Best Triathlon Shoes Reviewed & Rated for Performance
The best triathlon shoes for men & women must stand up to the miles of wondrous racing we enjoy.
Beginning in a swim, the pace changes to cycling, and then on to the last node of running. There is beautiful anticipation at the start; excitement for both participants and spectators alike. There is something magical in the air before the start begins; an almost silent revered presence for the miles ahead.
- Zoot Ultra Tempo 6.0
- Textile/Synthetic Upper
- Dual-density Midsole
- Zoot Del Mar
- BareFit Seamless Interior
- Mesh Panels
- Venzo for Shimano SPD SL
- Textile Lining
The race is soon to start and swimmers make their mark. Their mental eyes focus on both the task-at-hand and the shoes they need to put on for the next leg of the race. Knowing they have the best triathlon shoes for men & women at the ready, a smile gleams within their heart. The start sounds. At long last, the race is underway.
10 Best Triathlon Shoes
1. Zoot Ultra Tempo 6.0
A dual-density midsole and breathable upper will perform well while you enter into those last set of miles. Exhaustion may, indeed, be setting in at this point, but this footwear has a design to give you a lift in spirit, as your feet will be thanking you for the purchase.
These runners are all about being lightweight, in addition to remaining comfortable. You will feel quicker on your feet while the miles countdown to the finish line.
Cost and Value
These are a pair in which are easy on the wallet. Moreover, they have a lightweight and comfortable design. Furthermore, with the quality of the materials, this is a deal in which is tough to pass up; that is, you cannot go wrong by adding these to your triathlon wardrobe.
Size runs small
2. Zoot Del Mar
The injected-ZVA midsoles are there to give you the best shock-absorbent technology possible without adding too much weight to the shoe. Moreover, the load-rate is decreased which is an added bonus when hitting the last part of your race.
Mesh panels designed in the upper allow for cooler feet and easier breathability. Furthermore, this design adds stability and support where it is needed. As such, this mesh design is perfect for those leaving the bicycle for a run.
Cost and Value
The cost associated with this pair is size-dependent. The range starts out on the low side and increases to high-mid. The ability to have ease of transition in conjunction with comfortability, however, makes these shoes a worthwhile buy.
- BareFit Seamless Interior
- Mesh Panels
- Responsive & Lightweight
- Minimal color variety
3. Shimano SH-TR31
This pair is made with the idea of shaving seconds off of your time. The rear heel tab and instep strap are there to allow the quickest time possible while, simultaneously, providing you with the security and comfort you need.
It is necessary after the swim to jump on the bike and land your feet in shoes already attached to pedals. Luckily, these are designed to handle just that. Moreover, they work to control moisture and help keep your feet cool, as you ride on.
Cost and Value
These are low-upper in cost association. Moreover, with the quick-on construction style and ability to add cleats, these seem like a budget-friendly buy. Overall, this pair is created to help shave those precious seconds off of your time.
- Quick On
- Moisture-control Mesh
- Cleat Compatability
- Arch Support
- 1-year Manufacturer Warranty
- Limited color variety
4. Pearl iZUMi Tri Fly V Carbon
This technology is created to help alleviate hot spots. Furthermore, this pair works to relieve unwanted pressure from the forefoot area. At the end of the day, this technology takes care of the runner.
Longitudinal Arch Support
The arch support system in these is designed to not only support but, also, stabilize your feet. Furthermore, this longitudinal system promotes power and efficiency; a must have when considering you are in a race.
Cost and Value
These average in the cost range between mid-to-upper. With that being stated, they have high-quality constriction and are built with the racing cyclist in mind. As a result, this pair is worth the purchase price.
- 1:1 Anatomic Tri Closure
- Longitudinal Arch Support
- Direct Venting Technology
- Replaceable Heel Bumper
- Mid-to-upper in range of cost
5. ASICS Gel-Noosa Tri 10 GR
The Propulsion Trusstic and Impact Guidance System in this footwear has a design to help you move with your natural motion. From the moment your feet land, these are created to help you think about the next step, as you easily continue through to your next stride.
Gel cushioning is a technology built around the concepts of both decreasing load rates and enhancing comfortability. Furthermore, this technology creates a better fit; thus, allowing your feet to feel secure and stable. At the end of the day, these are great candidates for that last leg of the race.
Cost and Value
This pair of runners averages from mid-to-upper in range of cost. With their high-quality design and the fact they are created to be lightweight, breathable, comfortable and supportive, these are well worth the purchase price.
- Propulsion Trusstic and I.G.S.
