Top Running Shoes For Fast Marathons

Even if you can't match the pace of elite marathoners, you can still step into their shoes

Runners pay inordinate attention to their choice of shoes. Runners who race even more so in order to eke out any performance edge that might make the difference to a place or PR.

Who better to turn to for advice than a group of runners who truly put their footwear through their paces — elite marathoners. What do the ones at the front of the pack wear?

We set out to answer those questions by looking at what the first 50 home in this year’s New York Marathon had on their feet.

Elite athletes don’t just pop down to their local running store and pick up the first pair of kicks to catch their fancy. They are sponsored head-to-toe. Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany, winners of the mens’ and women’s divisions respectively, are Adidas athletes. So, no surprise, to see the three stripes adorning their feet.

But which model, and can you buy it?

Both wore Adidas's Adizero Adios Boost 2.0s, a 'solar red' pair (more orange really, this season’s hot fashion color) in Kipsang’s case, while Keitany sported 'solar pink' (they were pink).

Retail price for both the men’s and women’s version is $140. Men have the additional color choices of blue or black; women of mint green or granite gray.

Adidas’s top-of-the-line 8 oz distance shoe left the competition trailing. Four of the top 10 in New York ran in it and thirteen of the top 50. Another three were wearing other models in the same line and three more of Adidas’s lighter racing shoes, the 6.6 oz Adizero Takumi Sen 2 or the Adizero Hagio 2.

In all Adidas-shod runners took 19 or the first 50 places.

Archrival Nike was hard on the heels of the German sportswear company, with 17 of the top-50 finishers. Lelisa Desisa Benti was second home overall in a pair of Nike Zoom Streak 3s, the first of five top-50 runners to be wearing them.

Next most worn Nike shoes by the NYC elites were its Lunaracer +3 and Air Zoom Streak 5, worn by three runners each, with Jemima Sumgong, second home in the women’s race, sporting a pair of the Air Zoom Streak 5s.

Rounding out the top 50 were four Asics models, three from Brooks, two each from Saucony and Mizuno, and one each from New Balance, Skechers and Under Armor.

For the fun of it, we’ve compiled this league table of the top 50 finishers’ shoes, awarding 50 points for 1st place, 49 for 2nd and so on down to 1 for 50th place.


2014 NYC Marathon Top 50 Shoes League Table
Shoe No. of Top 50 finishers Points
Adidas Adizero Adios Boost 2.0 13 421
Nike Zoom Streak 3 5 179
Brooks Unisex T7 Racer 3 83
Nike Zoom Streak 4 2 70
Nike Air Zoom Streak 5 3 63
Nike Lunaracer +3 3 62
Skechers GOmeb Speed 3 NYC Edition 1 47
Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen 2 1 44
Under Armour SpeedForm Apollo 1 41
Asics Kawauchi Custom 1 40
Saucony Fastwitch 6 1 29
Adidas Adizero Adios 2.0 1 28
Adidas Adizero Adios 1 26
Nike Air Streak Spectrum Plus 1 25
Nike Lunar Spider LT 3 2 24
Nike Lunar Spider LT+ 2 1 23
Nike Lunar Flyknit HTM NRG 1 18
Saucony Kinvara 5 1 17
Asics GEL-Hyper Speed 6 1 16
Mizuno Wave Ronin 5  1 15
Mizuno Wave Hitogami 1 14
New Balance RC 1600 1 13
Adidas Adizero Hagio 2 1 12
Asics GEL DS Sky Speed 3 1 7
Adidas Adios Boost 1 5
Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen 1 3
Asics DS Racer 10 1 1