Triathlon shoes vs. Regular shoes (running)

Have you ever asked “What is the difference between regular running shoes and triathlon running shoes?”

This is an interesting topic, as it should be. At any triathlon, the majority of participants sport running shoes that are recognizable to most of the general public. These shoes have their own 2 minute television ad that’s often not about the shoe, and about something else simply because the brand has so much brand recognition. They’re nothing too fancy, and we’ve all owned one.

But what about those triathlon specific running shoes? What makes them special?

In a short, its the construction for the transition off the bike and into the run.

In any triathlon, particularly in those that are shorter in distance than a half, a transition can easily mean a few places in position when it comes to the final results. This is most apparent in the top group of finishers as the difference between their times often come down to seconds if not minutes.

Triathlon specific running shoes are constructed for easy in and easy out/shifting your effort from biking to running. Zoot Running shoes are the ideal example when it comes to shoes designed specifically for triathlon and transitions. The notable features of a Zoot triathlon shoe are that they:

  • Are Extremely light
  • Have a liner in the shoe that allows for sock -less wear.  The material in these shoes reduces/eliminates odors.
  • Lack a traditional tongue.  This feature often allows for a quick lacing system, or no laces at all.
  • Have a unique heel to toe differential.  The race specific triathlon shoes by Zoot have a 10mm heel to toe differential.  This thickness in the sole encourages a mid foot/forefoot strike that is an extremely efficient running form, particularly when right off the bike.
  • Drainage holes.  Ever get grab hydration at long races?  Ever get soggy feet because you spill water all over the shoe?  You guessed it, blister city.   Water can easily add quite a bit of weight to your shoe when you make a mess at transition after taking off your wetsuit.  Having these drainage holes aides in drying out the moisture during your run.  Pretty brilliant if you ask me.

Here are two by Zoot I like:
Zoot Ultra Speed Shoe

Interested in picking one  up for your next tri sport event?  A little bird tells me OneTri.com carries Zoot shoes and more.

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