- Space Trusstic System
- GEL Cushioning
- Breathable Mesh Upper
- Perforated Sockliner
- Mid-to-upper range in cost
6. Zoot Carlsbad
BareFit construction is a technology built around the concept of running in your shoes with bare feet. The upper mesh is highly-breathable; yet, the synthetic overlays allow for a stable and secure environment. At the end of the day, your feet will remain cooler with or without your socks on, and this makes a difference in the final part of any triathlon event.
The Z-Bound midsole is based on the notion of reducing load-rate while, also, increasing bounce-back. This shock-absorbent technology helps to provide ease of stride via your natural motion. In essence, for every step you make you will receive a little bounce in return.
Cost and Value
This pair ranges from low to upper-mid in cost. They are a great deal for the purchase price and would be ideal for anyone interested in participating in a triathlon. Furthermore, these have all the amenities needed for the coolest and most comfortable ride possible in that final stretch of the race.
- BareFit Construction
- Z-Bound Midsole
- ZCR Traction Outsole
- Firm Locking-Heel
- Heel-to-toe drop: 10 mm
- Minimal color variety
7. Pearl iZUMi Tri Fly Elite V6
First, this technology helps to remove pressures from your feet; particularly, in the forefoot area. Second, the elimination of hot spots ensures a more frictionless and painless ride. As a result, you can concentrate on your race without the worry over your gear.
Integrated Carbon Power Plate
The integrated power plate is built with carbon to help ensure the lightest; yet, strongest composite material for the situation. In essence, you will have the potential to shave more off of your time via the plate's makeup.
Cost and Value
This pair ranges from mid-to-upper in cost association. With high-grade materials in place such as the carbon plate, the price is understandable. So much so, these cycling shoes are a great investment for anyone seeking to add to their triathlon gear.
- 1:1 Anatomic Tri Closure
- 3-Layer Seamless Composite Upper
- Integrated Carbon Power Plate
- SPD-SL Compatible
- Dual-Density EVA Insole
- Limited color variety
- Mid-to-upper in cost
8. Pearl iZUMi EM Road M2 V3
This technology returns some of the energy gained from your stride and returns it in the form of easier propulsion. Furthermore, shock absorbency is a wonderful gift to your feet at nearing the end of your race.
Sock-like 3D Print Seamless Upper
The seamless upper is made with a sock-like fit. A better fit means you are less likely to have a foot-related injury. Moreover, stability is the result of any shoe having a better fit when compared to those which do not.
Cost and Value
The cost range for these is budget-friendly. They are a great buy for anyone interested in triathlon racing; from the beginner to the seasoned. As such, this footwear is a worthy contender for the final part of your race.
- Sock-like 3D Print Seamless Upper
- Responsive E: Motion
- EVA Foam Outsole
- 1:1 Energy Foam in Forefoot
- Better fit for mild pronation
9. Venzo For Shimano SPD SL
The mesh upper is created to allow your feet the ability to both dry and continually breathe, as your race moves forward. This promotes a healthy atmosphere which can help lower recovery times after a long race.
Flexible Forefoot & Beveled Heel
These have a beveled heel and flexible forefoot. Essentially, this means you will feel like you are in a pair of running shoes, as that applies to support and comfort. Furthermore, the transition to the next part of the race has the potential to be pain-free; especially, when considering the similar shape-likeness of running shoes.
Cost and Value
These are very, budget-friendly and cost-efficient. As such, this pair would be a great investment. After all, the more comfortable you are during your race, the more likely you can concentrate on shaving more seconds off of your time.
- Quick-Drying; Breathable, Upper Mesh
- Removable Sockliner
- Flexible Forefoot & Beveled Heel
- Limited color variety
10. Shimano SH-XC61L
The hook-and-loop closure is made with ease of transition at its core. Secondly, these are created with your pedals in mind and the very design will help aid you in shaving the seconds you need.
Breathable Fabric Lining
After swimming, your shoes need to breathe to allow your feet to be comfortable and healthy. With the breathable lining this pair utilizes, not only will your feet feel cooler but they will remain healthier, as well.
Cost and Value
These cycling shoes range in the upper-cost when compared to other related footwearshoes on our list. They are, however, built with high-grade materials. As such, this is a good buy.
