The Shoes That Ruled the New York City Marathon
In a sea of Vaporflys, Alphaflys, and Adios Pros, we’re starting to see other brands’ “super shoes” along the race course and, more importantly, on the podium. The 2022 New York City Marathon is one of the first major marathons where just about every shoe manufacturer has a soft and bouncy, carbon fibre–plated racing shoe available for purchase.
Nike and Adidas still rule the roads among competitive runners, per our unofficial observations, but here are what the top 10 women and men laced up to race through the city’s five boroughs.
Top 10 Women
The first runners to come into Central Park, where we camped out just past the 38K mark to get a close look at their footwear, were the top-three women in a dash for podium position. Lonah Salpeter (eventual second place finisher) led Gotytom Gebreslase (third)—both wore Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2—and eventual race-winner Sharon Lokedi, who wore a yet-to-be-released pair of Under Armour Flow Velociti Elite. That shoe features Pebax foam and a carbon fibre plate.
The ageless Edna Kiplagat, 42, won this race in 2010, long before super shoes existed. She also finished 4th at this year’s Boston Marathon wearing the same shoe model—Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2, in violet and crimson—as today. Today’s look: the vivid orange version.
Viola Cheptoo laced up the three stripes’ top racer, the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3, in a “pulse lilac” colorway. That shoe uses carbon-fiber rods to stiffen the shoe, rather than the more conventional plate method.
Like Obiri, 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon champ Aliphine Tuliamuk was wearing an unreleased shoe—the Hoka Rocket X2. That shoe gained approval as a “development” shoe by World Athletics just in time for this year’s Boston Marathon, meaning elite athletes were permitted to race in it even though it won’t be available for sale until next spring.
8th & 9th
Emma Bates and Jessica Stenson, of Australia, cracked the top 10, both wearing Asics, but they wore different versions of the MetaSpeed Sky. (Asics makes two flavors of the MetaSpeed: The Sky is designed for runners who speed up by taking longer strides and the Edge is suited for those who take more steps when they go faster.) The difference here is that Bates wore the newest Asics MetaSpeed Sky+, which features more of the bouncy foam in the midsole than the original MetaSpeed Sky that Stenson wore. The newer shoe got to the finish line 37 seconds faster on Sunday. (Note: There are way more variables that go into the performances of Bates and Stenson than a pair of shoes.)
Top 10 Men
It’s been a good year for Evans Chebet, who became the first man since 2011 to win both the Boston and New York City Marathons in the same year. In that earlier race, he wore the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2, but laced up the newest version of the shoe, the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3, to take the W on the streets of New York.
2nd and 3rd
Shura Kitata got onto the podium wearing the same shoes as the second-, third-, and fourth-place women, the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2. Less than 90 seconds later, Abdi Nageeye joined the podium wearing the exact same colorway.
Second place in this race a year earlier, Mohamed El Aaraby claimed fourth wearing the same shoes as Emma Bates—the Asics MetaSpeed Sky+.
That bright orange color of the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 was clearly the choice of the Nike marketing team for this year’s marathon, because both Suguru Osako and Tetsuya Yoroizaka wore them, too, to take top-10 spots. That’ll be the last pairs of Vaporfly 2 we see in the top 10, making it seven of the 20 runners mentioned here who laced up this model.
Like race winner Evans Chebet, Albert Korir donned the “pulse lilac” color of the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3, making this shoe the second most-popular shoe among the top 10 men and women (3 pairs, tied with Asics MetaSpeed Sky+).
We’ve seen this shoe cross the finish line already, but this is an alternate color of the Asics MetaSpeed Sky+ worn by Italy’s Daniele Meucci.
Talk about making your new boss happy: Scott Fauble revealed after the race that he’d signed a contract with Nike just the night before he claimed 9th place. He rushed over to the Nike store to get a pair of shoes for race day: Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% 2. While it worked out for Scott, we don’t recommend you wear new shoes and singlet on race day.
When your team has its own custom kicks, you wear them. Reed Fisher laced up the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2 TME, which was designed in collaboration with his Tinman Elite running club. Since they’re essentially last year’s model, you can score a pretty solid discount on a pair if you can find them in your size.