Fresh air, plenty of time to take in sites that you might otherwise miss - the thrill of a run well done - it's hard to beat. So it makes sense that choosing your marathon running shoe is something that you take huge amounts of pleasure in doing. After all, 26.219 miles / 42.195 kilometers is a long distance to run in a pair of shoes that you don't love. So here at On, we’ve asked a few of our athletes how they find their perfect marathon shoe, and compiled their thoughts here, in time for your next race.
First off - Consider Your Needs
Training for a marathon is the perfect time to get familiar with your shoes. You have time to think about what's most important to you and your competition. For some runners, a light, sleek shoe is critical as extra weight can really be a drag (literally) when you're covering so much ground. Others don't mind a few extra ounces, as long as it means that they have the cushioning and support that allows them to reach the finish line in comfort. While it can be tempting to try lacing up a pair of featherlight racing flats, it's important to take a good, honest look at your own biomechanics and speed. Professional marathon runners may race in true marathon flats, but a truly successful marathon will be run in shoes that feel good to you (which may be different to everyone else).
Stay in Control
There’s no “right” way to run — and don’t let your shoes tell you otherwise. On believes that your shoes should let you run the way you were meant to. That said, find a shoe that works with your stride, not against it. The right shoe will give you cushioning only when and where you need it - every step of every way.
Aim for the Best of Both Worlds
For most marathon runners, the goal is to find a shoe that offers stability and comfort without adding bulk. While this may seem like a tall order to fill, the Cloudflyer ticks those boxes nicely. Thanks to their patented CloudTec system, which is engineered with Zero-Gravity foam, you get the benefit of a stable, well-cushioned shoe that still weighs less than 300 grams. Its adaptable EVA foam allows for soft landings and solid takeoffs, which make a big difference over 26.2 miles that you will notice with the Cloudflyer on.
Time of Day Matters
When heading to your local running shop, aim to get there later in the day. As runners know, feet have a tendency to swell during a long run, making it critical to have a shoe that can accommodate size variations. In the afternoon or evening, your feet tend to be a bit larger than first thing in the morning, making it the perfect time to try on your new running shoes. You'll get a better idea of how they'll fit and feel for later in the race and save yourself the nasty surprise of shoes that are too-snug when it's too late to do anything about it.
Consider Doubling Up
With the amount of mileage you're going to put on your marathon shoes, it's worth thinking about investing in two pairs. Even though it may seem redundant to double up on the same shoe, by alternating which ones you use, you'll end up getting a lot more life out both pairs. If it’s in your budget, it also makes sense to have different shoes for different training days. Our athletes talk about the comfort-focused Cloud to make “recovery runs” even more enjoyable; while the Cloudflow helps you out during speed and interval training days.
By alternating your shoes, not only are you upping the shoe's longevity, you're covering your bases in the unfortunate event that something should happen to either pair.
So if your new puppy decides to practice chewing on your race kit the night before race-day, you'll breathe easy knowing your back up pair is broken in and ready to go. On that note, always ensure that you've given yourself plenty of time pre-race to break in each pair – after all, your perfect marathon shoe is going to be the one you feel perfect running in.