- Hook-and-Loop Closure
- Mud-Shedding Polyurethane Lugs
- Carbon-fiber Reinforced Cleat Plate
- Breathable Fabric Lining
- Cleats not included
There are various versions of triathlon events around the world, but they usually follow the formula swimming, cycling, and running in that respective order. With the previous being noted, transition and performance are paramount in shaving seconds and even minutes off your time. Some athletes might try and wear the same shoes from cycling to running, but they are paying for this short-term gain in the long run; as your overall foot health depends on wearing the right kind of shoes for the job-at-hand. As such, many athletes switch over from cycling to running shoes to better their long-term health.
Many companies have come to realize the importance of foot health in conjunction with transitional speed. As such, their footwear is created with the mindset of this notion. The best gear for your feet will have a quick transitional speed associated with them. Moreover, because these triathlon shoes are job-specific, they outperform and are more advantageous after you become accustomed to shoe transitioning. As a result of understanding that two pairs are better than one, the best triathlon shoes for men & women are the better choice. This is why we have put together criteria and frequently asked questions area to better help guide you in what to look for in triathlon shoes. After all, your feet matter.
Criteria Used for Evaluating the Best Triathlon Shoes
Comfort is a big factor in choosing your footgear; especially, when considering the length of longer triathlon events. Your feet need to remain as comfortable as possible to help prevent potential injury. Also, a more comfortable foot is more likely to remain healthy. For example, if your feet are uncomfortable, the chance rises your mind will think about the cause of your discomfort. When exhaustion sets in, not only will the race become tougher to focus upon but the likelihood of an injury begins to increase.
Comfortability factors really matter when considering your footwear. The idea, generally speaking, is to participate in more than one triathlon race. After all, you have been training a long time to make the first event. No one desires to be made a victim from their gear; thereby, being eliminated from participating in the race they love. At the end of the day, if the footwear feels uncomfortable, then they are the wrong shoes for you. Some of the things you can keep an eye on for are attributes such as toe box width, arch support or the lack thereof, shock absorbency, breathability, quick-dry properties, aerodynamics, weight, and etc.
For toe box width, you need footwear that does not cramp in any way. While you may need a tighter toe box for cycling, your running shoes should be a bit wider in this area. This is because your toes need to have a bit more space in relation to proper power, support, stability, and overall correction in the gait cycle. With cycling shoes, however, your forefoot is doing most of the work and aerodynamics comes into play. As a result, cycling shoes may, indeed, have a tighter toe box than your running shoes will.
Arch support is another deeming factor in comfortability. If you are flat-footed, then a high arch support in your footwear will be utterly horrendous. Not only would this be painful as your ride or run, but the aftermath could be disastrous in that you could cause serious injury. Although cycling shoes will have a flatter arch system, due to the sheer design of what cycling footgear is, the basic concept of applying the correct arch support is vital. For cycling shoes, if you find that your feet are aching from a lack of arch support, look for replacement insoles that give you the support you need while, also, ensuring they are made of the lightest weight materials possible. In this, you will keep weight factors to a bare minimum and will increase the comfort levels where you are housing your feet.
Shock absorbency is one of the key factors in determining what is best for you, in the realm of your running footwear. The race is long and you will be tired when the final leg begins. You need midsoles that absorb shock and, also, return a degree of energy during toe-off. This will lower your overall fatigue levels and can aid in minimizing energy expenditure. If your a small person, a dual-density midsole is too much, generally speaking. If you are of a larger build, however, a dual-density midsole might just be the ticket to the finish line.
Breathability and quick-drying properties are essential in both your cycling and running shoes. For cycling, you want gear that allows the water from your feet to drain away and not get trapped inside of the shoes, per se. This will give your feet ample breathability while, also, allowing time for them to dry out prior to running on a hard surface. Wet feet will take more damage on the run than those feet which are dry. In addition, your running footwear should be lightweight and highly breathable. Even though your cycling shoes might be correct in that they drain properly, you will sweat. Choosing running gear which has nice breathability will aid in extending comfort levels.
Firmness versus Flexibility
Remember, shoes for the job; this sentiment cannot be stressed enough. It is of vital importance for your foot health to ensure your gear has the correct firmness/flexibility associated with it. Cycling shoes are, generally, firmer. They need to be, in order to handle the unforgiving pedals your feet will be bearing down on, as the miles stack up. Running shoes, on the other hand, need to be more flexible, generally speaking. If they are too firm, then your natural gait will become restricted. Not only will your feet likely feel discomfort and pain but there is a higher risk associated with injury, as well.
Also, please bear in mind the importance of understanding your natural gait. Pronation types have a profound impact on the choices between a firm and flexible shoe, in general. As such, you might notice some athletes will have shoes a little firmer than others, and vice-versa. Moreover, there is no such thing as one-size fits all when considering the gear for your feet. When it is all said and done, your fit is perfect for you.
