It’s not so long ago that there were just a few ultra marathons each year but in recent times the number of people participating in ultra events has grown by a huge amount.
Classics like the Leadville 100, Western States 100 and UltraTrail du Mont Blanc are as popular and oversubscribed as ever but these days there are many other smaller events for ultra runners to choose from too.
Choice of footwear for any 26+ mile run is clearly going to be a hugely important decision. Everybody’s feet are different so trying different brands and models of shoe is obviously the way forward. However if you’re in the market for a new pair of shoes to run your next (or first!) ultra marathon in, you might want to check the following models out.
Inov8 - Race Ultra 290
Inov8 are perhaps best known for their fell running shoes; models like the Mudclaw and XTalon brought a breath of fresh air to the off road running shoe market a decade or so ago. However they now have a big range of shoes covering a wide variety of running disciplines and general fitness activities. The Race Ultra 290 is Inov8’s specific ultra marathon shoe it has a 6mm drop which offers a good cushioning for long distances without loss of sensitivity and a system that enables a gaiter to be clipped on to keep dust and debris out of the shoe.
Salomon S Lab Sense / Sense SG
Originally developed with input from Killian Jornet, the S Lab Sense is now in its 4th incarnation and is one of the best and most popular ultra shoes on the market. There are two versions the standard S Lab Sense for dry and hot trails and the Sense SG for those events where you might encounter soft, muddy or wet ground. Both shoes offer proven lightweight performance and comfort.
New Balance Leadville 1210v2
New Balance named this shoe after the legendary Leadville 100 race in Colorado and as you’d expect the Leadville 1210v2 has the kind of features you’d look for in an ultra shoe. Premium foam is used in the REVlite midsole to give great underfoot comfort, even after 50 miles. The Vibram outsole is grippy, has a low profile and the kind of durability Vibram is famous for. Lightweight synthetic mesh uppers breathe well and dry fast and the gusseted tongue helps keep out trail debris.
Hoka Mafate Speed
Hoka famously do things a little differently and they have developed a huge following amongst both road and trail distance runners. The Mafate Speed have Hoka’s distinctive oversized midsole that gives Hoka shoes their signature plush ride and the RMAT outsole is resilient and stable. The seamless uppers ensure chaffing and rubbing is kept to a minimum and reduce weight which make these shoes an ideal choice for the endurance athlete.
- Inov-8 - £120 / €168
- Salomon - £140 / €195
- New Balance - £100 / €140
- Hoka - £145 / €204
Read more of Andy's reviews back in our news feed - search 'Latest Gear' or visit his website.
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