As far as trials of physical stamina go there are few things as challenging as competing in a triathlon. To compete, it takes months or even years of training and physical conditioning is the most important part of preparation.
You need the best gear to get the best performance, so choosing the best triathlon shoes is a great start.
Here's the bottom line:
Choosing triathlon shoes can take a lot of research. I'm sure you'd rather be training.
That's exactly why we created this buyer's guide that has done all the research for you.
In this guide you'll learn what brands are best for triathletes and where to find the best deals on triathlon shoes.
Here is a quick preview of what you'll find in this guide. Just click "Jump To More Details" to see the specifics of any item.
(If you're mostly interested in cycling, check out our list of the best cycling shoes, jump on over to our post about them to learn more)
Tommaso Veloce 100
Overall Rating - 3.5/5
A very cost effective option with most of the features you find with more expensive triathlon shoes. Very breathable, best for triathletes that want to stay within a lower budget.
Overall Rating - 4.5/5
A flashy, sleek design with models specific for men and women. Has a large pull loop for smooth transitions. It is very lightweight and best for athletes that need to minimize weight.
Lous Garneau Men's Tri X-Speed
Overall Rating - 4/5
Extremely comfortable, designed specifically for triathlons. These shoes drain very well after the first transition. Well ventilated toe box.
What To Look For In Triathlon Shoes
What an athlete wears while competing can be every bit as important as the time and effort they put into training. As feet bare the brunt of the force of a triathlon, especially in two of the three events, the piece of equipment that will affect the most change is your shoes.
The shoes an athlete wears to compete in a triathlon must serve a variety of crucial functions in a way that is somewhat custom to each individual. Comfort is of course key. If a person is to push their body to the limit of its capabilities, it is important that their feet feel good. In this situation, you need more than just running or cycling shoes, you need footwear that can help you excel in multiple facets.
Proper cushioning promotes morale and can boost stamina and performance. Good air circulation keeps feet healthy and refreshed. Most important, however, is the support that a shoe provides. Better support for the arches of the feet and ankles enhances the power that can be output per stride.
Other features such as flexibility of the shoe's material and the grip of the soles can also play a major part in the effectiveness of the shoes.
As with all triathlon gear, like watches, jerseys and more, when it comes to picking the best pair of shoes for a triathlon, it is important to shop around. Different options will have different features so it is important to select the best personally.
The Tri X-Speed is a superb T1 transition shoe. The large, well-ventilated toe box and bottom drainage are excellent for making wet feet much more comfortable. Nearly unhindered airflow dries feet quickly and efficiently while the large drainage holes take care of uncomfortable debris as well.
While they are not the least expensive shoe option on the market, even the price is hardly a downside.
The Tri-X is a gorgeous and functional athletic shoe designed especially for triathlon competition, as smooth transitions are built right into the design features. In addition to transition features, they are designed to provide as much support and comfort as possible, without compromising the competitive functionality.
The most important feature, as that of any triathlon shoe, is the sole. On the Tri X-Speed, it is a thin, light polymer. Large holes allow for the easy drainage of water and debris after the first transition.
There is the pedal lock in hole options in both the two and three hole configurations to maximize the pedal selection available to the rider. Even the inside of the sole is built for performance. The barefoot friendly interior makes the first transition quick and seamless with no need for the athlete to worry about socks.
The Tri-X has a roomy, well ventilated, toe box to make them easier to put on in a hurry with as little jamming and cramping as possible. It also makes for a better transition from a biking shoe to a shoe in which to run. The inward facing wall of the shoe has a special fabric loop for a rubber band standing retainer for the T1 transition. This trick leaves the rear loops free for their intended purpose, pulling the shoe on. The Tri-X has most of the features that often need to be improvised built right in.
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The built-in transition aids do make the TR-900 a great shoe to put on. It is also available is a wide fit to appeal to a larger group of athletes.
Ventilation and drainage is not the best, and the carbon sole comes with a hefty price tag. While these shoes are definitely great for those athletes who can spend a little extra to get an edge, the price may not be worth the increase in performance.
This is a flashy shoe with a sleek design and vibrant color choices. There are distinct men's and women's models of the TR9, the woman's design comes in white and is designed more specifically to fit a woman's foot.
Transitions are a key factor in a triathlon, and this shoe comes with a few features to help with a clean and speedy T1 transition.
The back heel has a pull-up loop that is designed intentionally asymmetrically to facilitate a quicker and more solid grip when pulling the shoe on for better transition times.
A second smaller loop is located below the pull-up strap for a rubber band to hold the shoe in transition ready position without interfering with pulling them on.
The upper strap of the closure system has a notch in it that is meant to hold the most of the shoe open when not in use. This feature makes it simple to quickly insert your feet. The TR9 has a comfortable, well ventilate the main body for better wearability. This shoe is even available in an extra wide option for athletes with wider feet.
The sole of the TR9 is a hard carbon which is durable and great for holding proper foot form, most importantly; it is lightweight, making it the ideal for triathlon athletes who need to minimize weight and resistance.
The adjustable hole configuration allows for use of the TR9 a number of pedal options. Rubber portions at the toe and heel of the sole provide for a better grip during the running portion of the triathlon. Overall the TR9 is a nice blend of style and functionality for triathlon athletes.
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It is affordable and provides a good increase in performance for the price. It is designed primarily for the cycling portion of the triathlon, but also provides good support and traction for the running.
Due to its lower price point, it lacks the features provided by other brands. The biggest disadvantage of this shoe is the lack of compatibility with the two cleat spin class that is offered by many brands.
The most notable feature of the Veloce 100 is the price. These shoes are an excellent value at only about the cost of other similar shoes in its class. The price tag, however, is not the only positive feature of these shoes. It has a number of features designed to increase both comfort and performance of an athlete.
The Veloce 100 triathlon shoe is built to breathe. the focus on ventilation keeps feet dry, with or without socks. That proves to be a great feature in the T1 portion to combat wet feet following the swimming portion. Even the tongue is ventilated to generate maximum airflow. Huge pull-up loops make for easy foot insertion during the transition while the synthetic leather upper provides excellent support and comfort when worn under any condition.
The soles of the Veloce 100 are made of polyamide reinforced with fiberglass to provide an optimal amount of stiffness preferable for biking. The fiberglass in the sole makes them both well formed and lightweight.
These triathlon shoes have three holes and are compatible with a variety of three cleat pedal options. However, the Veloce 100 shoes are not compatible with spin class pedal options so be sure to verify compatibility before purchase.
This shoe does have a rubberized heel and toe to add to running performance, however, the form of the shoes are designed specifically to maximize power transfer into a pedal. The notable strong point of the Veloce 100 in a triathlon competition is in the bike portion.
Choosing The Best Triathlon Shoes
With these and so much more options on the market, it is easy for an athlete to find all of the necessary comfort and performance features. With a bit of dedication and patience, it is simple for anyone to find the triathlon shoe that is best for them.