Our Favorite Half Marathon & Marathon Racing Shoes of 2022

The women's Saucony Endorphin Pro 2.

When carbon-plated super shoes burst on the scene in 2017, Nike was the only brand in the game and their initial model was only available on a limited basis. Fast-forward to 2022 and nearly every shoe company has at least one souped-up racing shoe with a carbon-fiber plate embedded in its midsole.

But each one has its own distinctive fit, feel and ride, so finding the right shoe for you takes some personal research or try-on sessions at your local Fleet Feet store. Here’s an overview of the 10 best models available in early 2022 (in alphabetical order) with insights about what makes each one unique.

Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2, $220

The Adidas Adizero Adios Pro v2.

Weight: 6.5 oz (W), 7.7 oz (M)

Heel-Toe Offset: 8.5mm (39mm under the heel, 30.5mm under the forefoot)

Fit/Width: Medium- to low-volume/narrow

The Adizero Pro 2 is one of the firmer models of all of the super shoes available, but also one of the fastest. Unlike most super shoes, it doesn’t have a full-length carbon-fiber plate embedded in its midsole. Instead, it features a smaller plate in the back half of the shoe and carbon-fiber rods embedded in the forefoot that mimic the metatarsals (toe bones) in your feet.

The thick, featherweight Lightstrike Pro midsole foam platform serves up contoured support under the heel and arch. Once your foot rolls into the dramatic rocker shape under your toes, the foam finally gives way and compresses slightly. The result is a peppy, stable and propulsive sensation just before the final toe-off moment of a stride that helps promote a high-cadence gait.

Shop Now

Brooks Hyperion Elite 2, $250

The Brooks Hyperion Elite 2.

Weight: 7.6 oz

Heel-Toe Offset: 8mm (35mm under the heel, 27mm under the forefoot)

Fit/Width: Medium/true to size

The Hyperion Elite 2 has a wide, balanced midsole cushioning platform that serves up a smooth, stable and energetic ride. With an ideal balance between softness and rebound, the nitrogen-infused DNA Flash foam and embedded carbon-fiber plate feels supportive, energetic and responsive but without a bouncy sensation.

The rocker profile is among the most subtle of all the super shoe models, resulting in a consistent, straightforward roll through the gait cycle. What’s super about this shoe is that it doesn’t have a radical geometry or excessively springy ride.

NOTE: The Brooks Hyperion Elite 2 is a unisex-sized shoe. Men's sizes are shown; women should order 1.5 sizes below their standard running shoe size. For example: for a women's size 9.5 shoe, order a size 8.

Shop Now

HOKA Rocket X, $200

The HOKA Rocket X

Weight: 7.4 oz (M)

Heel-Toe Offset: 5mm (35mm under the heel, 30mm under the forefoot)

Fit/Width: Medium- to low-volume/narrow

The Rocket X feels light, lively and low to the ground —it has a slightly lower stack height than most other super shoes — creating a sensation similar to the traditional racing flat design from a previous era.

The compression-molded EVA midsole foam feels semi-firm and somewhat springy, but not bouncy. The carbon-fiber plate guides your feet during foot strike, with a distinct pop of energy just before toeing off into a new stride.

NOTE: The HOKA ONE ONE Rocket X is a unisex shoe. Men’s sizes are listed; women should subtract 1 from the listed sizes to find the right fit.

Shop Now
What's a midsole? Learn more about the parts that make up a running shoe here.

HOKA Carbon X 2, $180

The HOKA Carbon X 2.

Weight: 7.8 oz (W), 8.5 oz (M)

Heel-Toe Offset: 5mm (39mm under the heel, 34mm under the forefoot)

Fit/Width: Medium/true to size

The Carbon X 2 offers a more versatile approach to super shoes, as its fit, feel and ride caters to a wide range of paces from moderate to very fast. The two-level midsole consists of a resilient compression-molded EVA foam above the carbon-fiber plate, and an injected rubberized EVA material below the plate that creates a balance of stability and responsiveness.

