To set things straight once and for all, there is a huge difference between running a marathon and running an ultramarathon. A marathon is a long-distance race that has an official distance of 42.195 kilometres (26.219 miles) while an ultramarathon is a longer-distance race that is longer than the official marathon distance, usually 50 - 100 kilometres or even more.
At this point, you may be thinking:
How does one have the extra energy to run further than a full marathon distance?
To your surprise, there are plenty of enthusiastic runners that love to tackle ultramarathon distances as they feel that normal marathons are "not enough" to feel the adrenaline. No, they are not "crazy" but rather "respectful" and "ambitious". They are the ones who can prove that physically, the human body is limitless and mentally, the mindset for running further is important.
Every ultramarathoner needs the right types of equipment. Having the right pairs of shoes not only improves your level of performance overall, but also gives you the protection, responsiveness and support during these challenging and long races.
A pair of basic running shoe is not enough as they will not hold up. Hence, a pair of ultra running shoes is needed. To decide which pair of ultramarathon shoes fits your needs, check out this list of the best ultra running shoes you can consider getting. These recommendations are based on its Weight, Breathability, Comfort, Durability, Protection and Responsiveness.
Brooks Ghost 11
Weight: Men: 309g, Women: 269g
Breathability: It doesn't have a problem with its ability to regulate airflow within the feet due to the redesigned engineered mesh that allows adequate air to flow in and out freely, providing a breathable top-foot coverage. It also keeps your feet dry and comfortable during runs.
Comfort: With Brooks advance cushioning, runners with high arches are able to find the support that they need. Additionally, the removable foam insole gives convenience for other neutral runners to have their own personal customised level of support.
Durability: Brook shoes are known for their durability. The carbon and blown rubber are the main components being able to withstand long distances while maintaining its springiness and shape without buckling under pressure.
Protection: Due to its superior traction, the outsole helps to protect runners who choose to train during wet weathers.
Responsiveness: Brooks Ghost 11 has an updated crash pad which helps to disperse the impact when landing, sending the runner into their next strides smoothly. Runners who are heel strikers will love this because the heel-to-toe transitions are much faster while runners who are midfoot or forefoot strikers will find this model more cushioned and responsive.
Overall: Brook Ghost 11 is one of the most popular and best pair of running shoes that were specially designed to meet the overall needs of both amateurs and experienced runners. It is also highly recommendable to any runner with knee conditions.
Saucony Peregrine 8
Weight: Men: 283g, Women: 255g
Breathability: As compared to previous editions, the eighth edition of the Peregrine has an even more breathable upper layer made of mesh and a flex film overlay to allow comfortable movements. This new construction has a balance of ventilation and debris shielding which many customers prefer.
Comfort: The weight and design of the shoe do not do justice towards the comfort of wearing it. With the new combination of the EVERUN and PWRFOAM cushioning, the shoe delivers a smooth and protective ride without sacrificing ground feel. It may be too soft for some runner but it is entirely up to your preference.
Durability: Due to implanting a thicker construction, the new design has a slight improvement in durability.
Protection: The inclusion of a thick 6mm lugs midsole, the Peregrine 8 is just as protective as before. It provides plenty of traction and perfect for trail runners on all different types of terrains.
Responsiveness: The actual feel of the Saucony Peregrine 8 was slightly less snappy as compared to the previous editions. Hence, less responsive.
Overall: It is a well-thought revamp of the Saucony Peregrine series as the softer outsole provides a smooth transition while running. It may be a little heavier but it provides better ground feel while protecting the feet from getting hurt as you continue running forward.
Hoka One One Clayton
Weight: Men: 235g, Women: 198g
Breathability: The upper mesh provides a cool and dry environment for your feet while running. However, due to the padded walls within the midsole, the rearfoot area is a bit less breathable. On top of that, the shoe may get heavier and uncomfortable while running in wet weathers. Hence, it is recommended not to run on rainy days.
Comfort: The PRO2LITE technology in the midsole provides a softer and firmer surface for an enhancement in both efficiency and comfort during a run. Furthermore, the early stages of the Meta-Rocker technology help with softer landings and smooth transitioning with every stride taken.
Durability: The RMAT performs better than shoes with rubber outsoles. Many runners have noticed the little wear and tear in the outsole and exteriors of the shoes. Every component incorporated in the shoe was designed to last for ultra distances.
Protection: Shock absorption properties of the shoes have provided softer landings and powerful takeoffs while distributing the energy impact throughout the full length of the midsole. In a way, it is protecting and preventing knees and hips injuries.
