Don’t run, fly…. with new technology and lighter running shoes. How much does a pair of running shoes weigh?
And why does it matter?
Remember the chunky heavy running shoes from the past?
And wondered how they’ve been able to make the shoes lighter and lighter over the years?
When we first started researching this, the first technology I came across was the FLYTEFOAM™ technology, this is something ASICS designed and researched in the last few years.
According to the ASICS.com website, “FlyteFoam is constructed through a special process that allows to increase gas content with thinner bubble walls while avoiding deformations, thanks to incorporating ballistic-grade, elastic fiber, commonly found in bulletproof jackets.
This allows for overall weight reductions of approximately 55%, while maintaining or surpassing, the durability and structure of traditional soles. The end result is the lightest midsole material in ASICS history.”
Unfortunately, this is patented in the US, EU, Japan and Australia. But that didn’t stop their competitors.
So, can this be true, that compared to conventional sponges made from EVA, FlyteFoam is approximately 55% lighter?
And that’s when I came across the Nike version of Flytefoam – React Foam.
When Nike asked runners what they wanted out of their running shoes, they got very specific answers:
- They said they wanted better cushioning.
- Runners wanted to have a better energy return in Nike shoes.
- And they needed their shoes to be lightweight, of course.
- Oh, and they had to last longer too.
In a way, they wanted everything. The thing to note here is that these four qualities are incredibly tough to combine in one single piece of shoe because they’re opposites.
And that’s where the Nike React technology was launched, Nike’s latest cushioning innovation and a significant breakthrough in footwear foam. The midsole of the shoe is filled with tiny bubbles holding air that offer good cushioning and shock absorption without weighing down the shoe very much.
Nike React foam cushioning was launched in June 2017 in basketball – a sport that requires players to shift direction and speed in seamless motion and to lift off at the blink of an eye. The foam met those needs by providing a sensation that is as soft and springy as it is squishy and stable – a balance not previously seen in any other Nike basketball shoe.
Because runners expressed that they craved similar sensations, it was a no-brainer to take Nike React technology to running shoes.
Elite and everyday runners tested Nike React technology in more than 17,000 miles of running, which converts to more than 27,300 kilometers. “Over that span, our wear-testers consistently told us that Nike React made them want to run more often,” says Ernest Kim, Director of Advanced Footwear.
Why are lighter running shoes better in the long run ?
The conclusion, yes, it is actually a lot better, lightweight shoes mean less impact, less fatigue and faster recovery. Wearing lightweight shoes and running with soft footsteps can be very beneficial for a runner of any ability or any experience level.
But having inefficient form and wearing heavier overbuilt shoes concludes that the simple act of running can quickly become very destructive and can cause serious injuries to your body.
Heavier running shoes typically weigh more because they have built-up heels, which translate to steep ramp angles of 8 to 15 percent. This encourages a heavy heel-striking gait and braking, both of which have been shown to cause a variety of overuse injuries.
While lightweight shoes are better for all runners (especially when engaging in an efficient natural running gait), it’s not only the actual weight that makes the difference. It’s also about how the shoe is built and how much downward energy it can convert into forward propulsion.
Allowing your foot to strike directly under your body and lift your foot off the ground instead of pushing off hard like a sprinter, will eventually make running and levering forward a lot more comfortable than landing harder with every step, especially as fatigue sets in.
The benefits to wearing lighter shoes include less braking (and therefore less impact), less muscle strain, and less energy output because you’re lifting the weight of the shoe off the ground instead of using excessive muscular force to push off the ground.
So how light is lightweight?
According to this article on more.com, modern materials and manufacturing techniques including less stitching, fewer overlays and lighter midsoles are allowing shoes to get lighter and lighter.
So how much does a pair of running shoes weigh?
Ideally running shoes range from 212g to 269g (depending on gender and shoe size). A 50g difference might not seem a lot, but you can feel the difference on your feet once you lace your shoes up and you’ll certainly feel the effects after a long run.
Solereview which is a well known website named Nike Vaporfly 4% Flyknit as Nike’s lightest running shoe of 2019, weighing just under 200g. (Not available for sale on their website anymore.)
But the second lightest Nike shoe, the Nike Epic React Flyknit V2 is still available on their website.
You will be surprised to hear that lightweight shoes are not for everyone, there are also advantages to heavier weight running shoes:
Advantages of Heavyweight Running shoes
1. Injury Protection
It is argued that running shoes that weigh more can offer more protection from injury. So, someone logging a lot of miles might find more comfort from a shoe that offers more cushioning.
2. Larger Build Runners
Runners who have a larger overall body frame might find a heavier shoe to their advantage. Besides cushioning, extra weight on a running shoe can also come from the width. Larger body types often have larger feet and need a shoe that’s comfortable while also giving proper overall support.
Another extra advantage to more firmly cushioned running shoes is that they last longer. The need to replace them less often is certainly appealing. Less replacing equals less dollar signs!
The bottom line is that the weight of your running shoes can play a big role in how efficient you are as a runner.
Lightweight shoes, especially ones that allow you to run with a natural gait and soft midfoot or forefoot foot strikes, can lessen muscle strain and fatigue, improve your endurance, and help you recover faster, all factors in improving your running.
But if you’re considering changing your running form or the style of shoes you wear, do it gradually and carefully to avoid injury.
Did you choose your running shoe according to weight? Let us know in the comments below!