam in the midsole. Together with the PWRPLATE carbon plate, you get maximum energy transfer and unrivalled running efficiency. This is also a very comfortable running shoe with a sock-like fit.
8. Asics Magic Speed 3
ASICS is perhaps better known for its stable and well-cushioned running shoes. But in recent years, the brand has also produced some really fast models and Magic Speed 3 is one of the fastest.
Compared to the first two models of the shoe model, it now has both softer cushioning and better stability.
ASICS Magic Speed 3 has a full-length carbon plate that provides good propulsion in the running step. The shoe also contains the familiar FF BLAST™ PLUS cushioning that provides both a lightweight running feel and good shock absorption. One thing that has always been good about running shoes from ASICS is the grip, and on this shoe, you will find an ASICSGRIP™ outsole, which is one of the best on the market.
9. New Balance FuelCell Supercomp Elite V3
New Balance is a brand mainly known for its Fresh Foam material, and it offers some of the best cushioned running shoes on the market. The New Balance FuelCell SC Elite v3 also has good cushioning but also maximum energy return for a propulsive step.
Here you will find a carbon fibre plate under the name Energy Arc, which is placed in the middle of the resilient two-layer FuelCell midsole. I also like the firm fit of the upper with an integrated tongue.
10. Hoka Rocket X2
There are many loyal users of Hoka running shoes in the running world, and the new HOKA Rocket X2 is the brand’s fastest running shoe.
This model is completely redesigned in collaboration with elite runners to make you faster than ever. Here, you’ll find a geometrically shaped carbon plate sandwiched between two layers of ultra-responsive new foam.
There’s also a new technical synthetic mesh upper that wraps the foot, and the shoe has also been given a more streamlined design with a narrower tongue. Another good thing for stability is the internal foot cage that provides a midfoot lockdown.
11. On Cloudboom Echo 3
The On brand also has loyal users around the world. Launched last summer, the Cloudboom Echo 3 is the brand’s fastest running shoe to date and now features an ultra-lightweight design and a new cushioning type.
A stiff Carbon Speedboard® has been added in this model for increased energy return. A new Pebax super foam has also been applied, providing a highly responsive landing feel.
12. Nike Ultrafly
I conclude with a pair of trail running shoes. Even in this area, we now notice that different brands have started to add carbon fibre plates in the midsole. One of the trail running shoes that got a lot of attention when it was launched was the new Nike Ultrafly trail running shoe.
Nike’s designers spent over two years carefully testing and developing the shoe with input from elite Nike Trail athletes before launching it. Among the standout features is a carbon fibre Flyplate sandwiched between ZoomX foam and a fabric-wrapped midsole. This combination promises to give trail runners improved energy return.
The Nike Ultrafly also features a Vibram sole, providing exceptional traction on tough terrain.
These were my picks for the fastest running shoes in the world in 2023. Autumn is usually a season when many new models of running shoes are released, so we can expect changes to this list soon. Among other things, shoe models such as HOKA Carbon X4 and Adidas Adizero Adios 4 are expected to be launched soon – just to name a few shoe models.
For those of us who love fast running shoes, this is wonderful news. Stay tuned here on my site and bookmark this article if you want to follow the development!