Responsiveness: In terms of responsiveness, the entire outsole, midsole and upper components work together to provide efficient propulsions and helps for a faster, more natural gait stride cycles.
Overall: Hoka One One Clayton is a great and unique brand of running technology that provides lightweight comfort and efficient responsiveness. They are maximalist shoes which bring out the potential of great cushioning and comfort for long runs. However, just remember to put on some socks before going for a run.
ASICS GEL-Venture 5
Weight: Men: 303g, Women: 247g
Breathability: The GEL-Venture 5 keeps the foot well-ventilated during a long run. This is important for an ultramarathon as it is a plus point for runners to prevent any physical discomfort, overheated foot or even collecting odd smells.
Comfort: ASICS has a good reputation for designing comfortable shoes. The durable upper mesh provides a soft sensational feel against the skin of the foot while fitting perfectly after lacing up. It also has a lightweight cushioning that provides comfort and also prevents the runner from developing potential physical injuries.
Durability: The high abrasion rubber has been implemented to make the outsole of the shoe durable. It has a strong resistance against wear and tears even after heavy usage while the sturdy mesh and stitched overlays protect the overall from deterioration.
Protection: The gel cushioning protects the runner from landing impacts, ensuring not only the protection of the foot but also smooth transitions during runs. The upper synthetic mesh also protects the foot from debris found along the route.
Responsiveness: As compared to the rest of the shoe reviews, the GEL-Venteu 5 has the highest responsiveness. This has been supported by countless reviewers commonly hailing it as the best reason for getting the pair shoes.
Overall: An important thing to note would be that the ASICS GEL-Venture 5 is not waterproof. However, it is one of the best comfortable shoes for an ultramarathon according to many other reviewers perspective. For those who are beginning to run ultramarathon for the first time, consider this pair of shoes when making the purchase.
Mizuno Wave Inspire 12
Weight: Men: 312g, Women: 255g
Breathability: What makes the Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 so breathable are three important technology used when designing the pair of shoe. Firstly, Airmesh which integrates nylon for the upper to keep the foot cool and dry. Secondly, the Intercool system within the midsole enhances overall breathability thought the leg, reducing heat and humidity during long runs. Finally, benefitting from its OrthoLite Sockline, it fights against odour while keeping the foot moist free.
Comfort: The comfortability is improved due to the breathability of the shoe. Mizuno is aiming for this to be a casual everyday shoe too.
Durability: The U4icX technology implemented increases the blown rubber of the outsole, in combination with the X10 carbon rubber, distribute forces applied during each stride and increase overall impact absorption. Hence, making the Mizuno Wave Inspire 12 very durable and dependable in the long run.
Protection: The outsole of the shoe is capable of providing shock absorption landing and take-off while placing less pressure on the foot at the same time decreasing the rate of injury.
Responsiveness: Due to its cushioning unit, it does have increased in responsiveness which promotes faster laps. A Flex Controller technology was also used for that extra responsiveness, providing flexibility in high-flexibility areas.
Overall: Mizuno is always trying to outdo themselves. Hence, runners can always expect unique technologies to be implemented within a new pair of shoes. At the moment, the Wave plate is the main focus of the design, being both affordable and offering solid performance for everyday use or running performance wear.
Brooks Pureflow 7
Weight: Men: 252g, Women: 229g
Breathability: Brooks PureFlow series is made up of breathable seamless woven material that provides a great airflow throughout the foot chamber. Many other users have also mentioned that socks are sometimes not needed.
Comfort: The shoe is able to adapt to the particular shape, weight and running pattern of the runner's foot, creating a personalised fit for anyone. The inside is padded up with a soft material that adds comforts for both the tongue and heel collar, giving a soft cushioning sensation.
Durability: The outsole is made of blown rubber, which is mainly to withstand long distances. Hence, making the shoe very durable.
Protection: Firstly, the outsole is engineered using multiple rubber pods to help the foot move naturally in which improves performance and minimise discomfort. The rounded heels are designed to help achieve better alignment for a smooth heel to toe transition. Lastly, the sole of the heels protects the joint from discomfort by absorbing shock.
Responsiveness: The shoe is engineered to provide a more natural running experience. Hence, with the rubber pods and flex grooves lined on the outsole, it will move the foot naturally forward while the midsole will react accordingly to each step taken. On top of that, the upper layer will not restrict any movements due to the flexibility fo the woven material in the design.
Overall: If you are looking for something that can carry you through the long distance with a huge amount of spongy cushioning, the Brooks PureFlow 7 is the shoe for you as it is highly adaptable while providing you with personalised running experience.
What is the farthest you have ever run? Which running shoes did you used for ultra long distance running? Share with us in the comments below.