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The Fastest Pro Running Shoes at the 2022 Ironman 70.3 World Championships

In the hilly 13.1-mile run course of the Ironman 70.3 World Championship on October 28-29 in St. George, the running performance - and running shoes - of top athletes was something to marvel at.

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In the hilly 13.1-mile run course of the Ironman 70.3 World Championship on October 28-29 in St. George, the running performance—and running shoes—of top athletes was something to marvel at. In the women’s race, three of the top 10 finishers ran 1:20 or faster in pursuit of Taylor Knibb, while three of the top four men ran sub-1:12 splits in a back-and-forth tilt ultimately won by Kristian Blummenfelt.

What running shoes were the fastest in St. George? That depends on how you break it down. ASICS and Nike were the most prevalent brands among top finishers, with each brand claiming seven of the combined top 10 finishers for men and women. But Hoka’s yet-to-be-released Rocket X 2 also made a big splash on the feet of men’s runner-up Ben Kanute and women’s third-place finisher Emma Pallant-Browne.

Here’s a rundown of what the other top pros wore while running in St. George.

 

ASICS MetaSpeed Sky | $250

ASICS continues to show its dominance among elite triathletes, with seven of the top finishers in St. George wearing either the original MetaSpeed Sky of 2021 or the MetaSpeed Sky+ of 2022. Both of the fastest run splits on the day were produced in MetaSpeed Sky shoes as Blummenfelt clocked a 1:11:39 split on his way to another world title, while women’s ninth-place finisher Tamara Jewett ripped off a stunning 1:16:23 split to make up huge ground after T2 to earn a top-10 finish. The MetaSpeed Sky was one of the top carbon-fiber-plated racing shoes from our original 2021 review. It’s specifically designed to extend the running gait to promote a more efficient stride. It certainly worked wonders for Blummenfelt as he ran away from runner-up Ben Kanute over the final 5km of the run.

Who wore it?

Women

5. Flora Duffy (Bermuda), half-marathon run split: 1:25:04

9. Tamara Jewett (Canada), half-marathon run split: 1:16:23

Men

1. Kristian Blummentfelt (Norway), half-marathon run split: 1:11:39

9. Aaron Royle (Australia), half-marathon run split: 1:14:00

RELATED: ASICS MetaSpeed Sky Review

ASICS MetaSpeed Sky + | $250

The second edition of the MetaSpeed, the Sky+ was the choice of three top-10 finishers—Lucy Charles-Barclay (4th place) on the women’s side and Miki Taagholt (6th) and Clement Mignon (10th) in the men’s race. The latest edition of the MetaSpeed Sky has more FF Turbo foam and a slightly wider midsole. It’s not quite as bouncy as the first edition, but deliciously smoother, slightly softer and still extremely fast.

Who wore it?

4. Lucy Charles-Barclay (UK), half-marathon run split: 1:23:02

Men

6. Miki Taagholt (Denmark), half-marathon run split: 1:14:47

10. Clement Mignon (France), half-marathon run split: 1:14:41

Hoka Carbon Rocket X 2 | $TBD

This yet-to-be-released shoe continues to make a splash after being spotted on the feet of several top pros in Kona. Most notably, Ben Kanute wore these yellow shoes with orange highlights and blue laces as he challenged Blummenfelt for about 10 miles on the run course. Kanute, who would finish second overall in a strong comeback race of sort, took the lead on the run and pushed the pace until Blummenfelt proved to be just too much. Emma Pallant-Brown also rocked a pair of Rocket X 2 as she rose all the way to third place with the second-fastest women’s run split (1:17:45) on the day. We don’t have any details about the Rocket X 2, except that it’s expected to become available on a worldwide basis in late February 2023.

Who wore it?

Women

3. Emma Pallant-Browne (UK), half-marathon run split: 1:17:45

8. Niki Bartlett (UK), half-marathon run split: 1:22:42

10. Anne Reischmann (Germany), half-marathon run split: 1:21:38

Men

2. Ben Kanute (USA), half-marathon run split: 1:11:56

Nike Zoom X Vaporfly Next% 2 | $250

The direct descendent of the original carbon-fiber racing shoe Nike launched in 2017, Air Zoom X Vaporfly Next% 2 has been a popular choice among elite triathletes for the past two years. Five top pros wore it in St. George, including women’s champion Taylor Knibb and runner-up Paula Findlay.

The Vaporfly Next% 2 has a single-density ZoomX (Peba) foam and a curvy carbon-fiber plate that combine to create a very bouncy and propulsive ride.

Who wore it?

Women

1. Taylor Knibb (USA), half-marathon run split: 1:21:48

2. Paula Findlay (Canada), half-marathon run split: 1:20:33

7. Jackie Hering (USA), half-marathon run split: 1:20:28

Men

4. Mika Noodt (Germany), half-marathon run split: 1:11:44

Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% 2, $275

After wearing Nike Air Zoom X Alphafly Next% 2 shoes in the past, both Magnus Ditlev and Jackson Laundry wore pairs of the newly remodeled Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% 2 shoes in St. George. Same goes for women’s sixth-place finisher Holly Lawrence. What’s the difference? Nike’s secondary carbon-fiber racing shoe has a light and resilient Zoom X midsole, but it also has dual forefoot Zoom Air pods that combine pressurized air and tightly stretched fibers, for added cushioning and rebound.

Who wore it?

Women

6. Holly Lawrence (UK), half-marathon run split: 1:22:55

Men

3. Magnus Ditlev (Denmark), half-marathon run split: 1:14:07

7. Jackson Laundry (Canada), half-marathon run split: 1:12:58

RELATED: Nike’s Air Zoom Alphafly Next% Just Got Redesigned

On Cloudboom Echo 3 | $280

On is becoming a key player in road running with its evolution of its carbon-plated Cloudboom Echo. Gustav Iden famously wore a high-stack prototype of the Echo 3 while running away with the Ironman World Championship in Kona in early October. He was back wearing bib No. 1 in St. George,  and he looked pretty good coming off the bike, but he just didn’t have it on the run. Wearing a similar pair of shoes, he ran 5 miles in 31:17 (or 6:21 mile pace) but dropped after the first lap. Germany’s Frederick Funk, however, sealed his fifth-place finish with a pair of On Cloudboom Echo 3.

The carbon-plated race shoe from On is unique in its approach. While other carbon supercharged shoes are soft and bouncy, the Cloudboom Echo has a soft but decidedly firm ride to optimize efficiency.

RELATED: World Triathlon Confirms: Iden’s IMWC Shoes Not “Illegal,” No Rules On Running Shoes

Who wore it?

Men

5. Frederic Funk (Germany), half-marathon run split: 1:16:43

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 |$225

The Endorphin Pro 3 is a light, soft, bouncy and very fast long-distance racing shoe as Thor Madsen exhibited with a strong run split to seal a top-10 finish in St. George. The Endorphin Pro 3 has the thickest stack of hyper-resilient PWRRUNPB foam ever incorporated into a Saucony shoe (about 4mm thicker than previous Endorphin Pro models) and it also features a new, curvier carbon-fiber plate to provide the optimal spring and pop in every stride. Although there was only one pro among the top 10 men and women wearing this shoe, we spotted quite of few of these on age-groupers as they ran the two-lap course in St. George.

Who wore it?

Men

8. Thor Bendix Madsen (Denmark) 1:14:14

RELATED: The Best Triathlon Racing Shoes of Fall 2022