Fitting your shoes correctly leads the way for comfort, stability, and support. When your footwear is not properly fitted, health concerns can, also, arise (*see Overall Health Factors). During a triathlon event, foot swelling occurs rather quickly from rapid blood flow and foot-related stress. The best way to fit them properly is to take a measurement of your feet in the evening after your full day nears its end. In doing so, you will have a better gauge when your feet will be at their largest.
Also, before making your purchase, be aware of your pronation type (i.e. pronator, overpronator, and underpronator). Shoes are, generally, built around pronation types. Your pronation directly reflects your natural gait pattern. If the footwear is not for your pronation type, then you raise the risks associated with health concerns for feet, ankles, knees, and hips. To sum it up, a shoe which properly fits promotes health. Footwear which does not fit has the potential to do the opposite.
Overall Health Factors
The best triathlon shoes for men & women take into account your foot health. For example, in a triathlon race, you will need to transition from swimming to cycling. We ask ourselves if the cycling shoes have a breathable component to combat dampness. If they do, then the shoes take into consideration our foot health. If not, they could be the wrong shoe for the job.
Common risks associated with the wrong type of footwear may include, but are not limited to:
- Minor skin irritation and abrasions
- Major skin irritation and rawness; involving bruising and blisters
- Ankle sprain and/or dislocation
- Smelly feet, or bromodosis
- Athlete’s foot, or tinea pedis
- Load-rate spiking; resulting in potential damage to ankles, knees, and hips
We are in a race. Performance is in direct correlation with choosing the correct gear for our feet. Performance measures your ability to increase or decrease the event speed while wearing a particular pair of shoes. In addition, other variables are associated with performance such as durability, stability, support, strength, flexibility (or firmness), and comfort.
Furthermore, performance is sometimes a ranking against other footwear either in or not in the same category of shoes. That is, there are data which can mislead you in the area of a performance, because the data may not necessarily be reflecting the same category of shoe.
The keys to look for when considering performance is the burning question: Can the shoes perform well during the job you need them to do? And if so, will the shoes stand up in the areas of durability, stability, support, strength, flexibility (or firmness), and comfort? If they can, then they are performance-ready.
Stability is the occurrence of your feet while inside of the footwear. Take, for instance, a soccer game: If I were to show up in a pair of ice skates, then I might be asking for real trouble. In fact, the risk is high I could end up in the hospital with a dislocated ankle. Ice skates cannot give me the stability I need when out on the field playing soccer. Likewise, if I were to wear soccer shoes out on the ice, I might be headed for quite a nasty fall; not enough stability.
When considering the right kind of gear for your feet, the shoe’s ability to stabilize your feet will indirectly help to stabilize the rest of your body (i.e. ankles, knees, etc.). As such, you will lower injury-related health concerns. Furthermore, it is a great feeling when participating in your favorite event and not worrying about your gear. There is more mental focus spent on the sport; thus, more enjoyment for you to absorb.
Support generally relates to your arch, forefoot, and heel area. Cycling shoes are going to concentrate on giving you more support in the forefoot area because this is where your feet will experience the most pressure while pedaling. Running shoes, however, will generally focus in on all three areas with the heel as the primary starting point. This is because your heel strikes the ground first; especially, when running longer distances. Sprinters might use a forefoot running method, but sprinting shoes are unrealistic in a triathlon event.
At the end of the day, cycling shoes will support you on a bicycle, but will not perform well when running. Likewise, running shoes will serve you well in a foot race but will underperform against cycling shoes, if you are riding a bicycle.
Transitional speed refers to the performance of the shoe in relation to your ability to switch from one footwear type to the next. In traditional triathlon events, each leg of the race begins at swimming, moves to the cycling stage, and then ends with running. As such, quicker transitional speeds for cycling shoes need to address the concerns of wetness, feet feeling too soft, and contain a quick-lace component. All of these considerations must be taken into account when choosing the correct gear.
Furthermore, running shoes will need to address your feet moving from miles of cycling to a road surface. The best gear will be flexible, have more heel and arch support, and will be highly breathable. In addition, these shoes will utilize a quick-tie method for the shoelaces.
Weight matters in long-distance marathons; especially, when participating in multiple events, in consecutive order, like in a triathlon race. Moreover, shoe weight is directly related to fatigue levels. As such, it is important to note the weight of the footwear you are planning to purchase. The idea here is to decrease as much weight as possible without sacrificing the shoe’s performance and ability to maintain your foot health integrity. The correct gear for your feet will give you the best of both worlds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the meaning of triathlon?
