Choosing the Perfect Triathlon Trainers: A Guide for Triathletes
Choosing the Perfect Triathlon Trainers: A Guide for Triathletes

Choosing the Perfect Triathlon Trainers: A Guide for Triathletes

As a triathlete, you know that choosing the right trainers can make or break your performance on race day. The right pair of trainers can give you the support and comfort you need to perform at your best, while the wrong pair can lead to blisters, discomfort, and even injury. With so many options available, it can be difficult to know where to start when choosing your trainers. This guide will help you navigate the world of triathlon trainers and choose the perfect pair for your needs.

The only real kit that you will add for the run will be your trainers as you’ll be in your tri suit from the previous events, but what do you need to consider when picking the right shoes?

Running shoes, trainers, sneakers, whatever you call them the range is enormous and never-ending!

In reality, as with all kit, the basic pair of shoes will do you fine as long as they are comfortable and relatively light, but if you are looking for a new set and want to make sure that they will improve your running, there are a few things you should look for.


No matter how high tech the design and construction of the shoes are, if they are not comfortable, you won’t wear them and won’t train, defeating the purpose of the shoes in the first place. Obviously, the fit is important, both lengthwise and width fitting. Any shoes that move around when you are running will increase the risk of chafing and injury, so should be avoided. Narrow shoes increase the risk of Metatarsalgia, which is compression of the nerves around the metatarsals.

As well as size, make sure there are no seams inside that could rub against the foot and that the lacing pattern spreads the pressure across the top of the foot evenly and to the right height on the foot.

Getting the right tension on the laces is important too, and you may want to consider elastic laces, which not only let you fix the right tension but make it much easier to get your shoes on during the race.


If you have high arches, then you know how much it hurts if you don’t have the right support, and that just gets worse when running, and you increase the risk of ankle and plantar Fascia injuries, which can also put Strain on your Achilles and calf.


This is aimed more at the heavier, less conditioned runner, who has not perfected the form and muscle tone required to take the shock of repeated footstrikes, which will lead to knee and shin problems later. Heavily cushioned soles have traditionally been designed with the cushioning more at the back, taking the weight off when standing, but modern running techniques favour a stride where the foot strikes in the midfoot and many running shoes are now designed with cushioning that supports this mechanic.


The lighter the shoe, the less work you need to do to move them, helping you maintain your energy throughout a longer race. It may not seem like much, but it can make all the difference in a long race. Obviously lighter weight means less material, so don’t expect a lot of cushioning and support.


Varus is a relatively new aspect of shoe mechanics for the mainstream running shoe, but it can make a big difference to your comfort and injury prevention, especially around the ankles and lower leg. Varus measures the angle that the sole of the foot makes relative to the leg, and therefore the amount of roll the foot will experience when it hits the ground ( supination and pronation.)

The foot naturally rolls from the inside outward from the foot strike to lift off, but if the structure of the foot leads to excessive movement in one or more direction, this puts a lot of strain on the muscles of the ankle and lower leg, which can lead to fatigue and injury.

A good running shop will be able to perform a gait analysis, where you run on a treadmill and the natural movement is captured for analysis, and the relevant shoe type suggested. be advised though, there is a school of thought that suggests that by running with normal, neutral shoes you can train this natural behaviour out, so make sure whoever is advising you know what they are talking about.


This is where your own personal circumstances take over. There is no doubt that you can run the triathlon in a 10-year-old pair of Nikes quite happily, but there will be advantages in weight, support, materials and performance as you move up the price point. A good pair of Brooks or Asics shoes will set you back around €160, but if you are going to be spending a lot of time in them, your feet and legs will probably thank you for it.

What to look for when picking trainers

  1. Consider Your Foot Type

Your foot type is an important factor to consider when choosing triathlon trainers. Understanding your foot type will help you determine the level of support and cushioning you need. A neutral foot type requires trainers with moderate cushioning, while a pronated foot type requires trainers with extra cushioning and support to prevent overpronation. A supinated foot type requires trainers with minimal cushioning to allow for more natural foot movement.

To determine your foot type, you can visit a specialty running store, where a trained professional can analyze your gait and recommend trainers based on your foot type.

  1. Look for Breathable Materials

During a triathlon, your feet are likely to get hot and sweaty, so it’s important to choose trainers made from breathable materials like mesh. Breathable materials will help keep your feet cool and dry, reducing the risk of blisters and other foot problems. Look for trainers with moisture-wicking properties to help pull sweat away from your feet and keep them dry.

  1. Choose Trainers with a Secure Fit

A secure fit is essential to prevent slipping and sliding while running or cycling. Look for trainers with a secure lacing system that allows you to adjust the fit to your liking. Some trainers also come with optional straps or clips that can help keep them in place. A snug fit around the ankle can help prevent rubbing and blisters.

  1. Opt for Trainers with Good Traction

Good traction is important for preventing slips and falls while running or cycling. Look for trainers with a durable, grippy sole that provides the traction you need in all conditions. Some trainers also come with removable studs that can be attached to the sole for better grip on wet or slippery surfaces.

  1. Choose Trainers with the Right Level of Cushioning

The right level of cushioning can make a big difference in your comfort level during a triathlon. Trainers with too much cushioning can feel bulky and heavy, while trainers with too little cushioning can lead to foot fatigue and discomfort. Choose trainers with the right level of cushioning for your foot type and the type of triathlon you’ll be participating in.

  1. Consider the Type of Triathlon

The type of triathlon you’re participating in will also influence your choice of trainers. If you’re doing a sprint triathlon, you may prefer trainers that are lightweight and designed for speed. If you’re doing a longer triathlon, you may prefer trainers with more cushioning and support to help you through the endurance event.

  1. Try Before You Buy

Before you buy a pair of triathlon trainers, it’s important to try them on and take them for a test run or ride. This will give you a chance to ensure that they fit properly and feel comfortable. Some specialty running stores also offer a trial period where you can test the trainers for a few days before making a final decision.

In conclusion, choosing the perfect triathlon trainers requires careful consideration of your foot type, the materials used in the trainers, the level of traction and cushioning needed, and the type of triathlon you’ll be participating in. With these factors in mind and by trying before you buy, you’ll be well on your way to selecting the perfect pair of trainers to help you perform at your best on race day.