Does Shoe Weight Matter?
It is a topic we come across quite a lot in the running shoe industry. The question is does it make a difference?
The short answer is yes! But its very dependent on your running biomechanics, your weight and the distance you are intending to run. The typical weight of a racing flat would be around 180 grams to 230 grams. In comparison a heavy and cushioned stability shoe can be in excess of 300 grams. In total 200 grams across the pair of shoes does not seem like a lot, but the important thing to remember is this is external weight. External weight is far more obvious than internal weight. For example, if you drank 500mls of water before the run or carried a 500ml water bottle, the 500mls of external weight would feel much heavier. Same applies to shoes, 200 grams of external weight will feel heavier than 200 grams of internal weight. This is more important over the shorter distance when you need to be fast and nimble across the ground, typically with higher cadence.
On the other hand to the average runner 200 grams of weight is less obvious and there are other factors to consider. Unfortunately the softer the shoe usually the heavier the shoe. Cushioning despite being light takes up the bulk of the weight meaning your chunky marathon shoe is probably the heaviest. The average runner has greater tendency to be a little heavier on their feet, which usually requires some form of cushioning and sometimes stability. In this case getting you from A to B in one piece is far more important than saving a few seconds and risking recurring injury. The same applies with marathon runners. The longer the race the more emphasis is put on cushioning and support rather than lightness.
Mix it up. Having a shoe that is more supportive and cushioned is much better when you are logging those long training miles or if you are new to running. Keep those light flat shoes for race day or short/track sessions . A bit of extra lightness and responsiveness will help get you that PB on race day. But remember comfort should always come first especially when you increase the mileage.