The shoe’s robust rocker geometry and wide footprint serve up a decidedly rolling (and inflexible) ride, allowing for quick, smooth and extremely stable transitions between strides. Just about any level of runner can benefit from this shoe, but the key is running within the rhythm that the firm rocker shape dictates.

Shop Now

New Balance FuelCell RC Elite v2, $230

The New Balance FuelCell RC Elite v2.

Weight: 6.5 (W), 7.8 oz (M)

Heel-Toe Offset: 8mm (36mm under the heel, 28mm under the forefoot)

Fit/Width: Medium- to low-volume/medium

New Balance revamped the FuelCell RC Elite after the initial version, making it a bit lighter and a lot more lively. Although there is more high-rebound FuelCell foam in this version, it still has a slightly lower stack height than some of the super shoes available in 2022.

However, it’s one of the smoothest and softest models and it feels both exceptionally absorbent and very resilient. Although it can feel squishy and sluggish at slower to moderate speeds, it excels at faster paces and optimizes a considerable amount of energy return while extending each stride.

Shop Now

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2, $250

The Nike Vaporfly Next percent 2.

Weight: 5.8 oz (W), 6.9 oz (M)

Heel-Toe Offset: 8mm (40mm under the heel, 32mm under the forefoot)

Fit/Width: Medium- to low-volume/narrow

The Next% 2 is the most popular of all the super shoe models, both among recreational runners and among elite runners finishing on the podium at big international races. It’s one of the lightest shoes in this category, but the secret sauce of this model’s success is the responsive combination of the ZoomX midsole foam and curvy carbon-fiber propulsion plate.

The ride is energetic and bouncy, contributing to a consistently quick cadence and a very lively toe-off sensation. The bounciness — and the unique sound the compression of the foam makes — takes some getting used to before you can run consistently at a specific pace.

Shop Now

Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% Flyknit, $275

The Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next % Flyknit

Weight: 6.5 oz (W), 7.4 oz (M)

Heel-Toe Offset: 4mm (40mm under the heel, 36mm under the forefoot)

Fit/Width: Medium- to low-volume/narrow

The Air Zoom Alphafly Next% has a considerably different design, feel and ride than its Vaporfly Next% 2 cousin, but it’s also very responsive, bouncy and fast. The stack height in the heel is the same as the Next% 2, but because it has a 4mm offset and a higher height in the forefoot, the Alphafly Next% feels much taller overall.

It’s also much wider and therefore much more stable. Unlike the dramatic rocker sensation in the Vaporfly, it’s hard to feel the rocker in the Alphafly Next%. That’s because this shoe has a more flexible carbon-fiber plate and two Zoom Air units on the forefoot that store and return energy.

The end result is a longer stride with a slower cadence, but a faster and more energetic ride.

Shop Now

On Cloudboom Echo, $270

The On Cloudboom Echo.

Weight: 6.7 oz (W) 7.5 oz (M)

Heel-Toe Offset: 8mm (35mm under the heel, 27mm under the forefoot)

Fit/Width: Medium/true to size

On was one of the last shoe brands to join the super shoe genre, and the Cloudboom Echo is one of the most uniquely designed among this speedy bunch.

Built on a new version of On’s proprietary midsole system of Cloud pods, it generates propulsive energy by compressing layers of CloudTec foam and Helion superfoam around a carbon-infused Speedboard. It feels compact, like a traditional racing flat with a definitively firm and snappy ride. It’s also more flexible in the forefoot than most of the other super shoes.

Shop Now

Saucony Endorphin Pro 2, $200

The Saucony Endorphin Pro 2.

Weight: 6.3 oz (W), 7.5 oz (M)

Heel-Toe Offset: 8mm (39mm under the heel, 31mm under the forefoot)

Fit/Width: Medium- to low-volume/narrow

Built with a stiff carbon-fiber nylon plate in the middle of a hyper-responsive PWRRUN PB midsole, the Endorphin Pro 2 dishes up a bouncy, zippy, stride-lengthening ride.

The rocker shape is moderate and engages under the arch, creating a smooth feeling between soft touch-down sensations and robust toe-offs. With a narrow, low-volume profile, the Endorphin Pro feels extremely efficient, quick and precise.

Shop Now

Keep Reading