We Put Four Supershoes Through the 1k Time Trial Test
So, you’re a runner and you’re on a mission. Said mission? A PB.
Great stuff. You’ve got a goal, a training plan and a healthy dose of determination. But have you thought about your footwear? With so many running shoes to pick from, choosing the perfect pair can feel like a hard effort in itself, which is why we’ve already gone the extra mile (well, extra four kilometres) to test and review four of the fastest supershoes on the market right now.
Here are the four candidates:
- On Running Cloudboom Echo 3
- Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 3
- Hoka Rocket X 2
- ASICS Metaspeed Sky+
And here is the objective:
For our very own Andy to run a flat out 1k time trial on the road wearing each of the four supershoes – one trial a day, over four consecutive days. Why? To assess how they perform, how they fit, how they look (it’s still a consideration, after all) and which pair might give you the edge on race day.
Onboard with the On Running Cloudboom Echo 3
- RRP: £260
- Stack height: 37mm
- Heel drop: 9.5mm
- Release: 2023
Described by Andy as quite possibly “the best looking supershoe out there” (which is surely a selling point in itself), the On Running Cloudboom Echo 3 was first in line for testing. But do good looks translate to speed?
Despite the name, these shoes felt more firm than cloud-like, which marks a departure from the traditional bouncy cushioning that is a staple of On Running shoes. As a result, they didn’t feel quite as energy-responsive as expected during the time trial, but Andy could still maintain a good pace for the 1k while enjoying a stable, locked-in fit. These running supershoes could therefore be a sturdy but speedy choice for PB attempts on the road, especially for efforts over longer distances.
- Andy’s 1k time in the On Running Cloudboom Echo 3: 2:49
Unmet expectations with the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 3
- RRP: £234
- Stack height: 40mm
- Heel drop: 8mm
- Release: 2023
The third iteration of the shoe that arguably led the way in the carbon plated running footwear world, the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 3 was next up for testing. The first two versions have been a firm race day favourite for runners around the world, but how did the recently-released third version stack up?
While there was obvious hype to get this supershoe show on the road, excitement soon fizzled into disappointment when it came to evaluating their performance. Andy felt like he had to work harder to generate pace while wearing these shoes, which didn’t generate the anticipated propulsion out on the road. Although the aesthetics are still on point, in terms of fit they also felt too roomy across the forefoot and therefore less secure. In all, these supershoes felt a bit too soft and didn’t seem as super as the previous editions of Nike’s esteemed Vaporfly series.
- Andy’s 1k time in the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 3: 2:57
High praise for the Hoka Rocket X 2
- RRP: £220
- Stack height: 36mm
- Heel drop: 5mm
- Release: 2023
A welcome change from the overly spacious Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 3, the Hoka Rocket X 2 offered a snug fit with a gusseted tongue that secured the foot nicely. This supershoe also felt softer and more reactive than the previous two test shoes, boasting a rocker-like quality that propelled Andy forward for his third 1k time trial.
Accessorised with the familiar colourful look of the Hoka brand, other benefits of the Rocket X 2 are extra cushioning and enhanced stability, which provided welcome support for Andy when out on the all-effort run. Offering both comfort and responsiveness, these supershoes could be a great choice for runners in search of fast footwear to sustain them over longer distances.
- Andy’s 1k time in the Hoka Rocket X 2: 2:50
Marathon vibes from the Asics Metaspeed Sky+
- RRP: £225
- Stack height: 33mm
- Heel drop: 5mm
- Release: 2022
Some argue that fourth place is the worst place, but let’s not write off our fourth test shoe just yet. After all, Scottish running star Eilish McColgan has broken multiple world records while wearing the Asics Metaspeed Sky+ since its release in April 2022, covering the 5k up to the half marathon distance. That’s a pretty good track record for this jazzy supershoe – and yet its greatest assessment was of course Andy’s 1k time trial.
Providing just enough room for the foot to sit comfortably, the carbon plated Asics Metaspeed Sky+ gave a stable running experience, but lacked the same energy return as some of the other shoes. Despite feeling somewhat flat and less akin to traditional supershoes, the Asics Metaspeed Sky+ has been designed for runners with a higher cadence, and could still be a great companion for those doing long distances as opposed to all-out sprints.
- Andy’s 1k time in the Asics Metaspeed Sky+: 2:53
The shoes have been tested, the 1k times have been recorded and Andy’s legs have been drained. But while statistics may suggest that the On Running Cloudboom Echo 3 is the best of the four supershoes for marginally winning on speed, a wider evaluation saw Andy pick the Hoka Rocket X2 as favourite. The reason? Well, as the second fastest of the four supershoes and an all-round provider of comfort, snugness and propulsion, it delivered a winning combination of all features.
So there we have it – for Andy, it was liftoff with the Hoka Rocket X2. But don’t forget that we’re all built with unique running styles, gaits, goals, preferences and of course feet. What works for Andy might not work for you, so it’s always best to choose a shoe based on your individual needs. Whether you’re taking on a 10k or a flat out 1k time trial of your own, wearing the right shoe for you could make a real difference to your running performance and PB potential.
To see Andy’s 1k supershoe time trials in all their lactic acid-inducing glory, check out the video below. What are your thoughts? Will you give any of these supershoes a spin?