A. The word originates from the Greek; treis (three) and athlos (competition). Triathlon simply refers to a competition having three elements.
Q. What is a triathlon race?
A. A triathlon race contains three separate events combined into one continuous race. The events are usually swimming, cycling, and running in that particular order. This is due to the fact measures are in place to ensure participants are properly cared for in the realm of safety. In other words, it would probably be a really bad idea to swim last; instead of first. Exhaustion comes into play with long events, such as a triathlon race.
What are the best triathlon shoes for men & women?
A. The best triathlon shoes for men & women will take into consideration the event itself; that is, these shoes are designed specifically for a triathlon race. Moreover, this footwear will have your best interest at heart, in the realm of foot health. Additionally, triathlon shoes are built for the transitional area where you switch to the next leg of the race. In essence, they are built for ease of transition, are lightweight, and are created to handle the job at hand.
What are the best triathlon cycling shoes?
A. The best cycling shoes for a triathlon race are firmer than running shoes. Next, they are (more than likely) built to attach to your pedals, as this is important for both speed and exhaustion aspects. Furthermore, these are lightweight, have a solid plate to support pedal attachment, breathe well, and provide power, comfort, and support. As such, you will find a faster transition from swimming to cycling when using triathlon-specific cycling shoes.
Q. What are the best triathlon running shoes?
A. The best running shoes for a triathlon event have an ease of transition factor associated with them. Furthermore, they are more flexible than cycling shoes and are created to handle the road. These will support your heel firmly, have a shock-absorbent technology, and consist of a highly, breathable upper mesh. Additionally, running shoes for a triathlon race are lightweight, comfortable, provide stability and support, and are created to relieve load-rate. Overall, the correct gear is running shoes designed specifically for a triathlon.
Q. Are there any health concerns I should be aware of in relation to a triathlon event?
A. On the negative side, in triathlon events, men over 40 are more susceptible to cardiovascular-related issues than anyone else. This number increases with a man’s age. With that being stated, there is more positive than negative when considering health. Endurance, weight loss, brain health, and muscle gain are all benefits related to triathlon training.
Cardio Workout (regular workouts) – Training for a triathlon event promotes better cardiovascular activity. Your blood flow increases; thereby, increasing circulation throughout your body.
- First, blood flow promotes healthier-looking skin.
- Second, when you increase your blood flow, you promote better brain health. There is a decrease in strokes and better memory in those people who regularly workout utilizing cardiovascular exercises.
- Lastly, an increase in blood flow, also, means an increase in oxygen. When you increase your oxygen via regular cardio workouts, you create an environment acceptable to greater muscle work. As time goes on, the tasks become easier and easier with each passing day; or better yet, your muscles strengthen over time.
Depression & Social Anxiety – Regular exercise is linked as a fighter and champion against depression. Training for a triathlon event means not only will you be exercising regularly but you will, also, be inadvertently in the fight against depression and anxiety.
- First, you will release natural hormones, known as endogenous cannabinoids. These hormones are responsible for making you feel good, as it were.
- Second, this type of consistent training helps to take your mind off of worries that otherwise might lead to depression.
- Third, there is a confidence boost associated with your sense of betterment; that is, as you improve in your training you will improve both physically and psychologically. This, in turn, grants the wonderful side effect of more confidence, improved self-worth, and an overall feeling you can get things done.
- Finally, upon training and/or entering your first triathlon race, you will have the chance to meet new people. Positive, social interaction is linked to an overall improvement in mood.
Other related health issues.
Exercising regularly is known to help in the battles against high blood pressure, arthritis, and diabetes. There are significant improvements in all of these areas for those who train consistently. As a final note, however, the single most important thing you can do (before starting an exercise regimen) is to seek the advice from your doctor or other qualified, healthcare professional. In doing so, you are taking the proactive stance on improving your health in the correct manner.
- USA Triathlon Launches “Splash, Spin, Sprint” Youth Camp Curriculum, Article, Mar 02, 2018 ,
- 11 Triathlon Rules You Should Know, Article, ,
- Article I: Scope, Purpose and Construction, Article, ,
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- Is Triathlon a Dangerous Sport?, Article, ,
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- What Are the Benefits of Being a Triathlete?, Article, ,
- Three Health Benefits of Triathlon Training, Article, Jan 13, 2017 ,
- Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms, Article, Sep 27, 2017 ,